The Christmas Morning Nightmare

By Scott Hamilton

Senior Expert in Emerging Technology

On December 25, 2021, an annual tradition in many homes across the globe began. Children all over the world woke early to find presents from Santa under the Christmas tree, but it did not all bring joy. Between around 7 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Central Time a critical web service was experiencing technical difficulties. You might begin to wonder, “What web service is critical on Christmas morning?” For yet another year, children woke to find new Nintendo hardware, or new games, under the Christmas tree and were excited to play with their new toys. The nightmare begins here.

The Nintendo Switch storefront, known as the eShop, which allows you to install updates, register games, and is required for the initial installation of most Nintendo Switch games, returned error code 2811-7429. The console said “unable to connect to server” and said you should try again later. Contacting Nintendo resulted in the all too familiar message, “We are experiencing difficulties with our network services.” This was not a big problem if you purchased a Nintendo Switch and a couple of games, but if your gift was a Nintendo gift card for downloading games, you were just out of luck.

There were reports of thousands of user complaints about not being able to download their newly gifted online games. So I give you a word of advice for next Christmas, if you plan to give someone an online game or new game system for Christmas, hook up the system before Christmas, install all the updates and download the online games, or you might just find yourself in the nightmare. This seems to be an annual issue with one game console or another. It is the one time a year when everyone gets new games and gear. The gaming websites fail to handle the large influx of traffic, and impatient parents and children alike just keep hitting retry, making the problem worse for the already over-worked servers.

The solution, the same as every other year, is that Nintendo increases the server capacity for a few hours using cloud services like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft; the problem is that the reaction time bringing up additional servers is too slow and in the hours it takes to solve the problem, most of us have moved on to other things. I really hope you were not one of the parents or children living the annual Christmas nightmare of non-working new games.

Until next week, stay safe and learn something new.

Scott Hamilton is a Senior Expert in Emerging Technologies at ATOS and can be reached with questions and comments via email to or through his website at

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