The Nintendo Switch Is Worth It Just For ‘Breath Of The Wild’

zelda breath of the wild botw master sword
You can find the Master Sword in 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild' Nintendo

The Nintendo Switch is available now (although good luck finding one ) and the new console took on an unusual tactic for a modern system: It launched with exactly one flagship game. But that game, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is very, very flagshippy indeed. You could call it the biggest ship in the whole navy. Indeed, it’s the biggest and most ambitious game Nintendo has ever made, and I don’t think anybody would argue too hard if you said it was also their best. But there’s not very much else on the Nintendo Switch just yet. More games are coming, but right now most of the action is in the Zelda camp. And today, it’s time for a controversial argument: It’s worth it. Yes, you should buy a Nintendo Switch just for Zelda.

Why You Should Buy A Nintendo Switch Just For Breath Of The Wild

legend zelda breath of the wild botw hyrule
The scope of 'Breath of the Wild' is larger than you ever imagined. Photo: Nintendo

Video games are surprisingly flat in terms of pricing. Pretty much every full-scale console game runs for $60, although the number of outliers at $50 and $70 is higher than it used to be. Indie games are generally $15 to $25 or so. The only games that exceed the standard price points tend to be fancy limited editions (even Zelda has one) .

In most other industries, even other artistic industries, pricing varies based on a product’s perceived quality, value or scarcity. Movie pricing is also pretty flat, not counting 3D outings. But think about live concerts, or restaurant meals, or cars, or furniture, or LEGO sets, or paintings, or even alcohol—better quality stuff costs more. This is the whole model behind luxury goods. You pay for quality.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a truly exceptional game—just look at the reviews. It’s the best-reviewed game in years. It’s truly massive, and provides a surprisingly unique and different experience, even compared to other open-world games like Fallout 4 and Witcher 3. There’s nothing else like it. In most other industries, that would mean Nintendo could charge a higher price for it. For a variety of reasons, the video game industry isn’t like that. And sure, every copy of Zelda costs a trivial amount to produce, but the game itself cost much more than other games to make. Nintendo has to make that up on volume, rather than through higher pricing.

Zelda itself doesn’t technically have a higher price than other games, but to play the best version of the game, you need to buy a Nintendo Switch. This is the luxury Breath of the Wild experience, and it feels like it (the portability is clutch). Although it’s also playable on Wii U, the last-gen console has had the same issue over the years: There weren’t a ton of games for it, but it still cost roughly the same as consoles with more games. And if you don’t have one now, it would still cost you $260 or so to buy into Breath of the Wild.

Without really intending it or even desiring it, Nintendo has actually fallen into something of the luxury goods business model. The Nintendo Switch is the culmination: It’s a $300 system that most people are buying for Breath of the Wild, plus potential for the future. You could buy a PlayStation 4 and access a whole slew of games instead—but you couldn’t play Zelda.

Obviously, many people can’t afford paying $360 for just one game. And that’s fine. But some people can, and balk at buying a whole console simply for Zelda—even with the understanding that other cool stuff will come to the system down the road. Don’t balk. Don’t feel bad. Breath of the Wild is worth it. You have to buy into Nintendo Switch membership to get access to the club, but some games simply offer so much that a higher (unofficial) price is justified. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a deep and incredible experience, and worth paying extra for—even if you never use your Nintendo Switch again.

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