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.

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

Nintendo also stopping production of Wii U and Splatoon 2 will be switch only. no more games are coming out on wii U.

R.I.P. Wii U And NES
I will miss you

Ex-Nintendo fan
Guest
Ex-Nintendo fan

Fuck Nintendo!
I hate them now

Ignacio Romo
Guest
Ignacio Romo

See, the NES Classic WAS’NT making them money. They had a wholesale price of around 57$, and when you factor marketing and liscencing fees, they really won’t make that much from the NES Classic.

Catabolize
Guest
Catabolize

Tried to get one several times. I even waited in line outside a Best Buy early in the morning before it opened, no luck. I give up. I do not feel bad at all for downloading roms after hearing about this shit.

Janos Audron
Guest
Janos Audron

Let them self-destruct. Judging from their decisions on several fronts, it’s as if Nintendont is taken over by spies intent on destroying it from the inside, both their product and their public face. In a few years they’ll be the Pokemon company.

Some Guy
Guest
Some Guy
Can I be blunt? I’ve played Playstations and XBoxes for so long that Nintendo is no longer relevant to me. Aside from elves and plumbers, the other guys have GTA’s, Hitmans, Witchers, Tomb Raiders and the kitchen sink. I only wanted the NES Classic because the Switch looks like a glorified DVD party and board game with controllers attached. I’m not into anything their Switch line-up has to offer. I’d rather have the games that made them great, as that’s when I was born and raised on. Seeing as Nintendo is discontinuing it, it makes me disappointed than mad… but… Read more »
Spike
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Spike

What’s your fucking problem Jim?

StarTsurugi
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StarTsurugi

Nintendo doing stupid things. It’s a problem for everyone.

NonBritGit
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NonBritGit

You don’t think it’s because all those ‘classic’ games will appear 30 seconds later on the new Switch game store?

Ian H
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Ian H
Killing the NES classic to sell NES games on Switch makes zero sense. First of all, there’s the ability to price discriminate with less expensive hardware targeted at a narrower audience. It would be stupid to assume that there is 100% overlap between the group of people who want to play NES games only, and the group of people who want a Switch. Moreover, you can’t buy NES games on the NES classic, the profit to Nintendo comes purely from the hardware, so it wouldn’t make sense to kill it to sell Virtual Console games. There’s also the fact that… Read more »
NonBritGit
Guest
NonBritGit

What you’re forgetting is that Nintendo’s main focus (and long term) is to get more people interested in the Switch. No doubt N will eat some profits on the niche retro console to get more people interested in their new platform and network.

Just theory of course, but that’s how corporations work.

Tubey84
Guest
Tubey84

Thought the reason was obvious personally. The NES Classic was hacked to hold the entire NES library, and Nintendo want to stupidly offer to basically rent the NES library to Switch owners with their online subscription fee later this year.

So by cutting NES mini stocks, they limit the problem. Then they’ll release a SNES mini in a few months but do their best to make it ‘hack proof’.

They’re bad tits, basically.

Forrest Kayssen
Guest
Forrest Kayssen

You honestly think that’s it? I could probably download the entire NES library and an emulator in mere minutes on pretty much every electrical device within arm’s reach of me right now, and Nintendo have to know that. Wouldn’t they rather sell a fun little box that at least gives Nintendo some cash in the pocket and maybe think about ‘renting’ classic N64 games instead, which were unavailable on the 3DS so could be killer apps for their new portable console?

Tubey84
Guest
Tubey84

I understand what you’re saying, but the casual market doesn’t know about emulation to that extent. They don’t have the technical know-how – but when they buy a system with 30 games on it licensed by Nintendo and have no option to add more because of no storefront etc. then they’ll start to look into it.

I think that’s what was Nintendo’s fear – licensed availability of emulation; adding legitimacy to it and hitting their future revenues on the Switch.

Forrest Kayssen
Guest
Forrest Kayssen
The casual market may not know about emulation, but they do now know about the NES Classic. And I like to think the casual audience would typically buy something like that from a retailer or direct from Amazon, but if they were unavailable there they might end up forking out for ‘jailbroken’ models without knowing what they’re doing. In essence, it now behooves Nintendo to keep supply up if they want to people to legitimately pay for NES games in some way. Cutting off the audience will only cause them to seek other ways to play Balloon Fight, and I… Read more »
Fuhai Mitsuki
Guest
Fuhai Mitsuki

If it is cause of people hacking it , then honestly Nintendo wouldn’t be the first company to have a knee jerk reaction in response. I mean Sony has taken away features and stop selling certain games they found were being used to allow for homebrew software and hacks on their systems. Though it was more common for them to do it on vita than the ps4.

Some Guy
Guest
Some Guy

While hacking may have been an issue, I don’t see how that’ll stop people from just going ahead and finding a way to hack more games into an SNES Classic.

If I buy an SNES Classic, I’m honestly that kinda pissed at Nintendo to go ahead and make such a device my own– making an NES+SNES Classic combo. They wouldn’t give me an NES Classic, so I took their current “Mini” and put in the 30 games I missed out on, along with everything else.

MLP_Simta
Guest
MLP_Simta

I could see that being the reason. But as I customer why should I care?
If people are hacking your system all over the world (there are always be people like that) that means that the hackers are providing a better service than Nintendo.
If Nintendo would have used just some common sense while designing the NES Mini like, wireless controller, a storefront to purchase games than hacking wouldn`t be an issue.
But we are talking about Nintendo and common sense is not their strongest part.

Tigris Callidus
Guest
Tigris Callidus

The NES was meant as a simple plug and play toy. It works great as that. No nead to implement some complicated storefront etc.

I also do not really get (or like), that the mini NES gets discontinued, but the NES mini is great as what it is.

If you want something else, thats on you.

ZrdFrv
Guest
ZrdFrv
Nintendo won’t say because Nintendo is afraid of mentioning it; The huge demand for the NES Classic could turn out as evidence that ALOT of people actually like NES Classic games. I think Nintendo’s fear is people realizing that those very old games could still compete with their new releases. Not only it’ll be a danger hardware-wise(NES Classic competing with Switch as Jim stated), but also on software(people rather have NES LoZ/Metroid/Mario than the new ones). If they run along with it and go and tried to meet the demand on NES Classic, what does it say if it ends… Read more »
Ian
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Ian
Interesting idea on the cannibalism of Nintendo products. If this is true, Nintendo will be reluctant to tell the consumers their reasoning. I can think of a few alternatives as well. They might be falling short on the production of the Switch, and rather than continue to produce two lines of consoles, they put all production capacity into the Switch. The Switch has a higher future benefit to the Company so they’d want to pump out as many as possible right now. Investors would not be happy to hear that they’re having issues with production capacity either, so they’d hold… Read more »
The Magic Lemur
Member

I feel like this is a reach.

ZrdFrv
Guest
ZrdFrv

With the SNES Mini rumors coming around. Yeah, maybe it is. X/

aargut
Member

I think ‘exclusivity to the point of self-sabotage and consumer frustration’ is Nintendo’s #1 strategy since forever. Maybe this is how hey managed to corner their own market in the games industry and maintained loyal long-term customers. It doesn’t make sense on the surface level, but i suppose once you’ve got customers hooked on your niche product – they’ll logically want more despite levels of frustration. Perhaps Nintendo’s employing some psychological experimentation in their business strategies lol.

Allaiyah Weyn
Member

My completely uneducated guess was that it was preplanned to be a limited release & they nixed extending sales in favor of making a limited release SNES Classic.

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

Shush! Jim doesn’t want you to know that.

Jerome Handy
Member
Honestly, this is just one more reason I don’t do fandom nonsense, or expectations of purchase. I bought a queen sized futon bed over 20 years ago, and though I paid well for it, that bed serves me to this day. I bought a computer chair about eight years ago. Again, I paid handsomely for it, but it still sits under my large frame. If I’d bought an NES classic, knowing that the instant the console breaks or gets stolen my fun is done, trust and believe I would have either sold the damned thing on EBAY myself, or taken… Read more »
Stelios Markios
Member

Nintendo should stick to making handhelds, stop their home console production and make their major IPs available everywhere, with perhaps the exception of Pokémon, in order to have a handheld system seller. At least the switch is going the right direction (portable), but we will have to see where they eventually take it.

Jerome Handy
Member
Honestly, I doubt that’ll ever happen. As stupid as it sounds, Nintendo’s business strategy DOES have some merit. They never deal with overstock or unsold hardware. So, their production costs are considerably lower than Microsoft or Sony. It lets them operate at a profit on each console almost from day one. Moreover, it would signal that Nintendo just doesn’t have an answer for Sony or Microsoft. The Wii was successful in it’s own right. But Nintendo’s really been flagging in the console fight, for all the wrong reasons. They just don’t want to compete with Sony or MS. They want… Read more »
joegvo
Guest
joegvo

When talking about handhelds, then they’re definitely not 3rd.

MechaSlinky
Member

Well, when talking worldwide, they’re definitely not 3rd either. Unless I’m remembering this incorrectly, I read somewhere (probably Destructoid?) the Wii U outsold the XBox One in Japan during the first week after the Switch’s launch.

Jerome Handy
Member

…that’s why I said, “Moves like this, do nothing but reinforce why Sony and Microsoft, for all THEIR problems, are better consoles and better console makers.”

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

Making the NES Classic a permanent thing definitely would have.

Jerome Handy
Member

I don’t know about that. I’m not knocking the NES Classic as an idea, but very few of the games I longed to play, are available. Yeah, there’s the standard Castlevania, Super Punch Out and Zelda, but I want games like Super Dodge Ball or Super Spike V’ball. Both are Capcom originated, and it seems there’s quite a few missing from the Classic.

Now, a full on emulator, that COULD play all the old games that you could download and buy, THAT would be a game-changer for Nintendo.

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

That would be horrible to third party developers. I thought people were hoping for the Switch to have third party support.

Mathew G. Smith
Member

I’m partial to Checkpoint’s explanation: since I’ve never seen on in person and nobody I know has one, I might as well assume it’s a hoax.

Extreme_ver1
Guest
Extreme_ver1

It just frustrates me that Nintendo continues to do this. I’ve seen different theories about the reasons for under stocking products but at the end of the day don’t they need our money to make a profit. These decisions have to be about a culture within Japan that just doesn’t get the passion their fans have and their North American department just don’t have the balls to stand up to the old way of thinking. It’s a shame.

BrunDeign
Guest
BrunDeign

Jim I’ve also seen reports online about people cracking the thing open and playing more games than they’re meant to on it – have you seen anything like that?

DeadlyYellow
Guest
DeadlyYellow

Not a podcast listener?

YoDude
Guest
YoDude

Lol. Not everyone has time to follow everything Jim does.

DeadlyYellow
Guest
DeadlyYellow

Nyeh. Fills the silence commuting to work. And the silence at work.

Aerys_the_Mad
Guest
Aerys_the_Mad

They probably feel like like they where giving away their 30-years-old roms too cheaply with the NES Classic.

Which is really telling about how upside-down their thoughts patterns must be.

But hey – they’re still Nintendo afterall. Probably the only company from the 80’s to still be out there and still selling big. So I have to guess they know what they’re doing. Maybe.

Raging Raving
Guest
Raging Raving

at this point, im honestly surprised when Nintendo does something in the realms of normal these days

joegvo
Guest
joegvo
Here’s your and many other people’s problem with the NES Classic, Jim. The NES Classic is not their future. The Switch is. Did it occur to you that Nintendo has more important things to be concerned about than a little box with NES ROMs? Nintendo doesn’t “hate money”. They want your money, especially now more than ever. Nintendo wants consumers to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on consoles, games, and accessories. It’s their bread and butter as well as Sony’s & Microsoft’s. They spent a hefty fortune to promote the Switch, because that’s the product they’re counting on in… Read more »
Swamp Lobster
Guest
Swamp Lobster

This is how low Nintendo apologists have come, people, they’re literally making textwalls stanning for Nintendo’s incompetent business practices and trying to dodge the subject with “But you don’t criticize Microsoft even though you constantly say the XBone is toss.” If you took the time to actually read this article, you’d see that they has also screwed over actual games like Captain Rainbow and nearly screwed Xenoblade as well, but sure, Nintendo is you’re perfect friendly neighborhood toymaker that can do no wrong.

The defending of Nintendo screwing Fangame devs and youtubers over was scummy, but this is just plain pathetic.

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

This is how low Sterling Sons have come. Defending their hero who tries to spin narratives in his favor. LIMITED EDITION means LIMITED EDITION. He purposely tried to cover that up.

Not to mention lack of localization is nothing new, & it’s been proven that Japanese games have not sold well when debuting in the West. Fire Emblem has sold poorly & took nearly a decade before it exceeded expectations. Gamestop was the only retailer to sell Xenoblade Chronicles & then scalp it.

The Magic Lemur
Member

Holy shit man this is just -sad-

Scythe Seven
Guest
Scythe Seven

Purposely tried to cover it up? I think you’ve cracked this conspiracy wide open. Sony and Microsoft must be paying Jim F*cking Sterling Son to hide the limited edition nature from the world!
Japanese games not selling well in the west? I guess Darks Souls, Nier: Automata, Metal Gear Solid, and Final Fantasy must not exist!

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

“How many NES Classics were at my local Target this morning? 50? Neigh. 20? Neigh. TWO! Why is this limited edition item so limited!?”

I didn’t say all of them have, but Nintendo had been selective when it came to which games should they spend the money on in localizing. Captain Rainbow would have stunk in the US. There is no appeal to be had with it there.

Extreme_ver1
Guest
Extreme_ver1

If the numbers you are saying is true, are you able to share the link to where you found your information or is it just up your ass? Thanks

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

Polygon.

MechaSlinky
Member

I see. So just up someone else’s ass.

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

When your product has licensing agreements from Capcom, Square, Namco, Koei Tecmo, Konami, and others, don’t expect to get much of a return when it only costs $60.

MechaSlinky
Member
True. What you said above is probably good stuff, too, but admittedly I didn’t read it because it was long and you started speculating that the NES Classic would have severely impacted sales of the Switch, which makes little to no sense as the Switch is capable of far more than simply playing 30 NES ROMs on your TV (although ironically the Switch isn’t able to play those 30 NES ROMs on your TV yet). Nobody is going to buy a Switch just for the Virtual Console, and nobody who is only interested in old ROMs and nothing else is… Read more »
joegvo
Guest
joegvo

The NES classic has an edge over the Switch in two big ways. Price, & consumer’s familiarity with the games included. That would be enough for consumers who don’t normally play games nowadays to avoid the Switch entirely to buy an NES classic.

MechaSlinky
Member
People that don’t normally play games nowadays are going to avoid the Switch either way unless something crazy huge comes along to make them want to get a Switch, in which case the NES Classic offers nothing that would sway them away from a Switch. The Switch is for two types of consumers: collectors and those who don’t give a shit about games but want a cheap and easy way to play some of the games they remember from when they were less dead inside. Collectors will also buy the Switch, the second group is never going to give a… Read more »
Aerys_the_Mad
Guest
Aerys_the_Mad

Nobody cares about Microsoft, really.
Nintendo, instead, is iconic in the gaming world.

So, of course Nintendo is going to be talked about, expecially when someone who loves their products (like jim) can’t really grasp why they do what they do.

Nintendo earning 3$ for NES Classic is nothing short of ridicolous. 3$ is more probably what they SPEND to make one of those.

joegvo
Guest
joegvo

I wish the rights to 10 3rd party Nintendo games cost 3 dollars.

Aerys_the_Mad
Guest
Aerys_the_Mad

I admit my ignorance on the subject. Would be surprising if they were paying more than 0.3$ (even 0.1 for the matter) for EACH NES Classic to have the Ghosts’n’Goblins Rom.

Ragnarokia
Guest
Ragnarokia

Nintendo continuing to curb stomp attempts to play old roms officially? Yo ho ho! It’s time to pirate!
Seriously though, if I did have any desire to actually play NES games there is no bloody way I’d not get an emulator and just play the damned things. It should not be THIS hard to access stuff you are claiming you still want to sell!

Kirk P. Sefchik
Guest
Kirk P. Sefchik
This is probably gonna get buried, but here goes anyways: This is simply a misguided attempt by Nintendo to focus sales on classic NES games on Nintendo’s eShop platform. Nintendo had little to no revenue coming in last holiday season (other than Pokemon) and felt that it needed a bump on it’s quarterly statement. Virtual Console games weren’t selling on the Wii U and there’s little reason for consumers to buy VC games (on DS or Wii U) that are tethered to the physical console you bought them on. Thus it contrived a simple stand-alone device to make it money… Read more »
MechaSlinky
Member

That is exactly what I said to my girlfriend when she didn’t ask and then walked out of the room as I was talking!

David Ruckman
Member

I never even seen an NES classic before, and I was on the lookout for one since it’s launch.

Does it even exist? Because right now it won’t take much to convince me it that it didn’t.

Steven White
Member

I’ve come to think being a fan of anything is like being in an abusive relationship. While still technically true, what Nintendo customers have is a magnitude unto itself.

Supergoron
Guest
Supergoron

Sometimes daddy Nintendo hits me if I ask about Mother 3. I should have known better though.

MechaSlinky
Member

I still remember the day Mother 3 went out for a pack of smokes and never came back…

Gerrion
Guest
Gerrion
Hi ho! What if Nintendo is doing all of this to make its progress unstable, thus unreadable to understanding and consequent behaviour study/predictions, thus gaining an advantage in information (remember, there is power in information), all while relying on player uneasiness (or panic, for the most devoted) to trigger desperate, yet statistically controlled purchases from fans and have a stable revenue despite all the crazy manuevers they are doing? I’ll admit, even i am confused with the theory i’ve made, mostly because i don’t have statistical data or a solid psychological background (though i have some experience in it) to… Read more »
realmofthefigs
Guest
realmofthefigs
Nintendo the game developer is one of my favorite things in the gaming space. I just really love their games and even the bad/misguided ones feel like they have a lot of heart to me personally. Nintendo the publisher needs some serious restructuring, which is a diplomatic way of saying “I fucking hate them so goddamn much. They need all new staff from the top down, because this shit is broken beyond repair.” Needless to say, I am conflicted lmao. If the publishing side of Nintendo starts listening to consumers and generally acting somewhat in the consumer’s best interest, then… Read more »
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