The incredibly popular—and short-lived—NES Classic Edition sold just over 2.3 million units before being discontinued, and now Nintendo has shed new light on why the company chose to kill it off at the height of its success.
The retro console launched just before the holiday season, and an eager public snapped up the available supply so quickly that many potential customers never even saw a unit on store shelves. Nintendo released another shipment of the console to help meet demand, but then stopped production entirely.
“We understand that some people were frustrated about not being able to find the system, but for us, we need to make sure we manage all of our resources in an effective way,” explained Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé (via IGN).
Fils-Aimé explained that the NES Classic was discontinued in order to divert resources into the Nintendo Switch.
“At the same time we were facing this surging demand for NES Classic, we were preparing to launch Nintendo Switch,” he said, adding that with the extra resources, Nintendo was “able to increase our production and sold… 2.7 million [Switch] units.”
That’s good news for Switch buyers. Given that Nintendo’s newest console is still out of stock at most major retailers, if Nintendo had continued to produce the NES Classic, shortages of the Switch might have been even worse.
The last shipments of the NES Classic should be headed out to stores before the end of the month, so if you’re still interested in one of the retro consoles, now’s the chance to grab one before they’re gone.