The Market: Bootleg NES Classics Fill Demand Nintendo Ignored

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Back in April, Nintendo announced it would cease production of the NES Classic Edition, a miniature version of the original Nintendo console that comes pre-loaded with 30 old school games, even though the system has been wildly popular.

In an article titled “Nintendo hates money, discontinues the NES Classic,” Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland, who has been writing on the system since its launch last November, wrote that at the time of the announcement, retailers had been “unable to keep the system on store shelves for pretty much the entirety of its six-month run.”

All told, 2.3 million units of the NES Classic were sold in the half-year it was available on the market. Though Nintendo stated the system “wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product,” the company did acknowledge the popularity of the Classic in its April press release:

“We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.”

As it turns out, the level of “consumer interest” in the system may be even greater than previously thought. Ars Technica, once again via Kyle Orland, reported Wednesday that bootleg versions of the NES Classic have begun to flood the market, filling a demand Nintendo is apparently unwilling to meet.

Noting that it’s “pretty rare to see a game console that tries to exactly mimic the look and functionality of a legitimate system,” Orland goes on to say that “these are full bootleg consoles that try to mimic the NES Classic Edition down to the small details.”

Linking to a posting by a gamer who “spotted one of these bootleg systems in the wild” last week, Orland writes that short of slightly misaligned or faded logos, the physical hardware “looks remarkably similar to the real thing.” Similarly, he found that in this particular knock-off, the “basic interface looks remarkably authentic.”

Orland writes that if the game-play quality of the bootlegs remains high, gamers desperate for old school Nintendo action probably won’t care if the systems are actually fakes. As such, the hardest hit in terms of sales will be resellers, who will see the prices of the legitimate second-hand systems plummet.

 

This post originally appeared at Anti-Media. 

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan