Chinese manufacturers have moved to address the demand left by Nintendo’s decision to stop producing the NES Classic.
As spotted by Neogaf, a bootleg version of the machine has started to appear on some sites. Listings have apparently been removed from Western-facing Chinese retailer AliExpress, but with stock now out there in the wild you can expect the machine to start cropping up on eBay and other sites shortly.
The machine itself actually seems like a fully working approximation of the official device, albeit with some minor differences. The colour is slightly off and the Nintendo logo is a bit wonky, and the A and B buttons on the controller are molded slightly differently. There are also some small UI differences such as different font sizes and image positioning.
However, everything works, uses the correct ports and is compatible with Nintendo’s controllers. And while for some a bootleg remains morally reprehensible, others who were never able to track down a NES Mini at RRP are already saying they are tempted to pick up the imitation.
As one Neogaf user put it: I’d rather buy this Chinese knockoff than pay scalpers for the original.” Plenty oppose this view, however, and refuse to condone such IP breaches.
Nintendo announced in April that it had ended production of the popular NES Classic, stock of which remained hard to find throughout its short life.
We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize," the company said. "We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.”
As for why Nintendo discontinued 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.
Nintendo’s US boss Reggie Fils-Aime admitted last year that demand for the machine had been greater than we anticipated”.