Depending on whom you ask, the Nintendo Switch is either a good deal or overpriced. Now that I’ve seen many of the things the system is capable of, I feel that $299.99 is probably a fair price for all of the technology included. Keep in mind this is a small form factor, includes modern standards like USB-C charging, capacitive touchscreen, 802.11 ac, etc. It also includes two functional controllers in every box, something that can’t be said for most other systems. Plus, it does have additional value as you can double as a portable device and a home console, a huge benefit to many people out there. Would I have liked it to be cheaper? Of course! But, I don’t think it’s too far off the mark and it’s an acceptable price point.
But, where Nintendo is really crossing the line is the price of its accessories. Typically Nintendo has seemed to offer fair pricing for its controllers. The Wii U Pro Controller retails for $49.99, and its Wii Remote Plus is $39.99 and optional Nunchuk is $19.99. So, imagine my sticker shock when I saw that the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $69.99! That’s a full $10 higher than its leading competitors and $20 higher than its previous Pro Controller. Granted, it does include motion controls, HD Rumble, and built-in NFC for amiibo support, but that seems awfully expensive for a single controller.
It doesn’t end there, however. Let’s say you want to purchase more Joy-Con controllers; you know those small accessories that slide onto the sides of the Switch. Well, assuming you only purchase one of them Nintendo is going to charge you $49.99. If you decide to go for a double pack you get a nice price break at $79.99, making them each effectively $39.99 – the same price as the original Wii Remote. I understand these things have quite a bit of technology inside of them, but these prices seem a bit extreme. I’m not sure why anyone would ever buy a single Joy-Con unless they lose one or if Nintendo decides to bring out variations, like one with a real D-Pad.
Now, keep in mind that if you’re buying more Joy-Con controllers so you can play certain games 2-player (such as ARMS, which requires each person to wield a Joy-Con in each hand), you’ll probably want to also be able to charge them, right? Or perhaps use them as a functional second controller with dual analog controls. Well, that requires you buy a Joy-Con Charging Grip, which will set you back another $29.99. For those keeping track, that’s $80 plus $30 for a total of $110 to have a complete second controller in some situations. Granted, many games do allow for you to simply use one set of Joy-Con controllers for two-player action, so you may not need to purchase another set.
Now, I was surprised by the Pro Controller’s price, but I’m blown away by how much Nintendo is charging for another Nintendo Switch Dock. As you probably know by now, the Dock is what you place the Switch into in order to play your games on the TV. You get one in the box when you buy it, but if you have multiple TVs in your house or are going on a trip and want to take a Dock with you, an extra one would be a great thing to have. The good news is that Nintendo is making them available to buy. The bad news is it’s going to set you back $89.99! Now, I’m not technical wizard when it comes to pricing components, but isn’t the Dock basically a chunk of plastic that holds the Switch in place and simply charges it and allows it to pass a signal through to the TV? We know it doesn’t have any type of computing power, so I have to believe that Nintendo is making bank on this accessory.
Really the only accessory that Nintendo is offering that’s cheaper than its Wii counterpart is the Joy-Con Wheel set at $14.99. You get two of them instead of just one. Hurray.
I don’t usually complain about accessory pricing. I know that’s where companies make back a lot of their research and development costs and it’s also where retailers have a larger margin. But, usually I can justify the prices in some manner. In this case, they just seem higher than they should be. I know I won’t be purchasing an extra Dock anytime soon.
Another area where Nintendo might be pricing a bit too high is some of its software for the Switch. Let me preface by admitting that I haven’t played these games yet, so perhaps they will be worth every penny. But, I can’t be the only one out there that raised an eyebrow at the asking price for ARMS ($59.99) and 1-2 Switch ($49.99). ARMS looks like a full-fledged and feature rich 1-on-1 fighting game, so perhaps the asking price is fair. Although, keep in mind to play the game with 2 people you need a total of four Joy-Cons, so unless a friend comes over with some you’ll need to shell out $80 and possibly another $30 to charge them. 1-2 Switch looks to me like a Warioware or Wii Play type of game. These typically sell for less or come packaged with an accessory. I can’t help but think this would have been a great way to sell more Joy-Cons – bundling the game with the 2-pack. As it stands the game seems extremely shallow and very, dare I say it, gimmicky and I’d have a difficult time spending $50 on it based on what I’ve seen.
Nintendo also announced that it will begin charging for its online multiplayer service this fall. Since we don’t know all of the features or the pricing, I’m not going to complain about or praise the decision. Time will tell whether or not that’s a good business and consumer move.