Nintendo Is Failing Miserably as Network Faces Coronavirus Gut-Check

Coronavirus quarantines are giving gaming networks a gut-check. And unlike PlayStation and Xbox, Nintendo’s is failing spectacularly.
nintendo switch network outage, coronavirus
If the Nintendo Switch is sliced bread, the system's online component is a burnt loaf. | Source: REUTERS/ Mike Blake/File Photo
  • Nintendo’s network has gone down during its biggest stress test ever.
  • Infrastructure is one of many issues roiling Nintendo’s online platform.
  • What exactly are we paying for again?

With humanity fighting the deadly coronavirus outbreak by isolating hundreds of millions of people indoors, this is just about the worst time possible for a gaming company’s network to go offline. Yet Nintendo players are dealing with widespread outages today.

Nintendo isn’t the only network experiencing a surge in player numbers. Xbox Live and PlayStation Network have reported a massive uptick in coronavirus quarantine-related traffic.

Xbox Network Issues
Source: Twitter

And while Xbox Live went down due to increased demand, it was back up remarkably quickly. It’s hard to believe Nintendo will do the same.

Nintendo Online Is Constantly Behind

If the Nintendo Switch is sliced bread, the system’s online component is a burnt loaf.

As Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players endlessly complain, the game’s online play is rife with lag. That’s terrible for a fighting game requiring precise movements.

Its online social features are lackluster too. You can’t even message your friends on the main screen, let alone play a stable match with them.

The system struggles to keep up with Steam, Xbox Live, and the PlayStation Network. How can we rely on Nintendo’s servers in a time like this when their infrastructure can’t even support half the player base of its competition?

xbox live offering
Xbox Live isn’t perfect, but it provides a bang for your buck. | Source: Xbox

Xbox Live has at least 60 million players online every month. Steam just broke 20 million players at one time due to the virus.

Nintendo Switch Online only has 15 million subscribers, much less concurrent players. That’s peanuts in comparison.

We’re Paying for This Trainwreck

If the online service were free, this failure would be a little more acceptable. But Nintendo Switch Online is a paid service and has been since September 2018. Where are they putting that money?

This may well be the first serious stress test Nintendo has faced with its online service. If it’s collapsing right now, why should we be giving them money at all? Shouldn’t these funds go towards a better infrastructure?

nintendo switch online
Nintendo Switch cloud back-ups are great! Unless your game doesn’t support it. What are we paying for, again? | Source: Nintendo

I haven’t even mentioned the disaster that is online chat, or the recent cloud save debacle regarding Animal Crossing: New Horizons. But I don’t need to. This server outage is outrageous enough.

It’s 2020, Nintendo. You need to step it up.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

Josiah Wilmoth edited this article for If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.

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Max Moeller

Max Moeller

Blockchain and gaming journalist. Feels most at home with a controller and something to learn about. Likes emerging things, music, motion graphics, video editing, photography, and YouTube. Contact Max:, or reach out on LinkedIn or Youtube and take a look at my Muckrack.

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