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Temporary Nintendo Switch network failure raises DRM concerns

A temporary Nintendo Switch network failure from earlier today (June 5) prevented users from not only accessing the eShop, but also purchased digital games.

The network failure (via Nintendo Life) only lasted a few hours according to Nintendo’s customer support Twitter account, which stated: “The troubles related to the use of download software, etc. that occurred around 05:30 AM on June 5 have been recovered. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

The inability for users to access downloadable titles has caused some concerns surrounding the digital rights management (DRM) on the system.

Nintendo Switch OLED model (2021)
Nintendo Switch OLED. Credit: Nintendo

Nintendo data miner OatmealDome noted via their Twitter account: “It appears that Nintendo’s “e-license” (DRM) servers are having problems today. This problem appears to have been ongoing for a few hours now.”

The Tweet continues: “I’ve seen reports of users not being able to access the eShop or start digital software due to license checks failing.” One user responded with the claim, “so that’s why I literally couldn’t play my digital games”, indicating that this was indeed a commonly seen issue for Switch owners during the time period.

Digital Foundry’s John Linneman replied to one Tweet raising concerns about the issues by stating, “Yeah, that’s very concerning. We need to investigate this further.” DRM has been a persistent issue in the shift to more ubiquitous digital downloads, meaning that access to purchased content is essentially reliant on online servers staying up in perpetuity. Many have noted that this puts a shorter shelf life on hardware, as eventual server shutdowns for consoles are seemingly inevitable.

This follows an Xbox outage last month, which similarly left players unable to access games on those consoles as well.

In other news, a new multiplayer Crash Bandicoot game may be getting revealed soon during the Xbox & Bethesda showcase, according to journalist Jez Corden via an Xbox podcast.

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