Nintendo fans the world over were shocked to learn earlier this month that the company was going to cease production of the NES Classic Edition just five months after bringing it to market. Nintendo says that the last shipments of the miniature consoles will have shipped by the end of May, but it’s still not clear why such a great product is being killed off in the height of its popularity. In an interview with Time, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé did his best to offer an explanation.
“We had originally planned for this to be a product for last holiday,” Fils-Aimé told Time. “We just didn’t anticipate how incredible the response would be. Once we saw that response, we added shipments and extended the product for as long as we could to meet more of that consumer demand.”
Fils-Aimé says that the current sell-in for the NES Classic is 2.3 million units. That’s up from the 1.5 million Nintendo announced it had sold back in February, but would presumably be even higher if the company had gotten anywhere close to meeting demand. Nevertheless, Fils-Aimé reiterates that there are “no plans to produce more NES Classic Edition systems for NOA regions.”
But this is the part of the interview that leaves me scratching my head — the explanation:
Even with that extraordinary level of performance, we understand that people are frustrated about not being able to find the system, and for that we really do apologize. But from our perspective, it’s important to recognize where our future is and the key areas that we need to drive. We’ve got a lot going on right now and we don’t have unlimited resources.
In many ways, I understand where Fils-Aimé is coming from. Nintendo just launched the Switch last month and would much rather its customers focus on that console and its games. On the other hand, the NES Classic Edition was an unequivocal home run and received virtually universal praise. The retro console might not be Nintendo’s future, but it was a brilliant artifact from its past, and its untimely death is going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of gamers for some time to come. Sadly, the only way you’re going to get one right now is to pay a premium on Amazon.