Nintendo's retail partners seem to be having some trouble with the SNES Classic. Walmart today sent out a mass email to customers who preordered one of the retro consoles through its US website when it was briefly available Friday night.
"Thank you for your interest in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Classic Edition," Walmart.com senior director of customer care Deserie Dulaney said in the email. "As you are aware, this is a highly sought after console that will launch later this fall. Unfortunately, due to a technical glitch, the Super Nintendo Classic Edition was mistakenly made available last Friday evening ahead of the official release date. We, regrettably, will have to cancel this item on your order. We know that this is incredibly disappointing to you, and we're truly sorry for this mistake."
Dulaney said that the system launches officially on September 29, adding, "I do hope you'll give us another chance to earn back your business."
Walmart had been the only major North American retailer to open preorders on the SNES Classic at all. In Europe, outlets like Amazon and even Nintendo itself had taken reservations on the system, but there were still problems. After opening up its preorders, Amazon UK retroactively imposed a one-unit-per-customer limit, cancelling any additional systems preordered. Emails sent to affected customers simply explained, "Unfortunately, there's been a change to the availability of this item on Amazon.co.uk" and apologized for the inconvenience.
The fretting over preorders is due to fears that the SNES Classic will be a repeat of the NES Classic, which launched to overwhelming consumer demand with insufficient supply, resulting in re-sellers imposing huge markups on the system. Nintendo apologized for NES Classic shortages in February and pledged to ramp up production, only to discontinue the product in April. Nintendo reported total NES Classic sales of 2.3 million, though with re-sellers still asking $200 and up for the originally $60 system, it seems clear that number could have been significantly greater.