Japanese teardown firm Fomalhaut Techno Solutions estimates that Nintendo spends $257 in parts for each Switch that rolls off the assembly line. With a retail price of $299.99, that leaves little margin for error let alone profit.
That number comes after Fomalhaut gutted the Switch console, its Joy-Con controllers and charging dock in an effort to catalog each individual component inside. Best guess is that the biggest chunk — including the touchscreen, processor and dock — runs $167 out the door. The Joy-Cons, on the other hand, are a bit more pricey given their size. Each Joy-Con contains an estimated $45 worth of tech.
The custom-made Nvidia processor and “next-generation” power supply that delivers the juice via USB-C does add a bit to the price tag, Fomalhaut admits. But it had a harder time pricing those HD rumble modules. It says they’re likely made by Alps Electric, but lack identifying markings.
At retail, a single Joy-Con goes for $50.
A similar teardown exercise was conducted in 2013 by research firm IHS for the PlayStation and Xbox. AllThingsD reported on that analysis, saying that the PS4 cost $381 to build at the time, which was only $18 under its retail price. The Xbox One, on the other hand, cost Microsoft $471 including the Kinect sensor package. The console itself was only $347.
Digging a little deeper into those old articles, we find that the controllers are a lot cheaper to make than Nintendo’s Joy-Cons. The cost of parts on a DualShock 4 in 2013 was estimated at $18, while the Xbox One’s controller was only $15.
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