Is the Nintendo Switch Really ‘Too Expensive?’

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It seems like we’ve been waiting forever, but the Nintendo Switch is about to launch worldwide in less than a week. The system is set to usher in a whole new way to play video games, all with the classic charm that one would expect from Nintendo. Despite its exciting and unique design, some folks think that its MSRP of $300 is a bit too high. Is the Switch truly expensive?

For starters, gaming in general is a pretty expensive hobby. Whether you’re playing on consoles or PC, it’s usually going to cost you a pretty penny if you’re actively involved. There are all sorts of price ranges out there, but when it comes to new systems, the cost is usually pretty steep. With that said, here’s the first mistake that some people are making: comparing the brand-new Switch to the aging PS4 and Xbox One.

Those other two systems launched a little over three years ago, whereas the Switch is a completely new machine—of course it’s going to cost more. If you really want to make a comparison between the three, then you need to compare their initial launch prices. The PS4 launched at $400, while the Xbox One came in at a whopping $500. This means that those who buy the Switch now will be spending $100-$200 less than those who bought the PS4/XBO at launch. Also, it’s fair to note that neither of those systems included a pack-in game at launch, which is another complaint I’ve seen from some in the community about the Switch.

But of course, the prices that we just mentioned are not the real cost. There’s always a few ‘hidden fees’, which is true for every system. You won’t just be buying a new system, but also a game. The Switch will be launching with a handful of titles that all have different prices, the highest of course being $60. It’s also good to mention that none of this includes tax, which will further increase the  amount of the final bill.

The Nintendo Switch’s price of $300 is less than what both the PS4 and XBO launched at three years ago.

Outside of the hardware and game(s) is where the total price goes in all sorts of different directions. Of course, I’m referring to accessories. I wrote a piece a few weeks ago explaining my disdain for the high price of the Switch’s controllers, so I’m going to leave them out of this article for the most part. Let’s focus more on products that will enhance the experience. For starters, there’s the issue of storage expansion. The Switch comes with 32GB of on-board flash memory; in reality, only 25GB will be accessible to players. Yes, this is a pretty small amount, but it’s not the end of the world. If you own a smartphone, tablet or camera then you should already have a decent amount of knowledge about microSD cards. There are all sorts of different options out there, all possessing different speeds and storage amounts. With that said, how much you decide to spend on your Switch’s microSD card is all up to you. If you plan to buy mostly physical titles you may not even have to use a card, at least for a good while.

Really, microSD cards are a somewhat-optional/necessary added expense for the Switch. Almost everything else is all up to the individual. This includes things like: power banks, USB-C cables, screen protectors, and the like. When it comes to extra controllers and a carrying case, things arguably move back into the gray area of being somewhat-optional/necessary. Buying a new pair of Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller is only necessary if you have multiple people using the system; then again, you don’t have to buy them at the same time that you purchase the system. As for the carrying case, you can get away with throwing your Switch into a backpack or jacket pocket, but it’s only truly necessary if you intend to take the system out with you. Some folks don’t even take their 3DS out of the house very often, so since the Switch is a hybrid there’s a good chance that there will also be a few owners who decide to leave it at home, most likely constantly docked to the TV.

So then, let’s return to the original question: is the Switch truly too expensive? Well, not really. For a new system, it’s pretty standard. When you also take into account that it’s launching at a cheaper price than the PS4/XBO did, it’s an even better deal. It makes no sense to try comparing it to the current cost of those systems. The PS4 Pro is much better comparison, seeing that it launched just a few months ago for $400. The upcoming Xbox Scorpio will no doubt be more expensive than this. With that said, the Switch is the cheapest out of all the newly-released systems. On top of that, the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio are direct competitors, whereas the Switch is literally in a category all by itself. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also the only of three that can double as both a home and portable console. This turns the decision-making process for consumers into a very interesting situation.

It’s true that both the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio have a wider selection of games than the Switch, but this also isn’t a fair comparison to make. Both of those systems are premium editions of existing platforms, whereas the Switch is an entirely new platform. This is the first time we’ve ever had a situation like this, so there’s literally nothing else to compare it to. Everyone’s Switch final bill will vary, but the base package is decent. This is the world’s first hybrid platform: offering the quality of a home console in any location you choose to take it in. While arguably not as capable as the PS4/XBO, the Switch still more powerful than standard tablets, which are much more expensive.

Being the cheapest and most unique, it will be interesting how the Switch fares against the two other new systems.

A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.