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Cartridges Are Driving Up The Cost Of Nintendo Switch Games

If you're a budget-minded Switch owner, you might've noticed that certain multi-platform games cost a bit more on Nintendo's latest console than they do on competing devices. Rime, the Zelda-like adventure game from Tequila Works and Grey Box Games, costs $10 more on the Switch than on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC. So does Puyo Puyo Tetris, which will cost $40 on the Switch, and not $30 like it does on the PS4.

That's a big difference, and the folks over at Eurogamer think they've figured out why. According to a few unnamed sources, the price difference occurs because of the Nintendo Switch's proprietary cartridges, which cost much more to manufacture than a normal Blu-ray disc.

The Switch game cards come in a variety of different sizes—anywhere from 1 gigabyte to 32 gigabytes—and the bigger the game, the more the cartridge costs. In addition, manufacturing costs change based on how many copies of the game are made (more is generally cheaper), meaning that publishers who commit to small runs might have to pay extra. As a result, Switch developers paying extra-close attention to how much data their games use, but sometimes they're forced to charge more in order to recoup manufacturing costs.

But, if physical media is the problem, why are the prices also higher on the Nintendo eShop? Eurogamer has an answer for that, too. Allegedly, in order to placate brick-and-mortar retailers, Nintendo requires any game sold on the digital storefront to have the same price tag as its physical version. As a result, publishers either have to raise the cost of their games on the eShop, or make their titles digital-only releases, the latter of which seems to be the favored strategy for many smaller developers.

In terms of both sales and fans' reactions, the expensive games don't seem to be slowing down the Switch's momentum quite yet, although hopefully this won't be a long-lived trend. Nintendo has made a number of mistakes in the past, and it'd be a shame to see the Switch among them, especially given some of the benefits that can come from a cartridge-based system (goodbye, loading times).