A new Nintendo Switch update, timed to release alongside the paid online subscription plan, has been released and is available for download now. The update adds Nintendo Online features like cloud saving, which is not available for every game, and perhaps an ill-timed addition of six new Toad icons.

The far bigger and decidedly surprisingly addition, however, is that digital games can now be shared among different consoles. Perhaps as a consequence of Nintendo now preventing Nintendo Network IDs from being unlinked to system profiles, you can now designate a Switch as a “Primary” system. On non-primary systems with the Nintendo profile signed in, digital content can be accessed whether or not that console was the purchasing console or not.

To put it another way, it seems to be very close to how Sony designates primary and non-primary PS4 consoles for accounts.

Nintendo explains the differences here, which also outlines key restrictions. From the page: 

  • While using a non-primary console, you must have an active Internet connection to play downloadable content.
    • If you lose your Internet connection while playing downloadable content on a non-primary console, your game will pause after a certain amount of time; however, once you connect online again, you will be able to resume from the point you left off.
  • While using a non-primary console, downloadable content can only be started by the user that purchased the content.
  • When using downloadable software on a non-primary console, your game will pause if your Nintendo Account is used to access downloadable software on any other Nintendo Switch console.

This is, again, functionally fairly similar to the PlayStation 4 where the account that bought the software must be used to play it. Without an internet connection or if the account signs in elsewhere to play a digital game, it won’t work. The only major difference between the Switch’s version and the PS4 is that Nintendo doesn’t indicate what the amount of time is for the game to pause, while on the PS4 it is fifteen minutes. The Switch being portable may also add a wrinkle to that.

Still, it’s an extremely interesting thing they decided to sneak into this firmware update, regardless of whether or not there are restrictions.

Nintendo Switch Firmware 6.00 Available, Allows You To Play Digital Games On Different Systems