How to Download and Play Fortnite on Switch

Use the Nintendo console for your favorite epic battle game

A man playing Fortnite on a Nintendo Switch console.

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Fortnite is completely free to download and play on the Nintendo Switch. Like all digital versions of video games on the Nintendo Switch, Fortnite must be claimed and downloaded from the first-party eShop app. Here’s how to get Fortnite on Nintendo Switch, including the Nintendo Switch Lite.

How to Download Fortnite on Nintendo Switch

A physical copy of Fortnite for the Nintendo Switch is available to buy in stores, but this simply contains a code that can be redeemed for the digital version of the game in the eShop. One way or another, you’ll need to download Fortnite if you want to play it on a Switch, so you might as well download it for free.

  1. Turn on your Nintendo Switch and log into your Nintendo account if you haven’t already.

    Make sure you’re logged into the Nintendo account that will be playing Fortnite on your Switch.

  2. To open the Nintendo eShop, tap on its orange icon or select it and press A.

    Nintendo Switch Home screen.
  3. Highlight Search from the left menu and type "Fortnite."

    eShop on the Nintendo Switch.

    As you type, the on-screen keyboard will display word prompts above the letter keys. You can tap these to auto-complete words without having to type them out completely.

  4. Tap Search or press the + button on your Nintendo Switch controller.

    eShop on the Nintendo Switch.
  5. Tap Fortnite when it appears.

    Fortnite in the eShop on the Nintendo Switch.
  6. Tap Free Download or highlight the icon and press A.

    Fortnite in the eShop on the Nintendo Switch.

    Fortnite is a free-to-play video game, meaning you don’t have to buy it to play it. This is why the button says "Free Download" instead of the usual "Proceed to Purchase."

  7. You will be shown a confirmation screen. Tap Free Download.

    Fortnite in the eShop on the Nintendo Switch.
  8. Tap Close to exit the Nintendo Switch eShop or select Continue Shopping to keep the eShop open and view other video game listings.

    eShop on the Nintendo Switch.

    You don’t need to keep your Nintendo Switch fully powered on to download Fortnite after purchasing it within the eShop. The download will still continue when the console is placed in Sleep Mode.

  9. A Fortnite icon will appear on the Nintendo Switch Home screen immediately. It will flicker slightly and a download progress bar will appear along its bottom.

    Fortnite on Nintendo Switch.

    A video game download may pause if you use an app or video game that requires an internet connection. If you’re thinking of playing a game while you wait, make sure you only play the offline modes.

  10. The game will be fully downloaded once the image appears solid and the progress bar disappears.

While waiting for the game to download, create and link your Epic Game account following the steps below.

How to Play Fortnite on Nintendo Switch

With Fortnite downloaded, you’re almost ready to play it. There are still a few more things to do before you can dive right into a game of Battle Royale, though.

Create and Link an Epic Games Account

An Epic Games account is used to save all game progress and user data to the cloud and sync it across devices. This means you can use your same Fortnite progress and friends list on mobile, PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and the PlayStation 4.

An Epic Games account is required and it’s worth creating it and linking it to your Nintendo account before opening the game on your Nintendo Switch.

  1. On your computer, open your preferred web browser and go to EpicGames.com.

    If you already have an Epic Games account, sign into it on the Epic Games website and proceed to Step 7. 

  2. Select Sign In.

    Epic Games website.
  3. Select Sign Up.

    Epic Games website.
  4. Fill in the required fields and select Create Account.

    Epic Games website.

    It can be a good idea to make your Display Name the same or similar to your username on your Nintendo Switch and other consoles so your friends can recognize you.

  5. You will be sent an email to the address you used in the form. Select the link in this email to confirm the email address and activate your Epic Games account.

  6. Once you select the link in the email, the Epic Games website will open up in a new browser tab and you’ll be logged in.

  7. From the left menu, select Connected Accounts.

    Epic Games website.
  8. Select Connect under all of the video game networks you wish to play Fortnite on with the same account.

    Epic Games website.

    If multiple people use your computer and Nintendo Switch, make sure you’re connecting the correct accounts.

  9. With your Epic Games account set up and connected to your Nintendo account, you can now open Fortnite on your Nintendo Switch

  10. Tap the Fortnite icon on your Nintendo Switch Home screen to open the game.

    Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch console.
  11. The game will load after a minute or two and eventually you’ll be shown a welcome screen. Press A to continue.

    Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch console.

    Fortnite is infamous for taking a long time to load, so don’t worry if you think it’s taking too long.

  12. You’ll now be shown a user agreement. Make sure to read it, then press Y to accept.

    Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch console.
  13. You may be shown a news screen with information on the latest game updates. Feel free to read these posts or press B to begin the game.

  14. The game will finish loading and will automatically import your Epic Games data into the Nintendo Switch version of Fortnite. Because you already linked your accounts on the Epic Games website, you don’t need to log into your Epic Games account on your Switch.

    Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch console.

How to Add Nintendo Switch Friends to Fortnite

To play with your Nintendo Switch friends in Fortnite, you’ll need to add their Epic Games accounts to your Epic Games friends list within the Fortnite game.

Epic Games powers pretty much all aspects of Fortnite, including player communications, matchmaking, and online games. The Nintendo Switch Online service isn’t used at all and isn’t needed to play Fortnite online.

Here’s how to import your Nintendo Switch friends within Fortnite.

  1. With the Fortnite game open, press the button on the left side of your controller.

  2. Press Y.

    Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch console.
  3. Highlight the button next to Enter Epic Name or Email and press A.

    Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch console.
  4. Enter your friend’s Epic Games username or their associated email address.

    Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch console.
  5. Press +.

  6. A friend request will be sent to them. Once they approve it, they'll appear in your Fortnite friends list.

Your Epic Games/Fortnite friends list is completely separate from your Nintendo Switch friends list.

Supported Fortnite Switch Control Options

Due to the amount of actions required during a game of Fortnite, it’s impossible to play with just one Joy-Con on the Nintendo Switch.

The following play style controls are supported in Fortnite on Nintendo Switch consoles.

  • Two Joy-Cons within a Joy-Con Grip
  • Two Joy-Cons connected to the Switch console and played in handheld mode.
  • Two separated Joy-Cons, with one in each hand.
  • One Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.

Detailed instructions on which buttons perform which action can be viewed and changed by viewing the main menu and pressing + once, A once, and R four times.