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Pokémon Sword and Shield for Switch is crashing Roku devices: What to do

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It's not often that a device connected to your television breaks down because of another device in your home, but that appears to be exactly what's happening right now with Roku boxes and the Nintendo Switch.

Posters on a Reddit forum are reporting that their Roku boxes are crashing and not responsive after playing Pokemon Sword and Shield on the Nintendo Switch. The only way to address the problem, according to Redditors and Roku itself, is to put the Nintendo Switch into Airplane Mode.

Pokemon Sword and Shield is the big new release for the Nintendo Switch. The game was released on Nov. 15. Prior to the release, Roku users said that they hadn't experienced any of the problems they are now.

Searching for a fix, they went to Reddit, only to find other people had experienced the same problem. Most surprisingly, they found that when they put the Switch into Airplane Mode so it couldn't beam out any signals, their Roku boxes would load just fine.

One of the users and his wife who had been affected have a background in software development. They analyzed what was going on with help from the open source tool Wireshark and found that the Switch is sending out repeated packets over the network to find Switch units running the Pokemon titles. The Roku is reading those packets and crashing.

Interestingly, Roku itself responded to the complaints and acknowledged communication with its set-top boxes and the Switch is causing a problem. There's no permanent fix, and it's unclear whether Nintendo or Roku would need to release that fix. For now, then, Roku said affected users should put the Switch into Airplane Mode or turn it off completely. At that point, Roku said, everything should work fine.