Over the weekend, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reported that the Nintendo Switch would cost ¥25,000 at retail. At current exchange rates, that’s roughly $213, but most are assuming Nintendo of America will slide it up to $250 for launch.
The paper indicates that this figure is what they’re predicting the Nintendo Switch will cost; while they don’t have a proper source, they do have a track record of being in the right ballpark when it comes to these predictions.
Let’s assume that Nikkei is spot-on here. We’ll know later this week one way or the other, but let’s just consider the $250 price point official for a moment.
That will be huge.
The Nintendo Switch will be the cheapest console by far
Right now, the standard PlayStation 4 is going for $299.99, and it’s typically bundled with a game. You can land the PS4 Pro for $399.99 all alone.
The Xbox One S is moving for around $299.99, while the standard model is almost impossible to find in new form.
If the Nintendo Switch launches at $249.99, it will stand as both the newest and cheapest gaming console. Even further, Nintendo can corner both the home and portable gaming markets in one move with this single device. They won’t replace smartphone gaming, of course, but consumers would be more inclined to drop $250 on a device they can play at home or on the go than they would simply a home console.
The $250 price point makes up for the reported lack of power
Rumor has it that the Nintendo Switch won’t be all that powerful. That makes sense for a lot of reasons. First, Nintendo’s recently had a track record of being the least powerful platform when next to the other consoles. Graphical capability, while important to the company, seems to be of a lesser priority when compared to attempted innovation and price point.
Nintendo’s bent on pushing out consoles without losing money. That is, they sell their machines from day one without a loss. If the Nintendo Switch really does cost $250 at retail when it launches, then Nintendo will have spent less to create the device. That’s how the company has functioned for a long time, and I don’t see that changing.
With that in mind, I think it’s okay that the Nintendo Switch is less powerful than the PlayStation 4. It makes sense that I wouldn’t be able to take a 4K capable gaming machine with me on the go. I don’t necessarily want that, either. I want something that plays great games, has decent battery life and doesn’t absolutely destroy my bank account. A marriage of those three principles will be hard to nail, but Nintendo could do it at this price point.
And, quite frankly, I don’t think I’d have a problem with its lesser horsepower at the rumored $250 mark. Would I want more power? Sure, absolutely, but the price point makes the rumored graphical prowess, or lack thereof, acceptable to me.
The Wii U and Nintendo 3DS were priced horribly at launch. Nintendo paid for those mistakes, too. The Wii U launched at $349.99 for the 32GB form, a storage capacity that gets even more laughable over time. The Nintendo 3DS launched for $249.99. Nintendo wound up correcting the mobile platforms mistake less than a year later by slashing its price to $169.99, and the 3DS skyrocketed in popularity.
One has to assume that Nintendo’s learned something about the cost of hardware since. If they price the Nintendo Switch at $250, I think consumers will be excited.
What do you think of the rumored price point?