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The Nintendo Switch, while by no means novel, still keeps on selling like hot cakes; it is, in fact, the third best-selling console of all time. Calling it a smash hit wouldn’t even begin to cut it.
Then again, it’s horrendously underpowered, it isn’t capable of running the latest and greatest titles, and its hybrid nature — while undoubtedly original — is no longer quite as alluring as it was in the past. Nintendo has its own way of doing things, and it always manages to devise some kind of a unique selling point that only it can harness (and potentially replicate). Its consoles always trailed behind the competition when it came to sheer horsepower and CPU/GPU grunt, but that mattered very little to their target demographic — a group which cares more about the overall experience rather than the technical mumbo jumbo the “PC Master Race” happens to be so enamored with.
But the Switch came out nearly seven years ago. The fact that it’s still selling reasonably well doesn’t necessarily justify the investment at this point of its life cycle. It’s no longer as unique as it was in the past, which begs the question: does buying the Nintendo Switch make sense in 2024? What are the pros and cons of such a decision, and how much longer will this quirky hybrid console be supported?
Let’s take a closer look.
Underpowered, But Still Worth Buying
The Nintendo Switch, from a hardware perspective, is laughably weak. In fact, the smartphone you carry around is most likely a fair bit more powerful (if not by an order of magnitude). And yet that never really mattered, neither to Nintendo nor to the millions of people who were more than willing to whip out their wallets and make the investment.
The Switch, despite its shortcomings and woefully underpowered internals, still delivered a spectacular gaming experience. It has stellar battery life, it can be used in two entirely different ways (handheld or docked), and it has a staggeringly versatile library of games.
That’s the “benefit” of buying a console that’s been out for so many years: there’s a tremendously expansive backlog of video games just waiting to for you to dive in and start playing; a backlog jampacked with exceptional first- and third-party titles.
The Nintendo Switch is undeniably an outdated piece of tech. It pales in comparison to what’s currently available on the market and yet it’s still as alluring as ever. In fact, one could argue that it’s gotten better with age.
Nintendo Switch in 2024 — Still the Best Portable Console
Unlike all mainstream handheld gaming PCs, the Nintendo Switch is actually portable, even with its joy-cons attached. You don’t need a “specialized” carrying case that may or may burn a hole through your wallet; any backpack or purse will do just fine.
It’s also thin, light, and (reasonably) comfortable to use for prolonged gaming sessions. And even if its shape isn’t up to your liking, finding the right third-party grip or accessory is going to be the easiest thing in the world as the market’s flooded with them.
Handheld Gaming PCs vs. Nintendo Switch
And it’s a true console, too, with a lightweight operating system that’s streamlined, easy-to-use, and devoid of any excess bloat. Most people don’t want an all-in-one “Frankenstein” that’s essentially a full-fledged PC packed inside a somewhat portable enclosure — they want a thin-and-light gaming device that’ll wake from sleep in a moment’s notice and work exactly as advertised each and every single time they happen to pick it up.
A handheld gaming PC is endlessly more versatile and capable. It’s not even up for debate. There’s a world of difference between, say, a Steam Deck and a Nintendo Switch, but for the “average” user — i.e. someone who’s not all that tech savvy and doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of thinking about compatibility layers and graphical settings and frame rates, resolutions, clock speeds, watts, and whatever else — the Nintendo Switch is undeniably the superior option, despite its shortcomings and laughably outdated spec sheet.
Nintendo Switch in 2024 — It’s Complicated
And so, frankly, buying a Nintendo Switch in 2024 makes all the sense in the world, assuming you’re okay with its limited power and the fact that it’s not going to be supported for much longer. You should, however, wait for it to go on sale or, perhaps, purchase a used one on the second-hand market. Splurging a ton of money on a Nintendo Switch in 2024 — despite its many strengths — simply doesn’t make a lot of sense.
You should also be aware of the fact that there’s a Switch Pro in pipeline; it will supposedly hit the shelves in Q3 or Q4 of 2024 and will deliver a level of performance similar to an Xbox Series S. It’ll be a much more capable device but will still carry the same hybrid form factor (if the rumor mill is to be believed, at least). Are you okay with buying a last-gen console with its successor looming on the horizon? That’s a question only you can answer, and even though most folks would advise against it, if you’re okay with what the Switch has to offer (including its limited computational prowess), then don’t think twice about it — it’s well worth the investment, even today.