While I often have many tabs open when surfing the web, my experience pre-ordering the SNES Classic was record-setting. I sat in intense anticipation as 12:00 p.m. came nearer, and I refreshed five different shopping sites at a rate that compromised the health of my computer. NeoGAF was guiding me through the steps I should take to better my odds, but I was never convinced I had a legitimate chance of securing a pre-order. And rightfully so, as my online attempts to pre-order were fruitless. I refreshed the first site the actual second pre-orders activated, went through the purchasing process as fast as humanly possible, but received nothing besides a “Your Cart is Empty” message. Unreal.
Afterwards, other sites went up. Again and again, the Classic instantly sold out of pre-orders. Some of the dedicated were able to acquire a pre-order online, but these were only a fraction within the niche group of video game obsessed sub-humans like myself. If this hardcore group of Nintendo fanboys couldn’t all get ahold of a pre-order, how on earth is the layman supposed to? Furthermore, how could parents possibly fulfill holiday wishes? I was able to make it to a local GameStop and make a pre-order, but I didn’t feel good about it — I felt dirty.
The NES and SNES classics are both popular but not to an extent that completely explains consumers’ inability to acquire one. Until yesterday, Nintendo had not done much to convince us that their claims of producing “significantly more” units were legitimate. The short production period of both devices brings Nintendo’s motives into question and points toward a possibility that Nintendo has been accused of often: artificial scarcity. Perhaps these plug-and-play consoles were created solely to drive up Nintendo brand awareness. Fortunately, Nintendo made a statement that may quell some of these fears.
On Tuesday, Nintendo announced that the NES Classic would re-continue production in 2018. This development comes as a surprise because earlier this year Nintendo said that the Classic was discontinued. Nintendo’s eagerness to stop production of the NES Classic was an enormous red flag, so their decision to get them back on store shelves warrants optimism among Nintendo faithful. Along with the NES Classic’s return in 2018, the SNES Classic will continue to be produced throughout next year. Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo’s North American branch, warned consumers not to spend more than the intended $80 price point for the SNES Classic.
“I would strongly urge you not to over-bid on an SNES Classic on any of the auction sites,” he said. This claim came about two days ago and became the target of skepticism, but this new announcement by Nintendo implies they intend to back up Fils-Aimé's rhetoric.
The success of the NES Classic was likely underestimated by Nintendo. Similar plug-and-play consoles have never done well before, so Nintendo’s initial hesitance to produce millions was justified. However, their inability to adapt to the unit’s demand resulted in obscenely high prices. The first blunder was excusable, but why didn’t Nintendo adjust? Why did they discontinue the NES Classic? Just when Nintendo’s actions become indefensibly pointed toward artificial scarcity, this supposed adjustment should make Nintendo fans optimistic. It appears that they may finally be serious about getting these consoles to the fans who want them.