by Doc – Owner, Founder, If You Don’t Think Inflation Is Already Here You’re Insane
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “I’m not someone who likes paying for things“.
Things are about to get a lot worse for gamers, and PowerA controllers are a great indicator of what’s to come for Nintendo Switch fans. Let me show you this Amazon listing for a PowerA controller (which is Amazon Affiliates, by the way – gotta keep the lights on). Compare its price to what you’ll see below.
PowerA Controllers are Getting Expensive
At this moment, that Wireless Enhanced PowerA controller will run you $38, give or take a few bucks depending on the time of day. Most of the PowerA library of controllers is fluctuating like that:
You might be thinking to yourself “Gee Doc, what’s the big deal? Isn’t that normal for Nintendo Switch controllers?”. And you would be right, because normal Nintendo Switch controllers are crazy expensive.
PowerA is not a normal Switch controller. PowerA is the McDonald’s of Nintendo Switch controllers – they have no amiibo functionality (which reduces a lot of costs), low-grade wireless connectivity and tend to break on minimal forceful impact. I should know – I broke one by tossing it onto a bed once. PowerA controllers are geared towards little kids or adults who don’t want to spend money and don’t play fast-paced games, and aren’t intended for a more expensive audience.
What the Problem Tells Us
Here’s the kicker. 18 months ago, about a week before the COVID-19 pandemic forced my state to shut down, I bought two of the black controllers for a combined total of $28. There were no sales or discounts, and prices hadn’t started to hike because of the pandemic – it was as normal a situation as you could think of. This means that PowerA controllers have almost tripled in price over the last 18 months without changing the actual controller.
This doesn’t necessarily impact official Nintendo products’ prices, per se. Nintendo has been annoyingly good about sticking to prices once they’re set – you’ll notice that amiibo that originally sold for $13 are still sold for $13 when reprinted seven years later.
This will end up presenting an issue when it comes to buying Nintendo products versus other companies’ products. Because Nintendo won’t end up adjusting its prices, their products will sell first – after all, if you could pay $70 for a high-quality and durable Pro Controller from Nintendo itself versus spending $70 on two PowerA controllers that could break after a month, you’d buy the Nintendo controller every time. And why not? You get a better controller that’ll last forever for the same price as two bad controllers that don’t.
If Nintendo products are selling first, then it’s going to be a lot harder to get them when they come out. We’re going to see more shortages of Nintendo peripherals relative to their demand, and that’ll likely remain the case until Nintendo either releases new peripherals (which typically come alongside a new console) or until they raise prices.
So we’re screwed until the new console, basically.