Looking for Nintendo's retro, but incredibly hard to find NES Classic video game console? Your search just got a whole lot harder.
In a statement emailed to USA TODAY, Nintendo confirmed that it would be discontinuing the elusive game system with the last shipments for the year rolling out this month.
"We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability," says the company in a statement. "We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product."
The $60 NES Classic was a surprise hit when it launched late last year. Unlike rival video game systems such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which feature cutting-edge graphics and lifelike games, the NES Classic was more or less a shrunken repackaging of the original 1985 console that had an HDMI port that allows it to be plugged into modern TVs. The console came complete with a retro controller, 8-bit graphics and 30 pre-installed classic games including Pac-Man, Tecmo Bowl and Super Mario Bros.
Retailers struggled to keep the console in stock, with the system often selling out in seconds when they had stock available. For many, the secondary market seemed to be the only way to get the system, though this often came with a steep markup. Several NES Classic's were going for more than $200 on eBay Thursday afternoon following the announcement.
It is unclear why Nintendo is stopping production or if there are any plans to bring other consoles, such as the Super NES or Nintendo 64, to market in its place. USA TODAY has reached out to Nintendo and will update when they respond.
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal
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