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Nintendo Switch Buyer’s Guide and FAQ

Nintendo has just released its long-anticipated “Switch” portable gaming device. Consumers’ Research has compiled a guide to what consumers thinking about purchasing one of these devices should know.

How much does it cost?

The Switch retails for $299. People who aren’t hardcore gamers may balk at that price – Xbox One consoles are available for roughly that price (or less, from some retailers), and while the Playstation 4 is more expensive than both (at $399 from multiple retailers) both the Xbox One and PS4 are more capable devices than the Switch. The Nintendo 3DS, however, as the company’s last portable gaming device, is currently available for $200 from Gamestop and Best Buy.

Is this just a successor to the 3DS?

Not exactly. Digital Trends reports that due to the Switch’s battery life, it can’t be considered a true handheld device in the mold of the 3DS and that device’s predecessor, the DS. According to that website, though, Nintendo is not definitely abandoning that market even if there is no successor in the works now. So if you are hankering for a new truly portable gaming device, don’t give up hope.

Wait, so is the Switch not portable?

The Nintendo Switch is somewhat unusual as far as game devices go. It can be used in place as a game console like an Xbox or a PS4 would be, but can also be used on the go (unlike those devices). In that way, it could be considered a hybrid between the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Wii or Wii U. This move actually makes sense – there is growing competition in the market from mobile gaming, so Nintendo has in essence made a product that can do both.

If it’s small and portable, what is performance like?

Unfortunately, that is a weak point of the Switch. While it is considered quite fast for a mobile gaming device, according to Business Insider it lacks the power to play major console releases like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto games. The Switch also does not have a very deep game library, at this time.

What does this mean for the Switch’s place in the market?

Fortunately, the Switch’s lack of major console releases shouldn’t affect its sales too badly. Nintendo fans have never been too bothered by that, and one of the company’s strengths lies in its unique exclusive game franchises, such as Mario Party, Mario Kart, and the Zelda games.

What games are available now?

IGN has a list of current, expected, and rumored games for the Switch.

The newest installment in the Zelda game series, Breath of the Wild, is proving a major draw for would-be Switch buyers. That game has been critically acclaimed, receiving a 10/10 from IGN and significant priase from Kotaku and The Verge as well.

All this sounds great. But are there any problems or issues I should be aware of?

A few, though it depends who you ask. While many outlets are signing the Switch’s praises (some because of the outstanding success of the previously cited game) some are alluding to hardware issues. Kotaku has a list of these reported issues. Gizmodo has detailed some of the ergonomic issues, including an allegedly poorly-designed kickstand that has drawn some criticism on Reddit as well. Gizmodo’s writer pointed to the fact the Switch’s charger is apparently located on the bottom of the device, making charging with the kickstand in place not feasible.

The Bottom Line:

By all indications, the Switch seems to be a unique, enjoyable piece of video gaming equipment. While it might not be as capable an all-rounder as the Xbox One or Playstation 4, it will attract fans in its own right, particularly those who gravitate to Nintendo platforms and games.