SNES Classic Mini: Nintendo’s Second Cash Cow or Frustrating Bull to Gore Fans?

SNES Classic Mini: Nintendo’s Second Cash Cow or Frustrating Bull to Gore Fans? 2017 images

A few days after Nintendo earned the ire of many retro gamers for abruptly discontinuing the NES Classic Edition, there’s already news that they will be producing a SNES Classic Edition just in time for this year’s holiday season. This news can only either fill SNES fans and retro gamers with delight or just frustrate them anew.

Let’s talk first about the NES Classic Edition. It was the talk of the town when it was announced because by now, most of the kids who played the original NES are now adults with their own kids and have enough money to buy a couple units for themselves and said kids. These people are brimming with nostalgia and lined up to wherever the units might be available. Unfortunately, millions came home empty handed, and a few hundred thousand were lucky enough to score one unit while a few hundred were devious enough to score ten or more to sell for ten times the amount on eBay. Nintendo is notorious for being short-stocked, short of being called out for artificial shortages for some baffling reason that only an expert on Japanese culture might be able to explain.

But the NES Classic Edition and its sister product the Famicom Mini were meant as novelty items intended to celebrate their 30 plus years thus, to be sold in limited quantities. But the reception on the internet was overwhelming and sparked an unprecedented demand for the otherwise token product. In the face of massive potential profits, Nintendo remained hesitant to produce enough to meet demand. More small batches came after the initial November release, but they decided to cut production early this month. Everyone thought that Nintendo was crazy to shy away from money and many are trying to wrap their heads around Nintendo’s reasoning. Probably to focus their resources on the Nintendo Switch. Perhaps to avoid cannibalizing the profits for the upcoming Switch Virtual Console? Perhaps because they don’t want to release more hackable units. Or perhaps the Yakuza thought Nintendo shouldn’t produce anymore so they could corner the market with the tons of NES Classic Editions they bought.

Well, enough of the speculation on the NES Classic Edition because it’s apparently over now unless Nintendo changes its mind. So for some reason or a combination of reasons, Nintendo couldn’t spare their limited workforce on working on two consoles especially since they have put all their effort on the Nintendo Switch since it’s the do or die modern gaming console of the company. But now that they have a clear idea of what the market wants and how big the retro gaming scene really is, they quickly went back to the drafting table to work on the SNES Mini, which despite the current public frustration, will surely be a hit as it has better graphics and better games than its aborted predecessor.

So if they do actually produce the SNES Mini, they could easily charge $100 for it but will the public will bite? They surely will as long as it packs the same number of games and Nintendo announces that supply will finally meet demand. Perhaps if they do formally announce this development in the coming weeks and say that there will be enough units for the holiday season, the public can easily forgive them for what they did with the NES Classic Edition. One big problem with this is the Nintendo Switch. For the price of $100, parents will have a choice to make. Get a complete Switch set for $400 or get the SNES Mini to keep the kids busy during the holidays. But Nintendo can also take this approach. Sell a complete Nintendo Switch set packed in with either Zelda or Mario Kart and bundle the SNES Mini for the price of $450 to $475 dollars. That’s two consoles in one go and will be appealing enough over getting a $300 PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. That way, sales of both the SNES Mini and Nintendo Switch are assured.

However, by bundling the SNES Mini with the Switch, Nintendo will still have to artificially create a shortage of the retro console because at $100, there’s the very real risk of cannibalization. The risk could go away for the price of $75 but will cut their profit margin a bit short. That could may have well been the problem for the NES Classic Edition. Not knowing the overwhelming reception, they priced the unit too low, and someone in the company got real greedy. Once the Switch gets more traction, the NES Classic Edition could come back with a vengeance and a $75 price tag and maybe a new selection of games along with that apologetic announcement that they will makes sure GameStop, Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores will have a couple of dozen units this time, not just a couple.

As for the SNES Classic Edition, we can’t help but speculate on the possible line up of games. Most of these will either be produced or published by Nintendo with a few third party titles thrown in. If the majority of this line up does appear, consumer misgivings about the NES Classic Edition will probably drop significantly.

  • Super Mario World
  • Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
  • Contra III: The Alien Wars
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • Donkey Kong Country II
  • Doom
  • Gradius III
  • F-Zero
  • Harvest Moon
  • Killer Instinct
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario RPG
  • Mario Paint
  • Mega Man X
  • Pilotwings
  • SimCity
  • Star Fox
  • Street Fighter Alpha 2
  • Super Mario All Stars
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
  • Super Metroid
  • Super Punch Out
  • Super Soccer
  • Super Tennis
  • Mario
  • Tetris 2
  • Wario’s Woods

So, will Nintendo make another misstep trying to pull more money out of us gamers or will they make another bundle?