- With the massive success of the adorably small NES Classic Edition and Super NES Classic Edition consoles, it was widely expected that a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition was next in line.
- Nintendo even trademarked images that look an awful lot like the imagery used for the NES and Super NES Classic Edition consoles.
- But Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser threw cold water on the idea in a recent interview. “With some of our classic consoles that we launched a few years ago, they’re now available on Nintendo Switch Online, and this is where our focus will be,” he said.
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Sorry, Nintendo 64 fans: It looks like a miniature version of Nintendo’s iconic mid-’90s console may never come to pass.
That’s according to the president of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser. “Our focus right now is absolutely on our dedicated platforms such as Nintendo Switch Lite and our flagship Nintendo Switch,” Bowser told The Verge in an interview this week. “I think with the gameplay experiences you saw with some of our classic consoles that we launched a few years ago, they’re now available on Nintendo Switch Online, and this is where our focus will be.”
That’s a pretty big surprise given the overwhelming success of Nintendo’s two miniature “Classic Edition” consoles – the NES Classic Edition and the Super NES Classic Edition.
Both consoles re-create the look of the original game consoles, albeit in a smaller size, and pack in a bunch of classic games.
More than just a logical conclusion, the idea of a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition first popped up in trademark filings from Nintendo itself.
In the filing, a distinctive image is shown:
The trademark image isn’t just notable because it’s the outline of the Nintendo 64 gamepad – it’s notable because it’s the same outline of a gamepad that appears on the retail branding of Nintendo’s other “Classic Edition” consoles.
That silhouette of the NES Classic Edition gamepad on the top of the box? It’s identical to another trademark filing image from Nintendo:
This close-up really highlights how similar the image is:
Nintendo filed the same logo trademark in Europe for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System gamepad silhouette, and that same silhouette appears on top of the Super NES Classic Edition box.
Thus, the logical conclusion was that Nintendo was working on a miniaturized Nintendo 64. But it’s been quite some time since that trademark popped up, and Nintendo has yet to announce a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition.
Late last year, former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé threw cold water on the possibility.
“That’s not in our planning horizon,” he told Kotaku in an interview at the time. Notably, he couched his response with the preface, “I would not ever rule something out.”
Still, Fils-Aimé said that such a console is unlikely – a measure of Nintendo’s business calculations around the “Classic Edition” line. “For us, these were limited time opportunities that were a way for us as a business to bridge from the conclusion of Wii U as a hardware system to the launch of Nintendo Switch. That was the very strategic reason we launched the NES Classic system,” Fils-Aimé said.
More clearly: The NES and Super NES Classic Edition consoles were created to keep money coming in while Nintendo transitioned from the Wii U (which bombed) to the Switch (which is a resounding success). And now that’s Nintendo’s doing well again, the need for more Classic Edition consoles may no longer exist.
It’s a major bummer of an explanation that seemingly ignores the massive consumer interest in Nintendo’s classic games library, but it’s a logical decision for a company that’s regained its foothold in the ever-finicky video game hardware business.
Regardless, if you were holding your breath for the Nintendo 64 Classic Edition, it may be time to exhale.