Nintendo Switch Hackers Defiant To Crack The Console In Spite Of Nintendo’s Bug Bounty To Secure It

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo is not a fan of the modder movement, at least not as it pertains to game consoles. The company has an entire section on its website explaining why it feels using ROMs is illegal and immoral, even if you already own a copy of the game. Nintendo's feelings on the matter aside, modders continue to hack game consoles so they can load up freely available ROMs from the Internet, and this has created a cat-and-mouse game between them and Nintendo. It happened with the Wii U and 3DS, and it will happen again with the Switch.

In an effort to make modding more difficult (and its systems more secure), Nintendo launched a bug bounty program with HackerOne, a third-party service that pays out money to people who discover qualify exploits and vulnerabilities. Nintendo first approach HackerOne in December 2016 to launch a bug bounty program for the 3DS, its popular handheld gaming system, and now one exists for its recently launched Switch console. In fact, three people have already collected rewards for discovering bugs on the Switch.

Both the Wii U and 3DS proved popular among modders over the years. There are guides all over the web on how to hack either console, including tutorials on YouTube. You can bet the same will be true of the Switch in the not-too-distant future. Hackers and modders are confident that will be the case, especially since Nintendo has turned to HackerOne to rewards users for finding bugs—it's an indication that the Switch is vulnerable.


"[Nintendo is] nowhere near where Sony's at with protecting their IP and their consoles from exploits and hacking. So it's just like every other Nintendo console at this point," a person who has been hacking consoles as a hobby for the past decade told Kotaku.

There are mixed feelings among modders about the HackerOne program and those who submit bug reports for cash. On one hand, some hackers view them as snitches. But others see it as a positive thing, pointing out if Nintendo patches the Switch based on a bug report, it gives modders an opportunity to see what changes are made, which could result in an entry point that they weren't aware about.

Nintendo's disdain for modding and ROM use is probably what prompted the company to discontinue sales of its hugely popular NES Classic Edition console that was introduced before last Christmas. Officially, Nintendo said it never intended for the NES Classic Edition to be an ongoing thing, and that it did fans a solid by continuing to produce the console as long as it has. Hogwash.

The good news for Switch fans is that there's no way Nintendo will discontinue sales in the same manner. It's a different situation—the Switch is Nintendo's main console, and it could become the company's best selling game system of all time. In the meantime, it will have to settle for most sales during the first two days after launch, a title it took from the mighty Wii.