A few months ago, it was reported that the Nintendo Switch contained a security vulnerability in its Nvidia Tegra X1 processor that had the left the console open to exploits, including homebrew software not approved by Nintendo. Because the problem was in the processor rather than in the console’s operating system or other software, it couldn’t be patched, but new Switch units hitting shelves appear to have solved the bug.
Nintendo Switch users have reported that new consoles are no longer vulnerable to “f-g,” short for “Fusée Gelée,” an exploit in the processor’s USB recovery mode that could be activated to remove protection on the systems’ bootROM, thus allowing them to run software the Switch normally wouldn’t run. Though Nintendo has always kept its online stores relatively regulated, it was likely the risk of pirating games that spurred its decision to update the console itself.
For most Nintendo Switch users, you aren’t going to notice one bit of difference from the previous version of the system, but it will undoubtedly cause problems for those looking to emulate GameCube games. The popular emulator Dolphin was recently adapted for Switch by a team of enthusiasts, allowing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker to run on the system via Linux. Dolphin on Switch made use of the Fusée Gelée exploit, so it could be impossible to do so on the newer consoles.
Reddit users have already begun speculating that older Switch consoles will be sold at higher prices on third-party sites due to still being vulnerable to the exploit. Dolphin is most popular on PC, and it can be used to play GameCube and Wii games.
Using downloaded ROMs of video games through emulation software remains a bit of a legal gray area, as some have made the argument that those who already own a legally purchased copy of the game can download another copy to play on a different system. Nintendo’s stance on emulators and ROMs is more black-and-white, with the company claiming doing so is illegal in all instances. Without a Virtual Console service on the Switch at the moment, however, Nintendo isn’t giving players much alternative for playing their favorite classic games on the system, though the paid Nintendo Switch Online service will include access to a vault of older titles.