I really, really want a NES Mini. Since I grew up during the playing the Famicom and games like the original Super Mario Bros, Castlevania, Excitebike, Punch-Out! and many more. And even though I grew up during the heyday when Nintendo was the big dog, if not the only dog of the gaming world, I still have to actually play some classics like the original Legend of Zelda, StarTropics, Metroid and Kid Icarus. I know I could actually get them for free with the use of emulators. But it just won’t be the same if I don’t have that blocky controller with sharp edges in my hands.
So, if I really want to get one, why don’t I just go out and buy one? Well, the problem is the price. It’s supposed to cost roughly $60 but good luck in actually getting it at around that price in the Philippines! Right now, even the most legitimate stores that sells video games are asking for a lot more! Last time I checked, the NES Mini at my friendly neighborhood electronics store costs close around $100! That’s a lot of gold coins! It’s much worse in online stores like Amazon with people asking for even up to $200 there!
But things are probably going to get much worse since Nintendo had announced a few weeks ago that they are going to discontinue production for the NES Mini. That announcement will probably make this incredibly hard to find console even more pricey and ever harder to find now! It’s also weird that Nintendo would actually axe production of the NES Mini since it’s been a huge cash cow for them. I’m actually amazed that Nintendo didn’t try to fast track the production for more of these bad boys since they have been selling like hotcakes.
In retrospect, this actually seems par for the course for Nintendo as of late. For the past few years, it seem like, whenever The House that Mario Built comes up with a new product, they just can’t make a lot of whatever it it.
Take a look at their latest big console, the Nintendo Switch. The Switch is a big hit for Nintendo, for me anyway, has been selling much better than anticipated if you consider the rather lackluster launch library it had when it was released. I read that retailers in the United States and the EU were selling out during its first week. Now, this is actually normal for a hot new piece of technology that everyone wants to get their hands on, so I can technically excuse Nintendo for this slip up. But, at the same time, what were they expecting? They drummed up a lot of hype when their released their first “trailer” for the Switch, so of course eager fanboys wanted to get the Switch the instant it came out!
The NES Mini and the Nintendo Switch are complicated pieces of hardware so I can understand the difficulty of producing a lot of them to meet up with demand. There’s gotta be a lot of logistics to get the various third party developers who makes the microchips, the little components and many more little thingamabobs that are required to make one item. There’s also the matter of actually getting all of these things together and putting them together so that they actually work! But Nintendo even has trouble that involves really small things. And I’m talking about amiibos.
I actually love these little statuettes that don’t really do all that much. Sure, there’s a chip in there that your Nintendo 3DS, Wii U or Switch can read to add extra functionality to some specific games. But I don’t have a 3DS, Wii U or Switch! So, why do I like them? Well, it all comes down to the collector that’s inside me. There’s just something about amiibos that makes me want to get them and, to borrow from one extremely popular Nintendo franchise, I gotta catch them all! Well, at least the ones that I really find interesting.
It started out incredibly innocent. I just wanted to get the Smash Bros version of Mario, Pikachuu and Princess Peach. That was all I was going to get… but I then decided to pick up Kirby, Link and Samus Aran. And I got a few more… and more… and more. I pretty much stopped collecting them but, once in a while, if I do see something that I like, such as the Mario Classic that looks like an 8-bit version of himself.
Now, I think Nintendo once again shot themselves in the foot when it came to the initial manufacturing schedule of amiibos because, when I started collecting, these little statuettes that don’t really do anything for me were either overpriced or very hard to find. This is because Nintendo would only make so many of some specific figures that people had difficulty getting them! Nintendo even accidentally created a bunch of collectors items by accident, like the double arm cannoned Samus Aran and the floating (and legless) Princess Peach ammibos!
So, is Nintendo not aware that they could make more money if they actually made more of their new products? I actually don’t think so. Nintendo has been in the business for a long time and I honestly think this is a weird marketing strategy and a devious way to keep them in the black.
First, by creating these rather artificial shortages, it makes it easier for them to actually sell out their product. By limiting the number of items they actually make and sell, it also makes it easier for retailers to sell out their stock. It’s a win-win for them but a losing proposition for most consumers. But, what do they care as long as they make a profit, right? And, once it sells out, that’ll make people want it more. It’s the law of (artificially low) supply and (really high) demand and it’s human nature to want something you can’t have. Second, if they make less of something, that means they don’t have to shell out big bucks on manufacturing costs. You do know that they actually have to pay other people to make these stuff, don’t you? Well, by keeping stocks limited, they keep the cost of making them low.
Are there other reasons? Possibly. The rumor mill was abuzz after Nintendo mentioned they were discontinuing the NES Mini, possibly because they’re planning to release an SNES Mini. Or maybe the Nintendo Switch will finally get access to the Nintendo online store, making the NES Mini its own competition. Or maybe there’s another reason that we just can’t think of.
Still, I think Nintendo should keep on producing the NES Mini and some of the other products that sell well. For me, it looks like I have to shell out my hard earned cash for the $100 NES Mini.
Why do you think Nintendo always has difficulty keeping up with demand? Do you think it’s intentional, shortsighted or otherwise? Let me know in the comments section below!