Nearly two years after release, and the Nintendo Switch feels like a different console. The same core mechanics of the hugely successful handheld / home console hybrid remain, but with a wide library of indie and third-party titles, as well as strong showings from Nintendo's own beloved IP, the Switch has become even more of a must-own console than it was at launch.
If you've read our review and have purchased a Nintendo Switch for yourself, welcome! With our combined experience of thousands of hours spent with the Switch, we've compiled the following guide just for you, bringing the latest information and the best tips to the surface, as well as a few essential accessory and game recommendations.
Since the launch of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, the console has gathered a slew of new skills – although not as many as some were hoping for.
Nintendo Switch Online now offers a paid service for online multiplayer – with an emulator for classic NES games bundled in, and the ability to save your game files to the cloud. In terms of what gamers can expect, Nintendo will be rolling out its online service in full. Despite being free at launch, the service will now cost $19 for a one-year membership, $7.99 for three months of service and $3.99 for one month.
Online capabilities are built-in nicely into games like Rocket League and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, but the Nintendo Switch Online app for your smartphone enhances the online experience with Splatoon 2. That said, building a party of friends is still a pain and voice chat is cumbersome compared to what's offered on other home consoles.
Nintendo is continuing to drip-feed more retro games each month to subscribers, which we hope will eventually lead to SNES and N64 titles alongside its current NES offering. Nintendo Switch Online still doesn't feel fleshed out as a paid service though, and we're hoping to see more features and incentives come to it over time.
The service will also need to boost its list of online-ready multiplayer games within the Nintendo Switch Online app, as it's currently limited to Splatoon 2.
For the uninitiated, Nintendo Switch Online isn't like Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. Sure, it will bring about voice chat, however, most of the networking tasks aren't handled on the console itself. For that, you'll need an iOS or Android device and a free app.
An update has given the Switch the secret, unmentioned-by-Nintendo ability to work with some wireless USB headsets. Not all work, mind you, but users have found success with a few models that you can pick up on the cheap.
The very same update also enabled the use of wired controllers. Which wired controllers, you ask? The Switch can detect Gamecube controllers via the Wii U accessory when plugged into one of its USB ports.
The Switch's lack of apps, namely video streaming apps, is a sore topic of conversation for many. But Hulu is currently on Nintendo's eShop for the Switch, and it seems unlikely Netflix and other streaming services won't follow eventually.
That's not all the peripheral software available on the console either. Synth-leader Korg also saw its Korg Gadget music-production software come to the Switch in Spring 2018.
What's coming next?
While Nintendo has focused on nailing the console's first year on the market (which it did with flying colors), the focus is now on continuing that momentum into 2019 and beyond. It has a lot of work to do on its Nintendo Switch Online service – it's odd not to have dedicated servers on the paid service – but perhaps more important is keeping the stream of games consistent.
Moving onto the games of 2018 and beyond, there are many on the way, both confirmed and unconfirmed, to get excited for. Holiday 2018 will be dominated by the new Pokemon Let's Go games, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, both of which are sure to be big sellers over the coming months.
2019 should see Metroid Prime 4, No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again, new Yoshi and Animal Crossing titles, and another generation of Pokemon games (never enough).
There's been chatter about a new Nintendo Switch or Switch 2 console, as a sort of small upgrade to the current hardware, possibly as early as Summer 2019. But it's just rumors at the moment, and the current Switch offering is good enough to be worth getting on board now.
Proceed to check out the most essential tips to make you a Switch pro, and stay to get a look at the best accessories and games to complement your purchase.
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