Nintendo on Friday priced its first console in about four years above market expectations, disappointing investors and clouding its prospects of winning back gamers who have shifted from consoles to smartphones. The Japanese firm said it will launch the Switch, a hybrid home console and handheld device, on March 3. It will be priced $299.99 in the United States, the same as Nintendo’s current Wii U console, whereas in Japan, it will cost about 20 percent over its predecessor at 29,980 yen.
Nintendo, which began by making playing cards in the late 19th century, is counting on the Switch to revive its earnings which rely heavily on console sales. “Pricing at around 25,000 yen would have been received well but the pricing is on the high side,” said Fumio Matsumoto, senior fund manager at Dalton Capital in Japan. “The machine can be used both as a home console and handheld device so the higher price is understandable to some extent, but there aren’t really enough software titles to justify that start price,” he said.