Nintendo gave us a baffling answer when asked about the future of its mini game consoles – Business Insider

Super NES Classic Edition
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition
is a miniature version of the original Super Nintendo, with 21
built-in games. It costs $80 and became available on September


If you can’t figure out what Nintendo’s doing with its
outrageously popular Classic Edition game consoles, you’re not

I’m as baffled as you are.

To try to clear things up, I asked Nintendo officials recently
about the company’s line of miniature, retro game machines, which
includes the new $80 Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic

What’s the strategy with these devices? Will they be produced in
limited quantities? Will Nintendo continue to make them?

Their answers, unfortunately, did little to clear things up.

Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of sales
and marketing, said that “clearly” the Classic Edition line was
“a part of our strategy.”

“We’ve seen the power of retro games and the affinity towards
them,” he added. “As we look forward, we’re looking at how we can
mix that retro content that people love and enjoy, but also new
content that we’re bringing to the market. So it’s a part of the


Even after talking with Bowser and other company officials, I
still have no idea what Nintendo’s strategy is with the Classic
Edition devices. And I’m guessing most people in the hunt for a
SNES Classic this holiday season are in the same boat.

What’s driving this confusion and frustration is that the retro
consoles have been really hard to find.

When the company launched the $60 Nintendo Entertainment System
Classic Edition late last year, the mini game machine sold out
everywhere almost immediately. Consumers were still looking all
over for the gadget — and paying outrageous prices for it on eBay
— when Nintendo discontinued the NES Classic in April.

Last month, the process seemed to repeat itself when the company
released the SNES Classic. People lined up overnight for the
console, and it quickly sold out.

Super NES Classic Edition line, Best Buy, September 29, 2017
The line outside a Best
Buy on Sixth Avenue in New York City on September 29. These
customers were lined up to have a chance to buy the SNES

Ben Gilbert/Business

Simply put, you can’t just walk into a store and buy either of
Nintendo’s Classic Edition mini consoles right now. And that
situation — and Nintendo’s response to it so far — has left
consumers wondering whether the company has any intention of
improving things.

Company officials assured me Nintendo does, but they say it’s not
as easy as it sounds.

“Obviously, we always want to meet the demand that’s there,” Bill
Trinen, Nintendo of America’s senior product marketing manager,
said this weekend. “But sometimes the demand ends up being bigger
than you expect.”

Nintendo fans are familiar with that response from the company.
It’s the same answer Nintendo gave when the Wii was sold out
. It’s the same answer the company gave when the

Switch was in short supply
. And it’s the same answer Nintendo
gave when the
NES Classic was impossible to find

The answer points to how terrible Nintendo seems to consistently
be at forecasting sales of its products. But it does nothing to
set consumer expectations. And that’s a particular problem when
it comes to the Classic Edition line.

When Nintendo launched the Wii and the Switch, consumers could be
assured that the company would produce the devices for the
foreseeable future. Even if consumers couldn’t buy one of the
game machines at launch, it just meant they would have to wait
until more were available. And more were certainly on the way.

But with the NES Classic and SNES Classic devices, Nintendo’s
offering confusion rather than clarity. Originally, it offered
the NES Classic only from November until April. But recently the
company announced it would resume production of the device
sometime next summer.

Meanwhile, it’s saying it will produce the SNES Classic only
through “early 2018.” If demand far outpaces supply for that
device too, will it resume production of it sometime soon after
also? Who knows?

NES classic edition
The $60 Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition
was a smash hit. Nintendo is putting the console back into
production next year.


Maybe Nintendo worries that if it keeps devices such as the NES
Classic and SNES Classic in ongoing production, consumers will be
less likely to buy its newer consoles (which often sell digital
versions of the classic games on those retro machines). Or maybe
Nintendo would rather just focus its production efforts on the
Switch. Or maybe there’s something else entirely going on.

It’s just not clear.

Usually, a company’s business strategy wouldn’t matter much to
the average person. But in the case of these Classic Edition
consoles, Nintendo’s lack of clarity leaves everyday consumers in
a lurch. Potential buyers have no idea whether they need
to buy one this year — and possibly pay a premium on reseller
sites like eBay to get one — or whether they can afford to wait.

It makes for a stressful situation for people who just want to
buy the Classic Edition consoles, and it risks sullying an
otherwise wildly popular line products.


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