Want to play your purchased Nintendo Switch downloads on multiple separate consoles? You better be prepared to buy more than one copy of each game.
We recently learned that the Nintendo Switch will finally tie eShop purchases to a portable online account (unlike the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS, which tied purchases to a specific piece of hardware). But we’re now discovering that apparently this feature doesn’t apply to downloading games to multiple Switch systems at the same time.
The news comes via a recent 1-2-Switch preview event at the Nintendo World NYC store, including a Q&A session captured by YouTuber CrazyDopetastic. One questioner talks about the possibility of getting a second Switch for his kids, asking, “If I want to take my system with me…if I were to buy a digital game, could I buy it once, or would I I buy it multiple times so they can use those games?”
The translated answer, from Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development General Manager Shinya Takahashi: “Currently we don’t have such a system for Nintendo Switch, but we haven’t made any final decisions about how we would go about it in the future, so Unfortunately I can’t give you a concrete answer at the moment.”
In other words, for now it sounds like a Nintendo Account (and the linked eShop purchases) can only be linked to one Nintendo Switch console at a time (assuming nothing was lost in translation, of course).
As described, this would be a pretty big difference between the Switch and competing systems from Sony and Microsoft. With both the PS4 and Xbox One, you can play your games on multiple consoles if you confirm your identity with an online login. As long as your Xbox Live or PSN account isn’t logged into two systems at the same time, Sony and Microsoft don’t care what specific piece of hardware you play on.
PC-based services like Steam let you log in from up to 10 computers, and you can even remotely share your entire library with another account via Family Sharing.
Of course, the game sharing restrictions on Switch don’t apply to physical games, which work directly on any Switch console without even having to install the game from the small cartridge. And as far as we can tell, all up to eight console-oriented user accounts on a single Switch should be able to share all games downloaded to that system.
The Switch’s portable form factor also makes it a little easier to physically share downloaded games with people in the same household – you can just give them the system or place it in a second dock that’s connected to another TV (if you’re $80 have left, that is). Of course, that arrangement won’t work if one of you wants to take the Switch with you on a trip and someone else wants to play on a different system at home.
We’re currently testing our own Switch at Ars’ Orbiting HQ and will have fuller thoughts and impressions soon, but we can’t confirm anything about the system’s online features until they’re activated around the system’s launch on March 3.