The excitement over the first big gaming toy of the year, the Nintendo Switch, has been dampened by its perceived high price.
While gamers overseas, such as those in the United States, can get the video game console on its own for US$299.99 (S$425), Singapore gamers can only pre-order it as a bundle with other items for about $600. This has upset many gamers here, who feel they have to pay more than consumers elsewhere.
The Switch is the latest console for homes from Japanese game and electronics firm Nintendo, coming after 2012's Wii U console.
The Switch's main selling point is its removable 6.2-inch touchscreen; gamers can play on the go, away from home. Its controllers also have motion-sensing and force feedback features.
The Switch's local pre-order prices were put up by retailers last week, even though Nintendo's Singapore distributor, Maxsoft, has yet to release the console's official price. When asked about the bundle prices, Maxsoft would only confirm that the Switch would be released here on March 3.
The perceived high cost of the console bundles has drawn criticism from Nintendo fans.
Public relations manager Kelly Chiew, 24, who pre-ordered a set at a local store for $619, said: "The price is on the high side, given that a 500GB Sony PlayStation 4 Pro console is cheaper than the Switch bundle." The Pro costs $599 without games. Switch bundles include the console and at least one game.
Customers cannot buy just the console alone as retailers here have to purchase two games with every console they order from Maxsoft.
The games will then be passed on to customers as part of a bundle, The Sunday Times understands.
Gamers like IT associate Alex Tan, 34, said it makes sense to buy such bundles. "Why would you want a console without games? And considering how pricey games are individually, the bundle prices could be quite a good deal."
The prices for Switch games here have also yet to be released.
Retailer Gamewerks is selling a Switch bundle that comes with two games for $659, and a one-game bundle for $619. Store owner Jimmy Wong said: "We see how everyone else is pricing the consoles, and we follow the price range."
He has received about 100 pre-orders for Switch bundles, mainly from die-hard Nintendo fans. "Gamers are always willing to pay a bit more to have it on Day 1, to be the first to get their hands on it."
Games and collectibles store PLAYe said customers who order from its mobile app can choose from two bundles: $669 for the console, two games and three random Amiibo collectible figurines; or $689 for the console, two games and six figurines.
Said a spokesman: "Some Nintendo fans may like to collect the figurines, so we decided to give them more value by bundling them with the console and games."
But those not in a rush to get their hands on a Switch will likely be able to buy it cheaper at a later date, said Gamewerks' Mr Wong. "If you're not a big Day 1 fan, just wait a bit. The price will go down."