Nintendo recently rolled out the 5.0 firmware update for the Switch and users are are already reporting serious problems with it. How serious? Try bricking the device serious.
One user named Sean told Kotaku that his Switch quit working after connecting it to his Nyko Portable Switch Docking Kit. He said at first, it just deleted all his data, but that eventually, it stopped turning on altogether.
He contacted Nintendo, which offered to fix it for free as long as it was under warranty (it was), but said that the data, including his 80-hour Zelda: Breath of the Wild save file, would be lost.
Sean’s incident is not isolated nor does it seem to be happening only with the Nyko kits. Users on Reddit and the Nintendo support forums are reporting similar problems with other third-party docking stations. FastSnail docks seem to be having the same issues, while those with Insignia devices are saying they are working fine.
Kotaku contacted Nyko, which said it was aware of the problem but needed to do more testing to determine what precisely is causing the issue. “We believe it is related to the way the Switch handles AV output for an external TV/monitor while the console is docked on the Portable Docking Kit,” said a Nyko representative.
Sean said a support rep told him, “Nintendo has received multiple calls about the devices being completely bricked and is offering to repair the device if it is under warranty.”
Nintendo has since issued a statement warning users against buying third-party peripherals.
“Unlicensed products and accessories do not undergo Nintendo’s testing and evaluation process. They might not work at all with our game systems, and they could have compatibility problems with certain games, the Nintendo Switch system itself, and other licensed accessories and peripherals.”
In the meantime, the company has released another firmware update (5.0.1) that claims to provide “system stability improvements.” Whether this was an attempt to correct the problem remains to be seen. Nyko said it would be looking into the update to see what exactly it does.
At this point, it appears that the ball is in Nyko’s (and FastSnail's) court despite having worked flawlessly up until firmware 5.0. Nintendo’s answer of only buying first-party gear is a pat legal response but is also unrealistic. Third-party peripherals have been a part of PC and console gaming for decades.
Often these products sell well not because they are cheaper, which they usually are, but because they offer something that you cannot get with a licensed product. The Nyko dock, for example, allows users to charge their Switch without having the screen obstructed like it is with the OEM docking station.
Unfortunately, using third-party equipment does pose some risks as we are seeing here. When something goes wrong while using unlicensed accessories, the blame cannot be pinned on the OEM, so buyer beware.