Nintendo Switch Online Is Down (No ETA On A Fix)

Very early in what was technically the morning of March 17th — at 1:56 a.m. PT to be exact — the Nintendo Switch Online service crashed, and has yet to be brought back online. This is merely one of many gaming services that have gone down, likely unable to deal with an inflated number of people logging on during what has become a period of increased time at home for large numbers of both kids and adults.

Self-isolation and social distancing have become a temporary new normal for many parts of the world this past week as the threat of the coronavirus has loomed particularly large over countries in which it had previously been considered a relatively minor threat. Meanwhile, those living in multiple countries in Asia have been dealing with either lockdowns or widespread business closures for weeks or months now.

Video games are suddenly being played by larger numbers of people than usual now as a mechanism for dealing with everything going on. Gaming functions both as a form of escapism, as well as a hobby on which it’s relatively easy to spend large amounts of time.

This has resulted in some decidedly unique gaming moments over the past few days. NBA stars are now becoming video game streamers; Counter-Strike: Global Offensive hit a record for its most ever concurrent players; and, just like Nintendo’s online service, Xbox Live has experienced multiple outages itself. These are all symptoms of the same behavior: unprecedented numbers of people are all playing video games at home right now.

Nintendo is primed for a big week, between its March 17th Nintendo Direct and the imminent release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which is being almost universally hailed as just the sort of relaxed escape needed during this bizarre time. While online functionality is far from necessary to enjoy Animal Crossing, Nintendo likely wants to do all it can to ensure its service is running smoothly by the time of the game’s March 20th release. The current status of Nintendo Switch Online can be viewed on Nintendo’s official website.

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