No company is ever perfect. Apple, for instance, one of the biggest tech firms in the world, isn’t without its share of flubs. Making an iPhone without a headphone jack because of, well, “courage” isn’t exactly a surefire way of winning consumers.
It’s not only Apple, however, and it’s not only tech companies. It’s also video game companies. One of the biggest, Nintendo, is no stranger on mishaps. The GameCube, the Wii U, and if we go a little further back, the Virtual Boy, are all mishaps of their own accord.
But perhaps Nintendo’s most baffling mishap is its most recent. For those of you who didn’t know, the company just discontinued its NES Classic Edition console, a miniature throwback to the ’80s original, packed with 30 classic games. Its cancelation spurred a mountain of disappointment, especially given the console’s rarity ever since launching.
Nintendo Didn’t Expect People Would Actually Want The NES Classic Edition
For its part, Nintendo did acknowledge that it had not expected such a fanfare. The NES Classic Edition, it said, was only meant to be a holiday gift: a fun little plaything and nothing more. It had not expected people would take it seriously, and it had not expected that so many would want it. But so many did, and they didn’t get one. Then it was ultimately phased out, to the ire of consumers, needless to say.
How Nintendo Decides On Production
The Verge asked Nintendo what goes into determining how many units of a particular console will be produced.
“We create a plan, we build our programs against that plan,” explains Reggie Fils-Aimé, Nintendo of America’s president. “But based on what we see in the marketplace we make adjustments, and we go from there.”
Fils-Aimé’s statement seems to line up with what we’re seeing so far. Take the Switch as an example, the company’s recently released hybrid console. Nintendo had originally expected to sell only 2 million units of it during the first month, but its earnings reports show that its expectations had been surpassed.
Fils-Aimé said that when the company began to see a positive traction and ample excitement for the console, it started making adjustments.
“So at that point we began to improve on our production capability.”
New Nintendo 2DS XL
But even with the Switch’s success, Nintendo recently made a surprise announcement: a new 2DS iteration, called the New 2DS XL. It’s got screens the same size as the New 3DS XL, a processor as fast, and is a stunner. It’s sleek, svelte, and it looks dandy. But aesthetics is just one conversation. The decision still confused many since they had expected Nintendo to forego 3DS development to focus on the Switch.
But that won’t likely happen, at least for now. The 3DS line has over 60 million users — that’s a staggering number. That number entails 60 million consoles people can buy games for, and ultimately, that means the 3DS can still be profitable for Nintendo.
For those planning to buy a New 2DS XL come July 28, Nintendo is confident that supply problems won’t mire sales.
“We make estimates on what consumer demand is, and if the demand dramatically exceeds what we plan, it creates some tightness in the marketplace,” says Fils-Aimé.
So you’ll likely find a New 2DS XL in a retail store, sans any stock issues. If Fils-Aimé’s confirmation holds water, that is. But of course, supply problems can still arise.
This is because there’s no way a company can know just how many people will want to buy its product once released. There’s no surefire metric, no absolute method to measure it. Sometimes Nintendo gets it right.
“But sometimes we get it wrong.”