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How to Download Free Games to Your Switch SD Card

Want to expand your Nintendo Switch game library without spending a fortune? The key is using a microSD card to install free games directly from the Nintendo eShop. With the right setup, you can unlock tons of free entertainment. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to download and play free Switch games on an SD card, and maximize your budget-friendly options.

Get Right to the Point – How Do I Download Free Games to My SD Card?

Here‘s a quick overview of the key steps:

  1. Obtain a compatible microSD card like a 128GB SanDisk model
  2. Insert the SD card into your Switch in handheld mode
  3. Go to System Settings and format the new card
  4. Transfer downloaded games and data to the SD card
  5. Visit the eShop and browse the "Free Games" section
  6. Select a free game and choose "Download" to install it on your SD card
  7. Once downloaded, launch and enjoy your new free game!

Now let‘s dive into the details on supercharging your Switch with free games using an SD card for extra storage…

Switch Storage and SD Card Benefits

The Nintendo Switch comes equipped with only 32GB of internal storage. That might sound like a lot, but popular games can take up over 10GB or more. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild requires 13.4GB, while Doom gobbles up 13.1GB.

According to a 2019 report, the average Switch game size was 7.3GB. With physical cartridges running $40-$60 each, that 32GB of built-in storage won‘t go far if you want to build a sizable digital game library.

This is where adding a microSD card can supercharge your Switch. An SD card provides affordable extra storage space for downloading digital games, updates, expansions and DLC.

Benefits of using a microSD card include:

  • Store up to 25+ average sized games with a 256GB card
  • Download huge titles like NBA 2K21 (34GB)
  • Install game updates, patches and DLC packs
  • Avoid needing to delete and redownload games to manage storage
  • Build a massive digital game library for the price of 2 new retail games
  • Take advantage of eShop sales and deals for affordable games

The Switch supports microSDXC cards up to a whopping 2TB. But a more reasonably priced 128GB card offers plenty of convenience. Top brands like SanDisk, Samsung and Kingston deliver proven performance.

How to Setup Your microSD Card

Setting up an SD card on your Switch is quick and painless:

  1. Power off your Switch completely.

  2. Insert your microSD card into the slot located under the kickstand on the back side. The slot is protected by the kickstand so you‘ll need to be in handheld mode to access it.

  3. Power your Switch back on and go to System Settings > Data Management > MicroSD Cards. Here you can view details and run tests to confirm your SD card is working properly.

With your card ready, it‘s time to start migrating data over. Here‘s how to transfer downloaded games and info:

  1. Go to System Settings > Data Management > Move Data Between System / MicroSD Card
  2. Select the game(s) or data you want to move. Tap "Move to microSD Card".
  3. Wait for the transfer process to complete. The time required will depend on how much data you move.

Downloaded games will now install by default to your SD card anytime you purchase them from the eShop. You can move data between the card and internal storage as needed.

Finding and Downloading Free Switch Games

Now for the fun part – getting free games! The Nintendo eShop offers an entire section devoted to free downloads spanning retro classics, online multiplayer titles, demos and more.

As of 2022, there are over 30 great free game options. Here are some top recommendations:

Tetris 99

This free battle royale version of Tetris pits you against 98 online opponents. Master quick line clearing skills to target opponents and knock them out. Addictive last-block wins!

Pokémon Quest

Explore Tumblecube Island and recruit cube-shaped Pokémon in this free, family-friendly RPG. Cook up tasty meals to attract new Pokémon. Simple but satisfying adventuring.

Super Kirby Clash

Team up online with up to 3 other players and battle massive bosses. Unlock upgraded jobs for Kirby and equip weapons/armor to grow stronger. Approachable free multiplayer fun.

Asphalt 9: Legends

Experience high-speed racing in exotic locales in this visually impressive free Switch port. Collect and upgrade over 50 luxury cars. Microtransactions optional.

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Up to 60 players compete in wacky physics-based mini games and obstacle courses. Frantic free fun as you push, grapple and stumble towards victory.

Browsing and downloading free eShop games is easy:

  1. Open the eShop and select "Free Games"
  2. Pick a game that looks interesting and tap "Download"
  3. The game will install to your SD card automatically

You can also filter eShop game listings by price and look for sales. Enabling email alerts is a great way to keep track of the latest deals and new free game releases.

Is Downloading Paid Games for Free Legal and Safe?

With SD card space at the ready, you may be tempted to skip buying games and download pirated copies instead. This is an extremely risky idea that is both illegal and could potentially damage your Switch.

While you can legitimately create your own game backups and utilize homebrew software, downloading commercial games you didn‘t pay for breaks copyright law. Pirating games, bypassing DRM protections and utilizing unauthorized mod chips all open up risky legal gray areas.

According to Nintendo, circumventing their digital rights management through hacking or modding techniques could lead to criminal charges and up to 5 years in prison with hefty $150,000 fines.

Aside from legal repercussions, pirating paid Switch games and utilizing banned modded systems also poses safety risks including:

  • Downloading malware hidden in illegal game files
  • Permanently bricking or damaging your console from mods gone wrong
  • Banned from playing online and accessing the eShop
  • Wasting money on games that suddenly stop working

For legitimate gameplay with peace of mind, it‘s smartest to stick with free eShop downloads, sales and deals. With a bit of patience, you can build an impressive Switch library filled with high quality games at affordable prices.

Switch SD Card Tips and Tricks

Here are some bonus pro tips for supercharging your Switch experience with an SD card:

  • Go big – Get the largest capacity SD card you can afford. Games are only getting bigger.
  • Back up saves – Manually back up game saves in case your SD card fails or is corrupted.
  • Digital beats physical – Downloaded games load faster and you won‘t lose cartridges.
  • Shop sales – Check the eShop regularly for special deals and discounted games.
  • Share the library – Create a family group to share downloaded games across multiple Switch consoles.

Play More and Spend Less on Switch Games

As you can see, adding a microSD card opens up easy ways to expand your Nintendo Switch game library on a budget. Take the time to browse and explore the many free game options available. Before long you‘ll be enjoying hours of free entertainment.

Just be sure to steer clear of illegal downloads for paid games. Stick with legitimate eShop titles and you‘ll avoid headaches down the road. Now grab some free Switch games and start playing!