Can You Play Switch Games Without the Card?

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By Monica Bates

Do you own a Nintendo Switch but don’t want to carry around physical game cards? Or maybe you lost your game card and are wondering if there’s another way to play your favorite games.

The good news is, yes, you can play Switch games without the card. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways you can do this.

How to Play Digital Games on Nintendo Switch

One way to play games without a card is by purchasing and downloading digital versions of the games from the Nintendo eShop. Here’s how:

Step 1: Create a Nintendo Account

To access the eShop, you need to create a Nintendo account. Go to the official Nintendo website and sign up for an account. You’ll need to provide your email address, create a password, and select your country of residence.

Step 2: Link Your Nintendo Account to Your Switch

Once you have created an account, link it to your Switch by going to the eShop on your console’s home screen. Select “Sign in” and enter your email address and password. This will link your account with your console.

Step 3: Purchase and Download Games from the eShop

Browse through the available games on the eShop and purchase any that catch your eye. Once purchased, they will be added to your game library. To download them onto your console, go to “All Software” on the home screen and select “Download”.

Playing Physical Games Without The Card

If you already own physical copies of games but don’t have access to their game cards, there is still a way for you to play them on your Switch.

Step 1: Register Your Game Card

The first thing you need to do is register your game card with your Nintendo account. To do this, go to the eShop and select “Enter Code”. Enter the code found on the game card and it will be added to your account.

Step 2: Download The Game From The eShop

Once you’ve registered your game card, it will be added to your game library. You can then download it from the eShop onto your console, without needing the actual game card.


In conclusion, playing Switch games without a card is entirely possible. Digital versions of games can be purchased and downloaded from the Nintendo eShop, while physical copies of games can be registered and downloaded from the same platform. With these methods, you can enjoy all your favorite games without needing to carry around physical cards.