After consumers had flocked to buy the NES Classic, Nintendo hit the power button, and the retro console was discontinued, just like many other of the company’s consoles.
Some argue that it was because of its faulty supply lines, as stores quickly ran out of stock just weeks after the release. In spite of this, Nintendo managed to sell at least 1.5 million NES Classic consoles, and many agree that they could have sold much more.
Nintendo has always been able to tap into its past to get gamers excited about their earlier years, but the decision to discontinue the NES Classic may have been a more subtle strategy to focus on its newer console: The Switch.
A console for retro gamers to plug-and-play
Throughout the years, Nintendo re-launched its golden age titles through the Wii Store, the 3DS store, Easter eggs within other games, and even with a special Game Boy SP edition which shared the NES’ design and coloring. It is more than obvious that Nintendo knows when to bring back its arsenal of great games and the NES Classic is the most reliable proof of it.
Gamers were delighted at how simple the NES Classic was. It included original games designed and envisioned by Nintendo in a new and modern presentation, all while maintaining that retro and old-school appearance. For just $60, Nintendo had its hand at emulation consoles and offered 30 of its best titles, but experts in the field appear to know that Nintendo knows how to do this even better, theorizing that the NES Classic was just a test.
Users complained at the controller’s short cord and about how easy it was to hack it and insert much more games, but the real issue is that even if it was a lackluster product in some aspects, Nintendo managed to capitalize on some of its oldest assets with little effort. Furthermore, its low price allowed gamers and non-gamers to allow themselves buying the system for the immense replay value that NES games offer. NES games are particularly hard because they were much more expensive than what games cost today. Besides, each cartridge could store only so much data, which forced programmers to make the games especially hard so the player could remain interested in the title for a long time.
Nintendo seems to be preparing for a full-fledged nostalgia wave, with its earliest clients turning 30 and 40 as they maintain that inner gamer child. Perhaps the next console will not just rely on NES games, but will also allow players to enjoy SNES, N64, and even Gamecube titles, some of which have been made available by the company through its virtual stores, although it is evident that gamers are craving for more nostalgia and simplicity.
Right now, Switch sales have gone to the skies, as the console, just like the NES Classic, is quickly running out of stock hand-in-hand with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which has been coined the “finest Zelda title of all time.”
Focusing on Switch sales may allow Nintendo to conserve its momentum and launch another console in a couple of years when more Switch titles are available, and gamers realize that a retro home-based system may be just what they need to pair up with their new and powerful handheld Nintendo.