Examining why Switch games cost more than their PC counterparts

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After initially struggling to attract wider support from third-party developers, the Switch library is now absolutely filled with ports of big-budget and indie games available on other platforms. However, some Switch players have started to notice that those ports often come at a pricing premium when purchased on Nintendo’s console.

The folks over at Switch blog Switcher decided to quantify how much that “Switch tax” costs while building their own database of Switch games. Their analysis found that, of 471 games being sold on both Steam and Switch, the downloadable Switch versions cost just over 10 percent more on average.

That average obscures a wide range of price discrepancies, of course, including some that end up in the Switch’s favor. In fact, a majority of titles listed on both platforms (55.8 percent) sell for the exact same price on both, and an additional 8.9 percent are cheaper on Nintendo’s eShop.

That said, the price discrepancy for the remainder of the Switch’s PC ports can be quite large. Payday 2, for example, costs $50 on the Switch compared to just $10 on Steam. The 2016 Doom reboot runs $60 on Switch and $20 on Steam. Steam’s frequent sales can exacerbate the differences, too: De Blob is currently $30 on Switch but just $6.59 on Steam—down from a PC list price of $20.

Why the difference?

Part of this pricing discrepancy seems to come down to the game’s relative age on each platform. Doom may be $20 on Steam now, but it launched there at $60 in 2016; the Switch version was priced at the higher level when it launched on that platform earlier this year. Of the 51 games that hit Switch and Steam on the same day, only one was more expensive on the Switch, suggesting Switch prices might similarly come down with time.