In my office, I have three classic consoles hooked up for my kids (or, occasionally, myself) to play: the NES classic, SNES classic, and Genesis mini. They’ve proven to be a great investment, especially the SNES one.
But have you noticed that despite amazing sales, especially in Nintendo’s quarter, everyone just stopped making these things? The NES Classic came out in 2016, the SNES Classic in 2017, the horrid PlayStation Classic in 2018, the NeoGeo Mini in 2018, the Genesis Mini in 2019, the TurboGrafx-16 Mini in 2020. It really seems like this promising well dried up really quick and not, I suspect, from consumer demand.
After all, there’s plenty of additional products that could be made along these lines. Not only are there tons of consoles that haven’t been touched yet — the N64, Dreamcast, Saturn, GameCube, Jaguar, whatever — but all of the ones mentioned in that second paragraph could very well usher in a second edition with different games. I’ve often lamented that the SNES Classic is missing some of its biggest titles, like Turtles in Time and Chrono Trigger, and those could be headlining games for a future installment.
Even more than that, I wish these retro consoles would join the modern era by allowing us to buy and download titles into them. We all know Nintendo could make a mint by continuing to sell games through an expandable SNES or NES Classic, but nah, they’d rather ignore that path and go this weird route with the Switch’s subscription service.
I tell you, this sort of ignorance and stubbornness is what drives gamers right into the arms of emulators, and I don’t blame them. When gamers are holding out wads of cash, willing to buy older games that they love, and a studio ignores them, then of course they’re going to look elsewhere. It’s a stupid loss for the studio.