Nintendo Talks NES Classic Edition Discontinuation As Sales Surpass 2 Million
"We've got a lot going on right now and we don't have unlimited resources."
With the system now discontinued, Nintendo has revealed that it has shipped 2.3 million NES Classic Editions around the world since its launch last November.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime shared the figure with Time (and Nintendo subsequently confirmed it with GameSpot). This is a sell-in figure, which accounts for the number of units shipped to retailers, as opposed to sell-through numbers that only track units actually purchased by consumers. That said, given the incredible popularity of the system, there's likely little distinction between the two in this case.
This figure is up from the 1.5 million that Nintendo announced at the beginning of February. Since then, demand has remained unsatisfied. And that's not about to change, as the company announced earlier this month that it was discontinuing the system worldwide. It provided no reasoning for the move at the time, but Fils-Aime offered some insight to Time.
Regarding the supply issues, he said the Classic Edition was only intended as "a product for last holiday," noting that Nintendo "added shipments and extended the product for as long as we could to meet more of that consumer demand."
He also cited logistics as a factor in the decision to move on from the system, saying, "Even with that extraordinary level of performance, we understand that people are frustrated about not being able to find the system, and for that we really do apologize. But from our perspective, it's important to recognize where our future is and the key areas that we need to drive. We've got a lot going on right now and we don't have unlimited resources."
It's an element of the business that often goes unconsidered by fans, as it's both unsexy and something that's typically unseen by the public. And Nintendo does have a lot going on: It has to deal with Switch supply issues, the upcoming New 2DS XL, and--reportedly--the SNES Classic Edition, among other things.
That said, fans remain understandably frustrated by how the entire situation has been handled--particularly as scalpers make huge profits by scooping up Classic Editions and reselling them through places like eBay. This frustration has only been exacerbated by the lack of clear communication from Nintendo, which did not initially say that the Classic Edition was intended as such a limited-time product. In February, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said the long wait to replenish stock was partially due to the fact that "some parts require time to procure." He added that Nintendo was "working to increase production" to meet demand.
When asked by Time if the NES Classic Edition could return in the future, Fils-Aime had nothing to reveal.
The Switch, meanwhile, remains out of stock at most retailers almost two months after its launch. GameStop has suggested supply issues for the console could last for the entire year.