The Nintendo Switch Budget Guide

We’ve known how much the Nintendo Switch is going to be sold for several weeks now, so I’m sure that those interested in getting Nintendo’s newest console has set aside some well-earned cash in preparation for the expense. But how much do you really need to save up/spend to be able to fully enjoy the Switch? Definitely more than the $299.99 SRP that Nintendo announced – you’ll need to buy a game or two as the Switch won’t be bundled with software, as well as a few accessories/peripherals. Let me talk about everything that you’ll need to buy, or at least consider purchasing, in addition to the Switch.

For ease of discussion, I’ll mainly discuss pricing in US Dollars and use SRPs of North America. To get pricing in other regions will probably require more than just a straight up dollar conversion. but the figures here should give a good enough estimate for any region.

The Essentials

The Nintendo Switch console


There’s not much to discuss when it comes to the Switch itself. There are only two SKUs, and the only difference is aesthetics: one package has gray Joy-Con while the other has blue and red ones. The Switch package, for $299.99, includes the device itself, the dock and necessary cables/chargers, a pair of Joy-Con, and a plastic Joy-Con grip.

Current cost: $299.99


switch-launch-gamesOf course, when you buy a video game console, you’ll need to buy software for it. Especially in the case of the Switch, which will not have any pre-installed games (at least, according to current press releases).

Pricing for Nintendo Switch games vary depending on whether it’s a full retail title or a digital-only release. It looks like retail releases will have a price ranging from $49.99 to $59.99, so you’ll need to make sure that you prepare at least $60 per software title that you’re interested in getting. A majority of Switch early adopters will probably get The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so let’s add $59.99 to the total cost.

Current cost: $359.98

Screen Protector


I don’t care if you don’t plan on using your new Switch as a portable gaming console – you WILL need to protect that screen from scratches and other kinds of damage. I don’t think anyone will be able to resist using their Switch as a handheld inside their homes, and taking the Switch in and out of its dock will probably result in some wear and tear on the screen. Screen protectors are relatively cheap, ranging from $5 to $15 depending on where you get them. What’s definitely sure is that getting a screen protector will be cheaper than getting the screen of your Switch replaced.

Retailers are selling a screen protector/carrying case bundle, which I’ll talk about in the next section. For now, let’s just add the estimated cost of $7.99 for a Switch screen protector kit which has the screen protector film, a cleaning cloth, and an applicator.

Current cost: $367.97

Highly Recommended

Micro SD Cards


One of the many criticisms of the Nintendo Switch is about how low it’s internal memory is, at just 32 GB. What alleviated the complaints is that it allows for expanding the memory via a micro SD slot. The Switch will even support 2 TB sized micro SD cards (once people have figured out how to manufacture them).

Getting a micro SD card for your Nintendo Switch isn’t essential at launch, especially if you’re planning to buy physical games. But the Switch is sure to have digital-only titles and once you start buying copies of those, that 32 GB will run out before you can say “1-2 Switch”. Not essential at launch, but you’ll probably purchase one soon enough. Better prepare for it as early as you can. Pricing for SD card varies greatly by brand and size, so let’s just use an estimate of $30.

Current cost: $397.97

Switch Carrying Case


The main selling point of the Nintendo Switch is its portability, allowing you to play home console quality games on the go without requiring additional hardware, so it’d be a shame if you don’t make use of that feature. But the Switch isn’t as portable as dedicated handhelds – not everyone would have pockets large enough to fit the Switch tablet, and those with big enough pockets will still have to worry about the Joy-Con. You’ll definitely need to bring a bag with you to be able to lug your Switch around, and you won’t just toss your Switch in your bag without protection. Anyone who buys a Nintendo Switch should consider getting a carrying case. Half the fun of being an early adopter is to be able to show off your new gadgets, and it’ll be easier to do that by bringing your Switch with you.

There’s a screen protector/carrying case bundle that’s being offered by multiple retailers – I suggest that people get that instead of the two items separately, for better value.

Current cost: $409.97


Extra Pair of Joy-Con


Extra Joy-Con controllers are freakin’ expensive, with a pair costing $79.99. One of the features of the Switch that was emphasized was how you can use the Joy-Con as two separate controllers, so buying an extra pair is going to be dependent on the games that you’ll buy. Two examples of games where you’ll need an extra pair of Joy-Con is Arms (only if you’ll play two player VS mode locally) and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (if you want to play with more than two players). I don’t think you’ll need an extra pair right away, but those who do want it would have to add that $80 to their total expense.

Current cost: $489.96

Switch Pro Controller


The Joy-Con in their plastic grip should be good enough for most, but there are those who prefer the feel and functionality of a traditional controller. Fighting game enthusiasts are likely to prefer the Pro Controller due to it’s D-Pad (the Joy-Con has four separate face buttons to allow for one Joy-Con to function as an individual controller). Whatever the reasons are, getting a Pro Controller will cost you an additional $69.99.

Current cost: $559.95 ($479.96 without an extra pair of Joy-Con)

Joy-Con Charging Grip


Nintendo revealed that a fully charged Joy-Con can last up to 20 hours without charging and the system charges them up if they’re attached to a docked Switch so the Charging Grip is optional. There are those who don’t want the hassle of interrupted play in case their Joy-Con run out of juice, especially if they’re playing the Switch on tabletop mode regularly. Those people should probably look into adding the cost of $29.99 to their total for the Charging Grip. However, the Joy-Con Charging Grip is highly recommended for anyone who purchases an extra pair of Joy-Con – the Charging Grip would allow them to charge both pairs of Joy-Con at the same time.

Current cost: $519.95 (without the cost of the Pro Controller)

And there you have it. A basic Switch set with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as your only game would only cost you roughly $370. Adding a carrying case and a micro SD card can bring that over $400, and purchasing additional accessories/games would lead to a $500 or more expense. That’s a lot of money! I’m not sure I can afford to get a Switch when it comes out – I think I’ll need to save up for it and wait until the holidays before I can buy one.

Are you looking to buy the Switch at launch? What accessories are you going to buy when you get the Switch? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment or two below!


3 thoughts on “The Nintendo Switch Budget Guide

  1. Pingback: Why I Haven’t Made the “Switch” Yet | 3rd World Geeks

  2. Pingback: Free (to Start) Games on the Nintendo Switch!!! | 3rd World Geeks

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