What are your thoughts on the NES Classic Edition shortage and how are you dealing with it? Are you willing to pay outrageous prices on eBay or will you wait for Nintendo to finally make the supply fit the demand? I personally think that they should have a “Classics Collection” game, either digital or physical, that has all of the games on the NES Classic available for the 3DS or Wii U. They already have the rights to each game and are willing to package them together for a cheap price.
Are they doing this on purpose?
Some people have accused Nintendo of creating a false scarcity to ramp up hype for the system. By the time Nintendo finally ships out a large amount, people will be so worried that the price will skyrocket again that they would be willing to run out and buy it immediately. We saw this with Amiibos when they first came out.
I personally don’t know if this is a case of overzealous caution, where they want to test the waters and see how strong sales are before committing fully to the product, or if this is downright poor management. Either way, I’d like to see Nintendo succeed in the future and for that to happen they need to get this problem under control. While I’m not convinced that this is an intentional thing or not, the fact remains that Nintendo has gotten a lot of free publicity out of this. Where do you think the fault lies and how do you think Nintendo can correct it?
The numbers don’t lie.
Tatsumi Kimishima, the President of Nintendo, has stated that he expects to have two million Switches available the first month. This is either a repeat of the same problem, or a worrying lack of confidence in their product. This may stem from the fact that they expected the Wii U to ship 100 million units due to the success of the Wii. In reality, however, they did just about everything wrong with the Wii U possible and didn’t even ship 14 million units. For comparison, the Wii, Nintendo’s best selling home console, sold 101 million units, and the Gamecube sold under 22 million. Wii U shares similar sales to the PlayStation Vita and the Sega Master System. The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, just surpassed 50 million units and in one less year on the market.
The Wii U had an alarming amount of problems that Nintendo did their best to simply ignore or deny. It was underpowered, cost too much, didn’t appear to be a different console from the Wii, didn’t have enough good games lined up, they were unsuccessful in how they showed off the Wii U’s potential, then eventually abandoned what made it unique altogether. In addition to those things, they barely gave the Virtual Console the attention it deserved, was then matching six year old technology, which ensured that the new consoles released just a year later would have a huge technological leap ahead of it.
Part of the problem, as I see it, is that Nintendo refuses to sell their systems at a loss, while Sony and Microsoft have absolutely no problem doing so. I believe Sony and Microsoft are in the right to do this. Initially, it may seem like a bad idea, but technology gets cheaper and better a quick rate. It’s not long before the parts are cheap enough to where the parent company would start making money on them. Nintendo truly caught lightning in a bottle with the Wii which was, by all measures, considerably weaker than both of its rivals and still absolutely crushed both of them due to incredibly clever marketing. This gives Nintendo every reason to not invest much in a powerful system.
The appeal of the Wii, however, is long gone, and with it unique controls, motion gaming, and cheap gimmicks that appeal to non-gamers. It was genius at its time, and borrowed philosophy from the Game Boy, which was another monumental success. Gunpei Yokoi, the Game Boy’s creator, often leaned on “withered technology”, or in other words, technology that is widely understood, easy to work with, and cheap due to its age. The Sega Game Gear and Atari Lynx didn’t stand a chance against the portable Tetris machine, and were buried quickly by the big grey brick.
Looking forward with fingers crossed
My worry now is that Nintendo is unsure how to move forward safely yet confidently. Now that they have expanded their IPs by means of Nintendo themed rides at Universal Studios, Pokemon Go, and Super Mario Run, I am cautiously optimistic that they are moving outside of their comfort zone. The Switch is rumored to have several Wii U ports, and while that might irk the scant 14 million Wii U owners, if they stand to sell even 20 million units, then those games that they spent a lot of time, money, and effort on, will get a new lease on life, and Nintendo will make better profit on them.
I personally think that Nintendo should open their Virtual Console to Steam, iOS, and Android. While this may sound like heresy to a true Nintendo fanboy (of which I completely am), it would be in their best interest. The fact of the matter is that people will download emulators and ROMs and play them on any device they want. Nintendo may as well make money off of this and let people pay them for their older games that no longer require Nintendo specific hardware to play correctly. I don’t want to see Smash Bros. on PS4, but I would love to play Super Metroid on my computer. That’s easy, you say? Of course it is, but I would be willing to pay Nintendo for it.
At this point, we know that the switch will, at best, be able to keep up with the standard PS4 or Xbox One. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpio will blow it out of the water. Again, just as with the Wii U, Nintendo will be dragging behind in the race that they arrived late to. It will be a really hard sell to get somebody to buy a Switch for $250 or $300. For the same price they can pick up a PS4 that comes with a blockbuster game, has a huge library, and is way more powerful. I wish Nintendo all the best, but I worry about their business tactics and the promises they are held to by their investors.
Truly, at this point, I hope Nintendo pulls a fast one on all of us and reveals something special. We should know everything we want to know in January. For me, the information just can’t come soon enough.