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If you’re reading this, chances are you’re just as obsessed with Nintendo’s latest and greatest gaming console as I am. I mean, how could you not be?
The Nintendo Switch is hands-down the most versatile gaming console out there, and the fact that it’s portable just makes it that much better for playing games.
But I’m not here to talk about the awesomeness of the Nintendo console (although, seriously, it is super awesome). No, I’m here to answer a question that has probably crossed the mind of every potential Switch owner at one point or another: are Switch games a compact disc, or do they use a cartridge?
The Nintendo Switch uses cartridges for its games instead of discs. Although the previous Nintendo gaming console (the Wii U) used discs for the games the Switch console switched (see what I did there) to using cartridges instead.
There are some pros and cons to using a cartridge instead of a disc for the games but the biggest one that I can think of is that these cartridges from Nintendo are virtually indestructible. Game discs can easily get scratched as they are put in and out of the case and gaming console but by using game cartridges that is no longer an issue.
Game cards are a great option but discs just don’t make sense for the Switch since they would easily start skipping when you take it on the go. Since the Switch uses small cartridges it also allows you to easily carry all of your games and you can browse through them without worrying about accidentally damaging them.
In my opinion, cartridges are much better for on-the-go gaming than using a disc would be.
The Switch cartridges aren’t entirely amazing though because these tiny Nintendo cartridges can get lost incredibly easily. So despite them not getting damaged or scratched like discs if you lose the game entirely its indestructibility won’t do you much good!
Nintendo Switch game formats (discs or game cards)
Now let’s take a minute to talk about the formats in which Switch games are available. You may have noticed that when you go to buy a Switch game, you have the option to either purchase a physical copy or download it digitally.
That’s right, folks – the Switch allows you to choose between a physical copy and a digital download of the game. But what’s the difference?
Well, if you decide to buy a physical copy of a Switch game, you’ll receive a game cartridge that you can pop into your Switch and start playing. These gaming cartridges are pretty durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear, so you don’t have to worry about damaging them if you take your Switch on the go.
They’re also pretty small, so you won’t have to lug around a bunch of bulky discs wherever you go (but again losing them can be an issue).
On the other hand, if you choose to download a game digitally, it will be stored on your Switch’s internal memory or an external microSD card. This means that you won’t have a physical copy of the game, but you’ll be able to access it anytime, anywhere (even if you don’t have an internet connection).
Digital downloads of games can sometimes be a bit cheaper than physical copies (if you buy them when they are on sale), so if you’re trying to save a few bucks on your games, this might be the way to go.
Pros and cons of Switch game format (Which Is Better For Gaming)
Now, I know what you’re thinking – this all sounds great, but what are the pros and cons of each game’s format? Well, let’s start with game cartridges.
The biggest advantage of these little guys is that they’re pretty much indestructible. You can drop them, spill drinks on them, step on them, and the games will still work just fine. They’re also really small, so you can easily take them with you wherever you go.
And, since they don’t require a disc drive to play, you can play your Switch games in handheld mode, without any issues no matter if you are right side up, or standing on your head
However, there are a couple of downsides to game cartridges. The biggest one is that they are so tiny that if you aren’t careful you can lose your game entirely. The other downside to the physical Switch games is that you have to change them every time that you want to change the game that you are playing.
On the other hand, digital downloads of games offer a few advantages as well. The biggest one is that you can access your games anytime, anywhere. Once the game is downloaded to your console you can easily switch (sorry, I can’t help the puns) between games on your console without ever getting up from your couch.
No need to worry about carrying around a bunch of game cartridges or having to switch (that’s the last time I promise) them out. Digital download games can sometimes be a bit cheaper than physical copies if you get them on sale.
However, there are a couple of drawbacks to digital downloads as well. For one, you don’t actually own a physical copy of the game, which means you can’t sell it or trade it later on. And if something happens to your Switch account (or if Nintendo decides to stop supporting it), you could potentially lose access to all of your digital games.
Can you play digital Switch games without an internet connection?
You’ll need an internet connection to download digital games onto your Switch. However, once the games are downloaded, you can play them offline as long as you’re not trying to access any online features.
Can I transfer my digital games to a different Nintendo Switch?
Yes, you can transfer digital games from one Switch to another as long as you’re using the same Nintendo account on both systems. Just go to the eShop on your new Switch, log in with your Nintendo account, and you’ll be able to access all of your previously purchased games.
So, to sum it all up, the Nintendo Switch offers physical copies of games in the form of cartridges and also has digital downloads as well. Each format has its own pros and cons, so it really just comes down to personal preference.
If you like having a physical copy of your games and don’t mind the possibility of losing them then game cartridges might be the way to go. But if you want instant access to your games and don’t mind not owning a physical copy, then digital downloads might be more your style.