The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s most successful console since the days of the Wii. It’s popular enough that several members of the Gadgets 360 team have bought or plan to buy it, to see what makes this console-handheld hybrid special. In doing so, each and everyone of them, as well as many of our readers ended up asking the same question - how do you buy games for the Nintendo Switch in India?
Unlike the PS4 and Xbox One, which benefit from Sony and Microsoft’s official presence with games available on disc and digitally via the PS Store and Microsoft store, Nintendo doesn’t sell its games or hardware in India. There’s no Nintendo Switch eShop for India that accepts Indian credit or debit cards either. So while you may have been able to cajole a relative or friend abroad to get you a Nintendo Switch or found one at a reasonable price at your local game store, the games are another problem altogether. This is what you need to know.
How to buy Nintendo Switch game cartridges in India
If like some of us, you prefer your Nintendo Switch games in their physical form, your best bet is your local game store. Scouring popular markets like Palika Bazaar in Delhi and Manish Market in Mumbai resulted in some interesting discoveries. Most of Nintendo’s first party line-up, such as Super Mario Odyssey and Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild are available in ready supply for around Rs. 3,700 to Rs. 3,900 a piece. Of course your mileage may vary depending on the game and your bargaining skills. Titles like Bayonetta 1+2 collection, which aren’t as popular here, go for around Rs. 4,500 as smaller quantities are brought in.
In the event you’re looking for third-party games like FIFA 18 your best bet would be online stores like Amazon, Flipkart or Games The Shop. If it’s a game that isn’t published by Nintendo, there’s a good chance that it’s available at retail officially, without you having to scramble and bargain for the best deal. Granted you can find Nintendo-made titles like Super Mario Odyssey and Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild online as well, but in our experience, they tend to carry a higher premium over buying them offline.
Simply put, if you’re looking for a game that’s published by Nintendo and if you want a physical copy, you’re best served checking out your local game store. If it’s made by anyone but Nintendo, for instance Ubisoft with Rayman Legends and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, or Take-Two with LA Noire and WWE 2K18, chances are it will have wider availability, which means it’ll be at your local store and sometimes more convenient avenues like Flipkart and Amazon at reasonable prices too.
How to buy Nintendo Switch digital games in India
Now suppose you aren’t interested in having your games on cartridge and don’t mind splurging for a massive memory card, or are fine with downloading games when you need them - there’s one other precaution to keep in mind - Nintendo’s digital purchasing system isn’t the same as what you’re used to on iOS, Android, PlayStation Network, or Xbox Live.
For one, you need a Nintendo Account - Nintendo’s unified system that replaced the Nintendo Network ID for the Wii U and 3DS. It lets you buy games from the Switch eShop and your purchases are tied to the account. As the Switch allows for multiple Nintendo Accounts, you can create upto eight of them on a single Switch and any account can play games bought on any other. So if you decided to take advantage of US discounts on Switch games, you can play them on another region account you have on your console.
Where the Switch differs from others is usage on other consoles. In the event you want to play on another Switch, you’ll have to deactivate your existing console and activate the new one. You won’t be able to play your digital games on the old one and you’re allowed only one Switch linked to your Nintendo Account at a time.
To deactivate your Switch, you’ll need to go to the Account Information section for your Nintendo Account in the Nintendo eShop on your console. You can only deactivate a Switch from this settings page on the console itself, so if you don’t have access to your active console — if you sold it, or it's inoperable — you’ll have to contact Nintendo for help. Unlike the PS4 and Xbox One that let you deactivate your account via a Web browser, or Steam that lets you continue on any PC. Cloud saves aren’t available on the Nintendo Switch either, thought they might be added when Nintendo’s online service launches later in the year.
With that massive caveat out of the way, here’s how you can buy games digitally on the Nintendo Switch:
Step 1: Create a Nintendo account
Step 2: Buying eShop codes on Amazon.com
Log on to Amazon.com and create an account if you don't have one. You will need to provide a US shipping address. Unlike the Switch eShop, you can't get away with a fictitious one. You can provide a random address based on US landmarks, information for which can be found a search away, or if you use a global shipping service like Borderlinx or ShopAndShip, you can use the US address provided to you as a legitimate shipping address.
Head over to the Nintendo section of Amazon's digital games, pick out what you want. You can also purchase eShop credit of various denominations ranging from $10 to $70 (Rs. 650 to Rs. 4,550). Indian credit and debit cards work fine for purchase as long as you have saved a US address. You should receive your codes almost immediately. These are just a string of numbers you get via email. Claim the code on your Nintendo Switch in the eShop section.￼
Keep in mind that DLCs and season passes are not region locked, i.e. they will work with games from the same region and even with games bought in other regions. This means that if you have a game cartridge bought in India, then the DLC you bought for the game can be from Japan, UK, US, or anywhere else. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 but outside of this, DLC on the Nintendo Switch is a region-free affair.
Can I use my Indian debit or credit card on the Nintendo Switch eShop instead?
Your mileage may vary. Some Indian cards work, not all. While this writer's ICICI card refused to work on the US Nintendo Switch eShop, a colleague's card from the same bank worked just fine. In the event yours doesn't work (or if you simply prefer not giving your credit or debit card details to Nintendo), you can buy store credit via Amazon US, and then use that to buy games. Linking your Indian PayPal account to the US Nintendo eShop works as well. Here's a list of Nintendo eShop regions where you can use PayPal as payment option.
Another option is to create a UK or Mexico Nintendo Account, as debit cards from certain banks such as HDFC work on the eShop for these countries. Although we’d recommend sticking to the above method if you must buy your games digitally.
Do you plan to get a Nintendo Switch? Or do you find getting games too painful? Let us know via the comments.