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New Nintendo Switch Update May Disable Some Nicknames

Nintendo Switch update

Nintendo released a small update for the Nintendo Switch operating system on February 20, 2023. The new Nintendo Switch update brings the console’s firmware up to version 16.0.0. Nintendo also posted patch notes for the version 16.0.0 update on its support website.

The Nintendo Switch update to version 16.0.0 will install automatically when a Switch owner connects to Nintendo’s servers. For example, attempting to load the eShop, download a game, or play while online. Typically, the Switch will prevent a user from loading the eShop or using online play until the console’s been updated to the latest compatible version.

As for what the update actually does, Nintendo’s patch notes are fairly vague. The notes refer only to “system stability improvements”. However, the update does refer to the following note:

User nicknames that cannot be used will be replaced with “???” which can be updated from the profile settings.

Thus, if a user finds that their user nickname has been rendered unusable, it will be blocked out and need updating via the profile settings menu. Dataminers, such as Dolphin Emulator developer OatmealDome, dug into the update’s files and uncovered information suggesting that adjustments have been made to the Nintendo Switch firmware process for checking if a user’s nickname incorporates prohibited words, such as profanity or slurs.

According to a tweet by OatmealDome, some new words were added to the database to cover things like “sexually charged language, drug-related terms, words related to grooming, swears, etc.” As such, players who have such constructions in their user nicknames, by intent or by accident, may need to rename themselves.

The version 16.0.0 Nintendo Switch firmware update is immediately available on all console models. Previous updates, such as version 14.0.0, added features like game folders.

Josh Tolentino
Josh Tolentino is Senior Staff Writer at Siliconera. He previously helped run Japanator, prior to its merger with Siliconera. He's also got bylines at Destructoid, GameCritics, The Escapist, and far too many posts on Twitter.