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How to download games on Nintendo Switch

Start building your library of digital games!
By
May 12, 2022

People purchase Nintendo Switches for their portability rather than their power. Like the 3DS before it, the device provides an outstanding gaming experience from anywhere, and there are many different titles to choose from. The best way to experience the Switch is by having an expansive library of digital games to choose from whenever you want to switch things up. Let’s go over how to download games on your Nintendo Switch.

Read more: How to add friends on Nintendo Switch

THE SHORT ANSWER 

There is only one way to download games to your Nintendo Switch, and that is by purchasing them from the Nintendo eShop. Otherwise, you'll need to buy a physical copy of the game.

To download a game on Nintendo Switch, press A on the shopping bag-shaped Nintendo eShop button on the home screen. Find the game you wish to download, then purchase it. The game will automatically begin downloading.


KEY SECTIONS 

How to download games on the Nintendo Switch

Downloading games from the Nintendo eShop

Unless you want to download a free demo or a free game, this method will require you to use real money to purchase a game from the Nintendo eShop.

Press A on the shopping bag-shaped Nintendo eShop button on the home screen.

visit the nintendo eShop
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In the Nintendo eShop, find the game that you want to download in the FeaturedRecent ReleasesGreat Deals, or Best Sellers sections. Alternatively, you can manually search for it in the Search/Browse section at the top of the lefthand column.

where to find your desired game to download
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Once you’ve located the game that you want to download, press A on it.

locate the game that you wish to download to your nintendo switch device
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Press A on Proceed to Purchase.

cursor on proceed to purchase game
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Press on Credit CardNintendo eShop Card, or PayPal.

choose payment method by pressing a
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Select how much you would like to add to your account from your selected payment method. If you just want to buy that game, press A on Required Amount Only.

how much do you wish to add to your account screen
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Confirm your payment method. If you’re using a credit card, you must press A on the Use This Credit Card confirmation button.

use new payment method
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Re-enter the password to your Nintendo account.

reenter your password
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Press A on Add Funds and Purchase.

add funds and purchase game
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Press A on Close if you’re done. This will take you back to the Nintendo Switch home screen.

close the nintendo shop
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After you’ve purchased the game, it should automatically begin downloading. You will see the download progress when you return to the home screen.

game downloading on switch
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Redownloading games from the Nintendo eShop

From the Nintendo Switch home screen, scroll all the way to the right of the app list in the middle. Press A on the All Software button.

find all software
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Scroll to the bottom of the All Software page. Press A on the Redownload Software button.

redownload software
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Locate the game you want to redownload in the list. Press A on the Redownload button to the right of the game; this looks like a cloud with a downwards arrow underneath it.

redownloading a game on Switch
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You will see a Starting redownload pop-up and the game should begin redownloading. You will see the download progress when you return to the home screen. To do this, press the house-shaped Home button on your controller.

software redownloading nickelodeon all star brawl
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How to redeem a code on the Nintendo eShop

Press A on the shopping bag-shaped Nintendo eShop button on the home screen.

visit the nintendo eShop
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Scroll down the menu options on the left to Enter Code. Enter the redeemable code in the designated field, and then begin your download.

entering codes on Nintendo Switch
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FAQs

Can you illegally download Nintendo Switch games?

There is no other way to download a virtual/digital version of a game to your Nintendo Switch than through the Nintendo eShop.

According to Nintendo’s website, “Nintendo does not offer for sale, sell or distribute its games for its consoles or handhelds digitally other than from Nintendo eShop. If you see games offered for download using Peer-to-Peer networks or by clicking on links to files hosted on third-party platforms, the content that you are accessing is an unauthorized copy (i.e., a pirate copy). Pirate copies of game files are often referred to as “ROMs” […] The uploading and downloading of pirate copies of Nintendo games is illegal.”

How do I get a download code for my Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo Switch codes can be purchased from sites like Amazon.com, or even from Nintendo’s own website.