Nintendo recently discontinued their immensely popular MiniNES, a $60 miniature version of the classic NES with 30 games, leaving gamers (and scalpers) scrambling to snatch up the few remaining units at Best Buy. Rumors about why it was discontinued focused on whether it was competing with Nintendo’s $300 Switch — which sold 2.7 million units in March — or whether Nintendo is going to replace the MiniNES with a mini Super Nintendo. In two interviews, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé explains why the MiniNES was pulled and reveals some of their sales figures.
The MiniNES has sold 2.3 million units worldwide, a large jump from the 1.5 million total units sold between November 2016 and January 2017. Despite all that ongoing demand, Nintendo halted production. “We had originally planned for this to be a product for last holiday. We didn’t anticipate just how incredible the response would be, but once we saw that response, we added shipments and extended the product for as long as we could to meet more of that demand,” Fils-Aimé told TIME.
It seems it all came down to the MiniNES production interfering with the high demand for Nintendo’s much more profitable Switch. “At the same time we were facing this surging demand for NES Classic, we were preparing to launch Nintendo Switch,” Fils-Aimé told IGN, adding that they had to increase their production of Switch units to meet demand.
In his interview with TIME, he offered an apology and a reminder that they only have so many hands (they’re gonna catch these hands for not letting me find a MiniNES in stores). “We understand that people are frustrated about not being able to find the system, and for that we really do apologize,” Fils-Aimé said, “But from our perspective, it’s important to recognize where our future is and the key areas that we need to drive. We’ve got a lot going on right now and we don’t have unlimited resources.”
Some of those limited resources might be going towards resuming production of the Famicom Mini (which has a lot of the same games) and building a mini SNES, so we can look forward to not finding those either next Christmas.