I’ve noticed there is a lot of confusion on if Nintendo Switch Games are region locked, and if Switch games will work outside of the country you bought your switch in. I will help clear the confusion.
Nintendo Switch Games are not region locked. Any switch game can be played on any Nintendo Switch console regardless of country and even language. A Japanese Nintendo Switch can play an American Switch game and vice versa.
So have no fear of shopping internationally for your games as you can play them perfectly fine. However, why Nintendo made the intelligent decision of making the Switch region free is quite interesting and worth diving into.
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Why Is The Nintendo Switch Region Free?
Nintendos president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed back in 12th January 2017 that the Nintendo Switch would be region-free during a live stream presentation.
Meaning it was great news for Nintendo fans who want to download games from different regions such as Japan who historically take a long time to release Japanese titles to western audiences; sometimes like certain games in the Persona & Dragon quest series, they never make it to western audiences.
Nintendo and Japan as a whole have learned from this mistake as the popular RPG series Final Fantasy XV was released worldwide at the same time, which was very unusual for a Japanese release. Beforehand you would need to import the title and pay a hefty delivery price and have a special disc so your console could play the region-locked game; there is no need for this anymore and showcases the rising trend of globalisation in the gaming world.
Here is a video showing you how to play international games on the GameCube in case you ever wondered
Previously Nintendo had restrictions with region-locked games and no console since the Dsi even let you change the system language which shows the improvement that Switch has made.
Both the Playstation 3 & 4 are region free together but the Switch had made it even easier to access different games across countries. Jumping through technological hoops through special discs is likely a thing of the past and Nintendo deserves credit for helping this transition happen.
How To Buy Nintendo Switch Games From The Japanese eShop
One massive advantage to the switch being region free is having instant access to all of Japans exclusive games instantly at the click of a download. Don’t waste time to wait for western releases, act now!
Nintendo Switch How To Access Japanese eShop Guide
- Using any browser go to accounts.Nintendo.com and sign up for a new account and entry your date of birth on the next screen
- Fill out your main details such as Nickname, email address and password. Make sure to use a different email address from your main Nintendo account it has to unique and completely separate from your other account. Most importantly under the country of residence, you must select JAPAN this setting will decide your eShop region.
- Afterwards, you will receive an email from Nintendo(to the email you registered) containing a 4 digit code. Enter this code you got into the next page and click verify. Well done! You should successfully have a Japanese Nintendo account.
- Now find your Switch you will need it, click on the gear icon on the bottom of the home screen and head over to settings. Then select users and click ‘add user’
- You need to select your new user’s icon and enter a name prior to adding your user to the switch. Once finished you will have an option to link your newly created user to a Nintendo account
- After you click sign in, sign in with the Japanese Nintendo login details you created earlier once this is done you know have access to all of Japans exclusive gaming content! Whenever you click the eShop icon you will be asked who is using eShop alternate between your main account and your Japanese account depending on what eShop you want to use!
Check out this handy step by step video tutorial if you prefer seeing the steps visually
Nintendo Switch Japanese eShop Payment Issues
However, once you’ve gone through all the steps actually paying for your games could prove challenging. Credit cards and debit cards outside of your region will not work and Paypal is region locked so you likely won’t have any success there.
Although there is a way around this! You can purchase eShop credit from different stores and register the code and pay via this method. PlayAsia is one of these outlets and you can purchase 1000/1500/3000/5000/9000 yen eShop credit here.
Unfortunately, you cannot use accumulated points from your US account for the Japanese eShop and be careful with DLC for games and DLC will only work with games as the same region as the DLC. Check out this quote from Nintendos official website
DLC will only work with games that are released for the same region as the DLC. You can identify the supported region by checking the game packaging or by going to the game’s Options menu , then selecting “Software Information” > “Support InformationNintendos Official Website
For the majority of games, the supported regions for that software will be listed below
Also, you will receive Japanese news from your eShops news channel feed, so if you cannot read Japanese of course, you will not understand anything. An update to turn off the news feed is well welcomed but is unlikely ever to come as although Nintendo tolerates using different regions eShops I don’t think they particularly encourage it.
Nintendo Switch Compatibility FAQs
Nintendo Switch Consoles Running Different Region Games
Yes they can and I personally bought a Japanese Nintendo Switch from Japan whilst I lived in China and all games bought in the UK run just fine on my switch. However, Nintendo says on their website “we have not tested all overseas software with consoles from all regions and cannot guarantee full service and support“. Therefore if you can help it buy games from your own region just in case but personally I think you will be fine buying outside regions but it might depend on where you live.
Can I use My Nintendo Switch In Another Country Region?
Of course, you can but you have different factors to think about mainly voltage requirements and wireless communication requirements. For example, my Nintendo Switch always needs a Chinese to UK adapter as the connection is different.
For wireless communication, I imagine you will be fine however you won’t be able to play your Nintendo Switch online in China due to China’s strict internet policies and issues with Google services which is what Nintendo runs there servers wth.
Can I use Nintendo Switch accessories Purchased Outside My Region
I imagine most accessories will work with any Switch as my brothers UK switch and mine are basically identical. However Nintendo “recommends using Nintendo Switch licensed accessories in the country where they were purchased” so, in general, it is better to keep with the same region although my Japanese pro controller works fine my brothers UK switch,
Also, Nintendo says “Use of unlicensed accessories may void the console’s limited warranty“so bear that in mind when buying accessories overseas.
Can I get my Nintendo Switch Serviced Via Warranty In Another Region?
Unfortunately, your warranty is only applicable in the region where the console was meant to be sold. So despite the Switch being region open if you bought a Switch in Japan and went back home to the US and it was still under warranty in Japan you wouldn’t be able to get it serviced in the US.
Nintendo says to ensure “ensure proper performance, service and support, Nintendo recommends using the Nintendo Switch console in the country where it was purchased”.
I believe they are saying this as a placeholder but again it’s better to be safe than sorry and stick to the intended region to prevent some unforeseen hardware/software issue affecting your console or Nintendo Switch software.