Why Are Joy-Cons so Expensive?

One of the aspects that more than ever characterizes Nintendo’s marketing management is its static price management. For example, the Nintendo Switch Original Gray Joy-Con was sold for $79.99 during its first release. And it’s still sold for the same price today.

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

Why are Joy-Cons so expensive?

In a nutshell, Nintendo Joy-Cons are always expensive because of the advanced features and technology built into such a small package. Also, the demand for them never dwindles over the years! With other game accessory brands, you can find newly released merchandise at a much lower price after a few weeks from launch.

But I feel the reasons Nintendo Joy-Cons (among other products) are so expensive is not down to the quality and features alone. It’s more of the brand’s price policy. What do I mean by this?

Respect for the first buyers

There is a surprising but logical explanation for why Joy-Cons are so expensive. And this is coming from one of the most famous personalities of the Japanese company: the 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 the 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 after the new hardware is launched on the market, the price is supposed to be gradually reduced over five years until the demand has run its course. But, according to him, why bother reducing the price when there is always demand? Furthermore, Iwata explains that if the manufacturer lowers the price over time, the brand conditions the customer to wait for a better offer, which he found odd.

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

Therefore, Nintendo’s pricing policy is driven by respect for players who bought consoles and video games on day one.

Therefore, it’s safe to say Nintendo is trying not to give too much advantage to those who always want to buy a top product after a couple of months or years, hoping for a price drop.

Just think about it, Nintendo launched the Switch in 2017 for $299.99. Today, the Nintendo Switch still sells for much the same price. Expensive and unshifting in price! But you can’t deny these controllers’ quality and advanced features, despite their size!

Joycon Quality vs Price – Is It Worth It? – Our Verdict

The real reason why Joy-Cons are so expensive is linked to the great quality of the Nintendo products. So they continue to sell even years after their release. Most buyers are happy with the Joy-Cons, but if you ask them, they’d tell you the price isn’t worth it.

But I am not comfortable paying that much when you know there are reported bugs, and there are now alternatives out there that are as great.

Before delivering my final verdict, here’s a review of the overall quality of the Joy-con controller.

Nintendo Switch Joy-con: a review

Delivered with the console or to be 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 a part of the technological history and the philosophy of Nintendo: innovation, user-friendliness, accessibility, versatility, and motion gaming.

They serve the entirety of Nintendo’s latest machine. But there’s so much responsibility for such small objects. Isn’t it more than they can bear?

The Joy-Con is delivered with the console. They are, therefore, naturally placed vertically on each of the Switch’s side edges. In addition, they have a sliding system that gets them fixed to the Switch and ensures their respective battery recharges.

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

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

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

But the story does not 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 an almost classic wireless controller.

Ergonomics are then improved thanks to 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 adapts quite easily to the hands of adults and children. This is far from the case with the models from Sony or Microsoft.

Admittedly, pro players will find real faults in ergonomics or precision; the problem is, particularly, sticks that are a little flexible and close to the buttons. These players, therefore, may prefer to go for the Switch Pro Controller.

Also, it is impossible to charge the batteries in the wireless position. But this is not a deal breaker since you can slide them back on the Switch to charge.

However, you must note that if you buy the Joy-Con separately, they are delivered without the grip, which is the central connecting module. You must therefore purchase it separately. This brings the whole thing to almost $90!

Read also: How To Stream Nintendo Switch Without a Capture Card

A deal-breaking flaw

Most gamers who can afford a Nintendo Switch wouldn’t normally have a problem buying an $8 grip. But what appears to be the greatest turnoff for me is the bug that Nintendo has not managed to fix.

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

All of this 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 concern, it is a priori, not a question of “if” but of “when.” The problem seems inevitable over time.

The left controller seems to be 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 slipping inside the stick. The second would be graphite contacts that 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 components of the stick tight ends up loosening over time. During use, the graphite plates come into contact with the connectors even when the stick is vertical.

The drift problem remains unfixed

I learned from Nintendo’s Ask The Developer that the Joy-Con drifting problem will probably not be eliminated. In it, Ko Shiota from Nintendo’s engineering department explains that the effect of wear and tear on the Joy-Cons is unavoidable. So, for now, the only solution from Nintendo is for each Joy-Con to be sent over to be repaired.

Our verdict: Should you buy it?

Like a lot of buyers, I consider the Switch Joy-con too expensive. You’ll get value for most of your money. But don’t expect to use it for a long time without a problem. Wear and tear erode the quality of this controller fairly quicker, which may be why these Joy-Cons are always in sale since you have to replace them.

Despite the price, I see a lot of users struggle with the drift problem, which has almost become a mainstay issue in the Nintendo Joy-Cons. So, I think the point is that most Switch owners are head over heels for the design and functions of the Switch and the Joy-Con. So if you have to replace your Joy-Cons, do you have to 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 with no drift issues.

Cheapest Nintendo Switch Controllers – Great Alternatives You Should Explore

Nintendo Joy-Cons are expensive and notoriously known to never drop in price. So imagine my excitement when I spotted rare sheds in the wild. These Joy-Con alternatives and accessories sell for half the price of the Nintendo models on average. So check them out.

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 the Nintendo ones. And in my opinion, they look more stylish in their inverted W shape when using them wirelessly. You can slide them as you do with the original Joy-Cons.

Also, you don’t have to buy a grip or module if you have to use them wirelessly. This is a great purchase point since you have to get a hold to use the original Joy-Cons wirelessly.

What more? It’s designed for almost all Nintendo Switches, including Nintendo Switch Lite and Switch OLED.

2. Taovaonl Joypad Controller

The Taovaonl Joypad Controller helps those who feel the Joy-Cons take away the fun of handheld mode. So it’s ideal for anyone looking for a better alternative to the Joy-Cons for handheld mode.

Like the original Joy-Cons, these controllers can be used when coupled with the Switch. You can also use it wirelessly. There are a pair of controllers in the pack, and they sell for around half the original Switch Joy-Con price.

The built-in battery has a 500 mAh capacity, which is 25 mAh lesser than the original Joy-Cons. But you can still get 20 hours of playtime from them at full charge. These controllers also don’t need to buy a separate grip. It’s all built on.

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’re not missing any feature.

Read also: Can You Play 3DS Games on Nintendo Switch?

Best Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Accessories

If you’re down for Nintendo-branded products, one way to avoid the drift problems is to protect the Joy-Cons from wear and tear.

So I advise getting a grip that protects the controllers from exposure to dust and other foreign objects. And here are the best accessories for this:

1. TALK WORKS Joy-Con Controller Grips

These are not controllers. Instead, they are grips used with the Joy-Con controllers. Switch Joy-con controllers are prone to wearing out and developing the drift problem. So, these grips serve two functions.

First, they serve as a set of housing for the controllers, so they don’t get exposed to dust, sweat, and other debris during and out of use.

Secondly, they ensure more secure grips when using the Joy-Con. So they feel fuller and grippy in their hands during gameplay.

2. Talk Works 4846 Joy-Con Comfort Grip

This TALK WORKS controller grip is also not a controller, so it’s not a Joy-Con replacement. Instead, it’s a Joy-Con grip for protecting the original Joy-Cons, ensuring they’re usable wirelessly and grip well. You don’t have to spend extra on the Switch Pro Controller because you want something that holds 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. These look more comfortable in the hands than the first Talk Works grip, which may be why they cost around $2 more.