Pokemon Sword and Shield is making Roku devices crash, here's what to do

Gotta crash 'em all. But the company says it's fixing the issue with a software update.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture, Video Games, Breaking News
Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
Expertise News, mobile, broadband, 5G, home tech, streaming services, entertainment, AI, policy, business, politics Credentials
  • I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
Sean Keane
Corinne Reichert
2 min read

The new Pokemon game is sending strange signals to Roku devices.

The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Sword and Shield isn't playing nice with Roku . The Nintendo Switch game, which came out Nov. 15, is making Roku devices on the same network crash and get stuck in a boot loop, the company confirmed on Reddit .

"We are aware of an issue when using Nintendo Switch and the latest Pokémon game impacting a limited number of Roku devices," it said in an email to CNET. "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."

While waiting for the update, Roku suggested that people experiencing the issue set their console to airplane mode (which cuts it off from the network). Roku Sticks and TVs have been impacted, Reddit users reported.

The problem is caused by the games' Y-Comm service, which constantly searches for other Pokemon players on the same wireless network and online, according to one Reddit user. Roku devices apparently mistake Pokemon's data for its own data packets, and crash because they can't read it.

The Pokemon Company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roku added instructions on Tuesday outlining what to do if your device restarts when you're playing the new Switch game.

"We are rolling out a software update to users affected by the issue, or you can manually have your Roku device check for an update if it is not currently restarting," it says on the support page.

To check for a manual update, you need to:

  1. Press the Home button on the Roku remote
  2. Scroll until you find Settings
  3. Select System
  4. Select System update.

The Roku device will then check for a software update and install it, after which the company said it will return to normal functionality. The software update is called 9.2.0 build 4701 on Roku players and Roku Streaming Sticks , and 9.1.0 build 4501 or 9.2.0 build 4601 on Roku TVs.

If your Roku device keeps restarting, you need to turn off the Nintendo Switch or put it in airplane mode; unplug and then reconnect the power cable from the Roku device so it restarts; and then follow the steps above.

Originally published Nov. 18.
Update, Nov. 19: Adds instructions from Roku.

Cozy up with geeky sci-fi, gamer and superhero sweaters

See all photos