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Beginner’s buying guide: Nintendo Switch

Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and the holiday shopping season are upon us, so we’ve decided to start a series of buying guides for those who aren’t too familiar with the current offerings in videogames, and want to get the perfect gift for their loved ones. (Conversely, if you do know your way around games, this could be a good guide/hint for your loved ones to buy you stuff).

Switch logo

Disclaimer: The purpose of this guide is to give you an idea of the additional components required beyond the console itself. This post is not endorsed, and the products I mention here are the ones I’ve bought for my personal use. Before making a purchase, I recommend you research alternatives before making your final decision.

First and foremost: the games

The Nintendo Switch has a varied software library that can cater to different audiences, depending on who you’re buying for:

  • Family-friendly games: Nintendo has always been associated with family-friendly games, and the Switch continues this trend. Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Captain Toad and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze are great games to get the young ones started.
  • Party games: If you enjoy playing with friends, then there are plenty of local multiplayer games to choose from, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Party, Overcooked 2, Snipperclips, and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. Most of these are very accessible so people can pick them up and play.
  • Hardcore games: If you’re shopping on behalf of a more seasoned gamer, you may want to consider games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Bayonetta 1 & 2, Skyrim, Doom, Octopath Traveller or Hollow Knight, to name a few.
    • As an alternative, to avoid getting something they may already have, consider buying a Nintendo eShop card, so they can purchase exactly what the want online.

The accessories

  • Case and screen protector: one of the console’s main selling points is its portability, so much like you protect your phone, you will need to buy a protector for your Switch and its screen.
    • Recommended budget: Shouldn’t be more than $20 for both.switch screen protector
  • Memory card: The Switch comes with 32 GB of internal storage, but if you want to download games and their DLC, additional storage may become necessary, so it’s worth looking into adding a micro SD card. The more GB, the better.
    • Recommended budget: Up to $30 for a 128 GB card.microsd 128gb
  • Additional controllers: If you are buying the Switch for multiplayer games, you may want to invest in some additional controllers (joy-cons) or the Pro Controller
    • Recommended budget: MSRP is $79.99 for the joy-cons and $69.99 for the Pro Controller.

      Joy-cons and Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch

  • Travel dock: I travel frequently for work, and got tired of carrying the massive dock that comes with the Nintendo Switch, so I bought a portable version called the Insignia at Best Buy, and has worked well for me so far. This is merely for convenience, so it is definitely one of the more “optional” items in this list.
    • Recommended budget: $40.inisgnia switch dock
  • Power bank: The Switch’s battery life ranges between 3-5 hours, which isn’t ideal if you are constantly on the go. It may be worth investing in a good power bank to make sure you are able to continue playing while you travel. I personally use the Unu Superpak 10000mAh power bank, and has worked wonderfully so far. The advantage of this is that it can also double as a phone charger when needed.
    • Recommended budget: $35.Unu
  • Stand: The Switch comes with a built-in kick-stand to play when away from the dock. Unfortunately, it is very limited and it doesn’t let the console be charged while playing. You may want to invest on a portable stand to get around this.
    • Recommended budget: $10 max.Switch stand
  • Nintendo Online Service: This service is fairly new, and it enables online play (for games like Splatoon 2), adds an ever-growing library of classic Nintendo games, allows for cloud data saves (in case anything happens to the device), among other features. This is also fairly optional, because it’s a subscription service.
    • Price: $20/year for one account.

Cost spectrum

The Switch itself now retails at $299.99. If we assume that you also want to buy one of the latest games, which generally cost $60, you’re looking at a minimum spend of $359.99.

Now, if we go to the other end of the spectrum, and assume you decide to buy EVERYTHING in the list above (which would make you an awesome and incredibly generous individual), the total cost would come to:

(Console with one game) + All listed accessories = $359.99 + $20 + $30 +$79.99 + $69.99 + $40 + $35 + $10 + $20 (1 year subscription) =  roughly $670. Amazing how the price of the console more than doubles when we fully accessorize.

Safe bet

If you want to be safe, my recommendation would be to go for the console, one game, the case & screen protector, with a memory card, which would roughly come to $400. All other accessories are less essential, and may be purchased at the future owner’s discretion.

I hope you found this useful! Please let us know in the comments if there’s something you’d like to add to this list, or any particular products you’d like to recommend.


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eduv77 View All

I've been a gamer since the SNES days and Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever owned.
I currently work as a management consultant, and my console of choice is the Nintendo Switch, which I carry with me during my travels.

2 thoughts on “Beginner’s buying guide: Nintendo Switch Leave a comment

  1. Love this idea. I don’t have a switch so it’s nice to have a little summary of all the things I would need once the money-fairy spills its guts on my doorstep.
    Can’t wait to see more buying guides like this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like it! It’s always surprising how much more money you have to spend besides the console itself to be able to protect it and enjoy it to the fullest. Here’s to hoping some of these items will be on sale soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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