I’m not falling for this again, and you shouldn't, either.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/7xxwpd/dont-reward-nintendo-for-this-snes-classic-pre-order-bullshit
I’m not falling for this again, and you shouldn't, either.
I dropped a tweet about this, but I feel like it’s worth elaborating on further here. I get the anger over the situation, but I find it hard to really lay blame on anyone other than the scalpers in all of this. I spent the better half of the day refreshing various websites and Wario 64, but each time I went to a retailer to purchase the SNES Classic it was sold out in under a minute. Patrick makes a good point on twitter about how appropriate inventory would have prevented scalpers succeeding, but would it have to this degree? I can’t think of the last time I’ve tried to buy something, even highly desired products, and they’ve been sold out in under a minute like this. I have also seen a lot of people upset at both Amazon and Gamestop for putting the product up on a different listing and only doing in store pre-orders respectively, but they have also been the places that I have seen the longest duration of time for the pre-orders being up and the highest amount of actual consumers getting the SNES Classic over scalpers. It seems like no matter what this thing was destined to sell out instantaneously regardless of production, but forcing people to come into a brick and mortar store or actively have to search for a product as opposed to setting up a bot to purchase it immediately are good attempts at staving off the scalper crowd.
Getting the Switch was easier, which is kinda crazy to me considering it’s the newer system. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.
That said, maybe one way to curb the crazy scalping and demand here would be to make a competent and good virtual console for the Switch, Nintendo. Please. Do better at this, good lord.
If Nintendo hadn’t been so shit with the NES Classic, making barely any and then discontinuing it while there was still a crazy amount of demand for it, the scalpers wouldn’t be as frenzied for the SNES Classic as they are. It’s still on Nintendo.
I hate Nintendo. I worked there as a tester for a few years and it was a completely miserable experience, with bad management all the way up to the top. It is a poorly run company that has only survived this long due to inertia and nostalgia. Ever since I stopped working there I haven’t given Nintendo a cent of my money.
And yet the SNES Classic is something that actually makes me consider buying it despite all that. The SNES was my first console and FF6 is in my top 5 favorite games of all time, but even beyond that it has quite a few games that I never actually owned or played. Games that I would really like to play through nowadays, and doing so on a cool little SNES doodad is quite appealing.
But after this bullshit? No, i’m done. Good job Nintendo, you almost had me. But you haven’t changed at all. I’m not going to say “hahah they fucked up” because they always fuck up. And yet they keep going, like nothing happened. It won’t matter in the end. But at least I wasn’t suckered into giving them money.
All of this could be fixed by just printing more of them. Don’t limit it to a one year time span for no reason other then specifically driving up the value and hype for the product like something out of a bad Neromancer knockoff. If Nintendo gave a shit about this they would get around the scalpers by making enough of them that the scalpers can’t make a profit. It ain’t like Nintendo is worried about overuse of rare earth minerals the only one actually causing this problem is them
The NES classic being a huge success for scalpers has absolutely resulted in them placing a high demand on the SNES classic, but I don’t really see how that’s something that could have been fixed one way or the other. I don’t know if it would have been possible to project the level of success the NES classic would see prior to launch as it’s a fairly niche product, and once it was successful production contracts and schedules for the NES, SNES, and N64 Classics probably meant that they were already moving on to the next one.
The problem there, though, is how do you make enough that scalpers can’t make a profit? Where’s that threshold and how can you determine that prior to release? For all we know they’ve already reached that threshold, honestly - we won’t really know until the system comes out if scalpers have boxes of SNES classics in the garage that aren’t selling. It makes the whole situation more frustrating, but the truth is that scalpers knew this thing was going to be hot and they doubled down on it. Whatever number Nintendo was able to produce was likely never going to meet current demand.
A tiny Nintendo console that you can put on a shelf to look nice or set up to play a selection of that console’s best games is absolutely not a niche product, as we’ve seen. There are a lot of people with fond memories of these consoles. People with a fair amount of disposable income.
This was Nintendo not understanding what the hell it was doing, as always.
~Emulators and ROMs
EMULATORS AND ROOOOOOOOOOMS
I will sing all day about my
EM-U-LAT-ORS and ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMS~
Nintendo can catch me playing Actraiser 2, streaming on the PC like who gives a fuck about their raspberry pi.
They have outright stated that they will not be making anymore after this year. That flatout makes this the number one product for scalpers to buy outright. They could say we can only make so many this year but more are coming, they could say it’s not a limited item, they could do ANYTHING other than what they are doing but they won’t because they get their hype, they get their money, and they get to point people to their other products like the Switch. They could at the very least say why they’re having the issues they are with making more if it’s not just basic greed but they won’t.
This is on Nintendo. This is their fault and you don’t have to agree but there’s no scenario with what they have said that will convince me that this isn’t just Nintendo being shitty
Great article, Patrick. All this is infuriating indeed. Sometimes it feels like the gaming press can be in a different bubble when it comes to product availability or shortages like this, so it’s nice to read a perspective that feels very similar to my own as far as this stuff goes.
As we have seen, though, is only something we can say after the fact. Anecdotally, most of the discussion of the NES classic from around that time was either “It’s a neat stocking stuffer I’ll pick up at Urban Outfitters or something” or “who is this for”? It wasn’t until I was on line purchasing one that I saw it was something hitting a wider audience. Of course, I also saw a few people from Target that ran over to Best Buy to purchase more to sell.
And since we learned that from the NES Classic the assumption was that the SNES Classic would be better handled since now they know the demand.
Nope! Nintendo is Nintendo.
Right, they have stated that they won’t be making any more this year, but would you rather they say that they will make more when they won’t actually be doing so? It’s not like they can delay the production of the N64 classic, they’ve already contracted and scheduled that out from when they started the line with the NES classic
I’m posting so much in this thread, I love you all.
LavenderGooms: They did say they were increasing the production, though, and that may turn out to actually be enough to meet demand. The ship sailed on the SNES Classic preorder wise as soon as it was announced though, the scalpers had already marked it.
I feel like this behavior also further delays virtual console on Switch. Why would Nintendo rush to get that on the Switch when they can just put out these little emulation boxes, throw in some games, now include crappy bonuses, and then bank bucks on people buying these things out of nostalgia over a controller that isn’t all that great and a mini version of a console that will likely collect dust once the virtual console hits Switch. Dang, that was a long sentence.
Everything that’s being done now feeds into the problem. But this is what Nintendo does (and has been doing) because it ensures they’ll sell out before anything even hits the shelves.
It’s the same old story, again and again. Fool me once, shame on Nintendo; fool me over and over and over, shame on the consumer. The Wii, the NES Classic, amiibo figures (repeatedly), and now this garbage with the SNES Classic.
Nintendo isn’t stupid. They know exactly what they’re doing. And they’ll keep doing it because it’s low risk and high reward with no chance of producing surplus product—even though it means there is consumer demand that goes unfulfilled. Players be damned.
So yeah, I have no problem playing downloaded ROMs on an emulator or manufacturing my own homemade amiibo.
I don’t disagree that everything that’s being done now feeds into the problem, but it seems like you are trying to make the argument that they are manufacturing artificial scarcity, which I do disagree with. Producing surplus product is something any company would want to avoid and of course it would be ideal if all players were satisfied as opposed to systems falling into the hands of scalpers, but these two things are at odds with each other. It seems like the best way to alleviate this situation then is at retail - as I mentioned before, both Amazon and Gamestop both used alternative methods that circumvented scalpers and bots and both of those outlets are the ones I have seen the highest rate of success with online. There’s also a Polygon article on the types of bots scalpers are using and how they can be thwarted with Captcha that’s pretty informative that I think would be nice to see going forward.
Attempting to keep up with this pre-order carnival has added so much stress to my life. At this point, I’d rather just hook up my SNES-craving friend with a list of modern indies that manage to carry the same torch.
My takeaway from this is real simple, and it mirrors the end of the article - I will never feel bad about using emulators [for this content] again, ever, at all.
I am more than happy to pay Nintendo a reasonable fee to consume their classic content. I own dozens of Virtual Console titles across the Wii, the Wii U, and the 3DS, and if and when they put that functionality on the Switch I’m sure I will put money down to access that content as well.
But if they’re going to make it this hard to give them money for something that I would happily pay for? Okay. Fair enough. I’ve paid for it 4 or 5 times over, over the years, I’m sure as hell not going to feel bad about downloading RetroArch and streaming it to my TV over the Steam Link now when the only other option is to pay triple its worth to some scalper knowing that the money won’t go to Nintendo anyhow.