A few hours ago, the latest update for the Nintendo Switch, firmware 3.0.2, was released. Although at the time of this writing it appears that the update is not compulsory to access online services such as the eShop, this might change as Nintendo could make the latest firmware required for eShop at some point.
This latest release brings some online functionality to some countries, but otherwise feels like a NOP for most of us. From the official changelog:
Nintendo Switch Online
Added online play in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru. This is currently available for free until the paid online service launches in 2018.
General system stability improvements to enhance the user’s experience
Unsurprisingly, many users on the scene are wondering if they should update, especially since firmware 3.0.1 already patched some of the most important exploits found so far. If you’re stuck on 3.0.1, it might feel like it makes sense to update to 3.0.2 now.
On the other side of the fence however, Nintendo Switch hackers recommend not to update, and we’ll echo their statement here: unless you have a good reason to update, if you eventually want homebrew on your console, you should always stay on as low a firmware as you can.
It does not mean that anyone today has good (public) reasons to believe that 3.0.2 is more secure than 3.0.1, or that 3.0.1 has a specific exploit that got patched with this release. But lower firmwares are always, mathematically, more vulnerable than higher firmware. If only because you can ultimately update from 3.0.1 to 3.0.2, but not the other way around.
The easiest (but not cheapest) solution to achieve that is to buy two consoles: one that you keep at a very low firmware for homebrew, and another one that you maintain up to date with the latest firmware, for official games. In the case of the Nintendo Switch however, this is easier said than done, as the console has been notoriously hard to find since its launch 6 months ago.