Nintendo Switch pirates beware: you could be banned for life

Nintendo's hands are nearly tied behind its back given how hackers and modders are spreading the word on a Switch exploit that Nintendo can't fix without making a Switch v2 with fixed hardware.

Of course, punishing the hackers who own the original copy of the game makes sense, and taking away their online privileges in response to pirating software is more than understandable, but there are more issues that come as a result of this. This recently led to the discovery of a bug that reportedly can't be fixed via software updates, potentially opening the doors to many exploits on the console. I can't speak to the veracity of these claims, but SciresM is one of the programmers behind Atmosphere, a work-in-progress custom firmware for Switch, so this in-depth knowledge of the device isn't coming from nowhere. This means that pirates may be banned not just from playing one pirated game online but from the entire Nintendo Network itself.


Nintendo's Switch, as many of its past consoles, has been heavily targeted by the hacking community's efforts. Otherwise, the process continues to authorize the Nintendo account associated with the console and then an application authorization token is requested for the specific title being played. Fortunately, piracy is only a small facet of the potential that homebrew can have on the switch, with Team Xecuter's modding solution also allowing users to simply run homebrew applications, opening up the homebrew scene to a larger audience. It turns out Nintendo implemented a four stage process which allows for "very strong anti-piracy measures". In the case of game cartridges, Nintendo can now detect whether or not the user connecting has data from a Nintendo-authorised cartridge, which varies from game to game.

As Nintendo hasn't acknowledged the system, it is also unknown if such users will have any recourse of appealing their punishment. Sharing of certificates should be fairly detectable, for Nintendo.

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