Article 1—Nintendo Instant Redemption Certificate (1991)

Click to View: Certificate Letter Envelope

In 1991, the Federal Trade Commission investigated allegations that Nintendo of America had violated antitrust laws by engaging in illegal “price fixing.” The subsequent
lawsuit claimed that Nintendo had been bullying retailers by threatening to cut off their supplies if they were found to be discounting the sale prices of Nintendo products. As part of the settlement, Nintendo had to issue $5 coupons to consumers who had previously registered Nintendo products.

About five million of these coupons were mailed to Nintendo fans in all 50 states. Each was accompanied by a letter from the attorney general of the state in which the recipient lived—in my case, Roland W. Burris of Illinois. Even though Nintendo appeared to be in a position to lose up to $25 million, the entire affair was seen as a victory for Nintendo. It was impossible to benefit from the settlement unless you went out and bought a licensed NES game, which put money right back in Nintendo’s pocket!
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