Nintendo games are too expensive

Nintendo games are expensive. Almost all recent Nintendo Switch games, except for WarioWare: Gather!, was $59.99. These games never get permanent price reductions. This means that these games stay at full price for years, or even become more expensive as they are no longer produced.

While the overall success of the Nintendo Switch may justify Nintendo keeping prices high, in doing so they are hurting their own business by being actively anti-consumer. Overall, it feels like Nintendo doesn’t put much thought into its pricing.

New games with less content

New games from Nintendo often release with minimal content at launch at high prices. Mario Strikers: Battle League launched with fewer characters, fewer scene options, less mechanics, and less depth than its predecessor Mario Strikers: Charged on Wii. Nintendo Switch Sports launched with 6 sports, the same amount as launched with the original Sports Wii except this game is not a free bundle but a full $59.99 (not even mentioning that 3 of the 6 sports are returning, and one of the new sports is badminton which plays awfully similar to tennis). Mario Party Superstars only launched with 5 decks, all of which are remakes, while every N64 Mario Party had at least 6. Despite this, all of these games are still launching for $59.99.

The menu for Wii Sports Resort (2009) Boasting double sports as Nintendo Switch Sports (2022)

The menu for Wii Sports Resort (2009) Boasting double sports as Nintendo Switch Sports (2022)

These games are released incomplete, but are still released at full price. Although more content can be added for free with patches, that does not excuse us being sold incomplete products at full prices. Why are these Nintendo games getting more expensive while having much less content?

Ports at premium prices

When Nintendo found success with the Switch, they immediately started transferring the library from the Wii U. Games like Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pokken Tournament, and many more have finally found their way to Nintendo Switch. Almost every port released on Switch was released for the full price of $59.99.

These ports add minimal content. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Jelly added an easy mode, Pokken Tournament added some new characters, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker added 4 new stages. These ports don’t do enough to justify their high price. In 2014, Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD which brought a significant graphical overhaul, new quality of life additions, hard mode, and improved controls for $49.99. New Nintendo ports made little effort to match Windwaker HD quality while charging more.

THE SOURCE: GameXplain on YouTube

Nintendo Sales

As PlayStation exclusives get older, they get cheaper. games like The Last of Us Part II God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn, can all be found in a price range of around $20 to $30. Nintendo Switch exclusives aren’t any cheaper. Nintendo will usually make a few sales throughout the year, but their games will never get permanent price drops. This leads to games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Jelly on Switch, a 4-year port of an 8-year-old game, still priced at $59.99.

Catch up with new releases

This is a problem for several reasons. Players who missed a game at launch might find that the price of the game has actually increased. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a great example. Given Xenoblade Chronicles 3 comes out next month Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition was released 2 years ago, and Pyra/Mythra were added to Super Smash Brothers Ultimate last year, interest in the Xenoblade Chronicles series has never been higher. However, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 did not produce too many copies at launch. That means it can be hard to find even a used copy for less than $60. That’s not a problem with PlayStation exclusives. Forbidden Horizon West came out earlier this year, and copies of Horizon Zero Dawn retail for around $10 to $20.

The Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Official Store Page

The Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Official Store Page

In the long run, keeping games expensive is probably losing Nintendo money. The release of a new game in a franchise is great publicity for new players who have never tried it before. I know players who want to try the older Xenolame games but cannot because of the price.

Reviving interest in dead games

Nintendo is sitting on several Switch games that no one will buy at full price in 2022. There’s no reason to buy games like Arm, switch 1-2, Where Splaton 2 in 2022. These games no longer have developer support and are rarely announced by Nintendo; they are irrelevant. Why are they full price?

Arms Gameplay (2017)

Arms Gameplay (2017)

People would buy older games if they had significant price reductions. Leaving them at full price only deters consumers. Not to mention that games like Arms and Splaton 2 also require an online subscription to play. The barrier of entry for these dead, 5 year old games is too high. Selling these games for $10-20 might make more money than keeping them for $50-60, where no one will ever buy them.

Nintendo and anti-consumer business practices

Nintendo isn’t exactly new to the anti-consumer realm. They take a active stance against fan games by issuing DMCA takedowns, although these games were born out of fan passion. They continually tried to shut down competitive events, despite these events being free publicity for their products. Nintendo also has its library of retro games and online services locked behind subscription fees, though these features are virtually unchanged from the Wii U era. also to Nintendo itself.

I love Nintendo games and want to play them. However, Nintendo’s pricing is outrageous compared to the competition. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a great game, but there’s no reason it’s still listed at $59.99 5 years later. Other big games on a similar scope around the same time are all much cheaper. That’s why I and many others have jumped on a lot of Nintendo games from this generation.

The store page of God of War (2018) where the game is currently listed at $19.99

The store page of God of War (2018) where the game is currently listed at $19.99

The Switch is often marketed as a console for everyone, but Nintendo’s pricing is more of a barrier to entry than any other console. If you want to learn more about Nintendo’s anti-consumer business practices, check out this article on Nintendo and video game preservation!

Timothy C. Mayo