By now everyone knows that the NES Classic Edition, a mini-NES that came pre-loaded with 30 games and sold for $59.99 at retailers, has been one of the most difficult items to find. Nintendo has revealed that it has sold 2.3 million of them worldwide since it launched last November. It’s clear at this point that this retro box was originally planned as a one-shot Christmas gift product, but as demand became so high Nintendo went back and produced more. It still wasn’t enough to satisfy the market, but even so Nintendo has ceased production of the system.
IGN asked NOA’s President, Reggie Fils-Aime why they would discontinue a product that’s so popular. May of us had the same question. Reggie replied:
We understand that some people were frustrated about not being able to find the system, but for us, we need to make sure we manage all of our resources in an effective way. At the same time we were facing this surging demand for NES Classic, we were preparing to launch Nintendo Switch.
So basically the NES Classic Edition was never intended to be a permanent product, and Nintendo’s priorities are on the Nintendo Switch and making sure they can get those into stores and meet that demand. This makes sense from a business perspective because Nintendo makes way more money by selling Switches, since they also will sell additional games and accessories over its lifespan. The NES Classic was a one-and-done, with no new incremental income coming from those devices once they were in gamers’ homes. So, while it still sucks to see it discontinued, at least we have a better understanding of Nintendo’s thinking.