Walmart confirmed today that it will in fact be canceling all of those SNES Classic preorders it accidentally accepted last week when the product page was mistakenly put live. The company is notifying preorder holders via email — some of whom are game journalists who’ve posted the note to Twitter — saying, “We know that this is incredibly disappointing to you, and we’re truly sorry for this mistake.” Well, there you have it, folks: the SNES Classic preorder party is over, at least for now.
“Unfortunately, due to a technical glitch, the Super Nintendo Classic Edition was mistakenly made available last Friday evening ahead of the official release date,” Deserie Dulaney, the senior director for customer care at Walmart, writes in the email. “We, regrettably, will have to cancel this item on your order.” Walmart did not charge those who purchased via credit card — the retailer, like many others, only does so when the item ships — and those who did pay via PayPal or with a gift card and had the amount withdrawn from their account are getting refunds.
It’s unclear how many orders Walmart accepted in the small window of time last Friday when the coveted throwback mini console was “available.” Those who did notice that the page for the SNES Classic was put live starting around 11:30PM ET were able to put in their credit card info and even got a confirmed October 6th arrival date. It all seemed so promising.
But Walmart customer service representatives began clarifying through the company’s website and on Twitter that the SNES Classic “was not scheduled to be displayed” and was “released too soon.” Walmart then began canceling orders seemingly at random. The whole affair sent Nintendo fans into a frenzy, as some users held onto the faint glimmer of hope that only some, and not all, of the orders would be canceled — and that perhaps their own would be spared. The confusion and miscommunication continued all throughout the weekend and well into this week, as some preorder customers still saw their orders as “processing” on Walmart.com.
That it took the retailer nearly a week to begin issuing a definitive answer on the cancellations will likely not go over well with the game community, many of whom are tired and frustrated with Nintendo’s supply tactics and its lack of communication around SNES Classic availability. Yet as recent history has shown time and again, nothing short of global catastrophe will prevent a popular nostalgia-fueled Nintendo product from selling out in seconds.
Nintendo has opened preorders for the device overseas, including on Amazon UK, but there’s no word yet on when or even if North American customers will be able to put orders in before the September 29th release date. When the SNES Classic does become available, however, we can expect the same crowds to scramble once more in an attempt to secure their own unit. The question now is which retailer will be the first to sell the product without breaking people’s hearts first.