Advantage of having digitally purchased game: Primary versus Secondary account

If done correctly, you basically buy digital game once, but then can be played together ONLINE by two different accounts/ users. Interested? Please keep reading.

https://www.lifewire.com/thmb/B5Mdx3eVQEo8d36Uc_5hU54aPQI=/3000x2000/filters:fill(auto,1)/switchgameshare-afac43e980344c6292d4114697ff6ae7.jpg

You read it correctly. Nintendo and Sony are actually providing the feature of primary and secondary account/ console.

Q: What is primary account?

Say Anita just bought a Nintendo Switch (say switch-A — for our later reference), and just created an Nintendo account there (say, with username: Anita). This account login, in switch-A, is called primary account.

Q: What a primary account can do ?

So after topping up credit balance, or putting up credit card information, Anita decided to buy a game, say Super Mario Party. Playing that game with user Anita is of course possible. But then Anita’s brother borrows that Switch-A, and creates a new user account there: Brilliant. Apparently, Brilliant does not need to purchase Super Mario Party to play. He can just select his username when opening the game, and start playing it.

Q: But how come? Brilliant doesn’t own the game

True. That is the concept of primary account. Any game purchased by Anita, can be played by all other users in Switch-A, if Anita’s account type in Switch-A, is primary.

Q: How can I know if my account here is primary or not ?

Simply open eShop from your Nintendo Switch, go to your user profile (top right position) and under Account Information, scroll down until you find section like above screenshot. If it is primary account on the console, you will see note like that, and can have a button to “Deregister” it as primary.

Let us continue our journey.

Anita decided to buy a Nintendo Switch Lite for her brother, and she logs in there using username: Anita. Now, the user Anita there is Secondary Account. (PS: even if Anita logs in to, again, another different switch, it is still called secondary account — there is no tertiary account)

In this new Switch (let’s call it Switch B), Anita tries to open her account information, and she would find out a text like below:

Now can Anita play Super Mario Party in Switch B ? The answer is, YES. However, the switch B will need working internet connection, so that Nintendo can verify if Anita is also playing that game in other switch or not. If you are offline, you can’t play. This is different, compared if you purchased a hard copy of the game cartridge, which can be played regardless of online status.

Because switch-B finally belongs to Brilliant, it is just reasonable that finally user: Brilliant logs in there. Can Brilliant in Switch-B play Super Mario Party ? The answer is no. Secondary account cannot share any game to other users.

Q: So how’s the trick ?

If Anita wants to play Super Mario Party online, together with her brother, it has to be like this:

  • On Switch-A, playing as Brilliant
  • On Switch-B, playing as Anita (need internet connection)

Voila ! Anita only bought the game once under her account, but now the game can be played by two users simultaneously — and ONLINE together.

Q: Wow that’s great! But isn’t supposedly Anita playing on her on Switch-A instead ?

That’s right. In order to do so, we need to reserve the position. Under eShop account information on Switch-A, Anita needs to Deregister herself as primary account. Then Anita logs in to Switch-B, that will automatically make Switch-B as her NEW primary account. This way:

  • On Switch-A, playing as Anita (need internet connection)
  • On Switch-B, playing as Brilliant

PS: In Sony Playstation it is a bit different, Anita could just logs in to another PS4, and set it up as Primary, directly from there, without having to Deregister. That’s why many people are abusing PS4/ PS5 to sell primary account access unlimited. As long as it does not connect to internet, many replicas of primary account on different consoles can be created. I don’t recommend this though, you can get banned by Sony.

Q: Anita’s Switch-A is broken, and she has no access to Deregister it. What is the solution?

Anita could log in to her Nintendo account from Nintendo website, it has option to deregister console. However please note, this way can only be done ONCE PER YEAR. Do it only in case of emergency.

Q: Is the trick of primary/secondary account applicable also for PS4?

Yes, it is.

Q: OK Bruh, final question.. is it safe ?

This is “Feature”, not glitch 😃 both Nintendo and Sony provide this feature for reasons, although not widely published. Yes it is safe. This is one way to encourage people buying the games digitally, which basically is profiting the companies more. If people are buying the hard copy, they can sell the game offline and it does not bring any profit to Nintendo/ Sony. Digital games can’t be sold, it is attached to the account forever. Unless, if you are selling your account information, which is by default, prohibited and can lead to permanent ban.

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Thanks for reading! Cheers 🍻

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