Consumer demand is only one side of the story in which the NES Classic Edition was cancelled
Even though everyone seemed to want one, the NES Mini may not have been a desirable product for Nintendo.
About six weeks ago, a TRU employee said the NES Classic Edition would soon be canceled. Seeing no corroborating stories online and more NES Mini shipments arriving, I chocked it up to misinformation. Now that the news is all over, it seems the cute little emulation box - a damn good one - has actually been canceled.
Since it's release last November (2016), there have been two primary stories about the device.
It's impossible to buy due to high consumer demand.
I was lucky to get one on release day, but that was largely due to the remote area I live in. Simply showing up an hour before Toys R Us opened was enough to garner an NES Classic Edition... along with 14 other shoppers. And that began the articles of drastic under-deliveries of the system. Stores around here received less than ten units every four or five weeks.
Low inventory was the common story across social media and this caused understandable frustration. Many assumed if they waited long enough, Nintendo would get its supply chain in order and begin delivering proper quantities. The device's cancelation has angered many who were unable to purchase one and with the price doubling and tripling on auction sites, the rest of us were a bit irritated as well.
Consumer Demand Doesn't Guarantee Success
While the high demand for the console may make you think it was an financial-win for Nintendo, there are a lot of other factors making up a product's success. Their inability to deliver enough units and consequently sell many more certainly has a big effect. However, I suspect there other large expense was the license fees for the third-party games included on the system - half the included games were made by third party devs. With it's high-demand status, it's possible some of the license holders may have started legal maneuvering to obtain a larger cut of the profits - although that's pure speculation on my part.
The fact that the unit was hacked and easily allowed folks to put the entire 700+ NES game library on the device hurts the future sale of another device next holiday season. We're accustomed to the Flashback consoles appearing each holiday, so the NES Mini has a tougher time selling a new device with 30 (or more) games when it's easy to put hundreds on the original.
Nintendo may be going back to the drawing board to tighten security and perhaps look at he SNES or N64 libraries. I would be surprised if another device with built-in games didn't appear again in the next year or so. Nostalgia is huge these days and Nintendo played a large role in the memories we have. I feel there were some behind-the-scenes issues that caused this seemingly abrupt cancellation.
I haven't given up hope that, even with the Switch's success, Nintendo won't bring back some of their nostalgic past in another all-in-one device. I say this primarily because there were some well-thought out facets to it like the controller ports allowing Wiimote compatibility. Nintendo didn't create the Mini as an island, but rather a farther reaching device. Let's hope for another round next year!
Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.