Why Are Joy-Cons So Expensive? (It will SHOCK You)


Nintendo Switch joy-cons and Switch accessories, in general, are super expensive, sometimes even being 1/3 the price of the console itself!

Why exactly are Switch accessories so expensive? I decided to research the internet and find out.

Joy-cons are expensive because of the advanced technology packed in such a small package. Joy-cons have HD Rumble(advanced rumble), IR camera(thermal camera), gyroscope, NFC reader/writer for Amiibos, and 20-hour battery life for both controllers. They cost $45 each to produce.

Nintendo products have never been cheap, and the Joy-con is an amazing piece of technology to fit in such a good looking small package.

But should they be so expensive? I will look into this later on in the article.

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Why Are Nintendo Accessories So Expensive?

Nintendo Switch accessories are expensive because the technology is very advanced in every accessory. Remember if you bought a gaming laptop vs a mid-range desktop PC you would expect to pay a lot more no?

So why is buying Nintendo accessories any different?

HD Rumble

Every Joy-con Pro controller will have HD rumble built-in which uses something called a linear actuator which can vibrate at much more precise and different amplitudes of frequencies and these frequencies and amplitudes can change quickly with better control.

It gives a sound more like a lo-fi speaker than a normal rumble motor like you would find in the DualShock 4 or Xbox One controllers. You might say but Dillon what’s the difference? Well, the sound quality is better and when you’re playing Mario Kart and you grab a gold coin, you will hear that coin sound coming straight from the HD rumble, just a nice touch.

Mario kart 8 is a fantastic 4 play local co-up Switch game, if you want to see the other best coach co-up Switch games on the switch please click my link here!

Also, it allows developers to play some cool tricks with rumble, like playing two different rumbles at the same time like how a speaker can play sounds of different instruments at the same time. This is how the game 1-2 Switch does it’s marble/ice games.

Is it a complete game-changer? Not really, but it’s an improvement on something that didn’t seem to need an improvement which is cool in itself ‘as when used well it improves your gameplay in interesting ways that regular rumble just cannot compete with.

Nintendo Switch IR Camera

A bet you didn’t realize your right joy-con has an IR camera that can detect heat! I know it’s crazy! It works by shooting out invisible dots that map out objects depending on what it hits, kinda like sonar.

This allows your controllers to see objects and monition and use this as an input method, this is used in games like 1-2 Switch to see the motion of the player’s mouth opening and closing!

The image quality isn’t too bad and it can detect a heat map of you, but the camera isn’t very good. The only way you can access the camera portion of the IR is with a Labo kit which allows you to create cardboard creations that work with your Nintendo Switch, cool right?

Get the Labo Kit for the best price on Amazon here. Even with the kit, your IR camera will not function as a normal camera, as you cannot point your Joy-con at something and snap a photo which is a shape.

Surely you can see why Nintendo has to charge so much for the joy-cons? The technology they cram into such a small space is genuinely impressive, but there’s more!

Nintendo Switch Gyroscope

Gyro controls are when a game uses a gyroscope(a spinning disc) to understand how and where you have moved your controller. This information is translated to the input of your game your playing, to perform a specific action like moving the camera around!

It is more accurate than motion controls, and you see it in Breath Of The Wild whenever you aim Link’s bow with just the motion controls or motion control puzzles in dungeons.

Nintendo Switch NFC Reader/Writer

Your left Joy-con and the Pro controller has an NFC reader build in which allows your controllers to interact with Amiibos. Amiibos are interactive figures and cards that exist in real life and your games!

An example is this Link rider Amiibo that gives you exclusively in-game bonuses such as ancient arrows, Amiibos are quite collectible are hard to get, and you can get one for a fantastic price on Amazon here.

Now, I don’t own Amiibos but Nintendo sees them as very profitable so, luckily, every Nintendo accessory will have an NFC reader built-in, which will increase the price.

Nintendo Switch Accessories Have 20+ Hour Battery Life

Whenever I play my Switch with my joy-cons or Pro controller I honestly take the amazing battery life for granted. Imagine using the Dualshock 4 which has a pathetic 3-5 hours of battery life fully charged! If your PS4 controller is having issues charging check my post on how to fix it here.

Joy-cons have a 525mAh battery which takes around 3.5 hours to charge, with the Pro Controller having a 1300mAH battery that lasts a whopping 40 hours and only 6 hours to fully charge! I don’t know about you but that is impressive.

After going back to the PS4 you notice how impressive this charging is. I find my Pro controller is one of my best controllers ever, if you’re considering upgrading from the joy-cons to the Pro controller please check out my post here but I think it’s worth it as it’s gone done at price a lot.

If you want to upgrade right away, you can get the Pro controller for a steal on Amazon right here.

How Much Does It Cost Nintendo To Make Joy-Cons?

According to the Japanese manufacturing company Fomalhaut it costs around $90 to make a pair of Joy-Con controllers so at retail release Nintendo lost 11 dollars for every Joy-con that is seels. The joy-cons are built with 20 small and intricate parts with advanced inbuilt technology.

Now you see why Nintendo accessories are so expensive! However, console manufactures selling their hardware at a loss is nothing new, Sony sells the PS5 at a loss as most manufacturers make their money in software.

For the Switch itself Nintendo makes a profit, with Fomalhaut working out that the manufacturing cost of the Switch is roughly $257, giving Nintendo around $40 profit for every Switch sold not counting other costs.

You might say, but Dillon why do the joy-cons suffer from so many hardware problems, the most infamous being the Joy-con drift where Joy-cons start moving by themselves.

Like most video game companies, Nintendo manufactures most of its components in China so the majority of the production is outsourced. This is why the quality of Nintendo hardware fluctuates so much, as despite the fantastic hardware contained in every product Nintendo does no control the production of other components, like buttons or screws which will make their accessories not last long.

Both my Joy-con and Pro controllers are fine, I believe if you have faulty hardware you are just unfortunate. However, Nintendo has promised to fix all faulty joy-cons click on this IGN link to see how you can fix your joy-cons today!

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