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How to matchmake on Nintendo Switch

The Switch feels like an inherently social console, thanks to the duo controllers and its healthy catalogue of multiplayer games. Despite this, joining a match online isn’t entirely straightforward. Here’s how to matchmake on Nintendo Switch.

Like the voice chat function on the Switch, each game will have its own way of letting you join and set up matches. Nintendo titles will only allow you to join multiplayer games if you have a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online. However, there are a few games that sidestep the subscription and enable online multiplayer for free.

Related: Best free Switch games 

Fortnite, for example, doesn’t require a subscription and you can matchmake with a click of a button from the home screen. But you’ll need a subscription to get multiplayer in big-name titles like Overwatch, Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon 2.

Here are the broad steps you’ll need to take if you want to join an online match:

  • First, you’ll (probably) need to fork out for the Nintendo Switch Online membership, which starts at £3.99 per month. You can buy this directly through the Switch by heading to the Nintendo eShop. If you’re already a member, make sure you’re logged into your profile on your Switch.
  • Next, launch the game you want to play while logged in to your Switch Online profile.
  • From the game’s home screen, you should see an option for online play, but this will vary across games.

In Splatoon 2, you’ll need to head to Inkopolis Square and click The Lobby in the map section. In Mario Kart 8, you’ll need to select Online Play from the main menu and choose one of the options that pop up (either play with friends or join a worldwide match). Each multiplayer game will have a slightly different way for you to access this.

Related: Best multiplayer games

The Switch isn’t always great at teaming you with other players who are on a similar level.

If you’re looking to match against players who enjoy the same games as you and are roughly the same skill level, try perusing fan site Switcher. This (free) site lets you punch in your friend code, build a profile and then search for other users who have the same game catalogue as yourself.