The PS5 and Xbox Series X have been out for several months now, delivering zippy load times and stunning 4K graphics to the handful of people that have been able to actually buy them. But what if I told you that I was still spending most of my gaming time with the nearly four-year-old Nintendo Switch?
Despite having access to a PS5 and a powerful gaming PC, I still find myself putting hour after hour into Nintendo’s hybrid game console, usually cradling it in handheld mode as the TV blares in the background. Part of that is due to how the Switch fits into my life and complements my personal gaming habits, but it’s also a testament to the great software that both Nintendo and third parties continue to pump out for the system years after its launch.
Now that I’ve bounced between next-gen and current-gen hardware for a good chunk of time, I’m convinced that the Nintendo Switch is still the best console you can buy right now. Here are a few reasons why.
Even all these years later, there’s still a feeling of magic that comes with playing a game on my TV, removing my Switch from its dock and picking up right where I left off in handheld mode. That versatility isn’t just a flashy gimmick — it also allows the Nintendo Switch to fit into my life in a way that not even the powerful new PlayStation and Xbox can. Whereas the PS5 takes over my TV, the Switch allows me to complete a few runs in Hades on its built-in display while I half-watch pro wrestling in the background (don’t judge).
While I enjoy getting fully engrossed in big, cinematic games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ghost of Tsushima from time to time, there’s something relaxingly noncommittal about being able to chip away at a game on my couch without having to give it my full attention on a big screen. You can technically have a similar experience with PS5 games by streaming them to your phone via the Remote Play app, but you’ll have to fumble with pairing a controller to your phone or deal with touch controls, all while hoping you have a good enough internet connection to keep things from getting laggy.
Whenever I can finally get on a plane again, the Switch is the only console that’s coming with me, thanks to its ability to be played on the go. But even while I’m locked down at home, I continue to appreciate the fact that Nintendo’s console works equally well as a big-screen gaming machine as it does as a personal, portable device that can follow me from the couch to the bed.
Titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are absolute essentials that anyone who enjoys video games owes to themselves to play. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been the joyful escape that many of us (myself included) have needed from the real world, while Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are stellar multiplayer games that have stayed in my rotation for years. From Pokémon Sword and Shield to Luigi’s Mansion 3 to Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the list of great first-party Switch exclusives is long, and has a little something for everyone.
But it’s not just Nintendo’s own output that makes the Switch so special. The main reason why I can’t put my Switch down right now is Hades — an addicting and charming dungeon crawler that’s currently a console exclusive on Nintendo’s platform. And it’s just one of many great indie and third-party titles you can find on Switch, from cult favorites like Celeste and Untitled Goose Game to portable versions of iconic titles such as The Witcher 3 and Minecraft. The Switch plays many of the biggest multiplayer games out there, including Fortnite, Among Us and, soon, Apex Legends, and you can play many of them with your friends on PlayStation and Xbox.
Better yet, the Nintendo Switch library is still growing at a steady clip this year. I personally can’t wait to get my hands on Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, which brings the criminally underrated Wii U game to Nintendo’s new hardware while adding in a whole new set of levels to play through. There’s also New Pokémon Snap, which looks to modernize the beloved Nintendo 64 Pokémon photography game with gorgeous new environments and characters as well as some promising new role-playing games in the form of Monster Hunter Rise and Bravely Default II.
And looking further in the future, Switch owners will eventually get Metroid Prime 4, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and Bayonetta 3 — all highly anticipated sequels to some of the best franchises on Nintendo hardware. Whether you’re a longtime Switch owner or just jumping in, you’ll have no shortage of new games to look forward to this year and beyond.
The Switch isn’t just the most versatile console out right now — it’s also one of the cheapest. Even if you do manage to track down a PS5 or Xbox Series X, you’ll be paying up to a hefty $499 for one of them. Meanwhile, the standard Nintendo Switch goes for a more reasonable $299, and the handheld-only Nintendo Switch Lite is an especially great deal at $199.
We have to give some credit to the Xbox Series S, which also costs $299 and packs many of the Xbox Series X’s high-end features while targeting a lower 1440p resolution rather than 4K. But if you’re looking for a console that’s both affordable and relatively easy to track down right now, the Nintendo Switch is your best bet.
Of course, while the Switch might still be my favorite console, there are a few things stopping it from being my only console. The gap in sheer horsepower between the Switch and the latest PlayStation and Xbox consoles is significant, which is likely why big-budget titles such as Outriders and Resident Evil Village aren’t slated for Nintendo’s console. A few modern blockbusters such as Control and Hitman III have made their way to Switch, thanks to cloud streaming, but they’ll only run as smoothly as your internet connection allows.
As such, I’m still booting up my PS5 when I want to swing through New York City as Spider-Man in 4K, or turning to my PC to enjoy the strikingly lifelike visuals of games like Gears 5 and The Medium. The Switch can do some pretty amazing things — from delivering advanced haptic feedback from the Joy-Con controllers to enabling cool augmented reality experiences like Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit — but delivering cutting-edge graphics is not one of them. Fingers crossed for a more powerful model sometime soon.
Four years later, the Nintendo Switch is a better buy than ever — and it even outclasses the latest Sony and Microsoft systems in some notable ways. Nintendo’s console is relatively affordable and has a massive library consisting of some of the best games of all time, and its ability to be played on both a big screen and on the go remains unmatched.
That’s not to say the Switch is for everyone. If you’re looking for a machine that can play the latest blockbusters in 4K resolution and a smooth 60 frames per second, you’re better off continuing your hunt for a PS5 or Xbox Series X (or investing in a good gaming PC). But if you’re waiting for the new consoles to mature a bit — or just want to be able to play great games on your couch, in your bed and maybe even on a plane someday — the Nintendo Switch is still as good as it gets.