South African gamers are very quick to complain and compare costs of games to the rest of the world. Most people work on a direct conversion between Rand and Dollar and then mouth off their displeasure when it’s more expensive locally. To get the cost to an affordable rate for games is a major headache for local distributors thanks to our very wonky Rand. When it comes to Nintendo’s eShop it’s a different story in South Africa. Some of you might not know this, but our games are regarded as some of the cheapest on the service in the world.
The cost of games have been adjusted (since the Wii U days) on the South African eShop to assist us due to our weakened Rand. Games such as Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sell for R750, while Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is on pre-order for R670. That’s roughly R200-R300 cheaper than most other games on other formats. Thanks to the Switch being region-free it has allowed users to connect to any online store in the world of their choice. As result we have a global audience connecting to the South African store. A quick visit to Reddit and you’ll understand just how wide the news has spread, and Nintendo have picked up on this. The SA eShop has become a haven for international Switch players.
I have been told that Nintendo have plans to fix this problem, but what exactly it is I do not know. They could either increase the cost of games to tie in with the rest of the world, which in turns means that games will cost more on the SA eShop than it currently is, or they can somehow region-lock the South African Nintendo eShop. Perhaps they could block international paying methods or detect international users based on their IP address. There definitely are various ways to go about dealing with this issue, but let’s hope it has a positive outcome for us. So far the eShop experience has been nothing but awesome in SA.
If you’ve had your eyes on one or two games it’s probably a good idea to buy it sooner rather than later, as there is a definite change incoming ‘soon’, I’m told.