Nintendo Support

Error Message: “This Software Cannot Be Played. The Nintendo Account Used to Purchase This Software Has Been Unlinked

The information in this article can help you when:

  • Certain games won't launch from the HOME Menu on Nintendo Switch.

  • You receive the Error Message: The Nintendo Account used to purchase this software may have been unlinked or this console is no longer the active console for that account.

  • You receive the Error Message: This software cannot be played.


  • Purchases on the Nintendo Switch eShop are tied to the Nintendo Account that made the purchase.

  • You can register one primary console per Nintendo Account.

  • Once you've registered a primary console, your digital purchases can be played by anyone that uses the primary console.

  • Once you've purchased a digital game, you can use your Nintendo Account to access the game on any Nintendo Switch console (primary or non-primary).

  • When using a non-primary console, you are the only player that can access digital games that you've purchased. Other players will not be able to access your digital games on a non-primary console.

Possible solutions

This error message means that you are not using the primary console for the Nintendo Account that purchased the game. On a non-primary console, the game can only be started by the player that owns the game. The solution depends on who originally purchased the game.

To determine which Nintendo Account bought the game:

  • Check the purchase history for each account on your system. The game will be listed for the Nintendo Account that made the purchase.

  • A receipt for each transaction in the Nintendo Switch eShop is e-mailed to the Nintendo Account that made the purchase. (For Nintendo Accounts for children, the e-mail is sent to the parent/guardian’s e-mail address.)

  • Check with other members of your household to see if they remember buying the game. Was the game purchased by you (or someone in your household, etc)?

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