There’s good news and there’s bad news from Nintendo this week. The good news is, Nintendo Switch came in with strong early sales, pushing 906,000 units in the month of March. The bad news: Nintendo NES Classic Edition is going away very soon. Why?
Why Ice the Nintendo NES Classic Edition? Is it because of Nintendo Switch?
The death of Nintendo NES Classic Edition is a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, the company has been unable to keep up with the demand for the past several months now. That means people still want it, even though the newer Nintendo Switch is more versatile and is slowly racking up its gaming titles as well.
So why is Nintendo walking away from a good thing? On their part, the company has said that the NES Classic Edition was always going to be a ‘limited time’ and that they’ve already stretched their intended supply volume a few times.
The company said this to IGN:
“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.”
One theory is that the Virtual Console is coming anytime now, and Nintendo is afraid that the NES will cannibalize sales. But that argument is weak because NES has no more than 30 games, while Virtual Console has nearly every Nintendo game ever made.
The more plausible explanation is around production challenges clogging up their supply line for Nintendo Switch. Ahead of the holiday season, they’ll want to ramp up Switch production as much as they can. They’re already struggling to meet the demand for the Switch console, and if the lower-margin NES is hampering that, it could justify the decision to axe it.
But the most likely explanation is usually the most obvious one, the one that the Japanese game maker has always given about NES being a limited-time offering. It could be a combination of factors that forced them to arrive at this decision, but their focus is now clearly on the Nintendo Switch and how they can maximize the market frenzy about the product.
It’s been a while since a Nintendo product saw such strong demand, and it’s in their best interest to focus on being really good at one solid product than struggling with multiple consoles and satisfying none of those markets fully.
As it stands, the NES Classic Edition will be stopped in North America first, and other markets could soon follow. If we do eventually see a greater supply stream for Nintendo Switch as a result of this cut-back, that’s probably a good thing for the company – even if a lot of gamers don’t agree with the decision.
In the meantime, you may still be able to get your hands on a NES Classic Edition gaming console before inventory runs dry online and at major retail stores across the United States.
“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.”
Stoppage will also include the NES Classic Controller, but accessory manufacturers could decide to continue making products for the console.
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