Today marks the release of the NES Classic Edition. The Classic Edition is a cute and accessible piece of hardware that contains some of the best games of all time at an affordable price. What's not to love about it? How about the fact that it is nearly impossible to get?
To be clear, hardware shortages at launch is a relatively common occurrence. However, with Nintendo, it is a more deliberate incident. A company like Nintendo has more than enough resources to meet the needs of the consumer. Additionally, they are absolutely aware of the demand for their products. Several media outlets have released analytics depicting an overwhelming amount of traffic on articles surrounding the Classic Edition. Pair all of that with the fact that Nintendo obviously has their own internal marketing division that can clearly see the demand of their hardware releases. Therefore, that can lead the consumer to believe only one thing; Nintendo intentionally limits quantities at launch to drive hype and exclusivity for their products.
This would not be so disingenuous if it was not for the fact that these situations are very common coming from Nintendo. Famously, the Wii sold a staggeringly well during its lifespan. This was partially due to the fact that it was difficult to find a Wii well over a year after launch. Amiibo suffered from the same problem. Official Nintendo figurines that provide in-game interaction? Of course those will be a hit to collectors. However, again Nintendo constrained the production these lovable figurines in a way that created a culture around collecting and scalping these toys.
Alas, we look to the present and the near future. The NES Classic Edition is a hotly desired item that is hard to come by. Amazon went temporarily down when their listing for the console went up. One Best Buy I was at received 6 consoles. It is worth noting that no other major manufacturer has the trouble keeping up with meeting their demand. Expect to see this exact conundrum when the Nintendo Switch comes out next year since Nintendo has already stated that their will be fewer Switches available at launch than there were for the Wii U. This practice is both disingenuous and anti-consumer.