Consumers Are Getting the Nintendo (Bait and) Switch
The Nintendo Switch is about to hit its second month since its March 3, 2017 launch. The console itself continues to sell out as quickly as retailers can stock it. The concept of a home console that you can pick up and take with you anywhere has gone over well with consumers. It looks like Nintendo may escape the stigma associated with the “Wii” brand.
There is one issue that concerns me and should concern any consumer. It breaks into two parts and the first is not as much of a worry. The Nintendo Switch has a decent lineup of games for such a young console, but many of them are titles that have long since released on PC or other consoles. of particular note is LEGO City Undercover, which was a Nintendo Wii U exclusive for four years.
No big deal, right? Nintendo got the shaft on a lot of titles because developers did not see profit in designing Wii U versions of games. The Nintendo Switch is playing catchup in a sense. Like I said, the first part of the issue is not such a big deal. I loved LEGO City Undercover and was happy to play it again in 2017 (albeit not on my Nintendo Switch).
The concerning issue is price; more to the point, the MSRP of many Nintendo Switch games. I do not know if it is Nintendo, the developers or both doing this, but someone is drinking the spiked Kool-Aid. The Nintendo Switch is playing catch-up; that means that a lot of older games are launching for the console. I sit here and scratch my head wondering, “Why are they charging new game prices?”
Here is a list of a few Nintendo Switch titles that have previously been released:
I left out LEGO City Undercover because a) it released at the same time for PS4 and Xbox One as the Nintendo Switch and b) the same pricing offense was committed for those consoles as well.
We start with the big one: Mario Kart 8. This is a Nintendo first party title; one that launched for Wii U nearly four years ago. I grant that there are a lot of additions, changes to the game and the upgrade to Full HD (max res is 720p on the Wii U version). Regardless, this is a four-year old game that you can still find in stores for the Wii U. This one however is a judgement call. Each individual consumer has to decide if the changes are worth an additional $20 or more.
Disgaea 5 Complete is the game on this list actually worth its price tag. Even the base game has near unlimited gameplay and the Nintendo Switch release includes all of the DLC that came to the original PS4 version. I have to praise this release because if you were to get everything that is available for the PS4 version of the game (all of which is in this title), it would cost you over $80. Despite the fact that this is a two-year old game, you would do well to spend the $60. Disgaea 5 being portable on the Nintendo Switch is a huge added bonus.
Our next title I felt was a slap in the face even before I learned the price. Capcom is notorious for relaunching old games on consoles to make a buck, but this takes the cake. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, no matter how you look at it, is Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix with two extra characters. Considering that game is $10 on PS3 and $15 on Xbox 360, would anyone pay $25-30 more for Evil Ryu and Violent Ken? I sure as hell would not.
Our next title is a smack in the mouth, a punch in the face and something else I cannot professionally say in an article. Puyo Puyo Tetris as a very fun puzzle game that can be played solo or against up to three friends. It is also a three-year old title that launched for last-gen consoles and even 3DS. Granted, it has a reduced budget price tag. The digital download is $30 on Nintendo Switch (the same price as the physical PS4 version). The physical release for Nintendo is $40 which gets you…keychains. I am just going to stop right there.
For RiME and Skyrim, I made sure to mention that they are both pre-orders. This does potentially mean that the price could drop before these games come out. RiME is the only game here that is not old. In fact, as of the publishing of this article (May 25, 2017) The first versions (PS4, Xbox One, PC) come out tomorrow. Now let's suppose that the game stays at its $0 price tag. Why in the world would I pay that when:
It is on sale for $27 (MSRP $29.99) on PC, PS4 and Xbox One
It launches tomorrow for other platforms but not until 8/31/17 for Switch
The same situation exists for Skyrim, which has been available since last year on PS4 and Xbox One. Why would anyone pay $60 to get the game “sometime in the Fall of 2017” when they can pick it up today for $30? I love Nintendo but let's be honest – the likelihood that the Nintendo Switch is the one and only gaming platform in anyone's home is extremely low.
(Skyrim does not yet have Nintendo Switch box art)
I am not even going to get into Minecraft and Minecraft: Story Mode. Look them up because the pricing is just insulting. I have to believe that by year's end the Nintendo Switch will be at pace with other consoles and PC in terms of release dates. At that point, it will make sense for games to be $60. However, the gaming community as a whole should not support these older titles (despite the fact that they are good) as long as we are getting overcharged for them.