Nintendo Switch’s ‘off the shelf’ Nvidia GPU is key to new kernel hack

Nintendo Switch

Few aspects of life are certain in this world, but one thing almost always happens is that if a video game console exists, someone is going to hack it.

Hackers that go by the online handles Plutoo, Derrek and Naehwert, and that are a part of the Wololo console hacking community, recently revealed a new kernel hack for the Nintendo Switch at Germany’s 34C3 conference.

Given that the exploit requires the Switch to be still running version 3.0.0 of Nintendo’s official firmware, it’s likely the company has little to worry about when it comes to the widespread use of the hack. The team behind the kernel exploit also claims it has no plans to publicly release it, though those with technical know-how can likely watch the 34C3 presentation and create their own version of the hack.

That said, a homebrew launcher is reportedly in the works for the Switch called Pegaswitch, though it will also be locked to firmware 3.0.0 and require a copy of Pokken Tournament DX. This means that you would have needed to keep the hybrid console offline to avoid installing a more recent version of Switch firmware, and that you also won’t be able to play Super Mario Odyssey.

Whether the multiple hoops required to get this soon-to-be-released homebrew hack up and running on the Switch are worthwhile remains to be seen. Console homebrew always lives or dies by the support of the community that surrounds it.

The system’s latest firmware update, 4.1.0, added stability improvements and video capture for specific games, as well as the ability to transfer saved files to a new console.

The presentation at 34C3 also discusses the Nintendo Switch security system’s various intricacies and how they’re different from the 3DS.

One of the more interesting aspects of the presentation discusses the Nintendo Switch’s “off the shelf” Nvidia Tegra X2 processor, a GPU that’s “well documented,” emphasizing that “debugging hardware can be officially acquired at reasonable prices,” according to Wololo.

The team behind the hack essentially says that “Nvidia backdoored themselves” in terms of the Switch’s GPU.

Source: Wololo