Nintendo Switch breach: dangerous data leak could've killed Switch

Massive data leak shows early Switch designs and leaked keys that could've toppled console

Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Another day and another leak in the gaming world. This time it’s been reported that a bunch of data has been leaked pertaining to the Nintendo Switch amid growing curiosity around the Nintendo Switch Pro.

With the recent launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, Nintendo is still trying to get on top of its security issues as the most recent leak provides some revelatory info on the Switch design and how the system could've been compromised early on. 

Twitter user forestillusion unveiled a treasure trove of information that encompasses documents from 2014 before the Switch system existed. Part of the the data drop contains info around leaked keys, which forestillusion suggests could’ve compromised the entire security of the Switch: leaked keys that could’ve been misused to allow people to produce their own game cartridges.

More to the point: this means any fix would've rendered all Switch games unusable. In a stroke of good fortune, the private key appears to have been changed between the data dump and the final launch of the system, meaning the leaked keys didn’t match, and the final console was safe. Catastrophe averted!

One of the images in the leaked bundle displays a prototype as it was in 2014, replete with more screen real estate, awkwardly indented analog sticks, and option buttons that echo the Nintendo 3DS’ select, home, and start buttons. In a since deleted tweet, Twitter user orcastraw alleges that Nintendo wanted to include support for Streetpass, Pedometer, and Spotpass on the Switch – these were features of Nintendo’s older consoles.

There’s a plethora of other information, but here are some of the most interesting findings: initial designs would see the console support 3D video, and have backwards compatibility with the 3DS; it would have a maximum resolution of 480p (the final Switch is 720p); more, the data sheet details a mechanism for the Switch to allow video and voice conferencing while playing a game. 

There'll likely be more tidbits of information cropping up over the next few days from the leak. For now, it's an interesting look into the giant's inner workings for a company that is known for its secrecy around hardware updates.