How to record Switch gameplay on PC [complete guide]

Nintendo Switch console offers a remarkable variety of engaging, high-quality games to gamers everywhere. Whether you want to share the excitement of your Switch gameplay with others or preserve the memories of your journey, dip into this article to learn how to record Switch gameplay on PC.

image credit:

Why record Switch gameplay with PC instead of a built-in tool

You could say that the flexible handheld format of the Nintendo Switch urges gamers to stay away from any stationary PC. You can do almost anything on the go, so why would you decide on using a PC to record Switch?

image credit:

The easiest and, perhaps, the most low-cost option is to record gameplay videos with the built-in recording function of your Nintendo Switch device.

System Update 4.0 has introduced new functionality to the Nintendo Switch console, namely the ability to make short video recordings of a few selected first-party titles of Nintendo’s franchises.

Perhaps you are already familiar with the capture button on your left joystick. After all, that button is what players use to capture a screenshot of any interesting moment during their gaming sessions.

image credit:

So, to record on-screen content on your Nintendo console, press the screenshot button and hold it for 3-4 seconds. A small pop-up window with text will tell you when the recording starts or stops.

The captured video will be saved in your console’s Album menu afterward. From there, you can watch, edit, or share the recorded video.

image credit:

However, using the built-in recorder for your Switch game footage comes with some significant disadvantages.

 Disadvantages of the built-in Nintendo Switch gameplay recording feature:

  • Every gameplay recording made with the built-in recording function on Nintendo Switch has a strict time limit of 30 seconds. Moreover, the resolution of your console’s screen record can only go up to 720p.
  • Not every Switch game can be capturedthrough the Switch’s built-in recording function. You might not be able to use the screen recorder on multiple titles in your game library.
  • You can only transfer videos from your console’s gallery to your smartphone. Sending the captured videos to a PC is also not a straightforward process that requires multiple actions. You need to have an SD card capable of recording videos and an SD card reader on your PC, too.
  • You cannot start recording gameplay unless Nintendo Switch has the latest System Update installed.
image credit:

While having the option to record gameplay videos with your portable device is truly convenient, it is undeniable that its output will always be worse than that of a stationary PC or a laptop.

image credit:

Recording Switch gameplay on PC

But if you choose to record Switch games with external hardware, you will not encounter any of those issues. PC screen recording has no time limit, and you can set the output to whatever format and resolution you need. You will also have much better control over the start and the end time of your recording.

image credit:

With the convenience of your PC, there is no need to constantly manage screenshots in your gallery to find the necessary video file or monitor the system settings menu to check if your system has the latest version of the update.

Nintendo’s built-in video editor is rather limited in its options regarding gameplay recordings, so PC recording also makes further work with your content easier.

Moreover, the usage of external hardware for capturing video, unlike the built-in recorder, allows you to stream your gameplay directly to Twitch or YouTube.

Necessary preparations to record Nintendo Switch gameplay

Thankfully, you most likely already own the things you need to produce a screen record, as they are sold together with a standard Nintendo Switch/Nintendo Switch OLED.

image credit:

A Nintendo Switch Dock station is required to link your device to your PC and power it.

You also must have a working HDMI cable to transmit the image from your console.

Last but not least, get your power adaptor to power the Switch and the Dock.

You must also choose a third-party screen recorder in advance. A screen recorder is necessary to record Switch gameplay on your PC, no matter if you are opting for a capture card or operating without it.

Do note, that since Switch Lite lacks the HDMI cable port and is only capable of handheld mode, it is impossible to capture gameplay with external software on this version of the console.

image credit:

Can I use a non-Nintendo HDMI cord?

The cable that comes with a standard Nintendo system is a 1.4 HDMI cord that supports 4K at 30 Hz and 1080p at 60 Hz. Any 1.4 or newer cable is compatible.

How can I record Nintendo Switch gameplay without capture cards?

A lot of players understandably prefer to keep things as simple as possible.

Luckily, you don’t have to rush and buy yourself a new capture card to capture Switch gameplay on your PC. Simply record gameplay on Switch by transferring the video output coming from your console screen to the PC monitor. With a screen recorder to capture your video output on the PC screen, you have all the pieces of the puzzle to start.

First off, place Nintendo Switch into its respective Nintendo Switch Dock. Ensure the indicator on the left is green and your device is connected to power.

Then you should stick the cord plug in the correlating ports on the Dock station and your PC.

Finally, open any recording software of your choice on your PC and press the capture button to begin the screen recording.

Double-check that your screen recorder program captures your PC screen and can record Switch gameplay.

image credit:

The screen recorder program is now going to record Switch gameplay without employing a capture card. All that is left to do is to push the record button.

What would I gain by deciding to record Switch gameplay with a capture card?

capture card is an incredibly useful gadget that is optimal for recording your Switch gameplay. The majority of content creators use them for streaming or recording games.

You may wonder about the advantages of investing in a capture card for recording Switch gameplay on PC.

Let’s get to the bottom of how employing a PC with a capture card to record Switch’s ongoing interaction can better the experience even for a casual user.

Firstly, it takes off the extra load from your Nintendo console and ensures your recorded video output has higher quality and lesser latency, which makes activities like interacting with your live-stream viewers a lot more effortless and fluid.

Secondly, not every PC has an HDMI port. For many owners of such PCs, a capture card is the only means to record their gaming session.

In addition, the home screen and menus can only be captured while recording Switch gameplay with capture cards. Otherwise, your only alternative is to capture the game window.

Basically, such a card can be a surprisingly good device to purchase to record Switch gameplay for all users, professional or not.

image credit:

How can I record gameplay on Switch with a capture card?

To start recording Switch gameplay with a capture card of your choice, follow these simple instructions. It would be a good idea to check the manual from the manufacturer first, but, in general, the process of setting up the device goes as follows:

  • Find the HDMI cable coming from the Dock station and plug it into the HDMI port in the capture card
  • Locate a free USB port on your PC and link the capturing device
  • The message that your PC detected the capture card should appear promptly

The capture card is now all set and waiting. At long last, after you’re finished playing with the settings, you can start recording.

Firstly, boot up the game that you’ve chosen to record on your Nintendo Switch.

Secondly, secure smooth operation of the screen recorder. Is it capturing the right window?

You can now broadcast or record the game on your PC with a capture card by hitting the capture button in the recording software menu.

image credit:

As an alternative, instead of plugging the capture card into the PC, you may instead connect it to any storage medium to record gameplay on Switch.

FAQ about recording gameplay on a Nintendo Switch

How do you record Switch gameplay? 

The built-in Switch video recorder is an inferior option. The recorded videos are capped at 30 seconds and an unimpressive 720p. Instead, follow the straightforward instructions provided on this page to record videos of any Nintendo Switch game on PC.

How to record Switch gameplay on a PC without a capture card?

Just carry out the recommendations presented in the corresponding section on this webpage. Remember, your PC must have a working HDMI port to be able to do this. Screen recorder software is also a vital component.

How to record your screen on Nintendo Switch for more than 30 seconds without a capture card?

Choose one the guidelines above to connect Switch to PC and record Switch gameplay without a time frame.
Unfortunately, if you have a Switch Lite, you can’t avoid the 30 second limitation.

How do I record Nintendo Switch gameplay on PC with OBS?

Open Broadcaster Software is a powerful screen recorder and is simply amazing for recording Switch gaming sessions. To record Switch gameplay on a PC without a capture card, proceed with the steps outlined on this page and then choose “Display Capture” in the OBS Studio Sources menu.
However, purchase of a capture card would be the optimal choice for a smoother video output format and better viewing experience if you are interested in streaming.


A PC gives you vastly superior opportunities to create content based on your thrilling adventures with the Nintendo Switch games, compared to the mediocre built-in recording feature. Eternalizing your Nintendo gaming sessions on a PC is a very simple process that can be done without any additional devices.

Now you should have no trouble employing your PC to record Switch gameplay.

Leave a Comment