Earlier this month, a standalone dock for the Nintendo Switch was released, giving players an easy way to use the console with various televisions around their home. However, a look inside the accessory has prompted some Reddit users to question its $90 price tag.
Opening up the dock reveals that the plastic shell contains little more than a small circuit board. Even without a knowledge of the manufacturing process, it's not difficult to discern that the dock doesn't cost anywhere near $90 to produce.
Of course, this isn't entirely surprising. Nintendo has always been reticent to sell hardware at a loss, even when its main priority has been to expand the reach of its hardware. Earlier this year, the company did take a hit on its profits by flying out Switch consoles to retailers while demand was high, but that's an exception rather than the norm.
The truth is that the Switch dock doesn't cost $90 because that's what it costs to make, it costs $90 because Nintendo knows that consumers will pay that much. It's an entirely optional accessory, and more importantly, it's not something that third parties are going to be able to offer at a more appealing price.
Nintendo has locked down the way that the Switch communicates with television sets, and it doesn't seem that the company is interesting in licensing it out to other manufacturers — even though we've already seen fan projects that outdo the official offering. Proprietary technology can be a serious money maker, and Nintendo is well aware of that fact.
Is the Switch dock overpriced? Perhaps, but it's really a question of perceived value. The hardware may look relatively simple when you split the peripheral open, but the realities of retail pricing factor in a lot more variables than parts and labor.
The standalone dock for the Nintendo Switch is available now.