Late last Friday night, the internet lit up with excited proclamations that Nintendo’s hot new throwback console – the SNES Classic Edition – was available for pre-order on Walmart’s website.
This was huge news: The SNES Classic Edition is a limited-edition, miniature version of the original SNES with 21 built-in games. It costs just $80. To say that people are excited about the system is a pretty massive understatement. When the pre-orders sold out soon after, no one was surprised.
The surprise came on Saturday morning, when some customers who pre-ordered the console were sent cancellation emails. Uh oh.
Bizarrely, not every customer who pre-ordered the console was sent a cancellation email. It wasn’t clear why some were canceled and some were not, and both Walmart and Nintendo weren’t giving answers.
On Wednesday night, the answer came: All Walmart pre-orders of the SNES Classic Edition were being cancelled. An email from the senior director for customer care at Walmart, Deserie Dulaney, went out to all customers who pre-ordered on Wednesday evening. It stated directly that the pre-order available was a “glitch,” and that no customers were charged for their orders.
Of note, there’s no new date for pre-orders of the SNES Classic Edition – it’s not even clear if there will be pre-orders at all before the console’s planned release on September 29.
This whole situation speaks to the bigger problem Nintendo faces with the SNES Classic Edition: The nostalgia-laced, inexpensive console is sure to be high in demand from the moment it goes on sale.
And Nintendo isn’t known for its ability to keep up with demand for its products. The Nintendo Switch, for instance, is still hard to find in stores despite having launched back in early March. And the NES Classic Edition – a miniature version of the original NES game console – became instantly rare when it launched in late 2016; a few months later, and Nintendo discontinued the console permanently.
In the case of the SNES Classic Edition, the console is only planned for production through the end of 2017. To put a finer point on it: From the moment the SNES Classic Edition launches, it’s a collector’s item. And it’s not just any collector’s item, but one that millions of people have historic ties to – many of the people buying the console in September are the same people who grew up playing the original Super Nintendo.
Whether the console will become available for pre-order ahead of launch remains to be seen. When asked for comment, a Nintendo rep told us via email, “We have nothing to announce on this topic.”