If yesterday we were talking about how PlayStation and Xbox had historically fallen in price, today it’s Nintendo’s turn. The Japanese company is on its own when it comes to its consoles both in terms of price and launch stage and if there is one thing it beats Sony and Microsoft, it is the long periods in which its consoles do not fall in price.
Almost four years after its launch (which will be in March) as Alex Barredo reminds us, Nintendo has not lowered the prices of its flagship console, the Nintendo Switch. €319 that has remained intact over time and with the small revision of 2019. The fact that the passage of time does not make a dent in the value of the Switch may surprise but the truth is that something totally normal in Nintendo.
Let’s look at the company’s recent console price history along with the reasons that can lead them to be so conservative about it.
Nintendo Switch, a history that repeats itself
After three years and nine months, the Nintendo Switch has not dropped in price. Considering that its NVIDIA X1 chip is from 2015, that’s incredibly surprising. But there is a similar precedent, as we will see in the following table.
In the case of the Nintendo Switch, we have put an asterisk because 3.84 years (or 1,398 days) have passed and the price has not yet dropped since its launch. There are anomalous cases such as the GameCube which dropped even before being released because before reaching Europe it was a launch disaster in Japan and the United States.
Thus, of the € 249 that Nintendo had planned to sell it for here, it finally came out to € 199. Even so, not many were sold around here, and in a year and a half, Nintendo launched an official lowering promotion to € 99.
The case of the Wii is where we really start to see the Nintendo idiosyncrasy, which we pick up on in these old statements by Satoru Iwata:
It is my personal opinion, but when the price of the model drops after a certain time, the manufacturers are telling consumers that it is better to wait, and I have always thought that is a mistake
After launching adjusted in price to € 250, the company took almost three years to lower its price something that happened in September 2009, given the pressure that sales of PS3 and Xbox 360 began to generate.
A console was as successful as the PS4 was at 50% of its launch price when the Nintendo Switch has not even dropped for the first time.
In the case of the Wii U, Nintendo lowered the price before it was one year old due to its sales problems. Even so, it was a console known to download very little during its life, and there is a lot written about it on the Internet. Nintendo lost with each console sold but its price did not make it appealing to jump for one against the new generation of PS4 and Xbox One.
Finally, we come to the Switch which after almost four years is still at its original price. Yes, it is true that there are specific offers in very specific distributors but not by Nintendo policy. The only nuance that can be made to Nintendo’s policy is the existence of the Switch Lite but deep down it is not a price drop per se because it is still a different approach and in no case is it the same because it breaks the duality of being able to be used as a portable and desktop console.
What’s behind late price drops
In the case of the Nintendo Switch and the original Wii, it doesn’t take much thought to understand why they took so long to drop in price: their success. This year, Nintendo’s laptop-desktop has exceeded the combined sales of the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube. Recently, it has surpassed the mythical NES, and although it is doing very well in terms of sales by the end of its third year, the Wii had sold more.
Nintendo Switch is the best-selling console of 2020, and every time it sells at a faster pace: a price decrease does not make sense from a financial point of view
That data from the Wii is worth to understand why it took so long to go down from € 250 to € 200. When there is a high demand for a good, lowering does not make much sense if it can be squeezed. The opposite case to this is the GameCube, and to a lesser extent the Wii U, because as we said, it did not go down hard in its entire life, since Nintendo sold at a loss and does not have a strategy history like Sony’s (you just have to read what Iwata said in the previous section).
According to VGChartz, the Nintendo Switch is the best-selling console of 2020 repeating what was achieved in 2019. But the thing does not stop there. In almost its fourth year, Switch sells each year more than the previous one, something for which other consoles have needed Slim models and price drops.
The same goes for Nintendo games. The flagship titles of the console, such as ‘ The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ‘, ‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ or ‘ Super Mario Odyssey ‘ maintain their price spectacularly well over time, because they are timeless games and that anyone who comes to the console is going to want to have. Nintendo being Nintendo, and giving lessons, in its own way.