It’s hard for me to remember being as mad at a tech company announcement as I was a few days ago when Nintendo announced they were killing the NES Classic. You know, their retro gaming device that was so popular when it went on sale last year that it instantly sold out, broke Amazon, and was still impossible to find months later.
Yes, after releasing a number of decidedly unpopular products for years, Nintendo is now killing off one of its biggest hits. Yes, it’s infuriating.
The theories as to why they’re doing this range from silly to insane (read some of the replies here). But no one seems to want to come out and give the Occam’s Razor take: Nintendo doesn’t know what they’re doing.
I used to get a lot of shit for being an Apple apologist back in the day. Nintendo apologists are far worse. They’re absolutely batshit crazy in their thinking that this latest move by their favorite company is a brilliant marketing maneuver. Or better: a masterful game of mind manipulation. This will only lead to bigger and better things for Nintendo, they say.
It’s neither of those things. It’s incompetence.
Just read Nintendo’s own statement on the matter:
“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 apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.”
My rough translation:
We’re killing the product, the last shipments are going out now. Don’t ask us if we have anymore, go complain to your local stores. We know most consumers that wanted one couldn’t find a system for the past several months. And now they undoubtedly will never be able to. Whoops. But after reading over the feedback and excitement about the system, we realize we have no idea how to ever please our fans. So instead, we’re aiming our NES Zapper right at our own feet and pulling the trigger. But thanks.
This is a company that drunkenly stumbled down the right path, and once it sobered up, realized they were on the right path, freaked out, and ran back the other way. They accidentally launched a hit product and then literally didn’t know what to do.
This is along the lines of what a lot of people have been saying to me since Nintendo announced the end of the NES Classic last week.
I was lucky enough to get a Classic on launch day, by standing in line at 5am at the local walmart on launch day and being one of the first 10 people there for when they opened at 7am (two people had camped overnight), the store had originally said there were only getting 10, but then ended up getting 20. There were over 50 people waiting for those 20 units.
The local EB games had nearly 200 people waiting in line for when they opened, hoping to get one of the 15 units they had in stock, and the insanity is that most people had called ahead and knew the stores were only getting X units, but still lined up hoping to get one.
It’s a great little unit, fun to play all the retro games, and I personally think Nintendo should have kept the Classic around for a year at least before they shelved it.