Nintendo announced the NES Classic edition back in July, and the announcement immediately went viral. Unfortunately, demand has far outpaced supply. Its MSRP of $60.00 is chump change to the much more lucrative “Buy it Now” prices of $200 or more (at time of writing).
The NES Classic launched last Friday, and sold out instantly. It seems many retail locations such as GameStop only received 5 or 6 units each. This isn’t the first Nintendo related shortage, either. Many parents remember trying to purchase a Nintendo Wii back in the holidays of 2006, whether they found one or not. Ironically, the Wii was supposed to be the easy to manufacture, affordable console of that generation.
Even now, the exclusivity brought on by a short supply also affects another of Nintendo’s current products - the Amiibos. Nintendo has sold 21 million Amiibos to date, which is impressive for a single year. Amiibos are those plastic figures you see in the games section nowadays, with some providing extra features to certain games.
The amiibo figures are often compared to the more recognizable Skylanders or the now defunct Disney Infinity figures. Some Amiibos were made in very short supply, and can be found on eBay for up to $1,000. Meanwhile, Activision has sold 250 million Skylanders figures as of June 2015, with little to no scalping involved.
“Some wonder if Nintendo is keeping supply low intentionally.”
Some wonder if Nintendo is keeping supply low intentionally, giving their products that allure of rarity and exclusivity. The NES classic doesn’t do anything particularly novel. It emulates 30 preinstalled games, adds “suspend points” and includes a few display modes (including one that makes your 1080p screen look like a CRT, scan lines and all).
On the other hand, some see Nintendo as incompetent. With the Nintendo Switch releasing in March, the NES classic is their holiday doorbuster. They announced the console four months ago, and should know how big the reaction was. The console uses easy to manufacture components (and emulates a 30 year old system). The original NES can now fit on a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino (apologies if the video is DMCA’d in the next few weeks).
“Whether Nintendo knows what they’re doing is up in the air at this point.”
Whether Nintendo knows what they’re doing is up in the air at this point. Nintendo’s holiday shortages span a decade now, so don’t expect the shortage to become less of a problem. The second wave of the consoles will sell just as quick, especially with Christmas approaching. For those determined enough to lay down more cash than everyone else, listings for the NES classic can be found on eBay.