Can You Play on the Nintendo Switch Without the Internet?

Although Nintendo has been around for decades, the Nintendo Switch is a console unlike any other. It’s a mix between a standard multiplayer and a handheld console – made for a totally unique gaming experience. With the “one of a kind” aspect, comes a lot of unknowns, one of which is the question of whether you need to have access to WiFi to be able to play games on it.

Not for the most part

The Nintendo Switch was meant to be used on the go, either on your own or with a group of friends. The way it’s designed, takes inspiration from the classic Nintendo consoles, while incorporating things from today’s technology.

Nintendo offers a wide variety of offline games. These come in cartridges/game cards and you can just insert them directly in the switch and the game would run perfectly on its own. Alternatively, you can buy their e-versions, download the game and play it offline too!

How to use a cartridge or game card for offline gaming on the Nintendo Switch

  1. On the top right side of the switch, locate the slot labeled “Game card” and pop it open.
  2. Face the game card upwards so the label faces you.
  3. Slide it in until you hear the “click” sound. If you don’t, you’re not facing it the right way, take it out and flip it over until you end up with the right side up.
  4. Once it’s inserted properly, you’ll see the icon for the game pop up on the home screen automatically.
  5. Click it and start playing!

These games can be single-player or multiplayer. If you’re playing with your friends, you can easily just take a joy-con each and run the game as multiplayer.

How to start a multiplayer game offline on the Nintendo Switch

There are two ways that you can do this:

Same Screen multiplayer

This is when you use the existing pair of joy-cons on your switch to play with one another player, using one screen. For most games, you can just slide out your joy-cons and select multiplayer from the game settings. It might ask you to reselect the joy-cons by pressing the home button and it will automatically recognize them as separate controllers.

Wireless, Local Area Network Multiplayer

This is when you have multiple switch screens and want to use them all separately but in the same game. You can wirelessly connect the switches together and play offline matches with each other. To set this up follow the following steps.

  1. Go to the Switch’s main menu
  2. Click on the “Play” option
  3. Then Select “Play Local”
  4. Here you can either Join the Local lobby or host your own by clicking “Host local lobby”

All the Nintendo switches nearby will now have the option to connect to your network.

Have all the players join the network and get to gaming!

When does the Nintendo Switch need WiFi?

You only need to be connected to the internet for a few things with a Nintendo Switch. One Of these is to be able to play online games. These are the types of games that are multiplayer but have to be online because they allow you to play with users all over the world. Games like Fortnite cannot be played without WiFi at all as you would need to be connected to the game server to be able to log in to your account and start the game itself.

Another instance you’d need WiFi on the switch is if you had to update its software, or if your game needed to install a patch, both of which need an active internet connection.

Lastly, you cannot access the e-shop without it. The e-shop is the official Nintendo store you buy games from. In order to browse, pay for, and download a game, you need a WiFi connection.

For people that only want to play cartridges or downloaded, offline games, the Nintendo Switch will not require an active WiFi connection.