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Nintendo Switch Banned: What Does It Mean? (What Happens?)

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The Nintendo Switch is an excellent gaming platform that was of course produced by Nintendo. This console is unique in that it allows you to play games while on the go or to play them on your TV from the exact same device!

If you are looking to buy a used Switch and noticed that you can buy a banned one for significantly cheaper than a normal one then you may be wondering what exactly it means when a Switch is banned. Or maybe you discovered that your Switch has been banned and wonder exactly what that means for what you can or cannot do with your Switch now.

If that is what you are wondering then this article is for you! So, what is a banned Nintendo Switch? 

When a Switch is banned it simply means that you can no longer use that Switch for any online activities including downloading updates in most cases. That means you can’t access the Nintendo Eshop, download games, play games online, etc.

When a Switch has been banned it can basically only be used for playing physical games locally and even some of those games won’t work right as they require the latest updates to run properly. Previously downloaded games will still work on a Switch that has been banned but you won’t be able to purchase or download other games.

For some people saving some money and buying a banned Nintendo Switch is well worth it since they can still play most of the game cartridges locally and they don’t use it online. However, for most people having a banned Switch will seriously cut into the enjoyment of the system as many people love playing online games against people all around the world! 

Plus Nintendo often has deals on the eShop which will allow you to purchase and download games for far cheaper than buying the physical cartridges. If you have a banned Switch you won’t be able to get any of those deals either.

If you love playing online games on the Switch (my current favorite is Fall Guys) you can’t do that with a banned Switch either since you can’t access the online service.

So although having or purchasing a banned Switch isn’t the end of the world having Nintendo bans will limit what you can and cannot do with the Switch. In my opinion, missing out on playing online, the eShop, and even the Nintendo Switch Online subscription (since you can play older Nintendo games) is what makes a banned Switch not very good.

If you would like to learn more about the banned Switch you can keep reading or check out the video below.

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How Do You Know If A Nintendo Switch Is Banned?

Suppose you have purchased a Nintendo Switch that enables you to play the game offline, but whenever you try to play online games via Nintendo’s servers it gives you an error code, what does that mean? Normally when you see an error code when trying to get online there is either an issue with your internet or the Switch has been banned. 

To check if Nintendo Switch consoles have a ban, you can try and access the Eshop. If you are unable to access the Eshop but are connected to the internet then you will know for sure that the Switch has a console ban that will not allow you to access the internet.

If a Nintendo Switch gets banned, then it can be used for playing games on the console, but you will be unable to play online or access the Nintendo eShop. 

For more information about how to check if a Switch is banned, you can check out an article that I wrote by clicking here. 

6 Reasons Why A Nintendo Switch Gets Banned

When it comes to the reasons for a banned Nintendo Switch unfortunately there can be lots of reasons. Below are some of the most common reasons that a Switch might be banned: 

1. Hacking

The Nintendo Switch is an incredibly popular system with many users all across the globe. Because it is such a popular console there have popped up many hacks that you can perform on your Switch that allow you to gain access to third-party software.

Not only is that software insecure but it will also allow the user to download and play games without paying for them which of course Nintendo doesn’t like.  

Nintendo takes hacking and this type of tampering very seriously. If anyone is trying to hack the console and Nintendo catches it they will ban you from playing online.

2. Custom firmware 

This is another one of the popular reasons that people get their Switch consoles banned. If you are using custom firmware then you have violated the service agreement that you agreed to when you joined the Nintendo network. 

Often people will try to disable the error reporting to try and keep Nintendo from discovering the custom firmware but if you are using a CFW you are likely to get caught eventually. All it takes is Nintendo getting one error log before you get a chance to delete it and you will be banned.

These custom firmware will allow people to install emulators and other similar hacks for the games so that is why some people take the chance and hope not to get caught. 

3. Piracy

Piracy is one of the reasons for most of the Switch consoles getting banned. This is one of the easiest ways to get banned as Nintendo gets a notification about your pirated game as soon as you go online to play it. 

It is because when a game is being installed it takes time to get the certifications and if your game is pirated then the certificates will get mismatched.

The Nintendo server is always looking for an authentic certificate while you are online. If they find out the certificates are missing, then it will normally lead to an immediate ban for your Switch. 

This is why you should be careful purchasing any digital codes for your Switch from sellers who aren’t reputable as using fraudulent codes could result in a ban on your Switch console.

4. Credit Card Fraud

Another reason that you could get a ban on your Switch is for credit card fraud. If you filed a chargeback for a purchase or subscription that you made on your Nintendo account (for something they won’t give you a refund for) you will normally get a temporary suspension.

In this case, all you have to do is pay what you owe and the suspended account or console will be activated again and you will regain the use of online services again. However, if you were using a stolen credit card or were attempting to scam someone else by using their card it will often result in a console ban, not just an account suspension.

5. Adult Content

Nintendo wants its online platform to be a place that is safe for users of all ages so if your account receives complaints like this you will have some issues. If you are using Nintendo’s servers to share adult content of any kind you will likely find that your account has been suspended or banned.

For example, if you have adult content in your profile picture or are sharing links to adult content via Nintendo’s online features you will likely be suspended or banned. In the case of a profile picture, the suspension might only last until your image is changed while if you are sharing adult content via messages your suspension will likely be much longer.

6. Foul Language

Typically the use of foul language while you are playing on your Nintendo Switch (or messaging on it) will only result in a temporary suspension of your account or messaging/communicating features. However, if you continually get suspended for this sort of thing it could eventually result in an account or console ban.

Now I won’t give you a list of words that you can’t say (for obvious reasons) but the type of things that should be avoided are:

  • Cursing
  • Racial Slurs
  • Sexist Remarks
  • Disparaging Remarks
  • Bullying
  • Etc.

Basically, saying anything that would get you in trouble when you were in grade school should be avoided. This is far from an exhaustive list but essentially anything that could offend someone should be avoided.

Once your Switch has been banned, then you can only enjoy your gaming experience locally and not online ever again.

People will often sell their banned Nintendo Switch and opt to buy a new one as Nintendo just bans you from playing online on the same device so buying a new console will get around the ban. If you do buy a new console you will want to make sure that you don’t do the same thing and get banned again! 

What To Do If Your Swith Gets Banned?

The first and foremost thing you should do when you discover your Switch is banned is gather some more information about why your Nintendo console was banned in the first place.  If you are quite sure about the reason for the ban (for example if you have recently installed a hack or some iffy software) then get in touch with the Nintendo support team.

The Nintendo support team will provide all the relevant data to the ban and if you explain that something was downloaded accidentally and you didn’t realize it was against the terms of use they might lift the ban. 

This doesn’t happen often but some users have reported that they were able to get the ban lifted this way. If you are trying to get the ban lifted this way it is a good idea to be as nice and apologetic as possible as the people on the other end know that you messed up so being nice to them is your best bet at getting the ban lifted. 

If you are thinking that you can get away with piracy or hacking then you are quite wrong as Nintendo has some of the most advanced servers that are capable of detecting any issues related to games. If they find out that you are using any CFM or pirated games then they are capable of banning those consoles from the Nintendo network immediately and they often will! 


Hopefully, this article has been helpful in giving you an idea of what it means when a Switch has been banned and how you can avoid getting your Switch banned as well. Many times people will install some software or firmware that they see online without realizing that it is illegal or against Nintendo’s terms.

If this is your case your only option is to contact them and hope that they are willing to lift the ban for you. 

If you are looking to buy a Switch and can get a good deal on a banned one for most people it still isn’t worth it. Losing the ability to play online is a huge deal and something that most users will hate in the long run.

Spend a little bit of extra money now to buy a Switch that isn’t banned and you will be much happier in the future.