I carry my Nintendo Switch with me everywhere I go.
Yeah, I know that might sound strange, but I’m hooked on the console.
Often, I ask my friends, family, or co-workers to join me for a quick game.
Most of the time when I do this, I get asked a lot of questions about the Nintendo Switch.
One common question I’m asked is…
Can the Nintendo Switch have 4 players? Yes, two, three, or four people can play a local multiplayer or co-op game on a single Nintendo Switch. This is possible because the Switch supports multiplayer split-screen gaming in TV or tablet mode. If you would like more than 4 players to be part of a Nintendo Switch game you’ll need a second Switch console which you can link to the first Switch. The second Switch must have the Nintendo game you intend to play. When the two consoles are connected up to 8 people can play. When 4 or more people are playing, I recommend you dock your Switches and play on TVs or monitors so everyone has a good view of the game.
So, if you have an extra pair of Joy-Cons, you can invite four of your friends over to your house for a fun side-by-side game of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which was among the first Nintendo Switch games to allow local multiplayer gaming.
Now that you know the Nintendo Switch can support four players read on to find out how to set up local multiplayer on your Switch.
The Nintendo Switch was built for local multiplayer gaming
When the Switch was released Nintendo promoted it as the perfect console for local multiplayer.
And it has lived up to this selling point.
By simply popping off the Joy-Con controllers from the console and setting the Switch to tablet mode you and a friend can enjoy gaming on the Nintendo Switch.
Local multiplayer is also possible on the Nintendo Switch Lite, but you would have to buy extra controllers to play with your friends on the console.
It’s not only the Nintendo Switch’s hardware that is designed for local multiplayer.
Another great feature of the Switch is that it supports local multiplayer with other Nintendo Switch consoles.
So, for each additional Nintendo Switch you have, more players will be able to join in a Nintendo Switch gaming session.
Currently, you can wirelessly connect 8 Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite devices for multiplayer fun.
How many controllers do you need for Nintendo Switch local multiplayer gaming?
Right out the box, the Nintendo Switch can be played by two players, with each using one Joy-Con controller.
If you want 3 to 8 players you’ll need to buy extra controllers.
For example, if you would like to regularly play your Nintendo Switch with four of your friends you’ll have to buy an extra pair of Joy-Con controllers, which you would use alongside the pair that comes with the Nintendo Switch, or 4 pairs of the Nintendo Switch’s Pro controller.
The Nintendo Switch Pro controller has the traditional gamepad design.
It feels and looks like a PlayStation or Xbox controller, offers better grip, and longer battery life than Joy-Con controllers.
It will, however, cost you almost three times more to buy four Switch Pro controllers instead of an extra pair of Joy-Con controllers, which can work as two independent game controls.
The Switch Pro controller also won’t function with certain Switch multiplayer games.
While it might be cheaper to buy Joy-Con controllers for local multiplayer games, these gamepads have serious analogue stick drift.
So, you could experience frustrating situations where your game character is moving even when your fingers are not on the controls.
Still, if you specifically want to buy more controllers so you can enjoy local multiplayer games with your friends I would recommend that you buy extra Joy-Con controllers.
It is a cheaper option and these controllers allow more people to play.
You could get yourself a Switch Pro controller which you could use in local multiplayer games if you don’t mind the dirty looks you’ll get from your fellow gamers.
How can 4 gamers play on the Nintendo Switch?
For four players to game on the Nintendo Switch you’ll need:
- Four controllers, which you can get by splitting two pairs of Joy-Con controllers
- A Nintendo Switch game that supports multiplayer, for example, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. You can find out if a game supports local multiplayer by looking at the back of its cartridge box, or reading its description on the Nintendo eShop.
With these items in hand, follow these steps.
1: Press the power button at the top of your Nintendo Switch to turn it on.
2: Pair your Joy-Con controllers with the Switch if you haven’t already done so. There are two ways to pair your Joy-Cons with the console. Physically connect them to the Switch and they’ll be automatically paired, or press and hold the SYNC button on the flat edge of the Joy-Con controller to pair.
3: From your Nintendo Switch Home Screen select the game you would like to play in local multiplayer.
4: Enable multiplayer. All Nintendo games don’t follow the same process to set up local multiplayer, but in most cases from the game’s main menu, you should see the multiplayer option. Choose this option and proceed to select four as the number of people who will be playing the game.
5: The Nintendo Switch will automatically identify the four controllers you’re using for the local multiplayer game. Ask each of your friends to register their controller by pressing the L and R buttons at the top of the gamepad.
Once each player’s controller is registered, all of you can proceed to select your characters, game challenge, and play the Nintendo Switch game you choose.
Which are the Best Nintendo Switch local multiplayer games?
Nintendo Switch has hundreds of titles two or more players can enjoy playing. Here are some of the most popular multiplayer titles.
Super Mario 3D World
This title was first developed for the Nintendo Wii U and was later remade for the Switch.
The characters in the Nintendo Switch version are faster, and up to four players can co-op on the game which has Mario and his pals running around several colorful courses collecting power-ups and green stars as they work to achieve different goals.
At the end of each course, the highest-scoring player is awarded a crown, something that should bring out the competitive spirit among your friends.
Super Mario 3D World includes a shorter game called Bowser’s Fury.
This game, however, can only be played by two players who can co-op to stop the villain Bowser’s evil plans.
Check out Super Mario 3D world here.
This is a collection of 51 board and card games from around the world.
Some of the titles Clubhouse Games has include Mancala, Dominoes, Chess, Four-in-a-Row, and Backgammon.
Most of the games support up to four players.
If you think Clubhouse Games is for you, check it out here.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
This was one of the first multiplayer games on the Nintendo Switch.
It is an extremely popular racing game that I highly recommend you get for local multiplayer gaming.
When the Switch is docked Mario Kart 8 Deluxe supports up to four players on a split-screen.
The game has dozens of characters, and after every race, you get to unlock characters, karts, gliders, tires, and a lot more.
If you and your friends are bored of the traditional races, take it a notch higher, and compete in the game’s battle mode.
If you’re new to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or are playing with kids, use the game’s smart steering feature to help you and them stay on track while driving.
If you fancy taking a slide around some of Mario Kart courses, head here to check it out.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
This is another hugely popular Nintendo Switch game that can be played by up to four players.
You and your gaming buddies will not be competing in the game, instead, you’ll co-op to build the perfect community on a deserted island.
Together you can collect materials to build a beautiful mansion, landscape its lawn, hunt for fossils, do some gardening, fishing, and a lot more.
Check out Animal Crossing: New Horizons here.
Other Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games
Other Nintendo Switch multiplayer games that are a lot of fun playing with friends include: