Nintendo Switch – The Switch Still Has One Big Advantage Over the Steam Deck
The Nintendo Switch has a new competitor in the market it stood alone in for the last few years, but it offers something the Steam Deck can’t.
Nintendo’s Switch console has seemingly held a crushing grip on the handheld gaming market since it first launched. However, for the first time since the handheld hit store shelves, it has a bona fide competitor. There’s even a chance the Steam Deck could end up being a better-selling device eventually. The reasons that Valve’s newest entry into the video game market could end up being the king of the hill are numerous. Chief among them is that the device can play a ton of AAA games in a miniaturized space. If a user has a certain game in their Steam library, the goal appears to be to make sure they can play that title on the go. However, even with that lofty aim, there is at least one thing the Steam Deck can’t offer that the Switch did on its very first day. Switch users may not have access to some of the AAA titles that will be available on the Steam Deck, but they do have access to an ever-growing list of Nintendo games at their fingertips.
That may sound trite at first glance, as it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Switch users can play games from Nintendo on the company’s console. However, it’s something that people need to keep at the front of their minds when they are faced with an important decision this fall and winter. If the choice has to be made whether to buy one or the other, at least the Switch does offer a feature that can’t be equaled by Valve. That is something gamers are going to have to take into account as the new Switch OLED and the Steam Deck are arriving within a few months of each other.
The Switch Niche
Certainly, the ability to play Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 isn’t the game-changer for some that it is for others. There’s very little doubt that Nintendo games are a “niche market.” That said, its market has been big and powerful enough that the company has been going strong for several decades. It’s safe to say any video game company would love to have a niche market that rivals what Nintendo has managed to build.
The Steam Deck is going to have a niche market of its own, because of the titles it can offer. Valve claims it hasn’t found a game that can’t run on the Steam Deck. There have been some companies that have voiced concern over offering support on this new platform, but considering the standing Valve has in the video game market, it feels like it can chase off any concerns. When and if it manages to do that, the handheld is going to offer a ton of titles that can and can’t be played on Xbox and PlayStation.
Considering the number of games that came from the PS4 to PC, the Steam Deck is likely to have a much bigger catalog to pull from, even for those who might have played those games on console before the handheld hit the market. Yet, it still can’t compete when it comes to being able to get into the shoes of Mario, Link, or Samus. That’s true of any other gaming device out there that wasn’t specifically built by Nintendo, so this isn’t just an edge the Switch has on the Steam Deck – it’s an edge the Switch has on the PS5 and Xbox Series X as well. It’s one of the reasons it has managed to fight off more powerful offerings all these years.
Other Tallies On the Switch’s Side
Offering Nintendo titles on the Switch is certainly a big plus for a certain group of gamers. That’s even more true of the person who owns a Switch because they love the games Nintendo put out years ago. The Nintendo Switch Online offering, with classic Nintendo titles, isn’t a game-changer on its own. However, if people are looking at the Switch OLED because they want to play older games on a brand-new system, there are now a ton of older games available through that service. These aren’t just Legend of Zelda and Mario games either, there are quite a few games that users might have even forgotten were available when the original NES and SNES arrived on the scene.
There is also the ability to play on a user’s television easily. While the Steam Deck is going to be offering a dock at some point, according to Valve, it doesn’t look like it will be arriving at launch. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a workaround if someone wanted to try and play their Steam Deck games on the TV, but for now it’s not going to be as easy as putting the handheld device into a dock and playing where they left off. The Steam Deck also doesn’t offer a separate controller that easily syncs to the handheld. That’s going to make playing a game on the TV even more odd until the situation gets fixed.
None of this is to say that the Steam Deck is going to be a failure when compared to the Nintendo Switch OLED model. There is still a lot to be said for being able to play something like Death Stranding anywhere a user wants. It’s also true that there are a ton of games that will work on Valve’s new device that can’t be touched by the Switch. This winter, there’s going to be a new chapter of the old console wars igniting. What counts as “better” when comparing the Valve Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch will be up to each individual user, but it’s important to note that Nintendo isn’t coming to this particular fight without some weapons in its Switch‘s arsenal.
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