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Nintendo to ship more SNES units at launch than it did for NES in 2016

There may be millions of SNES Classics available this week.

Sarah Tew/CNET
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The SNES Classic. It's tiny.

Finding Nintendo's amazing mini-SNES, launching Friday Sept. 29, could be immensely difficult. You might be up all night refreshing webpages, or standing in long lines. (Here's our expert guide to buying one.) 

But there's a chance that Nintendo will actually have far more SNES Classics available to purchase than we originally thought.

"Nintendo will ship more units of the system on launch day in the U.S. than were shipped of the NES Classic Edition system all last year," reads a line in press releases that Nintendo issued Thursday morning and earlier this month.

What does that mean? It's tough to say, because Nintendo won't clarify the statement. (We asked.) 

But it could mean that Nintendo will literally have millions of SNES Classics waiting for buyers at launch.

Nintendo wound up shipping 2.3 million NES Classic Edition consoles worldwide before it was discontinued in April, and 1.5 million of those were sold sometime before February 1st, 2017. We don't know if Nintendo's is comparing US numbers to worldwide numbers, or US numbers to US numbers, but it's possible Nintendo's saying it'll have a million-plus consoles in US stores tomorrow and more around the globe.

Online inventory trackers (which are not necessarily to be trusted) do suggest that there could be quite a few units available for linegoers tomorrow morning. For instance, while one of my local Walmart stores may have as few as 16 units in stock, Target stores in my viscinity are allegedly reporting between 50 and 80 units per store. 

And while Nintendo's boasting far greater availability for SNES Classic on day one, the company's press releases hint that day one may not be your only chance: There will be "subsequent shipments arriving in stores regularly," according to Nintendo, which should continue through the end of the year and into 2018.

Earlier this month, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told the Financial Times that buyers shouldn't have to pay scalper prices for a mini-console this time around. "I would strongly urge you not to overbid on an SNES Classic on any of the auction sites," he said. "You shouldn't [have to] pay more than $79.99."