Is Fortnite Free On Switch?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Fortnite Battle Royale is completely free to download and play on the Nintendo Switch.
  • No Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to play Fortnite.
  • Players can enjoy full access to gameplay without any additional fees.
  • Optional in-game purchases are available for cosmetics, V-Bucks, and Battle Pass progression.
  • The core Fortnite experience remains entirely free-to-play on Switch.


Fortnite has become a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular video games in the world since its release in 2017. The free-to-play battle royale game from Epic Games captured lightning in a bottle, amassing over 350 million players across platforms. With its cartoonish visuals, innovative building mechanics, and frequent content updates, Fortnite successfully created an addictive gameplay loop that keeps players coming back.

But is Fortnite really free to play on every platform? Specifically, does Nintendo Switch require any membership fees or upfront costs beyond purchasing the console itself? This article will thoroughly evaluate Fortnite’s free-to-play model on the Nintendo Switch. We’ll analyze what content is included for free, what optional purchases are available, and how the Switch version compares to other platforms. Understanding Fortnite’s monetization approach can help players make informed decisions about investing time or money.

With gaming budgets tighter than ever for many households, the cost-free availability of Fortnite’s core experience makes it an appealing option. This article will clarify exactly how the economics of Fortnite work on Nintendo’s hybrid console. Parents and players alike will learn what to expect from the game’s free offerings versus paid enhancements. Let’s dive in and settle the question – is Fortnite really free on the Nintendo Switch?

Is Fortnite Free to Download on Nintendo Switch?

The most basic question about Fortnite’s availability on Switch is whether the game can be downloaded for free. The answer is a resounding yes. Players can visit the Nintendo eShop on their Switch console or linked Nintendo account and download Fortnite without paying anything upfront. No credit card or other payment method is required to access the game’s download page and install it on a Switch device.

This contrasts with many popular multiplayer titles on Switch that come with a purchase price tag, including games like Minecraft, Rocket League, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Fortnite skips the initial download fee entirely, opening up the game to a wider audience of players who want to test it out without a financial commitment.

Does Switch Online Membership Affect Fortnite Free Access?

Nintendo Switch utilizes a monthly or yearly subscription called Nintendo Switch Online to enable online multiplayer functionality in compatible games. A valid membership is required to play many Switch games online.

Fortnite, however, does not require a Nintendo Switch Online membership whatsoever. Players can access Fortnite multiplayer matches, including the popular Battle Royale mode with up to 100 players, without paying for an Online subscription.

This gives Fortnite a major advantage over games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Splatoon 2 that block online play unless players shell out additional fees. For budget-conscious gamers or parents, this makes Fortnite a more attractive option as a free online multiplayer experience.

What Game Modes and Content Are Free on Switch?

Given that Fortnite does not cost anything to download or play online on the Nintendo Switch, what gameplay content is actually included for free?

The main Fortnite Battle Royale mode, which pits 100 players against each other on a large island, is fully accessible without paying. This applies to default playlists like solo matches along with limited-time modes introduced for events or seasonal updates. Players can access the complete roster of weapons, items, and building mechanics while exploring the dynamic maps.

The other major gameplay mode included is Fortnite Creative. This sandbox environment allows players to construct buildings and islands using Fortnite’s editing tools, as well as design custom maps. Players can build to their heart’s content solo or with friends.

The Save the World PvE mode, however, is not playable on Switch. Save the World involves cooperative battles against AI-controlled enemies using unique heroes and gear. This early version of Fortnite requires a purchase to unlock on other platforms, so it is excluded from the Switch free-to-play package.

Overall, the Switch free download provides full access to the most popular PvP Battle Royale gameplay that made Fortnite famous. Players can enjoy all current and future updates to that competitive mode along with the expansive Creative tools without spending money.

What Optional Purchases Are Available?

While the core Fortnite experience is free, Epic Games monetizes the game through a range of optional cosmetic items and account upgrades. Players can choose to shell out real money for these digital enhancements if they wish to augment their experience.

The in-game V-Bucks currency can be purchased to obtain skins, gliders, harvesting tools, back bling, and emotes that offer cosmetic changes to a player’s character and gear. These do not affect gameplay but rather provide ways to customize a unique look and show off rare outfits. Prices for V-Bucks packs range from $8-$100.

Seasonal Battle Passes can also be bought with V-Bucks to unlock additional cosmetic awards by playing during a particular season. These passes include around 100 tiers of skins, emotes, and other rewards that provide progression incentives. Each season’s pass costs 950 V-Bucks.

Epic also sells occasional Starter Packs that bundle V-Bucks with a popular outfit at a discount. Individual skins, bundles, or limited-time offers may be featured in the in-game shop as well. Stores refresh with new rotating cosmetics on a regular basis.

With all these purchasable elements, players can opt to spend lots of money blinging out their experience if desired. But the core game stays completely free. Any money spent is purely for aesthetic enhancements rather than gameplay necessities.

How Does Fortnite on Switch Compare to Other Platforms?

When it comes to Fortnite’s free-to-play model, the Nintendo Switch version operates just like its counterparts on mobile, PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. No platform requires an initial purchase or ongoing subscription fees to play the main Battle Royale or Creative modes.

Upfront downloads, multiplayer access, gameplay content, and periodic updates are uniformly free across the board. Players on any platform can access the full competitive experience without spending money.

The one exception is Save the World, which is only available as a premium purchase on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. But considering Battle Royale is by far Fortnite’s most popular mode, the Switch free-to-play package remains just as comprehensive as other systems.

Of course, there are some technical differences between platforms, with graphics and performance varying. But Fortnite’s underlying economic foundations stay steadfastly free everywhere. Nintendo Switch owners can enjoy the same free base product as everyone else.

Can You Get V-Bucks for Free on Switch?

While V-Bucks can be purchased to unlock cosmetics and Battle Pass premiums faster, there are limited options to earn small amounts of V-Bucks for free during gameplay.

In Save the World mode, daily quests and storm shield defense missions can award V-Bucks as loot. But again, Save the World is not available on Switch.

The only other way to obtain free V-Bucks is through the seasonal Battle Pass progression system. By completing challenges and leveling up the pass, small batches of V-Bucks can be collected, up to 1,500 per season. This requires plenty of playtime to achieve, though.

Aside from these trickles, spending real money is the only reliable method for getting more V-Bucks quickly. Free players with enough dedication can slowly build up a modest supply over time just through the Battle Pass. But those willing to pay have a faster track to greater cosmetic riches.

What Drawbacks Exist for Free Players?

While Fortnite’s core gameplay does not require any purchases, players who spend money do gain certain advantages and conveniences beyond cosmetics.

For example, buying V-Bucks allows quicker access to the premium seasonal Battle Pass rewards before completing the full 100 tiers. Free players must grind out the entire pass naturally over weeks or months of play. Paying players can boost their progression significantly.

Paid cosmetics also provide more visual flair and variety compared to the limited default options. Players who shell out for fancy skins or emotes can show off their premium gear, while free players are stuck with plain looks.

Paid players also benefit by buying into new seasons as soon as they release. Meanwhile, free players must slowly earn Battle Pass levels to get the latest gear, sometimes long after a season ends.

So in terms of long-term progression and visual swag, paying does provide advantages. But again, the core gameplay remains fully functional for free users, just with fewer frills than paying fans.

Does Fortnite Have Loot Boxes or Gambling Elements?

Some popular free-to-play games have adopted controversial loot box systems, where players spend money for randomized prize drops with uneven odds. Fortnite avoids this predatory approach entirely.

There are no loot boxes or gambling elements in Fortnite’s monetization on Switch or any other platform. All purchases directly unlock known cosmetic items rather than relying on chance. The value of V-Bucks spent is always proportionally returned in the items received.

Epic Games also discloses current item shop prices and rotates offerings transparently. Players always know exactly what goods they will obtain for their money. This ethical model has helped fortify Fortnite’s broad appeal and accessibility.

Will Fortnite Stay Free on Switch In the Future?

Fortnite first launched on Nintendo Switch in June 2018 and has remained free to download and play ever since. There are currently no indications that Epic Games plans to change course and implement any mandatory purchase or subscription fees.

The formula of a free base game supported by optional cosmetic purchases has worked phenomenally well across all platforms. Fortnite now boasts hundreds of millions of registered players, with growth still continuing strong.

As long as this success remains sustained, Epic Games likely has no incentives or motivations to start charging mandatory costs on Switch or other platforms. Everything points to Fortnite carrying on as a free downloadable title into the foreseeable future.


Fortnite’s free-to-play business model sets it apart from many other popular multiplayer switch games that require continual investment. The fact that Fortnite grants full access to its core Battle Royale and Creative modes without monthly fees provides incredible value to players.

Those curious to try the phenomenon can freely download Fortnite on their Nintendo Switch and experience the basics firsthand without any initial payment. While optional cosmetic purchases offer visual upgrades and progression shortcuts, the base gameplay remains fully functional at no cost.

For Switch owners seeking a multiplayer fix, Fortnite stands out as a deeper option compared to free-to-start titles like Fall Guys or Rocket League that gate certain modes. Parents can also feel confident letting kids enjoy Fortnite without ongoing membership charges adding up.

As Fortnite continues evolving as a live service game, its unwavering free offering helps welcome new audiences. Any player getting into Fortnite for the first time can rely on that initial zero dollar price point being firmly in place. While other franchises come and go, Fortnite remains steadfast as a free constant on Nintendo’s platform.

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