Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck at risk from record heat, devicemakers warn

Comment on this storyCommentNintendo and Valve have issued warnings to customers regarding overheating hardware as brutal heat waves continue to bake the world.Advanced electronics such as smartphones and gaming devices don’t do well in high temperatures. Too much exposure risks damaging sensitive internal components. For gamers living well north of the equator, this has generally not been a problem — until recently.Japan is currently in a power crisis from the record-breaking heat wave engulfing the country. Office workers in the Tokyo metro government are operating in the dark, rivers and dams are drying up, and nearly 5,000 people have been hospitalized during one of the most excruciating heat waves in Japan’s history.Here’s how to keep your phone cool and working in a heat waveAmid Japan’s latest heat wave, Nintendo tweeted out a diagram of the Nintendo Switch with advisories on how to prevent overheating. The company told players that the Switch should be played in an environment between 41 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (or 5 to 35 Celsius) and to avoid blocking the device’s rear intake and exhaust vents, as reported and translated by Nintendo Life.気温が高い場所でNintendo Switchを使用すると、本体の温度が高くなる場合があります。5~35℃の場所で使用してください。また、吸気口や排気口がふさがれていると、本体の温度が高くなる場合があります。吸気口や排気口まわりの風通しを良くしてください。— 任天堂サポート (@nintendo_cs) July 11, 2022

On July 19 — the same day the U.K. saw its hottest day on record at 104.3 degrees Fahrenheit (40.2 Celsius) — Valve also tweeted a warning about the Steam Deck to customers weathering this heat wave, advising them to play at an ambient temperature range between 32 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0 to 35 Celsius). Using the Steam Deck in an environment with a temperature above that will trigger the device to start shuttering its performance; if it gets too hot, it will shut down altogether. This is a common, intentional fail-safe in most electronic devices to prevent damage.For our friends in the midst of a heatwave, a quick note about Steam Deck in high temperatures. Steam Deck performs at its best in ambient temperatures between 0° and 35° C. If the temperature gets higher than this, Steam Deck may start to throttle performance to protect itself.— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) July 19, 2022

In the past, console manufacturers rarely had to make public announcements about how to mitigate device damage from overheating. But these warnings are likely to become another new normal as the consequences of climate change continue to affect everything from public infrastructure to gaming.