SNES Classic teardown reveals why Nintendo discontinued the NES Classic

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Nintendo is yet again poised to have one of the hottest gifts this holiday season. Like last year’s offering, the SNES Classic Edition is a spitting image of one of Nintendo’s most beloved consoles albeit in a pint-sized package.

The two miniature systems are functionally similar in that they utilize pre-loaded games and the same Wii classic controller connector. According to recent teardowns, however, the retro gaming systems have more in common than meets the eye.

With review embargos having lifted earlier this week and inventory already in the hands of retailers ahead of tomorrow’s launch, it’s no surprise that some people have already got their hands on the SNES Classic. What is surprising, however, is what’s lurking under that cute shell.

Several people have taken to Twitter to share that the SNES Classic is powered by the exact same hardware as last year’s NES Classic. Considering the controller connector is the same, the HDMI and USB placement is identical and the user interface is similar, perhaps this shouldn’t be a total shock.

(NES Classic on the left, SNES Classic on the right. Images courtesy Eurogamer)

Armed with this knowledge, one can’t help but wonder if this is why Nintendo suddenly discontinued the NES Classic back in April.

Demand was still through the roof and for Nintendo to halt production with no explanation made zero sense. Given last year’s fiasco, Nintendo knew the SNES Classic would be very popular. In order to minimize inventory shortages, it’s my belief that Nintendo ceased production of the NES Classic and allocated all hardware for use in the new SNES Classic.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Why continue to manufacture the NES Classic at the expense of yet another PR nightmare? Instead, dedicate all available resources to the new SNES Classic in an attempt to launch with adequate stock then bring it back next summer when inventory (hopefully) isn't an issue.

Nintendo could have come out and said as much but that wouldn’t have been wise. After all, advertising that the SNES Classic uses the exact same hardware as the NES Classic would have only created additional PR headaches.

Also read: Nintendo SNES Classic Review

Armed with this new information, I’m somewhat inclined to believe Nintendo when it says things will be different this time around. The company has had plenty of time to build out the supply chain and ramp up manufacturing. With the NES Classic off the market, all resources can (and should) be devoted to the new console.

That said, I wouldn’t count on it. Systems may be easier to come by on launch day but I still think they’ll sell out. If you missed out on the pre-order but still want one, I’d recommend lining up at your local retailer bright and early.

The SNES Classic Edition with two controllers and 21 pre-loaded games launches tomorrow priced at $79.99.

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Correct me if I am wrong but from reading this article couldn't Nintendo produce 1 classic console with both the NES and SNES included for more money?
Yes, but then they couldn't charge so much for each console package, it's a lot more profitable to launch "two consoles" :/ and also it's a "collector's item" so to speak, the nostalgia factor can make you sell a lot more units.
 
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J spot

TS Maniac
Correct me if I am wrong but from reading this article couldn't Nintendo produce 1 classic console with both the NES and SNES included for more money?
These are collectors items, and Nintendo is also a business. It would be really, really dumb of Nintendo of instead of coming out with the SNES mini, upgrading the NES mini to play Super Nintendo games.

Why not produce a random black box that plays the old games? Who's going to buy that when they have a virtual console, and people use emulators. That's not the point of these minis. There would be no market for that. Might as well buy a cheap Wii.

The point of these systems is that they are a replica of the old system.

While it's smart from a technical standpoint to use the same internals, I can see so many people complaining about this.

I would have just continued producing the NES mini, and launched the SNES mini two years from now.

Personally I really just care about the controllers.
 

Hexic

TS Evangelist
Correct me if I am wrong but from reading this article couldn't Nintendo produce 1 classic console with both the NES and SNES included for more money?
These are collectors items, and Nintendo is also a business. It would be really, really dumb of Nintendo of instead of coming out with the SNES mini, upgrading the NES mini to play Super Nintendo games.

Why not produce a random black box that plays the old games? Who's going to buy that when they have a virtual console, and people use emulators. That's not the point of these minis. There would be no market for that. Might as well buy a cheap Wii.

The point of these systems is that they are a replica of the old system.

While it's smart from a technical standpoint to use the same internals, I can see so many people complaining about this.

I would have just continued producing the NES mini, and launched the SNES mini two years from now.

Personally I really just care about the controllers.
^
 
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OcelotRex

TS Guru
These are collectors items, and Nintendo is also a business. It would be really, really dumb of Nintendo of instead of coming out with the SNES mini, upgrading the NES mini to play Super Nintendo games.

Why not produce a random black box that plays the old games? Who's going to buy that when they have a virtual console, and people use emulators. That's not the point of these minis. There would be no market for that. Might as well buy a cheap Wii.

The point of these systems is that they are a replica of the old system.

While it's smart from a technical standpoint to use the same internals, I can see so many people complaining about this.

I would have just continued producing the NES mini, and launched the SNES mini two years from now.

Personally I really just care about the controllers.
I'd argue their high production numbers exclude them from being collector's items. Also the originals still exist (I own 2; a working original NES and a repaired NES along with a working SNES) as do the original cartridges to play the original games without emulation. That should exclude them as well.

I think you've conflated the high demand with Nintendo's proven track record of under-supplying hardware since the Wii. The NES classic is being produced a second time increasing the number of units in the wild. All this points to not being a collector's item.
 
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Suisam

TS Enthusiast
If they were smart they could have made it where you can buy extra cartridges with multiple old school nes/snes game bundles and made a lot more $$$$......*****s.
 

PinothyJ

TS Guru
The original run of reissued Classic consoles were made from unsold Wii parts. So there was only a maximum amount of devices that could be sold without having to make more parts. So it was equivalent to when corn chips were created, when a company had old taco shells that they did not want to throw out.
 

J spot

TS Maniac
These are collectors items, and Nintendo is also a business. It would be really, really dumb of Nintendo of instead of coming out with the SNES mini, upgrading the NES mini to play Super Nintendo games.

Why not produce a random black box that plays the old games? Who's going to buy that when they have a virtual console, and people use emulators. That's not the point of these minis. There would be no market for that. Might as well buy a cheap Wii.

The point of these systems is that they are a replica of the old system.

While it's smart from a technical standpoint to use the same internals, I can see so many people complaining about this.

I would have just continued producing the NES mini, and launched the SNES mini two years from now.

Personally I really just care about the controllers.
I'd argue their high production numbers exclude them from being collector's items. Also the originals still exist (I own 2; a working original NES and a repaired NES along with a working SNES) as do the original cartridges to play the original games without emulation. That should exclude them as well.

I think you've conflated the high demand with Nintendo's proven track record of under-supplying hardware since the Wii. The NES classic is being produced a second time increasing the number of units in the wild. All this points to not being a collector's item.
Whether they produce ten or ten million, the main reason why this thing is sought after is because they are mini replicas of the old systems made by Nintendo. Whether you agree that these are collectibles or not, or want to focus on your definition of the word still doesn't take away from the point I tried to make, the fact that someone could buy a Super Nintendo on eBay doesn't take away from the point I tried to make. Which is that it would be really dumb for Nintendo as a business to make a random emulation box, because not many people are going to buy that when they have a virtual console, and people have access to emulators, that the point of these is that they are a replica of the old systems, and that's the selling point for people. A person saying that they should have just made an emulation box, or just make the mini have an upgrade that will allow it to play the SNES games are completely missing the point.
 

J spot

TS Maniac
The original run of reissued Classic consoles were made from unsold Wii parts. So there was only a maximum amount of devices that could be sold without having to make more parts. So it was equivalent to when corn chips were created, when a company had old taco shells that they did not want to throw out.
Considering that you have an account on a tech website, I seriously hope that you're just trolling. I seriously hope because I wouldn't even know where to start, and if you're being for real, than you probably would not even begin to understand. But in the simplest form, I guess I could just say that you could look up the parts of systems. Another is that the Mini runs off USB power, so electricity requirements would be another clue.

Also, the NES Mini's hardware is more powerful than the Wii.
 

erickmendes

TS Evangelist
Here in Brasil The SNES Classis is selling for 333 dollars... I think very few units is going to be sold...
Nintendo don't sell directly here.
 

OcelotRex

TS Guru
Whether they produce ten or ten million, the main reason why this thing is sought after is because they are mini replicas of the old systems made by Nintendo. Whether you agree that these are collectibles or not, or want to focus on your definition of the word still doesn't take away from the point I tried to make, the fact that someone could buy a Super Nintendo on eBay doesn't take away from the point I tried to make. Which is that it would be really dumb for Nintendo as a business to make a random emulation box, because not many people are going to buy that when they have a virtual console, and people have access to emulators, that the point of these is that they are a replica of the old systems, and that's the selling point for people. A person saying that they should have just made an emulation box, or just make the mini have an upgrade that will allow it to play the SNES games are completely missing the point.
Your central point was that they were collector's items and now you're changing that point? That's one way to pretend to be always right.

My replies rebuked that central point - the volume made and availability of the original consoles eliminated them from being collector's items.

I also never said Nintendo should make an emulation box; I said with the similar hardware it should be easy to combine the two and charge more (say $129). The smarter move would be to create a Virtual Console box that allowed people to buy/add their overpriced games without having to own a DS or switch.

To recap: you lacked a cohesive point from the start of your reply, pivoted quickly on your central point when it made no sense, then accused me of stating something I didn't state. For someone accusing me of missing the point that's pretty rich.
 

J spot

TS Maniac
Your central point was that they were collector's items and now you're changing that point? That's one way to pretend to be always right.

My replies rebuked that central point - the volume made and availability of the original consoles eliminated them from being collector's items.

I also never said Nintendo should make an emulation box; I said with the similar hardware it should be easy to combine the two and charge more (say $129). The smarter move would be to create a Virtual Console box that allowed people to buy/add their overpriced games without having to own a DS or switch.

To recap: you lacked a cohesive point from the start of your reply, pivoted quickly on your central point when it made no sense, then accused me of stating something I didn't state. For someone accusing me of missing the point that's pretty rich.
I restated the point that I tried to make on my original post, repeated it. The reason for doing that was to make clear the main point that I was trying to make on that original post, in which I was replying to someone else. I'm trying to get away from the term collector's item because it's really irrelevant to the point and your focus and your definition of the term was turning you away from that point and going into a different place.

When I say collectors item I mean something that people are buying more to just own. Perhaps they'll play it for a few weeks and then safely put away, or display, have it next to the TV, etc. Take good care of more than the average console. When you say collector's item you mean something rare, something more like a rare painting that a rich collector bought.
 

OcelotRex

TS Guru
When you say collector's item you mean something rare, something more like a rare painting that a rich collector bought.
I didn't say collector's item. That was a term in your response to me hence my objection to it. "Collector's item" is a common, defined word whose meaning is a quick search away (not to be a pedant but it's not being used correctly).

My OP dealt with the content of the article stating that they were near similar in build (the NES and SNES Classic). Instead of selling 2 SKUs for $140 combined I'd prefer a single retro-console with them all on 1 device. I'd prefer a $100 Nintendo device that I could buy VC games and play them on that would be supported for many years to come.