In a recent update to the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo has quietly banned certain words that have political connotations. In a year that has been ripe with political controversy, this move isn't entirely surprising.
The Switch has received a variety of both big and small updates in the course of its lifespan. This year, Nintendo added the ability to transfer save data between the SD card and the system, a feature that arguably should have been included at launch. A previous update also added being able to temporarily overclock the system's CPU in a boost mode, which was initially an option hidden from users. Nintendo's no stranger to sneaking in ghost updates to their systems, and this new update adds on to that trend.
As Polygon reports, modder OatmealDome revealed on Twitter that certain words could no longer appear in usernames after the Switch's version 10.2.0 update. The newly banned words include terms such as KKK, nazi, slave, ACAB, coronavirus, and COVID.
There's no doubt that this move was sparked by the world-shaking events happening all throughout 2020. It makes sense that Nintendo would not allow naming an account after a legitimately deadly disease, especially since there are other companies that refuse to even take the virus seriously. Nintendo has also publicly voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd, and The Pokémon Company has previously donated $100,000 to the movement and the NAACP. Therefore, it makes sense that Nintendo would follow up on that by banning terms such as KKK to keep racist reactionaries from using their usernames as a way to attack the movement.
While this move will no doubt come with some level of controversy, it is perhaps for the best that some of these words were banned. There are negative connotations to be taken from having usernames that promote racial bigotry like KKK and slavery, so it's better that these words were removed in order to not give that type of bigotry a platform to stand on. The Black Lives Matter movement will no doubt continue throughout the rest of the year, so it is at least a small comfort knowing that Nintendo is doing something to fight back against racism.