Nintendo Switch hack developments have been a running theme in the early days of 2018, and there is a new message to report from the hardware experts at Fail0verflow. According to a recent tweet, the team’s latest Switch exploit works on all console models and doesn’t require a modchip to function. In other words, if released, an exploit could work much like the simple hardware jailbreaks currently available for iOS.

While the message itself is only about 30 words long, it’s very telling for those who want to know more about Fail0verflow’s progress. The hack was shown running a modified Switch boot screen last week, so it’s no surprise coders have classified the flaw as a “coldboot exploit.” The unsigned code is injected as soon as the hardware boots, which makes modifications like custom splash screens possible.

As tantalizing as that description may sound for folks hoping to get the most out of Nintendo’s hybrid console, however, prospective users should manage their expectations for a release date. The source tweet doesn’t mention one, and Fail0verflow has a speckled history of giving its work to the public. The group has earned a reputation for providing accurate information, but it’s also been skittish about popularizing tools like these that could potentially pave the way for software piracy.

In January 2016, for example, Fail0verflow released the basic patches required to run Linux on PS4. It wasn’t however, responsible for providing any of the firmware kernel hacks that actually make those patches useful. In October Fail0verflow revealed a 4.05 PS4 firmware kernel hack, but it had been patched by Sony many months prior. With this pattern in mind, it’s possible the group may not release its Switch hack at all if it’s believed to be too damaging to Nintendo.

Given the information we have, then, questions remain as to why Fail0verflow would post this brief update in the first place. While the possibility of an eventual release can’t be ruled out, there are other scenarios to consider too. Maybe these details were revealed for the sake of curiosity. It's also possible Fail0verflow might be sending a statement to other groups like Team Xecuter that have previously implied selling a future-proof Switch hack for profit. If the same results can be replicated without hardware modification, a product like Xecuter’s is effectively exposed as a vehicle for greed. Even if Fail0verflow isn’t responsible, maybe this info will motivate others to release a software-based hack that functions on the same premise.

If this hack were to surface in the public space, there’s no telling what it might be capable of. In addition to running the series of classic system emulators currently in the works for firmware 3.0, it might also allow owners to play pirated software as well. Our best guess is that the Switch scene may begin with basic programs built for outdated firmware, but, if the proper discoveries are made, the use case could grow significantly. Especially since we’ve seen repeated mentions of hacks that work on all Switch models, Nintendo may even be forced to revise the hardware itself to patch out any design flaws.

It’s hard to say which team will be the first to release a public-facing Switch hack, but we wouldn’t necessarily expect Fail0verflow to be involved.

Nintendo Switch is available now for $299.

Do you think Fail0verflow will ever release its future-proof Switch hack? Will piracy take hold of the Switch in 2018? Tell us in the comments section!