Recently, the developers of the colourful adventure game Rime announced that it will be out on May 26 for PC, PS4, Xbox One. It will also come to Nintendo Switch, although you'll have to pay an extra $20 for the privilege.
Rime, which was originally announced as a PS4 exclusive before the developers at Tequila Works pulled the rights from Sony and turned it into a multiplatform game, will be $49.95 on PC, $59.95 on PS4/XB1 and $79.95 on the Switch. It's not clear why we'll have to pay a premium for the Nintendo version, and the explanations from both parties have been vague.
"We set prices for our products based on the costs of development and publishing for each specific platform," said a representative for Grey Box, the publisher of Rime, when I asked what the deal was.
When I pushed for more details — is the extra charge because they have to ship on proprietary cartridges instead of Blu-rays? — the representative added: "I can confirm cost of manufacturing is also a factor, in addition to the statement below about development and publishing costs."
Rime is the first third-party game whose makers are charging more money on the Switch, which launched last Friday, and it may be an ominous sign for the console's future. Is this an anomaly? Or will we see this "Nintendo Tax" on other indie games with physical launches on Switch?
Today during a Facebook stream, a fan asked Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime why some games cost more on Switch. "We don't make that pricing decision," he said. "When you see those differences in prices, call up that third-party publisher and ask them."
Ominous! And something that Nintendo should be trying very hard to fight. Unless they want the Switch to be the console known for getting later, more expensive versions of games.