If you are still hoping to snag a hard-to-find NES Classic or the Famicom Mini in Japan, you don’t have very much time. In a surprising move, Nintendo has ceased production of the nostalgia machines — though there is a suggestion that they could make a comeback sometime in the future.
“Throughout April, [Nintendo of America] territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year,” Nintendo said in a statement (via IGN). “We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.”
Nintendo later released a follow-up statement on the Famicom Mini site that it was ceasing production of that micro-console too.
To say that these systems has been difficult to find is perhaps a bit of an understatement. We’ve been tracking NES Classic availability since it launched in November, and stock replenishment at major retailers has been sparse.
However, although it seems the NES Classic and Famicom Mini actually outlived Nintendo’s plans, there is some hope that they will make a comeback in the future. In the statement posted on the official Famicom Mini site (thanks Famitsu, via Kotaku), Nintendo suggested that the halt to production may only be for a short while.
“Production of this product is ending temporarily. When manufacturing resumes, we will provide information at another time on this homepage.”
It may be that Nintendo only has plans to restart Famicom Mini production and won’t do the same for NES Classic, but considering demand for the mini-system remains high, it would be a winning strategy if it did. Since the news of its cancellation was released, prices of the NES Classic have skyrocketed on auction and classified sites.
Indeed, Nintendo never quite caught up with the demand of the console, even when it was in full production. Although it did create extra shipments of the system, they were still not enough to meet demand, as each time units popped up at retailers, they subsequently sold out almost instantaneously — both online and in-stores.
It’s unclear how many units Nintendo originally planned to manufacture, but as of January, the NES Classic had sold 1.5 million units.
The NES Classic was one of the most sought-after gadgets over the holidays. It came loaded with 30 games (hackers found a way to expand its library) and featured a simple plug-and-play mentality, perfect for those wishing to relive the 8-bit era or introduce their kids to the good old days of gaming.
The Famicom Mini proved to be a popular piece of kit in Japan too, selling more than a quarter of a million in its first few days on sale.
If you’re unable to pick up a unit from the final shipments, resellers will be your only option from now on. Right now, a brand-new NES Classic will cost you north of $250 on eBay.
R.I.P. NES Classic. Five months wasn’t long enough for everyone to get to know you.
If you still wanna get your hands on the NES Classic, we’re giving two away here!
Updated 04/14/2017 by Jon Martindale: added Famicom cancellation and possibility of a return.