One of the Nintendo Switch’s little-known features is the ability to install a single copy of a digital game on multiple devices. Here’s how it works.
What Is Game Sharing?
Game sharing is a process that allows you to use a single digital copy of a game across multiple consoles, similar to how you’d share a physical copy of a game. This is especially useful for families with multiple consoles, or groups of friends that don’t want to pay for the same game repeatedly.
All digital purchases on the Switch are linked to a Nintendo Account. To share games between two devices, you need a single Nintendo Account on both.
When sharing games, each device is registered as either a primary console or a secondary console. The primary console has full online and offline access to all the titles linked to the eShop account. On the other hand, the account registered on the secondary console needs internet access to play. Also, both Switches cannot play the same game at the same time with the same Nintendo Account.
The process to do this surprisingly straightforward and involves a few simple steps on both devices.
Game Sharing on the Switch
First, boot up the Switch with the games installed. From the Home screen, go to the Nintendo eShop by clicking the store button at the bottom, and select the account that has the games you want to share.
Next, click on your player icon on the upper right, and scroll down to the bottom of the page on the right side. There, you’ll see an option titled “Primary Console.” Select “Deregister,” which will turn the Switch into a secondary device. This setting can be changed later on.
On the second Nintendo Switch, log into the same Nintendo Account by going to System Settings > Add User. This device will now be registered as the Primary Console. After, simply redownload the title you’d like to save from the eShop.
If you want to swap who the primary and secondary accounts are, simply deregister the Switch with the Primary Account. This will automatically change the permissions.
The Pros and Cons of Game Sharing
The best part of this process is that you can save a lot of money. This is especially true for first-party Nintendo titles, which generally cost $60 each and are some of the most popular on the platform. Digital games often retail for cheaper because of frequent sales on the eShop.
However, there are a few caveats to Switch game sharing. First, secondary consoles always need the internet to play. This is because Nintendo performs an online verification process when the software is launched to make sure the game is owned.
Another thing to note is that both consoles cannot play the same game at the same time when they’re logged into a single account. However, this does not apply to a second Nintendo account. If you make another account on the secondary device and select it whenever you play, both devices can run the same game simultaneously. However, to play online multiplayer together, you need a second Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
The last caveat is that this process does not work for local multiplayer gameplay. This is because playing locally involves turning off the Switch’s internet modem. You must either play online or play together on one console.