Is the price too high or does it make sense? Let’s find out… using history!
Information about the upcoming Nintendo Switch console has been exploding recently, and we’ve finally gotten an official release date and price: March 3, 2017, priced at 29,980 yen in Japan (and $299.99 in the U.S.). The price has gotten a lot of people talking, with many voicing concerns that it’s too expensive, especially considering the Nintendo Switch doesn’t come bundled with any games to play, like the Wii did with Wii Sports.
To put the issue into perspective, Japanese Twitter user @poevil posted a chart comparing the Nintendo Switch’s release price in Japan against the release price of 35 other consoles. Here’s the tweet:
▼ “I made this chart to answer the question
‘Is the Nintendo Switch expensive?’ I feel like I really can’t say.”
『Nintendo Switchは高いのか？』という命題を検証するために、主要ハードの発売価格の分布を図にしたら、なんとも言えない感じになった。（Switchの価格ミスを直しました） https://t.co/Ex4dVrVP6I—
広瀬犬山猫 (@poevil) January 16, 2017
@poevil made a few explanations about his chart as well, saying that the prices were taken from release days for the lowest-price version available. The prices are also not adjusted for inflation, they are simply compared as-is. This might seem strange at first but makes more sense considering that Japan has had very little inflation compared to other countries and prices here have remained virtual identical for decades.
There were also a couple of changes made in the comments, such as the original Game Boy actually being 12,500 yen, and the Xbox 360 actually being 39,795 yen. @poevil also got many responses concerning how some consoles came with memory cards or games, thus making price comparison more difficult. But taking all those variables into account would make a comparison nearly impossible, so he went with whatever came on release day to make it as fair and concise as possible.
All that being said, the chart still makes for some interesting comparisons. Here’re just a few observations:
● First, a Switch is $299.99 in the U.S., but only 29,980 yen ($265) in Japan, so buying a Switch in Japan saves you about US$35. Cha-ching!
● The Switch is cheaper than both the PlayStation 1 and 2 were. Suddenly it sounds like we’re getting a good deal.
● When it comes to more recent consoles, the Switch is cheaper than the PlayStation 3 and 4 by a significant margin, as well as the Xbox 360 and One.
● However, the NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, and Wii U all debuted at 25,000 yen, making the Switch the most expensive Nintendo console.
● The 3DO was priced at 54,800 yen?! No wonder nobody ever had one back then.
Does that all mean that the Switch is expensive? Or does that mean it’s cheap? @poevil still didn’t really have an answer even after making the chart, and here’s what Japanese netizens thought:
“Once you buy all the things you need isn’t about the same price as a PS4?”
“Everything’s just getting more and more expensive.”
“When you look at it this way, it looks kind of cheap.”
“Look at the glorious NES at 14,800 yen. We are not worthy!”
In the end whether or not you find the Nintendo Switch expensive or cheap depends on your point of view. For someone who buys all the new consoles when they come out, it might not be so bad. But for the growing body of gamers who wonder why you would pay more than a dollar for games you can’t even play on your phone, it might seem crazy expensive.
And seeing the reactions of those gamers to how much we paid for the original Game Boy is hilarious…or depressing, depending on your point of view.