Nintendo Ceases Single Joy-Con Tax in America
What are the scenarios under which one may be looking to pick up a singular Joy-Con controller? One may wish to buy one to facilitate multiplayer gameplay, but there are better options. More likely it will be to replace a defective Joy-Con which has begun to drift. Nintendo likely could have solved the Joy-Con issue by now, were it not for the fact that they are knee-deep in class action lawsuits over the issue. Nintendo’s legal strategy appears to consist of gaslighting their customers and pretending that no issue exists with the durability of their Joy-Cons, and so any move to improve the durability of Joy-Con controllers could be used as evidence that Nintendo tacitly acknowledges the claims being made by their accusers, and so a definitive fix is off the table. Because of this, chances are at least one of our Joy-Cons will become defective over the Switch’s lifetime, assuming that one plays in portable mode with some regularity. So, due to no fault of our own, we are faced with the prospect of having to replace at least one of our Joy-Cons, and then Nintendo hits us with a punitive $10 sanction for not buying a pair! Well, no more!
On last week’s podcast TDT brought news that this punitive sanction had been removed from single Joy-Con purchases in Asia, and now we are happy to inform readers that the same holds true in America! A pair of Joy-Cons costs $80 while the price of a single Joy-Con used to be $50, but now (starting November 9) this has been adjusted to $40, so there will no longer be a financial detriment to picking up Joy-Cons individually. It would be nice to think that Nintendo are doing this to look after their customers, but really they are probably just trying to blunt some of the arguments that their legal opponents will be making by toning down their predatory asshole behaviour. Whatever the case, this is still welcome news.
Micheal Pachter Goes Clownmode
Michael Pachter is not that smart, but then we already knew that. This week however he has really outdone himself by delivering the coldest take in modern video game history. Michael Pachter thinks that only 20% of Switch owners use the console in docked mode, and so Nintendo should just burn 20% of their audience by withdrawing support for docked mode! Why?
I don’t really understand the whole hybrid concept… I don’t think most people play it in both modes, I would say that maybe 20% of Switch owners play both modes; and I think most Switch owners play it handheld only. So I honestly don’t understand the whole point of the hybrid. Who cares? Play it as a handheld.
And Nintendo isn’t that smart, so you never know what they will do next, but I think the smart thing would be to get rid of the Switch console and only have the Switch Lite, get rid of the docking station, get rid of playing on the TV; maybe offer a Fire Stick style dongle for those who do want to play it on the TV.
Let us just assume for a moment that Pachter is correct about this 20% figure (he’s not), if that were the case then how exactly would it benefit Nintendo by Thanos-snapping 20% of their audience? The Nintendo Switch has sold 66 million units. 20% of 66 million is 13.2 million. How would Nintendo benefit from turning away 13.2 million customers? Nintendo loves to sell accessories. They love selling Joy-Cons. Nintendo has made many different coloured Joy-Cons in the hope that people will buy additional Joy-Cons that they do not need. Nintendo also sell a lot of expensive Pro controllers. You cannot sell a lot of expensive controllers on a portable console that does not require them! Where is the benefit in any of this?
Optimising games for portable and docked modes is not even all that difficult because the CPU runs at the same speed in both modes, so physics and AI will run the same in both modes. All it requires is a bump in resolution and some testing to ensure that resolution does not cause performance issues. Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft both support drastically different SKUs of their Playstation and Xbox platforms – so why should specifically Nintendo stop supporting one of the SKUs of their hardware, especially since they are the defacto market leader? The only thing that could explain the unprecedented levels of stupidity on display here is that Michael Pachter has shares in either Xbox or Playstation, and is beginning to shit himself that the unprecedented success of the Nintendo Switch is going to handily eclipse the launch of both the Series X and the PS5!
Hell, maybe Pachter has shares in the Fire Stick dongle?
But the situation becomes even stupider once one realises just how far from the mark Pachter’s 20% claims actually are. It was debunked by Doug Bowser himself back in 2018 when he stated:
about even—about 50 percent in the dock and 50 percent away from the dock.
This was further compounded by Nintendo Life just this week. They ran a poll in response to Pachter’s bad Switch advice, to which 16,000 people responded. 61% of respondents indicated that they played in docked mode at least 50% of the time. Meanwhile just 7% of respondents indicated that they never used the console in docked mode. Michael Pachter is literally asking Nintendo to burn 93% of their audience! How can someone who is paid to be an analyst get it this wrong? This is not just a boomer moment, this is a profound level of incompetence the like of which is seldom seen in this industry. Has Pachter actually never even bothered to look into Switch usage patterns, or even followed the reporting on Doug Bowser’s findings? Utter negligence.
The Crown Tundra Is Now Available
The Crown Tundra expansion is this week available for owners of the Pokemon Sword & Shield expansion pass. Following on from The Isle of Armor expansion, the release of The Crown Tundra now marks the end to the development cycle of this particular DLC package. The Crown Tundra will see the main character appointed as the leader of an expedition party tasked with investigating the area. Players will also compete in the Galarian Star Tournament, where they will be able to team up with other trainers that they have previously met in the Galar region. All said, The Crown Tundra will introduce over 200 new Pokemon, many of which are fan favourite Legendaries from prior games in the series.
Players new to Sword & Shield who are keen to give this content a whirl may benefit from waiting until November 6 in order to pick up a new release of the game, which bundles The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra expansions onto the same physical game card as the main game.
The big question remaining is whether this will be the end for Pokemon Sword & Shield DLC, or will Nintendo announce a second expansion pass? Only time will tell. That being said, like so many other Switch releases, the success of Pokemon Sword & Shield is completely unprecedented among Pokemon sequels, with only the original release of Red, Green, & Blue outselling it – meaning that there is likely plenty of room for The Woods of Sceptre and The Fields of Heraldry!