Nintendo: ‘Consumers Will Be Able To Get Their Hands On’ NES Classic Editions Before Christmas – Forbes

Photo: Nintendo

Photo: Nintendo

Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aimé seems to be on a whirlwind tour of the media right now, stopping by Jimmy Fallon’s show last night to show off Super Mario Run and the Switch, and today appearing on Fox Business to talk about a few things, but namely the most popular holiday gift of the season, the Mini NES Classic Edition.

The mini console has been exceptionally hard to find, with Nintendo dramatically underestimating (accidentally or purposefully) the demand for the product, and every time a new batch appears online, it sells out instantly. But Reggie does not seem concerned, and believes that stores are doing a good enough job with shipment notifications that people should be able to get their hands on one before the holiday. Here’s what he told Fox Business:

“It’s a challenging holiday gift, once again Nintendo has the “it” holiday gift out on the market place, but the good news for all of those consumers is that we’re constantly putting more on the market…the best thing our retailers are doing is through social media, they are putting out messages when they have the product in the stores, so whether that’s Toys R Us, GameStop, Walmart,  Target, all of our key retailers are letting consumers know when to go to stores to get it, so as we sit here today 2 weeks before Christmas, yeah I think consumers will be able to get their hands on it.”

This…seems a bit optimistic to me. Hardly anything regarding either Nintendo or their retailers’ rollouts of new NES stock has seemed to go terribly well. Online ordering is a total disaster most of the time, so it seems like the advice being given here is that the way to avoid that is to physically drive to stores where auction-bots can’t scrape away stock the instant it appears. But with reports that some stores are getting pitifully tiny amounts of NES Classic Edition stock (I’ve heard some getting as few as 1-3 units at a time), I’m not sure if this advice is going to pan out terribly well either.

(Photo: Matt Peyton/AP Images for Nintendo of America)

Granted, this always happens with hot toys around Christmas, but Nintendo should know better at this point. There’s an interesting (colorfully titled)  Jim Sterling video about all this where he remarks that Nintendo is treating the NES Classic like a toy, rather than a piece of consumer electronics, which is why all these scarcity issues exist. You don’t see similar things happening with Xbox One S or PS4 Slim, despite the fact that both are dramatically outselling the NES Classic Edition this holiday.

I still don’t really think that Nintendo has some evil master plan in action here. I just think that, as they often are, they’re bad at guessing what will be a hit for them at what will miss. The Wii U missed sales projections but ludicrous margins for years, while hit products like NES Classic Edition and Pokémon GO Plus can never be kept in stock because Nintendo never makes enough.

While I’m sure that some consumers will be able to find an NES Classic Edition before Christmas, I am sure that many, many potential buyers will be left out in the cold. I’ve made a list of alternatives to the console you can buy, but I will admit that none are exactly ideal.

I get that it’s Reggie’s job to be rosy here, but I very much doubt that the reality of NES availability will match up with his sunny prediction. I guess we have two more weeks to find out.

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