The affordable Switch: how low prices are helping Nintendo compete

The Nintendo Switch release date is fast approaching, and with it the gaming community has been speculating what the price point would be for the console.  As trends would indicate, console prices go up as economic inflation and subsequent generations drive up the cost. However, Nintendo has been able to keep the introductory price of the Nintendo Switch at $299 USD, which is priced at or lower than the previous generation, released in 2012 /2013: Wii U $299 USD (2012), Playstation 4 $399 USD (2013) , and Xbox One $499 USD (2013).

It seems that Nintendo paid close attention to the cost of consoles after seeing how negatively the community had reacted to the exorbitant introductory price tag for the high memory model of the Playstation 3, $599 USD in 2006.

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Playstation 3’s introductory price point reveal

After that setback for Sony it seemed that all gaming hardware companies began to understand that while technology and hardware had to continue to compete in performance with PCs, it would not be acceptable to push the cost to such an unreasonable point.  In the end, the Xbox 360 won the generation simply due to it being more practical for parents to purchase for their children, and for young adults to purchase for themselves.

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Nintendo has now confirmed the introductory price of the Nintendo Switch

As I discussed in my article The NX Switch: what does next-gen mean today?, Nintendo began moving in an experimental direction with the Wii and has never looked back, their novelty of both game designs and console designs have proven to help them remain competitive while simultaneously taking themselves out of the “hardcore” console competition.  In a way the community may still see the console war as a binary of hardcore consoles, but now, due in large part to Nintendo’s smaller price point and novelty, gamers now think of each generation as Playstation or Xbox, plus Nintendo.

Does cost of a console play a big role in determining which one you will buy, or does brand loyalty play more of a role in your decision? Do you get multiple consoles within each generation or do you typically stay with one? Has Nintendo’s push to be an outsider competitor made your more likely to purchase a Nintendo console along with your typical hardcore console? I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please do so in the comments below, or write in to playprofessor@gmail.com.

Play Professor is the blog of ludologist and video game journalist Andrew Mantilla. You can check out more of his content on FacebookTwitterInstagramand Youtube.

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