Last we heard, the NES Classic Edition had sold 1.5 million units through the end of December, not nearly enough to meet apparently healthy demand during the holiday season and beyond. Now that the company has officially discontinued the plug-and-play box, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime tells Time magazine it sold 2.3 million systems overall in just under six months.
For context, the Nintendo Switch sold more than that in less than a month, though direct comparison between a $60 nostalgia box and a newly introduced $300 hybrid console can be a bit difficult. In any case, long lines for the final shipments and high secondhand markups for existing systems suggest a lot of unfulfilled demand for the system still exists in the market.
The robust success of the NES Classic Edition really does seem to have caught Nintendo by surprise. "We had originally planned for this to be a product for last holiday," Fils-Aime told Time. "We just didn't anticipate how incredible the response would be. Once we saw that response, we added shipments and extended the product for as long as we could to meet more of that consumer demand."
Nintendo has announced that it will cease production of the 30-game NES Classic Edition plug-and-play system by the end of the month, even though retailers have been unable to keep the system on store shelves for pretty much the entirety of its six-month run on the market so far.
In a statement provided to IGN, a Nintendo representative said:
Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.
The representative added that the NES Classic "wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product. However, due to high demand, we did add extra shipments to our original plans." The NES Classic controller will also be discontinued, according to the spokesperson.