The Nintendo Direct made me finally cancel my Switch OLED pre-order

The Nintendo Switch OLED on a table
(Image credit: Nintendo)

When we learned about the Nintendo Switch OLED back in July, I rushed to get my pre-order in as quickly as possible. Considering that even the regular Nintendo Switch hasn’t always been easy to find over the last year, I assumed a refreshed model would sell out in seconds. 

While the order books didn’t fill up quite that fast, the Nintendo Switch OLED still looks like it’ll join the PS5 and Xbox Series X this holiday season as an item that everybody wants, but no one can actually buy. However, yesterday — after much deliberation — I hit the cancel button on my pre-order. Then, I hit the confirmation button afterward for good measure. 

As the console’s October 8 launch date approached, I’d already considered canceling several times. I play my current Nintendo Switch almost exclusively in handheld mode, so a larger OLED screen is a big upgrade in my books. But the $349 launch price and the lack of any performance boost made me unsure whether I really needed one. 

This week, Nintendo released a lengthy Nintendo Direct live stream. I was sure we'd see a wealth of enticing new Switch games, and that I’d double-down on my pre-order. Instead, the Nintendo Direct had the opposite effect. Almost immediately after the live stream concluded, my finger was already hovering over the cancel button. After a little more thought, I pressed it. 

Where are all the games?

I’ve written before about how the Nintendo Switch has suffered from a serious lack of flagship games. I had hoped the latest Nintendo Direct would rectify that situation. It didn’t.

Mario Golf Super Rush

(Image credit: Nintendo)

For years now, it feels like Nintendo has been resting on its laurels when it comes to heavy-hitting Switch software. This year has been especially bad. In 2021, Mario Golf: Super Rush and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD are all Switch players had to get excited about — and neither of those games is very good. 

This year, PS5 players have been enjoying exclusives like Returnal, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Deathloop, while Xbox players have Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite to look forward to this winter. In comparison, on Nintendo Switch, there’s little to get hyped about. Another undercooked Mario Party? Meh. 

While the most recent Nintendo Direct did show off Splatoon 3 and Bayonetta 3, I can’t say I was particularly impressed by either one. Both look disappointingly similar to their predecessors, and hardly make it worth shelling out an extra $349 just to play them on a slighter better screen. Granted, on the flip side, Kirby and the Forgotten Land has piqued my interest. 

mario kart 8 deluxe

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If Nintendo had given us more details about Breath of the Wild 2, finally confirmed a follow-up to Super Mario Odyssey or announced Mario Kart 9, then maybe I’d be singing a different tune. Unfortunately, the lack of flagship Switch games is a problem that Nintendo is either unable or unwilling to fix. 

Not the best place to play 

My decision to cancel my Switch OLED pre-order wasn’t just because of the disappointing software lineup. The unfortunate truth is that of the three major console platforms, the Nintendo Switch is easily the worst place to play. 

While Microsoft continues to build its Game Pass service, and Sony has the very underrated PlayStation Plus Collection, what does Nintendo offer? A few classic N64 and Sega Genesis titles, which you can effectively rent rather than buy.

Nintendo Switch Online plus Expansion Pass

(Image credit: Nintendo)

I’m not a graphics snob, and I love classic games. In fact, Banjo-Kazooie on the N64 was the first video game I ever played and I’ll buy any re-release on any system. But Nintendo isn’t even giving me the option to purchase it. Instead, Banjo-Kazooie will be available as part of the Nintendo Switch Online service. 

This lackluster service already lags behind Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus in terms of both connection quality and overall features. On top of that, Nintendo had the nerve to announce that access to its library of N64/Genesis games will require an extra membership fee. That’s an awful value proposition. 

The Nintendo Switch has always been the least feature-rich console on the market. With each passing year, that gap seems to be growing rather than shrinking. I suppose I should at least be grateful that Nintendo recently enabled Bluetooth audio — but why did it take four years for that to happen?

The Nintendo Switch is such a nifty little machine for gaming, but almost everything outside of actually playing games needs some attention. I simply can't justify buying another Switch when Nintendo seems unwilling to give me an incentive. 

I’m happy with what I’ve got 

The best Star Wars game is KOTOR II

(Image credit: LucasArts/Disney)

There were still plenty of great titles at the Nintendo Direct. For starters, I’m thrilled about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic coming to the platform. I can’t wait to buy this game a fourth time. (Maybe I’ll actually finish it on Switch?)

There's still some value in the Nintendo Switch overall. It’s an excellent device that has become a travel essential for me. However, the Switch has never been able to elevate itself above being a supplemental console. I’ll always choose to play on PS5 or Xbox Series X first, then Switch. 

That’s why I decided it was time to cancel my Switch OLED pre-order. It just doesn't make sense for me to make such a big outlay on something that would spend more time in its carrying case than out of it. I’m happy to keep playing on my standard Nintendo Switch for now. 

If Nintendo can come out swinging next year with multiple heavy-hitting titles, maybe I’ll reconsider. But if the company really wants me to spend more money on another device, then how about a proper Nintendo Switch Pro?

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • Talarous
    I'd like to start off by saying that I don't think you should buy the Switch OLED Model. I'm sure it's great for someone who doesn't already own a Switch or is buying a second unit for a family, perhaps, but the average Switch player who already has a standard unit of Lite.. it's basically a $350 minor screen upgrade. So I 100% agree they you should have cancelled your pre-order. Save them bones. But...

    I couldn't disagree more with how you came to that conclusion. Don't get me wrong. You're entitled to like or dislike whatever games you want, but the argument your present is deliberately misleading and downright disingenuous. You talk about the great offerings of the PS5 and the upcoming hits of Xbox, yet in doing so you specifically mention the ONLY three noteworthy titles that Sony has had this entire year (Returnal, Deathloop and Ratchet & Clank), which are all fairly fun games but one is multiplatform and the other two are literally the only exclusives Sony has had this entire year and one of them isn't even a Sony owned property.

    Meanwhile, you reference Microsoft first party titles Halo: Infinite and Forza (also the only two games they have this year) yet you compare it exclusively to games that have already come out on Switch, conveniently only mentioning first party titles, deliberately not mentioning all of them and totally discounting many upcoming titles they have by disparaging the upcoming Mario Party Superstars, acting like it's the only game on the way.

    So far this year alone, Nintendo has put out Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (which is a fantastic remaster with added online play and a literal entirely new, open world Mario game that's a damn hallmark title that I hope studios emulate), the hotly anticipated New Pokemon Snap, remakes of both cult classic Japanese-only Famicom titles from the Famicom Detective Club series and a Miitopia remake, a brand new WarioWare game, Mario Golf: Super Rush, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (both those last two being the only ones you acknowledged, and both far better than you insinuated), No More Heroes III and Pokemon Unite.

    And that's just MOST of the first party published stuff. The system has also had the best Monster Hunter game ever in Monster Hunter Rise as well as a fabulous JRPG spinoff with Monster Hunter Stories: Wings of Ruin, Disgaea 6, Bravely Default II, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town, Blaster Master Zero III and many more third party and indie exclusives.

    And forthcoming this year are some truly exciting and hotly anticipated games. The first mainline Metroid game in YEARS with Metroid Dread is just weeks away. The duo remake of Advance Wars 1+2. Mario Party Superstars (which looks like the best Mario Party ever made and finally a good entry after the last few duds). Pokemon Diamond and Pearl remakes. The first new Shin Megami Tensei mainline game on console since the PS2 era with SMTV, which is a an absolutely MASSIVE exclusive. The huge free update to Animal Crossing and the final Smash character can't be understated either. And in terms of success and players this impacts.. just remember that more people own Animal Crossing New Horizons than there are PS5 and Xbox Series X/S players combined, by a HUGE margin. Just saying.

    That Direct also specifically helped show off the upcoming 2022 lineup which is just absolutely on fire. It's still over three months away and we already know of over half a dozen huge games coming:

    Triangle Strategy
    Kirby and the Forgotten Land
    Breath of the Wild 2
    Bayonetta 3
    Splatoon 3
    Pokemon Legends Arceus
    Mario + Rabbids 2
    And more...

    Very likely to see new Donkey Kong, Xenoblade and Fire Emblem titles as well next year. And possibly more. And that's just from Nintendo. Honestly, it's insane how much the Switch library is blowing the competition out of the water. Literally dozens of exclusives hitting every genre meanwhile the PS5 and Xbox haven't even gotten their originally promised launch titles out a year later.

    And just to be clear, I own a PS5. I've actually bought two. I don't regret it. It's a nice speed and storage upgrade to my original PS4. But I also own literally zero PS5 exclusive titles because the only one I think that's worth buying (Ratchet & Clank) still isn't worth it at full price.

    It's really not a contest, if you look at it objectively. The Switch has been the best selling console in the world for years and frequently controls literally all ten spots of the best selling software in Japan and most of the spots in the US and UK. Maybe you don't like Zelda, Splatoon, Advance Wars, Pokemon, Mario Party, Shin Megami Tensei, Metroid, WarioWare, Monster Hunter, Bravely Default, etc... but acting like they aren't real games/don't exist as popular, successful products is unbelievable. The concept that the Switch has a problem and has no games is preposterous. It's like saying Taco Bell has no food except a bean burrito and they're not very good, ignoring the rest of the menu as it suits you.

    Maybe the real story here is you don't like Nintendo, Nintendo games or the dozens of developers putting out exclusive content for their system. And if that's the case, that's fine. I don't like Halo or Forza. I think they're both bad. I'd take literally any Nintendo Switch title I've mentioned on this list over both of those Microsoft games combined (even WarioWare and I'm not a fan of that series).
  • Montelof
    So you wanted more games? I guess you already have all of them don't you? Tbh you lost me when you said skyward sword is not good.
  • TP777
    Just made an account to say this might be the most pointless article I've ever read.
  • Nintendofamilya
    That's only your opinion. I like to buy oled version. And the Nintendo upcoming games very interestingly to have
  • d0x360
    If you really want to play the banjo series Rare Replay is on gamepass.

    It also comes with Perfect Dark (N64) running at 4k60 with HDR and the textures look significantly better than they did on N64 thanks to the resolution bump and none of that weird N64 smear based anti aliasing lol.

    Speaking of Xbox... It's not just Halo and Forza. There has been a good amount of exclusive stuff released on gamepass or to buy. Some indie and some AAA but all definitely worth playing. I'm enjoying the hell out of Psychonauts 2 right now.

    It looks like their plan is going to end up being 1 exclusive 1st party title a month and I think we kinda saw the start of it in August but with all those studios... They should be able to make it happen.

    Montelof said:
    So you wanted more games? I guess you already have all of them don't you? Tbh you lost me when you said skyward sword is not good.

    It's probably the worst game in the main series...

    I also get cancelling the order but not because of games. I love OLED too... I bought a 2016 LG C6 and the Cx. It beats LCD in every way. The problem is it's not worth buying a new switch just for the OLED. If they improved the analog sticks and maybe raised the clocks of the X1 I might consider it but otherwise I'll wait for the switch 2.

    I don't understand why they didn't raise the clocks. They could raise them in the old models too so they would have the same performance. Nintendo underclocked the X1. I assume they did it for battery life because it doesn't get hot if you max the clocks yourself with a hacked switch. Heck you don't even lose much battery life.. maybe 30 min gets lost from a full charge.
  • togwynn
    Haha what Switch are you playing? I literally can't keep up with all of the games they're putting out.
  • houndf
    Just wanted to say, as someone who has owned every Nintendo console (except the N64, thanks parents), I got off the Nintendo hype train sometime early summer. Switch was, and currently is, my portable game platform. The lack of the Switch Pro and poor first party releases has done it for me. I'm instead preparing for the Steam Deck to take over early next year as my main portable device.

    Nintendo die hard fans will stick with Nintendo no matter what, but I'm going to take a break for awhile.
  • Talarous
    d0x360 said:
    Speaking of Xbox... It's not just Halo and Forza. There has been a good amount of exclusive stuff released on gamepass or to buy. Some indie and some AAA but all definitely worth playing. I'm enjoying the hell out of Psychonauts 2 right now.

    It looks like their plan is going to end up being 1 exclusive 1st party title a month and I think we kinda saw the start of it in August but with all those studios... They should be able to make it happen.

    There aren't any exclusives on Xbox, though. Even the first party stuff is at least on PC. Also, Psychonauts 2 is on everything except Switch. I'm not here trying to say Xbox is bad or you're bad for suggesting this, just pointing out facts that conflict with what you said.