Video game mega company Nintendo has made a lot of buzz in the past 7 months. On two separate occasions in that span, they’ve been the focus of the video game community. First, they shook the community over the summer of 2016 when they said they would be releasing a home video game system called an NES Classic in November of 2016, and the second time was throughout the 2016 holiday season, as practically no one could get their hands on one of these systems.
The first home video game system Nintendo released was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in North America 1985. This past summer, Nintendo announced that they would be releasing a very modernized version of that system in November of 2016. This new ‘NES Classic’ system would come with one original controller and 30 pre-loaded original NES games on it for the price of $59.99 (steal). It would be significantly smaller in size, easy to connect to modern televisions, good graphics, easy to navigate through, and overall a fun and modernized/improved version of one of the first video game consoles.
Said in an article published by Polygon in April of 2016, the average age of male video game players is 35, and women is 44. This new NES Classic was predicted to be a colossal success; from elder players relieving their childhood, to young gamers who want a taste of what the first generations of video games were like.
The issue is, despite all logic that pointed to this system being an incredible Christmas gift and a surefire way for Nintendo to make a profit, the console was scarcely available. Reselling for over $300.00 on eBay during the holiday season, Nintendo made sure these systems were very hard to come by. The only way you could get one would be if you showed up at a big retail store very early in the morning on a random day and just hope that somehow there was a shipment coming in. Due to low quantity, if you were 7th in line, you’d probably miss out.
It just seems fascinating; why only release a small amount of these systems? Failing to be the perfect Christmas gift for all ages, people question what fuels Nintendo’s reasoning. People want to know what the business model is. Why forgo a large profit? What is the benefit and/or motivation of the scarcity?
“I really don’t know, I wish I could tell you,” said a man named John who is an employee at the People Play Games video game store on N Clark Street. Matching all responses I’ve gotten, John said, “The only thing I can imagine is this is them being scared. They’re testing the waters and seeing how things go.” What Nintendo is scared of is the point where everyone gets tripped up and confused. “I have no idea what they’re scared of though, they have to know that almost every person who is into video games wants one.”
A woman I talked to named Erin was actually fortunate enough to receive one system as a Christmas gift from her sister. Erin said how her sister did extensive homework on tracking shipments through an – to me – unknown app and waking up really early to get one. “I was so thrilled when I opened the gift, I couldn’t believe it at first because I knew how hard it was to get.”
No one really knows why Nintendo is intentionally making this console so hard for the public to purchase. I guess it just is too good to be true; that modernized of a console with the games loaded onto it for that cheap price? The amount of money you would need to spend to purchase the individual original games, controller and console is exponentially higher than the $59.99 Nintendo is charging; of course there has to be a severe hiccup in the sales portion of it. But how much longer will the majority of the public be waiting? Is it possible it will take several more months for these consoles to commonly be on the shelves?
Everyone in the video game community is beyond befuddled, but all hope that Nintendo can hear everyone’s plea to make these consoles easy to purchase; people just want to play Super Mario Bros.