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How to stream the Nintendo Switch on Discord

You'll need some dedicated hardware and software to make the bridge.
By
December 5, 2022

If you’ve ever wanted to stream video from a Nintendo Switch game to an audience on Discord — say, as a reward for followers on Patreon — you may have been confused about how to do it. The Switch isn’t exactly built for the task. It is possible though, and we’re going to show you the workflow.

QUICK ANSWER

You need to connect a docked Switch to a capture card, which in turn has to connect to a computer running both the card's software and an app that can stream that software's output, like OBS Studio or VLC. Within Discord, join a voice channel, then click Screen to pick the streaming app you're using.

How to stream Switch games on Discord

launch obs to stream your nintendo switch
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

A note before we begin: while some of the steps here may be unavoidable, as technology evolves, you may be able to find simpler hardware and/or software solutions. As of this writing however, here’s the general process:

  • Insert your Switch into its dock, making sure the dock is powered but disconnected from any TVs or monitors it’s normally used with.
  • Connect the dock’s HDMI cable to the “HDMI In” port on a dedicated capture card connected to your PC. Many gamers use cards from Elgato, but we’re not trying to endorse one brand over another. Whichever card you’re using, make sure it’s connected and configured according to manufacturer instructions before you continue.
  • On your PC, install software that can stream your capture card’s video output. Two free (and industry-standard) options are OBS Studio and VLC.
  • Power on your Switch and launch the capture card software.
  • On your Switch, go to System Settings, find TV Resolution, then pick 1080p and Full RGB Range.
  • Launch the software you’re using to stream the capture card’s output (OBS, VLC, or something else). Make sure Switch content looks correct — you may need to tweak settings.
  • Open Discord on your PC, join the server you’re planning to stream to, then double-click the appropriate speaker icon to join a voice channel.
  • Towards the bottom of the Channels list, click Screen. Within the Applications tab, select the software that’s playing the capture card’s output (OBS, VLC, etc.).
  • Click Go Live to begin Discord streaming. Whenever you want to stop, just click the X inside the preview thumbnail.

Read more: How to stream your Nintendo Switch on Twitch

FAQs

No, there is no native Discord app for the console. There isn’t any inherent technical limitation that we’re aware of, so the likely explanation is that Nintendo wants to maintain a “family-friendly” social experience.

Discord servers are run independently and relatively unrestricted, which means they can sometimes be home to bigotry and harassment. Moderators can potentially keep this in check, but Nintendo probably doesn’t want to depend on third parties — usually just volunteers — to provide a “clean” experience for kids or other sensitive audiences.