Does Nintendo Switch Come with 2 Controllers?

The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular video game consoles on the market today. Its innovative hybrid design allows gamers to play their favorite titles at home on the TV or on-the-go in handheld mode. But one question that often comes up for new Nintendo Switch owners is: does the Nintendo Switch come with 2 controllers?

An Overview of Nintendo Switch Controllers

The Nintendo Switch comes packed with a variety of control options right out of the box. The most basic controllers included are the two Joy-Con controllers.

The Joy-Con controllers can be used in several configurations:

  • Attached to the main Nintendo Switch tablet for handheld gaming
  • Slid into the Joy-Con grip accessory to form a traditional controller for TV gaming
  • Used individually sideways for some multiplayer games

The Included Left and Right Joy-Con Controllers

So to directly answer the question – yes, the Nintendo Switch comes with two controllers. Specifically, it comes with:

  • 1 left Joy-Con controller
  • 1 right Joy-Con controller

The left and right Joy-Con each function as separate gamepads when turned sideways. They can be used for local multiplayer in games that support this feature.

For example, titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Arms allow two players to play head-to-head using the left/right Joy-Con controllers right out of the box.

Using the Joy-Cons Together

While each Joy-Con can act as an individual controller, they are also designed to work together in several ways:

  • When attached to the Nintendo Switch tablet, they create a unified controller for handheld gaming.
  • When slid into the Joy-Con grip, they line up to form a traditional-style controller ideal for TV gaming.

So the two Joy-Cons included with the system provide a versatile combination of control options. But for certain games or situations, you may want additional controllers.

Getting Extra Controllers for Multiplayer Gaming

While the Nintendo Switch comes with the two Joy-Con controllers, some games work best with additional controllers – especially for local multiplayer gaming.

Popular options for extra Nintendo Switch controllers include:

Purchasing Extra Joy-Cons

  • Since the included Joy-Cons can be used separately for two-player gaming, buying an extra set is an easy way to enable 4-player fun.
  • Extra left/right Joy-Con pairs are available in a variety of colors like neon red/blue and yellow/purple.
  • A single additional Joy-Con controller can also be purchased if only one is needed.

Pro Controllers

  • For a more traditional controller, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is ideal.
  • It has a classic gamepad layout similar to Xbox and PlayStation controllers.
  • The Pro Controller is a popular choice for serious gamers who want a comfortable controller for extended gameplay.

Third Party Alternatives

  • There are also many third party controllers available from brands like PowerA and PDP.
  • These controllers provide cheaper options with familiar designs.
  • Premium controllers from brands like Hori also offer specialty designs for specific gameplay needs.

So while the Switch comes with the two Joy-Con controllers, purchasing extras can provide more flexibility for multiplayer gaming. The ideal setup will depend on the types of games you want to play.

How Many Controllers Are Supported?

Another common question is: how many controllers can you use with the Nintendo Switch at once?

The answer depends on whether you are gaming in handheld mode or TV mode:

Handheld Mode Controller Limits

  • In handheld mode, only the left and right Joy-Cons attached to the console can be used.
  • The Switch touchscreen limits multiplayer controls to just these included controllers.

TV/Tabletop Mode Options

  • In TV mode or tabletop mode, up to 8 controllers can connect at once.
  • You can use any combination of Joy-Cons, Pro Controllers, and third party gamepads.

So while handheld mode is limited to 2 players, TV mode allows much larger multiplayer fun.

What Games Require Extra Controllers?

While the included Joy-Cons provide options for two-player gaming, many popular Nintendo Switch games are enhanced by having additional controllers.

Here are some examples of games that support or recommend extra controllers:

Party Games

  • Mario Party Superstars – Supports up to 4 players with individual Joy-Cons.
  • Jackbox Party Pack – Up to 8 players can participate using any combo of controllers and mobile devices as controls.
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate – Supports 8-player brawls for big group gaming sessions.

Sports Games

  • Mario Kart 8 – Having extra controllers allows for 4-player split screen racing.
  • Mario Strikers: Battle League – Additional Joy-Cons enable full 5v5 team multiplayer fun.


  • Splatoon 2 – Online battles are 4v4, so extra controllers help two share a system.
  • Fortnite – Squads mode works best when four players team up on one console.

Fighting Games

  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate – Up to 8 controllers can join the fray for epic brawls.
  • Pokemon Unite – Having additional controllers allows teammates to group up.

So games that highlight local competitive or cooperative play are great candidates for extra controllers. The more friends who can join in, the better!

Tips for Choosing Additional Controllers

When selecting extra controllers for your Nintendo Switch, keep these tips in mind:

  • Consider games you play most – Pick controller types optimized for your favorite game genres. Fighters, racers, and shooter fans may prefer different designs.
  • Try before you buy – If possible, test out controllers in person at gaming stores to evaluate comfort and feel.
  • Check compatibility – Make sure any third party controllers work fully with the Switch before purchasing.
  • Compare prices – Controller deals and bundles can help you save money when buying multiple gamepads.
  • Think long term – Investing in high-quality controllers that will last through years of gaming is worthwhile.
  • Evaluate battery life – Rechargeable controllers reduce the need to supply batteries constantly.

Choosing controllers that suit your gaming needs will help ensure you have the best multiplayer experiences on Nintendo Switch.

Key Takeaways: What's Included and How to Move Forward

To summarize the key points on Nintendo Switch controllers:

  • The Switch comes with two Joy-Con controllers – a left and a right – right out of the box.
  • These Joy-Cons can be used in several configurations: attached for handheld play, separate for local multiplayer, slid into a grip for TV gaming, etc.
  • For games that support more than two players, you'll need to purchase additional controllers. Extra Joy-Cons or Pro Controllers are popular options.
  • Up to 8 controllers can connect to the Switch when docked in TV mode for big multiplayer sessions.

So while you're ready for some two-player fun with what's in the box, buying extra controllers opens up more gameplay possibilities. With a house full of family and friends, the more Switch controllers the merrier!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are answers to some common questions about Nintendo Switch controllers:

Q: Can you use a single Joy-Con as a controller?

A: Yes, each Joy-Con can be used independently as a standalone controller when turned sideways. This provides a small but fully functional controller.

Q: Does the Pro Controller come with the Switch?

A: No, the Pro Controller is sold separately from the main Switch system. Only the two Joy-Cons are included.

Q: How do you charge the Joy-Cons?

A: The Joy-Cons can charge while attached to the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. They can also be charged by sliding them onto the Joy-Con charging grip accessory.

Q: Can you use third-party controllers?

A: Yes, many third party Switch controllers from brands like PowerA and Hori are fully compatible alternatives, though not all have full functionality like HD rumble.

Q: Can you use Xbox or PlayStation controllers?

A: Unfortunately no, the Nintendo Switch is not natively compatible with controllers designed for other systems like Xbox, PlayStation or PC.


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