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

Anton
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Anton

If it’s the same culture Konami uses, it can fuck right off.

jhm0jjm
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jhm0jjm

when i was a kid i used to know this Japanese family. they had a Super Famicom which I used to play on at their house, this being about 18 months before the SNES was released in the UK. it was great.

Miles Saintborough
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Miles Saintborough

Jim already covered that bit I believe. Limited prints/runs of anything is seen as totally normal over there while it’s widely hated everywhere else.

YoDude
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YoDude

Another reason to hate Japan’s weird ass cultural norms.

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
Guest

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.

Anthony Montoya
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Anthony Montoya

SNES Classic?

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 »
Chris
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Chris

The real question is WHY NCL refuses to take the advice of the western branch when simple changes would give them more money. It seems to be a case of Nintendo America saying “hey, if you do this, you will get more money and satisfy customers!”
NCL: …
NCL: No. We’re fine thanks.

Artemiy
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Artemiy

There might be the case of “No, I’m the Head Nintendo, I’m right, and you’re obviously wrong, and don’t teach me how to business.”

Chris
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Chris

That actually sounds pretty plausible.

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess

It’s really not that emotional. Believe me.

Chris
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Chris

That sounds frustratingly willfully ignorant. NCL seems to refuse to listen to the advice of both its own customers AND company… this seems like a company that isn’t just stuck in the past, but one that has actively super-glued itself to a severely outdated way of operating.

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess

Sure, from a US perspective. Nintendo is a company with a TON of cash. They can afford to ignore other markets because of the way they structure operating costs. Nintendo, even though there’s a “Nintendo of America/Europe” is a Japanese company. Everything is decided at NCL. Everything. NOA/NOE are distribution channels first and foremost.

Chris
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Chris

More from a Global market perspective. If a US or European
company of this size that had a market outside of its own country but was refusing to listen to the customers in those markets, I would state the same criticisms. In fact, some of it does overlap with criticisms of large US companies. For instance, companies like Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network making acquiring their shows by legal means incredibly difficult despite the fact that fans would want to access them.

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess
Nintendo is a Japanese company, with distribution channels in the US and Europe. That’s how they’ve always operated. Nintendo does what Nintendo feels makes sense for Nintendo. They look at this with a very inward (and ultimately, for all intents and purposes) successful perspective. Could they be MORE successful outside of Japan? Sure… is that their goal? … eh. People not being able to understand why that ISN’T their goal is what creates the confusion. They aren’t TRYING to maximize profit in the US/Europe. It’s just another territory to them. Imagine you have a store. You make all your decisions… Read more »
Andrew Christianson
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Andrew Christianson

So what you’re saying is, risk losing the market the new stores are in, because you have no understanding of it. Ok.

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess

You’re misunderstanding “risk”

Western markets are basically “bonus rounds” to NCL. If those markets become not-profitable, they just pull out and focus on Japan exclusively.

This is a gross-oversimplification, but basically, going back to the previous analogy, If those other stores become a hassle/not profitable, you just close them. That’s how NCL looks at NOA/NOE.

darksteel6
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darksteel6

That’s assuming that Japan is always profitable for Nintendo though, it won’t always be the case necessarily.

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess

Nothing is 100% certain all the time, but I’m just explaining how they view the situation. Whether you think that’s “good or bad” is your thing.

Andrew Christianson
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Andrew Christianson

I understand this perfectly. I’m not a brain-dead child. I know perfectly well they don’t care. I’m saying long term, they risk LOSING said “bonus rounds” by not paying attention to it.

Just because they don’t care doesn’t make it any less bizarre or asinine.

darksteel6
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darksteel6

Nintendo are still fucking idiots.

Anton
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Anton

Japan in a nutshell.

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess

It’s not even that emotional. NCL treats NOA/NOE like a distribution channel. Why would you take product advice from the people who put things in boxes and put them on trucks?

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?

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess

Not hate… apathy.

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.

dennett316
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dennett316

Realistically, how many of the 1.5 million users of this console even know that a hack exists for it? How many of those have the know-how to even do it? If that’s the reason, it’s a terribly stupid one that, as you say, could be easily fixable.

RetroNomad
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RetroNomad

I mean. You have a point. But a counter point to that is that I admittedly was interested because it was a toss up between this or building a retroPi….
So if that says anything, there is a demand for it based around price, quality and emulation.

Snorp09
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Snorp09

But that poses another question. How many people actually bought the classic, for adding roms? Most people who could do that, would just buy a 5$ pi zero, and use that.

RetroNomad
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RetroNomad

Oh absolutely. As I said, just a counter thought based on what I was interested in it for. Mainly the build quality v Price.

Snorp09
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Snorp09

Even then though, look at ebay. There’s a lot of modded ones. To the point that I think 50% (Or more) are modded. Mean they are forcing there market to buy some of these modded ones. Forcing them to pirate the games.

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.

Anton
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Anton

I considered getting a Switch, but then I remembered that Amiibo-linked DLC is a thing; for some reason, that specific thing gets on my nerves.

Artemiy
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Artemiy

I’ll maybe get a Switch. When it’s cheaper and the lineup is bigger and better.

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

Same. Also it would have to be used.

joehillen
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joehillen

No! Don’t you see? That’s exactly what they want you to do. You’ve fallen into their trap!

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.

Jim Sterling
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That’s even worse if it’s true because it was NOT sold that way. If it had been sold as a limited edition, none of this confusion and bullshit would have happened the way it did, but Nintendo gave no public indication this was the case.

promontoryID
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promontoryID

That’s the same thing I said to him, but he got all defensive and made it seem like it was common knowledge.

Jim Sterling
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Maybe THAT’s Nintendo’s problem. They just assume we know all the weird bullshit they’re thinking.

Miles Saintborough
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Miles Saintborough

To go with your Jimquisition on how Nintendo sees themselves as a toy maker, I think Nintendo is treating their consumers like children. Like, they think Nintendo fans are still kids from the 80s and 90s and treat them like dummies because of it.

whiskytangofoxtrot
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whiskytangofoxtrot

Nintendo wants to get people into the mindset that *everything* they make is a limited edition, thus encouraging them to rush out any buy their stuff as quickly as possible instead of taking the time to evaluate whether or not the product is actually any good, because it probably won’t be if Nintendo’s making it.

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.

SaburoDaimando
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SaburoDaimando

“You’re just a stupid Nintendo Lover.”
-Replies to the 100 comments made by people who did not read the article.

Miles Saintborough
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Miles Saintborough

“You’re both stupid”
-Replies to the etc etc

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

Nicolaus Camp
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Nicolaus Camp

Yeah, this. They did say that they stopped production for now, meaning it could come back in one form or another, which it probably will, but with different encryption, maybe another set of games, and who knows, maybe even an eShop. The hacking part really is the only reason I can see for for Nintendo to do this.

darksteel6
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darksteel6

Nah Nintendo’s other consoles are just as easily hackable.

Nicolaus Camp
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Nicolaus Camp

However, for say the 3DS, they can release firmware updates that prevent people from hacking them. They couldn’t really do that at all with the NES Classic since it was an offline console.

darksteel6
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darksteel6

they couldn’t do that with the Wii or Wii U though, so that excuse does not fly.

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.

Anton
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Anton

…papa Franku, is that you?

Hellghaasst
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Hellghaasst

Man, I wish I was him

Andrew Christianson
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Andrew Christianson

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

Vivi2372
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Vivi2372

The trouble is this is Nintendo so any theory that assumes logical decision making is automatically wrong.

Andrew Christianson
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Andrew Christianson

Silly me lol

MG_Salad
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MG_Salad

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

MechaSlinky
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MechaSlinky

I like putting sliced TV apples in my Metal Gear Salad…

That doesn’t make any sense and I should go to bed.

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.

Jim Sterling
Guest

I can see that being a possibility, but even then – everything they make turns out to be ridiculously easy to hack, and if they didn’t predict it’d happen with the NES Classic, they’re stupider than I thought.

Appretaur
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Appretaur
Hmm, well even if it wasn’t hacked, I could see Nintendo having discontinued it at this point anyway; what I think is that, if everyone in Nintendo’s consumer base owned an NES Classic and thus the 30 games on it, that would mean that no one would want to re-buy any of those particular 30 games on the Switch’s virtual console, which is where Nintendo would want to try selling them individually for price-gouged prices. And unlike digital VC files, it also costs Nintendo to manufacture all of those pieces of hardware holding a collection of those files. When you… Read more »
Nicolaus Camp
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Nicolaus Camp
Buy an NES Classic and you can hack it, buy a 3DS and you can’t unless it’s running on older firmware. It’s much more of a hassle to get a console that connects to the internet and could potentially ban you from their internet services, than to do the same with a console that is “offline only”. There’s no real risk or consequence when dealing with the NES Classic. I think it will be back, in a much more secure form, in the future. I mean, look at Pokémon Sun/Moon, where Nintendo banned players permanently from using the online services… Read more »
EvolutionKills
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EvolutionKills

Much more secure?

In a world where my toaster can run DOOM?

They’re NES roms, not nuclear launch codes. How much more security do decades old games need? How would that actually deter people from cracking it? The only way to win that game is never to play it, to simply have never made the NES Classic. For the people who were inevitably going to do this, Nintendo just supplied them with a awesome form factor, okay controllers, and a unified front end.

Anthony Montoya
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Anthony Montoya

yea i think you hit the nail on the head, Nintendo hates “pirates” so much that seeing people cracking the NES classic and putting games that they could have bought on the e-shop on there just makes them take it off what few shelves it was on to “stick it” to the hackers.

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

That’s a pretty good point.

Benj
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Benj

The Switch is relatively easy to hack as well isn’t it?

Daniel Jensen
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Daniel Jensen

People have found programs to run NES ROMS on for ages. They don’t need a NES Classic.

Gurphardt
Guest

Can’t people just run roms on a computer?

IconDevco
Guest
IconDevco

ass

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