Does The GDPR Fix Video Games?

SNES Classic controller buttonsIt seems like a bizarre combination, doesn’t it? On the one hand, you have the GDPR – the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations. On the other, you have an eight month old retro-gaming console. What do these two things have in common? Well, for Memorial Day weekend 2018, that’s what’s been occuping the majority of my time. The serendipitous connection of these two events goes deeper than it seems.

On May 25, 2018 the European Union made it official. The GDPR went into effect. Stricter rules about how to handle personal information hit the Internet. Many websites responded to this event by updating their privacy policy… so many privacy policy updates.

Also on the same date, I reveived the European model of the Super NES Classic as a gift. Why the European version? The American version was still sold out. Oh sure, you can pay scalpers extra money to get one, but normal stores didn’t have it. Amazon, Best Buy, Target, ThinkGeek… but what’s this? Walmart had the European version. That’s direct from Walmart, shipped and sold from Walmart, not a third-party seller.

That was the controversy surrounding Nintendo’s miniaturized retro-consoles. They’re fairly difficult to get. Why are they so rare? Was this artificial scarcity or was Nintendo caught by surprise? Well, in Nintendo’s defense, it could be the latter. Millions of copies of the SNES Classic were sold. That’s MILLIONS!

Meanwhile, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition proved to be a hit in every region, with sales totaling 5.28 million units

With a $79.99 MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price), the SNES Classic might be small in size, but not small in price. It’s fairly expensive for a system that’s over a quarter-of-a-century in age. Why is it so popular? Nostalgia might be the main motivator for getting one, but the experience in playing one is a different feeling.

With 21 games in the library, there is a fair amount of variety. Some of these games, such as Star Fox or Mario Kart, have not aged well. As the old saying goes, “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.” Yet, there were some surprises. There were some games that I hadn’t played yet – and they were really good! How did I miss out on Mega Man X? That game is amazing! Super Punch-Out!! and Yoshi’s Island are also a lot of fun. In fact, these games were way more fun than many of the games I played in the last decade. There are many reasons for this, but one reason stuck out in particular – privacy.