There is a hole on the top of my Nintendo Switch where the vent grill used to be. It’s been growing for the past year and a half and It is very concerning. A replacement console may be in order. What do you think?

I’m pretty sure the gaping hole is my fault. It started developing in February of 2018, shortly after I modified my console, replacing the original back cover with a translucent red number for Amazon.

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The vent was intact when the modification was made. Shortly afterwards I noticed one of the grill’s four crossbars had snapped off. I did not drop the system. I hadn’t manhandled it in any way, to the best of my knowledge. The piece just cracked and then snapped off. Games ran fine, the system docked fine, there was just a hole.

Other people have had the vent crack. Some blame the heat fluctuations causing the plastic to expand and contract. Others warn that carrying the Switch in one’s (assumedly very large) pocket can cause this. If I had to guess, I’d say my problem stems from the combination of heat fluctuations and the pressure of the third-party cover I’d installed.

Either way, the slow deterioration has continued. Here is my Switch from June of this year.

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And here it is now.

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Note that I swapped back the system’s original back, which is now experiencing its own warping. Also notice that I lost a tiny screw.

Is it time to swap my launch Switch out for a new model? I mainly use this one docked, so the additional battery life of the newer models is not reason enough. My slowly deteriorating unit works fine, but every time I undock it I feel like I’m whittling away at its lifespan. Should I replace it, and save this one as an emergency backup? Maybe find a friend who is comfortable enough with electronics to swap the outer shell completely? Or do I play the waiting game and see how much of a Nintendo Switch can break off while still being able to play games? You know, for science.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, toys, snacks and other unsavory things.

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