Some things are just too good to be true. Apparently, one of those things is a Walmart pre-order for the upcoming SNES Classic Edition.
Last week, Nintendo’s highly anticipated follow-up to the NES mini went up for sale on Walmart’s website. In a development that shocked literally nobody, available units sold out in a matter of minutes, leaving many gamers frustrated and empty-handed. Some lucky individuals, however, did manage to snag a reservation for the in-demand plug-and-play machine and, until earlier today, were sitting happy in their secured retro glory. But much to the dismay of customers, cancellation emails started going out to anyone with a proper pre-order, and just like that, the 16-bit dream died. Actually, that may be a little dramatic, but the whole debacle is rather ridiculous and is undoubtedly rubbing people the wrong way.
Today’s email message cited a possible “technical glitch” for the mishap, and said that the fact that the item was even displayed on the website in the first place was a massive mistake. After cancelling what seemed to be a random swathe of orders over the past several days, it took Walmart almost an entire week to officially get word out on the full-scale take-back, as it were. Not exactly a good look, and it doesn’t bode well for what is sure to be an absolute scramble for the SNES Classic Edition once it officially releases here on September 29. The entire ordeal is hot on the heels of yesterday’s seemingly random restock of the NES Classic Edition at ThinkGeek, which saw various bundles of the discontinued mini console sell out in under an hour.
As it stands, it’s unclear if the SNES Classic Edition will see a round of actual (and non-cancelled) pre-orders in the US. Apparently, Nintendo has opened pre-orders overseas at retailers like Amazon UK but has yet to set anything up on these shores. Given the demand for this tiny machine, it seems like the responsible thing to do, but knowing Nintendo’s strange supply and demand track record, I’m not holding my breath. The most likely scenario is long, early morning September lines at Targets, Best Buys and Walmarts and paltry shipments that will only sate a small portion of said crowds. I’d honestly love to be proved wrong, though.
It’s currently unknown how many pre-orders Walmart took in before it pulled the plug, but judging from the response on Twitter, it seems to have been quite a few. Honestly, this is feeling a lot like the early amiibo craze all over again, with phantom stock hitting websites at odd hours and orders getting haphazardly scrapped. My hope is that, in an official capacity, pre-orders will actually hit major sites in the near future and everyone who wants a SNES Classic Edition is able to secure one. Though the more I think about it, the more such a rational, no-hassle approach to video game retail seems like a pipe dream.
So tell me: Were you one of the unlucky SNES enthusiasts who had their pre-order cancelled? Or did you manage to miss this fail-boat entirely? Let me know in the comments or on social media. Also, check out my op-ed on the SNES Classic Edition here.
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