The most attractive aspect of the Nintendo Switch Lite is its price point, being a full $100 cheaper than the standard model at $199.99. However, getting to that magic sub-$200 number was apparently not a straightforward undertaking, and according to Switch Lite parts suppliers cited by the Wall Street Journal, suppliers and Nintendo battled over the prices of components:
Suggesting Nintendo’s eagerness to capture the low end of the market, suppliers say the company aggressively tried to cut costs and weighed a price tag below $200. An executive at one supplier said it battled Nintendo for months over the price of a key component (of Switch Lite).
Separately, Nintendo added a new lithium-ion battery supplier, Murata Manufacturing Co. , according to a person involved in the deal. Murata purchased Sony Corp.’s battery business in 2017. By having Murata compete with Nintendo’s main battery supplier, TDK Corp. , Nintendo hopes to lower costs, this person said. Nintendo declined to comment.
This isn’t just another case of stubborn old Nintendo forcing the world to play by its rules. This is a critical strategic play on their part to increase visibility of and accessibility to the Switch brand, especially with announcements coming next year of Microsoft and Sony’s next-generation consoles. Likewise, Switch Lite has to compete with the unlikely new power of Apple Arcade, which is looking to eat into Nintendo’s stranglehold on high-quality portable gaming. (There is also Google Stadia, but — ha ha — that thing is going to die so hard.)
It’s admittedly hard to be worried about Nintendo’s future at the moment though, with several big hits lined up for Switch, Super Nintendo World in the works at Universal Studios, and the general enthusiasm that continues to surround the Switch brand even regardless of Switch Lite. We are currently in the midst of a great era for Nintendo fans.