SNES Mini is the One Sensible Reason to Discontinue the NES Mini

A new report sheds a whole new light on last week's decision to cut off supply of Nintendo's breakout novelty item.

7

Last week's sudden announcement that Nintendo was discontinuing production of the NES Mini, its breakout novelty item that remains in high demand, was confounding. Does Nintendo hate money, or its fans, or both? The anger reached a fever pitch, partly because it was so poorly explained. Nintendo merely said it was never meant to be an ongoing product and that was that. But a new report, suggesting that Nintendo is preparing to roll out a SNES Mini, sheds a new light on that revelation from last week.

First, the details. Sources tell Eurogamer that the SNES Mini would be a microconsole version of Nintendo's 16-bit system, and ready for release by Christmas of this year. It would retain a similar plug-and-play setup, and come loaded with some selection of the most popular games from the Super NES era. That would presumably include Nintendo's first-party classics like Super Mario World, A Link to the Past, and Super Metroid, along with a smattering of third-party standouts.

The report also suggests that the SNES Mini is one major reason the NES Mini was discontinued. Not because Nintendo had a sudden change of heart, but because this was always the plan. Eurogamer says the NES Mini wasn't "given a reprieve." That is, discontinuation was always the plan and Nintendo didn't feel the need to change it.

So what can we conclude from all this?

For one, if this report turns out to be true, it explains why Nintendo's messaging around the discontinuation was so strange and insufficient. The company probably never expected the NES Mini to still be in such high demand this many months later, but it also couldn't explain the full reason or risk spoiling a surprise for E3.

Functionally, it makes sense that Nintendo would use whatever production facitlities had been producing NES Minis to start up production of the SNES Mini instead. And while the NES Mini was a surprising success, it's unlikely that it was so successful to justify opening more production facilities to make both simultaneously. Nintendo likely had to choose one or the other, so it stuck with its plan to launch a new novelty mini-console this holiday.

Further, starting production before announcement is necessary to have any hope of matching demand this time around. That left Nintendo in the unenviable position of being forced to announce the NES Mini discontinuation now, before consumers naturally noticed that restocks simply weren't coming.

All of this created a perfect storm in which Nintendo could have made a reasonable decision to discontinue the NES Mini, but couldn't explain that decision way that was satisfying or even sensible. If this report holds muster, it casts a different light on last week entirely, and we can safely say Nintendo isn't just foolishly throwing away a moneymaker. It's preparing a different moneymaker. 

Or maybe it just hates money.

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 19, 2017 6:15 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, SNES Mini is the One Sensible Reason to Discontinue the NES Mini

    • reply
      April 19, 2017 6:33 AM

      Because no one would want to own both, right?

      • reply
        April 19, 2017 6:46 AM

        Probably plenty of people! But as noted in the article, it may have come down to needing to switch production facilities from one to the other, and sales not supporting the start-up cost to open more facilities to make both simultaneously.

        • reply
          April 19, 2017 6:48 AM

          I guess that makes sense. Still seems boneheaded to kill the NES Classic while demand still constantly outruns supply. I can only see that being a reasonable choice if they were selling it at a loss.

          • reply
            April 19, 2017 6:57 AM

            In two years: NES Mini Special Edition with a new collection of games.

            (I'm kidding, but that could happen.)

        • reply
          April 19, 2017 6:52 AM

          how can sales possible support it when it was so damn hard to find. just put the mini snes with virtual console so games can be added

        • reply
          April 19, 2017 6:52 AM

          So why not just continue the NES Mini production and delay SNES Mini production?

          I mean, regardless, they'd be insane to not do another NES Mini production run down the line.

      • reply
        April 19, 2017 10:38 AM

        Crazy idea and not likely, but couldn't Nintendo include all the NES games in the SNES mini and charge twice as much?

      • reply
        April 19, 2017 10:39 AM

        I'd rather have access to a switch and a snes. 8bit snes games like metroid are nostalgic and cute but snes games like super Metroid are actually, worth playing (I actually played both games plus zero missions this year).

    • reply
      April 19, 2017 6:35 AM

      can you load more games onto these "mini" versions?

      • reply
        April 19, 2017 6:39 AM

        Not officially. Because the USB power plug still had the data pins intact, people have worked out how to load way more games on unofficially.

      • Zek
        reply
        April 19, 2017 11:01 AM

        For the NES, no. Probably not for this supposed SNES either. But I'm hoping they eventually put out versions of these that can connect to your account and access the Virtual Console library.

    • reply
      April 19, 2017 6:50 AM

      couldn't find an NES mins and definitely would not be able to find a SNES mini

    • reply
      April 19, 2017 6:52 AM

      RetroPi really is the way to go for these. Such a fantastic product.

      • reply
        April 19, 2017 10:14 AM

        If Nintendo screws this up they'll basically be telling fans they'd be better off building a Retropie and stealing their games instead of waiting for months for a system just to pay through the nose from an ebay hoarder. At least that's how I'm going to interpret it.