How to Share Nintendo Switch Games with Family Members

Playing Nintendo Switch games with family and friends is one of the best parts about owning the hybrid console. The Switch makes it easy to share your digital games across multiple systems thanks to game sharing.

With game sharing, you and your family members can take turns playing downloaded games without having to repurchase them individually. This allows you to access each other’s libraries and save money by splitting the cost of games.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain exactly how Nintendo Switch game sharing works and the steps to start sharing your digital games with family and friends.

Key Takeaways:

  • The primary Switch console must be registered as the account holder’s “primary console” to enable game sharing.
  • Secondary consoles can access the primary account’s games, but have restrictions.
  • Up to 8 user profiles can use game sharing on a shared primary console.
  • A Nintendo Switch Online membership is required for online multiplayer gaming.
  • Physical game cartridges can also be shared by passing them between consoles.
  • Save data cannot be shared and is locked to the user profile on each console.

How Nintendo Switch Game Sharing Works

The Nintendo Switch makes sharing downloadable games across consoles possible through a feature called primary and secondary consoles.

One Switch must be registered as the account holder’s primary console. This primary console can then share its digital content with other secondary consoles registered to different accounts.

Here is an overview of how primary and secondary consoles work for game sharing:

  • The primary console shares its downloaded games with all user profiles on the device. Up to 8 profiles can play.
  • Secondary consoles can access the primary account’s games, but with restrictions – an internet connection is required, and only the main account can play.
  • A game can only be played on one shared Switch at a time, even for physical cartridges.
  • Save data does not transfer and stays on the user profile it was created under.

Essentially, by registering your family’s Switch as the primary console, you can share your digital library while still having access on your own Switch. Read on to learn how to set this up.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sharing Games

Follow this step-by-step guide for how to share Nintendo Switch games across consoles with family members:

1. Choose a Primary and Secondary Console

First, decide which Switch will be the primary and which will be secondary. Often it makes sense for the Switch belonging to the person who buys the most games to be the primary console.

For example, if one parent purchases most of the digital games for their kids to share, then that parent’s Switch would be set as the primary.

2. Add User Profiles

On the primary console, create a user profile for each family member that will be sharing games.

Go to System Settings -> Users -> Add User to create a new user and link it to a Nintendo account. Up to 8 profiles can be added.

3. Register Primary Console

Next, register the primary Switch console to the main account holder:

  • Open the eShop with the account holder’s user profile.
  • Go to the user icon in the top right.
  • Scroll down and select “deregister” to remove any existing primary consoles linked to the account.
  • Then select “Register” to set this Switch as the new primary.

Now this console will share its games.

4. Sign in to Secondary Console

On the secondary Switch, sign in under the main account holder’s profile to link it and access their shared games.

An internet connection is required on the secondary console to verify the account owns the games. But once launched, you can play offline.

5. Share Physical Game Cartridges

Physical cartridge games can also be shared across consoles by passing the cartridge between systems and inserting it into the secondary Switch.

Remember, only one console can access either a physical or digital game at the same time. So you’ll need to coordinate playing together.

6. Enable Online Multiplayer

To play games together online between consoles, each Switch will need an active Nintendo Switch Online membership on the user profile.

Individual or family memberships covering up to 8 accounts can be purchased to allow online multiplayer gaming.

7. Manage Save Data

Saved game data does not transfer between consoles for any users. This data remains locked to the user profile it was created and saved under.

So users will maintain separate save files and progression when accessing shared games on different consoles.

And there you have it! Following these steps allows families and friends to share Nintendo Switch games while only purchasing one copy, saving money and enabling access to more games.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sharing Switch Games

Here are answers to some common questions about sharing Nintendo Switch games across consoles:

Can I share Nintendo Switch digital games?

Yes! Purchased digital games from the Nintendo eShop can be shared across primary and secondary consoles registered to your account. Up to 8 profiles can play.

How many Switches can share games?

A primary console can share games with any number of secondary consoles. But each secondary Switch requires the account holder to sign-in to access the shared content.

Do I need internet to share Nintendo Switch games?

The primary console can always play shared games offline. Secondary consoles require an internet connection initially to verify the game licenses.

Can you share Nintendo Switch cartridges?

Yes, physical cartridges can also be shared by inserting the same game card into different Switches and passing it between consoles.

Can two people play the same game online together?

Yes! If both players have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, they can access shared digital games and play online multiplayer together.

Can you share Nintendo Switch user profiles?

No. User profiles and save data are locked to the specific Switch console they were created on and cannot move between systems.

What happens if you factory reset the primary Switch?

Performing a factory reset on the primary console will remove its primary status. You’ll have to re-register it as the primary afterwards to continue sharing games.

Do all games support sharing on Nintendo Switch?

Most games are shareable, however a small number of titles cannot be shared due to publisher restrictions and licensing. These are rare exceptions though.

And that covers the ins and outs of sharing your Nintendo Switch digital games with family and friends! By designating primary and secondary consoles and following these steps, you can easily access each other’s game libraries.

Summary of Best Practices for Sharing Switch Games

  • Choose one Switch as the primary console and register it to the main account holder.
  • Add individual user profiles for each family member on the shared device.
  • Sign-in with the main account on secondary consoles to link them and enable game sharing.
  • Coordinate playing together as only one console can access a shared game at once.
  • Purchase Nintendo Switch Online for online multiplayer gaming between consoles.
  • Don’t expect to share save data – this stays locked to each profile and device.
  • Share physical game cards by passing the cartridge between systems.

With game sharing properly set up, your family can save money and get more enjoyment out of the Nintendo Switch by accessing a shared library of games across multiple consoles.

Similar Posts