Nintendo Switch BoxesSource: Rebecca Spear / iMore

Best answer: Both digital and physical games have their pros and cons. Anyone who doesn't want to deal with cartridges should go digital and would be wise to invest in a microSD card, while those looking to start a tangible collection or anticipate trading games in down the line will want to go the physical route.

The Digital Advantage

Nintendo eShopSource: iMore

The most obvious benefit of downloading a digital copy of a game onto your Nintendo Switch console is the fact that it doesn't take up any physical space. You won't have a shelf full of old Switch games that you never play anymore. You also don't have to worry about losing those tiny cartridges, having your little brother steal them from you, or having your dog chew them up (even if they're designed to taste bad).

Another great reason to go digital is that you'll always have all of your games with you, no matter where you go. That way, you never have to tote all of those cartridges around in a carrying case. Since digital game purchases are tied to your Nintendo Account, you could still access them if you had to replace your Switch.

With digital games, you can sometimes start playing right after midnight on the day of a game's official release.

One of the biggest perks for choosing the digital downloads of Nintendo Switch games is that they get pre-loaded onto your device at the time of your order. This means you can then start playing them right after they release. If a game has a midnight release, then you won't have to wait in line at a store nor do you have to wait for a delivery to start playing. If you stay up late enough, you could have most of the game completed before your friends even get up the next day.

If you're ecologically minded, you will be happy to note that digital downloads also cut down on the amount of waste produced for a game. Instead of dealing with the plastic of the cartridges, case, and sealed packaging, you are dealing with ones and zeroes. It's a much more environmentally friendly way to consume media.

Now, if you're going digital, a microSD card should be high on your list of priorities. The Nintendo Switch only has a measly 32GB of internal storage, some of which is eaten up by the system. That only leaves enough to download a few games, but you'll quickly run out of space. We recommend a high-capacity microSD card like the Samsung EVO Plus 256GB to ensure you have enough room to hold all the games you want.

The Physical Advantage

Diablo collectors editionSource: iMore

The most apparent positive about buying a physical copy of a game is that you can share it with others. If your sister wants to play a game after you're done with it, she can take the cartridge and put it in her own Switch. If you want to temporarily swap Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for your friend's copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, no problem.

You can also opt for a smaller microSD card, as physical games cartridges hold the bulk of the game data leaving the Switch to only hold save data. Another cool benefit: physical collector's editions or definitive editions often come with limited-run memorabilia like statues, stickers, art books, and soundtracks. You often can't get this stuff when buying digitally.

Going physical allows you to share games with siblings or temporarily swap with buddies.

You can also buy, sell, or trade-in physical games to help support your entertainment habit, something digital buyers are still dreaming of. Sometimes, used games are more than half-off their full price. This typically happens when a game has sold really well or isn't particularly popular (strange how that works). Plus, retail stores will frequently put games on sale, so you could potentially buy a brand new game at a discounted price (especially, if you're a savvy shopper). Digital games do, also, go on sale from time to time in Nintendo's eShop, but they are at the whim of Nintendo instead of your discount-finding prowess. To be honest, the deals usually aren't as good as they would be in physical format.

If you determine physical is your style, consider investing in a carrying case for your Nintendo Switch game cartridges. We like the Fintie Nintendo Switch Carrying Case as it offers the best combination of protection, convenience, and portability. Games slide into their own little slots in the case to make sure they aren't moving around. You can hold up to 10 games. Plus, it's super cheap! The Fintie game case lets you take a large number of cartridges on the go with a lesser chance of losing them. The only downside is that if you lose the carrying case, all the games go with it, so don't lose the case!

Digital vs Physical Switch games

Both physical and digital versions of Nintendo Switch games have their perks as well as their shortcomings. To determine which route is right for you, you'll need to weigh the pros and cons of both physical and digital games against each other while considering how you plan on playing your games.

For Digital

Samsung 256GB Evo Plus micro SD card

Samsung EVO Plus 256GB

All the space you need

Samsung's EVO microSD cards are some of the best on the market, and this one has enough space to hold dozens of games. Better yet, it's more than half of the price it used to be!

For Physical

Fintie case Switch

Fintie Nitnendo Switch Case

Keep your Switch games safe

Fintie's Nintendo Switch case can store up to 10 games in their individual slots and also gives you room for small accessories. That way, no matter where you go you can bring your Switch and your favorite games with you in a protective hardshell casing. It also comes in several designs so you can get the look you like best.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.