Last week, Nintendo discontinued the NES Classicafter just six months of availability. The decision to kill off the beloved little retro box leaves it with an odd legacy. It was a neat system, but awful supply issues never allowed it to reach its potential and supply shortages left customers who wanted to buy one understandably frustrated.
Despite not being able to keep it on store shelves, Nintendo reported it sold 1.5 million NES Classic systems worldwide as of January. But it could have absolutely sold even more. Clearly, there’s demand for a Nintendo-sanctioned retro gaming console. The product grabbed the attention of lapsed gamers, the kind of people who aren’t interested in buying a Nintendo Switch, New 3DS, or a 2DS. But let’s face it, even though it was popular, the NES Classic was not as cool as it could have been. It was a good first draft, but Nintendo can (and I believe inevitably will) improve on it. And the company isn’t done trying to sell devices like it.
The NES Classic experience was good enough, but the list of shortcomings in Nintendo’s design are still considerable. The NES Classic can’t connect to the internet, which meant you couldn’t go online and add more games to the system’s software library (hackers figured out a way add more games to it, though). It had no expandable storage. The entire system ran on open source software, which was one of the most un-Nintendo characteristics about it (though, admittedly, the menu and UI were well done).
I do believe that the NES Classic will most likely return as the NES Classic II or the SNES Classic or even as a hand-held Gameboy Classic. At the original price point and based on demand and the sentiment that alas, it left too soon, Nintendo would be wise to slap another 30 classic games into a tiny box and package it up for the holidays. That would cement it as a collectible and add to the stack of Nintendo products on your shelf.
No matter which way you split it, we’re still talking about Nintendo. Sure, Microsoft MSFT -0.05% is trying to get into the gaming conversation with Xbox Scorpio news, but apparently we’d all rather moan about the loss of an adorable 8-bit collectible emulator. There isn’t necessarily a lull in the Switch conversation, as it’s only been a month since release, but Nintendo is proving why it still has a warm, comfy home in our hearts.