Nintendo digital purchases still face key restriction

Platform holder Nintendo may have improved upon certain aspects of its online infrastructure for Switch, but one crucial limitation will remain in place.

It was revealed recently that with Switch Nintendo will for the first time link digital purchases to a user’s account and not the specific hardware on which a purchase was made. This is excellent news for those whose consoles are broken or stolen, or who sell a Switch only to re-buy at a later date.

However, it now transpires that while a game can be deleted from one machine and then later redownloaded on another, it is not possible to have it installed on two or more different consoles at the same time.

YouTuber CrazyDopet caught footage, via Ars Technica, of a Switch Q&A sessions at Nintendo’s New York store. One attendee asked: "If I want to take my system with me… if I were to buy a digital game, could I buy it once, or would I have to buy it multiple times so they can use those games?"

Nintendo Entertainment planning and development GM Shinya Takahashi replied: "Currently we don’t have a system like that in place for Nintendo Switch, but we haven’t made any final decisions about how we would approach that going forward in the future, so unfortunately I can’t provide any concrete answer for you right now."

In other words, if you buy two Switches you will need to purchase two copies of any game you wish to play across both machines.

This sets Switch apart from both PS4 and Xbox One, which allows people to log into any machine they want and download their content, provided two machines are not logged into the same account at the same time.

Some services, such as Steam, go much further, allowing users to share their entire library with family and friends.

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