ThinkGeek announced on July 25th that they NES Classic Editions for sale…
…and the internet exploded. It started out as a rush of excitement and adrenaline at perhaps the final chance to snag the hotly-desired console. Once the dust settled, that gave way to anger, resentment towards ThinkGeek, and many conspiracy theories.
The news broke around 2PM that a 3 o’clock sale would take place, and the console would only be available as part of six different bundles. According to the account of a Redditor who called ThinkGeek afterwards, there were 300 of each bundle — a total of 1800 consoles. Each bundle contained an assortment of Nintendo-related items, and the prices for the bundles ranged from $133.99 to $219.99 USD. The sale was one per customer, and to US residents only. There much was hemming and hawing over the bundles but, regardless, the entire stock was sold out in under ten minutes.
So, what’s the problem? Are people just pissed they didn’t get one?
Yes and no. The surprise sale probably feels like salt in the wound. To begin with, there’s debate among fans as to Nintendo’s motivations from day one. Some think they underestimated demand for what they assumed would just be a fun novelty item for fans. Others feel Nintendo purposefully produced a limited supply to artificially increase demand. Making matters worse, they discontinued the unit, knowing people still hunted for it intensely. Demand for the console has since created a hotbed of scalpers reselling for exorbitant prices, angry consumers desperate to have one, and a general distrust for Nintendo and retailers the world over.
My stance is this: Nintendo didn’t purposefully create demand for the console. If that were the case, they’d start producing more because now they know the thing prints money. They have nothing to gain from scalpers buying the units up at MSRP and re-selling them again for as much as five or six times the retail price. Nintendo’s shortsighted, sure, but they’re not sinister.
I mentioned conspiracy theories, yeah.
ThinkGeek is under scrutiny now for somehow, magically coming into this stock of (allegedly) 1800 units, six months after the discontinuation announcement. Where did it come from? Why were they just now selling the units in bundles? Why is Gamestop (ThinkGeek’s parent company) so evil? Some think that Gamestop has been hording the units from day one, waiting until they could move other merchandise they can’t sell. Others think there’s a leak in Nintendo’s distribution and Gamestop either acquired the units under shady means, or paid scalper prices for the units, just to turn around and sell them at essentially MSRP, with extras tacked on.
My personal theory is that Mitch McConnell is secretly the owner of Gamestop, and he purposefully announced the ThinkGeek sale this week to distract millions from the Motion To Proceed vote in Congress!
The truth is… we’ll never know the truth.
ThinkGeek and Gamestop will never release the reasons for why they had a shipment of over a thousand units. Or why they chose to sell them months after production was discontinued. Or why their in-store employees now follow people around with a tablet and try to push used games on us. Because they don’t have to. It’s consumerism and exploitation in its worst form, but it’s not going to end because they play the game well. And, full disclosure, I benefited from it. I was one of the few who made it through the gauntlet and was able to purchase a $133.99 bundle. Yeah, I’m a bit ashamed of myself for contributing to the machine. But I’m also planning on opening the damned thing up and playing the ever-loving crap out of it, instead of reselling it like scalpers who spread like a cancer in many of my personal hobbies.
Am I an ass for giving Gamestop my money, or am I on the side of good for keeping one out of scalpers hands?
Let me know in the comments below, or join up on our FORUMS!