How to Save Money on Nintendo Switch Games

Pokémon Unite being played on a Nintendo Switch.
Wachiwit/Shutterstock.com

If you own a Nintendo Switch you’re probably used to keeping one eye on the eShop for bargains. But with so many titles on the Switch, it can be hard to keep track. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to save money on Switch games.

Track Games for eShop Deals

The Switch eShop has a thousand or more games on sale at any one time, which means there are plenty of bargains to be had. Trawling your way through these titles to separate the wheat from the chaff can be time-consuming and often feels like more hassle than it’s worth.

You can add games to your Switch wishlist by tapping on the “heart” icon on the game’s store page. You can then peruse your wishlist by tapping on your user icon in the top-right corner of the Switch eShop and choosing Wishlist. Unfortunately, there’s no native way to be notified when these games go on sale (as there is on Steam).

Fortunately, there’s a service that can both highlight the best eShop deals and allow you to track games and get notifications when a sale arrives. DekuDeals is every Switch owner’s best friend when it comes to finding cheap games. In addition to tracking eShop sales, the service even tracks physical sales in some territories (US included).

DekuDeals game information page

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On the main page, you’ll find several categories for the hottest deals and recent price drops, which helps highlight the very best eShop deals. Click on a game to see its price history depicted on a graph, with a record of the record lowest price and how often it goes on sale. Use the “Add to” box to add the game to your wishlist, for which you can set alerts for future sales.

Add to Wishlist on DekuDeals

You’ll need an account to make the most of DekuDeals and use notification functionality, but it’s worth signing up and moving your whole eShop wishlist over to the service if you’re waiting for particular sales. DekuDeals is also a great way to spot titles you might not otherwise have tried were they not on sale.

RELATED: How to Get Alerts When a Nintendo Switch Game Goes on Sale

Follow Trends for Gaming Deals

Another way to stay abreast of game deals (particularly for titles that aren’t on your radar) is to pay attention to trends. The best example is the release of a sequel, which often prompts previous games in the series to go on sale in a bid to capitalize on publicity generated by a new game.

There are also other more obvious seasonal deals, like cheap horror games for Halloween and the obligatory Black Friday blowouts (act fast, these deals normally don’t last very long).

If you find a title you like is on sale and it has downloadable content (DLC) available, there’s a good chance there will be a deal on the DLC or the “definitive” edition too (which includes any DLC released).

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster
Nintendo

Be aware that it’s quite rare for Nintendo first-party titles to go on sale for more than around 30%. This includes titles like Mario Kart 8 DeluxeThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The lowest price for these is usually somewhere around the $50 mark, so it’s not worth hanging around for better deals if you’re tempted.

Buy Second-Hand Cartridges

One way of saving money on physical games (rather than digital purchases in the eShop) is to hit up your favorite second-hand listings like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. You’ll find a range of prices, plus you’ll be able to make offers on titles to see how receptive sellers are.

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It’s not uncommon to find a seller trying to shift a collection of games or bundling extra controllers or peripherals (like the Ring Fit Adventure Ring-Con accessory) for far less than it would cost to buy them individually. Follow the usual precautions when buying online to avoid the sort of scams that plague Facebook Marketplace.

Closeup of a Nintendo Switch game cartridge on top of a Switch unit.
Wachiwit/Shutterstock.com

Physical Switch games are both expensive to purchase new and hold their value over time. Expect to pay more for a second-hand Switch title than you would for an Xbox or PlayStation game. One benefit of Switch cartridges is that they are more durable than discs since they aren’t so prone to scratches (though damage to the contacts could occur).

Use Your Nintendo Switch Online Membership to Play Older Titles

If you’ve got an active Nintendo Switch Online membership then you have access to the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System apps which provide access to old NES and SNES titles as part of your membership. This includes classics like Super Mario Kart (SNES), Super Mario 3 (NES), Starfox (SNES) and three Donkey Kong (NES) titles.

There are over 100 to choose from in total, and they include additional functionality like online play and a rewind feature that lets you attempt sections over and over again.

If you go for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass tier you also get access to Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles like Super Mario 64 (N64), Yoshi’s Story (N64), Streets of Rage (Genesis), and Ecco the Dolphin (Genesis). Find out what else you get with each Switch Online tier.

Don’t Forget Free to Play Titles and Demos

Free-to-play titles get a bad rap and much of it for good reason. Many of them are centered around the ongoing purchase microtransactions. They’re designed to get you invested enough to want to play, before putting up a wall that only cash can solve. But not all of them are bad, and many of the best ones have found a home on the Switch.

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Most of these games are after your money, but many can be enjoyed without spending a penny (or by making considered purchases, here and there). Some of the best include:

  • Warframe — a first-person shooter reminiscent of Destiny
  • Rocket League — the smash hit “soccer in cars” game that went free-to-play
  • Brawlhalla — a Super Smash Bros clone
  • Pac Man 99 — a competitive battle royale version of the arcade classic
  • Pokémon UNITE — a MOBA set in the Pokémon universe
  • Apex Legends — arguably the best battle royale shooter on the market
  • Fallout Shelter — Bethesda’s vault building resource management sim
  • Fortnite — the biggest game in the world, probably

You can also find demos available for many titles, which you can filter using the “Search” option in the Nintendo Switch eShop. Just tap on “Software with Demo Available” and browse.

Who Doesn’t Love Cheap Games?

The Switch might not be the most budget-friendly console, but there are plenty of deals to be had if you know where to look.

If you play games on PC you might think Steam is the best place to find cheap games, but there are alternative game marketplaces that can save you some money.

RELATED: Which Game Console Is Best For The Budget-Conscious?