Switch Game Prices May Rise Due to High Cost of Cartridges

A recent report suggests that physically manufacturing Switch games could be very expensive.

Indie game Rime recently caused a bit of a stir in the gaming world when it was revealed that the Nintendo Switch version of the adventure title would cost about $10 more than it will for any other console. Naturally, this raised some questions such as “Why?” and “Can we expect more of this in the future?”

Eurogamer looked into this matter a little further and believe that they’ve found an answer to both of those questions. 

Officially, Rime developer Tequila Works commented that “We set prices for our products based on the costs of development and publishing for each specific platform.” Eurogamer took that vague statement as a lead and are beginning to believe that part of the problem is that Nintendo Switch’s cartridges cost more to manufacture than Blu-Ray disc titles.  

The news gets potentially worse. Not only are Switch cartridges more expensive to make, but it appears that they come in one of several formats (ranging from 1 GB in storage capacity to 32 GB) which can also impact the cost of the individual cartridges. Furthermore, it’s possible that the number of cartridges printed can further impact the overall cost, meaning – as the article points out – that indie developers who sell more copies than they initially expected to sell could incur additional costs. 

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In the case of Rime, Tequila Works is reporting the Switch version is being handled by an outside studio, so they are unsure regarding its exact cartridge size at this time. 

This same report also claims that Nintendo may require developers to ensure that the price of their physical releases matches the price of a game’s digital download. If that’s true, it would make it impossible for developers to offer Switch owners a digital discount to help offset the physical manufacturing costs.  

While the Switch’s price increase only seems to have affected two games thus far – Rime and Puyo Puyo Tetris – it seems that some developers may be in a bit of a bind unless they wish to release digital only versions of Switch games.

Nintendo has not yet commented on this matter, but if this is indeed their policy on the matter, it is an outright awful one. The higher manufacturing costs of Switch cartridges are bad enough when you consider that the Switch itself is viewed as a very expensive console in comparison to previous Nintendo releases, but the digital only policy is a real slap in the face to consumers who wish to own physical versions of their games. 

The situation is even worse when you consider the Switch’s limited base storage space that makes it hard for owners to download the – apparently more affordable – versions of their favorite games without relying on the Switch’s SD expansion slot. While PlayStation and Xbox both also suffer from digital releases that are slow to see discounts, those consoles do not suffer from many games that are outright more expensive to purchase physically.