Is There a Way to Stream Switch Games Without a Capture Card?

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By Monica Bates

Are you a Nintendo Switch gamer who wants to share your gameplay with others? Streaming your games on platforms like Twitch or YouTube can be a great way to connect with fellow gamers and build a community.

However, many people believe that streaming Switch games requires a capture card, which can be expensive and complicated to set up. But is it really necessary? In this article, we’ll explore whether there’s a way to stream Switch games without a capture card.

What is a Capture Card?

Before we dive into how to stream Switch games without a capture card, let’s first discuss what a capture card is. A capture card is an external device that connects your gaming console (in this case, the Nintendo Switch) to your computer via USB or HDMI. It captures the gameplay footage from your console and transfers it to your computer for processing and streaming.

Streaming Without a Capture Card

Now, the big question: can you stream Switch games without a capture card? The answer is yes! There are several ways to do this, depending on what equipment and software you have available.

Option 1: Use the Nintendo Switch Online App

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can use the Nintendo Switch Online app to stream gameplay directly from your console. This app allows you to connect with friends, voice chat during multiplayer games, and even spectate their matches.

To use it for streaming, simply open the app while playing your game on the Switch and select “Start Live Stream.” You can customize your settings and title before going live.

While this option is convenient because it doesn’t require any additional equipment or software, it does have some limitations. For example, you can only stream in portrait mode on mobile devices, which means that the video will be vertical instead of horizontal. Additionally, there’s no way to add overlays or other customizations to your stream.

Option 2: Use a Game Capture Software

If you have a PC and a decent internet connection, you can use game capture software to stream your Switch games. There are several popular options available, such as OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) and XSplit. These programs allow you to capture the gameplay footage from your Switch (either by connecting it directly to your computer or by using a separate capture device), add overlays and other customizations, and stream it to your preferred platform.

To use these programs for streaming, you’ll need a few things:

  • A Nintendo Switch
  • A PC or laptop with game capture software installed
  • An HDMI cable (if using a capture device)
  • A stable internet connection

While this option does require some additional equipment and setup time, it gives you much more control over your stream than the Nintendo Switch Online app. You can add custom graphics, adjust the video quality and bitrate, and even switch between multiple scenes during your stream.


In conclusion, while capture cards are often recommended for streaming Nintendo Switch games, they’re not always necessary. Whether you choose to use the Nintendo Switch Online app or game capture software on your PC, there are ways to share your gameplay with others without breaking the bank. So go ahead – start streaming those Switch games and connect with fellow gamers around the world!