How To Guide On Sharing Games On Your Nintendo Switch

How To Guide On Sharing Games On Your Nintendo Switch

March 14, 2019

Nintendo has made game sharing official with the new 6.0 firmware upgrade. Prior to the upgrade, it was still possible, but the method was extremely irritating, the new method is much easier and this guide will explain how you can do it.

Nintendo Switch Online allows users to make cloud saves, play classic NES games, and of course, compete with others online. Together with the rollout of Switch online, there was one feature that snuck its way onto the console via a 6.0 firmware upgrade: game sharing. The ability to share games on the Nintendo Switch isn't too different than it is on the other consoles. All that is required is a Nintendo account. It's not exactly what you could expect when you hear the words "game sharing", As you can only play with your downloadable games on one device at a time. At the very least, it is a convenient feature to have if you really do want to log in on a different system to access your games.

On the official Nintendo website, it is explained how a user can log into their Nintendo accounts on another Switch system and download a game they have previously bought to play, provided they are online. If the primary console starts playing the game, the game on the non-primary system will be paused. Below is the full statement directly from Nintendo:

"The first time you use your Nintendo Account to connect to the Nintendo Switch eShop, the Nintendo Switch console you use will be activated as the primary console for your Nintendo Account. After you have designated your Nintendo Account's primary console you can still link that account to other Nintendo Switch consoles, but these consoles will not be activated as primary consoles."

How To Share Games On The Nintendo Switch

Let's go over how to share games on your Switch step by step.

  • Step 1: Link a Nintendo account to a Nintendo Switch console.
  • Step 2: Open the Nintendo eShop on the Switch and choose the Nintendo account. 
  • Step 3: Once the account is selected, this console will be considered the primary Switch console for the account. 
  • Step 4: On a second Nintendo Switch, create a new profile.
  • Step 5: Link the new profile to the same Nintendo account from the primary Nintendo console.
  • Step 6: Once linked, the second Nintendo Switch, or non-primary console, will have access to the Nintendo accounts games.

Once you are finished, the same Nintendo account will be accessible on two Nintendo Switches although one is deemed the primary console. Games bought on the main Nintendo account can now be played on both consoles

How To Activate Your Nintendo Switch As Your Primary Console

  1. Link a Nintendo Account to your Nintendo Switch console.
  2. Access the Nintendo eShop and select your Nintendo Account.
  3. If the Nintendo Account does not already have an active console, this console will become the primary console for your Nintendo Account.

Making a different console the primary console:

  • Step 1: Access the Nintendo eShop on your primary console and deactivate the console for your Nintendo Account from the user menu. If you do not have access to the original console, you can also deactivate a primary console off-device once per year. Off-device deactivations can be done by visiting, selecting "Shop Menu", and then "Deregister Primary Console".
  • Step 2: On the second Nintendo Switch console, use the same Nintendo Account to access the Nintendo Switch eShop. This is now the activated console for your account.

Some Further Information About Nintendo Switch Game Sharing

Primary Console:

  • You can have one primary console at a time for your Nintendo Account.
  • The first Nintendo Switch console you use to connect to Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch will become your primary console.
  • While using the primary console, any user account on the console can play the downloadable content you have purchased.
  • While using the primary console, you do not need to have an active Internet connection while playing downloadable software.
    • An Internet connection is still required to use online features or games which require a subscription service.
  • You can change which Nintendo Switch console is your primary console but you must first deactivate the current primary console.

Non-Primary Console:

  • A Nintendo Account can be linked to Nintendo Switch consoles that are not designated as the primary console, however, some functionality differs from when a Nintendo Account is used on a primary console.
  • While using a non-primary console, you can still use the Nintendo Account to access the Nintendo eShop, purchase and download software, and under certain conditions, play your downloadable software.
  • While using a non-primary console, you must have an active Internet connection to play downloadable content. If you lose your Internet connection while playing downloadable content on a non-primary console, your game will pause after a certain amount of time; however, once you connect online again, you will be able to resume from the point you left off.
  • While using a non-primary console, downloadable content can only be started by the user that purchased the content.
  • When using downloadable software on a non-primary console, your game will pause if your Nintendo Account is used to access downloadable software on any other Nintendo Switch console

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