Nintendo’s decision to end production of the NES Classic Edition was baffling to just about everyone, even as people tried to come up with reasons to explain it. Now the company says that it doesn’t have the bandwidth to continue manufacturing the diminutive retro console.
“From our perspective, it’s important to recognize where our future is and the key areas that we need to drive,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, in an interview with Time. “We’ve got a lot going on right now and we don’t have unlimited resources.”
Nintendo marketed the NES Classic as a holiday stocking stuffer, and Fils-Aime told Time that the company had originally intended to sell it only for the 2016 holiday season — something Nintendo did not make clear until now. The NES Classic, which includes 30 NES games for $59.99, launched worldwide in mid-November and instantly sold out.
Nintendo’s NES Classic strategy threatens to hurt the rest of its business
“We just didn’t anticipate how incredible the response would be,” said Fils-Aime, apologizing for the product shortages. He added that Nintendo ramped up production and extended it into 2017, but the company was still never able to meet the intense demand for the NES Classic. All the way up until the discontinuation announcement earlier this month — and certainly since then — stores sold through their small shipments as soon as they got them from Nintendo.
Fils-Aime said that Nintendo has now shipped 2.3 million units of the NES Classic worldwide. The company last gave official numbers at the beginning of February, when it said the system had hit a sell-through total of 1.5 million consoles. At the time, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima noted that while “some parts require time to procure,” the company was “working to increase production” of the NES Classic.
It’s unclear what has changed in the three months since then, but Fils-Aime’s comment about Nintendo lacking the resources to continue selling the NES Classic suggest that the company is refocusing its efforts. Fils-Aime pointed to “where our future is,” and it seems Nintendo is going all-in on the Switch while keeping the Nintendo 3DS alive as a dedicated handheld gaming device.
In fact, Nintendo announced a redesigned version of the 2DS, the New Nintendo 2DS XL, last night. It’s essentially identical to the New 3DS XL, except without a 3D screen, and it will go on sale in July for $149.99. Nintendo also used the announcement to highlight 3DS games that are on the way, including Miitopia and Hey! Pikmin — both of which will be released alongside the New 2DS XL.