The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid video game console that can be used as a home console and a portable device. It blends Nintendo's previous Wii and DS consoles into one to form one of the most flexible consoles on the market. You can play many of your favorite games on the Switch, such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing, and it costs between $199 and $299 depending on the version.
Has there ever been a breach or data leak?
Date of last breach
Nintendo experienced a breach for approximately 300,000 Switch Online accounts on April 24, 2020. Individuals with unauthorized access to Nintendo accounts could have made purchases through the Nintendo eShop either using virtual coins or via a linked PayPal account. Some users have also seen their accounts used to buy Fortnite VBucks (an in-game currency), with purchases up to $100.
Is any kind of biometric data collected (health, heart, voice, etc.)?
Are you able to delete your data / the data collected about you?
Does it have parental controls?
Does it use encryption to protect your data both in-transit and at-rest?
Does it get regular software and / or firmware updates?
Does it require you to create a strong password?
Is there a system in place for managing security vulnerabilities?
How Can It Snoop?
Does it have a camera or request / require access to a camera?
Does it have a microphone or request / require access to a microphone?
Does it track your location or request / require access to location data?
Does it require an email address to use?
Does it require a phone number to use?
Does it require an address (home or office) to use?
Are you able to use a credit card as a payment option?
Are you able to use a cryptocurrency as a payment option?
Are you able to use PayPal as a payment option?
Are you able to use cash or gift cards as a payment option?
What Could Go Wrong?
Not a whole lot. Nintendo does a good job with privacy, security, and parental controls. However, be aware that while Nintendo does not share your data with third parties, some of the games you play on the Switch that are made by other companies could be collecting and sharing your data.
How Does It Share Your Data?
Nintendo claims it does not share your Switch data with third parties for commercial or marketing purposes. However, when you play games offered by third party companies on the platform, you may share your data with those third parties.
- Nintendo keeps a tight lock on user privacy, generally speaking.
- The ability to buy game cartridges that can be played offline ensures that when you buy a Switch game, you'll always have access to it.
- You don't need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to use the service.
- Nintendo's online service 'Nintendo Switch Online' collects a lot of personally identifying user information that they store on their servers.
- Some games are 'online only', meaning when the online store eventually shuts down, you'll lose the ability to download these games.
Overall, Nintendo does a good job protecting its user data. It does not share data with third parties for commerical or marketing purposes, but some data may be shared with companies who develop the games created for the Switch. Switch Online accounts were breached in April of 2020, which allowed hackers to potentially make purchases using the accounts and payment information of breached users. However, Nintendo quickly reset the passwords of all breached users and began recommending two factor authentication for all users, so it is unlikely for another breach of this scale to occur in the future.