Switch was undoubtedly a huge success. Despite the high number of console sales though, Nintendo is always very careful to keep its content as suitable for everyone as possible.
Politics and pandemic
In line with this "family friendly" policy it seems that the new Switch update has added several terms to the list of those censored. First of all, words that can be used in have disappeared from the nicknames and Nintendo game chats racial slurs (“KKK”, “Slave”). It was time to follow linked to political extremism ("Nazi", "ACAB") but also any reference to the global pandemic in progress ("COVID", "Coronavirus").
They seem to have added a bunch of racially charged terms, like "KKK", "slave", "nazi", and "acab". You also can't type "coronavirus" or "covid" anymore either.
- OatmealDome (@OatmealDome) September 15, 2020
There hasn't been any official confirmation from Nintendo of this new list yet, but just go to their site and try to create an account to confirm that at least the words above are not available as nicknames.
Nintendo with this move shows particular attention to the US political situation. Restricting the use of pandemic-related terms is clearly a world-wide measure, given the global significance of the virus. But the choice to censor purely political words can only be explained in protests that have been going on for months in the US.
It is certainly not the first time that this situation of political tension has been reflected in video games. A few months ago Activision had removed the OK symbol from all online versions of Call of Duty. This is to prevent users linked to the alt right from using it to signal their presence in a politically neutral community.
However, where many companies relate to the situation by openly siding with the party they believe is right, usually therefore with the Black Lives Matter movement, Nintendo also demonstrates further neutrality in this case. In fact, note the censorship of the term ACAB, long linked to protests against law enforcement which is now an integral part of the movement of US demonstrators.