Nintendo Switch

Best answer: Whether you prefer digital or physical, there are pros and cons to each. Those who don't want to swap cartridges should go digital and would be wise to invest in a microSD card, while those looking to start a collection or anticipate trading games in down the line would want to go physical and should look into a game case.

The Digital Advantage

Nintendo eShop

The most obvious benefit to downloading a digital copy of a game onto your console is the fact that it doesn't take up any physical space. You won't have a shelf full of old Switch games that you never play anymore. You also don't have to worry about losing the cartridges. Your little brother can't steal them and take it to a friend's house. Your parents can't take them away from you when you're grounded (although we suppose they could just take away the entire console).

Another great reason to go digital is that you'll always have all of your games with you, no matter where you go. This is especially useful for mobile gaming on the Switch. Whether you download games directly to the console or to a microSD card, you don't have to worry about carrying a case filled with cartridges around.

Digital games offer convenience at the cost of true ownership.

When you download games from Nintendo, you also don't have to wait one second to get a game. You could be sitting in class or homesick without a car and still be able to download and play a game at your will.

Preordering games can be even more of a delight. When you preorder the digital download of a game from Nintendo, it gets pre-loaded onto your device at the time of your order. You can then start playing it right after midnight on the day of its official release. There's no waiting in line and no waiting for a delivery. If you stay up late enough, you could have most of the game completed before your friends even get up for work.

Not to sound like a tree-hugging hippie, but digital downloads also cut down on the amount of waste produced for a game. Instead of dealing with the plastic of the cartridges, case, and even sealed packaging, you are dealing with ones and zeroes. It's a much more environmentally friendly way to consume.

If you're going digital, a microSD card should be high on your list of priorities. The Nintendo Switch only has 32GB of internal storage, some of which is eaten up by the system. That'll be enough to download a few games, but you'll quickly run out of space. We recommend a high-capacity microSD card like the Samsung EVO Select 256GB to ensure you have enough space to hold all the games you want.

The Physical Advantage

The most obvious positive about buying a physical copy of a game is that it can be shared with others. If your friend wants to borrow Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild after you're done playing it, no problem. If your brother wants to play Splatoon 2 in his bedroom on his Switch, he can sneak it away from the rest of the family if he's sly. You can also skip a microSD card or opt for a smaller one, as physical games only store save data. Another cool benefit: physical collector's editions with limited run memorabilia like statues, stickers, art books, and soundtracks. You often can't get this stuff when buying digitally.

You can also sell or trade in physical games to help support your entertainment habit, something digital buyers are still dreaming of. Some rare and out-of-print games have been known to sell for a lot of dough on the resell market. With a physical game, you have the opportunity to be a collector.

Go physical if you're an old-school collector.

Selling your old games isn't the only benefit of buying physical copies. You can also buy them cheaper on the resell market. Sometimes for more than half of their full price, if a game isn't particularly popular. Plus, retail stores will oftentimes put games on sale, so you could potentially buy a brand new game at a discounted price (especially if you're a savvy shopper). Digital games do, also, go on sale from time to time in Nintendo's shops, but they are at the whim of Nintendo instead of your discount-finding prowess, and the deals usually aren't as good as they would be in physical format.

If you determine physical is your style, consider investing in a carrying case for your Nintendo Switch game cartridges. We like HORI's Game Case as it offers the best combination of protection, convenience, and portability. Games snap into their own little slots in the case to make sure they aren't moving around. You can hold up to 24 games, which is on the high side for game cases. Plus it's super cheap! The HORI game case lets you take a large number of cartridges on the go with a lesser chance of losing them. The only downside is that if you lose the case, all the games go with it, so don't lose the case!

For Digital

Samsung EVO Select 256GB

All the space you need

Samsung's EVO microSD cards are some of the best on the market, and this one has enough space to hold dozens of games. Better yet, it's more than half the price it used to be!

For Physical

HORI Game Card Case

Keep your Switch games safe

Officially licensed by Nintendo, the HORI Game Holder Case can store up to 24 games, each with its own individual slot with clasping mechanisms to keep the cartridge nice, safe, and to hold it in place. It's small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, in your pocket, or in your bag.

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