Apparently Nintendo Switch digital game purchases can't be shared across multiple systems, hinting the same Nintendo Account can't be active on multiple Switch consoles.
Despite Nintendo making strides by finally linking eShop purchases to online Nintendo Accounts instead of hardware, thereby not forcing gamers to rebuy games they already own on different platforms, Nintendo Switch has a rather conventional approach to game sharing: locking digital game ownership licenses to the account it was purchased on.
This tidbit was uncovered in a recent YouTube video, where one curious parent gamer asked:
"I have kids. I was originally going to buy one Switch, but if I were to buy a digital game do I have to buy it once, or do I have to buy it multiple times for different user accounts? If I want to take my system with me and my son or daughter want to play [can they play my account's copy of the game]?"
Nintendo exec Shinya Takahasi replied via Bill Trinnen's translation: "Currently we don't have a system like that in place for Nintendo Switch, but we haven't made any final decisions on how we would approach that going forward in the future. Unfortunately I cannot provide you a concrete answer right now." This strongly indicates that only one Nintendo Account can be the active owner on the Switch at any given time.
This could be a problem for parents and gamers, and I think Nintendo needs to come in and clarify how this works before the Switch launches.
Here's how I think the Nintendo Switch will handle game licenses:
Nintendo Switch consoles have one "parent" Nintendo Account that serves as the console's owner. A single Switch can only have one active primary owner at any given time, and that account can only be active on a single Switch at any given time.
So parents can't buy two Switches and activate their Nintendo Account on both of them and download all their owned games on both systems.
This account is used to buy games and re-download content. The other user profiles are guest or "child" accounts that can be used to play co-op games and the like, but purchases can only be made through the master owner account.
Perhaps users can migrate their Nintendo Accounts over to another Switch and activate it as the primary account to transfer game licenses over, thereby being able to re-download all old games.
One thing's clear though: Nintendo needs to jump in an explain exactly how all of this will work. I mean the system launches in little over a week!
The Nintendo Switch launches on March 3, 2017 for $299. Check below for a massive catalog of content.
Everything we know about the Nintendo Switch:
- Nintendo Switch runs cool, about 37C under load
- Nintendo Switch has 25.9 GB available memory, OS is 4GB
- Nintendo Switch may use 4GB LPDDR4 1600MHz RAM
- Early Nintendo Switch consoles were actually stolen
- Nintendo won't make you rebuy eShop games on the Switch
- Nintendo Switch 480p downscale hint at Gamecube VC games
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a playground of fun
- Satoru Iwata put lots of effort into the Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch supports wireless Bluetooth headsets
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild has $20 season pass
- Nintendo Switch uses 20nm Maxwell Tegra SoC
- Nintendo Switch easy for devs, light years past Wii U
- Hitman dev may be working on new IP for Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch could get Wii U game remasters
- 3DS supported alongside Switch 'for the time being'
- Devs can 'easily' port PC games to the Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch JoyCons have 525mAh lithium ion battery
- Nintendo Switch is the gamer's dream, says Hideo Kojima
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild is about doing things your way
- Nintendo Switch has over 100 games in development
- Nintendo Switch paid online service only costs $26 a year
- Nintendo Switch appeals to Japanese smartphone gamers
- New Zelda is based on three words 'climb, live, protect'
- EA: Nintendo listening to third-party Switch game devs
- First footage of Nintendo Switch's touchscreen in action
- Nintendo Switch games lineup: a visual guide
- Nintendo Switch replaces Wii U on Nintendo homesite
- Nintendo Switch battery life analysis
- Resident Evil 7 isn't coming to Nintendo Switch
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Hyrule is bigger than Skyrim
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild has an awesome physics engine
- Switch's 4310mAh battery takes 3 hours to fully recharge
- Could the Nintendo Switch's hit full potential and boost CPU/GPU power via NVIDIA's cloud servers
- Nintendo Switch will have 'steady pacing of content'
- Switch is all about 'playing games anywhere with anyone'
- Nintendo Switch will have 'steady pacing of content'
- Putting Nintendo Switch launch games into perspective
- Stock Nintendo Switch JoyConGrip won't recharge JoyCons
- The new Zelda game takes up nearly half Switch's storage
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild runs at 900p 30FPS docked, 720p 30FPS undocked
- Nintendo Switch supports 2TB Micro SDXC cards
- Nintendo Switch online chat requires smartphone app
- Here's why Nintendo Switch doesn't come with any games
- Nintendo will soon charging gamers to play online multiplayer via subscription service
- Nintendo Switch UI revealed, let's take a closer look
- Nintendo Switch touchscreen has haptic feedback tech
- Nintendo stock drops after Switch unveil event
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch runs at 1080p when docked
- Nintendo Switch hardware specs revealed
- Nintendo Switch costs $299, coming March 3
- Nintendo Switch battery life is 2.5 hours to 6 hours
- New Mario: Odyssey game won't be Nintendo Switch launch title
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Switch launch game