You would think Nintendo would have learned its lesson for how to handle its stock of SNES Classic consoles after the NES Classic debacle. Unfortunately, today various marketplaces like Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and others all put up pre-orders for the SNES Classic-seemingly at random, and sometimes even under misleading circumstances. Regardless of whether you managed to get an SNES Classic or not, it seems as though Nintendo hasn't changed much about how it handles its massively popular little consoles, and with a previously messy launch of the NES Classic, it means that Nintendo either learned nothing, or is doing this on purpose.
And fans are justifiably upset.
Worst thing to wake up to. Missed the SNES Classic.— Mike Futter (@Futterish) August 22, 2017
Nintendo before: "We've learnt from the NES Classic. There will be plenty of supply for SNES Mini" Nintendo now: "We sold out in 2 secs"— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 22, 2017
Across Reddit and social media, customers are venting that this is the exact same situation that happened with the NES Classic—an equally disheartening experience.
By now, Nintendo has no right to feign ignorance over how popular its products end up being. It happened with the Wii, it happened with amiibos, it happened with the Nintendo Switch, and it happened again with the SNES Classic. And while there are worse problems to have than missing out on a product launch for a sub-$100 game console, the fact that Nintendo is creating a climate where consumers are engaging in an unfair game, rather than holding the company accountable is frankly disturbing.
One comment chain on Reddit even re-wrote the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel's depressing "Sound of Silence" to capture how they feel about the SNES Pre-Orders. This is not healthy, and the onus is on Nintendo for fostering this kind of disappointment in a community.
Unfortunately, the mad race for the SNES Classic is creating a retail situation that's far more hostile than a typical holiday shopping spree. Retailers like ThinkGeek are offering SNES Classic bundles with inflated prices (ThinkGeek justifies the price with the inclusion of unnecessary accessories). If you really wanted, you could probably find a SNES Classic reseller offering consoles at similar prices without the extra baggage cluttering your home.
me: i would do anything for a snes classic thinkgeek: look at our snes classic bundle w/ this lamp me: its a shame i'll never find one....— Zenny (@zenayi_) August 22, 2017
The SNES Classic shopping experience isn't pleasant. And while there are customers celebrating getting an SNES Classic console, there is an actual sense of misery and dejection surrounding the pre-order situation. One of the big hooks about the original NES Classic release was so that younger generations could experience classic gaming moments that their parents enjoyed, but as it stands the SNES/NES Classic marketplace only fosters a cutthroat competition where either the most hardcore customers—or lucky few—can find a SNES Classic.
It's hard to defend this situation. Regardless of whatever market forces are at play here, the discontent is palpable everywhere. It's hard to defend the management of this situation and Nintendo should frankly rethink its priorities if and when the company does this again with another product release.