Nintendo’s new hybrid handheld / living-room console is inevitably going to suffer more damage than its strictly living-room relatives; you don’t see too many people lugging a PlayStation 4 around with a built-in display, after all. A new report suggests that the Switch has problems over and above some intrinsic fragility, with multiple users reporting that their Switches are warping, particularly those that have been used in docks for most of their life cycle.
The reports started from a Reddit user, _NSR, according to TechnoBuffalo and as shown below:
In and of itself, that looks like bad luck, or a defective system rather than a systemic flaw — but reports from other users have started coming in as well. It looks as though there are a number of Switches showing signs of warping, including one owned by TechnoBuffalo author Joey Davidson.
This isn’t a great look for any console, particularly one that’s only been out for barely more than a month.
Why would the Switch be warping?
The most likely culprit for the Switch warping in the dock as opposed to in handheld mode is that the console’s components are expanding when heated. The issue recalls Apple’s infamous bendgate with the iPhone 6, but that comparison is a little more alarming than it used to be. We now know that the devices that were most susceptible to the iPhone 6’s bending problem also suffered catastrophic failure well before the end of their useful life. It turns out that early warning signs can predict eventual fail rates, and I don’t think this should be dismissed or hand-waved as normal.
There’s another reason this is quite concerning. Reviewers have already taken note of the fact that Nintendo’s terrible saved game policy means there’s no way to back up any of your saved games on Nintendo’s Switch. You can’t export them to a microSD card and the company has unveiled no plans to back them up via a cloud utility or function. Even if it does, it’s not clear that this would help — in the past, Nintendo has been known to make backup functions system-specific, making it impossible to restore games saved on one Nintendo console to a different machine. Comments in the Reddit thread make it clear this is something a number of users are concerned about. As of this writing, there doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid this issue, apart from hoping your system isn’t affected or using the Switch exclusively in handheld mode, where it runs at lower clock speeds.
So far, Nintendo is repairing warped Switches, but it hasn’t publicly addressed the concern or clarified if it will somehow backup and restore user data to avoid gamers losing all of their saved games. Hopefully if nothing else, issues like this will push Nintendo towards a more sane saved-games policy. The inability to back up progress to any kind of media is a crazy feature to lack in 2017.