The True Cost of a Nintendo Switch

The True Cost of a Nintendo Switch

Since the Nintendo Switch’s launch in 2017, various upgrades and bundles have been released, all varying in their prices and what they offer. Depending on the version you buy, the Nintendo Switch can cost anywhere from US$199.99 to US$349.99, just for the console itself. While that might not seem like that bad of a deal, especially considering the Switch has had some heavy hitters like Breath of the Wild, the cost only goes up from there if you start adding in extra accessories.

The cost of the system itself

As I noted above, the Switch is available for as low as US$199.99 if you purchase the Nintendo Switch Lite. This version of Nintendo’s gaming console doesn’t support docked mode, which means you won’t be able to hook it up to a television and will be playing on the smaller handheld screen all the time. That’s perfectly fine for a lot of folks, though. For US$100 more, you can purchase the original Nintendo Switch. It’s just US$299.99 and includes the dock, so you can easily swap from handheld to docked mode and play on your TV or monitor.

But if you want to buy what is arguably the best version of the Nintendo Switch, you’ll need to dish out US$349.99 for the newer Switch OLED Model. This version comes with a slightly bigger OLED display, while the original Switch features a smaller LCD panel. It’s a nice upgrade that is well worth the US$50 price increase, in my opinion, but it isn’t necessary if you’re trying to pick up a Switch for the cheapest possible price.

There are also a myriad of bundles you can choose from, which come with a ton of different accessories or games, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.

Nintendo Switch Online

As I noted above, the initial price is just to get the system. Once you actually start talking about games and accessories, you’re looking at a lot more. If you want to play online or get access to older SNES and NES games, for example, then you can invest in Nintendo Switch Online. This service usually costs for US$20 per year or US$3.99 a month. Any game that utilizes online components, like online multiplayer, will require Nintendo Switch Online. It’s cheaper than other, comparable services for PlayStation and Xbox, but you’ll only need to worry about this if you play games online or want access to those older games.

Nintendo Switch Accessories

From there, it’s time to talk about some of the optional (but very nice to have) accessories, such as controllers and extra storage.

The Pro Controller

The first accessory I want to highlight is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. This wireless controller is perfect for those who want to play their Switch in TV mode and want a controller that feels a little more substantial than the Joy-Con controller that comes with your Switch. I personally find the Pro Controller to be much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. It usually costs US$69.99, but you can sometimes find it on sale, depending on what time of the year you’re searching.

A micro SD card

It might be strange to think of buying a micro SD card for a gaming console in 2024, but here we are. All versions of the Nintendo Switch come with 32GB of internal storage. That isn’t a lot, and while the Switch definitely has smaller games than PlayStation or Xbox, you’re going to find yourself running out of space quickly.

To alleviate that, you can invest in up to a 2TB micro SD card. These cards can run for a myriad of prices, but there’s a solid Samsung EVO Select Micro SD card on Amazon for US$34.99 that will give you 512GB of extra space to work with, and it offers really solid speeds, too. On the Switch, 512GB should provide more than enough space for all your gaming needs, but you can go bigger if you feel the need to.

Extra protection

If you plan on taking your Switch on the go, as Nintendo designed it, then you may want to look into some extra protection options, like a screen protector.

Screen protectors for the Switch can vary, but most are available for less than US$10 on Amazon, like this daydayup 3-pack of tempered glass screen protectors. Make sure to buy a screen protector that fits your model of the Switch, as the Switch Lite’s display is different than the original Switch.

There are also many protective cases and stands available. One of my personal favorites is the tomtoc slim carrying case. It’s really thin but offers protection if you need to stash your Switch in a backpack or bag. This isn’t the most rugged case ever, but if you just want something for everyday use, then the tomtoc is a solid option.

The “true” cost of the Nintendo Switch

Overall, buying a Nintendo Switch is going to be a bit more expensive than just buying the console itself, even if you only invest in a couple of games. Sure, you don’t need all of these extra accessories, but they definitely help make the experience better. If you do decide to go all out and invest in everything, your purchase jumps up to US$360 for the Switch Lite, US$460 for the original Switch, and US$510 for the Switch OLED, and that’s before adding in any games.

Make sure to budget out for some of these recommended accessories, as well as some of the best Switch games on the market right now. As with everything, prices vary, so don’t be afraid to wait for a sale.


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