One of the few times in history where something was so popular, it failed because of it.
You know who is making money right now? The eBay sellers who are selling the NES Classic Edition for insane prices way above the original $60 price tag that Nintendo put on their now discontinued mini console. At $60, Nintendo was profiting marginally from a rather barebones piece of technology with an open source operating system. Now, eBay sellers looking to make a quick buck are profiting huge from their initial investment. They win. Nintendo however, has lost.
No one expected the demand Nintendo saw for their unexpected mini console. Yes it offered a cheap, simple, nostalgic way to experience some of the best games of all time.. but most of us know that our phones are capable of playing those same games with emulators (legal or not). Not to mention most of these games are also accessible via virtual console on some of Nintendo’s console lineup.
But what made the NES Classic popular (besides it’s price and it’s throwback flavor), was it’s ability to do what it did *right*. It emulated games in the most realistic and visually appealing form, with many saying it ran circles around it’s larger virtual console brethren. Suddenly the NES Classic wasn’t so gimmicky anymore. Nintendo didn’t expect this kind of popularity. But they also didn’t act fast enough when they saw the signs coming.
Instead Nintendo has basically killed one of their more popular offerings in recent years. They could have made more. But they didn’t. And now they won’t. At least, for now. Sure we might see the SNES Classic Edition this Christmas, but maybe now Nintendo has seen the light. There IS a way to make money from a console that emulators classic games. The games that made them famous. But make them available to download and purchase online. Imagine a web-enabled NES Classic Edition, with a library of games to download.
The ball is in Nintendo’s court to learn, and grow from this strange product launch. Only time will tell if Nintendo actually gives the fans what they want.