In a surprise move, Nintendo has announced that it has ended production of the popular NES Classic.
“Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year,” the platform holder said. “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.”
It elaborated on the decision to IGN, adding: “NES Classic Edition wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product. However, due to high demand, we did add extra shipments to our original plans.”
The machine, which bundled 30 games onto an authentic looking mini-NES, was released last November and has remained incredibly hard to course throughout its short lifespan. Last we heard, Nintendo had sold some 1.5m units.
This decision isn’t only for the West, either, as Nintendo has also confirmed the discontinuation of the Famicom Classic in Japan. Translations of the Japanese statement seemed to hint at the possibility of production resuming at some stage in the future.
As you might expect, the news has made the machine even more collectible, with Polygon reporting that on the day of the announcement, two machines were selling every minute on eBay in the US, and at an average of around $332 – which is six times the RRP. Even now the average selling price is holding at over $300.
Here in the UK, the console has in recent days been selling for anything between £90 and £180 on eBay, with £140 looking to be about the going rate.
As for why Nintendo would discontinue such a popular console, no-one really knows. Theories suggest that perhaps the licensing agreement for one or more of its included titles is up, or maybe it simply wasn’t making a good a margin as the company would have liked. Others have pointed the figure at the piracy scene that has enveloped the machine.
Nonetheless, the language of the announcements does seem to suggest that a return for the device remains at the very least a possibility.