We’re approaching two weeks since the SNES Classic was announced, and North American retailers have still not begun pre-orders.
The SNES Classic is already available for pre-order in Europe, but North America hasn't seen online retailers accepting a single pre-purchase. This had led many to ask the question "what gives?" Especially considering the pre-order pages are already created for many of the biggest online stores across the continent.
So what could possibly be holding these vendors back?
There are many theories circulating around online, but the leading one has to do with FCC approval. Every electronic device sold in the US that emits any kind of electromagnetic radiation must seek and receive FCC approval before it can be sold. This is mainly to keep that device from messing up the delicate balance of radio waves that fill the unseen void all around us. A non-compliant device could cause havoc for cell phones or wifi for a surprisingly large area.
When a larger corporation makes a new device and intends to sell it in the US it’s common practice to get this approval pretty early on. Nintendo might have left things a little late expecting the approval process to be pretty straightforward (any EM radiation emitted by the tiny device would be minimal at worst), and also to try and limit any potential early leaks of the console’s specs.
Most American retailers have internal policies that prevent them from selling any device that doesn’t have the requisite government approvals, so this may be why we still haven’t see the SNES Classic pre-orders go live. Microsoft has already announced that the reason you can’t pre-order an Xbox One X is due to a pending FCC approval, so the idea doesn’t sound too far-fetched.
That said, there are few counterarguments to be made here. Firstly, the SNES Classic isn’t supposed to emit any radio waves at all. As a remake of the original console, there’s no wifi modem on the device to send or receive info via radio waves, so the SNES Classic shouldn’t really require FCC approval.
There’s also the question as to why we still haven’t seen the SNES Classic on sale in Canada, where FCC approval isn’t required for anything.
The other theory as to why we’re all still waiting is that retailers are gearing up for a massive influx of pre-orders and they want to ensure their systems can handle it. Or it could be because they’re all getting together to tackle the scalping problem that saw thousands of NES Classics appear on eBay for two or three times the price in store.
Whatever the reason, we’re all getting a little impatient to snag one of these bad boys for ourselves. Hopefully, the SNES Classic goes on sale soon and we can give our F5 finger a rest.