my son got a switch lite for xmas, I set it up for him then made an account for me for parental control and finished setting up his account by adding him as a kid under family group in my account. Since he is not able to buy anything from shop but it's for view only, how can I buy a digital game for him so he can play it? Does it work like on playstation, if I buy a game he can play it too?


1 Answer 1


Yes, game sharing on the Switch works exactly like on the Playstation 4. What you intend to do will work.

If you ever need to purchase another Switch (your first one broke beyond repair, was stolen, is lost, or you wish to have your own), you must understand the concept of "Primary console". If you don't, your child may no longer be able to access your games. As I said before, this works exactly like on the Playstation 4. The following is only relevant if you own multiple consoles, and can be ignored if you already understand how it works on the PS4

An account can always access games it has purchased. This is always true. In addition, an account can also access games purchased by other accounts. To do this, the following conditions must be met:

  • The playing account must be on the same console as the owning account.
  • The console must be the "Primary console" of the owning account.
  • The game must already be installed on the console (only the owning account can download the game, if it's not already installed).

Also keep the following points in mind:

  • Each account can only have a single "Primary console". However, a console can be "Primary" to many accounts.
  • You can change your "Primary console" at any time as long as you have access to the "Primary console". If you don't, you can still do so online (via your Nintendo account), but only once per year. Changing your "Primary console" is done by unregistering the old "Primary console", then accessing the eShop on the new one.

If you have multiple kids, each with their own Switch, changing "Primary consoles" becomes incredibly inconvenient.

In this case, consider creating a Family group and letting your kids buy their own games. You can set purchase restrictions, and you'll be notified whenever a purchase is made on the children accounts. Your kids could then share their games with each other, by lending their own primary Switch to each other.

Note that the above is only relevant for digital purchases. Cartridges can be shared freely, and each account will have its own set of save data.

  • Uhm I did not know that. When I've made a Nintendo account for my son I linked it to his switch and was asked if I was sure because it cannot be undone and I did link it. Means now I can only purchase using his account right?
    – Kerberos
    Dec 30, 2019 at 22:55
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    @Kerberos. I think you misunderstand. What "cannot be undone" is the linking of his Nintendo account to the account on the Switch. This is relevant if he already started playing games on the Switch account, as the save data is linked to the account and cannot be transferred to another. A Nintendo account can only have 1 registered Switch (which can be changed later), but the Switch itself can be registered to many Nintendo accounts (though you can't have more than 8 accounts on the same Switch at the same time).
    – Nolonar
    Dec 31, 2019 at 8:21
  • @Kerberos. What's important is that the Switch must be registered to the account that's sharing the games. In other words, if you create an account for yourself, you and your son could buy games, and share them among each other. Like I said, it works exactly like on the PS4. You were probably never aware of it, since you probably only own a single PS4.
    – Nolonar
    Dec 31, 2019 at 8:25
  • I've edited my answer. I hope it's clearer now.
    – Nolonar
    Dec 31, 2019 at 8:54
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    @Kerberos, if it's to prevent your son from making purchases on the eShop using your account: System Settings > User > [select your account] > Nintendo eShop Settings > [go to the right and scroll down] There you can change whether to use a password for entering the eShop or making purchases. If it's to stop your son from playing using your account, I don't think that's possible. You could try and use the Parental Control app to set your own account's play time to 0, but I don't use parental control myself, so I don't know what is or isn't possible on that front.
    – Nolonar
    Jan 1, 2020 at 12:38

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