A bug from Pokemon Sword and Shield caused some Roku devices to crash and enter a boot loop, has been fixed. The fix should come in a firmware update, which should now be available. If you are currently stuck in a boot loop, try powering off your Nintendo Switch, or put it in airplane mode; then turn on your Roku device and install the update.
Speaking to The Verge, a Roku Spokesperson said:
“We are aware of an issue when using Nintendo Switch and the latest Pokémon game impacting a limited number of Roku devices. We are rolling out a software update to resolve it and impacted users can check for the update by going into Settings > System > Software Update.”
This is one of the weirder bugs to pop up in gaming history. The top theory is that Pokemon Sword and Shield sends out small data packets to find nearby Switch consoles, and the port they use is the same port that Roku devices use for LAN based updates. Or if you are a programmer, then here’s a detailed run down by Reddit user mykittymadealoaf:
“Pokémon sends a network discovery packet to each device on port 26037. Roku also listen on that port for LAN based updates so that multiple devices on the same network can update each other. It was an obvious decision. Saved Roku around a quarter million dollars in CDN traffic costs. Roku is popular in the commercial space where it’s often used as a media source to control sometimes 100s of TVs on the same network. It just so happens that Pokémon’s network discovery packet shares the exact same bytes as Roku’s signed bytecode to reboot.
The odds are astronomically low. We could have wound up with an alien planet full of Justin Timberlake clones, but the universe decided this was our colossal fluke.”
Rokus are online media players that basically turn your device into a smart TV, aiming like many others to eliminate the need for a set-top box.
I’ve worked in the gaming industry for around 10 years, in journalism and QA. I also run Hampshire’s biggest charity gaming event, the Southampton Game Fest.