Why Are Nintendo Switch Games So Expensive?

A Nintendo Switch on a stack of books

Gaming is an expensive hobby. And while most games are expensive when they are first released, you can usually look forward to them going down in price. Maybe you wait for a year or so to purchase that game you were looking forward to once it’s a little cheaper.

If you’ve got a Nintendo Switch, however, you might as well pick up your games on day one because the price very rarely, if ever, drops. But why exactly are Nintendo Switch games so expensive?

How Much More Expensive Are Nintendo Switch Games Compared to Others on the Market?

To properly answer that question, it is important to look at the lifespan of an average video game. Video games can be very expensive. So much so, that you may find yourself asking “is video gaming too expensive?” But there’s always a chance they will go down in price, right?

Games usually have a higher price tag when they are first released. But as time goes on, there is less and less demand for the title in question. Eventually, the price goes down to entice more people into purchasing it. The price of an average PlayStation game will drop by around 12% in just the first few months after its release.

Nintendo games, on the other hand, very rarely drop in price. Especially early on in their life span. It’s normal to see a Nintendo game that was released around a year or more ago selling for the same price it was on day one. So how can Nintendo continue selling its games at such a high price point even years after they’ve been released?

1. Nintendo Games Don’t Drop in Value

Nintendo mainly makes evergreen games. This means that they always remain relevant. They are just as much fun to play ten years after they were released as they were on day one. Take sports games, for example. It is not uncommon to see a game like FIFA drop to a fraction of its original selling price as soon as the latest iteration is out.

Sports games have the shortest shelf life of any game on the market, and Nintendo steers clear of any games that will eventually lose their value over time. This way, it can keep selling its titles for top dollar year after year.

2. Nintendo Uses a Cartridge-Based Format for Its Games

Nintendo’s cartridge-based games are hardier than traditional disk-based video games, but they are also more expensive to produce.

Animal Crossing game cartridges and themed switch

Traditional disk-based video games have all their data stored on the disk itself. These disks get scratched extremely easily, especially if you are not careful with them. When a disk-based game gets scratched deep enough, that data is missing from the game and can never be recovered. This has led to gamers trying desperately to fix scratched disks with toothpaste and other wacky items.

Nintendo’s cartridge games have a much longer life span than disk-based games, which is why you can still find original retro games from the NES or N64 that are still in perfect working order. Opting for a unique medium for its games costs Nintendo more money to manufacture. That is reflected in the game’s final price.

3. Nintendo Has a Great Legacy

The same reason Nintendo games are expensive is the same reason Apple products are. It is an extremely well-known and trusted brand with decades of history behind it. People trust Nintendo, therefore, they are willing to pay more for Nintendo products.

A photo of a screen protected Nintendo Switch with red and blue Joy Cons and accessories

In the case of Apple, Nintendo, and other similar brands, you are paying top dollar for the brand name. The products essentially come with a satisfaction guarantee slapped right on the front of the packaging. That guarantee comes in the form of a brand name.

4. Nintendo Has the Nostalgia Factor

Nostalgia is an intrinsic human emotion. People are willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars across many industries to delay the aging process. The physical signs of aging may be impossible to slow down, but the quickest and easiest way to recapture your youth is through nostalgia.

Music, movies, and video games are some of the most popular ways to take a trip down memory lane. And Nintendo has been creating video games since the 80s. It only takes a second to plug in a copy of Super Mario Bros into your NES to be shot straight back to the good old days when you would spend hours sitting cross-legged in front of your parent’s TV with one of the shortest wired controllers known to man.

child playing retro video game

Many of Nintendo’s classics are still available on the Nintendo Switch, making it one of the best consoles for retro gaming. There is nothing quite like indulging in a little bit of nostalgia, and as expensive as Nintendo games still are to this day, memories are priceless.

5. Nintendo Has a Wide Target Audience

Although many consider Nintendo to be a company that creates games for children, that couldn’t be more wrong. Of course, children are part of Nintendo’s demographic. But, during Nintendo’s 2021 Second Quarter Financial Results, it announced that the average Nintendo Switch owner is actually between the ages of 20-30.

Nintendo Switch with a cat

The Nintendo Switch is a console that parents feel comfortable purchasing for their children. It’s also a console that people from older generations who still know and love Nintendo from their childhood gravitate towards. Nintendo has cracked the code in terms of its target audience, which is essentially everyone. And the more people there are who have a Switch, the more people there are to buy its games. Supply equals demand.

6. Nintendo Games Have a Long Shelf Life

Nintendo has proven time and time again that its games have an extremely long shelf life. By opting for a more cartoony and colorful style, Nintendo games age like a fine wine. Have you ever booted up a copy of a game that once had top-of-the-range graphics only to realize that by today’s standards, it is more akin to a muddy mess?

Person holding a Nintendo Switch

Nintendo’s art style, pixilated or not, has always had high contrast and vibrancy rather than the muted color palette of a more moody or serious game. It doesn’t matter how far graphics advance. Mario and Kirby will always look adorable, arguably even more so in only 64 bits. The quality of Nintendo games rarely diminishes.

Nintendo Games Are Expensive but Worth Every Penny

Nintendo is a well-trusted brand, and for good reason. Nintendo manufactures its games with longevity in mind, in more ways than one.

The cartridge-based format Nintendo uses is hardy enough to last well into the future, just like the games themselves. The company is known for producing high-quality, enjoyable games that can provide gamers with entertainment for years on end.

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