A Nasty Blog About Nintendo's "Business Practices"

Before I start this blog post, the views expressed below are solely my own (Metallic Joe), though I'm pretty sure most of the retro-gaming community feels very similar. Also strong language, NSFW, all that wonderful stuff.

Now that we got that out of the way let's start with an expletive.

What the actual fuck, Nintendo?

Nintendo's reputation as a game designer is second to none. If you were to browse the internet for any Top 10 games list of all time (in any genre), chances are you're going to come across at least one or two titles made by Nintendo, including Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Metroid, and every variation of the above. The Nintendo Entertainment System literally saved an entire video game market (in a way). And kids today can hum the original World 1-1 theme from Super Mario Bros. Some 32 years after it was composed. Point is Nintendo is an icon in the video game world. Almost anything software wise they do turns to gold.

So why is it so damn difficult to snag one of their systems these days?

The Nintendo Switch is the company's big boy as far as systems go in 2017. So much hype came with it despite having a very small game library and the store feature not working on launch date. Also there was a mass shortage of systems. However, the Switch was very much attainable, which is more then can be said for the other things Nintendo has released this 18 months.

Some months prior to the Switch launch, the NES Classic hit stores, pre-orders sold out, and the system was so under produced it seemed the only people that acquired them were scalpers that paid the $59.99 at multiple places, acquired a shipment, and sold them on eBay for upwards of $220 a piece. When Nintendo announced there would be no more systems made, scalpers upped the prices further. It seemed like the only people actually getting these systems were scalpers. There were lines of people trying to get a system. 100 people lined up at a store that had 2-3 systems shipped max. There were many disappointed faces around the Holidays in 2016 thanks to Nintendo.

I get it. Apple does the same thing when they release the iPhone. You have to wait in line and each store only gets a small shipment of phones in. It's a business tactic that keeps the product name in the press (not to mention using social engineering to show people in line wanting to acquire this product, making it a must-have in the eyes of most consumers). Apple, however, eventually does fill the demand for iPhones. You may not get one in the first few weeks it's released, but the company eventually comes through. Nintendo, however, has done the exact opposite so far and discontinued production, leaving the secondary market as the only way to acquire an NES Classic (at a 325% markup).

Now the SNES Classic pre-orders are "out". I hesitate to say "out" because most stores put the pre-order live at 1 AM on a Tuesday, sold out in minutes, and eBay already had pre-ordered systems for sale at the usual 325% markup. Nintendo does promise to make more of these systems, but as history suggests, this means your local Gamestop is going to have 3 in stock instead of 2, and sell them as a bundle pack with multiple useless add-ons for $400.

Nintendo's no stranger to "shortages". In 1988 the company announced a "chip shortage" that limited the amount of titles 3rd party developers could produce that year. To get around that Konami formed the Ultra Games label, and other companies did similar things. Whether there was an actual shortage of chips, or this was simply a shrewd business tactic I don't think ever came out in the news.

So why is it that the company, in 2017, knowing the demand these systems have, isn't simply following Apple's lead and eventually producing enough to satisfy the market and leave scalpers in the dust?

I can't answer that. All I know is people are angry about this. People that have a need to play these games have gone the emulation route and set up a Raspberry Pi as a retro gaming system, giving Nintendo the proverbial "finger" in response.

Nintendo knows they have us by the balls (and boobs). The angry crowd that swears off the company for it's really rotten NES and SNES Classic launches and vows to never buy anything Nintendo again balks at the first sight of Splatoon 2. Myself included. However, as this circus known as pre-ordering the SNES Classic continues to be held, this consumer has also decided to burn down the tent, run away with a Raspberry Pi instead, and tell Nintendo to go fuck themselves.

Proverbially, of course. I'm not trying to get arrested.

-Metallic Joe-
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