The Nintendo Switch is unconventional in more ways than one. In addition to its unorthodox hybrid form factor, its launch is also a bit unusual, almost unsettling. Breaking away not just from its own tradition but that of other consoles as well, Nintendo won’t be launching the Switch with any bundled games, not even its own 1-2-Switch “tech demo”. That, according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, was a decision made in order to keep the Switch price down to $299.99, nothing more, nothing less.
That price is, admittedly, one of the great things about the Nintendo Switch. Any higher, even just up to $349.99, would have had even fans protesting. Especially when Nintendo’s fiercest rivals are offering equivalent, and technically more powerful, consoles at that same price point. Most have already speculated that Nintendo will try to hit a $300 sweet spot anyway, so meeting those expectations was paramount to the Switch’s positive reception.
But to keep that price tag from growing any higher, Nintendo had to throw out some things overboard. It definitely couldn’t exclude any of the bundled parts of the console, like the two Joy-Cons, the Dock, and the cables. The box actually excludes the Joy-Con charging grip (it only has a regular, non-charging grip) and people are already complaining. What more if Nintendo only shipped with one controller or didn’t include the dock?
But why not include one of Nintendo’s own in-house titles? 1-2-Switch, in particular, seemed like a perfect fit and a great, family-friendly introduction to the rather unconventional Switch. It’s a matter of perception as well. Although it’s already being panned as more like a demo, Nintendo wants gamers to treat 1-2-Switch seriously as a very serious and comprehensive game that has a lot more to offer than Nintendo let on in its presentation. To that extent, Fils-Aime is comparing 1-2-Switch more to Wii Play than Wii Sports, and the former was sold separately from the console anyway.
Nintendo’s strategy with titles for the Switch, however, is already earning some criticism. While it will be arriving with a heavy hitter like Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild on launch date, the rest of the roster is viewed as relatively weak. The absence of the new Super Mario Odyssey will probably hurt it the most. The Nintendo Switch launches March 3 for that sweet $299.99, whether you get the all grey or neon versions. Pre-orders disappeared quickly but there will definitely be a few enterprising and not so innocent people who will try to take advantage of the hype, so beware.