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
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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
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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
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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.

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