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On Tuesday, Nintendo filed four trademark applications with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). They were all for Nintendo controllers. Two pertained to consoles currently in circulation, namely the Switch and the now discontinued NES Classic Edition. One was for the upcoming Super NES Classic Edition. The fourth was a controller for a console that is not even in circulation anymore except among collectors, the Nintendo 64. All applications are filed as "consumer video game apparatus" and similar designations.
Why would Nintendo file paperwork with the EUIPO for a controller on a console that they quit producing in 2003? While nothing has so far been announced, the chances are high that Nintendo is planning to release an N64 Classic Edition sometime in the foreseeable future. While this is merely speculation, it's a logical conclusion considering the company’s recent actions regarding retro gaming and the consumer response to it.
When Nintendo re-released a miniaturized version of the NES last November, it sold out almost immediately. When the company discontinued the plug-and-play console last April, it was in high demand and still is. The box retailed for $60 on release, now you are lucky if you can find one being resold for less than $200. Amazon currently has the device listed at $227.95. That’s almost as much as you would pay for a current generation console, and this is a game system that only has 30 games.
Nintendo is now poised to release the Super NES Classic. This mini console will only have 21 games, but one will be the never released Star Fox 2, which alone has some people ready to fork over the $79.99 suggested retail price or more. It is likely that the SNES Classic will sell just as quickly as the NES did, even though the company has promised to release significantly more units this time around. Still, if Nintendo follows the previous pattern, we may see supply cut off early and high resell prices for the mini console, but more importantly, it might set us up for a 2019 release of a Nintendo 64 Classic.
Another thing that dials up the chances for an N64 re-release is the controller logo included with the filing documents (above). The NES Classic had a similar logo on the box lid, on the official Nintendo web page, and on the IPO filing for it. Likewise, the announcement page for the Super NES has the same logo that is shown on its IPO filing as well. It makes little sense for Nintendo to go to the trouble of filing nearly identical paperwork for the N64 unless they are going to do something with it.
My prediction is that we will for sure be seeing a Nintendo 64 Classic at some point and quite possibly in 2018, but that's just my guess, so take it with a healthy pinch of salt. The Super NES Classic releases on September 29, and an announcement from Nintendo on an N64 Classic will not likely come before the company decides to discontinue the SNES. We could have at least a year before we hear anything official.