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Consoles

So, how did SNES Classic scalpers do on eBay?

Hint: Not as well as they did last year.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Hoping to get your hands on the practically perfect pint-sized Super Nintendo Classic Edition? Things might be looking up. A batch of official numbers from eBay -- yes, eBay itself -- suggest that Nintendo's mini-SNES is far less profitable for scalpers than you might have thought.

Last year, its impossible-to-find predecessor, the $60 NES Classic Edition, easily sold for $240 on eBay -- four times the sticker price and a handsome $180 profit minus tax and shipping. (Even a used NES Classic can still fetch $150 today.)

But eBay tells CNET that the new, $80 SNES Classic Edition sold, on average, for just $165 on launch day. Sure, that's still double your money, but it means each unit is worth nearly $100 less to scalpers on average.

(My math teacher always asked me to show my work, so here you go: $165 revenue - $80 cost = $85 profit for SNES... compared to $240 revenue - $60 cost = $180 profit for NES. $85 - $180 = -$95, that's $95 you lose on profit. And that math doesn't include eBay's commission, any PayPal fees and the cost of shipping.)

Not only that, but eBay's sales already seem to have slowed -- from 240 units an hour on Friday to 90 units an hour over Saturday and Sunday. Over the weekend, the average sale price was $158.50, according to the company.

(Note: We're only measuring consoles that actually sold -- not the crazy prices some scalpers are asking for. Those don't count.)

Nintendo said it would ship more SNES Classic consoles on day one than it did of the NES Classic all last year, and that certainly seemed to be our experience when we hit up stores in the wee hours of Friday morning

That's not very helpful if you didn't nab one yourself, of course. But there's reason to be optimistic. If scalpers are having a tough time selling the SNES Classic for a huge profit, perhaps these inflated prices will come down -- and perhaps they won't bother snapping up as many of the additional shipments Nintendo has promised in the weeks to come.

Alternatively, maybe you can win one right here at CNET. We're giving an SNES Classic away!

Nintendo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.