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The Switch Is On Its Last Legs, But Nintendo's Not Backing Down From Piracy

Two new lawsuits show Nintendo's still not playing around about the Switch.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: A competitor plays Pokemon on a Nintendo Switch console during the 2022...
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Nintendo Switch is in the final stretch of its legendary life cycle. But it doesn’t mean Nintendo’s ready to let up on its legal crusade against those trying to pirate games on the seven-year-old console-handheld hybrid.

Two new lawsuits filed by the Japanese game company target prominent players in the on-going effort to enable piracy on the console. It is the company’s latest show of strength and intolerance for game piracy and a clear message to the Switch’s developing mod scene that Nintendo won’t ease up on its pursuit, even as it gears up for the launch of its next console.

The first lawsuit, filed June 28, is against a Ryan Michael Daly, the person behind the website Modded Hardware. According to the lawsuit, the website “sells a variety of products specifically designed to circumvent Nintendo’s technological protection measures.” These products include chips designed to disable the Switch’s ability to authenticate legally attained games, devices that allow Switch games to be copied to memory cards, as well as Switch’s that have been pre-modified to play pirated games without any of the hassle of tinkering with the hardware.

Nintendo is notoriously litigious regarding its IP and hardware.


The lawsuit against Modded Hardware says the websites has rendered “substantial and irreparable” harm to the game company’s business. Nintendo claims that it contacted Daly about their illegal practices as early as March 15, 2024, but Daly failed to cease production of the services and illicit goods.

The second lawsuit, also filed June 28, targets James C. Williams, also known under the psudonym “Archbox”. Unlike Modded Hardware, Archbox conducts an entirely digital operation. According to the lawsuit filed last Friday, Williams is the lead moderator of a subreddit named r/SwitchPirates. Nintendo alleges that Williams is “the operator, overseer, and driving force behind several Pirate Shops, through which Defendant has offered massive libraries of pirated Nintendo Switch games.” Nintendo accuse him of encouraging and helping people download illegal copies of Switch games on a massive scale.

“The ‘SwitchPirates’ community has grown to more than 190,000 ‘members,’ all seeking to engage in and benefit from video game piracy,” the lawsuit accuses.

Nintendo is asking for $150,000 in compensatory damages for each copyright that these two defendants infringed, amounting to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Daly, Williams, and Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

With Switch games like The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom still on the horizon, Nintendo isn’t letting up suing those who pirate their games.


Both of these lawsuits shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Nintendo is notoriously litigious when it comes to its IP and hardware. At times, their willingness to sue can end projects that are genuine, fan-driven love letters to their beloved franchises. Projects like Metroid Prime 2D, a gorgeous, faithful demake of the Gamecube classic, and Relic Castle, an online hub for free Pokemon fan games, were spiked unceremoniously despite fan support and demand. They even threated to go after Palworld, the base building game about capturing monsters, because of the aesthetic resemblance of its fictional monsters.

In the case of Modded Hardware and Archbox, however, their reasoning to go after these two entities is understandable. Even though Nintendo has signaled that the end of the Switch lifecycle is near, they still have big games, like The Legend Of Zelda: Echoes Of Wisdom and a graphically stunning remake of Dragon Quest III slated for the remainder of the fiscal year. If Nintendo wants the Switch to go out with a bang ahead of its next console, the potential for fans to play the console’s final blockbusters for free is a non-negotiable.

Nintendo has been especially active in recent months. Earlier this year, it shut down development on the Yuzu Switch emulator as well as the 3DS emulator Citra with a successful $2.4 million lawsuit. The company claimed these emulators were responsible for the pirating of over one million copies of The Legend Of Zelda Tears Of The Kingdom before the game even launched.

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