Just a couple of months ago, hardware hackers released a tool called Pegaswitch that allowed Nintendo Switch owners to fiddle with the console’s inner workings. It didn’t allow homebrew apps to run, but it was a promising start. Now it looks like a full-on jailbreak for the Switch may be just around the corner.

At the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in December, a trio of hackers showed off their progress. Armed with an FPGA and documentation about NVidia’s Jetson TX1 dev board (which is apparently quite similar to the NVidia-supplied hardware in the Switch), the team was able to write a modified kernel to the console.

Their next goal: to release a simple homebrew solution with assistance from the crew behind PegaSwitch, ReSwitched. It could be coming as soon as February first going by this tweet from one of the presenters.

There’s also the distinct possibility that someone else will beat them to the punch. Ars Technica reported yesterday that other groups appear to be close to releasing their own tools.

One of those groups is Team-Xecuter, who have been hacking consoles for more than 15 years. On January 2, Team-Xecuter announced on their blog that they are preparing to release a solution that will work on any Nintendo Switch regardless of the firmware version it’s running. They also say it’s completely future-proof and offered a sneak peek on YouTube:

Another group, Fail0verflow, says they’ve also cracked the Switch. It’s a software-only mod and, Like Team-Xecuter, they say their method can’t be blocked with a patch (at least not on the Switch hardware currently available on store shelves).

Regardless of who gets there first, this is excellent news for Switch fans. It’s a great little device that’s just begging for an easy way to run homebrew apps… and it looks like you might not have to wait much longer to do just that!

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Lee Mathews

Computer tech, blogger, husband, father, and avid MSI U100 user.

14 replies on “A Nintendo Switch Jailbreak Could be Coming Soon”

  1. I’m actually more excited that running custom firmware/jailbreaking… we might be able to get closer to the code (hybrid 3DS/C++/Android) that way the opensource Citra Team may be able to complete the new Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu in a much shorter time.

    While there is always the “piracy aspect”… history shows us that ordinary folks can preserve games much better than its IP owners/creators. So that we can play a game like Mario Odyssey on a phone/pc in a decade or so…. even if Nintendo shuts down its servers and if all the Switch Consoles become bricks/or expensive.

    For example, there’s some great GameBoy Advance games I like to enjoy…. but its much better playing them on my phone or pc, because most GBA devices have issues these days and there’s no support for them besides DIY hardware guides from many years ago. The issue isn’t the payment, its the ability to access the titles in the first-place.

    1. I understand your argument but sadly it fall short ,since the console isnt even in its 1st year!
      1/I’m all for playing games where it the most conveniant but the cons. of jailbreaking outweight the pros.
      2/For preservation,pls nintendo is known for enabling backward compatibility not for closing game server except for the wii/gamespy buyout
      3/why would 3rd party develope software ,when there a chance that
      -it enable cheating (might sold less);
      -it be backuped at launch(lost sell)
      End result is platform failure
      Anyway ,i’m all for jailbreak but not before mid gen

      1. Didn’t Nintendo just recently shut down the store for DS and users had to download the games they bought and they also lost any remaining credits in their account or something?

        To be fair, the copyright law as it is right now is pretty unfair. I mean a 100 years protection ia just too long. It should have stayed as it was; valid for 7 years.

        1. Yes they did but you cant still buy them on the 3ds eshop
          btw did you expected them to leave the ds store open, when the console been hacked to the moon and back and cant be patched??
          And as for the credit knowing that point generator exist its the same as cd key pre steam era

          1. I think the case still stands; we (Gamers) don’t want piracy but we want emulation.
            And we want emulation as high-quality as possible, and released as soon as possible for our (Android) Phones and (Windows) PCs. We want to play our favourite games that we purchased in the most convenient form, and we want to preserve that for the future…..(ie: we don’t like taken for a ride, and buying remasters, or titles which are same with slight skin/detail alterations released yearly like the drop in support for Fifa and CoD over the last years).

            However, when you have mandatory monthly subscriptions, inflated game prices, lot’s of bugs on release, unoptimised titles, unfinished games… just so you can push people to buy DLC and Loot Boxes? Well, in that case piracy is justified.

            Game companies should look back at what worked well in the past, and what people complain about in the present… then stop ignoring the issues and try to rip-off consumers. Because a lack of availability and bad practices are what drives piracy, people generally don’t pirate unless they are forced into it. Case in point: Game of Thrones.

          2. 1/i’m not agreeing with you on this case
            most of your argument dont apply here on the switch
            -yearly franchise:1/2 game per gen/franchise(if it perform well),
            -high price/dlc/lootbox:games aint cheap to makes/never seen lootbox on a nintendo game(capitalisme 101 ,supply demand);
            -monthly fee : 1st device to have yearly fee and still not here yet (dont know what it will be)
            – unoptimised/finished games is the least of the complain for nintendo
            Games server support again except for gamefly buyout(wii online)

            2/And for your exemple :Game of thrones is not the best either
            tv and games have different bussiness model

            GoT is a hbo paid and hbo go exclusif (except for availability at airing time i’m not seeing other bad practice)
            (They get money back by selling susbcription and tv ad +selling right to foreign market/streaming service and blueray box)
            So despite beeing the most pirated they can still make money

            3/in the age of top shelf hardware and well documented SDK and API
            please spare me the preservation argument

            I’ll say it again I’M ALL FOR HOMEBREW AND STUFF
            but not in the 1st/2nd years
            Because it decrease value of a product
            which lead to less software/3rd party/indie too

          3. Your post just shows how uninformed and mislead you are.
            It’s faster, cheaper, and easier to make games than ever… however, its a very lucrative market so companies have gone out of their way to squeeze as much profit out of people as possible. It’s not arguable, we see this fact from multiple sources.

            The point about GoT and Piracy is that, Game of Thrones was the most pirated TV Show of the past few years and it was pirated most in countries that could not watch it legally. And in some countries, piracy dropped massively because HBO began streaming it there at an affordable price.

            This just illustrates piracy is not a problem. The problem is companies when they offer their product without availability, or an obscene price, or with problems. So if companies are concerned about piracy, then they could end it, simply by solving these issues. But they don’t, why? Because they realised they make A LOT more money when they release a bad product at a very high price, despite piracy, rather than just making a really good game. Hence, why Witcher 3 is doing “okay”, whereas Fifa 15 which released alongside it has been pirated to the moon and back… but the profits for Fifa 15 are much much higher.

            So you see what the market is like?
            Getting the Nintendo Switch jailbroken, cracked, as early as possible is a great thing.
            It means we can get a high-quality Switch emulator running on PC (and later Android) sooner rather than later. And any games that are bad, can be pirated if that person chooses to do so.

            Because piracy doesn’t take money away from Nintendo. You can’t lose what you were never going to get. But what does take (some) money away from Nintendo is actually Nintendo themselves, if they follow the industry and release bad products at high prices… they will lose more players, even if it means they gain more (whales) from marketing.

            *Whales: people that spend a lot of money (>>U$100), very repetitively (<<4 weeks), and do not represent the average "gamer".

          4. Please stop making FUD:
            Video Games and Movies is not the same thing business and investment return wise

            1/It’s faster and cheaper to make a game if you make a simple game or a clone with asset flpping sure
            but if you are not :

            Quoting the 3rd link because its the more recent
            So let’s do some math.

            Say you’re an indie studio that just raised some money on Kickstarter. You think you can make your Earthbound-inspired, 16-bit-style RPG in a year and a half (18 months) and you think it’ll take five people: a designer, a programmer, a musician, and two artists. 5 * 18 * 10,000 = $900,000. Hope you didn’t have any stretch goals!

            Say you’re a mid-sized team like Obsidian or Double Fine. You’re making a new console game that needs to look good, but nobody expects you to have the most polygons or the highest-end graphics. You’re putting a team of 40 on your psychedelic rhythm game, and you’re planning a schedule of around two years (24 months). 40 * 24 * 10,000 = $9,600,000. Don’t worry—at least people on the internet will accuse you of stealing money!

            Say you’re a massive publisher that’s trying to compete with the Red Dead Redemptions and Destinys of the world. You’re making a military shooter, of course. In order to hit the graphical fidelity that your fans expect, you need a staff of at least 400, and you need to give them three years (36 months). 400 * 36 * 10,000 = $144,000,000. And that’s before the inevitable delay, not to mention the marketing. Those CGI commercials aren’t gonna pay for themselves.

            “So you see what the market is like?”

            2/”Getting the Nintendo Switch jailbroken, cracked, as early as possible is a great thing.
            It means we can get a high-quality Switch emulator running on PC (and later Android) sooner rather than later. And any games that are bad, can be pirated if that person chooses to do so.”

            Only bad games get pirated??
            As a Human being do you tend to eat often bad food even if its free
            See i too can make false equivalence
            If a game is bad why would you play it?

            3/Nintendo themselves, if they follow the industry and release bad products at high prices… they will lose more players, even if it means they gain more (whales) from marketing
            I dare you to find a Nintendo games that have more than initial game price (aka lootbox and MT)

            I dont know where you work but if you had a compagny , you will sure run it to the ground

            Sorry for the wall of text

  2. I guess piracy is going to happen on the Switch soon. Anecdotally, I know a good chunk of people in real life and virtual (Internet) who stopped buying games and began pirating instead after these jailbreaks/hacks got released for their console/device.

    Homebrew” are these people’s euphemism for pirating.

    1. I personally have never bought a PS3 or PS4 but to me, it doesn’t make sense to pay again for Tekken 3 from the PS store when I still have the physical media from PSX days. My guess is that a lot of people will be using their switch as a retro emulation machine in addition to its normal function.

      1. I’m guessing also a lot of people playing Switch and retro games they’ve never payed for.

      2. That’s what backwards compatibility is for on the Xbox One front. When they first announced the backwards compatibility feature, they made sure to take a jab at Sony for that too by explicitly making it clear that you don’t need to pay again for games you already own. The crowd went wild when they made the announcement too. Anyways, this’ll probably enable emulation of older systems on the switch, maybe even as new as Wii or 3DS games can be played on the Switch now.

    2. Uh… No? Homebrew is simply code not officially supported running on a device. Piracy is piracy.

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