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Why I passed on Steam Deck for the Nintendo Switch OLED

Key Takeaways

  • The Nintendo Switch offers a strong library of must-play games, including exclusives and indie gems.
  • The Switch’s OLED display provides a great visual experience, enhancing games with strong art direction and atmosphere.
  • The console’s portability and multiplayer features make it a great option for families and couples that want to play together.

It only took about half a decade, but I finally bought a Nintendo Switch. With Nintendo almost certainly readying to release a new console sometime in the next 12 months, you might argue I’m two years too late to the party, but so far the only thing I regret is not getting one sooner.

A love story

I thought about buying a Switch when Nintendo debuted the OLED model in 2021, but ultimately, I decided against it, reasoning at the time I likely wouldn’t get enough use out of the console to justify another gaming purchase. I probably would have stuck with that decision, if not for my girlfriend.

“I thought about buying a Switch when Nintendo debuted the OLED model in 2021, but ultimately, I decided against it…”

Last November, we moved in together. She brought her old Nintendo GameCube and collection of games with her. Since then, the game I’ve played the most is Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it’s all because my partner is a killer Kirby main. At a recent house party, our love for Melee came up, and the host ended up inviting us back over for an afternoon of gaming. As it turns out, he had a Switch. It was my girlfriend’s first experience with the console.

After leaving our friend’s house, she suggested we buy one.


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Why I bought a Nintendo Switch OLED now

When Nintendo announced a few weeks later it would sell a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate bundle for Black Friday, we pulled the trigger. I briefly thought about whether it made sense to buy the Switch so close to the end of its life. As I mentioned above, all signs point to Nintendo announcing a new system before the end of 2024. In the end, I decided it was worth picking up a Switch now for a couple different reasons.

Physical copies of Tears of the Kingdom, Hollow Knight and Metroid Dread.

The Switch library

As someone with more of a PC gaming background, the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, while objectively great consoles, aren’t my first choice. What has always made the Switch appealing to me is that it offers something different from the competition. In 2023 and headed into 2024, it boasts one of the strongest console libraries in recent memory. Between exclusives like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Bros. Wonder, as well as indie gems like Sea of Stars, the Switch has no shortage of must-play games, with more to come before its successor arrives.

A Nintendo Switch OLED displays the Home Screen, with the title art Sea of Stars and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate displayed.

An incredible display

The OLED variant also offers something that, at least for the time being, is hard to obtain on the PC side of things. In Canada, an entry-level OLED monitor like the LG 27GR95QE costs around $1,300. That’s more than I paid to buy an RTX 3070 at the height of the pandemic. Before tax, the Switch OLED is $450. Obviously, its screen doesn’t boast a 240Hz refresh rate or HDR support like the LG monitor, but it does allow me to experience games in a way I haven’t had a chance to do before.


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In my opinion, there’s something magical about OLED screens. With no backlight to wash out shadow details, every game looks better. As a new Switch owner, one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most has been revisiting my favorite indie titles. Games like Hollow Knight and Hades, with their atmosphere and painterly art styles, look incredible on the Switch OLED.

Why didn’t I buy the Steam Deck OLED?

At this point, you’re probably thinking it would have made more sense for me to buy a Steam Deck OLED . And yes, while I own more than 100 games on Steam – and Valve’s portable would have allowed me to replay my favorite games without repurchasing them from the eShop – two factors made me decide to go with a Switch for the time being.

The first is the Switch’s library. It’s not just that the system offers amazing indies, it also has all the incredible games Nintendo has released over the last six years, with some of the best ones arriving in the past 12 months.

Second, the Switch is designed around couch co-op in a way most modern consoles aren’t anymore. For all the faults of Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers, the fact you can use a single pair to play two-player games is a constant delight. I also appreciated that my girlfriend and I didn’t need to spend extra money to buy a second controller. The system came with everything we needed to play with one another.

The Switch is also portable in a way the Steam Deck is not. The TomToc case I bought for our OLED model takes up almost no room in my 14L backpack, making it easy to bring the console with me wherever I go. At home, instead of sitting down at my computer to play a game, I can join my girlfriend in the living room, and we can spend time together – even if we’re not doing the same thing.


Should I be worried about Switch 2?

If you find yourself on the fence about going all-in on a Switch, the one piece of advice I would offer is to keep its limitations in mind. While it’s no secret that it features the least powerful processor of any console on the market right now, if you’re smart about what games you decide to play on it, the Switch still has a lot to offer. Even in 2023, the system has no shortage of technical marvels like Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that run at a consistent 60 frames per second and look great. As a complement to a more powerful PC or console, it still makes a lot of sense.

I also think your purchases will carry over. In a recent interview with Inverse, Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser hinted at the possibility of the company’s next system offering backward compatibility.

“In the past, every device we transitioned to had a whole new account system. Creating the Nintendo Account will allow us to communicate with our players if and when we make a transition to a new platform, to help ease that process or transition,” Bowser said. “Our goal is to minimize the dip you typically see in the last year of one cycle and the beginning of another.”


Everything we know about the Nintendo Switch 2: Specs, design, rumours and features

It’s pretty clear that a new Nintendo console is on the way – so here’s what we know from the rumour mill.

We won’t officially know what backward compatibility on Nintendo’s next console will look like until it’s officially announced, but it sounds like the company wants to carry the momentum it built with the Switch into whatever it has planned next. From a technical standpoint, the console is also rumored to support Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS).

Some reports have even suggested Nintendo will use the tech to enhance older Switch titles. At Gamescom 2023, the company reportedly showed its new system running Breath of the Wild at a higher resolution and framerate. At best, it’s easy to envision a scenario where current Switch games get a new lease on life when the Switch 2 arrives.

Even if things don’t pan out that way, the Switch is still a great console with an incredible library of games I see myself and others playing for years to come.

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