What’s Nintendo’s Fucking Problem?

The NES Classic is getting killed off… and Nintendo won’t say why.

I can’t say I’m surprised to learn Nintendo abruptly discontinued the ridiculously popular NES Classic while it was still a hot-ticket item. By now, none of us should feel even the slightest threat of shock when Nintendo does something incomprehensible to anybody outside of Nintendo.

Nevertheless, I remain intensely curious about the company’s love of obstructing customers when they want to give it money. While other publishers do their utmost to make it insidiously easy to fork over more cash, Nintendo occasionally pulls moves that have zero visible benefit.

So yes, Nintendo suddenly revealed that the NES Classic Edition – its popular and ludicrously understocked throwback system – would discontinue despite sales of over 1.5 million and a struggle to satisfy customer demand that continues to this day. Many people still want and can’t find this thing, yet the company behind it thought now was the time to axe the sucker.

“Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year,” the company told IGN. “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.”

It’s a bit of a “fuck you” as far as statements go. To actively acknowledge the difficulty your customers have had while glibly announcing your lack of interest in alleviating said difficulty comes off almost sarcastically, like the whole existence of the NES Classic in America is some sort of joke at the expense of the company’s audience.

We have of course talked about Nintendo’s infamous inability to supply according to demand. While it was especially bad with the Classic, the more recent release of the Nintendo Switch saw canceled preorders and even a drought of Pro Controllers, all of which only helped scalpers on eBay make a profit for themselves as they jacked up the costs beyond Nintendo’s already dodgy pricing.

Indeed, scalpers seem to be the ones who benefit most from anything Nintendo makes. Be they NES Classics, Pro Controllers, or amiibo, the company’s failure to supply has reaped dividends for those quick and shameless enough to snap up the goods and flip them for a tidy profit.

While some call it a conspiracy theory, I still believe Nintendo does this on purpose to drum up anticipation and boast of sellout successes in the same manner as toy manufacturers. The numbers in which these items are shipped are too pathetically small to make sense otherwise.

Nevertheless, I’m at a loss to come up with a thread of logic governing the Classic’s discontinuation.

The best theory floating around is that Nintendo of America doesn’t want to slow the momentum of the Switch, which has recently become a record breaking success for the company.

It would have maybe made sense if the Switch hadn’t broken records while the NES Classic was still a thing. Instead, it looks like Nintendo had two successful pieces of hardware on the market and arbitrarily decided to kill one of them.

You can be sure that, despite appearances, the decision is not arbitrary. There is a reason buried somewhere in the mangled collective brain of Nintendo’s upper management. What it is, I haven’t got a fucking clue, but I’d really like to know.

There’s an old memetic joke that Nintendo hates money, and while it is just a joke, sometimes you look at the company’s behavior and wonder. This is, after all, a company that not only refuses to localize certain games, but will actively fight attempts to import said games. This is a clear case of Nintendo going out of its way to stop items being sold, items it may never have any intention of bringing to a particularly territory.

One of the most famous examples of this was Animal Crossing. It took two fucking years for the original game to make it to Europe after it had already hit North America, and Nintendo was determined to do everything in its power to stop Europeans buying it, cracking down on importers who tried to sell the thing.

Nintendo is a company that lets you know when your money is quite literally not good enough.

Still, at least Nintendo eventually decided the whole world was allowed to have Animal Crossing. Other games haven’t been so lucky, or needed massive exterior pressure to get a chance.

Captain Rainbow‘s time has almost certainly passed outside of Japan, and do you remember how hard people fought to get Xenoblade released out here? That game Nintendo of America only published in a limited run after a massive fan campaign? The game that ended up so beloved it got not only a sequel, but a 3DS port and an all-new Switch game that Nintendo of America proudly presented?

If Nintendo doesn’t hate money, it certainly seems to have a blind spot for the stuff.

You’ll notice this article offers no solutions, no insights, not much else but a bit of venting. That’s really all I’ve got for you, if I’m quite honest. I just need to continue sharing my sustained state of gobsmacked confusion when it comes to this corporation and the things it does.

I just want to know what Nintendo’s fucking problem is.

Mad Rathalos
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Mad Rathalos

Most likely you’re right on underselling to make shit seem even bigger. The discontinuation here is probably that they see it as market cannibalization somehow.

Which is ridiculous but likely.

Mewshuji
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Mewshuji
I’ve seen a few people suggest Nintendo somehow lost the rights to one of the games included on the Classic so now they have to remove it… Nintendo being Nintendo they aren’t just swapping out the ROM for one they own, but flat out discontinuing the product. I expect an “upgraded” version with more titles including whatever offending game being replaced to be released down the line for a higher MSRP. That is unless they’re trying to force people into using the Virtual Console on Switch when that rolls out or something. Which I could also see as a move… Read more »
jhm0jjm
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jhm0jjm

You should do a bit of research on Japanese culture / Japanese corporate culture. i bet there is a specific Japanese word which describes their behaviour. It is obviously rational in its own way or they wouldn’t still exist as a company

Dan Century
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Dan Century

Because they know that emulators provide the best experience.

Jimmy Donnellan
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Jimmy Donnellan

They’re going to release the NES Classic 2: Classicer Edition. Don’t worry.

KHarker
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KHarker

Can only imagine this is backlash for emulation on the classic. Somewhere in a dark room full of posters of our favourite, dead franchises, the “Nintendo Masters” got disgusted when news came out that emulation is a thing that actually exists and decided to shut it down at their own expense.

Doom Video Vault
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Ehh, who gives a fuck about Nintendo at this point? Why give them attention when they keep pulling bullshit stunts like this?

WarRaiders
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WarRaiders

I wonder if they have another system, or another device on the way.

BaleonRosen
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BaleonRosen

I still throw cash at Nintendo but I swear these guys are fuckin allergic to it at this point.

Are my beer soaked, undervalued Aussie dollars not good enough for you Nintendo?

TheGZeus
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TheGZeus

Nintendo treats all of the world like it’s Japan. In Japan limited edition things are treated as special and somehow more valuable and often things that wouldn’t sell otherwise we’ll sell if they are limited edition.
I find this incredibly silly and closed-minded for them to treat every region this way

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess
Hold on guys, I speak Nintendo. “Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year,” the company told IGN. “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.” Jim’s take: It’s a bit of a “fuck you” as far as statements… Read more »
joehillen
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joehillen

titties

vonSanneck
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vonSanneck

A misunderstanding of capitalism, while being a for profit company…
How much does Nintendo of Japan hate the rest of the world?

Snorp09
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Snorp09

If Nintendo canned this thing dude to hacking to add roms, they’re stupid. (Remembers title) Welp. I guess it’s already proved they are stupid. But if it’s because of roms, why didn’t they just patch the OS, on the newer models.

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

Honestly Nintendo’s behavior has put me off buying a Switch entirely. and indeed buying any future Nintendo products. I do not want to give this company any money.

Matthew Johnson
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Matthew Johnson

I remember when the Wii & DS came out, the big meme surrounding Nintendo was “It prints money!!!”

Given everything you said, Jim, maybe the meme should’ve been “It prints money?!?!” instead.

promontoryID
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promontoryID

Some time ago, the Nintendo rep for my store location said Nintendo never intended for the NES Classic to be produced past holiday 2016, but the demand caused its continued production. However, they were not planning on making them anymore past February, so my location never received anymore, other than a couple at random.

Andy
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Andy

It’s difficult to know what the hell they are doing and as a fan incredibly frustrating. I can only imagine the have reassigned the production facilities making the NES classic to making something else otherwise it makes no sense. As an accountant I’m incredibly curious as to what the logic is here…

Anton
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Anton

“You’re just a stupid Nintendo hater!”

– The upcoming 100 comments made by people who did not read the article.

Crokoking
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Crokoking

My guess is that nintendo saw people hacking the NES classic and do proper emulation with all the games – and they reeeally don’t like that stuff. So the “Masters in Japan” just shut it all down

Hellghaasst
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Hellghaasst

My theory is that Nintendo is a japanese revenge for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They addicted the US population to their products and now they torment people by limiting the supply.

Andrew Christianson
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Andrew Christianson

Maybe they’re prepping for Virtual Console on the Switch? All I can think of.

MG_Salad
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MG_Salad

They’re swapping production over to TV’s that look like apples.

Scott Nowell
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Scott Nowell

I have to believe that the only reason that Nintendo is doing this is because of the fact that the NES Classic has proved so easy to hack and put loads of NES game roms onto, and that they don’t want to sell something that can get people these games for free when they’d rather they buy them again on the Nintendo Switch’s E-Shop.

IconDevco
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IconDevco

ass

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