Nintendo, already under pressure from its failure to make the NES Classic more widely available throughout the holiday season, is finding itself in the same boat with the Nintendo Switch. Around the Internet, retailers are claiming that they either don’t know how many consoles they’ll get in March or that they’ve already burned through their first round of pre-orders.
The Big N’s next mission, besides convincing the world that they actually want one of these machines, is assuring those who already want to buy one that they’ll be able to do so in a timely fashion.
Speaking with Wired, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said he understands the concern and says the Nintendo will make sure the same mistake is not made again.
What we’ve said publicly is that there will be 2 million units that will be shipped worldwide for the launch, essentially through month one.
I know, because I read the boards and I read the comments, that there is concern about supply. From what I’ve read, the concern seems to stem from the lack of ability to buy NES Classic. So what I would say is this: Two million for essentially the first month is a huge number, especially when you look and see that this is not peak seasonality. This is essentially the first three weeks of March. Our focus is making sure that the consumer who wants to buy a Nintendo Switch can buy a Nintendo Switch. That’s how we build our supply chain, that’s how we think through the amount of product that’s available.
What happened with NES Classic is that was a situation where the global demand was well in excess of anything we had anticipated, and that’s what created shortages. The good news, at least for consumers in the Americas, is we’re going to continue to make the NES Classic available. With the ongoing level of supply, the ongoing demand is going to be met. We know the concern.
Fils-Aime continued to say that the NES Classic caught the company off guard.
We know the popularity of our classic games. That’s a known situation. The challenge for us is that with this particular system, we thought honestly that the key consumer would be between 30 and 40 years old, with kids, who had stepped away from gaming for some period of time. And certainly we sold a lot of systems to that consumer. But what we also see here in the Americas is that we’ve sold a lot to [fans] who just saw a compact, all-in-one opportunity to get the 30 greatest games from the NES generation. I think that incremental demand is what surprised us. Because again, how many times have you purchased the original Super Mario Bros.? We thought that the consumer that already had a Wii or a Wii U and had purchased those games once or twice already, we didn’t think that they’d buy the NES Classic. And they did.
That right there shows a lack of understanding of your audience. Nintendo fans, yours truly included, will buy anything that is officially licensed by Nintendo, regardless of if we own it two or three times over. Why do you think Virtual Console exists in the first place?
The Nintendo 3DS also has a long life ahead of it… yeah, sure
Fils-Aime also addressed the issue of the Nintendo 3DS, saying that both it and the Nintendo Switch can definitely coexist on the same market.
3DS has a long life in front of it. We’ve already announced games that will be launching in the first couple quarters of this year. There are a number of big games coming. And in our view, the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch are going to live side-by-side. You’re going to be meeting different price points, you’re going to be meeting different types of consumers, you’re going to have the newest, freshest content available on Nintendo Switch, you’ve got a thousand-game library available on Nintendo 3DS, plus some key new ones coming. They’re going to coexist just fine. We’ve done this before, managing two different systems.
I think there’s a sense that Nintendo Switch is a portable device. It is portable. But at its heart, it’s a home console that you can take with you on the go.
The same way that the Game Boy and the Nintendo DS could exist on the same market, as well. That turned out like a wonderful partnership, didn’t it?