After the huge success of 2.3 million units sold and the possibility of selling more if Nintendo took more risks with stock production, it came as a shock to hear the NES Classic Edition was discontinued less than six months after launch.
It’s logical to assume this meant the incoming launch of Virtual Console NES games on the Switch, but there’s been no sign of that. The next logical step would be Nintendo clearing the way for the SNES Classic Edition, but since they’re different products, it still seems odd to kill a golden goose.
Reggie Fils-Aimé told Time Magazine the real reason behind the discontinuation.
“We had originally planned for this to be a product for last holiday. We just didn’t anticipate how incredible the response would be. Once we saw that response, we added shipments and extended the product for as long as we could to meet more of that consumer demand.”
“As long as we could” stands out. I’d think the manufacturing of a successful product would easily continue until demand ran out. Reggie shed more light on Nintendo’s philosophy towards production and their lineup.
“Even with that extraordinary level of performance, we understand that people are frustrated about not being able to find the system, and for that we really do apologize. But from our perspective, it’s important to recognize where our future is and the key areas that we need to drive. We’ve got a lot going on right now and we don’t have unlimited resources.”
“…we don’t have unlimited resources.” As a layman I’d assume Nintendo could easily ship off the design of the NES Classic to a third-party and enjoy whatever profit rolls in and the consumer goodwill of delivering a product people have been after for months.
I can only speculate that either the profit margin is so small that manufacturing with a third-party isn’t worth it or that Nintendo’s philosophy is to remain completely hands-on with a product so linked to their identity and history.
Large companies are like gamblers in a way. They could sit at $5 tables and slowly turn a profit without much risk, but they’d prefer to maximize their resources with the biggest stakes possible.
In the end, I’m not sure if Fils-Aimé’s (<– a lot of punctuation) answer will satisfy gamers who just want a bloody NES Classic Mini.