Does Nintendo Switch come with games?
Your snazzy new Nintendo Switch won't count for much if you've nothing to play on it
If you’ve been eyeing up Nintendo’s hybrid console, you may be wondering if the Nintendo Switch comes with games. After all, the Wii came bundled with Wii Sports, which acted as a fantastic proof-of-concept game for Nintendo’s motion-controlled console, and the Wii U Deluxe bundle came with Nintendo Land.
But does Nintendo Switch come with games out of the box? Well, the quick answer is no – but it isn’t that simple.
Retailers sell various Nintendo Switch bundles that usually package the console alongside a game or two. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Splatoon 3, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and other great titles can be bought with the console. Buying these bundles is usually an affordable way of picking up a Nintendo Switch and grabbing a great game at a discount – especially handy if you have your eyes set on one of the best Switch games you know you want to play.
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Occasionally, Nintendo also releases time-limited bundles around major games or events. As part of Mario Day 2023, for example, it launched a Nintendo Switch package that included your choice of one of three Mario games. It also released a special bundle to coincide with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and it did the same for the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Black Friday also tends to include a bundle that includes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and three months of Nintendo Switch Online for a discounted price. It’s worth opting for a Switch bundle instead of buying the console separately, then.
Do pay attention to exactly what’s in each bundle, though. Some contain the standard Nintendo Switch, others the improved (but pricier) Nintendo Switch OLED, and occasionally the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s also common for bundled games to be digital copies and not physical – bear that in mind if you have slow internet and plan on getting the Switch as a gift for someone.
What’s more, the Nintendo Switch OLED limited edition bundles for Splatoon 3, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet don’t include a copy of the game, just a custom-designed dock and console.
It’s worth noting that the Nintendo Switch eShop is full of free demos and even free-to-play titles that you can download if you haven’t picked up any software. Games like Fortnite, Rocket League, and Tetris 99 can all be downloaded for free, although you will need a Nintendo Switch Online membership.
Thankfully, there are more than a few standout games to try if you are planning on buying a Switch that isn’t in a bundle. The Switch game library is incredibly varied, spanning bustling adventures, frenetic fighters and acclaimed platformers. They star plenty of the usual Nintendo mascots, too, and the best Mario games for Switch are well worth picking up.
Read our breakdown of the Nintendo Switch vs Switch OLED if you’re still weighing up which console is right for you, and have a peek at our guide to the Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite to see if the handheld-only hardware would fit your needs.
Last updated: January 31, 2024