Report: Nintendo Switch Wi-Fi Bug, Firmware Issues Causing Performance Drop in Games

While Switch owners have been talking about FPS drops in both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Dragon Quest Heroes IIit seems as if the stutter may not be because of the hardware, but a software bug.

A new report from Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry has noted Fast RMX jumps between  900p and 1080p when docked (sometimes even lower in rare situations), while the game’s portable mode is bumped down to 720p.

Coming from this, Eurogamer points out “a small issue with the current firmware on Switch which causes a slight drain on GPU resources,” which they’re saying will be fixed and will lock the game to 1080p in docked mode.

It remains to be seen if this affects all games on the Nintendo Switch, however a rumor from Nintendo Life has an anonymous third-party developer further corroborating the performance issues, noting a bug in the current OS version.

The source points out that the bug causes CPU cycles to be taken away from the game, instead using it to auto-connect to wi-fi. The anonymous developer said:

I remember Digital Foundry have been puzzled how some of the worst framerate issues seem to occur so randomly, not area-specific. I believe these are not the fault of the game, but of the Switch trying to periodically auto-connect to WiFi where there is no network available. This is supposed to happen in the background, but it apparently does affect the game(s). I actually noticed this in FAST RMX first, where I got periodical FPS drops, while everyone was always saying that it is a perfectly locked 60 FPS experience. It wasn’t game breaking, but it made me curious. […] I then delved into the Internet settings of the Switch, found the “Auto Connect” option and turned it off, and Voilà, no more FPS issues in Setsuna and FAST RMX! And only the “usual” minor ones in BotW in very specific (foliage intensive) areas, no more heavy random ones.

While turning off auto-connect is only a temporary fix, Nintendo will reportedly be patching these bugs in the next system update.

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Matthew Sigler

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Currently interning at Niche Gamer. I've been playing video games since I was three years old.

  • Anon_Amous

    I’ve heard people say they’ve had the game freeze in BotW. This hasn’t happened to me across over 50 hours of play so I’m very curious to know if this might be the reason why… Seems bizarre.

  • Dom The Elegy

    Gee, when you put it like that it makes it sound like the Switch was rushed out the door. Just like every other piece of Switch related news has.

  • Captain Vidya

    I dunno, playing through the Wii U version, I’ve had times where the gameplay stopped for a second or so while fighting some moblins near Goron City (and that’s not counting all of the other framerate drops that are littered throughout the game like in Kakariko Village). That might be a Wii U version problem, though.

  • I haven’t had any crashes but I’ve noticed major FPS drops in different areas, to where it was really noticeable. I’m about 10ish hours in? Mike will break it down a lot more in his review.

  • Mir Teiwaz

    I’ve had it happen with the Switch version while docked. It’s happened twice while in combat. The game would just outright freeze on me for about a second or so. It didn’t happen to me for around the same amount of time you’ve been playing, but I also couldn’t tell you why it happened.

  • Anon_Amous

    I’m gonna have to purposely try to get this to happen now, I’ve been in some chaotic fights with various effects like grass + explosions so I’m wondering why it hasn’t cropped up. If it is related to Wifi thing that should be easy to test too, I’ll have to use it undocked though.

  • Marcelo Orosa

    I had a one second total freeze in BotW in just two occasions, on the Wii U version.

  • Anon_Amous

    I’m beginning to think this is more of a Wii U problem, but I also think people have said they experienced it on Switch. I have not seen this after huge amount of play on the Switch version specifically.

  • Mir Teiwaz

    My understanding of the problem is that it’s only happened while docked, but I could be wrong.

  • It actually just happened to me.
    I noticed my screenshot and home buttons didn’t work. I tried undocking the switch hoping it would help, but instead the game froze completely.

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    Not unlike any other console launch in recent memory~.

  • “It’s okay because other people do it too.”

    Flawless logic. Round of applause for you, my dude.

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    Nah, not saying it as an excuse, more like it raises flags that people are only stoning Nintendo for it while MS and Sony got off the hook pretty easily~.

  • Dale Frewaldt

    Must be hard to see stop lights with those rose tinted glasses.

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    Can’t be any harder than seeing them with Nintendooooom! glasses on~.

  • sanic

    He said others are just as guilty not that it’s okay…

  • Dale Frewaldt

    Calamity Ganon transforms into a giant Pig. Zelda gives you a light bow to hit shiny spots on his body before collapsing him into what I assume is a singularity. I just beat Zelda on my Switch less than an hour ago.

    But back to your comment… Microsoft had to pull a complete OS 180 with the Xbox One after the massive outrage over the console’s DRM policies. AFAIK, the console never really recovered. Spend even 5 minutes on a Playstation Blog firmware post and you’ll see that people are still yelling at Sony over features the PS4 was missing at launch.

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    Youtube did a much better job and it even let me know I was watching the true end. Sorry, were you trying to achieve anything at all~?

    If you can show me comments when XBOX One / PS4 came out where people were lashing it with the “Dooooooooom!” crap they are lashing out at the Switch which has only been out for a week. I’ll discard the notion people are being overly critical only because it’s Nintendo~.

  • Dale Frewaldt

    http://www.gamerheadlines.com/2014/07/no-matter-what-microsoft-does-the-xbox-one-is-doomed-to-fail/

    https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/15/microsoft-corporations-xbox-one-looks-like-a-total.aspx

    http://www.geekenstein.com/top-5-reasons-why-xbox-one-is-dead-on-arrival/

    http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2013/05/24/daily-reaction-xbox-one-what-was-microsoft-thinking/

    As for PS4, you’re right. I wont be able to find many articles or comments about that console being doomed. Primarily because, despite a lack of follow up PS3 features, it was still a very compelling piece of hardware, with strong 3rd party support, and competition that just couldn’t break through the criticism.

    But the real reason why people didn’t go all in on Microsoft or Sony circling the drain: They’re both multi industry corporations that don’t survive or die on the backs of gamers. Hell, the Xbox brand amounts to something like 1% of Microsoft’s entire revenue stream. It’s a hobby for Microsoft, nothing more. And as far as Sony is concerned, the Playstation brand is so strong that it was spun off from its parent company to protect it from Sony’s weaker TV, phone, and PC markets.

  • James McEneely

    You do realize that Nintendo as a company has been around since 1889, right? And that it would take over twenty consecutive years of them running at a substantial loss before it began to effect them negatively? A bad/rushed launch won’t impact them anywhere near enough that Nintendo will disappear. Besides, as things go, the launch really isn’t that bad. Overall, the Switch is a game console, and the 50+ hours I’ve put into LoZ:BotW have lead me to believe that it works pretty well.

    Are there some things I don’t like? Certainly! I wasn’t a fan of the “sleep lock” feature as it made it devilishly difficult to wake the system up when I wanted to play. Would I love to see an achievement system a la PSN? Sure would, since I’m a bit of a cheevo whore.

    But really, in the end, I wanted the Switch to play Breath of the Wild and it did that, rather admirably I might add. The minor chugging in foliage intensive areas is literally the only technical issue I’ve had with the game.

  • Yeah, absolutely. Nobody gave MS shit for the RRoD. And remember when they announced the Kinect was mandatory, used games were blocked and the Xbone was always online? We were high-fiving each other in the streets!

  • Which doesn’t excuse Nintendo’s shoddy workmanship.

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    Did you go and post five days into the system that the console was doomed to fail because one game ran at 900p instead of 1080p (technical aspects != company policies)? Because that’s basically the situation here. There’s a bug on the OS that may affect performance, Crowd goes: “Zomg this system was so rushed! The Switch sucks!“. It’s just a bug, but I see people doing a Nintendoom wave out of it. Comparatively speaking both Sony and MS had systems that died on consumers and yet the XBOX 360 was the best selling system in America for like 3/4 of the 7th gen~.

    It’s not complicated to understand my point unless you are deliberately trying to look stupid~.

  • VLOCKUP

    Kind of related but Samsung is among a smartphone monster right before the issue with Note explosion malfunction. Were it not because of overwhelming sales of their successful Edge phone, they would suffer a total loss and declare bankruptcy. At least the mobile division, so to say.

    Point is, just because the company has been around for long, doesn’t mean it makes them invulnerable to any loss, be it minor. Were it not of Iwata’s management, who knows how long Nintendo would last due to them being unstable at that time.

    EDIT: Samsung, not Nokia.

  • Except it’s not just this, is it.

    There’s the issues of the one joycon constantly losing sync, of screens being scratched by the dock, framerate issues that aren’t caused by this OS bug, slide-in components getting stuck to the joycon, Nintendo’s official tech support stating dead pixels are not a defect on the Switch (while the same website says they are for the GBA) and a laundry list of other problems.

    And that’s not to even get into the lack of a built-in ethernet port, paltry 32GB HDD, the boneheaded positioning of the charge port, and the fact 1, 2 Switch isn’t bundled with the system but is in fact being sold as a full-price game despite being little more than a shallow tech demo in the same vein as Wii Sports.

    But you’re totally right: Nintendo are flawless, there is no reason whatsoever to criticise the Switch. Thanks for Correcting the Record™.

  • Donwel

    >Spend even 5 minutes on a Playstation Blog firmware post and you’ll see that people are still yelling at Sony over features the PS4 was missing at launch.
    To be fair, a lot of those features are still missing as well. As far as I know the fucker still can’t play CDs.

  • Donwel

    Nokia? The Note and Edge are Samsung aren’t they?

  • Dale Frewaldt

    Nintendo is a multinational, publicly traded corporation. They live and die according to investor confidence. I don’t care how much money they have in the bank, the only reason why they’re solvent is because of investor interest. If they muck that up and fail to recover, they’ll blow through that capital pretty quickly.

    People need to stop acting like Nintendo lives in a microeconomic vacuum. I’m not saying Nintendo is doomed. But I’m also not blind to the intricate dance they have to do to ensure investors keep financing the operating expenses.

  • Dale Frewaldt

    I’m certainly in the camp that thinks Sony needs to step up their game with firmware features. The firmware updates are consistently great, but way too infrequent.

    If it weren’t for the games, I probably wouldn’t have been an early buyer.

  • VLOCKUP

    Ah, my mistake.

  • James McEneely

    Are we just going to ignore the fact that Nintendo owns the hand-held market? Even in the unlikely even that they’ll fail as a console developer, you’d be crazy to think that Nintendo isn’t making money on the Gameboy line and will continue to do so.

    The point is less that Nintendo is invulnerable to any problems and more that they’re an old company with a loyal fan base (and a just as loyal group of people who hate them with every fiber of their being) that is basically the grandfather of modern gaming.

    It would have to take something trully catastrophic for Nintendo to be “doomed”. Minor technical issues at the launch of a game console do not make a failed system. Poor support and lack of development makes for a failed system (see the Playstation Vita, for instance, as an example of lack of support),

  • sanic

    He also didn’t say that

  • I know, instead he claimed nobody gives anyone else shit for doing it, which is patently false; there are still people shitting on Microsoft four years after the Xbone reveal.

    The point remains: there’s no reason to engage in ‘whataboutery’ unless you’re trying to excuse or normalise the behaviour at hand.

  • You’re right, the people who claim the Switch failing would kill Nintendo are idiots, (just like the ones who genuinely believe the industry could crash again like it did in the 80s,) but no one in this thread brought that up except you and the other guy defending Nintendo.

    Everyone else is saying the Switch is a rushed out poorly designed device, because there is mounting evidence to suggest that is the case, and aside from the accidental success of the Wii, Nintendo’s home console track record has been abysmal since 1996.

  • James McEneely

    Rushed, I agree. Poorly designed? I personally disagree. As for not bringing up Nintendo being doomed, it’s not explicitly stated but it was implied. But then, it happens every time Nintendo releases a console (or so it seems). “Hurrrr durrr Nintendont are stoopid and kant console. Soon ded and Mario on playstation!” I’m a bit surprised to not have seen the other traditional insults of Nintendo only making kiddy games, though. That’s normally the chorus to the jeers and catcalls.

    How exactly were the N64 and Gamecube abysmal? The Wii U definitely flopped (mostly in part to Nintendo not marketing it very well), but it’s still a solid system with fantastic games.

  • Dom The Elegy

    It’s very poor craftsmanship. The stand is known to scratch the screen of the actual console, the handles have noticeable wobble when you put them on the side and it’s very easy to accidentally slide the joycon shoulder button things on wrong causing them to get stuck. It’s obvious that Nintendo tried to get the Wii U off the market as soon as they possibly could, quality assurance be damned.

    As for the “others are doing it” non-defense, I’ve been shitting on Microsoft since they started charging people for online and on Sony since the PS2 because that thing has the highest failure rate I’ve ever seen on a console (not a single unit in my circle made it past year one). It’s just sad that Nintendo are now as bad with consoles as they are because back in the SNES days no one could touch them (mostly because they browbeat third party developers into submission but still).

    Neither the N64 nor the Gamecube (or the Wii/ Wii U) had libraries that were worth a shit. Sure they had the occasional gem which were pretty much just the first party line up but put together that equated to around 10 games on each system if we’re being generous. That’s /awful/ for a console with a 5 year lifespan. The reason being mostly because Nintendo is notoriously bad to work with if you’re a third party developer and thus /everyone/ jumped ship the first chance they got. I mean the N64 had one RPG (two if you count Paper Mario), that’s pathetic for a Japanese console. Didn’t help that the RPG in question was pretty bad as well. Nintendo still has to make up for mistreating developers but it seems like they couldn’t be less interested.

  • They were failures for the same reason the WiiU was: they were MASSIVELY outsold by their competitors, and despite being solid consoles with some great games, their libraries were relatively tiny, again compared to their competitors.

    I don’t disagree with you about the hyperbole parade, but that’s not unique to Nintendo, it’s only exacerbated by the fact Nintendo fans specifically seem completely incapable of admitting when Nintendo drop the ball.

    I’ve owned every Nintendo console since the N64, so I’m not speaking from a position of ignorance or blind hatred of Nintendo. With the N64 you were usually waiting months at a time before any new games came out that were even remotely worth playing, and the same has pretty much been true of every console since.

    I don’t want the Switch to fail because I think it will kill Nintendo. I think the Switch is going to fail because I’ve watched the exact same pattern happen with every Nintendo console since the late 90s, and nothing with this new console suggest to me Nintendo are going to do anything to change. (And yes, I consider the Wii a failure in terms of content, because even though units sold exceptionally well, it had the exact same issue of a tiny library of good games.)