Blog: Is the Switch too expensive?

I got chatting with a co-worker the other day about video games, and the whole console versus PC debate. He loves his Xbox One. Fair enough, we can’t all be perfect. Then I asked him what he thought about the Switch. “Too expensive.”

The usual Nintendo fanboys seem happy with the $300 USD ($400 CAD) price of the Switch. However, I’m hearing my co-worker’s sentiments echoed by more and more people.

When you shop for an item, you look at price and value. Those two are not always mutually exclusive. Something cheap can have high value, while something expensive can have low value. The Switch is shifting dangerously close to that latter category.

So what does its $400 Canadian price tag actually get you? Well, you get the Switch of course, along with a TV/charging dock, HDMI cable, and uncharacteristically for Nintendo, an AC adaptor. Remember when the 3DS used to ship with those?

Now if you want anything else on top of that, say a game, prepare to get hosed. New games are the usual $80. Yay low Dollar. However, the peripherals is where they’ll get you. A new set of Joycon controllers will set you back a whopping $100. The Pro Controller costs $90. Nintendo Canada hasn’t listed prices for additional charging docks yet, but they retail for $90 in the States. So you can expect those to sell around $115-$120.

Of course some of these are entirely optional. For the sake of argument though, we’ll say you’ll want the console and a game, and the Pro Controller is going to be a lot better than the Joycons for couch play. So you can expect to spend in the ballpark of $570 for the optimal Switch experience. Plus tax.

Oh, and Nintendo will be now be charging for online play on top of that. The price has not been disclosed but I’d be shocked if it’s any less than $70 for the year.

Now remember what I said about price and value not being mutually exclusive. Both the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S can be had for $380 regular price these days. Both consoles come with a pack-in game, which is usually a “triple A” title.  You already have everything you need to get you going, for less than what the Switch costs on its own. It’s worth noting that both the Xbox One and PS4 feature more powerful hardware than the Switch. So you’re getting even more bang for your buck. The only drawback is that neither system is portable. However, I suspect most Switch owners will leave their bulky tablets at home in the dock.

While on the subject of the Xbox One and PS4, their accessories are also $10 cheaper on average. They also both ship with ample storage space for you games. There’s another hidden cost for the Switch. It comes with only 32GB, which is less than a lot of similarly priced phones these days. You’ll need to pick up a MicroSD if you don’t want to haul carts around. These aren’t that expensive, but it’s another hidden cost.

Despite it all, the high price certainly hasn’t deterred early adopters, with most pre-orders selling out within hours. However, it’s going to be tough convincing non-fanboys. Particularly with Nintendo’s less than stellar track record with the Wii U. 

I was stoked when Nintendo first unveiled the Switch. However, my enthusiasm has dropped like a rock over the past week. Not just because of the cost. The list of games announced was a bit lacklustre as well. Not to mention a lack of confirmed launch titles besides Breath of the Wild. Finally, we had Nintendo pulling a classic Nintendo move by introducing yet more gimmicks. Motion control is dead, just accept it.

As with all these articles, it’s important to shove in a disclaimer that my critique doesn’t come from a place of hate. Nintendo has made some of my all time favourite gaming systems, and it would be a great loss to the industry if they collapsed like Sega did. However, I keep seeing them make the same mistakes time and time again. You can’t continue with 1980s business practises, and assume Mario nostalgia is going to continue drawing sales. The gaming industry has changed a lot since the NES days.

However, I wouldn’t write the Switch off this early in the game. The 3DS had a rough start due to its high price and lack of games. Now it’s arguably one of the best handhelds ever made. Right now, it’s best to wait and see how the market reacts to the Switch. If the price is indeed too high, and initial strong sales are unsustainable, we’ll likely see cuts within the year. As with any new console, its usually best to play wait and see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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