Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime insists that the stock shortages which so badly impacted the launch of the NES Classic Mini won't be replicated when the Switch arrives this March.
Speaking to Wired, Fils-Aime stated that Nintendo has two million consoles earmarked for the first month, and the supply chain this time around should prevent sellouts:
What do you foresee in terms of the number of Nintendo Switch consoles that you'll be able to release in 2017?
Fils-Aime: What we've said publicly is that there will be 2 million units that will be shipped worldwide for the launch, essentially through month one.
I know, because I read the boards and I read the comments, that there is concern about supply. From what I've read, the concern seems to stem from the lack of ability to buy NES Classic. So what I would say is this: Two million for essentially the first month is a huge number, especially when you look and see that this is not peak seasonality. This is essentially the first three weeks of March. Our focus is making sure that the consumer who wants to buy a Nintendo Switch can buy a Nintendo Switch. That's how we build our supply chain, that's how we think through the amount of product that's available.
What happened with NES Classic is that was a situation where the global demand was well in excess of anything we had anticipated, and that's what created shortages. The good news, at least for consumers in the Americas, is we're going to continue to make the NES Classic available. With the ongoing level of supply, the ongoing demand is going to be met. We know the concern.
On the topic of the NES Classic Mini, Fils-Aime claims that "incremental demand" for the system caught Nintendo totally off-guard:
Did the surprising, to you, demand for NES Classic open your eyes to understanding the popularity of classic Nintendo products in this day and age?
Fils-Aime: We know the popularity of our classic games. That's a known situation. The challenge for us is that with this particular system, we thought honestly that the key consumer would be between 30 and 40 years old, with kids, who had stepped away from gaming for some period of time. And certainly we sold a lot of systems to that consumer. But what we also see here in the Americas is that we've sold a lot to [fans] who just saw a compact, all-in-one opportunity to get the 30 greatest games from the NES generation. I think that incremental demand is what surprised us. Because again, how many times have you purchased the original Super Mario Bros.? We thought that the consumer that already had a Wii or a Wii U and had purchased those games once or twice already, we didn't think that they'd buy the NES Classic. And they did.
Finally, Reggie spoke about the status of the 3DS now that the Switch is on the scene, and once again reinforced Nintendo's stance that Switch is a home console first and foremost rather than a portable, giving the 3DS room to co-exist:
What does the launch of Switch mean for 3DS?
Fils-Aime: 3DS has a long life in front of it. We've already announced games that will be launching in the first couple quarters of this year. There are a number of big games coming. And in our view, the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch are going to live side-by-side. You're going to be meeting different price points, you're going to be meeting different types of consumers, you're going to have the newest, freshest content available on Nintendo Switch, you've got a thousand-game library available on Nintendo 3DS, plus some key new ones coming. They're going to coexist just fine. We've done this before, managing two different systems.
I think there's a sense that Nintendo Switch is a portable device. It is portable. But at its heart, it's a home console that you can take with you on the go.
What do you think about Reggie's statements? Can the 3DS really survive with the Switch around? And are you hopeful that you'll be able to secure a Switch at launch? As ever, we want to know.