The Hunt For An SNES Classic In The US Is Already A Mess

A lot of people just want to preorder a damn SNES Classic. But nothing's ever easy with Nintendo.

AU Editor's Note: Australians were a lot more fortunate with the Mini SNES preorders than other countries. Here's a tale about how bad it could have been.

The SNES Classic isn't scheduled to come out for another few months but everyone is already furiously trying secure a preorder.

As a result, when Walmart appeared be accepting orders on Friday night, people swamped the site trying to lock one of the mini retro consoles down. Those asleep at the time, or working a late shift, got back to our computers hours later only to see we had missed the small window of opportunity completely.

An entire Reddit thread popped up with people trading stories of where they were when they weren't checking their email and subsequently preordering an SNES Classic the second it became possible to do so. As if the absurdity of Nintendo announcing it would produce limited quantities of a small boutique device that would emulate ROMs of 21 old, beloved SNES games before it's even started porting them to the company's latest system wasn't enough, Walmart had to go and begin accepting preorders, unannounced, late at night on a Friday.

But this is where things started to get even more confusing. Starting early Saturday morning, several people started getting notices from Walmart that their preorders had been canceled, either due to allegedly incorrect payment information or other issues.

An apparent screencap of someone's conversation with a Walmart Customer Service agent started making the rounds, and appeared to indicate that Walmart's preorders had gone live in error and that all of the ones which had been placed thus far would be cancelled. Other people have claimed to speak with different store representatives and receive different answers.

People are still reporting that their preorders haven't been cancelled, and Walmart has yet to issue an official statement. In response to one person, however, the company did tweet the following:

There are entire articles devoted to strategies for preordering an SNES Classic. That's how high and intense demand is for it. Like those people felt waking up Saturday morning, no one wants to come back from dinner, or get out of a meeting, and find out that for the five minutes they were off living life every SNES Classic that Nintendo plans on making already sold out.

As if to stoke people's anxiety, Target decided to tweet yesterday that it would indeed have preorders available sometime in the near future. Understandably after the Walmart debacle, people were a bit jumpy. Did this mean preorders would go live at the company's online storefront imminently? As a result, the company had to clarify that it didn't yet have any information on a time table, and responded to many people's requests for information each individually with the confusing statement "We're excited about SNES release this fall too? Check online periodically for our pre-orders! We'll share your request for notification."

People might be more chill about the whole thing if they didn't have déjà vu from when Nintendo trotted out the NES Classic last year, another device that was in extremely high demand, with scalpers reselling them for hundreds of dollars above the retail price, and which the company decided to inexplicably discontinue earlier this year. The SNES Classic has an even better lineup of games, some of the best ever created, and will, when it arrives, be the cheapest, legal way to play them. Nintendo has said they plan to address the supply issues that plagued the NES Classic, but given the scarcity of Nintendo Switches several months after it was released, people could be forgiven for remaining sceptical.

If history repeats itself then, the best bet of getting an SNES Classic in the US this Christmas will no doubt be from some dude in the Best Buy parking lot selling for the same price as a new Xbox One X.


    There's a word for Nintendo, but this is a family website and I won't write it here.

      Nintendo. Proud to put the FU into FUN.

        What's the N stand for?




        Don't answer that.

    Cue the comments about raspberry pie boxes.

    I rang up EB as soon as I saw the article here, then went down to the local one about an hour later once the guy there confirmed they were now accepting pre orders. I feel for people in the US, it sounds like a shitshow.

      I got a preorder in at my local EB.

      I'm not going to start feeling too smug about how smooth our preorder process was until I see how many of those preorders turn into actual consoles when it counts, though. It's very easy to take a preorder, not always so easy to fulfil it.

        How early did you get in? There is one somewhat near home and one I can get to during lunch at work so I can get to one if I need to. I just up and went as soon as they mentioned they were taking the SNES pre orders though, woo.

          Oh, I put it in on the day it was announced. I actually did it through the website for pick up in-store. Not sure if that makes any difference vs just pre-ordering from the store itself.

            So did I, and I'll be making sure I head to my local store at 9am that day to make sure I get it.

    Well... so far EB Games haven't cancelled my pre-order so fingers crossed.

      Oh, they won't do that. Not while they're sitting on that sweet, sweet deposit. They'll wait until stock comes in then push most of us back to the "next shipment", but be unable to tell us when (or even if) that will ever arrive.

    Well, I saw the announcement via the EB site, went on, and preordered 2 (using 2 accounts), 1 for me and my little bro who's studying and definitely can't afford one. Seemed pretty simple. Was definitely easier than tracking down the Mini NES

      Getting the Mini NES was even easier as it was up for pre order for even longer.

      I noticed this one was gone from EB's main page the afternoon of the announcement.

      That's no guaranty that you'll actually get one. I don't believe the retailers knew how much stock they'd get so they just took a bunch of preorders and will see how they go.

    You know what? I'm not putting this one on solely on Nintendo. Sure, don't get me wrong, a bigger supply won't go amiss, but two things irk me

    1. For the SNES mini, they're stating ahead of time that this is a limited thing, for better or worse, if you want one, you'll have to act quickly. I can't imagine they are making money hand over fist by selling these systems at a relatively low cost (maybe, I have no idea how much that system would have cost to build, design, package etc), I'd argue the biggest reason they are doing this is to give the Switch a push.

    2. (With the exception of StarFox 2) All of these games are available on the eshop for Wii, WiiU, 3DS etc, this system is just for people who want something to look nice.

    I'm getting more fed up with the companies opening up pre-orders for such small quantities. For any company that has such a limited amount of stock, they should be doing a ballot system. Anyone who wants a system needs to have a registered account with the business, they have a pre-determined time frame to place their interest, then the winners are given first chance to place an order. Depending on how much details you'd have to put in, it'd also fight scalpers (a little bit)

      "For any company that has such a limited amount of stock, they should be doing a ballot system" -- why should the companies care? They have a sale locked in, that's all they really want.

      And they know that if anyone bails out at the last minute, someone will inevitably buy it anyway. These are a win/win for them.

        By that logic, why should Nintendo care? It's not like all this complaining is resulting in a loss of sales. They are selling out of pretty much everything they make right now. Even the New 2DS XL, the 6th version of a handheld that came out in 2011 is selling pretty well.

          I'm not sure Nintendo gives a rats myself. They know full well the demand for this, and are milking the hype as much as possible in a very calculated way.

          This is flawless advertising for them. Pre-order chaos, which will inevitably lead to another run a month later, and probably a third run after that. Just like the NES Classic.

          And every step so far has reinforced that - they made it VERY clear its a limited run, then made pre-orders small enough to build hype. So familiar to the NES Classic its not funny.

          This is no accident, this is a calculated move designed to build hype over something that's essentially a near 30 year old console. With people being thankful they got one.

          Its marketing at its best, and I tip my hat to Nintendo for how they have repeated it. But all Nintendo cares about is selling them. Mission complete.

          It's pretty clear Nintendo DONT CARE. But by all means everyone beg like salivating dogs and spend time fruitlessly trying to pre order. That'll show em.

    Good business for Nintendo -- low stock and incredibly high demand ensures sales, terrible for consumers.

    Its the times we live in major events or products that have limited "golden tickets" will run out instantly in certain markets... cause they all sign up for an email, get a notification and hit refresh on the preloaded page in less than 2000 ms. Thats not including all the reserved alotments for VIPs, employees or the sheer number of scalpers. You dont line up any more... you in a millisecond digital queue and whoever hits enter first wins.

    Looks like another early morning hanging out at Target talking to employees smoking cigarettes talking about baby momma drama.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now