[Update on 1/8/17]:
It has come to our attention that the Nikkei article that we based this story on is actually an opinion piece, not a factual news article. The writer is speculating on what price the Switch would need to sell at for it to be a massive success.
Note that although it’s not a news report, there have been prior rumors pointing at this price point. Basically, this doesn’t prove or disprove the $250 launch price and we’re simply back to where we were before this “news”. Official word regarding price will be announced Thursday night!
There has been a lot of speculation about the price point of Nintendo’s new hybrid console, the Switch. We’ve heard before that it could come in at around $249.99 in the United States.
A few months back there was the Canadian Toys R Us leak that showed it costing about $329 Canadian, which would translate to about $250 here. Then Laura Dale wrote an article stating that UK retailer GAME had told her to expect a basic package at £199.99 and a deluxe package at £249.99. These prices convert to about $249 and $299 respectively.
Now the Nikkei, a prominent Japanese newspaper with a pretty decent track record for breaking Nintendo stories, has reported that the Nintendo Switch will cost 25,000 Yen in Japan, which converts to about $213. Historically Nintendo has converted the exchange rate for its systems as 10,000 yen = $100 in the U.S. So, assuming they are still using this methodology, that would put the Switch at $249.99 over here, lining up with previous rumors from last year.
Assuming this pricing is correct, I think the Switch is positioned to have a very successful debut. Nearly every person I speak with about the system was expecting Nintendo to price it higher, some thought as high as $400 because you’re essentially getting two systems in one. Granted, many of the people I spoke to aren’t as tech savvy and don’t obsess over system specifications like some hardcore gamers do.
Still, if the perceived value of the Switch is higher than $250 for many people then it has the potential to sell extraordinarily well. For this to be true, Nintendo has to knock it out of the park with its marketing and library of games. So far its preview video has garnered a ton of views and pretty much universal praise for the concept of taking your home games on the go. If it can relay that message in a clear manner to the entire population then it could have another hit on its hands.
The core power of a device is rarely the most important deciding factor in a system becoming a success. Throughout history we have examples of Nintendo achieving great success with lower powered machines. The NES wasn’t as powerful as the Sega Master System. The Game Boy was inferior to the Atari Lynx and Game Gear. The Nintendo DS couldn’t hold a candle to the PSP. The Wii, well you get the picture. What it’s come down to in every one of those success stories is price point, perceived value, good marketing, and some must-have games. At this point in time I feel like Nintendo has done a great job with perceived value and marketing. The jury is still out on price point and the game lineup.
We will learn more this Thursday night at 8 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. CT / 11 p.m. ET when Nintendo airs its live from Tokyo Nintendo Switch presentation (watch it here). They are expected to announce official release details, including price, release date, and games. The following day at 6:30 a.m. PT / 8:30 a.m. CT / 9:30 a.m. ET the Nintendo Treehouse will go live to show off some games shown in the presentation from the prior night in greater detail. We also believe retailers like GameStop will begin pre-orders in stores this day. We will keep you up to date on all Switch news as it breaks.