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UPDATE: Nintendo Killed the NES Classic so You'd Buy the SNES mini

Nintendo is up to its old tricks again. Will fans buy yet another nostalgia console?
Updated
buy nintendo NES Classic

UPDATE: In the months since Nintendo cancelled production of the NES Classic, many industry experts (including DealNews) speculated that the company was merely making room for another nostalgia console. Eurogamer has now confirmed this to be the case. The SNES Mini will reportedly feature 21 pre-loaded games — including Starfox 2, which has never been previously released. Additional titles include Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, F-Zero, and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Read on for our original coverage of Nintendo's suspiciously predictable behavior.

Don't Be Surprised by Nintendo Canceling the NES Classic

In a move that surprised fans and industry insiders alike, Nintendo recently announced it's discontinuing production of the NES Classic. The throwback console was already hard to find, but with this move, Nintendo has effectively made it an instant collector's item.

Unfortunately, this means that anyone who doesn't have one of these in-demand consoles will likely have to shell out a small fortune to get their hands on one. Though some units are still due to hit retail shelves soon, price drops are highly unlikely.

The worst part is we've seen this behavior from Nintendo before. Here's why we should have seen this coming.

Nintendo Fans Are at the Company's Mercy

Supply issues are a common problem with Nintendo. Some speculate that the company is either really bad at predicting demand, or this is all a marketing strategy. Polygon suggested that "either Nintendo is constraining supply, in order to drive hype and awareness and the allure of exclusivity — a holiday narrative as applicable to the NES Classic as it was for Tickle Me Elmo," or the market leader is "incompetent." And the second option seems questionable, to say the least.

Nintendo is either really bad at predicting demand, or this is all a marketing strategy.

What's more, Nintendo maintains a tight grip on its intellectual property. Many of its games aren't available cross-platform (you'll never play Mario on Xbox, for example), and there's a huge backlog of games that are only available on emulators or very old consoles these days. For nostalgic fans, the only legal way to play those games is via Nintendo-sanctioned re-releases of the sort that accompanied the NES Classic.

Nintendo built its brand on customer loyalty. Loyal fans are highly aware of the company's notorious supply problems, and are more than willing to jump on products the moment they're announced. Fans know that Nintendo products don't sit on shelves collecting dust, and so they snap them up as soon as they can.

This Isn't a New Issue

Shoppers would do well to learn from the NES Classic, especially if you're not normally a Nintendo customer. This almost certainly won't be the last time we see supply problems. Fans probably remember how scarce the Wii was, even two years after its release.

SEE ALSO: Thinking About Buying a Nintendo Switch? Read This First

More recently, the New Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL were practically impossible to find. These are products that were first released in 2015, and yet the only way to get your hands on one a couple of months ago involved paying exorbitant third-party markups.

More Nintendo Nostalgia in the Works?

With the success of the NES Classic, many are wondering why Nintendo would shut down production now. Some experts have mentioned the company's plans to double Switch production, while others have said the console wasn't profitable enough. There is, of course, another option.

Perhaps Nintendo is paving the way for another nostalgia-driven item. All the way back in 2016, CNET posited that we could see a Game Boy Micro, a Mini SNES, or even a Mini N64. The holiday season is still months away, so there's plenty of time to speculate!

Readers, are you disappointed by the sudden discontinuation of the NES Classic? Were you able to get your hands on one? Do you think Nintendo actually has trouble meeting demand, or is this a strategy? Sound off in the comments below!


Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015, after many years of becoming well-versed in technology issues as a communications professional for a software company. She first entered journalism in college, reporting on issues facing frugal students for CollegeCandy.com. Julie lives in DealNews' hometown of Huntsville, AL.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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6 comments
blueribb
My guess is that they're probably not making the profit per unit @ 60 bux and raising the price would make them look greedy. I would like to see a higher resolution console with wireless controllers and improved audio (5.1 channels). Priced @ 150 bux - I would buy one in an instant.
bibfortuna
Let us all not forget that it's easily hackable with a soft mod. They would have to invest time/money to try to correct that before sending out any more. Otherwise they would be selling the very product that would allow people not to pay $5 a game on the virtual console (in their eyes anyway). What they SHOULD be doing is including the games from the NES classic with the Switch for free (also what they should have done with the Wii U). Just imagine how many more units they would sell. Plus, in my eyes; the switch has ONE GAME. It'll be TWO GAMES when the new mario drops. I personally won't buy the Switch until I know for sure that it won't bomb in the long run and they have more good exclusives. I got burnt with the Wii U.
markg731
sjlplat: I couldn't agree more. I will NOT buy a Switch (too many initial problems and high price for accessories, not enough games at release, games are too expensive, etc.) until prices come way down. I tried finding an NES Classic, but was never that lucky. Why a company would discontinue something that was so in demand is very confusing. Even if they didn't make much on the console, it generated HUGE nostalgia and loyalty points for the company. It got people talking about Nintendo again. Very foolish decision, IMO.
MacsAre1
Saying the only legal way to play is via devices like these is not true. From my understanding if you own the game you can use the ROM on an emulator and it is legal.
sjlplat
The way I see it (and most people probably don't see it my way), any company that intentionally constrains supply really doesn't want my business, so I don't give it to them. There's plenty of hungry competition out there.
HowardaC
It most likely isn't any of those reasons. This holiday season they didn't have a console to sell so they released the NES Classic to make some quick cash. Now the Switch is out and it is selling like wildfire. The Switch will have a Virtual Console service, just like the Wii and Wii U before it. Why would they keep selling a device where they get far less than 2 dollars a game for the 30 games they included when they can sell the exact same games through the virtual console for 5 bucks a piece?