Welcome to GameSpot Q&A, a section where we ask our staff and readers an interesting discussion question about video games. Look at this as a forum where you and others can discuss and compare your opinions of this beloved hobby of ours. Let us know what your answer is to this week’s question in the comments below!
This week’s question is:
How much should Nintendo Switch cost?
Nintendo’s Switch is looking to be one of its most exciting consoles yet. But with the console/handheld hybrid finally announced, the current big question is its price point. Our editors voice their thoughts towards the issue in the answers below.
Justin Haywald, Managing Editor
Right now you can buy an Xbox One or a PS4 for $300. Both companies are introducing pricier options in the near future, but especially as we head into the holidays, $300 hits that console sweet spot–it’s not so expensive that it seems outrageous, but it’s not so cheap that it seems like a toy.
Of course, we don’t actually know much about the system yet. From specs to pack-ins, there are a lot of variables that will have a direct effect on the price of the system. Larger storage space is likely going to come at a premium (though hopefully Nintendo forgoes the multiple SKUs of the Wii U). Will I have access to my catalog of Wii U and Virtual Console (and 3DS!?) games? And what kind of entertainment options will the Switch have? If it can replace my PS4 or XB1 as a media hub, those kinds of options could make it more comparable to the upcoming PS4 Pro or Xbox Scorpio, and people might be more willing to accept a premium $500 price. But, keeping it real, this is how I’m going to play the next Legend of Zelda. I’m preordering as soon as it’s available and Nintendo basically has complete access to my bank entire (very tiny) account. I only hope that they’ll be gentle and they don’t get too greedy.
Chris Pereira, News Reporter
While $300 (or less) would obviously be ideal to avoid having the Switch cost more than an Xbox One or PS4, $350 strikes me as a fair price for a system that can seemingly fill the role of home console and handheld. Going much beyond that crosses too far into the price range of mobile phones and iPads, which I think would make for a difficult sales proposition.
Nintendo no doubt wants to recapture the casual audience it lost post-Wii, or as much of it as is still possible in this day and age. It can’t possibly compete with the price of games on mobile–which have proven to be sufficiently entertaining for huge swaths of the gaming market. Ensuring the base price of the system is as low as possible will give it a solid start in trying to lure back part of the audience that helped to make Wii and DS the successes they were.
Miguel Concepcion, Contributing Writer
My gut says the Nintendo Switch will be priced at $299, assuming it also includes a mini-game compilation with the same value of Wii Sports or Nintendo Land. If it isn’t $299, it will be lower, not higher. I think it should be $249 as symbolic middle ground between the current prices of its current handheld (New 3DS, $199) and home console (Wii U, $299).
As an aside, I’m curious how the successor of the 3DS (assuming there is one) will be positioned alongside the Switch. $249 might be a marketable price point if some parents think that they wouldn’t have to buy a separate Nintendo handheld if their children’s portable gaming needs are met with the Switch.
Tamoor Hussain, Editor
Nintendo has traditionally used older components to drive down the cost of its consoles and handhelds. This, in turn, makes it easier for them to make money of sales.
This time however, it’s opted for a custom Tegra processor created by Nvidia and what is described as a “GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top performing GeForce gaming graphics card.” While specifics are to be revealed, the combination of those two bespoke pieces of tech could make the Switch more expensive than we’re used to seeing Nintendo consoles be.
But, yet again, Nintendo is taking an unexpected approach to gaming consoles. For that to really pay off, they need to make Switch affordable enough that people will buy into the idea of a console/handheld hybrid. After the Wii U, adoption rates need to be high; otherwise it’ll be another generation of Nintendo platforms that third-party developers shun. It’s going to be tricky to find the price that’s cheap enough to draw in consumers, but not so cheap that they’re losing money on sales off it. I think the console should come in at around the $300 mark, but in reality it may be a little more expensive.
Eddie Makuch, News Editor
Price is a very important consideration for any console, or piece of technology for that matter. With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting at $300 right now, I would imagine the Nintendo Switch would come in around there. $250 seems too low and $350 is too high, so I’m going with $300.
A report claimed the console will use “industry-leading chips,” (which presumably wouldn’t come cheap) though Nintendo has yet to offer any specifics about the console’s guts, other than that it will use Nvidia components. The console/mobile hybrid nature of the console is a new idea in gaming, so there may be extra costs on Nintendo’s side that will keep the price from being too low.
The Nintendo Switch is coming out six months from now, in March 2017, and there are still many questions to be answered. One thing has always been certain about the Mario company, however: don’t bet against Nintendo.
Scott Butterworth, Editor
I’m just going to attack this logically: currently, a new 3DS costs $200 while a new Wii U will set you back $300. To be a slightly reductive, Switch seems to be a hybrid of the two, so it logically follows that its price will fall somewhere in between as well. Mathematically, that middle point would be $250, but as with all new hardware, we can expect the price to rise slightly to match demand (and cover early production costs). So in my mind, $275 would be a fair price for Switch unless we learn the specs are far stronger than we’re expecting–in which case, I’d bump that up to the Wii U’s $300.