In Nintendo we trust

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 at 9:01 PM
In Nintendo we trust by Britton Rozzelle

The SNES Classic, The Switch and the future of gaming's first family

On Sept. 29, hundreds if not thousands of fans, new and old, flocked to electronic stores around the country hoping to obtain one of the coveted SNES Classic editions.

Only four days later, stock of the product was dangerously low. Scalpers, or the electronic equivalent of them, took to selling the devices online. As of 2:19 p.m. on Oct. 3, only 539 were available, used, for a minimum of $174 on Amazon — over double the original price.

On the same day, Rolling Stone reported that eBay sold an SNES Classic every 25 seconds on launch day.

Last winter, a similar issue popped up with the NES Classic, which sold for upwards of $400 on eBay and Amazon, and which was met with great criticism because of low stock around the world. Just earlier this year the company promised that consumers wouldn’t have a problem finding these $80 emulation boxes.

Unfortunately this isn’t a new trend for Nintendo.

From “Amiibos,” the company’s take on the “toy to life” genre, which regularly sell out within minutes online, to the new

flagship console, the Switch, Nintendo has been controlling stock internally to create artificial shortages of products to drive up not only interest in these commodities, but to ensure that every unit they’re producing is being sold. This behavior leads to the growth of a rabid second-hand market for products, otherwise unattainable, forcing the “average Joe” to either wait an indeterminate amount of time for an official restock, or pay exorbitant prices to use these products.

However, according to an interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amie said, “I would strongly urge you not to over-bid on an SNES Classic on any of these auction sites.”

So, if Nintendo doesn’t want people to buy their products secondhand, and they don’t ship enough for everyone to reasonably get one, what are consumers supposed to do?


Consumers are okay with paying these prices predominantly because of the pedigree of “The House that Mario Built,” their
nature as a family-first company creating experiences for not only the “core” gaming community, but the fringe too. Remember when everyone and their grandmothers had a Wii? It’s because of that everlasting brand power built by current 30 and 40-somethings

who grew up playing these games and passed them down to their kids. The SNES Classic just continues this trend, allowing younger gamers to relive the “glory days” with games like “Super Castlevania” and “Earthbound,” while giving older people a chance to play into that nostalgia.

Beyond the SNES, the Switch is booming sales wise according to Shacknews, with Japanese sales of the console exceeding 150,000 for the month of September. Software-wise, the console boasts an impressive 12 indie releases on Oct. 5 alone, helping create a varied ecosystem for adopters of the console.

Even though kids are switching (pardon the pun) to more mobile and tablet-based gaming experiences, the simple appeal
of Nintendo consoles and software is everlasting compared to competitors Sony and Microsoft this console generation.

It’ll be a while before anyone can really determine if the Switch and the SNES Classic ends up being lightning in the bottle for the company, but until then, at least they can participate in the endless race to get one for themselves.

Britton Rozzelle is the executive editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at 

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