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Are Nintendo Switch Games Region Locked?

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There is a lot of debate about Nintendo Switch games and whether or not they’re region locked. Some say yes and some say no. 

Nintendo Switch games are not region locked unless they are sold in the Chinese region. Nintendo Games and consoles sold in the Chinese region of the world are locked to that specific region. 

Because these games and consoles in China are region locked, some people wonder why they are made this way. After all, why would you lock one specific region, but not any of the other regions?

This is done because China does not have the same laws as other counties in regards to counterfeiting items. Nintendo does not want someone buying a bunch of fake games or consoles to try and sell them in the United States. 

Putting a region lock on the games and consoles from this region allows them to make sure that this type of fraud does not happen. 

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Can I buy a Nintendo Switch game from another country?

Because there are many games that have been made for Japan that are not made for the United States, many people want to know if they can buy games from another country. 

You can buy Nintendo Switch games from another country such as Japan, but you may have issues understanding the language if it does not have english subtitles. Not all games have english subtitles which is why most people just buy the games in the united states. 

Nintendo doesn’t allow you to buy a bunch of games from China and play them on your Nintnendo Switch as people would probably buy most of their games from as their games are extremely cheap compared to the United States money.  

This not only protects you from getting a knock off game for your Switch and being unhappy, but it also protects Nintendo from not getting royalties and people making knock off games for their systems. 

What are the benefits of a digital copy?

Digital copies of Nintendo Switch games can be purchased directly on the Nintendo eShop. While some people really like to purchase these games, other people prefer to have the physical copies of the games. 

The benefit of purchasing digitally is that you will be able to download/install the game immediately with no need for a physical disc. You will also never have to worry about the disc getting scratched or lost as you do not need a disc to play the game. 

Digital purchases can be played on multiple consoles (as long as your Nintendo Account is linked) and you have access to all patches and updates instantly.

Games purchased digitally may require a Nintendo account for online play, and many games available digitally require near-time updates that may take up to an hour to download. It is not possible to purchase multiple copies of the same game when it is available digitally.

What are the benefits of a physical copy?

Physical versions of games can be purchased from retailers. They can also be purchased from individual people who have already played the game and are ready to play something else. 

The benefit of purchasing physically is that you own the game, and if you want to sell it in the future for money you can. These discs can also be shared between consoles, which means your friends can play the games you purchased without any issues. 

Physical copies of games cannot be played from multiple accounts, meaning you must purchase a physical copy for each person who wants to play the game. You will not need to connect an online Nintendo account in order to play these games unless it is required by the game (such as Splatoon 2 or ARMS).

How do I buy a game for my region?

To find Nintendo eShop games for your region, search the eShop using any PC or smart device. You can also purchase digital games directly from Nintendo’s website.

Every game you buy on your Nintendo Switch or online when you are signed into your Eshop will be in your region. Your online account has your location and makes sure that you get the right game based upon your location. 

If you have a Nintendo account attached to an account from a specific region, you can’t purchase games from other regions. This works the other way around too. If you’re playing on your Switch in Japan, for example, you won’t be able to use any funds attached to your US Nintendo account to see what’s available in the Japanese eShop. Switch will not allow you to make purchases outside of this setting.

Why are there different regions?

There are many different regions around the world for not just games, but also for electronics, movies, and even different time zones. 

There are different regions because the video game industry is broken up into different markets across the world. A game released in Japan may not be suitable for all ages or able to be understood in another market and vice versa. 

This means that a publisher may release a game in Japan, but not in the west. There are also marketing reasons, for example a game may be released on the same day worldwide, or a publisher may want to release the game at different points during the year.

What does it mean when a game is region locked?

When you are looking to buy a game and you see that it is region locked, you may be wondering what exactly it means. Maybe you have never heard of something being region locked and you want to know exactly what it means. 

A game that is region locked means that it is only playable on a specific piece of hardware. This means that If you purchase a game from China, you can only play this game on a Chinese Nintendo Switch. 

Most Switch games are not region locked though as Nintendo wants you to be able to enjoy games from all over the world. 

If you are buying games from outside the United States the only thing you will want to make sure of is that they have english language or english captioning so you can understand the storyline. 


As for the whole debate about whether or not Nintendo Switch games are region locked, yes, they are, but only in the Chinese region. Outside of that region you can enjoy all of the games from every region of the world. 

Now that you know that they are region locked and what exactly that means, you can understand why they put region locks on Switch games from certain regions. It is not only Switch games that they put them on, but many other items that are sold all around the world.