Nintendo Switch Games are More Expensive

You may have escaped the turmoil re Nintendo Switch game prices last week so here’s a recap. Rime, a puzzle adventure game, announced it was coming to X1, PS4, PC and Switch in both digital and physical copies. It’s price will be £29.99… unless you have a Switch at which point it is £39.99. Eurogamer pressed the developers for an answer and received a distinct non-answer. But now the reason is coming to light.

The Legalese

Officially developers that release Nintendo Switch games are free to set their own price structure. This is similar to other platforms as well. If they wish to remain profitable, however, there are a few drawbacks.

Rime’s Developers

The official line given by Rime’s developers when they were coming under fire was as follows. “We set prices for our products based on the costs of development and publishing for each specific platform.”

Cartridge Calamity

In layman’s terms the reality appears to be that Nintendo’s oh so cute, but please don’t eat them cartridges are expensive. Or at least considerably more expensive to produce than Blu-ray discs. The latter is so mass-produced now and the tech is more affordable which is why both games and movies have fallen in price over recent years.

Additionally current game fits on the same old Blu-ray. Nintendo Switch games need to decide which cartridge size they need and that affects the price. The cartridges can be 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB and the price goes up accordingly. Additionally smaller runs by indie companies can expect to incur additional charges.

Screenshot of Rime
Rime caught flack but it wasn’t their fault. And the game looks awesome!
Size Matters

With the size of your game making the difference between whether some games will be profitable or not developers are stuck. They going to be pouring in extra time and resources to try to cut the game down to size. It just doesn’t seem a sustainable model to build a platform on.

Digital it is then…?

Erm no. Nintendo have decided to stick behind the physical retailers and as such have insisted that games cost the same regardless of format. That means a digital copy will retain the physical price. Ouch!

Other Games with the Same Issue

Obviously it’s very early days for the Switch so the list of games available is slim. However, it’s not fair to single out Rime, especially as it’s not their fault. Puyo Puyo Tetris also carries a £10 premium over the PS4 copy (£24.99). This policy means many of the newly signed up Nindies are going digital only in a bid to keep prices down. After all, a high price point can spell death for a smaller developer. Snake Pass, which comes out on 29th March, will be doing this to allow its £15.99 price-tag to stay the same across all formats.

Is it worth the Investment?

Nintendo Switch itself was a costly item and with a limited lineup of overpriced games it’s not looking good. The idea was solid but with the only standout title being Zelda I think most gamers who haven’t already jumped will be putting the Nintendo Switch on hold for a while. Myself included.