nintendo switch


the nintendo switch package

honestly, I don’t understand how we have a “gaming press” who do a piss-poor job of making sense of huge events like these; they read as if they were just typed up as quickly as possible and then left alone without a final omnibus to piece it all together.

so this is just me thinking out loud again, trying to piece together all the pieces.

the breakdown

what’s included

  • nintendo switch console
  • nintendo switch dock
  • joy-con (L)+(R)
    • w/ wrist straps
  • joy-con grip
  • hdmi cable
  • ac adapter

source: official website.


joy-con ($79)

the joy-con controller package

an overview of the neon joy-con controllers

first of all, the neon blue and red so-called “joy-con” controllers—or just “joy-cons”—are gorgeous, and i don’t for the life of me understand anyone who buys the black version.

the controllers feature advanced rumble and a motion ir sensor. you charge them buy docking them with your console or a “charging grip” sold separately.

they ship with a strap for each controller.

the controllers retail at a whopping $79. they can also be bought separately for $49, but it looks like the solos only come in black.

the solo joy-con package

by comparison, a dualshock 4 controller for the ps4 costs $49–$59.

charging grip ($29)

the charging grip for your joy-cons

the neon controllers aren’t going to need a lot of charging, so the grip mainly serves as a bona fide gamepad.

the charging grip costs $29, but keep in mind you’ll still need the joy-cons ($79) for a full grip. may as well get the pro controller below instead, then.

there are two versions of the grip:

  • the charging grip
    • charges the joy-cons when connected
    • bought separately
  • the grip
    • can charge the joy-cons via charger cable
    • included with the console
pro controller ($69)

the pro controller

if you want a more standard gamepad, the pro controller retails at $69. using one of these seems to defeat the purpose of the switch, and it seems silly that this is a separate peripheral.

still cheaper than a pair of joy-cons and a charging grip, which clock in at $79 + $29 = $109.

dock switch set ($89)

dock switch set

if you want to be able to dock your switch in multiple places, you have to pony up $89.

some complain about this price, but this accessory seems like a bit of an edge case for most people. maybe that’s just me.

ships with an ac adapter and hdmi cable.

joy-con wheel (×2) ($14)

set of two joy-con wheels

this cheap and brilliant accessory that costs jsut $14 lets you split the joy-cons that ship with your switch into two motion controllers placed inside the wheels.

if mario kart weren’t a visceral experience before, it will be now.

play modes


photo of docked mode

works as a regular console.


photo of tablet mode

works as both screen and console.


photo of handheld mode

attach joy-cons to switch and play.

controller modes

  • pro controller: a separate expensive peripheral
  • joy-cons:
    • separate: hold one in each hand
    • shared: you and your friend use one each
    • combined:
      • docked on a charging grip
      • docked on a handheld switch


  • design is gorgeous—the hideous pro controller aside
    • promoting the black colour scheme over the neon as the default is a weird decision
  • guess nintendo don’t care about the popularity of streaming
    • to be fair, the support for streaming on xbox one and ps4 is only nominal.
  • the app-based voice chat is not a bad idea—but it does deny the people who like headsets the opportunity to buy them or use their existing ones.
  • it all hinges on first-party games.
  • not bundling the “1-2 switch” game makes zero sense to me. how many people are going to buy this standalone? guess we’re about to find out.
  • “arms” looks like a fun game, but the price point doesn’t make sense, unless they’ve managed to ensure it has longevity and a complexity curve.


  • not-cheap console
  • expensive games ($59)—same as ps4
  • obscenely expensive joy-con controllers
  • paid online after fall trial
  • you have to buy an sd card if you want to buy games digitally
  • some of the games looked fun, but not $59 fun


  • no 4k (understandable)
  • no hdr
  • inexplicably low 32 GB storage
  • no built-in microphone; you have to use a phone app
  • milquetoast battery life around 3h
    • mitigated by blazingly fast usb-c charging
  • joy-cons have amazing battery life that lasts well past a day


  • social
    • comes with two controllers and a strap
    • but another controller set prohibitively expensive
    • encourages people to use console as social experience
    • online gaming seems like an afterthought
    • the parental control system is a fantastic idea, and the video for it does a heck of a job selling it
    • play videogames outside! just imagine.
  • digital
    • practically forces people to buy physical games instead of digital at a time where many are moving to digital-only for games and video
    • literally every other platform depends on hdd space and a fast internet connection to download day 1 patches as well as free and paid dlc.
    • a 128 GB sd card around 40 Mbps is affordable, but anything higher gets expensive. 128 GB is a little more than zeldas, which seems fine.
    • to be fair, republicans destroying net neutrality might finally make companies less lazy about pushing gigabytes worth of patches and updates through people’s average internet connections.

it’s going to be tricky for indies and third-party developers to develop games without a digital publishing model and an inflexible pricing system.

emphasis on social and local multiplayer is great, but a second controller can be seen as prohibitively expensive by many.

on the other hand, paid multiplayer might put off some people from playing online—but you’ll still need a second controller for many games.

devs should definitely make it a priority to allow local multiplayer with a solo joy-con. one wonders whether the number of joy-cons required to play a game will be featured on the box art. it probably should.

final thoughts

never has the dictum of “everything isn’t for me” rung more true. this will be a great console for some people and a terrible one for others.