Should you buy a Nintendo Switch console this Christmas?

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The Nintendo Switch, for the second year running, is the must-have console this Christmas season. After a few shakey home console years with the Wii U, Nintendo came back swinging with a transforming format that was at home in your living room as it was in your bag for on-the-go play.

But while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been around the block and had their prices (and revised console builds) reflect that, Nintendo’s gear – as ever with the produce from the Mario House – has retained its premium pricing. And so, it’s one to think long and hard about before adding to your Christmas wishlist.

As ever, TechRadar is here to help. Thinking of jumping off the fence and diving into the world of Nintendo Switch? Here are the key arguments for and against Nintendo’s mighty console. If you don't need them though, here are the cheapest Nintendo Switch prices.

For: why you SHOULD buy a Nintendo Switch

Its library of games is fantastic

Consoles always get off to a slow start when they’re new. A few key exclusives here, a smattering of third party developers testing the waters here. But the Nintendo Switch is now in rude health when it comes to its games offering. 

You’ve now got generational classics like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild sitting next to brand new must-haves like Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Then you’ve got cross-platform smash-hits like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the superb Diablo 3, along with indie hits like Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Golf Story and Stardew Valley.  We’ve talked in the past about the Nintendo Switch being the perfect “second console” for a home after a PS4 or Xbox One, but with a line-up like that now, it could very well deserve to be your primary machine.

It’s the best console for local cooperative and competitive multiplayer play

Since the days of the multi-tap and four-ported N64 console, Nintendo has always been very supportive of local multiplayer, and that tradition continues with the Nintendo Switch. Packed in with two controllers (each half of the motion-sensing Joy-Cons can act as its own individual pad), out of the box you’re ready to play. The fact that you can set it up with its onboard screen and kickstand mean that you can huddle around and play no matter where you are – and keep from annoying mum and dad on the big telly. It’s commitment to multiplayer titles is also key here though, with many supporting as many as eight local players at once, including the smashing Smash Bros. From Mario Party to Mario Kart to Overcooked 2 to Snipperclips, there are loads of ways to enjoy Nintendo Switch fun with a friend.

The Nintendo Switch is a perfect travel companion

The first of its kind, the Nintendo Switch can be docked with a bigscreen TV for living room play, or taking out as a handheld console with controllers attached to either side of its main unit screen, ready to be run off of batteries. As mentioned earlier, there’s even a kickstand so you can gather around with friends when no other screen is available. With so many of us travelling long distances to see loved ones over the Christmas period, this makes the Nintendo Switch perfectly suited for car, train or airplane trips, giving you the option to bring console quality play on the go with you.

Great games on the horizon

It’s been a big year for the Nintendo Switch, but 2019 could be the year when the console truly comes into its own. We’re waiting on the releases of hotly anticipated titles like Metroid Prime 4, a fully-fledged all new Pokemon game, Luigi’s Mansion 3, a new Yoshi platformer, Doom Eternal and a new Animal Crossing game. Things can only get better from here on in.

If you're convinced, be sure to check out the latest Nintendo Switch deals.

Against: why you SHOULDN'T buy a Nintendo Switch

It could be cheaper after Christmas

However, with all the positives up top said and done, the Nintendo Switch is still a relatively pricey console for its age. Black Friday came and went without a killer price-cut or bundle deal, with the Switch’s price more-or-less staying the same in the run up to Christmas as it has in the entire 12 months preceding it. Could this change in the New Year? Post-Christmas sales can be a good time to pick up discounted items for those that can wait, and we’re getting to the point where a thorough price drop (or more generous bundle deals) will be needed to coax in gamers who aren’t Nintendo-fanatic early adopters.

Nintendo Switch Online service still needs refinement

Nintendo has never been all that great at online play, and the Nintendo Switch Online Service still leaves us wanting. While it’s affordable compared to the competition and its included library of classic old school NES games is fun, it lacks the polish of Sony’s PS Plus or Microsoft’s Xbox Live. It’s still too tricky to add and find friends, there’s no onboard console chat, and Nintendo’s own first party must-have online brawler, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, has courted controversy for the way it handles certain online play elements.

There could be a Nintendo Switch 2 on the way

This is still all whispers and hear-say, but rumor has it we could be seeing a new Nintendo Switch, even a Nintendo Switch 2, on the way before long. A Wall Street Journal report back in October stated that the company was planning a rejigged Switch that would make use of a higher-quality LCD screen that would not only look better and brighter than what’s currently on offer, but deliver improved battery life too. Existing peripherals are expected to work with the revised machine, with some slight hardware improvements and potential new software features.

Of course, it’s a rumor at this stage, with Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé stating the focus is on the current generation of hardware. But, with units to shift he would say that, right? And, if you look at the Nintendo Switch in the light of Nintendo’s previous handheld hardware, from the Gameboy to the 3DS each machine has had regular hardware reworkings. It may not come soon, but we’d put money on the fact this will be on the way before very long at all.