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How to fix game card recognition issues with the Nintendo Switch OLED

When you try to play a physical game by using the game card slot with your Nintendo Switch OLED, you may get the following error messages:

  • “Unable to start software. Return to the menu and try again.”
  • “There is nothing inserted in the game card slot.”
  • “System Does Not Detect a GameCard is Inserted.”

You can check out this troubleshooting guide at Seeking Tech to see how you can resolve these issues.

1. The first step we recommend taking is to remove the game card.

In order to do so, you need to take the following steps:

Open the cover of the game card slot on top of Nintendo Switch OLED system.

Next, you need to press down on the game card so that it will be loosen from the slot.

Finally, you can pull the game card out from the game card slot.

2. The next step is to make sure that the game card is compatible with the Nintendo Switch.

For the uninformed, the Nintendo Switch OLED system is compatible with all Nintendo Switch games, even those that were published for other regions.

However, the Switch OLED is not compatible with game cards that were made for other systems like the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.

If the game card has not been officially licensed by Nintendo, then it might not be compatible with your system.

3. If you believe that the game card is compatible with the Nintendo Switch OLED, then you can try inspecting the back of the game card to see if the connectors are dirty or damaged.

If the game card is dirty, you can use a soft clean cloth to gently wipe the connectors.

After cleaning, you can try testing the game card again to see if your system can recognize the game.

If you see some potential damage, then you will need to send the game card to Nintendo for repair.

4. You should also inspect the game card slot on the Nintendo Switch to see if there is any damage or if something is stuck inside.

If you see something stuck inside, try to remove it as gently as possible so that you won’t damage the slot.

If you see some potential damage, then you will need to send the Switch OLED system to Nintendo for repair.

5. If you have another game card available, try inserting it to see if your system is available to recognize the other game.

6. If you have another Switch system available (such as the original Switch, the portable-only Switch Lite or another Switch OLED), then you can also try inserting the problematic game into the other system to see if it works.

7. If you believe that your Switch OLED and game card is functioning normally, then we suggest updating the firmware of your system.

To manually update, you need to do the following:

Turn on your Switch OLED and make sure it is connected to the Internet.

Go to the home screen, which is where you can choose which game to play.

In the home screen, select System Settings.

In System Settings, select System on the left side and then System Update on the right side.

If there is a new firmware available for the Switch OLED, then the system should automatically download and install the download file.

8. You can also try to update to the latest software version of the game that your system can’t recognize. This solution will only work if the game was previously loaded successfully on your Switch OLED.

In order to do so, you need to take the following steps:

Turn on your system and make sure it is connected to the Internet.

In the home screen, hover over to the problematic game.

With the game highlighted, you can press either the + or – button on the Joy-Con.

In the next screen, select Software on the left side.

On the right side of the same screen, select Via the Internet.

If none of the solutions get rid of the “unable to start software,” “there is nothing inserted in the game card slot” and/or “system does not detect a game card is inserted” error messages, then you should contact Nintendo about sending in your Switch OLED system and the problematic game card for repair.