If You’re Buying a Switch For Christmas, Make a Nintendo Online Account Now

A screenshot of Mario Party Superstars on Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo has warned its servers may be under stress on Christmas day as everyone who’s gifted a Switch tries to make an account at the same time. To avoid disappointment, they advise people make a Nintendo Online account early.

You’ll still be able to play games on your Switch without a Nintendo Online account — just not online with other people. That means you’ll be able to play things like Animal Crossing, Metroid Dread and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but rules out Switch multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Mario Party Superstars. The servers might be back to normal on Boxing Day, or they might struggle for a few days, as everyone who can’t make an account on Christmas tries again. Either way, it would be disappointing to unwrap a brand-new Switch and then not be able to play with friends and family straight away.

Of course, you can only make an account early if you know you’re getting a Switch for Christmas. Then again, if you’re giving someone a Switch, they’re probably a close friend or partner, so you might be able to make an account for them and then hand over the account details afterwards. If that’s the case and you need help deciding between a Nintendo Switch, Switch OLED or Switch Lite, we’ve broken down the specs of each console here to help you choose.

It’s also worth noting that the servers aren’t guaranteed to be offline, so you might be able to make a Nintendo Online account easily. But if Nintendo is warning us ahead of time, that scenario is probably unlikely — or limited to a very small handful of lucky players who get in early on Christmas day. Especially since a similar thing happened when Sora was announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

You can make a Nintendo Online account here. Think of it as an extra gift for the lucky person who’s receiving a Switch — even if that person is you.

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