As of the time of this writing, Nintendo fans currently situated in the United States, Canada, or Mexico are still currently awaiting for their respective major retailers to allow for pre-orders in order to theoretically secure their very own SNES Classic Edition console. This latest Nintendo console is the successor to the now discontinued NES Classic Edition that quickly sold out throughout and slightly past the 2016 Holiday Season.
Nearly five days after the United Kingdom kicked off a global chain reaction of pre-orders around the world beginning on June 26, other countries including Austrailia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and New Zealand have all had various retailers go live with their pre-sale of the Super Nintendo Classic Edition.
With equal amounts of angst and disappointment, this has led many trying to determine why there is such a gap between North American retailers and the rest of the world. One re-occurring theory floating around is that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has yet to approve the device for consumer use, which may have been a counter-measure to prevent an information leak about the project until it was officially announced by Nintendo. The major flaw with this theory is that Canada and Mexico would be out of the equation as to why their pre-orders have yet to go live, as the FCC only retains jurisdiction to regulate within the United States of America and its territories.
So, if it’s not the FCC slowing down our Star Fox 2 dreams, one can rightfully question what else could be it? After some sleuthing, in my opinion, I believe that answer may lie within the hands of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), at least according to the information publicly available. For some background context, the ESRB is a non-profit that is responsible for assigning age and content ratings for video games and serves as a self-regulatory body to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It’s common practice for retailers to use this ESRB rating as a means to determine the required minimum age of a customer to purchase video games.
The first exhibit and the smoking gun to my theory is actually located directly on Nintendo’s official product page for the Super NES Classic. Located at the bottom of the web page, past all the enthralling information on the 21 games and two controllers this system is packed with, is displayed there in white and black that the console toting an ESRB rating of “T”. This isn’t for ‘Too Bad North Americans’, but rather “T for Teens”. This implies the product has been certified and approved by the ESRB.
Trying to verify this information according to the ESRB website, there are currently zero results for a Super Nintendo Entertainment System SNES Classic Edition. Absolutely barren results indicate that this device hasn’t actually been certified.
However, there is a result for the NES Classic edition, which was stamped with an “E for Everyone 10+”. The ESRB certificate for the NESCE can be viewed at http://www.esrb.org/ratings/Synopsis.aspx?Certificate=34529.
To dive deeper down the rabbit hole, both placeholder pages on Amazon and Wal-Mart’s websites currently list the SNES Classic Edition as “Rating Pending”, which nearly all but confirms all suspicions that is not in fact the FCC, but rather in fact the ESRB who is the final wall between North Americans and our 16-bit SNES bricks.
No matter the actual reason for the delays, whether it is the FCC, ESRB, some escaped Pikmin jumping all over Reggie (Nintendo of America President), or some nefarious internal Nintendo scheme, I believe Nintendo of America could at the very least inform their fans of the problems and issue a public apology for dropping the ball, yet again.
Information in this article is the author’s speculation, therefore may contain inaccurate information.