Nintendo Switch: What you don't get in the box – and where to get the extras at the best price

The Switch. A TV docking unit. Two Joy-Cons, usable separately, or when plugged together to create a single, twin-stick controller. A power adaptor. An HDMI cable. That’s what you do get in the Switch box. But what don’t you get at launch? And how much does it cost? The early days of console launches are always a confusing period, inundated with possible peripherals of potential importance, and with the Switch delivering a much wider, more complicated set of controller options than most machines, things are even more complex than usual. 

So we've separated what you get in the Switch box from what you actually need for a fully featured, modern console gaming experience, and broken down the extras in a rough order of priority to help you get fully kitted out for launch week. We've also tracked down the best current prices for all of this stuff, and provided links to make everything as easy as possible. 

Let's start with... 

A game ($59.99 / £48)

Yeah, you are realistically going to want to play a game on your Switch. It doesn’t come with one in the box – it seems very strange that minigame collection / Joy-Con tech demo 1, 2, Switch isn't included with every console, given how effective it is as a demo of the controllers' capabilities, but, hey, it's not our call…  – so you’ll need to buy a game. Let’s say you only want one game at launch. Let’s say you want The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, because you probably do. That’ll be £48 / $59.99 for a physical copy at current best available prices. 

An SD card ($11.99 / £10.99)

The Switch comes with 32 Gb of memory built in, but once you take the operating system into account, that leaves around 25 Gb for actual game storage. With a digital copy of Zelda alone taking up over half of that, clearly, you’re going to need to expand the console’s capacity with an SD card. Fortunately, the Switch takes standard, MicroSDs, meaning you don’t have to faff around with any proprietary nonsense. We’ve sourced deals at both ends of the spectrum, so you’re covered whether you want to double your memory for cheap (£10.99 / $11.99), or radically expand it for a bit more (£75.38 / $69.95). 

The controller charging grip ($29.99 / £24.99)    

When you pick up your Switch, you’ll get a grip shell to plug your two Joy-Cons into in order to create a more traditional, but delightfully puppy-faced, controller. But do note that the version in the box is just that. A shell. It will not charge your Joy-Cons while playing. If you want that ability (and you almost certainly will), then you’re going to need the Joy-Con Charging Grip, which comes separately for £24.99 / $29.99. 

And moving on to the lesser priority stuff... 

A Pro Controller ($69.99 / £59.99)

The in-box controller options are all Joy-Con focused. If you want something more traditional and robust – say, for playing through a lengthy AAA game like Zelda, Skyrim, or Super Mario Odyssey – then you’re looking at the Pro Controller. It’s a very nice pad indeed, feeling great in the hands, having just the right heft, and delivering hybrid Xbox One / PS4-style triggers alongside a couple of very smooth sticks. It also contains the same – amazing – HD Rumble as the Joy-Cons, and has Amiibo support built in. The price for that lot? £59.99 / $69.99. 

More Joy-Cons ($79.99 / £69.99)

You get two Joy-Cons with the Switch, a left one and a right one, for fitting on to either side of the screen unit or the grip. That'll cover you for single-player games, or for two-player multiplayer with the Joy-Cons separated. But if you want to expand your local player cap (say, if you want to get in on some of that four-player, Mario-Kart-in-a-van action the reveal trailer played up), you’ll want a second set. That will set you back £69.99 / $79.99 for a set of two, or £39.99 / $49.99 for a single left or right one. Though obviously you’re going to go for the double option, because why wouldn’t you? 

So in conclusion, let's wrap up a couple of totals. If you want to take a minimal - but entirely serviceable - approach to your early add-ons (ie. a copy of Zelda, a small memory card, and a Joy-Con charger grip), then you're looking at adding £83.98 / $101.97 to your initial console outlay.

If, however, you want to take the full-fat, decadent approach, and load up with absolutely everything you might possibly need - including the bigger SD cards listed above - then your accessory total comes to £278.35 / $309.91. A fairly big chunk of cash, but one that will certainly set you up with an entirely future-proofed, do-everything Nintendo Switch for the foreseeable. 

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.