Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Nintendo Switch $299

We know some things about the Nintendo Switch, but there are still a whole lot of questions about Nintendo’s new hybrid living room/portable console. Chief among them is the price: it’s a competitive gaming market out there, and Nintendo is going to have to strike the right balance between affordability and profitability if it wants to push these console as effectively as possible. We’ve heard some hints from Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima that the company will be selling the hardware at a profit, and that the Switch will be priced in line with previous Nintendo offerings. Now, a since-removed listing from the Canadian Toys “R” Us website puts the price at $329.99 Canadian, which translates to about $245 US (likely rounded up to $249 if this turns out to be the price).

Standard leak/rumor caveat: nothing is official until it’s official, and we’ve all been duped before. Here’s Nintendo’s official statement: “At a later date, before launch, we’ll be talking about things like price, exact launch date, and of course, the games.”

I had previously been predicting $299, which was the price of the basic Wii U at launch. But this number is still generally in line with what we might consider a “Nintendo-like” pricing, just on the slightly lower end. If it’s true, that’s good news for Nintendo. I could see the Switch moving pretty fast at a price like that. There already seems to be a fair amount of enthusiasm for the Switch, something that an appropriately low price point could help Nintendo take advantage of. Despite the handheld focus, I have the feeling that the Xbox One and PS4 remain the machine’s primary competition, or at least the primary comparison point. Both of those are selling for $299 (with bundled games) right now, and going down to $299 for Black Friday. Holiday pricing sometimes becomes permanent, so keep an eye on that into December.

There are also rumors of a “deluxe” SKU at $299, which would also fit in well with Nintendo’s history with the Wii U, and it’s worth noting that the deluxe bundle sold much stronger with the Wii U. Regardless, I tend to agree with Michael Pachter that $299 is both a ceiling and a totally comfortable price for the Nintendo Switch. Anything below that just sweetens the deal.

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