Some was able to hack the Nintendo Switch and turn it into somewhat of a Linux tablet. A couple of weeks ago, hacking collective fail0verflow dropped some big news when it shared a still image showing a Switch booting Linux. The hacker collective is one of the few teams trying to exploit the console's Nvidia Tegra hardware.
But it appears things have progressed quite nicely. Now, fail0verflow has uploaded a video showing Linux running on the fully hacked Switch, complete with touch input, a web browser — something the Switch perplexingly still doesn't have — and a demo application run by the console's GPU.
Why This Is A Big Deal
Those who don't seem to realize how significant of an achievement this is should know that modern consoles are tremendously difficult to hack. Even now, commercial 3DS emulators still cough and hiccup occasionally, let alone the Switch, which is packed with more modern hardware. Why? Well, millions of dollars are on the line. Because hacking often leads to piracy, Nintendo and other gaming companies make their consoles extremely difficult to pry open.
In January, fail0verflow stated that its Switch coldboot exploit can't be patched in currently released Nintendo hardware and don't require a modchip to work. However, it has not released instructions on how to perform the hack, and it's not clear whether it has any actual plans on releasing that kind of valuable information. It's most likely that fail0verflow will only share it to known members of the hacking community to prevent Nintendo from learning how it discovered a workaround.
Code execution is all the rage these days, but can your Switch do *this*? ;-) #switchnix pic.twitter.com/NMnBq61tOM — fail0verflow (@fail0verflow) February 17, 2018
Will Switch Games Eventually Be Pirated?
With a handful of teams working on making Linux run on the Switch, it seems it's only a matter of time before someone finds out how to build a proper and fully operational Switch emulator, and more concerningly, pirate games and run them on the console without a hitch. These are exactly the kind of scenarios Nintendo is most likely trying to avoid, and it's not going to be a surprise if a future Switch update makes the console even more difficult to exploit.
On a lighter note, the Switch has become probably the most popular console of this generation, even outselling the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X in December 2017. Prospects for Nintendo's hybrid system look incredibly luminous, and after years of failed attempts with the Wii U, Nintendo finally has a winner.
Thoughts about the Nintendo Switch? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!