on 23 October 2022
Good tech doesn't have to be expensive.
The N64 and GameCube had very powerful hardware for their time and they weren't expensive, the Tegra X1 was available in the Nvidia Shield at launch in 2015 which wasn't expensive either (only $199.99) and in 2015 it most certainly was top of the line mobile chip tech, a T239 should be 8 years newer than the Tegra X1 and certainly a full generation+ leap in performance. Nothing too crazy about that.
This idea that powerful must = expensive isn't true, it's a load of crap that was pushed primarily during the Wii and DS era as a phony gospel truth, Nintendo has had affordable and powerful hardware before.
Besides, Nintendo doesn't have to position the next Switch as some kind of bargain basement cheap product, that's what the Switch Lite is for. Switch OLED is $350, the next system will almost certainly start at $399.99 and co-exist with cheaper OG Switch models for people who can't afford that initially.
Actually the Nintendo 64 had very expensive hardware.
Where Nintendo actually managed to save money was ironically by not having an optical disk drive, I think people forget that optical disks drives fetched a premium even on PC back in the 90's.
And having everything as an accessory, even an increase in Ram helped alleviate cost pressures.
The Gamecube also had a cost advantage over Microsoft as well by not including a hard drive and relying more heavily on accessories... Plus due to the lack of DVD playback, they saved money by not having to pay DVD royalties. The IBM+ATI/AMD/ArtX combo definitely commanded less of a premium over Intel+nVidia.
So Nintendo did have expensive hardware, it's just they managed to "cut costs" on other corners rather intelligently.
And if I recall, Nintendo actually lost money on the Gamecube for a fair while, but don't quote me on that as I didn't take the time to double check..
The Switch or any handheld for that matter however has different cost pressures these days that Nintendo can't really work around compared to other home consoles like a battery and display... Internal storage and the dock are potential places for cuts to save a buck or beef up the SoC, we saw that with the Switch Lite.
I believe Ninty lost money when they cut the price aggressively to compete with PS1 not long after launch.
But there is no magic, performance cost money.