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Can You Download Games On Nintendo Switch Lite? (Does It Use Cartridges?)

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Have you recently gone to purchase a Nintendo Switch Lite but you wanted to find out if you could download games or if you could use cartridges on it? Maybe one of your friends has a Nintendo Switch and you are considering getting the Nintendo Switch Lite because it is cheaper, but you want to know if you can use his games on your device.

Well in this article we will go over everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch Lite and if the games that you use can be cartridges or if they are download only. 

So how can you play games on the Nintendo Switch Lite?

You can download games or play them via cartridges on the Switch Lite just like on a normal Nintendo Switch. The game cartridges for the Switch and Switch Lite are identical so you can use the game cartridges that you purchased for your Switch with the Switch Lite as well.

The only difference between the Switch and Switch Lite is that the Switch can be docked and played on the TV while the Switch Lite cannot be docked. Everything in regard to the games is the same with the Switch and the Switch Lite.

Many people want to play the games from their original Switch on their Switch Lite, and Nintendo thought about that when they made the Switch Lite. When you have a portable device such as the Switch Lite, the last thing most people will want to do is to have to carry around a bunch of games with them so that they can use the Switch Lite.

Nintendo wanted you to be able to simply grab the Switch Lite, walk out the door, and instantly be able to use it. Although it can do this, you can also carry cartridges with you and put them into the cartridge slot on the Switch Lite if you choose. 

This is actually one of the main reasons that the Switch Lite is so popular and hard to find. 

The Switch Lite uses downloaded games and cartridges and is a very popular choice as most people want the option to be fully digital, or carry around the Switch game cartridges with them if they choose. Being fully digital and having the ability to use physical games allows you the option to play however you want.

Nintendo did not want you to have to worry about grabbing the specific game that you wanted to play today, carrying multiple games with you at all times, or even having to have a big case for the Switch Lite that holds a bunch of games. 

They really did think about every little detail when they made this device. They thought about the people that wanted a digital device, while not leaving out those of us who prefer to carry cartridges around and use them to play games. 

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Can You Download Games On The Nintendo Switch Lite?

Downloading Nintendo Switch games on the Switch or Switch OLED models via your internet connection and the eShop is incredibly convenient. Not needing to always swap cartridges is incredibly convenient and will also help make sure you don’t lose a physical copy of your favorite game.

If you have a Nintendo Switch Lite can you download games on it as well?

You can download digital games as well as use physical game cartridges on the Nintendo Switch Lite. You can also access Nintendo Switch Online with the Switch Lite to play online multiplayer games.

Although the Nintendo Switch Lite does have some restrictions (such as not having removable Joy-Cons) it still has access to downloading games, playing physical cartridges, and all of the online features that the Switch and Switch OLED models have.

If you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership you can also download many classic games from the NES, SNES, N64, and Sega Genesis. You currently have to have the Nintendo Switch Online expansion pack membership to be able to download and play N64 and Sega Genesis games

The Switch Online membership with the expansion pack is only $49.99 per year (so a little over $4 a month). So if you love the classic N64 or Sega Genesis games then getting access to many of them won’t cost you a fortune.

Can You Play Every Switch Game On The Switch Lite?

Because the Switch Lite allows games to be downloaded and plugged into the device, there is no reason to worry that some games will not be able to play on the Switch Lite that they were able to be played on the original Nintendo Switch.

Even though the Switch Lite has a cartridge slot, there are some games that the original Switch has for the system that are not compatible with the Switch Lite.

Which Games Won’t Work On The Switch Lite?

Below is the list of the games that were made for the Nintendo Switch, but do not work for the Switch Lite. 

  • Super Mario Party.
  • Nintendo Labo. 
  • Ring Fit Adventure. 
  • Fitness Boxing. 
  • 1-2-Switch. 
  • Surgeon Simulator CPR.
  • Just Dance (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)

These games do not work on the Switch Lite, as the Switch Lite is not able to be hooked to a tv, and playing these games on the small Switch Lite screen would be basically impossible.

Most of the popular games that people love to play though do work on the Switch Lite. 

How Do You Download Games On The Switch Lite?

If you do not want to carry any games with you, this is a very important question. The last thing you want to do is get the Switch Lite and not be able to play any games because you cannot figure out how to download them. Downloading games on the Switch Lite can be confusing as there are multiple steps involved. It is not as simple as going to the store and buying a new game.  

When you want to buy a game to put on your Switch Lite, the first thing you will need to do is to create a Nintendo account. This account will be all of your information that Nintendo can use when you purchase games. 

Once you have your Nintendo account, you will need to go to the Nintendo Eshop. Once you are in the Eshop, you will be able to see all of the games that you can download on the Switch Lite.

You will then be able to choose which game you want to download to your device. Once you choose what game you want to purchase, you will simply add the item to your cart and check out. When you checkout, you will pay with either a credit card, bank account, or gift card. 

Once the game is paid for, you will then begin to download the game. Once the game has been downloaded, you will have the game on your Switch Lite forever, and you never have to worry about losing it or it is damaged or broken.

Nintendo wanted to make sure that the Switch Lite was as user-friendly as possible when they were making the system. This is because they love all of their users, and they want the entire experience of playing with the Switch Lite to be a fun and memorable one.

Nintendo doesn’t want you to have any problems downloading games, or even have to worry about bringing games with you when you are traveling with the Switch Lite. This is the reason that Nintendo made the Switch Lite able to be fully digital as well as have a cartridge slot. 

Can You Download Switch Games From The Cartridge?

If you have some of the most popular Switch games like Super Smash Bros, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Kart, etc. on physical cartridges you might be wondering if there is any way to download the game onto your console.

Not having to swap the cartridges between games is a huge advantage for gamers that buy digital games rather than physical cartridges. But is there any way you can actually download the games you own the physical copies of onto your Switch?

Unfortunately, there is no way to download Switch games from the cartridges onto your Nintendo Switch console or micro SD card. The only way to download Switch games is if you purchase digital copies from the Nintendo eShop.

If you have read or heard info that gives you instructions on how to download Switch games from the physical cartridges… unfortunately that information is false. There is currently no way to download Switch games from the cartridges to your device. The Switch game cartridges are only designed to play the games and don’t have any functionality that allows them to be downloaded.


Many people love the Nintendo Switch Lite, but before they go and purchase it they want to know if the games are download only. If you are getting ready to purchase a Nintendo Switch Lite you should know the device is not only digital, but it also has a cartridge slot for games. The Switch Lite also does not allow you to connect it to a TV. 

Although this is not that big of a deal for most people today, some people still preferred to hook the device to tv to get a bigger screen. Most people today would rather have the device be fully digital so they do not have to carry around the games with them.

All you need to do is simply download the game you want to play on your device and then you will always have it anytime you have your device with you. You can also purchase this carrying case that will keep your Switch Lite safe as well as hold your game cartridges if you prefer to use them. 

If you are looking for a handheld device that is super fun to play as well as fully digital capabilities, you will not go wrong with the Nintendo Switch Lite. If you do not prefer the full digital version of the device Nintendo has thought of you and left the cartridge slot on the Switch Lite system.