Nintendo could release Switch for $199 right now

With a new console comes new speculation, curiosity, and a ton of interest around how it will perform. Nintendo’s Switch may be a home console shoved into a semi-portable package and offered at a reasonable $299 price (a somewhat comparable tablet is in the $300-$400 range), but that doesn’t mean it can’t become an even sweeter deal.

The Switch launch bundles differ only in colour of the Joy-Con controllers. Otherwise, they include the Switch console itself, left and right Joy-Con, USB-C cable for charging, HDMI cable, Switch dock, Joy-Con grip, and a pair of wrist straps for each controller.

The accessories included in the box for the console are each sold separately, and total about $110-$120 in added value. The dock, charging cable, and HDMI cable come bundled for $90, while the wrist straps and Joy-Con grip aren’t sold separately but would likely be about $10-$15 each if sold separately. (The Joy-Con Charging Grip is $30, but has additional functionality above the one included in the Switch launch bundle.)

This all leads us to the conclusion that Nintendo could likely offer a Switch console for about $100 less than it currently is by simply omitting some of the things in the box. Ditch the aforementioned accessories, and Nintendo could sell the Switch with just the Joy-Con and a charging cable, turning their latest console into an impulse buy for many consumers.

Nintendo could easily ditch this stuff and drop the Switch price by a third.

A cheaper, portable-only Switch wouldn’t dilute the company’s message, either. The console could still conceivably connect to a TV with a USB-C to HDMI adapter, or used in tabletop mode with the Joy-Con in each hand for those at-home gaming sessions. Many gamers will choose to use the Switch as a portable console rather than docked at home, and a lower price would certainly bring more gamers into the fold who might otherwise balk at a $300 price tag.

Utilizing a strategy like this may cannibalize Nintendo’s own 3DS sales, as its larger handheld, Nintendo 3DS XL, currently sells for the same $199 price we’re suggesting. However, with the portable hitting its sixth year on the market in February (the 3DS XL model is coming up to five years in July), it is due for another price reduction from its current price to a more-palatable figure in the $149 range. Edge out the mid-tier Nintendo 3DS, leaving only the 2DS and 3DS XL, and Nintendo could have a killer lineup of portable consoles and home consoles that also happen to be portable. We’ve actually got some bigger ideas for how Nintendo could make the Switch their lone portable console, but that’s for another time.

Nintendo likely bundled everything with the Switch from the beginning to increase perceived value while making more profit. The dock, grip, wrist straps, and cables are likely less than $30 to produce but add $100 to the package. Various high-end USB-C to HDMI adapters which also charge a device and include a standard USB-A port retail for about $60. Nintendo’s dock does exactly the same thing.

As time goes on, and the consoles become even cheaper to produce, the $199 strategy will become even more viable. Or, the Kyoto-based company could also utilize this strategy as a last resort to boost sales. If the console is selling even close to the numbers they moved for the Wii in the mid-late 2000s, there’s no need to reduce the price of their hardware. However, if they see that adoption slows dramatically after the launch sell-out fades, this strategy could be instrumental in moving these units. There’s nothing technically stopping the company from doing this right now, but launching a new console is always the best time to cash in on early adopters willing to pay more for bundles.

Nintendo Switch has been receiving a ton of praise from gamers over its unique design and portable features (though not for its paltry launch line-up), and Nintendo could choose to switch things up even further with value bundles of the console that expose the console to a wider set of consumers more concerned with price than they are with having a bunch of accessories in their home entertainment unit.