The Switch got a new firmware update yesterday that didn’t seem to do anything unusual, but as Switch homebrew modders discovered, it’s added several new phrases to the device’s banned word list.
On Nintendo’s website it says the Switch’s version 1.2 firmware update contains “General system stability improvements to enhance the user’s experience.” Though not included in the official patch note, Polygon reports that the update also extended the system’s list of banned phrases to include “KKK,” “slave,” “Nazi,” “acab,” and “Covid.”
Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
I checked to confirm and while prior to the update I was able to change my profile and Mii nicknames to the above words, the Switch now reports an error and forces users to select different names. While the historical reasons for banning phrases like “KKK” and “Nazi” are obvious, Nintendo has presumably nixed “ACAB”, meaning “all cops are bastards,” because of its recent resurgence as an anti-policing slogan in the wake of ongoing Black Lives Matter protests against police violence.
“Covid”, meanwhile, has been used as a toxic troll phrase in a number of online games since the pandemic began. Companies like Riot Games have also taken to banning instances of the word, which led to it accidently banning a League of Legends player earlier this year whose given name is Corona.
It’s often unclear how platform owners decide which words to ban and which to let through. Earlier this month, Eurogamer reported that Microsoft had banned the name “Karen” on Xbox. It was apparently an accident though, and Microsoft unbanned the name after it was made aware of the issue.
The Switch is more immune to toxicity than most platforms, however, given that there’s still no way for users to directly message one another on the console.