Nintendo has always done things differently from the other companies in the same space in so, so many ways. One of those is that for a very long time, their consoles have been profitable from day one. That’s one thing that won’t change about the Nintendo NX.
“We’re not thinking of launching the hardware at a loss,” Nintendo’s new president Tatsumi Kimishima said last week during an investor call. “Selling at a loss at launch would not support the business.”
Typically, companies like Microsoft and Sony sell their consoles at a loss. The plan is that each new console sold will result in a buyer who spends more than that loss over the course of the console’s life. That plan seems to be working, because both companies keep doing it.
Nintendo, though, has always been pretty conservative about pricing and business strategy. They tried selling the Wii U at a loss, and, despite some of the company’s best-loved games yet appearing on the system, the system couldn’t live up to the sales requirements necessary to make up for that loss.
Kimishima said during the call that the company is keeping that in mind as the NX is developed, and intends to keep costs down so that the system isn’t damaging the bottom line on day one.
This is something to keep in mind as we await the new system. If the system is going to be sold to, at the very least, break even, it could end up being either overpriced for the market or under-powered compared to the competition. That will, of course, depend on what exactly Nintendo’s plan is for the system. If they’re going the route of a portable-console hybrid, all bets are off.
In recent years, Nintendo has leaned toward less powerful systems that sell at more consumer-friendly prices. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that continue, but Nintendo’s also at a turning point where something needs to change to keep their investors happy. They may take a different approach this time, going for something more expensive and more in-line with their competitors.
We’ll find out more as we get closer to the system’s March 2017 release date. We’re hoping Nintendo will give us some more details at E3 this year, but they’ve been evasive about what they’re going to say and when so far.