Does the Nintendo Switch/Lite NEED firmware updates? Can it still function (as in, play game cards) if you never connect it to the Internet?

I have tried every avenue I can think of to get a clear answer, but I cannot find one.

I know that the Nintendo Switch (as well as the Switch Lite) is designed to be connected to the Internet, and has many features that utilize web connectivity. I also know that Nintendo provides periodic firmware updates to improve performance/user experience. However, I also know that it is possible to buy physical game cards to play (for some games, at least), like on any older system.

My question is: Hypothetically, if a person for whatever reason could not or did not want to connect the Switch (or Switch Lite) to the Internet, would it still function as far as playing physical game cards? That is, if a Switch/Lite straight out of the box is never set up with an Internet connection, will it function with all game cards now and in the future, or will there someday be game cards that will not play on the system because the original firmware vis-à-vis the new game card software has become outmoded?

If anyone knows the answer to this, thank you. I'd like to know everything I can before investing in a next-generation console.

2 Answers

  • 2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Internet access is generally recommended for consoles nowadays because GAME PATCHES & updates are released online as well.

    While You CAN keep a console 100% offline, you do run the risk of...

    * Running into system issues that have been fixed...

    * Run into bugs (some of them classified as "showstoppers") in games that were fixed with online updates. -- You CAN pick up these updates from friends with a "Peer Update" (to get your games running the same version).

    * Run into a game that REQUIRES a specific minimum firmware update -- These will usually have the update included on the game card (similar to what Nintendo did with the Wii & Wii U) if your system doesn't exceed it.

    * Unable to access the eShop & any digital content (including DLC)

    The biggest issue you WILL run into is that some games are too big to fit onto a game card & will REQUIRE internet access to download the part of the game that couldn't fit.  A few Switch games that do require an extra download are...

    * L.A. Noire

    * Mortal Kombat 11

    * Spyro Reignited Trilogy (Only the 1st game is on card)

    * NBA 2K series

    * WWF 2K series

    Please be aware that this is NOT an comprehensive list, but such games will have a label or banner at the top of the game case noting a download requirement.  If you want to play a large game, you will need to install a microSDXC card into your Switch & get it online to download the remaining fragment of the game.

    HOWEVER, to get the access to the download, you may be forced to update your Switch in the process...  so it may be an uphill battle here for some games.

    Hope this sheds some light on the subject.

  • opurt
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Yes, it needs updates, but that doesn't mean that you need to go online.

    Games that require the Switch to be at a particular firmware version or higher will include that firmware on the cartridge so that the game will work. The console will update before the game plays if the console is at too old a firmware version.

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