Limited NES Classic Edition: Why Nintendo Capped Its Stocks

Limited NES Classic Editon: Why Nintendo Capped Its Stocks
The NES Classic Edition blew the gaming and tech worlds away during these last few months of the year. The limited stocks of the retro gaming console frustrated gamers around the world, but the device is still ending the year on a positive note. Photo : iJustine/YouTube

When the NES Classic Edition was released, the public grabbed at it as quickly as it could. Almost as soon as the retro gaming console reached physical and virtual shelves, it disappeared at counter and carts. Since then, Nintendo has been releasing limited stocks of the device, to the frustration of gamers.

During the first time the NES Classic Edition sold out, Nintendo took to Twitter and promised consumers that it would continue to ship units of the same throughout the holidays. And it has been doing just that, albeit a little stagnantly. Though various retailers reported stocks of the same, the numbers never seemed to be significant and only a handful of shoppers were ever able to get their hands on it.

In an interview with C|Net, Nintendo of America's president, Reggie Fils-Aime, confirmed that more units were being released every day. "Every day there's more going into the retail channel," he said. "The overall level of demand is certainly greater than we anticipated, that's why we're suffering through the shortages out there in the marketplace." Despite this, however, there are still apparent shortages in the market.

According to Fils-Aime, the idea behind the NES Classic Edition - a remake of the iconic 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System - was to reconnect with older gamers. "We saw the NES Classic as an opportunity to engage with millennials, gen-Xers, boomers, people who had played those games back in the day, but life had gone by, and they had somewhat walked away from gaming," he said. "It was a great way to re-engage them."

Somehow, however, the NES Classic Edition has become so much more than just a platform to get older generations excited about gaming again. It became a means for fathers and mothers to connect with their children, in a way that was comfortable for them and exciting for the kids. And the US$60 price tag definitely helped its popularity too.

More than anything, the NES Classic Edition was a nod to the company's glowing past. From there, The Atlantic notes that Nintendo has survived by virtually ignoring the changes in gaming. Rather than jump on the bandwagon, it continued to revolutionize how the world played games and experienced titles. It released new consoles with new features and experienced relative success.

The publication reasons that it is possible that Nintendo was strategic in its release of the NES Classic Edition, as opposed to the innocent act it has been playing. By creating a bottleneck, the media, and public attention was on on the retro console almost more than anything else. But perhaps this was not the strategy all along.

It is possible that Nintendo did not anticipate so much attention and therefore did not prepare for the popularity of the NES Classic Edition. But if so, why then did the company not ramp up the manufacturing of the same? Some argue that it couple be because attention - and manpower - has been split between the retro console and the upcoming Nintendo Switch.

While the NES Classic Edition has become a glorious visit to the past, the Nintendo Switch is undoubtedly a step into the future. The upcoming device, which is scheduled for release in March 2017, is a morphing device that can be played individually, with a group or in pairs. Whether or not it will be welcomed as warmly, however, is still unknown - though it is riding on a pretty strong train.

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