There are many out there that think that the Nintendo Switch is priced too high. There are some pretty good reasons for this.
- The PS4 and XBox One are cheaper
- They are more powerful
- There is no pack in
- People believed the rumors
While some of these are good points, I still think that the $299 price tag is justified. Why?
- You're getting two controllers with the system
- There is a lot of tech in these controllers
- Each one has its own bluetooth radio
- NFC in the right
- Each one has HD Rumble which could turn out to be nonsense, or it might be amazing. People that have used it have said its the real deal, but only time will tell.
- You're getting the option to take this console on the go very easily.
- You're getting a screen, no TV needed
I think this all adds up to a very justifiable price of $299 even without a pack in. That being said I think Nintendo could have sold this system for $229 and made even more money. At this point I fully expect people to be wondering about my math skills, but rest assured, this is going to make sense in a moment.
First off we have to look at how Nintendo is marketing the system. Nintendo is a very conservative company, that also likes to take risks. They like to take risks with a Plan B in thier pocket just in case things don't go the way they anticipate. They are saying The Switch is a console first handheld second. I think this is because Nintendo is looking to the 3DS to save them if things go awry. They have done this before. When the DS was announced they said the Gameboy wasn't going anywhere and we all saw what happened there, the DS gained massive adoption and Nintendo washed its hands of the GBA.
Let's look at the comparative power between the Wii U and the Switch. The switch is definitly better. We can see this in the frame-rates and resolutions that Breath of the Wild for Wii U is pushing compared to the Switch version of the same game. But in passing the non-discerning gamer might not even notice the difference unless looking at both at the same time. Now lets compare to the 3DS, That is a massive difference in power. We're going from 240p to 720 minimum, and if you connect it to a TV 1080p! That's a really great selling point. However $300 is kind of expensive for a handheld system. What to do?
Well, if you want to sell this thing cheaper you have to cut something out of the equation. What could Nintendo remove to lower the price?
- Joy-Con X 2
- Joy-Con Grip
- Joy-Con strap
In this list I see two things that aren't essential. The Dock and the Grip. The grip is a hunk of plastic with some cheap LEDs in it, and I think is there to make some games a little more comfortable to play. It's probably insanely cheap to make, so cutting that out isn't going to lower the price of the system enough to make a difference.
The Dock however is totally unnecessary! You can get every ounce of fun out this console without it, sure a lot of people are going to primarily play this on their TV, hell some Switches, may never even leave the dock. If we look at how much they are charging for the dock, it seems like a pretty hefty part of the sticker shock.
What if Nintendo showed a little less trepidation about ditching the 3DS. What if they said, screw the Wii U, screw the 3DS, we're going ALL IN on Switch. Then they sold the Switch in 3 different bundles.
- Portable bundle $229.99 comes without the Dock
- TV bundle $299.99 comes with the Dock
This gives customers more flexibility.
- I'm only going to play my Switch on the train!
- (Okay you get the Portable bundle)
- I'm only going to play my Switch on my TV!
- (Here is your TV bundle with the Dock)
- I'm not really sure how I'm going to play my Switch
- (Buy the portable bundle now, and pick up the dock later, or for a little less jump right into the TV bundle)
Doing this would have dissipated a lot of the sticker shock people were experiencing. It would have prevented a lot of bad press that Nintendo has received since unveiling the Switch. Not all of it of course because you can't please everyone and some people aren't happy if they aren't angry. And in the long run, more people would buy it at launch (if they can find it) Meaning a faster growing install base and happier 3rd party developers. For every person that gets the portable bundle and then later "upgrades" by purchasing a dock Nintendo now makes more money off that sale.
So what do you think? Is this something Nitnendo should have done? Let me know.