Why Are Joy-cons So Expensive? (7 Reasons Why)

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Freya Crawford

Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

Nintendo Switch and Joy-cons go hand-in-hand, so if you purchased your Nintendo Switch as a complete package, it is easy to overlook how much that price is for the Joy-cons alone.

That is, of course, until you decide to replace the Joy-cons or purchase extra ones, which will cost you a pretty penny. Just why are Joy-cons so expensive? Here is what I found!

Why Are Joy-cons So Expensive?

Joy-cons are so expensive because they contain advanced technology that provides gamers a seamless gaming experience on Nintendo Switch. Compared to average console controllers, Joy-cons have added features like a thermal camera, HD rumble, and 20-hour battery life, to name a few. Additionally, Joy-cons come in different colors, inflating the cost of production.

If you are interested in learning more about the advanced technology and customizable features of Joy-cons that make these controllers so expensive, keep on reading!

1. Joy-cons Are Equipped With HD Rumble

HD Rumble is a technology that gives gamers a deeper level of immersion, and Joy-cons are equipped with this technology.

As its name implies, HD Rumbles generate vibrations that can mimic sensations players are experiencing in the Nintendo Switch game.

Since HD Rumble provides better results than standard rumble technology, it is safe to say that Joy-cons are better than most controllers and are therefore priced higher.

2. Joy-cons Have An Impressive Battery Life

Fully-charged Joy-cons have a battery life that can last for 20 hours. For gamers, having longer battery life is key to a seamless gaming experience.

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That said, this is especially important when Nintendo Switch is running applications that can deplete the Joy-cons’ battery life much faster than other functions.

Additionally, gamers can take advantage of this 20-hour battery life per Joy-con by charging them for only three-and-a-half hours each.

Like in most gadgets, extended battery life is a cause for mark-up, hence the hefty price tags of Joy-cons.

3. Joy-cons Have Built-In NFC Readers

Amiibo are popular accessories that give Nintendo Switch gamers a unique gaming experience and some advantages in multi-player settings.

However, Amiibo cannot be accessed without NFC readers, so left Joy-cons are equipped with them.

Further, by scanning Amiibo characters on the left Joy-con, Amiibo characters can come to life in the Nintendo Switch game being played.

Moreover, such an impressive feature can only be possible with an equally impressive technology, which is costly to make.

As a result, Joy-cons, particularly left ones, are sold at a high price.

4. Joy-cons Are Outfitted With Gyroscopes

To produce Joy-cons that can be used independently from each other, Joy-cons are outfitted with gyroscopes that make it possible to detect different left and right motion controls.

That said, having the capacity to determine the orientation of Joy-cons is integral in most games, but especially for those that were made with this technology in mind.

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For example, some of these games are Mario Party and Mario Kart, which allow gamers to shake, rotate, or turn Joy-cons to control the screen during the game.

Also, such a powerful and immersive technology is a literal game-changer in the industry and must be priced according to its value.

5. Right Joy-cons Have IR Cameras

5. Right Joy-cons Have IR Cameras

If you have not taken the time to inspect your Joy-cons, you have likely missed the black dots at the bottom, which are cameras.

However, these are not traditional cameras. Instead, Joy-cons use infrared (IR) cameras that perform image and heat detection, useful in certain Switch games.

Additionally, you can purchase a Labo kit that will allow you to better access and utilize the IR camera.

Like gyro-sensors and HD Rumble, IR cameras give Joy-cons an advantage over other controllers and are therefore priced higher.

6. Joy-cons Can Only Use Bite-Sized HD Technology

Nintendo Switch is mainly a handheld console, even if the original version can also be used on the television.

Also, since Nintendo Switch is portable, Joy-cons need to be equally lightweight and convenient to use despite being more advanced than other controllers.

To achieve this, all the technology packed into Joy-cons must be as compact as possible without compromising quality.

Moreover, creating such small-scale technology with deeply engaging results requires a lot of research, special tools and materials, and labor.

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Naturally, this will result in Joy-cons that are pricier but more efficient.

7. Joy-cons Come In Multiple Colors

Anytime a product comes in varieties, prices tend to be higher, and Joy-cons are no exception.

With Joy-cons, you can choose not only from a wide range of colors but also pick the combinations you desire.

Nonetheless, this level of customization comes with a price, and in the case of Joy-cons, this price tends to be relatively high.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Xbox controllers are so expensive, why Mario Kart Wii is so expensive, and why Nintendo Switch is so expensive.


Joy-cons are not your average console controllers; packed within these small devices are some of the most advanced technologies in gaming history.

That said, some of the features that stand out the most in Joy-cons are the HD Rumble, gyro-sensors, IR cameras, and NFC readers.

However, creating such a powerful console is costly, not only in terms of labor and materials.

Considering these factors, it is easy to understand why Joy-cons are expensive.


  • Freya Crawford

    Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

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