Nintendo is expected to release SNES Classic Edition before the end of 2017, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. Development of the device is already underway, with the finished product likely to be on store shelves in time for Christmas — if retailers can keep up with demand.
The NES Classic Edition launched in November 2016, and it immediately became one of the hottest Christmas gifts around. However, despite its enormous popularity, Nintendo confirmed that the system would be discontinued earlier this month.
Confirmation that a SNES Classic Edition is in the works makes it much easier to understand Nintendo's decision. Fielding both retro consoles as well as the recently released Switch would likely result in overexposure, as the systems would effectively be competing with one another.
Following up on the NES Classic with a similar microconsole based on the SNES allows Nintendo to take advantage of nostalgia for that era of gaming. Crucially, limiting these products to a one-year lifespan ensures that they don't steal the spotlight from the Switch, which is a much bigger priority.
Nintendo is yet to comment on the SNES Classic Edition, but a reveal could come as early as E3 2017 in June. Whatever the timescale, expect to see plenty of debate about which games should make the cut now that it's being reported that the project is real.