The best way to play Nintendo's new game console isn't available for sale yet

Nintendo’s upcoming video game console, the Switch, is versatile. It’s a home console; it’s a portable console; it can act as a portable display for you and a friend to play multiplayer games.

It slices! It dices!

Nintendo switchNintendoHere’s how you might play the Nintendo Switch if you were a ghost.

OK, it doesn’t do those last two things. But it does do the other stuff. And doing all that stuff means having a lot of ways to control games.

In the image above, we see a pretty standard setup: a wireless gamepad, which looks relatively traditional, controlling a console connected to a television. If the gamepad looks a little “off,” that’s because it is. It’s basically a square with grips.

Here’s a comparison between Nintendo’s Switch gamepad and those of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4:

The difference is pretty stark, despite their similar button/thumbstick layouts. And that’s due to the modular nature of Nintendo’s Switch console — the grey areas with buttons on the left and right sides of the Switch gamepad are known as “Joy-Con, “and they’re removable.

Like so:

Nintendo SwitchNintendoThe grey Joy-Con also come in two colours: Neon Red and Neon Blue. You can buy a Switch with one of each colour, if you’re into that kinda thing.

You can use one of each as a pair of motion controllers, or you can hold one in each hand and use it as a sort of two-piece gamepad.

Or, alternatively, you can turn one sideways and use it as a sort of miniature gamepad. Like this:

Nintendo SwitchCorey ProtinAnd just like that, one gamepad becomes two.

But let’s be clear: none of these setups are ideal.

Even when the two Joy-Con are saddled into the Grip, thus forming the traditional-ish gamepad setup, it’s not a great gamepad. It feels like a massive square with grips attached, because it is. Nintendo has a far better solution in its $70 “Pro” controller.

This should look much more familiar to anyone who has played a game console in the last decade:

Nintendo Switch Pro ControllerNintendoNintendo’s Pro Controller for the Switch.

Indeed, the Pro Controller is — in my personal experience — the best way to play games on the Switch. It’s not a perfect gamepad, but it’s far more comfortable and usable than any other controller setup on the console.

Unfortunately, there are two main issues with the Pro Controller.

  1. It costs a whopping $70 (a $10 jump over how much Microsoft and Sony controllers cost).
  2. It’s not actually available for purchase just yet — even though other Switch accessories are.

The latter bit is our primary concern right now. The console is up for pre-order everywhere, and it’s set to launch on March 3. But the Pro Controller is nowhere to be found. Bizarrely, Nintendo isn’t saying; we asked a rep and haven’t heard back.

And you’re going to want that Pro Controller. When the console launches in March, the biggest game is a no-brainer for the Pro Controller: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Of course, with over a month until the Switch arrives, Nintendo has plenty of time to start the pre-order process and produce gamepads. But Nintendo also has a history of hardware shortages, especially when it comes to peripherals. Even the massively popular NES Classic Edition console was in short supply, and that’s just a little plastic box that plays games from 30 years ago.

Here’s hoping this gets sorted ahead of the March 3 launch.

NOW WATCH: We got to try Nintendo’s new Switch console — here’s what it was like

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