Um, Why Does This Nintendo Game Cost Twice As Much At Retail?

Image: Supplied

Nintendo and the Wii U doesn't have the best track record when it comes to digital releases. But when games pop up on the eShop, they usually do so at a reasonable price.

But for whatever reason, that doesn't seem to apply when the game is re-released in stores.

FAST Racing NEO. If you don't have or ever use a Wii U, the name probably won't ring a bell. But it's the closest gamers have gotten to a new F-Zero or Wipeout since, well, F-Zero or Wipeout, and as Mike found last year it's a pretty serviceable replacement with plenty of tracks and good multiplayer support.

So the news that FAST Racing NEO, along with the SteamWorld Collection, was getting a retail re-release was excellent news. It's a solid indie racer that deserves a bit more attention.

Except there's one problem — the retail copy is more than double the price of the original. Here's a snippet from the Nintendo release:

Nintendo has continued to grow and cultivate its relationship with indie developers. On October 1 in Australia and New Zealand, this commitment to supporting great indie games and getting quality games in the hands of players come together with the retail launch of Shin’en Multimedia’s FAST Racing NEO and Image & Form’s SteamWorld Collection as Nintendo eShop Selects titles for Wii U (SRP AU$49.95 each).

The eShop price for FAST Racing NEO when it launched last year: $22.49. That's the price Nintendo Australia confirmed over email. Less than half of what the game now costs in stores.

You do get some concessions for the $27.46 markup, though. The physical re-release of FAST Racing NEO will come with the NEO Future Pack DLC, which has eight downloadable tracks.

But FAST Racing NEO? The Mario Kart 8 DLC bundle only cost $16 in Australia, although it'd be staggering if FAST Racing's DLC cost anywhere near that. Nintendo could use more people buying their games, not less, and it's hard to imagine how jacking the price up so significantly will help.

I've reached out to Nintendo's Australian PR to find out what's going on with the markup. I haven't heard back from them, but if they release a comment or statement I'll let you know.


    Hopefully it's because it'll have a reversible slip-cover so you can hide that god-awful orange frame and just have the box art showing by itself.

    Amnesia. Limbo. Monaco. All games (largely) known to be digital-only, but available as boxed PC games in Australian retail stores. Games I might have actually purchased from said retail stores.

    Who publishes such afterthoughts (I don't mean that in a negative way) in this country, and likewise who publishes or distributes Nintendo products to each of the retailers?

    I suppose the question is who gets what percentage of my money when I buy one of these titles? That is, the store itself first, and of course NIntendo's coffers last - it's who in between I want to know about.

    Isn't this what people want? One of the big pro-digital arguments was always that it would allow for cheaper games due to lower distribution costs.
    I understand that this may not be a $50 title but that actually drives the price up in some ways. Smaller printing runs and lower demand mean you have to make more per disc to cover production costs. It sounds stupid but often a AAA could make money selling at $20 while an indie game that cost a fraction of the price to make will struggle at $80.

    If I had to guess I'd say the mistake here was doing a retail release at all.

      You sir, used your logic and wisdom. You earn a cookie!

      When the profit share of the retailer when selling a game is ~30%, it's really pretty disturbing that digital games aren't much cheaper than they actually are. No costs in production (aside from running servers that already exist), no profit cut to retailers and no losses from overstocking means a 50% cut to the price for digital compared to retail is eminently sensible.

      The ONLY reason why this isn't a routine thing is that the console manufacturers need to maintain those retail channels to sell actual consoles, so that their next console doesn't go the way of the PSP GO, which was the last dedicated console to go the "digital only" route.

      Well, I'm sure the console manufacturers have no objections to a 100% increase in their profits per game, either. If the retail channels went away overnight, I doubt that we would be seeing an instant 50% price drop.

    This is the whole idea behind digital vs physical.
    And why people complain that digital on other platforms is often the same price as physical.

      The same price? I wish. It's usually full RRP, retail physical discs are 20-40% under RRP.

    Also I really wish they didn't have this on sale the other day, or that they'd announced this was coming up. Would've held off on buying it otherwise and just gotten the complete package.

    At retail, Terraria 3DS is $59.95.

    Nintendo eShop sold it for $28.95 at launch.

    You mean like almost every digital indie title released physically in the past few years? I see Tower of Guns, Shovel Knight and This War of Mine sitting on shelves for $50 a pop.

      I could've sworn Shovel Knight was $30.

      Or maybe that was just the sale price I got it for.

        I just saw it earlier today. Full retail price $49.95, though it was on sale for $36.

    Welcome to Australia? XB1 gets the best of both worlds sometimes.

    Doom, digital: $99.95, retail: $64 with a real fancy reversible cover.
    Dishonored Remaster, digital: $40, retail: $79.95

      I’ve bought a grand total of ONE physical Xbone game since launch night (when I bought 3 or 4).

      Get a US XBL cash card off the net. Set region to US. Purchase.

      It’s absolutely ridiculous that games on the Aussie store are $99 each at launch when I can get a physical copy for $60-$70 at retail, but if you take advantage of the sales and use the US Store you can get a lot of really good deals. I picked up the new Tomb Raider and Halo 5 in the sales a week or so ago for approx $35AU each, can’t complain too much about that.

      Don’t get me started on Nintendo’s pricing at all. Their shop is a joke, the prices are a joke to being with, the sales are pathetic and they charge full retail price (both physical and online) for years after release.

        I was doing that, then our dollar went to crap. Not really saving a lot of money anymore, and even with two wallets I had issues with my Microsoft account (couldn't redeem student offers without deleting the US wallet) so I wasn't keen to do the hong kong / Singapore / Russia / brazil region hopping that seems to be popular now.

          Yeah, the sh*tty dollar does do us any favours.

          I’m over physical media- I’ve got a pile for about 150 near-worthless games for the 360 alone- and I don’t want anymore around the house so I’d rather pay an extra $5-10 on retail to have all my games on the HDD.

            I honestly can't remember the last game I looked at that wasn't $20-40 over retail on the digital store though, that's the problem.

            Tbh, I've just slowed down on buying games, I have a massive pile of shame anyway, and discs just aren't appealing yet I wont be ripped off just to keep the likes of gamestop/EB happy.

      Not to be a stickler but Dooms RRP was still 99.95, it's just some stores dropped it (wisely) to 64 bucks themselves.

        That would make sense if stores bumped the price back up to RRP after launch but it never did. Even EB Games had a better price than that (most notably their recent sale was better than Steam's summer sale), but now I've gone off on a tangent korea market teahouse shenanigans. With fries.

          It makes complete sense. The overall RRP of a game is generally 99.95. That's the RRP. The shop chooses to take the price down to 64 to be competitive.

          A comparitive example is and Steam. Steam is the stock standard price these days (unfortunately) whereas you'll find has a very much cheaper price for the same exact keys. One chooses to sell at a heavily discounted price and one chooses to sell at the 'rrp' that the publisher recommends.

          Most giant retail outlets can afford to sell at these cheap prices because they offset these cheap prices with other stock. That, and as well as the fact that the average shopper does not buy one product in a store. Once they're inside a store, they're well known to buy 'add-on's'. They'll go in, buy two or three things to save themselves time. It's a well known, long time done practice. Hell, when I worked for DSE back in 2003 we used to have meetings all the time about getting shoppers to 'buy add-on sales'.

          Last edited 27/07/16 5:26 pm

            RIP DSE <3

              Yeah, it was a really different company back when I worked for it, reeeeeeally different. I was a tech expert and took years to build up my knowledge base. Those people I saw in recent years were just glorified goodguys salesmen.

              Last edited 27/07/16 6:40 pm

    You know, personally I don't mind. I think it makes sense in some ways - it costs x amount of money to create, package and ship physical copies, whereas digital copies are simply code and don't need to be bound by that cost. I'd be willing to put money on the idea that the indie dev would make pretty close to the exact amount of money for a physical copy vs a digital one when things re done this way. Realistically, every single game should be this way, for multiple reasons - it's cheaper for devs to put something out digitally and it gives people more of a reason to move to digital over physical (something the hardware makers surely want). I feel like I've read this somewhere, but I'm pretty sure I've heard that digital copies of regular AAA games are at the prices they are on online marketplaces because of specific deals with publishers - if it weren't for that, I'd be willing to bet 90% of games would be cheaper digitally.

    Plus, at least in this place, it means that Nintendo didn't release the digital version of FRN for $45. That could have been a death sentence for an indie title like that.

    As someone who still likes to collect games in a physical capacity, I'd be cool with buying this game at $45. Seems kinda cheap actually, because from what I can tell it deserves to be held up as a good wii u game alongside their other main franchises. Now, if they'd just start putting manuals back in the cases...

    Indie or not Fast Racing Neo is worth $50.

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