The rise in retail price has been a particularly sore subject for gamers this generation. Industry titans such as Sony and Ubisoft have made clear that their AAA output will fall under the intimidating $70 umbrella. While certainly an uncomfortable number for the wallets of interested parties, it’s an unfortunate necessity in an ever-evolving, highly intricate, and wholly tech-concerned medium such as videogames.
Back in February, Nintendo revealed they would be joining the likes of Ubisoft and Sony under the $70 umbrella by announcing the steep price tag for the upcoming fresh installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise. This new game, titled The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, received a pricey $70 tag, attracting the ire of gamers worldwide.
In an interview with The Associated Press, President of Nintendo USA, Doug Bowser, shared some of the reasoning behind this controversial decision:
“We look at what the game has to offer. I think fans will find this is an incredibly full, deeply immersive experience. The price point reflects the type of experience that fans can expect when it comes to playing this particular game. This isn´t a price point that we´ll necessarily have on all our titles. It´s actually a fairly common pricing model. Both in the US, in Europe or other parts of the world, where pricing varies depending on the game itself.”
Doug Bowser Defends The Legend of Zelda Price Hike
Bowser’s statement itself is fairly empty and doesn’t offer much in the way of anything real. He proposes subjectivity in its worth, implying that vague and highly user-specific factors such as immersion are capable of calculating or justifying a rise in price. The claim that not all games will receive the $70 treatment seems like an indication that this will be a continued practice for select titles moving forward.
Bowser also calls to the quality and sheer scope of the content found within the game. Though such claims ring hollow when the real crux of Nintendo’s issue is brought into question. This point, frequently wagered against Nintendo, is that of the Switch’s technical inferiority compared to other systems on the market. Almost routine in its occurrence, the Switch has come under fire countless times since launch. In particular, regarding the average performance for many titles, including 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Performance Over Zelda Pricing
Seven years on, its sequel is almost ready to rise from its development cycle, but an air of doubt surrounds it. A near decade is plenty of time for optimization but worries of characteristic technical shortcomings plague the release. If Tears of the Kingdom proves to be ambitious as it seems, then it may expose the system more than ever before.
For several generations in a row, Nintendo has existed in its own space. They never concern themselves with chasing the high of terribly advanced hardware. Often backed by innovative gimmicks, each platform has supplemented expectation-defying technical scale with fun, honest games. It’s both admirable and a little frustrating, leading to problems like the aforementioned lackluster performance of larger-in-scale flagship titles. We can only hope that their commitment to the financial strategy indicates a push for hardware in the coming years.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will launch on May 12th, 2023, exclusive to the Nintendo Switch.