Why are Joy-Cons so expensive?

Pourquoi les Joy-Cons sont-ils si chers ?

One of the aspects that characterizes Nintendo's marketing management more than ever is its static price management. For example, the original gray Nintendo Switch Joy-Con sold for $79.99 when it was first released. And it’s still sold at the same price today.

Despite the passing years, Nintendo products never undergo a significant price change. So why are Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons so expensive? Why do Nintendo product prices never change? Keep reading, I'll explain it to you in this article. I will also recommend the best third-party Joy-Cons that work like Switch controllers.

Why are Joy-Cons so expensive?

To summarize, Nintendo Joy-Cons are still expensive because of the advanced features and technology packed into such a small package. Plus, their demand never wanes over the years! With other gaming accessory brands, you can find newly released items at a much lower price after a few weeks of launch.

But I think the reason Nintendo Joy-Cons (among other products) are so expensive isn't just because of their quality and features. It’s more about the brand’s pricing policy. What do I mean by that?

Respect for first time buyers

There's a surprising but logical explanation for why Joy-Cons are so expensive. And this comes from one of the most famous figures in Japanese business: former director Satoru Iwata!

The answer to this common question was given to us by Iwata in his latest biographical book Ask Iwata, published posthumously in April 2021 by HOBONICHI.

In this book, the former president talks about himself as a man and CEO, showing the politics and thinking behind Nintendo that contributed to its success. One of the questions he answers concerns the company's pricing and discount policy.

In this regard, Iwata said that after the new hardware is launched on the market, the price is supposed to be gradually reduced over five years until demand has run its course. But, according to him, why bother reducing the price when there is always demand? Additionally, Iwata explains that if the manufacturer lowers the price over time, the brand conditions the customer to wait for a better deal, which he finds strange.

According to Iwata, they always wanted to avoid situations where the first people to buy and support the brand feel punished for paying more.

Therefore, Nintendo's pricing policy is driven by respect for gamers who purchased consoles and video games on day one.

Therefore, we can say that Nintendo tries not to give too many advantages to those who still want to buy a high-end product after a few months or years, hoping for a price drop.

Think about it, Nintendo launched the Switch in 2017 for $299.99. Today, the Nintendo Switch still sells for around the same price. A high price that doesn't move! But you can't deny the quality and advanced features of these controllers, despite their size!

Joycon quality and price – Is it worth it? – Our verdict

The real reason Joy-Cons are so expensive has to do with the high quality of Nintendo products. So they continue to sell even years after their release. Most buyers are happy with Joy-Cons, but if you ask them, they'll tell you the price isn't worth it.

But I'm not comfortable paying that much when you know there are bugs reported, and there are now alternatives that are just as good.

Before I give my final verdict, here's an assessment of the overall quality of the Joy-con controller.

Nintendo Switch Joy-con: a review

Delivered with the console or purchased separately, the Joy-Cons are an integral part of the very concept of the Switch. These two small controllers, which can be one, bring together part of Nintendo's technological history and philosophy: innovation, user-friendliness, accessibility, versatility and motion gaming.

They serve the entirety of Nintendo's latest machine. But there are so many responsibilities for such small objects. Isn't this more than they can handle?

The Joy-Cons come with the console. They are therefore naturally placed vertically on each of the side edges of the Switch. In addition, they have a sliding system which allows them to be fixed on the Switch and ensures that their respective batteries are recharged.

The left Joy-Con features a left stick, a directional button, a capture button, a rail, a button for screenshots, and an area that captures NFC. On the right side, another analog stick, a + key, and a Home button provide access to the console menu.

This makes the Switch one of the most comfortable and complete portable consoles.

The buttons, triggers and especially the sticks are closer than ever to what we find on a Dualshock 4 or the Xbox Core controller.

But the story doesn't end there since the Switch prides itself on being a portable/living room hybrid. It is indeed possible to remove the Joy-Con from the tablet. Instead, you can attach them to a module and make each one an almost classic wireless controller.

Ergonomics is then improved by the addition of large handles with a much more comfortable hand spacing.

The sticks are lower, and the buttons smaller and closer to the edge. However, I noticed that this controller fits the hands of adults and children quite easily. This is far from being the case with models from Sony or Microsoft.

Certainly, pro players will find real flaws in ergonomics or precision; the problem comes, in particular, from the sticks being a little flexible and close to the buttons. These players, therefore, may prefer to turn to the Switch Pro Controller.

Additionally, it is impossible to charge the batteries in the wireless position. But this is not prohibitive since you can slide them back onto the Switch to charge them.

However, you should know that if you buy the Joy-Con separately, they are delivered without the grip, which is the central connection module. So you have to buy it separately. Which brings it all to almost $90!

Also read: How to stream Nintendo Switch without a capture card

A loophole that breaks the agreement

Most gamers who can afford a Nintendo Switch normally wouldn't have a problem buying an $8 handle. But what seems to be the biggest annoyance for me is the bug that Nintendo failed to fix.

The problem occurs in portable mode. He is described as a character that moves independently when you no longer touch the stick.

This all looks a lot like the famous Joy-Con drift. This defect affects a very large number of Nintendo Switch controllers. And if you have not yet encountered this problem, it is a priori not a question of “if” but of “when”. The problem seems inevitable over time.

The left controller seems to be the most affected by this defect (the blue Joy-Con if you have the neon version of the console). But it has also been observed on the right. And if you have a Switch Lite, the problem is even more annoying.

What is this due to?

Three theories seem to stand out. The first would be dust and other debris that gets inside the stick. The second would be graphite contacts which deteriorate with repeated use. But a third theory has just been developed by Victorstk, a YouTuber.

In a video, he explains that the metal structure that holds the stick's components together eventually loosens over time. During use, the graphite plates come into contact with the connectors, even when the stick is vertical.

The drift problem is still not resolved

I learned from Nintendo's Ask The Developer site that the Joy-Con drift problem will probably not be eliminated. Ko Shiota, from Nintendo's engineering department, explains that the effect of wear on Joy-Con is inevitable. So, for now, the only solution offered by Nintendo is to send each Joy-Con for repair.

Our verdict: Should you buy it?

Like many buyers, I consider the Switch Joy-con to be too expensive. You'll get most of your money's worth. But don't expect to use it for a long time without problems. Wear and tear erodes the quality of this controller quite quickly, which perhaps explains why these Joy-Cons are still on sale since they need to be replaced.

Despite the price, I've seen a lot of users struggle with the drift issue, which has almost become a common problem in Nintendo Joy-Cons. So, I think the point is that most Switch owners are all about the design and features of the Switch and Joy-Con. So if you need to replace your Joy-Cons, should you pay $79 for a pair? Are they worth it?

Well, I'll pass! Especially since there are now various non-Nintendo Joy-Con controllers sold for half the price and without drift issues.

The Cheapest Nintendo Switch Controllers – Interesting Alternatives to Explore

Nintendo Joy-Cons are expensive and notorious for never dropping in price. So imagine my excitement when I spotted some rare sheds in the wild. These Joy-Con alternatives and accessories sell for half the price of Nintendo models on average. So go see them.

1. ECHTPower Joy-Cons Controllers

These ECHTPower controllers are the best alternatives for those looking for cheaper Joy-Cons.

They sell for less than half the price of Nintendo's. And in my opinion, they look sleeker with their inverted W shape when used wirelessly. You can slide them around like you do with the original Joy-Cons.

Plus, you don't need to buy a handle or module if you need to use them wirelessly. This is a great purchase point since you need to purchase a plug to use the original Joy-Cons wirelessly.

What else ? It is designed for almost all Nintendo Switches, including Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch OLED.

2. Taovaonl Joypad Controller

The Taovaonl Joypad Controller helps those who think Joy-Cons take the fun out of handheld mode. It is therefore ideal for anyone looking for a better alternative to Joy-Cons for portable mode.

Like the original Joy-Cons, these controllers can be used when paired with the Switch. You can also use them wirelessly. There are a pair of controllers in the bundle, and they're priced at about half the price of the Switch's original Joy-Cons.

The built-in battery has a capacity of 500 mAh, which is 25 mAh less than the original Joy-Con. But you can still get 20 hours of gameplay out of them on a full charge. These controllers also do not require the purchase of a separate grip. Everything is integrated.

Like the originals, these Joy-Con clones also have Dual shock and Gyro Sensors that make your games more immersive. So for half the price, you don't miss out on any features.

Also read: Can you play 3DS games on the Nintendo Switch?

The best Nintendo Switch Joy-Con accessories

If you love Nintendo brand products, one way to avoid drifting problems is to protect the Joy-Cons from wear and tear.

I therefore recommend purchasing a grip that protects the controllers from exposure to dust and other foreign bodies. And here are the best accessories for this:

1. TALK WORKS Joy-Con Controller Grips

These are not controllers. Rather, these are grips used with Joy-Con controllers. Switch Joy-Con controllers tend to wear out and develop the drift issue. These handles therefore have two functions.

First, they serve as housing for the controllers, so they aren't exposed to dust, sweat, and other debris during and outside of use.

Second, they provide a more secure grip when using the Joy-Cons. So they feel fuller and grippier in the hands during play.

2. Talk Works 4846 Joy-Con Comfort Grip

This TALK WORKS controller grip is also not a controller, so it is not a Joy-Con replacement. Rather, it is a handle to protect the original Joy-Con, to ensure their wireless use and good grip. You don't need to spend more on the Switch Pro Controller because you want something that fits well in your hands.

This Nintendo Switch Joy-Con grip is also designed for multiplayer sessions. Additionally, they have green indicator lights that signify the number of active players. They seem more comfortable in the hands than the first Talk Works grip, which may explain why they cost about $2 more.