This week I am going to predict something. When I wrote about Tamagotchis a few weeks back I talked about how companies utilize people’s feelings of nostalgia by re-releasing old toys, retro clothing and more. One such trend that is happening right now is the production of “classic consoles”. Those consoles are new consoles, built to look like the ones you would have owned in your younger years (but smaller) and they contain games that were released for that console at the time. The console generally comes with around 20 games, most of which are popular titles. By producing and selling those classic consoles companies hope to earn some extra money by re-releasing games that already exist. While these consoles are not exact copies and barely contain any games compared to the volume of the original console’s library, it works because people are buying them out of nostalgia.
Nintendo started this trend by re-releasing its very first homeconsole in the form of a small yet compact, sleek-looking, limited-edition NES: the NES Classic Edition. Fans were ecstatic when the news came out and the consoles sold like hotcakes. Later Nintendo did the same thing with its second homeconsole, the runner-up to the NES: the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) Classic Edition. This too sold well. There are multiple reasons why this is the case. First of all, Nintendo cleverly used its fanbase’s nostalgic feelings. Secondly, Nintendo only released a limited amount of the consoles, during the holiday season. This was a great marketing move because people get antsy when something is only available for either a limited amount of time or when there are only a limited amount of copies available. Not only that, but around the holiday season people buy tons of gifts for family, friends and themselves. Last but not least, the classic versions offered 20 games that were highly popular and bestsellers when they first came out. Anyone who owned the original console must have owned or played at least some of those popular titles. Including those popular games increases the chance of a player remembering the game and wanting to play it again.
Since the classic consoles were such a success, Sony decided to participate in the trend by announcing the release of its very own PlayStation Classic Edition. People who used to play on Sony consoles instead of Nintendo consoles would now also have the chance to relive their youth. Based on the Nintendo’s classic series’ success, this PlayStation Classic Edition should also become a hit, right? I’m actually not sure. Like I said, part of the succes of classic console relies on the games it offers. The NES Classic Edition included Castlevania, Donkey Kong, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy, while the SNES Classic Edition came with F-Zero, Star Fox, Super Mario Kart and EarthBound. Sony revealed its classic series in September and finally disclosed the game lineup today, but, it seems that some fan favorites are missing. Notable titles on the revealed list include Rayman, Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid and, most importantly, Final Fantasy VII. However, it does not contain Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, an undisputed classic, nor does it include Tomb Raider. Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot are absent as well.
The lack of important titles struck the wrong chord with some people and my Twitter feed has been blowing up with online personalities saying they are no longer planning on buying Sony’s new classic console. Knowing the impact that these people have on their fanbase, I suspect that they will influence others enough to have them refrain from buying the PlayStation Classic Edition too. This leads me to believe that Sony is not going to do nearly as well as Nintendo with its classic series. In the end I’m not necessarily interested in actual numbers, but more with the general consensus that the gaming community has. So what I predict is that, even if the console will sell, it is probably going to go down in gaming history as a failure.