Is the Nintendo Switch worth it in 2023? Nintendo’s portable powerhouse was a huge success when it launched back in March 2017, making it the company’s fastest selling home console to date, but that was six years ago – a whole other generation of consoles has been released since then.
The Nintendo Switch’s remarkably strong year-one line-up cemented its early appeal. Launch titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, alongside early hits like Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe allowed Nintendo to avoid the dreaded software drought that plagued the Wii U, and led to the Switch outselling its predecessor just ten months after launch. To date, the console's sold well over 110 million units worldwide.
In the years since Nintendo has continued adding incredible games to the console – though, the Switch's age is starting to show. The handheld’s tech struggling with large open worlds like in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. There have been console revisions, such as the Nintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch OLED, which have kept system sales strong, though haven’t significantly increased the specs.
Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service (and its premium Expansion Pack tier) has only improved in recent years, now offering a cloud-based selection of NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive titles which are updated on a semi-regular basis.
While the Switch seems like an essential purchase for handheld gaming, there are notable drawbacks that make it lag behind home consoles like the PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. If you’ve yet to buy Nintendo’s current-gen console, and are seriously considering it, read on to find out if the Nintendo Switch is worth it in 2023.
Nintendo Switch is widely available
At launch, all three models of Nintendo Switch initially struggled with availability. It was incredibly common for the Switch to completely sell out across both online and high street retailers. Thankfully, Nintendo Switch stock has normalized in recent years, and the console hasn’t been as badly affected by the ongoing component shortages as, say, the PS5.
Right now the base Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, and Nintendo Switch OLED consoles – and some of the branded special editions – are all readily available at retailers like Amazon. You can check out our Nintendo Switch bundle deals hub for all the best prices today.
Nintendo Switch consoles - an overview of each model
The standard Nintendo Switch model is the one that launched back in 2017, and of the three models currently available. It arguably provides the sweet spot in terms of price and specs, as the base Switch model can be played in docked mode with a TV with a resolution cap of 1080p, or on the go in portable mode, which caps at a lower 720p resolution.
The Nintendo Switch, unfortunately, doesn’t support 4K resolution. That means that without upscaling, playing in docked mode on one of the best 4K TVs may result in a blurrier image than you’d like. As such, we’d recommend a 1080p display as the optimal way to enjoy Switch games when playing in docked mode.
That said, the upcoming Nintendo Switch Sports was rumored to be implementing AMD’s open-source FidelityFX Super Resolution. This algorithmic tech can upscale lower resolutions up to a crisp 4K image without impacting game performance. Nintendo may use FidelityFX in future games, which could be fantastic for upcoming titles like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Metroid Prime 4.
If you want your Switch to be a strictly portable system, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a good option. It’s cheaper than the base model and is slightly smaller, but do keep in mind that, unlike the base model, the Lite’s Joy-Con controllers aren’t detachable, and the console can’t be played on the TV.
Finally, there’s the premium Nintendo Switch OLED, which offers the best image quality of all three models thanks to the unit’s crisp 720p OLED panel. It’s another fantastic choice if you’re planning to go portable mostly. However, it’s a bit pricier than the base Switch model and playing in docked mode offers no tangible benefits. If you want to play your games with a more vivid color profile while you’re on the go, though, the Nintendo Switch OLED is the way to go.
The Nintendo Switch OLED has other perks. It has 64GB of internal storage, double that of the base model. That’s still not much in the grand scheme of things, and you’ll want to invest in an extra microSD card for more storage, especially if you plan on downloading and playing a lot of games.
The Switch OLED also features an improved kickstand on the back of the console. It’s now much wider and sturdier than the one found on the base Switch model, making the OLED ideal for portable play.
Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo Switch Online is the Switch’s online subscription service, which debuted shortly after the console launched. The paid service became a requirement to access online multiplayer in 2018, and also gave access to cloud saves and a selection of NES and SNES titles via dedicated apps.
The paltry offering wasn’t received well, and didn’t seem to address the core issue that was Nintendo’s infamously spotty connection quality. Disconnects were common, and the service was well behind the online infrastructure found with PS5, Xbox, and PC.
The service has arguably come on leaps and bounds since then, with Nintendo steadily improving its online connection quality. A premium tier, Expansion Pack, was also added in 2021, which lets players play N64, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive titles and, more recently, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles. Throw in access to DLC packs such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Happy Home Paradise and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Booster Course Pass and the Expansion Pack has become seriously good value since launch.
You certainly get more bang for the buck with Nintendo Switch Online now than you did a few years ago. It’s still by no means perfect - and the Expansion Pack tier will be too expensive for some - but the service continues to improve year-on-year, consistently adding value to the package. Especially when you can get it for less with one of these cheap Nintendo Switch Online deals.
Is the Nintendo Switch worth it?
Owing to its extensive game library and continued first-party support, the Nintendo Switch is still a worthwhile purchase in 2023. And you don’t run the risk of buying a console that Nintendo is about to imminently replace, as the company confirmed the Switch is just halfway through its lifecycle, with the succeeding Nintendo Switch 2 (or Nintendo Switch Pro) a good few years away.
Despite shortcomings like the relatively low storage space, lack of 4K support, and imperfect online infrastructure, the Nintendo Switch still shines as a fantastic portable hybrid that’s loaded with excellent exclusive games, worthwhile subscription benefits, and an impressively affordable price.
While we do wish Nintendo would launch a model with updated specs, we’re still very impressed with the console’s longevity and high-quality library of games. With that in mind, we believe there’s never been a better time to purchase a Nintendo Switch, no matter which of the available models suits your fancy.