You have watched Nintendo’s presentation for their hot, new piece of plastic with which the Kyoto-based company aims to conquer an industry they helped shape into form. If you are a long time Nintendo fanatic like yours truly, you are probably used to being disappointed and feeling like you are getting the short end of the stick. Despite their best efforts, the 1h Switch-fest goes a long way to prove 2 things: a) All giant companies are always way more interested in your wallet than anything else, and b) Nintendo is a 120 year old mammoth of a company that’s so desperately Japanese you can almost taste it.
And that is not entirely bad, mind you.
I loved seeing Super Bomberman R feature as a flagship title for the system. It is amazing to see Konami getting back into the game headfirst. Those game case designs? Absolutely delightful and very new-age Nintendo, if that is even a thing. Super Mario Odyssey looks refreshing, beautiful, Breath of the Wild looks like it was made to shine on Nintendo’s new hybrid system and a new spin on one of the company’s finest games ever, Mario Kart 8 is a must for everyone who skipped the original Wii U iteration. Most folks were disappointed with the games shown during the keynote, but that is not the most pressing issue at hand – Nintendo may have single-handedly shot themselves in both feet. With a larger-than-life bazooka.
I was absolutely convinced we were getting a $249/€249 system because, you know, that would make sense. Said price point could, in theory, render the Switch an impulse purchase for the most fortunate among us whilst still being arguably affordable by any standard. But no. Of course not. Nintendo insists on a decade old idea that you have to make money on each and every system shipped to retailers. This system was, and still is their bread and butter. Fine, my American readers will still be able to play the new Zelda on the go by spending some $300 on the system, which is not terrible. Problem is the Eurozone, read: almost every every single country in mainland Europe that buys videogames, is being charged a whopping €330 (roughly $350) for the Nintendo Switch.
At the time of writing, the only thing I can think of is that my fellow Europeans may take issue with this ghost tax on their new console. It is offensive, nonsensical and completely uncalled for. If you are a neutral interested in purchasing a console this Summer in, say, Germany, why would you pay almost €400 to play Just Dance 2017 on a new Switch when you can grab a PS4 Slim bundled with Uncharted 4 for €300? Why is Nintendo kicking the largest combined video game market on the planet in the teeth?
This does remind me of the Nintendo 3DS launch back in 2011. Pricey little system, with a rather poor launch lineup. The system struggled for a while, Nintendo understood they could not sustain their business under such week legs, so they cut the price soon after launch. But this is different. No one bought a Wii U. Nintendo’s toughest battle with the Switch is in winning us back, not marketing the system to trendy millennials. Talk about starting out with the wrong foot.
This price point for Europe may hinder Nintendo’s chances at even having a shot. It certainly tells me they learned nothing with past ventures. It places the Switch as a luxury item that’s clearly isolated in its own little island, hoping you have got some extra cash you do not mind parting ways with just to try out their ‘ground-breaking’ 720p multi-touch screen.
Anything can happen until March 3rd, but as I jot down these words Nintendo has planted a seed that may spoil their European harvest for a whole new cycle.
I have no idea what those people were thinking.