Nintendo Switch flashcarts: UnlockSwitch team replies to the controversy







In a quick turn of events over the past few days, the UnlockSwitch flashcart went from being a rumor, to confirmed legit product, to “well maybe it’s not real”. UnlockSwitch team have since replied via their Twitter account, and might be able to prove they have a legit product.

Disclaimer: I have no skin in the game, but I think I’ve made my position clear on piracy devices with almost two decades running this site, and in particular the recently released Switch flashcarts. These devices do not enable homebrew, CFW, or any cool feature whatsoever beyond piracy. As such, I personally consider them useless, and strongly recommend hacking your Switch instead. To restate, no matter what turns out to be true regarding this MIG Switch vs UnlockSwitch situation, in general I think you’re better off hacking your Switch with a picofly (or buy a used V1 switch, which are super easy to hack – eBay affiliate link, I get a small commission if you buy through this link – ). Just my opinion, obviously.

MIG Switch vs UnlockSwitch : the story so far

MIG Switch is a Flashcart device for the Nintendo Switch, that essentially allows you to load pirated games on an SD card, and play them on any Nintendo Switch. The device comes with significant limitations (including a risk of getting one’s console banned) but some on the scene consider it a viable alternative to hacking your Switch. (Again, a vastly superior – also much cheaper – option in my opinion since it gives you homebrew and Custom Firmware, but on most Switch consoles nowadays this requires soldering).

UnlockSwitch is a rumored clone of the MG Switch, yet to be released. The team behind the UlockSwitch claim they have reverse engineered the MIG Switch and can now develop their own flashcart based on this. According to them, the UnlockSwitch will sell for $39, significantly undercutting the MIG Switch. A batch of “review” units was sent to youtubers over the past few days.

Nick Moses and DeadSpecimen received one of those test units and were able to confirm that it basically works the same way a MIG Switch works. For all intents and purposes, the UnlockSwitch appeared legit.

But their review video was followed by some communication from MIG Switch, which in essence said the following: UnlockSwitch did not reverse engineer the MIG Switch. Instead, they took the MIG Switch chips and put them on their own PCB (Which MIG Switch allegedly verified through some proprietary test on the UnlockSwitch review unit). The UnlockSwitch, according to that email from MIG, is basically just a re-skinned MIG Switch. According to MIG Switch team, it is possible that UnlockSwitch is just a scam, sending “legit” review units to youtubers to build some hype around preorders for a product that doesn’t exist. Receive money from preorders then disappear could be UnlockSwitch’s plan, according to MIG Switch. They conclude their email by specifying that the only thing they know for sure is that the “review” units of the UnlockSwitch actually use MIG Switch Chips.

Honor among thieves

So, err, everyone with two brain cells here can see that MIG Switch have vested interest in letting you “know” that their competitors are scammers. Bottom line, a criminal enterprise telling you that their competitors are criminals… well it doesn’t hold much value. Then again, what they’re stating doesn’t sound completely irrational either. I don’t know whether this type of preorder scam is actually something that happens a lot, but I can easily imagine it being a possibility. So, the advice based on that, as of yesterday, was (and remains): If you plan on buying one of these devices, tread carefully.

It is worth mentioning that just because UnlockSwitch sales could be a scam, doesn’t mean MIG Switch is all rainbows and unicorns. There have been numerous problems buying these flashcarts, not necessarily MIG Switch Team’s fault to begin with, but you’re not going to buy a piracy flashcart on Amazon or Walmart. Fake resellers, significant delays in shipping, inflated prices, oversold inventory, bait and switch… happen a lot.

Now, Nick Moses and DeadSpecimen published a video quickly after the MIG Switch communication, and generally speaking their stance is the same as mine: nobody knows except for UnlockSwitch and MIG Switch folks, and they both have strong conflict of interests so you can’t 100% take their words for it.

UnlockSwitch replies

With all that being said, UnlockSwitch have taken to their Twitter account with a few comments on the situation. Again, at this point, I’m not sure there’s a lot anyone can do to prove whether they’re legit or not, but here’s what they had to say about the situation:

That second statement in particular is interesting, because it implies that the “review” units were just proofs of concepts, not even really prototypes (which kind of makes the whole review aspect moot in my opinion). However, if they indeed use different chips than the MIG Switch, it will be good proof that they did, to some extent, reverse engineer (or extract) the MIG Switch product, and are at least able to create their own product. Providing a way to verify this would most likely confirm they are legit.

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