I’m seeing numbers all thrown around usually around $250-$399(!). I do not know what all the parts cost, but I do know that without backwards compatibility, NS can be cheaper than people suspect (without 3DS or Wii U parts inside).
Let’s take a walk down memory lane of Nintendo and their pricing decisions in the past.
DS launched at $149. A year later, the price dropped to $129.
Wii famously launched at $249 with Wii Sports packed in. In NA, Wii was sold out for 3 years.
3DS launched at $249. After disappointing launch sales, in less than 6 months, the price was dropped to $169 with free Virtual Console games given to early adopters.
Wii U launched at $299 for Basic, $349 for Deluxe (Deluxe has more memory, was black, and included Nintendo Land).
Some additional information: As part of a Iwata Asks interview (though I cannot find it, maybe they removed it for competitive purposes) or one of the gazillion pre-Wii launch interviews, I remember Shigeru Miyamoto talked about how they went about making the Wii. The original idea was to have a $99 machine. But then they started adding in more things like an internal solid state harddrive and other parts. The idea was to aim low to sell to the masses. I suspect it was a same idea with the DS. The DS sold well at launch, the Wii sold REALLY WELL at launch.
With the Wii sold out for three years in North America, Nintendo received the criticism that it priced the Wii too low. Nintendo apparently took that criticism to heart for the 3DS and Wii U. Nintendo quickly lowered the price of the 3DS because they know handhelds are their bread and butter.
After the 3DS launched, Iwata said that Nintendo did not want the same problem to occur to Wii U. But it did.
Much is being made of Switch’s custom Nvidia Tegra chip. “It is going to be more expensive because of that,” cry the reader. I think it will be CHEAPER because of it. I bet Nintendo got a sweet deal from Nvidia as Nvidia was very thirsty about getting a console maker to use its technology.
While mobile smartphones and tablets have altered the mobile computing landscape, it has dramatically lowered the price for the parts. These parts are plentiful and there are many makers.
Based on all this information above, there is one additional interpretation I must make. Nintendo really screwed up the 3DS and Wii U launches. The pricing was all wrong on the 3DS. The software was all wrong too. Using my Ouija board to have a seance with Iwata-san, I can safely predict that Nintendo will be aggressive on the pricing to avoid another 3DS or Wii U scenario. There will be only ONE model available.
Part of the reason for the reveal is so Nintendo can do focus group testing on it to determine a price. It is unknown whether the JoyPad central thing (that both attach to) will be included with it. It may or may not. We do not know if a game will be included.
Keep in mind, too much is at stake here. The Switch HAS to succeed. Nintendo WILL be aggressive with it. I think Nintendo would be willing to even take a loss at launch in order to forcefully push the Switch out there. Due to all this, the probability will be at the LOWER END of the possible price range.
My prediction: $199.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo tries to get $150 price point but that may not be possible.
Now would the beautiful reader purchase a Nintendo Switch at $200?
I know I would.
I know most people would.
Damn thing would be sold out at that price point.
I think people are overestimating the price point due to still thinking in a Gen 8 context. 3DS and Wii U both had backwards compatibility, old console parts, inside them. NS does not. 3DS had wacko ‘omg 3d’ parts which were very expensive (look at price point difference from 2DS and 3DS XL ($90 vs $200). Wii U had that strange streaming tech to enable the Gamepad play whatever was on the Wii U. NS is a gaming tablet, with a dock, and some wireless plastic controllers.
Keep in mind that the 8″ Nvidia Shield Tablet is currently $199. This gives us a real life similar product currently out on the market using a Nvidia Tegra chip.
I’m thinking $199 is probably right. $299 is too much. Remember, SWITCH CAN’T FAIL. Expect a very aggressive Nintendo.