Why Nintendo Cancelled The Mini NES

Why Nintendo Cancelled The Mini NES

Why Did Nintendo Cancel The Mini NES?

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Right now there are a lot of pissed off retro gamers out there, straight off the back of Nintendo of America’s announcement to (for the foreseeable future) cease production of the Classic Mini NES. Currently Europe has had no such news but to coin a phrase ‘it’s a nail in the coffin’, especially seeing as pre-orders of the console weren’t even met meaning Nintendo have let the whole project’s consumer base down badly.

Remember this statement by Kimishima when stock levels weren’t met?

“We apologise to our consumers and retail partners for the inconvenience caused by product shortages.

“Some parts require time to procure, but we are working to increase production.

Well that was a load of shit right? So today at work, I started trying to work out the mindset of Nintendo. Let me show you the events that led us to this point with the Mini Nes and let’s see if we can unravel this mysterious (not so mysterious) decision…

July 6th 2016 – Pokemon Go App launches

In 2009 Nintendo’s revenue was approximately 1.3 Trillion Yen for the first half of the fiscal year yet in 2016 it was only 0.1 Trillion Yen as shown here. Nintendo were in a pretty bad position over other years with the decline of Pokemon previously and also below par console sales on both the Wii and Wii U. Pokemon Go helped prevent the bleed-out at this point as revenue was at a serious low, however, Nintendo did not own Pokemon Go themselves so only received approximately 19% of the revenue generated.

July 13th 2016 – NES Classic Mini Announced

Nintendo suddenly seem to be firing on all cylinders with the announcement of a HDMI retro flash console. Albeit via legitimate methods, there were no functions for upgrades or online competitive play, the price-point meant that consumers were only paying about £1/$1 per game after console production costs which for Nintendo (and the price of NES games on eBaY) was a bargain. Pre-orders begin.

October 20th 2016 – Nintendo Switch announced

After previous flops, this is likely Nintendo’s final hit at a console before withdrawing from the console market. Pre-orders begin.

November 10th 2016 – Mini Nes Releases

It fast becomes apparent that pre-orders will not be met as multiple companies including Gameseek and Game.co.uk advise that they have not received their quota of pre-order stock levels. Later it emerges that 10-15% of stock has been received by 3rd party stockists with Game.co.uk being approx 30%.

December 15th 2016 – Super Mario Run launches for iOS with Android to follow in 2017

Unlike Pokemon Go, Nintendo own this game and Nintendo stocks surge significantly in a similar fashion to Pokemon Go. Nintendo will earn almost all revenue from this game. The app/game became the fastest downloaded game and Nintendo reported 78 Million downloads worth approximately $53 Million (with a download to purchase conversion of around 8%). Nintendo noted it did not quite meet expectations however it was still money in the bank.

March 3rd 2017 – Nintendo Switch Released

In its first month, Nintendo has sold more Switch units than Xbox One (narrowly), Xbox Original and even PS2. In fact the only one it hasn’t outsold is Playstation 4 and is Nintendo’s best ever console offering to date. On top of that, Legend of Zelda actually sold more games for the Switch than it did Switch consoles as users bought multiple copies as collector pieces as well as a playable copy. On top of that, Breath of The Wild has done similar record breaking events.

Well there you have it gamers, those are the key elements that have led to Nintendo pulling production of the Classic NES Mini, so what does it all mean in laymans terms?

Well in my opinion, Nintendo completely underestimated the revival of retro gaming to such a point that it would have taken months to source or produce the parts required to step up the project. Initial pre-orders were likely considered to be a fad and most likely expected a cool-down and re-think by the consumer before release which never came before launch. During this period, they would likely have been really glad of the funds, however, Super Mario Run did well with sales and likely gave Nintendo the ability to reflect on their current market direction.

It’s smart to check your chicken whilst its cooking in the oven right?

It’s at this point they probably realised the lost retro revenue that the Mini NES had produced by it’s stats and had noted it’s continued demand, which a simple eBaY search can help verify. Some smarty pant’s then most likely saw a window of opportunity to turn these retro games into micro transactions by including them as a PAYG subscription on the Switch console. Let’s face it, Nintendo had already had to adjust it’s thinking after poor Wii U sales by turning to mobile so already had to be thinking in this mindset.

Then, just over a month after the Switch was released and noted as a hit console (which you may have seen in the gaming press over the last 48hrs), Nintendo had it’s abilities confirmed and went forward with ‘side-lining’ Mini NES production in a statement to the world, however, they have not said that the Mini NES will never return, only that it has ceased production in North America and the Famicom in Japan (which are the biggest market concentration). I assume the next step is to bring the systems into place on the Switch so that monthly gaming subscriptions can begin and the new avenue of retro games can be tapped and monitored. If of course, this fails, they can simply re-introduce the NES Mini once more. Very tactical indeed!

This still leaves Europe in limbo however and I’m still pondering why they have not made a similar move in this sector but maybe we will get to that in another post.

So there are my views, clearly we all have our own takes on things and I hope you enjoyed mine. As always, feel free to have your say in the comments section and I hope to catch you again soon. I’m off to play on one of my Mini Nes but I’m not sure which one yet haha.

Owner of GaminGuys.com I collect retro games, consoles and accessories and play all era's of games from old to latest. Found on eBaY as 'MCRTrading'

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