Is Nintendo ripping off Europe?

While trying to find cheaper Nintendo DS games, I noticed a large discrepancy between prices in the US, the EU and Switzerland. Here’s a comparison, all prices in Euros.

Title Price USA Price EU Price CH
Brain Age 15.00 27.00 31.00
Tetris DS 28.00 35.00 44.00
Mario Kart DS 28.00 39.00 44.00

I started investigating and asked a bunch of Swiss retailers why some games are more than twice as expensive in Switzerland. A game that is clearly only worth EUR 15 (Brain Age) is selling for EUR 31 here — how does that make sense? The retailers couldn’t really answer me, they think that Waldmeier AG might be to blame. Waldmeier has the monopoly on Nintendo imports in Switzerland. In many other European countries, Nintendo does their own distribution, but Switzerland is handled by Waldmeier. I asked Waldmeier for a comment but received no answer in more than one week.

So not only do the Swiss get less value for money (the Nintendo VIP club isn’t available here, for example), but we also pay significantly more. Similarly, people in the EU are paying between 40 and 80% more than North Americans. Canadians, by the way, pay about the same as USians.

Of course I realize that it costs money to translate the games into the different languages of all the territories where the same single EU DS cart is sold. But a 40% increase to translate the 200 or so text strings that pop up in a kart racing game? The per capita purchasing power of the EU is slightly higher than that of the US, yes, that’s true. But how do you explain the differences between titles? Why is Mario Kart DS 40% more expensive and Brain Age 80%? If we had price parity, the percentual difference for every title would be the same.

Something is fundamentally broken with Nintendo’s pricing.

0 thoughts on “Is Nintendo ripping off Europe?”

  1. That’s not very productive 🙂 What if I WANT to properly buy my games? With the situation as it is now, I am more tempted to import the game cheaply from the EU or the US than to walk into a local store, which is sad since it it makes no sense ecologically. Or logically, for that matter.

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