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Is Pokémon Scarlet Multiplayer Free? Everything You Need to Know

Hey there! If you‘re wondering whether you can play Pokémon Scarlet and Violet multiplayer for free, I‘ve got you covered. As a fellow Pokémon fan and gaming expert, I‘ll walk you through everything in this detailed guide.

The short answer is: Yes, you can enjoy the full local wireless co-op and multiplayer features of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet without needing to pay for Nintendo Switch Online. You and your friends can connect locally to battle, trade, explore, raid, and progress the story together completely free.

However, a Nintendo Switch Online membership is required for online multiplayer. So let‘s dive deeper into how local and online play works and how you can get the most out of Scarlet and Violet multiplayer!

Overview of Multiplayer in Scarlet and Violet

First, let‘s quickly run through the exciting multiplayer options these latest Pokémon games offer:

  • Co-op Battling: Team up to take on trainers, Gym Leaders, and other opponents together. Defeat them in 2v1 or 3v1 battles!

  • Tera Raid Battles: Form a local group or call on other online players to defeat powerful Tera Pokémon in epic raid showdowns.

  • Trading: Swap Pokémon locally or with online friends and strangers to complete your Pokédex.

  • Union Circle: Explore the Paldea region together! The host progresses the story while friends join for battles.

  • Picnics: Build friendship with your Pokémon while also interacting with pals. Make sandwiches!

  • Poké Portal: The hub menu to quickly connect with nearby players or online friends to enable the above co-op features.

From battling to trading to exploring, Scarlet and Violet allow up to 4 players total to connect locally or online to journey together. But here‘s the catch:

Nintendo Switch Online is Required for Online Multiplayer

To use online play and connect with others globally via the internet, you need an active Nintendo Switch Online membership. Here‘s what the membership provides access to:

  • Play online and join up with friends and random players around the world through the Poké Portal.

  • Join Max Raid Battles open to anyone online and trade Pokémon across the globe.

  • Battle and trade with random players everywhere through the Union Circle.

  • Seamlessly experience all co-op features online rather than just locally.

So in short, the Nintendo Switch Online subscription is required to play online and use the internet to connect with others globally. It starts at $3.99 a month or $19.99 a year.

But here‘s the good news: You don‘t need a membership for local wireless play!

You Can Play Locally For Free Without Nintendo Switch Online

While you need to pay to play online, Nintendo Switch Online is NOT required to enjoy local wireless multiplayer. You and your friends can connect locally to:

  • Battle and trade Pokémon without an internet connection.

  • Team up for Tera Raids and co-op play offline.

  • Explore the overworld together via Union Circle.

  • Have picnics and interact with your Pokémon alongside others.

All of these excellent multiplayer features are available completely free as long as you play locally. This makes it easy to connect with nearby friends and family who also have the game without any subscriptions required!

Quick Summary of Free vs Paid Multiplayer

Here‘s a handy cheat sheet to summarize what‘s free with local wireless play and what requires a paid Nintendo Switch Online membership when playing online:

Free Local Wireless Multiplayer

  • Local Union Circle exploration

  • Local trading and battling

  • Local Tera Raid Battles

  • Local Picnics

Online Multiplayer (Requires Nintendo Switch Online)

  • Online Union Circle with global players

  • Worldwide online trading and battles

  • Global online Tera Raids

  • Matchmaking with random players worldwide

So remember: local wireless play is 100% free while playing online globally requires a paid subscription.

Step-By-Step Guide to Local Multiplayer

Want to experience Pokémon Scarlet and Violet co-op with your friends locally without paying for Nintendo Switch Online? Here are the steps:

1. Make sure each player has a Nintendo Switch and copy of Pokémon Scarlet or Violet. You‘ll need one per person.

2. Open the game on each Switch and play until you reach the first Pokémon Center.

3. Inside the Pokémon Center, open the Poké Portal menu and select "Local Play".

4. Your nearby friends will now appear on the connection screen. Select them to form a Union Circle.

5. Now you can explore, battle, trade, raid, and progress the story together locally!

6. You can also hold picnics by picking "Picnic" in the Poké Portal menu while connected.

It‘s that easy! Just follow those steps to unlock the full range of local wireless co-op features without paying for a Nintendo Switch Online membership.

Tips for Smooth Local Multiplayer

Want the best experience playing Pokémon Scarlet and Violet locally with your friends? Here are some handy tips:

  • Stay within 30 feet or closer for the strongest wireless signal. Being near each other improves connectivity.

  • Inside buildings, stick together on the same floor and room for better connections. Walls and floors weaken the signal.

  • Turn off Wi-Fi on all Switch systems to ensure you only connect locally. This prevents accidentally going online.

  • Pre-register your friends in the Poké Portal to make re-connecting quicker via Local Play.

  • Appoint one main "leader" to talk to NPCs and advance story moments. Others can join battles.

  • Players can drop in and out of the local Union Circle easily. Great for switching off playtime!

  • Head to Jubilife Village to connect quickly if you have issues in the overworld. Some areas have dead zones.

Follow those tips and you‘ll have smooth sailing playing locally with your buddies. No subscriptions required!

You Can Play Through the Entire Game Locally Together

And here‘s one of the best parts: you can experience the full Pokémon Scarlet and Violet adventure 100% cooperatively from start to finish using local wireless play only.

Here‘s what you can do together without Nintendo Switch Online:

  • Play through all key story segments, cutscenes, battles, and milestones cooperatively.

  • The host progresses key NPC and landmark interactions while everyone battles together.

  • Defeat all major trainers, Gym Leaders, Team Star, and boss fights as a co-op team.

  • Locally trade to obtain all version-exclusive Pokémon needed to complete the Pokédex.

  • Take down Titans, Legendaries, and other big co-op raids using local Tera Battles.

  • Drop in/out of the local Union Circle for co-op play seamlessly.

So gather your local friends, connect wirelessly, appoint a leader, and you can tackle the entire legendary Pokémon Scarlet and Violet adventure as a full co-op team without paying for online multiplayer access!

Weighing Local vs Online Multiplayer

At the end of the day, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet give you loads of great options to play with others:

  • Local wireless play offers free co-op while letting you adventure together in-person with nearby friends. You can tackle the full story and end-game this way without paying for online.

  • Online multiplayer through Nintendo Switch Online connects you with people globally. You can play with faraway friends and join millions of random players worldwide. But it requires a paid subscription.

So in summary:

  • If you want to play online and don‘t mind paying for the membership, Nintendo Switch Online enables easy global connectivity and matchmaking.

  • But local wireless play grants you free access to the full co-op experience alongside nearby friends. You retain all key features minus online perks.

Either way, buckle up for an epic adventure together through Pokémon Scarlet and Violet!

The Bottom Line

Hope this guide helped explain if Pokémon Scarlet and Violet multiplayer is free or not! To recap:

  • Local wireless play is 100% free. You can connect locally with friends to battle, trade, explore, raid, and progress the adventure without paying for Nintendo Switch Online.

  • Online global multiplayer requires a Nintendo Switch Online membership. This subscription starts at $3.99 a month.

So gather your friends who also own Pokémon Scarlet or Violet, connect your Nintendo Switch systems locally, and you can all play together completely free! Have fun journeying across Paldea. See you out there, and happy gaming!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.