Nintendo had a bonafide – and apparent surprise – hit on its hands with the NES Classic Edition. But like all good things, its time is done. This afternoon, the company confirmed with TechCrunch that, “Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year.”
It’s not definitive language. The company won’t officially confirm that its sunsetting the product, but taken with another comment it offered up separately, this month looks like the last time for the foreseeable future those of us in North America will be able to get our hands on the emulator through standard retail channels.
“NES Classic Edition wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product,” Nintendo of America said in another statement. “However, due to high demand, we did add extra shipments to our original plans.” In other words, consider yourself lucky if you managed to get one the first — or second — time around.
And indeed, the original tongue-in-cheek press release tied to the mini-console points to a limited supply offering aimed at holiday shoppers. Of course, the initial retail bottleneck only served to increase excitement in nostalgia-fueled gen Xers and production was ramped up with a “steady flow of additional systems through the holiday shopping season and into the new year.”
The release did, perhaps, take some of the shine off of the company’s new console, the Switch, with its unbeatable price of 30 (mostly) iconic games packed into a $60 machine. But if Nintendo opts to keep the system dead forever, it certainly feels like it’s cutting off its nose to spit its mustachioed face here.
After all, a hit is a hit – and as it’s happily said with regard to mobile hits like Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run, anything that brings newfound attention to the company’s IP goes a ways toward driving sales of new titles and systems. (The company sold a heck of a lot more copies of Pokémon Sun and Moon than initially anticipated). And the buying frenzy around the Classic almost certainly added to excitement leading up to the Switch’s release.
Meantime, start scouring those store shelves. “We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability,” the NOA statement reads. “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.”
So, farewell NES Classic Edition. Your life was short, but you burned brightly. And now you will be very expensive on eBay.