Will The Nintendo Switch Work Without WIFI? (Do You Need Internet?)

Have you ever tried to play on a Nintendo Switch, but you were not sure if it needed WiFi to work or not? Maybe you are looking at getting a Switch, but you don’t have WiFi and you want to know if it will still work.

Well, in this article we will go over everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch and if it will work without WiFi or not. 

The Nintendo Switch does not need WiFi to play games unless the games are online games. You will need to have internet access to set up the console and also to download any games from the Nintendo Eshop but if you are just playing Switch game cartridges that can be done without needing to use WiFi. 

However, just because you can play most Switch games without WiFi doesn’t mean that having internet for your Switch is a bad thing.

Actually being able to connect the Switch to the internet is extremely helpful since it allows you to play online multiplayer games (assuming you have the Switch Online service) and also allows your Switch to update automatically and you to download games from the Eshop (often at a discount over buying the cartridges).  

So although having the internet is not a requirement for the Switch (beyond the original set up process) it is super useful to have and will make playing on it more enjoyable. 

However, just because it is nice to have WiFi doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to have internet access for your Switch, If you have the physical cartridges or have already downloaded the games to your Switch you can absolutely play most games (assume they aren’t online games) without needing internet access. 

That is one thing that makes the Switch such a great console since you can use it at home or on the go and no WiFi is needed. That means you can play with it while on the road, on the plane, or just about anywhere! 

If you want to know more about playing the Nintendo Switch without WiFi, you will want to keep reading the rest of this article.

To see some of the best Nintendo Switch accessories currently on the market you will want to click here!

You can also check out this video if you are like me and you do not like to read. 

Orzly Accessory Bundle Kit designed for Nintendo Switch Accessories Geeks and OLED console users Case and Screen Protector, Joycon Grips and Wheels for enhanced games play and more - Jet black

If you have a Nintendo Switch then you need to check out this amazing Switch bundle.

It includes a carrying case, screen protector, comfort case, racing wheels, charge station, play stand, game cartridge holder, headphones, charging cable, stylus, and thumb grips.

Can two Switches play together without WiFi?

If you and a friend both have Nintendo Switches and want to play together but don’t have access to WiFi can you connect the two consoles and still play together? 

You can easily connect two Switch consoles and play together without needing to have WiFi/internet as long as the consoles are within close proximity to each other. That is of course assuming that the game that you are trying to play supports local multiplayer. 

How you connect the Switches to play the games locally varies from game to game but in general you will just have to have multiple Switches and multiple copies of the game (one for each Switch).

You will then just go to wireless play (or local multiplayer) and set it up/join. A full step by step tutorial can be found on iMore

Nintendo Switch Fortnite Wildcat Bundle

Does the Nintendo Switch need WiFi to play Fortnite?

If you have Fortnite downloaded on your Nintendo Switch you might be wondering if it will work if you don’t have WiFi/internet or not. 

Unfortunately Fortnite is a completely online multiplayer game which requires you to be online with your console to be able to play it. This is because Fortnite is actually a real time game against players around the world and not just prebuilt levels with AI enemies to try and beat. 

You cannot play Fortnite (or other similar online games) without having internet access on your Switch.

This means you will also need to have purchased the Switch Online service to be able to access and play these completely online games as well. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Nintendo Switch

Can you play Animal Crossing without internet/WiFi?

If you are looking to buy one of the most popular games on the Nintendo Switch then you have likely considered buying Animal Crossing but does that game require you to have internet to play it or will it work just fine without it? 

You can definitely play Animal Crossing without using the internet however you will not be able to access all of the features without WiFi. You will not be able to visit your friend’s islands and they won’t be able to visit yours without you having internet on your Switch. 

Many people play Animal Crossing solely to enjoy visiting islands so not being able to do so without the internet is a pretty big downside but you can still have the majority of the fun and gameplay without needing the internet. 

Pokémon Shield - Nintendo Switch

Can you play Pokemon Shield without internet/WiFi?

If you love the Pokemon series then you will want to get Pokemon Shield for your Switch. One thing that many people are unsure of in regards to Pokemon Shield is if you need to have the internet for it to be fun/work. 

Pokemon Shield works fine without the internet and you can access virtually all of the features of the game without WiFi as well. However, without the internet you will miss out on trading, WiFi battles and other fun features as well. 

So although you can play it without needing internet access you will miss out on some of the features of the game meaning you will also miss out on a bit of the fun involved in those features.

Ultimately, only you can decide if its worth buying if you don’t have internet access at all where you will mainly be playing this game at. 

Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con - HAC-001(-01)

What will you not be able to do without WiFi on your Switch?

Without an internet connection, you won’t have access to certain features of some games like online multiplayer modes for Mario Kart Eight Deluxe, ARMS, Splatoon 2, Among Us, and any completely online games like Fortnite. 

You should be able to use most games offline without any issues, particularly because on the Nintendo Switch most of its signature games are single player.

While offline, you will not have access to the new updates for the games and console either. Some other things you won’t have or be able to do without WiFi are:

  • Some games are purely online, so avoid buying/playing those games if you don’t have internet. Some games like Splatoon 2 are technically not one of those, but the single-player mode is definitely lacking as the main focus of this game is multiplayer with single player on the side.

  • Some games offer good DLC, which you will miss out on if you are offline all of the time. Splatoon 2 is one of them.

  • You either need to have the game downloaded if you have purchased it digitally or buy the game physically. If you plan on getting many digital games you will want to purchase a SD card as the Switch doesn’t have enough storage to hold many downloaded games.

PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch - Mario Pop (Only at Amazon)

How do I hide my Nintendo online status?

When playing online with the Switch, sometimes you just want to play alone and not be bothered. The issue with this is that when you are online, your status that you are online will be visible by your friends. 

Is there a way to even hide this so you can play online and not be bothered right now by messages and friends wanting you to play a specific game?

You can hide your Nintendo online status by going to settings, change settings, and click the allow friends to see your online status. This will turn it off and not let your friends see that you are playing online. 

This is a great option to make sure while you are playing your game that you are not interrupted, or getting bombarded with messages from your friends. Being able to play with your friends online is a bunch of fun, and a useful tool, sometimes you just want to play a game alone and not with anyone else. 

When your friends cannot see that you are online, you can still see which friends of yours are online though. This allows you to play with one specific friend by messaging them and not all of your other friends knowing that you are online. 

Wireless Switch Controller for Nintendo Switch/Lite/OLED Controller, Switch Controller with a Mouse Touch Feeling on Back Buttons, Extra Switch Pro Controller with Wake-up,Programmable, Turbo Function

What can friends see on the Switch?

In today’s world, privacy is very important. You do not want to give out your address or personal phone number to random people on the internet. This has made people wonder what exactly friends who you play games with on the Switch can see when you are online.

People worry that your friends online can see a lot about you. This is a big concern as sometimes you can play games and become friends with people who you do not actually know. 

Your friends on the Switch can by default see when you are online as well as a list of the most recent games you have played. Thankfully you can turn these features off by simply going to your profile settings. 

You do not necessarily want all of your friends on the Switch to know when you are online, or every single game you have been playing recently. Allowing your Switch friends to see this can easily set up thieves to know when you are home based upon when you are playing online.

If you are not the only one that uses your Switch in the family, it can also make it look like you are playing a fluffy unicorn game or kids games on the Switch when it was your little siblings. To turn this off, all you have to do is go to your profile and turn it off under your profile settings.  

Nintendo Switch Lite - Turquoise

What happens when you block someone on a Switch?

When playing online, sometimes your friends or people you are playing with can become extremely annoying. This is especially true if they are winning a particular game and just rubbing it in your face. 

Sometimes you may even become so frustrated with someone that you end up blocking them on the Switch. Most of the time it is just another player you met online, and not one of your own friends.  

When you block someone on the Switch, you will not receive any messages from them, and you will not see them in games that support Switch online.  

Many times people will end up blocking other people that are just rude or mean to them, or who they think are cheating. People will also sometimes report a player who they think is cheating and then block them so they never play against them again. 

Blocking someone is a very useful tool, because no one wants to play against someone who is cheating. Blocking them will not hurt the other person, it simply makes it to where you will never play against them ever again. 

When you do block another person, they will not receive a notification that they were blocked, and they can even still try and send you messages or friend requests. You obviously will not get these messages or friend requests though as they are blocked. 

Nintendo Switch w/ Neon Blue & Neon Red Joy-Con + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Full Game Download) + 3 Month Nintendo Switch Online Individual Membership

What are the most popular games that work without WIFI on the Switch?

The Nintendo Switch is extremely popular because you can use it as a home gaming console, but also an on the go handheld device. The Switch is unlike any other gaming device ever made. 

Many different gaming companies have tried to make a device that would be popular for on the go, but no one has ever made a console that was popular for gaming at home and on the go until now. 

The problem is that if you are playing on the go, you might not always have WIFI available. Even if you don’t have WIFI, you will still want to play games on the Switch. This is why people want to know the most popular games to play without WIFI. 


The most popular games for the Switch that work without WIFI are 

  • Celest
  • Dragon Quest XI S
  • Cadence Of Hyrule
  • Super Mario Party
  • Undertale
  • Super Smash Bro. Ultimate
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Pokémon Sword And Shield
  • Link’s Awakening
  • Luigi’s Mansion 3
  • The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
  • Paper Mario

While these are just the top 15 games, most Switch games allow you to play offline as the device is built to be used on the go. 

It would not make sense to create an on the go gaming system, but then not have any games work when the device is being used on the go. Thankfully Nintendo thought this through and most of the games can be played online as well as offline. 

The last thing someone would want is to try and play a brand new Switch game, and find out that it only works if they are connected to WIFI. 

Mario Party Superstars (Nintendo Switch)

What are the ten best Nintendo Switch games that require no internet connection?

The Nintendo Switch is a system that allows players to easily play their matches on the go. Most games featured on the network aren’t going to require an internet connection to be enjoyed.

Below are the best examples of games that you don’t need any internet access to play.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The game is fantastic, and anything that could be said about this game is going to make me sound like a broken record, but it is all true. The Zelda franchise quite simply is stunning in terms of both visuals and sound.

The great soundtrack compliments a vibrant world. With a dynamic storytelling style and a fun combat system, there is no reason not to love Breath of the Wild.

  • Pokémon Sword and Shield

You can mainline the game, shiny hunt, play the postgame, and more all without an internet connection. An internet connection will enhance the experience, but it is in no way essential to the game.

  • Super Mario Odyssey

The game features an array of vibrant sandbox kingdoms for Mario to explore. This allows him to take control of his enemies and other characters that would usually be NPCs.

You can spend 100 hours in the game quickly, because there is a ton to do in every single kingdom.

  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses allow you to complete every single battle at your own pace. Explore the monastery and enjoy your support conversations with other units, all without any online connection.

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 

Super Smash Bros. has the most online content out of the entire list, but it isn’t at all required to enjoy the game. You can play through a solo adventure mode in the form of the World of Light and beyond that have access to all Smash modes offline.

  • Under Tale 

Under Tale is an entirely offline experience that needs to be played by every human. The story-based game is an RPG with some massive twists that completely change how it is you think about the genre.

  • Super Mario Party

The party modes, minigames, and all the other ones that people have come to love are all played predominantly offline. There are a few minigames that can be played online, but other than that, the game is a 100% offline experience.

  • Cadence of Hyrule  

The Legend of Zelda Crypt of the Necromancer titled Cadence of Hyrule is a fantastic game that cannot be played online in any way. The game is excellent without any online content.

  • Dragon Quest XI S

The Switch version of the game is, without a doubt, the conclusive version of the game presenting many enhancements over the original topic. This is a fantastic game to try out, and the Switch is easily the best place to play it.

  • Celeste

The platformer requires a lot of patience and skill, as making it through the game is no way an easy task. Beyond the great gameplay, the title features an inward story and a considerable art style. There is a lot to love about Celeste, and it’s all completely offline.’

Nintendo Switch Online 12-Month Individual Membership [Digital Code]

Nintendo Switch’s online subscription

Nintendo Switch online comes with two subscription types: individual and family. A family subscription covers up to eight users while an individual one covers just one user

For a one-year individual subscription it goes for $20. Also you can buy plans for only a few months and for cheaper (although the price per month is higher).

One month and three-month subscriptions go for $4 and $8, respectively so it’s cost-efficient to purchase a year out of the gate if you plan on playing your Switch games online.

For a family subscription, one year goes for $35. To enjoy the benefit of this bulk subscription, you need to link in a family group. You can compose a family group on the Nintendo account website.

You and your seven friends/family members can get access to all of the online Switch features for less than $5 apiece.

The two subscriptions are available for purchase on the Nintendo Switch EShop. Nintendo Switch online is accessible via the orange navigational menu when you first open the storefront.

Unless you opt-out in the shop menu, subscription renews automatically.

Nintendo Switch Online 12-Month Individual Membership [Digital Code]

Nintendo Switch online is required for online multiplayer

A connection to Nintendo Switch Online is also required for multiplayer over the internet. Those without a subscription can still use the Switch’s local wireless play feature between two Switch consoles, with up to three players on each console.

You are required to use the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app to message    

If you want to talk to your friends while playing online games, you need the Nintendo Switch Online app, which is available for both iOS and Android.


The Nintendo Switch does not require WiFi or an internet connection for it to work. You can play your physical games without ever connecting to the internet like has been discussed above.

There are some scenarios where the internet is a must, for example, for multiplayer or for purely online games like Fortnite. 

You can enjoy your Nintendo Switch games without WiFi, but with all of the bonuses and extra things that come with online gaming, it seems like a no brainer to play with WiFi if you have it available and don’t mind spending a little bit of money for the Switch Online subscription. 

Even if you do not have WiFi at your house, there are normally places you can go that offer free WiFi. 

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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