Nintendo Chief Says Switch Won’t Repeat NES Classic Shortage With 2 Million Units At Launch

A lot of Nintendo fans were disappointed and even downright angry when they were unable to secure an NES Classic Edition console in time for Christmas. Supply fell way short of demand, while many of those who did manage to get their hands on one of the retro consoles took to selling them on eBay and Craigslist at around a 400 percent markup. Will a similar situation play out with the Nintendo Switch? There are reasons to believe it will, though Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime is confident it won't.

The Nintendo boss told Wired in an interview that Nintendo anticipated the NES Classic Edition being popular with consumers between 30 and 40 years old, with kids, and who have perhaps been absent from gaming for a period of time. While that certainly played out, Fils-Aime said Nintendo was caught off guard by "incremental demand" beyond that core audience, especially from consumers who already owned a Wii or Wii U.

"We thought that the consumer that already had a Wii or a Wii U and had purchased those games once or twice or already, we didn't think they'd buy the NES Classic. And they did," Fils-Aime said.

Nintendo Switch

As for the Nintendo Switch, the company is planning to ship 2 million units worldwide at launch. Fils-Aime believes that will be more than enough to satisfy demand for the first month.

"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," Fils-Aime added.

Nintendo also stated in the early part of December that it was injecting a "steady flow of additional" NES Classic Edition consoles into retail stores for the holiday season and that consumers hoping to score one in time for Christmas would be able to. That turned out to be false.

That does not automatically mean Fils-Aime is wrong about the Nintendo Switch. One thing working in Nintendo's favor is that several of its retail partners are currently accepting pre-orders for the forthcoming console (or soon will be). However, anticipation is high for the Nintendo Switch, especially since the Wii U never became the mega-hit the company hoped it would be. If we look back at the original Wii, it sold around 3 million units during its first month of availability.