Nintendo started out as a small family business more than a century ago making traditional Japanese playing cards, and has undergone difficult transitions in its business to survive. Since it started making videogame consoles, the company has seen its fortunes rise with its Nintendo Entertainment System in the 1980s, and then fall in the 1990s as it lost share to rivals Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp.
Because Nintendo puts a great deal of focus on cash flow, it tries to keep its inventory as low as possible. Such a strategy is rare among Japanese companies, which have tended to focus on revenue growth and market share.
The old guys in the family were scared to make too many lest the company get back on the verge of bankruptcy.