$70 Pro Controller? Get out of the Mushroom Kingdom!
Amidst all of the hype of the Nintendo Switch presentation, let’s break one thing down — this thing is going to be one of the priciest Nintendo consoles yet if you actually look at what everything costs. Now, $300 for the console itself isn’t awful on its own. A lot of you actually said you’d pay “no more” than that so it seems like the Big N hit that sweet spot there.
But if you want everything else, including online play, break out your wallet.
It’s a given that we’re paying $60 now for console games, but even ports, it seems, are reaching into that pricepoint. But the real dig is the online service — the first paid online service in Nintendo history. While it’ll be free until fall 2017, at that point it’ll swap into a paid model, with an unknown pricepoint that they’ll probably try to spring on us after everyone has been reaping the benefits. But no matter what it costs, Nintendo needs to actually deliver with this. Will it offer stability, connectivity, and the token “free stuff” that PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold do? All we know right now is that it’ll have some of the latter built in, but it doesn’t sound all that great.
Wait, a free NES or SNES game per month? Those things that cost $5-10, max, and are decades old? I love retro gaming as much as the next guy, but for a fee, you should be getting access to hundreds of games, even if it was just first-party, like a streaming or limited-access PS Now type deal. That would get people’s juices flowing and make them pony up that cash. Willingly. For now, it’s a really tame bonus. Other benefits include “exclusive deals” which is just as nebulous as My Nintendo.
You also have the “rebuy” factor. So you get a “Deluxe” edition of Mario Kart 8. It sounds great on paper, with more characters, tracks, and a “fixed” battle mode. But why are we spending $60 for the privilege of a battle mode that should have been included in the first place? I’m guessing it’s not possible to update the Wii U edition we already bought? I don’t see this “remaster” trend ending with Mario Kart either, so get ready to rebuy some modern classics that failed to sell into their potential on the last console.
Then there’s the peripherals. Woo-hah, this is the most insane part. $70 for a Pro Controller? The same Pro Controller that made hardcore action games, fighters, and other select RPGs that much more tolerable? Oh, and if you want more Joy-Con (the pluralization of Joy-Con is Joy-Con, fun fact!) to play multiplayer — that’ll be $80, or $50 apiece. A charge grip is $30, and another Dock (to play on another TV) as well as the AC adapter/HDMI combo, is a whopping $90.
Then you have the online fee and the aforementioned fully priced retail games, and potential amiibo functionality (recent figures have encroached $20 territory, like the Monster Hunter and the Guardian Zelda toys). With the Wii U, you’d at least have the option to buy dirt-cheap Wii-motes for multiplayer, and use the one included GamePad for everything. All of that changes with the Joy-Con.
It all adds up fast. While I’m excited to give the Switch a try come March (and hunker down for a week straight and play Zelda), it’s going to be costly.