Video Games

How North Americans Can Buy Nintendo Switch Games from the Japan or Europe eShop

neon nintendo switch

While the North American Switch eShop should eventually have a robust selection of games, its launch lineup is fairly limited. Several promised titles, like World of Goo and Little Inferno, missed the launch window. Thankfully, if you’re dissatisfied with Nintendo’s narrow lineup, you still have options. The Nintendo Switch is region-free, which means you can browse — and buy from — other region’s eShops.

Browsing foreign eShops is simple, as is downloading demos. Purchasing games takes a little more effort, but you should still be able to pick up any games that catch your interest. If you’re looking for more Switch games, give this guide a try.

First, you’ll need to set up a new Nintendo account. You can do this on the My Nintendo website or by heading to System Settings on your Switch. You can also create a new account by selecting the + button when you enter the eShop.

switch region free

You’ll have to provide a new email address for your account, but you won’t be asked for an address or phone number. Simply come up with a username and select the region you want access to. Once you confirm your account, you’ll have access to a brand new eShop!

Both the Japanese and European eShops offer a number of titles that aren’t available in the North American eShop, including SNK classics and New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers. At the time of this writing, the Japanese shop also offers demos for two full-price titles: Dragon Quest Heroes II and Puyo Puyo Tetris.

Dragon Quest Heroes II demo

To download a Japanese eShop game, simply select the second option. Your demo will start downloading immediately. Once it’s finished, you’ll be able to play it on any Nintendo account. Both games can be enjoyed even if you don’t know a word of Japanese.

puyo puyo tetris demo

As mentioned above, buying games from foreign eShops can be complex. Unlike the Nintendo Switch, eShop cards are region-locked. While some people have been able to make purchase with credit cards, many cards are being declined. The most efficient way to fund your wallet is to buy a foreign eShop card. You can purchase Japanese cards at Solaris Japan, and you can purchase UK cards through Paypal. Once you make a purchase, your code will be emailed to you immediately. From there, you can fund your wallet, purchase a game, and play it on any of your Nintendo accounts. We were able to get New Frontier Days without an issue.

new frontier days founding pioneers

If you’re going to be exploring foreign eShops, you should show a little bit of caution. Make a separate account for each region you want to access; changing regions could cause you to lose access to the funds in your wallet. Be cautious about any eShop cards you purchase; the currency on the card has to match the currency used in that store.

Dragon Quest Heroes II characters

As long as you’re willing to take a few precautions, exploring new eShops can be a lot of fun. It’s a terrific way to expand the Switch library and sample new titles. If you want your Switch to be more than a Zelda box, foreign eShops are your best bet.

Mandi likes games about existentialism and the power of friendship. She’s really into chickens.