Nintendo made video game history when it released the NES more than 30 years ago, and it did it again when it both released and discontinued the NES Classic Edition in 2017. Not only did Nintendo vastly underestimate demand for the mini-console, it ended production while people were still scrambling to buy one. You might want to start lining up at your nearest electronics retailer now, because Nintendo says the NES Classic is coming back next month. Plus, there will be new batches of SNES Classic consoles.
The NES Classic (See on Amazon) launched in late 2016, instantly becoming a hit for the holiday season. Stores sold out of units, and people lined up for hours in hopes of getting their hands on one each time a new shipment came in. It’s not hard to see why, either. For $ 60, you’d get a selection of 30 classic NES titles that played properly on your modern TVs. There was no need to swap cartridges or blow on the connectors to make them work.
Even before Nintendo discontinued the NES Classic, the resale price for the mini console had skyrocketed to several times the original cost. Rather than make more NES Classic units, Nintendo opted to work on the SNES Classic (See on Amazon). It launched that device in late 2017, but it cost a bit more at $ 80 and only had 21 games. However, it included the never-before-released Star Fox 2. Like the NES version, this console was hard to get, but gamers didn’t have to deal with the same ridiculous scarcity as the NES version. If you were persistent, you could (usually) find the SNES Classic in stores.
#NESClassic Edition will return to stores on June 29! This system and the #SNESClassic Edition system are expected to be available through the end of the year. https://t.co/LclbG5m4ta pic.twitter.com/1PcXBI5qJC
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) May 14, 2018
Nintendo pledged to relaunch the NES Classic during the lead-up to the SNES release, and now we know when that’ll happen. The NES Classic returns on June 29th. There will also be more SNES Classic Edition units available alongside the NES Classic. You won’t be able to get them indefinitely, though. Nintendo says it expects the consoles to be on sale through the end of the year. It hasn’t made any promises about the number of units it’ll ship, though.
Nintendo’s stinginess with the Classic Edition consoles is rather baffling. People want desperately to give Nintendo money for these devices, but Nintendo doesn’t make enough of them to meet demand. Maybe Nintendo wanted people to buy the Switch instead? Now that we know there’s no Virtual Console for the Switch, Nintendo really has no reason not to make more of the Classic systems.