Tobold's Blog
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Nintendo Switch game pricing

I haven't played anything on my Nintendo Switch yet, as I technically only get it for Christmas. That hasn't kept me from looking what games there are for the console. Apart from the two "system seller" games Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey there are quite a number of Nintendo and third party games on offer. So the choice is quite good. What is not so good is the pricing.

Prime example: Skyrim. I can overlook the fact that the game is 6 years old. I can overlook the fact that it doesn't look as pretty on a TV screen as it looks on a PC screen. I can overlook the fact that playing it handheld means you run out of battery after a few hours. But why does this game which is sold on Steam for €14.99 cost €59.99 on the Nintendo Switch? Unless you really, really want to play Skyrim on a handheld tablet (unlikely), or don't have a PC able to run a 6 year old game (even less likely), why would you want to pay 4 times more for the same game? But yet sales are quite good.

For me as a PC gamer the era of €60 games looks like ancient history. I haven't bought a €60 game on Steam for years. Most full price games on Steam are cheaper than that, and I don't usually buy full price games; I have enough games in reserve to be able to wait until I get the same game for half price or less. If Bethesda can sell Skyrim for €60, I imagine there must be a lot of console gamers out there who aren't as price sensitive as the PC gamers. For me that just doesn't look like good value for money.

Possibly a different market audience: kids, for example, may find it easier to have access to and receive a portable console as a tangible gift, as opposed to having to be tied down to a PC and Steam (which might be owned or restricted by a parent.)

Then some other relative ends up buying individual games on a cartridge for full price as yet another gift - paying, in essence, a premium for packaging and tangibility.
Being able to play Skyrim easily on trains, planes, buses etc is likely the reason a lot of people are buying it. It's a great port but I agree many Switch games are over priced.

Have you considered docking to a TV, or did you get the Switch for the on-the-go experience?

Also, I was under the impression that porting games to the Switch was supposed to be much easier, so the pricing of games seems to be a bit questionable in that regard. But some of the reviews I've read seem to indicate that pricing is reflective of the take-anywhere crowd they are targeting.
Given the battery life I will play in docked mode most of the time.
I guess some people (me for example) will only ever use PC, and others will only ever use console. For these there will not be the same urge to price compare between formats. It will be more "that was a huge hit on , maybe I should check it out".

But also, I assume, prices are maintained higher on consoles anyway. Breath of the Wild will have a harder time selling for $60 if it comes on Steam, because there is so much cheaper competition.
As a father of two kids (almost 8 and 11 years old) I can't even think of a Nintendo product. Given the attention span of any average child... Locking my boys to ONE console and ONE or TWO games would be insane. Buying 1 Switch + 2 games is a lot more expensive than buying 2x good Android tablets with (almost) infinite free games.
I think the Nintendo market is more insular than many realize, and has less cross-over with the other consoles and PC in terms of ownership. I know more than a few people for whom Nintendo is their go-to source of gaming, and for them this is the first opportunity to play Skyrim. It still seems crass to sell the game at full price simply because the captive audience hasn't had a chance to get it yet, but I guess I can see an argument for the "paying for portability" component....maybe.

The real question is not what it costs right now, during the release and holiday season, but what it costs in six months when the release has once again devalued the game down to a $20 special.

For what it's worth, I'll probably snag a switch (maybe 3) for the family if I can find them for Xmas. Top reason right now is the fact that Skyrim and Doom are both available on it, in portable format. I can't resist the concept of portable Bethesda, and my son and wife are both Nintendo dedicates so....yeah. I like Rugus's idea above, though (and it's a lot cheaper)....tablets are the way to go for kids. My kid has on one day managed to load and play like thirty free titles on his tablet.
@ Nicholas - 4 years ago I gave my older son a Nintendo3D to play Zelda and Mario. He was very hyped and he still didn't have a tablet. I told him "bring me maximum grades and by the end of the year you will get it". He earned the Nintendo... And he played it for a couple of months until he started messing with my Android tablet (under my supervision). He was blown away like I've never seen before. Suddenly... The Nintendo became "obsolete" and he never-ever touched it. Instead he asked a tablet and -once again- I told him "max grades = nice present". He earned his gift, once again and a year later he asked me to sell the Nintendo so I could get some money back and invest it into another tablet for his brother.

I know it's a completely different audience but Nintendo games are extremely expensive. I can't see myself shelling out €50 for a single game, that's a LOT of money. Got 2 kids? That's €100 each time because you know you can't skip a double copy.

The Playstore (Andorid) offers an insane amount of games. Most of the free stuff is F2P but still manages to bring a lot of fun. Other games have a fixed price which is way cheaper in any case and it works on any Andorid device, which means you can even emulate an Android phone/tablet on your PC if that's the case.
Yeah Skyrim at $60 is a rip-off.

I will say the switch has many great games for cheap. Stardew Valley at $15 is awesome and was a purchase for me even though I already on it on PC.

Golf Story is another great little game at $15.

Hopefully the switch keeps adding low priced games alongside the standard $60 titles.
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