The tale of the NES Classic has come to an appropriately bizarre and kick in the teeth ending, as Nintendo announced that they will be discontinuing the NES Classic.
Ever since it’s release, the story of the NES Classic (or NES Mini, depending on where you are) has been basically a checklist of Nintendo being Nintendo and making some very bizarre decisions. Of course, it has been notoriously hard to find ever since it’s release and to be honest with you, all of that smacked of Nintendo deliberately restricting supply so that it becomes news when more is available.
There were countless articles saying, “NES Classic now in stock at X” over the last few months, prompting people who might have otherwise waited or held off to buy one because of the so-called rarity. I find it hard to believe that Nintendo was surprised by the demand for the NES Classic, because anyone who knows anything about the gaming industry and the community could tell you that that thing would sell well.
It was, after all, a cheap way to relive some seriously awesome memories for people and for many others, it may have been a case of generations too young to have experienced these games the first time wanting to play them in a way similar to how they were released. Considering the fairly cheap price and the roster of games (not to mention the ability to add more), it was plainly obvious it would sell well.
But, obviously, Nintendo made the thing extremely hard to come by, and they have undoubtedly fattened the pockets of numerous scalpers due to this move. As stupid and weird as the decision to discontinue the console is, in a way it is a very fitting end to the “good luck finding me” console.
What is all the stranger, though, is that apparently this was the plan all along. Nintendo discussed the discontinuation with IGN: “Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability.”
“We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologise. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product. NES Classic Edition wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product. However, due to high demand, we did add extra shipments to our original plans.”
The skeptic in me suspects that they are planning something for the Virtual Console on the Switch, and they don’t want the NES Classic to interfere with that. The only reason to discontinue a console that is literally printing money, is if it is in direct competition with something else you have lined up. Perhaps I’m wrong, but either way this move is just so perfectly Nintendo.