The SNES Classic Pre-Order Debacle is a Bad Look for Nintendo

Nobody is happy about the SNES pre-orders and frankly I don't blame them.

Article by Matt Kim, .

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.

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.

Hello darkSNES classic my old friend

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.

ThinkGeek Bundles

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.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 42

  • Avatar for mattcom26 #1 mattcom26 9 months ago
    Soooo frustrating. Had my order in on Target and was putting in payment when it evaporated. How is that fair?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for RocketShoes #2 RocketShoes 9 months ago
    Like I've said before, we are entitled to nothing from Nintendo and/or retailers. But it just sucks when it's dangled in front of you only to be pulled away at the last second.Edited August 2017 by RocketShoes
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #3 benjaminlu86 9 months ago
    Late capitalism! *jazz hands*
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thetick #4 Thetick 9 months ago
    Basically they are producing many things like 3ds and 2ds xl, amiibos and switches. These mini's were planned many months ago and are more a labor of love. Nintendo still has a lot to prove to stockholders after the Wii U and they don't care about a mini nes or snes, cause you can't sell games for them. So it's very important for them to ride the positive wave of the switch and not waste time and money on the mini snes, by suddenly creating a new batch. I agree with the nintendo way of thinking. As for the pre order times, thats all the retailer. Nintendo will tell them how much they get. Not when pre orders open.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NateDizzy #5 NateDizzy 9 months ago
    Nintendo should frankly rethink its priorities if and when the company does this again with another product release.

    Why would they? Nintendo has zero incentive to do so. Sure, there's "misery" among the fanbase, but let's be real, they aren't to start boycotting Nintendo products.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thad #6 Thad 9 months ago
    @Thetick If I were trying to prove something to my shareholders, step 1 might very well be "create a product a bunch of people want," but step 2 would not be "and then don't manufacture enough to meet demand, so we're leaving money on the table and people who wanted to give it to us are left frustrated and angry."

    @NateDizzy While it's true that there are Nintendo fans who will keep giving Nintendo their money no matter what, it's not generally a successful business strategy to take an enthusiastic customer base for granted. (If it were, the Wii U would not have been considered a failure.) Yes, some people will keep on buying Nintendo games no matter what. But some won't. A company's reputation is important, and this is not good for Nintendo's reputation.

    And even assuming that this has no impact on Switch sales, every SNES Mini that somebody wants to buy and doesn't get the opportunity to is money Nintendo would have gotten and now won't. If there's an upside to this for Nintendo, I sure don't see it.Edited August 2017 by Thad
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ArdeaAbe #7 ArdeaAbe 9 months ago
    I'm just so disappointed in the whole debacle. If Nintendo wants to continually play this game where a fanatical minority gets the product at the expense of the general consumer so they can prove the value of their brand they can count me out. I love Nintendo games but I don't want to have to shiv someone on the 3rd day of my Best Buy camp to get one of their products. Maybe I'll stick with a laptop with Steam.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for christophermcdougall #8 christophermcdougall 9 months ago
    I'm just frustrated that I never received email notices from ANY of the retailers that I followed to pick one up. I don't use twitter and I like to sleep so...
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for themblan #9 themblan 9 months ago
    What a feces-show.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Mikki-Saturn #10 Mikki-Saturn 9 months ago
    My plan is to buy one if I see one but I'm not doing any of this craziness. This is basically my philosophy with all products. But when it comes to these plug and play emulator consoles I basically gave up after failing to get an NES Classic and have decided to build a Raspberry Pi machine for myself. I have no idea how to build one, but I'm confident it'll be easier than pre-ordering a SNES classic.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #11 SatelliteOfLove 9 months ago
    They could like...make more...or not.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NateDizzy #12 NateDizzy 9 months ago
    @Thad Normally, I'd agree with your, but Nintendo has been doing this since the 80's. Clearly, the reputation they desire is that of a company that which makes "hot item/hard to find" products.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Talraen #13 Talraen 9 months ago
    There is no defending this. Sure, you can probably justify it from Nintendo's perspective, but screw that. I'm a consumer, there is absolutely nothing good about this for me, and it's largely Nintendo's fault.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for icecoldcakemix #14 icecoldcakemix 9 months ago
    If I'm a parent, I'm looking at iPads, Playstations, and Xbox Ones and seeing how easy they are to get.
    I'm feeling burned out after these past few years with Nintendo. It's one thing with figurines, but they're keeping games and their features locked away. Ironic from a company that wants to get as many people playing through their games. How do I unlock invincible mode when I have to purchase their products?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thad #15 Thad 9 months ago
    @NateDizzy Yes, but that only works when there's a shortage at launch and then plenty of supply later. If they'd quit making the Wii after the original short supply ran out, that wouldn't have worked out so well.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #16 NiceGuyNeon 9 months ago
    I would have ZERO issues with this, if for any reason I thought it would be in stock at a later date rather than being discontinued immediately. I don't know why. People tell me it's an irrational fear. I wish there was some historical context I could look towards to figure out why I feel this way....
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for shurn #17 shurn 9 months ago
    I missed out, bright side I'll live.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for manoffeeling #18 manoffeeling 9 months ago
    Full disclosure: I don't self-identify as a "consumer", and neither have I gotten a pre-order yet. But, anyways, I see the villains in this situation as the scalpers. Nintendo can overproduce this thing so that nobody has any incentive to flip it, but before it's even available for purchase at retail, some assholes are securing every unit and selling them at a huge markup on eBay. Is that Nintendo's fault or problem? I dunno, I don't see it that way myself, but it must be an easy article to write.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #19 NiceGuyNeon 9 months ago
    @manoffeeling If supply was higher or if units were available after initial launch (I'm going off NES Classic) rather than being immediately discontinued then I'd say Nintendo is in the clear. But if supply is as limited as it was with NES Classic I'd say they're as much to blame as are the scalpers and the people desperate enough to buy this thing from the scalpers.

    There's no one group at fault and all it takes in my opinion is for one of them to step away. As it stands, I get why the scalpers do it. If you're desperate enough to pay a ridiculous mark-up on a toy you deserve to pay that price, and the scalper deserves the money. That's just my opinion at least.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #20 KaiserWarrior 9 months ago
    And yet they keep coming back. Nintendo does this every time, and yet still the customers keep coming back.

    It is deliberate. It is purposeful. A company of Nintendo's size and longevity does not just grievously miscalculate demand, then shrug their shoulders and go "whoops, no more ever". It is a calculated move to keep perceived brand value high.

    There are other options out there for your retro gaming fix, and people should avail themselves of those options instead of continually rewarding Nintendo for this gross abuse of their customers.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Roto13 #21 Roto13 9 months ago
    People who think Nintendo wants high demand for their products more than they want high sales are... weird.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #22 KaiserWarrior 9 months ago
    @Roto13 Then explain the (S)NES Classic situation. Explain Amiibo's chronic shortages. Explain that weirdness with Xenoblade Chronicles and Metroid Prime Trilogy where Nintendo refused to produce more copies of obviously popular games until Gamestop went and commissioned a new printing under such strange circumstances that people got into huge internet arguments about whether the copies were used or new.

    You mean to tell me that Nintendo can produce millions upon millions of DS and 3DS units with zero problems and then also is completely incapable of manufacturing more than a handful of any of their other popular products?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for manoffeeling #23 manoffeeling 9 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon I'd just like to see all these articles shaming dirtbag scalpers instead of Nintendo. I'd personally find that more cathartic.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for matthewcooley77 #24 matthewcooley77 9 months ago
    @Thetick then just don't market it as something people can actually buy in the first place so parents don't tell their kids, yes sure you can get that for your birthday, only to find out it's only available from scalpers at $250+. Nintendo made public promises.

    Part of a company's obligation to its shareholders is not pointlessly trashing its reputation with its customers.

    They have a "right" to do whatever they want within the law. It doesn't mean people aren't allowed to point out when they are obnoxious or incompetent.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #25 Jonnyboy407 9 months ago
    No reason to freak out yet. Let's see what happens with 2nd and 3rd restocks.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for mganai #26 mganai 9 months ago
    Scalpels who use bots are scum (see: Tai Dong).
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Roto13 #27 Roto13 9 months ago
    @KaiserWarrior How about, instead, you explain to me what Nintendo wants with hype for a product they're not selling? Who at Nintendo is going "Profits are nice and everything, but you know what really fuels our company? News articles about shortages." That was a stupid conclusion in the 80s and it's a stupid conclusion now.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Daikaiju #28 Daikaiju 9 months ago
    And let's not forget Amazon and their GameTrust BS. What was the point of signing up for a notification if they were going to bait and switch? Also how about a e-mail letting me know to switch my alert!?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #29 WiIIyTheAntelope 9 months ago
    @christophermcdougall This right here. Out of all the notifications I signed up for I received exactly 0 of them. It's bad enough that they open the preorders for the US when most of the US is sleeping, and prime time for overseas scalpers to buy them all up, but not even sending notifications out is just an extra kick in the balls.

    The retailers are just as much to blame for this as Nintendo is with making a silly limited supply.Edited August 2017 by WiIIyTheAntelope
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #30 LBD_Nytetrayn 9 months ago
    @manoffeeling Just one issue with that: Scalpers have no shame.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for JamesSwiftDay #31 JamesSwiftDay 9 months ago
    I'm used to this crap with their 'blink and you miss them' Amiibo pre-orders.

    Don't Nintendo specifically pay people to speculate how much demand there will be for these products, allowing them to make produce the according amount of stock?

    The whole situation continues to be a joke. Nintendo are missing out on profits, pissing off consumers, and scalpers are making out like bandits.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #32 Nuclear-Vomit 9 months ago
    Nintendo works in mysterious ways, my friends. Our human logic is bound by earthly desires and sin, such that we cannot truly comprehend why Nintendo does what it does. There will be enough SNES classics for true believers, true children of Nintendo. Why did Nintendo send his only begotten son (Mario) to shed his blood for you? Did you think we (you) deserve it? No, but he did so loved the world and mankind that he did felt the wrath of Holy Sega Empire.

    Do not lose faith. You will get the SNES Classic if you accept Mario as your personal savior. Those who are fence sitters are truly an abomination to Nintendo. One perceived event or speculation of diminished supply of the fabled SNES Classic, and you are ready to denounce Nintendo. Do you not see that it is a test of worthiness to see those who are fit to own a Snes Classic? For shame. You should have faith and place your trust solely on Nintendo. There is no middle road. If you're lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, Nintendo will spew you from his mouth.

    Do not be led astray by Sonic, who thought he knew better and rebelled against Nintendo and thus, was cast out.Edited August 2017 by Nuclear-Vomit
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #33 Kuni-Nino 9 months ago
    I don't get why any blame is being placed on Nintendo. These are supposed to be celebratory items with a limited supply run. If anything blame the retailers for not telling people on time, but even then, if you're not hardcore about it you're probably going to lose.

    What really mystifies me is that we all knew this was going to happen, and people are still getting mad? You kinda played yourself. Live and learn and move on. It's just a Super Nintendo. We don't have to consume every single thing that appears in front of our eyes.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for presidentcamacho #34 presidentcamacho 9 months ago
    Simple solution: if Nintendo is making a profit on these (which should be a given), they should continue producing them until demand tapers off. Same with the NES classic. Only motive I can imagine to do otherwise is to pump up demand for VC/whatever it's going to be on the switch games.Edited August 2017 by presidentcamacho
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for mobichan #35 mobichan 9 months ago
    So, who has seen hard advertising for this or the NES Classic? And I don't mean on game websites, but places where the average gamer consumer would go. From what I gather, it is only the diehards that are clamoring for either of these systems. Nintendo is not putting much investment into these consoles because they know there is enough of a fanbase ready to buy it already. It is low-hanging fruit to them. But I would guess their low production numbers are a combination of not wanting to pay to set up a good supply of factories and a lack of wanting to really pay for marketing the device. Then there is the potential cannibalizing of game sales on Switch VC (whenever that happens) that a market saturation of SNES mini might cause.

    In the end, they should have stamped "Limited Edition" on the box and all of this craziness would suddenly be justified.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thetick #36 Thetick 9 months ago
    @Thad no that would not be a good way. A good way would be to sell more switches and amiibo. No shareholder cares about the mini, even if they are profitable. It's a dot on the whole nintendo account. And It's not correct to call it leaving money on the table, cause there is no infinite production capacity. You have to reserve that space months ahead, which is why they already knew in juni how long they would produce for. They already decided to quit at the end of the year and will make other things that make money. Nothing left on the table. It's not like they will go idle after that period.

    With the first wave of amiibo, you saw that they had to wait a long time before they could produce them again, cause all the waves were already planned. There is a good chance 2018 is fully booked for nintendo and they can't fit it in. Those production facilities have plenty of customers outside nintendo who have a deadline too. Also nothing they do seem to damage their reputation.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thad #37 Thad 9 months ago
    No shareholder cares about the mini, even if they are profitable.

    Profits are kind of the main thing shareholders care about.
    Also nothing they do seem to damage their reputation.

    Wait, I'm confused. Does Nintendo have to please its shareholders to repair its damaged reputation after the Wii U, or does nothing Nintendo does damage its reputation?Edited August 2017 by Thad
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for swamped #38 swamped 9 months ago
    "You would think Nintendo would have learned its lesson for how to handle [literally anything] after [all of Nintendo history]."


    I really don't get the continued stanning for Nintendo on this issue. The NES Classic release was bad enough, but this time they're literally releasing a brand new SNES game for the first time in decades and I wouldn't be shocked if this is the ONLY way to get it. If they want to put it on VC later fine, I'll take it back, but they haven't said anything of the sort yet and to lock a new game release into such a limited release product is inarguably shitty and illogical.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Number1Laing #39 Number1Laing 9 months ago
    @Thad The main thing shareholders care about is increasing value. Profits are part of but not all of that. These classic systems are one-offs and a lot less important than more long term businesses.

    That said. I gave Nintendo the benefit of the doubt on the NES Classic, it was a lot more popular than they thought it would be, that strikes me as silly considering everyone else knew how popular it would be, but that's how it is. But now? No excuses. They need to get it right and make sure everyone who wants one can own one.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Talraen #40 Talraen 9 months ago
    @swamped Star Fox 2 would be the first Super FX game to make it to any version of the virtual console. Though I can't imagine this will be the only way to ever get it, I also couldn't imagine they'd discontinue the NES Classic before I ever saw one in stores. I think we have to assume this is it for the foreseeable future.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Roto13 #41 Roto13 9 months ago
    @swamped At the very least, you will probably be able to pirate it at some point.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Sygigh #42 Sygigh 9 months ago
    You can't just say Nintendo should have learnt from the popularity of Wii then Switch and skip over the Wii U ... I bet Nintendo is glad they didn't make 100 million Wii U to match the demand for Wii.
    Same deal here, they're being conservative. At the end of the day, all those moulds and tooling will remain for future, those who missed out now can get another chance in 2 years time probably.
    Sign in to Reply