It has been a great five years for Nintendo Switch. It has repeatedly topped the charts in its lifespan as the most purchased console month to month.
It’s quite a turnaround from the flop that was the Wii U. However, the gaming market is beginning to move forward with the release of ninth-generation consoles, and the Switch is starting to show its age.
Many who haven’t jumped on board the Nintendo wagon might be asking themselves, is the Nintendo Switch worth it?
Today, we answer that question by looking at the state of the Nintendo Switch in 2022 and finding out if this celebrated console is really worth the hype.
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The Nintendo Switch is an interesting console. It lacks so much that we have come to expect from our consoles.
Streaming services are nonexistent on Switch, the online functionality is lacking, putting it nicely, and the Switch’s power limitations have increasingly handicapped it as the gaming landscape continues to move forward.
Despite its shortcomings, I can’t stop admiring this ingenious console. Nintendo is in the business of creating great games, and business is booming. The Nintendo Switch is absolutely worth it in 2022.
I would go as far as saying that this moment in 2022 is the best time to buy a Nintendo Switch. Buying a Switch right now opens the door to a five-year backlog of first-party Nintendo games that are among some of the best games to come out in the past decade.
Almost every Nintendo IP has received a game this generation, from Mario to Fire Emblem, to Animal Crossing. Even Metroid Dread was dug out from its nearly 20-year-old grave and happened to be one of the best games on Nintendo Switch that I have ever played.
Being the first and only hybrid console on the market, the Nintendo Switch is quite a unique piece of technology. One that constantly impresses me with how intuitive it is to use.
The Nintendo Switch user experience is one of simplicity and ease. Snap-in the joy-cons to take it on the go, or place it in the dock and instantly have your game on the TV. Smooth, seamless, and accessible. Everything from the home screen to the settings menu is made to be easy to navigate with a no-nonsense approach to UI. You don’t have to navigate through 3 menus just to access your games library. Something other consoles could really take some notes on.
What makes the Switch a particularly unique piece of tech is the console-quality experience in a portable form factor.
Switch’s PS Vita and Nintendo DS forefathers made remarkable attempts at capturing console-quality games in a mobile device but always ended up being a watered-down experience from their more robust console counterparts.
The Switch is a true console that you can take on the go.
When I first purchased my Switch I didn’t think I would take it any further than where I conduct my bathroom breaks. These days I’m taking the ol’ Switch everywhere I go.
Yes, I am the guy sitting poolside playing Zelda. Yes, I will 1v1 you in Smash Bros. No, I do not play with items on.
The Switch does have some drawbacks, though, namely a lack of features that are quite perplexing for a console released as recently as 2017. Despite it being such a unique, forward-thinking concept for a console, it almost feels like anything that isn’t directly tied to playing video games on the Switch is stuck somewhere in 2006.
Do you want streaming services like Netflix or HBO Max?
The best that Nintendo can give you is YouTube and Hulu.
How about a web browser?
Trophies or achievements?
Look somewhere else, pal.
Okay, how about integrated voice chat to talk smack over Mario Kart?
Nintendo: “You have a phone, don’t you?”
Well, sheesh, with the Nintendo Switch lacking so many features compared to current consoles, even lacking in compared Nintendo’s previous consoles, what makes the Switch more worth it than just buying a PlayStation or an Xbox?
The Switch is a console tailor-made for gaming without the noise of being a multimedia machine that Xbox and PlayStation like to present themselves as. If the last five years have taught us anything, it's that when Nintendo goes all-in on gaming, it is an absolute powerhouse of great titles.
Nintendo's first-party lineup of titles this generation has been one of the best since the GameCube generation.
Anyone can buy a Switch and find a game they will love. Games ranging from the simple platforming fun of Mario to the cryptic and challenging Metroid series, Nintendo has designed for every type of gamer. Let's look at what I consider one of the best game lineups for a console ever.
Mario, Zelda, and Smash Bros comfortably sit within the top 10 on Metacritic; as they should, they’re amazing games worth the price of a Switch alone. It’s also worth mentioning that no game on this top 10 list goes below a 90.
As a matter of fact, you have to scroll down to spot number 23 on Metacritic’s Best Switch Video Games of All Time list to hit the first game with an 89. An impressive feat for a console that lacks titles like GTA, God of War, Red Dead Redemption, and Halo.
However, there is a trend among the best games on the Switch, and it is one of the Switch’s greatest strengths. Indie games.
Nintendo Switch is by far the best platform for playing indie games thanks to its inherent pick-up-and-put-down nature that pairs so brilliantly with those short burst gaming indie titles currently flooding the market. It has all the spirit of the Nintendo DS or GameBoy with the power of a console.
And in the spirit of the Nintendo DS, there are a few revisions to this console to consider when deciding to buy a Switch.
Nintendo Switch base model
The Switch base model, the classic, is the best value at $299. This is the Switch for you if you want the versatility of having a console mode and the portable mode and don’t care too much about the OLED screen. It is the Nintendo Switch that everyone has grown to adore.
Nintendo Switch Lite
Sitting at an attractive $199, the Switch Lite is the best bang-for-your-buck console out there right now, with its main drawback being a lack of connectivity to a TV screen. And don’t start thinking that you can get smart and connect it to an independent dock; the Switch LIte completely lacks the hardware for connecting to a TV.
However, as a dedicated handheld console, the Lite is a fantastic budget option that can still play the entire Switch library on the go with a noticeably more sturdy feeling console thanks to the all-in-one design of the Switch Lite. Also, there are many color options to choose from with the Lite. If you’re a portable gamer looking to find something to fill the hole that the Nintendo DS left behind, get the Switch Lite.
Nintendo Switch OLED
If you’re a gamer that wants the best experience possible in handheld mode along with the most feature-packed Switch on the market, then the OLED model is for you. While the OLED model doesn’t offer any performance gains over the base or lite model, the new 7 inch OLED screen is a sight to behold.
Besides the screen upgrade, there is a noticeable improvement to the console’s build quality, a built-in ethernet port, better speakers, and a very dapper white and black color scheme.
This is definitely the best Switch model to get at the moment, and it is only $50 more than the base model starting at $349. I’m a known OLED enthusiast, so obviously, I jumped at the opportunity to check this console out, and it is worth the $50 premium.
Nintendo has been very hush-hush about its internal projects and plans for future consoles. An official Nintendo statement from September 2021 to investors says their next console will release in 20XX.
Cheeky. While assuredly a new console won’t be released this year, Nintendo has to have something cooking for the future. Let us look at Nintendo's current market conditions to see if a new console is closer than the company would lead us to believe.
Let's be honest, the Nintendo Switch is starting to get old.
In 2023 the Switch will be 6 six years old and entering its closing chapters; however, we can already start to feel its age. Third-party titles like Shin Megami Tensei V and Dragon Quest Builders 2 are beginning to push the Nintendo Switch to its limits.
Even small indie titles like Disco Elysium are now struggling to run on the Switch. Some miracle ports are still releasing on the Switch, Dying Light being a recent standout. However, most titles are now going cloud-streaming based instead of natively due to an overall increase in graphically fidelity that the Nintendo Switch’s power limitations simply can’t keep up with. A frustrating situation for gamers that primarily game on their Switch
In the absence of Nintendo creating a more powerful console, a Switch Pro of sorts from an unexpected company has been announced that likely has Nintendo turning some heads.
Enter the Steam Deck
Nintendo has sat very comfortably at the top of its hybrid console niche for just about five years. No company has ever come along with the RND that a massive company like Nintendo has to create such a high-quality product. That was until Valve decided to announce the Steam Deck featuring the new, mighty AMD RDNA2 architecture found in the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
Valve has stated that the Steam Deck is by all accounts a PC just in a portable form factor, with an incoming dock that will give it that Switch-like hybrid functionality. The Steam Deck is a powerful piece of handheld tech and carries the weight of over 20 years of gaming in its pocket, with the entire Steam library ready to play on day one.
Not to mention the emulation potential. This is the Switch Pro we wanted that isn’t made by Nintendo, and Nintendo will have to respond soon.
What will that response look like? Only time will tell. But what we can say now is that hype for the Steam Deck is high in a market that Nintendo once claimed as their own, and I’m sure Nintendo will not give up their throne so easily and so quickly.
Even 5 years in, it’s important to note that the Nintendo Switch isn’t out of gas just yet. While there is reason to believe that Nintendo is working on whatever is coming next, 2022 will prove to be a massive year for the console. Coming to Switch in 2022 are Kirby, Splatoon, Bayonetta, Mario + Rabbids, and the much-anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild.
Keep an eye out for those Nintendo Directs because there will undoubtedly be some surprise titles this year as well.
There are a lot of games on Switch to play and many on the way to get excited about. So if you don’t have a Switch already, what are you waiting for? Go get one!
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