Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime explains why Switch doesn't include a bundled game

The company felt $299 was the lowest they could go without skimping on all the hardware found in the box.


Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime talked to GameSpot about its Nintendo Switch presentation and details, including why the company decided to forego including a pack-in game with one of the two Switch SKUs that will launch on March 3.

Fils-Aime explained that Nintendo's higher-ups started the process of putting together Switch packages by choosing a price point at which to release the system. Any tag higher than $299.99 seemed too high, so that's where they landed.

For the next step, they considered what every Switch console should contain out of the box. "Obviously the inclusion of the two Joy-Con, critically important; all the right cables, the dock, critically important," Fils-Aime said. "We also have to do this from a financial perspective as well. Once we got to that bundle, it really needed to be at $299 without a piece of software."

GameSpot pointed out that 1-2-Switch, a collection of games analogous with the Wii's Wii Sports pack-in game, seemed an ideal piece of software to include in at least one Switch SKU. Fils-Aime disagreed.

"You make the comment about Wii Sports, and certainly, the analogy that it's a great utilization of the Joy-Con and shows off the capabilities of the system, that is absolutely true," he said. "I would say, though, that 1, 2, Switch has many more experiences—it's a wider pallet of experiences, potentially more akin to Wii Play than to Wii Sports. And, again, from that standpoint, Wii Play was a standalone piece of software both with a controller at the time and without, so that's probably the better analogy."

Retailers are ready and willing to fill the pack-in-game void. GameStop is offering a Starter Bundle that includes a Switch console with neon red and blue Joy-Cons plus three games. Of course, it's out of stock as of this writing.

Craddock's Corner: Reggie's explanation falls flat for me. Although the Wii U ended up a commercial failure, Nintendo's tactic of launching with two SKUs—a cheaper package without a game, and a slightly more expensive bundle that packed in Nintendo Land and more storage capacity—afforded consumers options.

Consumers could hit the ground running with a game that showed off some of the GamePad's capabilities. Those with no interest in Nintendo Land, or who only wanted to make sure to get a console in their hands while it was a hot commodity and preferred (or needed) to pick up a game later, could do so as well.

I can understand the decision not to stick a guaranteed system seller like Zelda: Breath of the Wild in with the Switch. You don't want to give away a game you know people are going to buy. The ideal pack-in game is one that shows off your new console's versatility. Whether Fils-Aime thinks so or not, that game is 1-2-Switch, which Nintendo lists for the steep price of $49.99.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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  • reply
    January 13, 2017 2:20 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime explains why Switch doesn't include a bundled game

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      January 13, 2017 2:46 PM

      Yeah, I understand the reasoning. But if they aren't going to bundle a AAA "system-seller" title, it just gives consumers more of a reason to sit on their hands until a title -- or enough titles -- come out to justify paying $300 + the cost of a game.

      I'm sure Nintendo will sell out of their existing inventory leading up to the launch, so this isn't going to be an issue short-term. But they'd better have a solid library of games to choose from by the time the early-adopter market is sated, or they're going to be proper-fucked.

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      January 13, 2017 3:13 PM

      $50 for 1-2 Switch??? I missed that. NOPE. That needed to be $10 tops if it wasn't going to be a pack-in. That one is a seriously missed opportunity. It's the only thing that really shows what their vision of the system is; same as Wii Sports.

      So many missteps here.

      All I can think is that E3 better crush it in terms of presentation and delivery. I went ahead and preordered, butt I'm totally going on announcements of future stuff. Still lots of unanswered questions too. They didn't mention about any further presentations or Nintendo Directs; though there's plenty of time to bring out more info.

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        January 14, 2017 6:32 AM

        Definitely nowhere near worth 50$. Why not bundle it with a controller, like for Wii Play?

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        January 14, 2017 7:43 AM

        My thought as well. Did they say how many minigames were included in 1-2 Switch? It better be more than the handful I saw on the stream.

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        January 14, 2017 8:00 AM

        I don't get why they're pricing it $50 when they have other games at $20. I could see 1-2 Switch being way better positioned from what we've seen at $30, maybe $40 but even that is probably too high.

        They need to really be filling out these smaller experience games at price points lower than $60/$50 and embracing the 3DS market share and developer community.

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      January 13, 2017 3:44 PM

      32 GBs of memory means people will shell even more money for an SD card

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        January 13, 2017 4:20 PM

        i wonder if it'll support external HDDs via the USB-C port. I can see some interesting accessories that charge the unit and act as additional storage.

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        January 13, 2017 4:52 PM

        Picked up a 128 GB SanDisk MicroSD card for $32 the other week. Tried to use it on my New 3DS only to learn its not supported. Ended up swapping it out for a 32 GB I was using elsewhere as that's the most the New 3DS could see. Switch says it'll support 128 GB so that's good.

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          January 13, 2017 4:59 PM


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            January 13, 2017 6:02 PM

            Yup. Used my mac to format a 64GB to fat32 and that worked easy peasy

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              January 13, 2017 8:04 PM

              I have a 128 in mine and it's fine. It's even the cheaper type of sd card that's not listed. Apparently the only difference is the first formatted sector, which is formatted correctly when you use an external tool to format it. Also note, that you'll need the file structure from a nintendo formatted card for the 3ds to recognize it as one it will use. The easiest way to do this is to just copy your old, smaller, sd card contents onto the new one.

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            January 14, 2017 7:48 AM


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        January 14, 2017 7:36 AM

        The alternative is to make consumers pay more money for a slightly larger memory restriction. What they did here actually makes sense with SD. You can upgrade those and use multiple cards. And they're cheaper.

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      January 13, 2017 6:24 PM

      spoilers. he doesnt really explain shit.

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        January 14, 2017 6:22 AM

        More spoilers: Why not include a game? Money!

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      January 14, 2017 7:38 AM

      I don't even want that game so I'm not even upset.

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      January 14, 2017 7:56 AM

      What makes that reasoning real weird is that they seem to be wanting to position this is a system that recaptures the magic of the mass market appeal of the Wii, which is leading them to having all these hands on events since, like the wii, the system is kind of weird to understand a ton out of the box with the new wiimote like joycons, etc. Add in the complete failure of the Wii U and they kind of really need a baseline experience to sell consumers on to be like "hey, this isn't the Wii U, its something else and here's a game that explains."

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