What do you get when you combine the portability of the Game Boy with the the motion sensitivity of the Wii? Nintendo's newest console can be played in several different ways. The first is hooked up to a TV using an HDMI cable. It can also be used as a handheld device, by taking the tablet that's inside the central dock and attaching the two removable Joy-Con controllers to the sides. A stand allows users to prop the Switch up on a table, making it easy to play on a plane or outside. Each Joy-Con controller can be used individually for multiplayer games.
Steam already works with a bunch of gamepads, including PS4's and Xbox 360's/One's, thanks to the Valve controller's software component. But if you'd rather use Nintendo Switch's, then you'll have to be willing to take Steam's beta client for a spin. The platform's beta version has added support for the Nintendo Switch Pro controller, so you can use its d-pad to your advantage in fighting games and platformers or just generally play better if your hands are more used to it. After you update or install Steam beta, you can activate Switch Pro in the controller settings page, so the client can recognize and calibrate your device. That'll give you access to its configuration, where you can personalize what its buttons can do, though you can also change them on the fly by summoning the controller overlay through the Home button.
The Joy-Cons are great, but when you need to get some serious gaming done on your Switch, you're better off picking up Nintendo's Pro Controller. Right now you can save a little money while you're at it too -- the Pro Controller is currently $59 at Amazon, down from its usual price of $70. The Pro Controller has long been a favorite here at Engadget since it came out four years ago today. When he reviewed the Switch way back in 2017, Devindra Hardawar called the controller "a solid alternative for gamers looking for a more traditional gamepad," and found it a must for playing fighting games and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Since then the Pro Controller has been a constant presence in our gift guides, and I've listed it as the best Switch controller to play action games with, thanks to its comfortable grips and D-pad.
Suffice to say the Nintendo Switch is a hit beyond what anyone could have expected. The versatile, modular console sold more than 10 million units in its first 10 months, and became the fastest-selling console in US history. That's all the more impressive given Switches were nearly impossible to find in the console's early months, as Nintendo (like everyone else) seriously underestimated its appeal.
The Nintendo Switch may have a lot of quirks right now, but if you get tired of the console, yet love the new Joy-Con or Switch Pro controller, you can use it with other devices. Several Switch fans and critics have confirmed that the controller works with Windows PCs, Macs, and Android devices. The WiiMote was similarly able to work with PCs, as The Verge first reported, so perhaps this isn't too surprising--though still a nice bonus. As with other controllers, you'll need to use a third-party utility to map the controller's buttons to keyboard and mouse controls such as JoyToKey. On OSX, the Joy-Con works without third-party help, according to developer Sam Williams.