Analysts agree that Nintendo needs to price the Switch competitively to achieve success, and that price should not be over $300.
With Nintendo’s reveal of the Switch overnight, many questions were left unanswered. That’s not necessarily out of the ordinary, though, as the company will probably trickle out details from now until launch.
However, aside from questions about content, specs, and technical details, the one big mystery is the price. Nintendo will likely wait until very close to launch to announce it, but it’s not hard to ballpark it.
Consulting to a number of industry analysts, GamesIndustry asked the golden question: how high can Nintendo price the Switch?
Michael Pachter believes the answer lies in the console’s hardware capabilities. “Price pretty much depends on specs, and success depends on both price and specs,” he told the site.
“If the specs are close to PS4, I think they can price around the same ($249), and at most $299. If specs are weaker, price could be lower,” The Wedbush Securities’ analyst added.
Pachter’s point is that having similar specs to PS4 will make porting games to the console easier, which in turn should make it easier for third-party publishers to support it. The reverse is what’s going to happen if the console has lower specs, according to the analyst.
Dr. Serkan Toto, an analyst with expertise in the Asian mobile market, is also on board with the $300 ceiling suggestion. “It’s not impossible by offering the device in multiple versions, i.e. without the home dock,” he said.
“‘Hardcore’ video game fans can, at US$299, already get fantastic devices from Sony and Microsoft. The portable gaming use case, at scale, has been taken over by smart devices,” Toto adds, echoing what our very own Brenna felt about Nintendo’s pitch.
SuperData’s Joost van Dreunen is going one step further, saying that it would be ideal for Nintendo to bundle a launch game with the console at $300, such as Zelda or Mario Kart games. “I’m hoping they’ll keep it under $300, ideally bundled with a Zelda or Mario Kart. Anything over that will severely limit its market potential,” said van Dreunen.
“The reveal suggests it is competing more significantly with traditional home consoles, but with the edge of mobility,” head of games research at IHS, Piers Harding-Rolls, outlining his view.
“Pricing will need to be competitive in this context and anything over $300 may not be a convincing proposition,” he adds, noting that there are a lot of similarities between the Switch and Nvidia’s Shield tablet, which currently sells for $200 standalone.
The Wii U’s pricing vs its specs was one of the reasons the system didn’t amass the user base Nintendo hoped it would get. Hopefully, mistakes made during the Wii U’s launch won’t be repeated with the Switch.
The Nintendo Switch is out March 2017.