Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack price is a big hike over standard subscription

After making us wait a few weeks for details, Nintendo today announced pricing for Nintendo Switch Online and its Expansion Pack, which adds playable Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games to the service. The new pricing might elicit sticker shock in those used to Nintendo Switch Online’s standard pricing of $20 a year because gaining access to the Expansion Pack content means suffering a rather dramatic price increase.

At the tail end of its Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct today, Nintendo revealed Switch Online’s Expansion Pack pricing will clock in at a hefty $49.99 per year for individual subscribers and $79.99 a year for family subscriptions. That is a significant price bump over the standard Nintendo Switch Online cost, but Nintendo also revealed today that the Expansion Pack will include the Happy Home Paradise DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons in addition to N64 and Genesis games.

Happy Home Paradise is priced at $24.99 as a standalone purchase, so if you’re an Animal Crossing player planning to buy the DLC, then an upgrade to Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack could well be worth it, at least for the first year. It should be noted that the Animal Crossing DLC, Genesis, and N64 games are the only additions in the Expansion Pack, meaning you get all the other features of Switch Online with a standard subscription.

We’re guessing this pricing isn’t going to sit well with Nintendo Switch owners – or at least those who aren’t Animal Crossing: New Horizons players. Indeed, the overview trailer for Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, which we’ve embedded above, sits at 6.3k likes and 3.6k dislikes at the time of this writing, so there is certainly a sizable contingent of Switch owners who aren’t happy with the price of the Expansion Pack.

The big question now is whether this decision to add DLC to the Expansion Pack is a one-off thing for Animal Crossing or if Nintendo will add more DLC to the Expansion Pack in the future. We’ll see what happens from here, but the Expansion Pack launches on October 25th, with a discount available for those who are currently subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online.

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Playdate handheld nears release with price hike, new games, and a video update

Back in 2019, Panic unveiled a rather interesting handheld gaming device called the Playdate. The unique handheld was supposed to launch at some point in 2020 but was unfortunately delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it looks like we’re finally closing in on the Playdate’s release, but when it launches later this year, it’ll arrive with a price tag that’s higher than originally anticipated.

In a post to Twitter today, Panic announced a new video update on Playdate – the first video update it’s ever done, in fact. That video update will cover a wide range of topics, from the games that will be included for free as part of Playdate’s “Season One,” games that will be released for the platform in the future, information on pre-orders, and “some surprises.”

The livestream will be happening at 9 AM PDT/12 PM EDT on Tuesday, June 8th. You’ll be able to watch the show via the YouTube livestream we’ve embedded above. There’s no word on how long the presentation will last, but based on Panic’s description, it sounds like it’ll be a pretty packed show.

In follow-up tweets, Panic clarified a few things. First, the company says that pre-orders won’t be going live immediately following the presentation, so those eager to get their hands on one won’t need to worry about that. “We’ll give you plenty of warning before it’s go time,” the company added.

In addition, Panic says that Playdate’s “final price” is $179. When the handheld was first announced, its price was set at $149, so this is a $30 price hike. Perhaps owing to that price hike is the fact that Playdate’s internal storage has been doubled to 4GB, and the number of games included in Season One has also been doubled to 24. All 24 of those games will be included with every Playdate purchase at no extra cost.

So, it seems that the price hike probably covers the cost of bringing those extra titles and bolstering the handheld’s internal storage. It likely that we’ll get a look at some of those new game’s during Panic’s presentation next week, so be sure to tune in if you’ve been following the Playdate for the past two years.

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Tech News

Xiaomi phones might get a price hike due to chip shortage

Despite their absence in the US market, Xiaomi’s phones, including those from its Redmi sub-brand, have been popular and notorious for their dirt-cheap prices despite near-flagship features. Those prices have indeed risen over the years along with other smartphones but Mi and Redmi phones have remained considerably cheaper than their peers. That might not last long, though, and not simply because of the rise in component prices but especially because of the global shortage in chip supplies.

Due to a combination of factors, many of them stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the demand for semiconductors, specifically chips used in consumer electronics, has far outstripped manufacturers’ ability to supply these. First observed in the automotive industry, this chip shortage has now spread to computer components as well as smartphones and threatens not just the supply of products but also their prices.

The latter is the scenario painted by Xiaomi president Wang Xiang at the company’s recent earnings call. Prices for these critical chips have grown higher due to the low supply and high demand and barring removing features from future phones, Xiaomi might be forced to pass on these costs to consumers. In other words, Xiaomi’s next smartphones could end up being higher than they normally would.

It isn’t an inevitable possibility, though, as Wang still believes the company is looking okay, at least for now. In addition to the difficulty in getting their hands on important components, Xiaomi also faced a US restriction that barred American companies from investing in the Chinese tech giant. That order was overturned by a US district judge this month but the drama is far from over.

Xiaomi wouldn’t be the only OEM hit by this chip shortage, especially when that shortage has affected Qualcomm itself. The chip maker’s 5G modems, in particular, have been affected by the closure of Samsung’s production plant in the US and that, in turn, is affecting its ability to meet the demands for the chips of smartphone makers.

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