As is common knowledge now, banner games like Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild have been suffering from performance problems on the Nintendo Switch. Some of this is undoubtedly due to the technical limitations of the console, but it seems there may be another cause.
According to a report from Nintendo Life, the culprit could be the way the hybrid console searches for a WiFi connection with its auto connect feature. Apparently, these attempts to search for a network are putting extra load on the processor and causing these dips in frame rate. This all happens under the hood, which could explain the sometimes erratic frame rate we have seen reported.
Their source is a third party developer, who claimed that the issues with the WiFi connection and the hit on the console’s performance it causes is a known issue at camp Nintendo, and apparently they are working on a fix.
There was also a report from a Nintendo Life reader, who said that they experienced better performance once they turned off the pesky WiFi auto connect.
“I believe these are not the fault of the game, but of the Switch trying to periodically auto-connect to WiFi where there is no network available. This is supposed to happen in the background, but it apparently does affect the game(s).”
Apparently, the user found better performance in multiple games, including Zelda, I am Setsuna and Fast RMX. This is purely anecdotal of course, but it is still an interesting report none the less. For anyone suffering from similar issues, you can simply enable Flight Mode to turn off all WiFi, but take note that this will not work if the console is docked.
While it’s definitely good to hear that allegedly Nintendo is working on a fix, it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence that the system is struggling to run games at a consistently good performance so soon after launch. With any luck, this will get a little better as developers learn to work with the system better, but I have a feeling we will see an upgrade to the Switch’s hardware before long.