Eurogamer Examines Why Nintendo Switch Games Are Ending Up More Expensive

Eurogamer has published an interesting article this afternoon looking into why Nintendo Switch games are more expensive in some cases than Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games. One example of this is RiME which costs £10 more if you want it on the new Nintendo Switch console. The publication has heard that the manufacturing costs are higher with the Nintendo Switch as the console uses cartridges which cost more to make than Blu-ray discs. You can give the article a read, here.

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48 thoughts on “Eurogamer Examines Why Nintendo Switch Games Are Ending Up More Expensive

    1. I was thinking the same.
      It is just Rime… If later on even more games are released that are more expensive on Switch, then we can talk, not now.

      Besides, if the cardridges are the problem then we would have to ask, why the digital version costs the same.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Sure, cartridges cost, and I’m certain Nintendo wont be offering same kind of deal to a indie dev as they would offer for Bethesda for example.
        As far as I know, Skyrim is launching at the same price that it launched on any other system.
        Indie devs should keep to digital if physical medium is not within their reach, because shit like this will cost them sales.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I really don’t think cartridges maxing out at 32GB would have much of an effect on cost. What is obvious is that larger capacities cost more which is one of the reasons the Switch should support HEVC and ASTC. BotW would have easily fit on an 8GB cartridge instead of having to use a 16GB one.

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      1. Breath of the Wild is 11.7 GB. I also heard that the Wii U version was 13GB and that the Switch version was 13.4 but I have the files for the Wii U version of Breath of the Wild on my computer and it’s 11.7 GB. Even the eShop says the download is 11.7 GB.

        The reason I say it “would have” been under 8GB is because, even with the assets as they are now, LZMA2 compression brings the game down to 7.81GB. Considering the Switch has a more capable processor than the Wii U, I’m surprised they didn’t compress what they could in the Switch version.

        HEVC(h.265) is video compression that’s the successor to h.264 and it gets equivalent quality to h.264 at lower bitrates. 1GB of Breath of the Wild is pre-rendered cutscenes and compressed video doesn’t compress at all with lossless compression like Deflate or LZMA so using HEVC could reduce the size of those by maybe 400MB bringing the game down to 7.41GB.

        ASTC is texture format natively supported by some GPUs and is superior to S3TC which is used in the Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and most likely the Switch used. The advantage of S3TC and ASTC is that they can stay compressed in memory and only get decompressed after they’re sent to the GPU which makes much better use of memory bandwidth which improves performance and decreased load times. ASTC supports compression of textures to much smaller sizes than S3TC without a noticeable decrease in quality. In fact, sometimes there’s an increase as is the case with normal maps which show compression artifacts like crazy in BotW. In general, the average texture on a system that supports ASTC can be something like 16% smaller while still being higher quality than it’s S3TC equivalent but, in my own testing, I’ve pretty consistently been able to get albedo textures to 50% smaller with no subjective quality loss. Switch should support ASTC since the Tegra X1 supports it, but file sizes for Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe compared to their Wii U counterparts suggest they may have gotten rid of that or at least that Nintendo isn’t using it for some reason.

        Factoring out sounds, physics, and pre-rendered cutscenes (4.59GB currently, 3.25 GB after LZMA + HEVC compression) that leaves the rest of the game at 4.56GB. Since textures take up more room than geometry I’m betting most of the remainder is textures, but lets just say 50% of that (2.28 GB) is textures. Before LZMA compression, ASTC may be able to bring the file size of those textures down by 50% compared to S3TC. After LZMA their would only be about a 40% difference in file size versus S3TC so that would only make the game 900MB smaller.

        But yea, with HEVC, ASTC, and LZMA compression, Breath of the Wild could have been brought down to about 6.5GB. Now, the 400MB number I got from HEVC compression was just a guess by I can actually recompress those cutscenes if you want exact numbers. The LZMA numbers are completely real. I actually compressed the game with it and it’s actually makes the game 7.81GB. For Nintendo to implement that, they would have had to do something like storing the index in memory and then decompressing things as they’re loaded. It’s something a lot of emulators can do and since decompression is much lighter than compression, it doesn’t take up much CPU time. The ASTC numbers are almost complete guesswork but even without that, LZMA and HEVC would have been enough to get it onto an 8GB card.

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  2. This is the complete opposite of what I’ve heard for SO long. That cartridges would be cheaper now than they used to be years ago, because technology has advanced so much. Yeah right. I should have figured I’d still be emptying my wallet on Switch games. There’s definitely some that I won’t buy until the price drops dramatically. Such as Bomberman R.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Cartridges have become cheaper, just not in relation to discs. Discs have dropped even more dramatically than cartridges.

      “So what you thought was true… from a certain point of view.”

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I had heard, a few years ago, that digital games cost the same as their physical versions because stores such as GameStop, which sell physical games, would suffer sales losses. Otherwise digital would cost less because they don’t have to pay for packaging, shipping, and other stuff.
      In this case, if the digital version of RiME was cheaper that the physical copy on the Switch, it would obviously be the one to sell more, which would mean a waste of money and resources to create a physical version.

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      1. I think you’re thinking of how Gamestop and other retailers make little to no money on systems and make most of their money on game sales. Digital games could overall be cheaper since the cost of manufacturing, shipping, and the retailers cut are replaced by bandwidth and server maintenance costs. Of course, if a console manufacturer would go all digital than stores would refuse to forgo their cut of console sales thus raising the prices of consoles.

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    1. They have an excuse to charge more, therefore, theyll charge more.

      People are forgetting that Teliquila Works has always been and WILL always be a shady ass company. Theres a reason why Sony broke off theyre exclusivity, and im sure theres a reason why MS didnt picked up RIME like they did with Deadlight (a little 360 ex-exclusive.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot of companies do that, inafune did it with Mighty No9, Playtonic is doing it Yooka Laylee, Sony did it with Allstars (ps3/Vita, and the Vita was cheaper) the list goes on, yet they dont screw over one fanbase over the other. Again, this company is shitty, theyve always been shitty. Why people even support them is beyond me.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I had heard, a few years ago, that digital games cost the same as their physical versions because stores such as GameStop, which sell physical games, would suffer sales losses. Otherwise digital would cost less because they don’t have to pay for packaging, shipping, and other stuff.
      In this case, if the digital version of RiME was cheaper that the physical copy on the Switch, it would obviously be the one to sell more, which would mean a waste of money and resources to create a physical version.

      (There we go, I posted this on the wrong comment.)

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    3. In the article it says that the copies released digitally are the same price to avoid hurting stores just as Gamestop. For example, Gamestop would be less likely to stock RiME if they knew they weren’t going to sell any because the digital version would be cheaper.

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    1. Information printed on a disk will actually last a lot longer than flash memory. You’re right though. Disc media (for games at least) is no longer a reliable storage medium. The size of games will eventually outgrow what discs can handle and the information can’t even be read off a disc fast enough to play the games nowadays. For movies though I see blu-ray continuing for a bit.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Nintendo games have always been very expansive and specially the first party games take ages to get a price cut. Since PS3 I can usually buy any game within 6 months to a year for 20 euro’s or less besides maby GTA for 30 euro tops if you don’t look hard or wait around for a good deal.

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    1. This is a valid argument as far as I know, but that’s the way it is across all systems. It doesn’t help explain it, but it’s a different argument than why is it more expensive to buy games on Nintendo hardware.

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  4. Since Nintendo has no incentive to profit off of the cartridge itself, I’m left wondering what the manufacturing cost of said cartridge actually is. I can’t imagine it being very high. A buck or two? Wondering why Nintendo can’t just eat the cost frankly, but I’m not an expert in these matters.

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  5. What if the cartridges are expensive because of the bittering agent?
    What if the eShop titles are more expensive because Nintendo is paying Amazon or google for their servers?
    We might never know.

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