The Nintendo Switch, the latest addition to Nintendo's popular lineup of gaming consoles, was released earlier in 2017 and has made its way onto many Christmas lists this year.
If you're thinking about buying one, you may not want to wait, since stores can have spotty inventory as they sell out and wait for another shipment to arrive.
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Here's what you'll need to know if you're thinking about treating yourself or someone else to a Nintendo Switch this holiday season.
Nintendo Switch features
The most interesting feature about the Switch is what gives this gaming system its name. You can use it on your TV, on a tabletop and as a handheld device, and it's quick and simple to switch from one mode to another.
When you buy a Nintendo Switch, you'll have everything you need – including adapters and cables – to get set up. Along with the console, the Switch comes with a dock, a left and right Joy-Con controller, two wrist strap accessories, a grip accessory, an AC adapter and an HDMI cable.
The Joy-Con controllers are adaptable in several different ways and can be used while attached to the grip, or you can remove them from it. You can use one controller a time, or one in each hand. The Joy-Cons come equipped with a camera and motion detection, and one has an infrared motion camera that can detect distance and simple hand gestures. One also has a button that allows you to share screenshots.
When the Switch is in handheld mode, it has a multi-touch screen that's a lot like the Nintendo DS.
You'll be able to play compatible games online with other players for free (at least temporarily) through your Nintendo account. When the paid online service launches in 2018, you can pay by the month or year.
If you own games for another Nintendo system, you won't be able to play them on the Switch.
Where to buy Nintendo Switch and how much you'll pay
The Switch can be found in brick-and-mortar stores and online at places like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon. At times, they'll sell out, so you may have to check more than one retailer or be willing to keep checking back to see if they've gotten another shipment in.
Some stores, such as Best Buy, let customers buy just one during each visit to help extend availability.
The price is quite consistent, with most retailers charging approximately $299.
Games vary in price from about $14.99 to $59.99. Some are available for purchase and download online, while other are available as physical copies.
How to get a Nintendo Switch deal
Deals are tough to find, since the Switch is still quite new and in demand. You can buy bundles that offer the gaming system along with a particular game, such as Super Mario Odyssey or Sonic Forces, but they usually don't offer much by way of savings.
If you do happen to see a discount at a store that's not convenient to you, try to price match at a local store that has this policy, like Target or Best Buy.
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