After Nintendo’s recent announcement that they’d be discontinuing the production line of the ‘Nintendo: Classic Edition’, I felt compelled to do a little digging into their past for how they’ve handled supply and demand going back to their prime years, the 1980s. And with that, boy oh boy, one should look no farther than this clip to see not much has changed in that regard since 1988:
The biggest indictment from the 29 year old ABC News Special is when the reporter quips (paraphrasing): Is this real? Or are the supply shortages used to just add to the mystique? Most interesting. Even better, the then V.P. of Nintendo of America, blamed the chip makers for not being able to keep pace with their supply needs- Wow, if that doesn’t sound awfully familiar to what current President, Tatsumi Kimishima, uttered as the specific reasoning for current supply shortages of the now discontinued Nintendo Classic, then I don’t know what does: In November last year, we brought back the nostalgic Famicom and NES home consoles in palmsized versions and shipped the entire quantity of Nintendo Classic Mini Family Computer units we initially prepared for each market. We apologize to our consumers and retail partners for the inconvenience caused by product shortages. Some parts require time to procure, but we are working to increase production. We also see the nostalgic interest in these products as an opportunity to draw consumers’ attention to our latest game system, Nintendo Switch. So right there, the buck is being passed and no admittance of potentially manipulating supply/demand to increase the want and desire of consumers to buy the product.
What’s more disconcerting in all of this, is that the statement above was made just a few months ago, in February. Now, all of a sudden they (Nintendo) decide instead of trying to increase production, like Kimishima ensured would happen, they’re packing it up and going home instead. That doesn’t sound like a company that has their consumers best interests in mind, does it? Here’s the deal, if I can procure enough parts to build my own version of an NES Classic Edition, i.e. ‘Raspberry Pi‘, via Amazon.com, then don’t feed me such corporate rhetoric to try and make me honestly believe that a giant like Nintendo has issues “procuring” parts of their own. Good grief!
Bottom line, it should be quite obvious to anyone with half of a critical thinking brain that Nintendo certainly dropped the ball here. Add to it, they helped drive a black market of sales in which a great many of those who were lucky enough to get their hands on an NES Classic, ended up just turning around and selling it for triple the price on various online forums like Craigslist and Ebay. Really, that’s the great irony here in that most of the real fans never even got a shot at buying one of these units. Brilliant! Not so much.
All that being said, I’m not picking on Nintendo because I dislike what they’ve done in the last 35 years, quite the contrary. I’m being critical of them because I remember the warm fuzzies their systems gave me growing up as a kid. It was truly a magical time to be alive because of the innovations they made, the video game characters they created and the bonding that occurred between friends because of it all. So it asking a lot for Nintendo to re-think this and for once, put out enough product to go around for anyone who would like to re-live those memories with the NES Classic?? I think not. Is it also safe to discern that maybe Nintendo has upped their profit margin over the years due to their Achilles heal of supply shortages of big games or in this case a new system? Definitely not. Besides, didn’t the same problem occur with the Nintendo Wii? Less we forget. Nevertheless, here’s to hoping they can finally get their act together, and do right by the average consumer! Nuff said.