Boss Rush Banter: What was Nintendo’s Bluetooth Disconnect?

March 3rd, 2017 is a day I remember fondly, standing in line with a lot of other happy people waiting to get our new Nintendo Switch console. Opening it up and turning it on to play Zelda: Breath of the Wild was such an amazing experience, and though many of my gaming standards and expectations checklist were covered, one was missing that really stood out from the rest.

Bluetooth, for me, is important to incorporate in any mobile technology. A standard, really, that should have been there. But as we found a few ways around this, we really thought it wasn’t possible or had the ability to come to the platform. But on September 15th, 2021, Nintendo tweeted that Bluetooth was now on the Switch. After four plus years, a technology that should have been present with in the first year suddenly popped up, leaving players with mixed feelings. I was excited, but I know that is not the case with everyone. So why is Bluetooth coming this late in the game?

Working in an industry that constantly changes and looks to incorporate new and existing technologies into our products, it was easy for me to notice that Bluetooth has not been one of these additions. Why? Because though Bluetooth is more secure than Wi-fi in most scenarios that we come across, it can cause a window in which other users not meant to connect can extract data or information that can compromise the customer or our company. This fact alone leaves a risk that, without proper gating, can and will put information in jeopardy. Knowing this from my own circle and knowing how much Nintendo puts effort into securing its IP’s, it leaves me with little doubt that the possibility of somehow extracting or hacking the Switch through via Bluetooth gave them fear. Without the proper fixes in place, they may have been waiting until all necessary testing was completed, as well as create a new feature right out of the box with the new OLED model coming out. Another thought is when Nintendo offered money for hackers to find holes in the security, could this be one of those holes they needed to fill? Did they hire someone to work on these items while creating updated software structure for the new OLED or future versions of Switch? All of this is quite interesting.

This, of course, is all speculation, and I am using some of my own experiences. It could have just been that they had no intention to incorporate it, and then someone was able to hijack the Joy-Con Bluetooth and had showcased it in a meeting at Nintendo, and they decided that they would implement it.

What are your thoughts on Bluetooth coming to the Switch? How did you listen to audio before it was implemented? Do you think this should have been more of a priority? Please share your thoughts.

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