It will soon become a lot harder to pirate Nintendo Switch software in the UK, as Nintendo has won a court case that will result in Internet providers blocking access to websites that provide information regarding piracy. Nintendo has had a long history with pirates hacking the company's consoles in order to make them run illegal software, and Nintendo has already won a $12 million lawsuit in 2018 in regards to websites distributing illegal ROMs.
The Nintendo 3DS and Wii U fared better than their predecessors in regards to piracy, but the Switch has been the source of numerous homebrew hacks since launch. The reason the Nintendo Switch was hacked so quickly was due to an exploit in the Tegra X1 chip that is present in the base version of the system, though hacking the system is still a risky prospect, due to the potential of breaking it. The potential for the video game industry to be harmed by hacking is a real issue and Nintendo lost millions in revenue due to the rampant hacking of the Nintendo DS/Nintendo Wii era.
There are several websites which contain information about how to hack a Nintendo Switch to run homebrew programs, but it will soon be impossible to visit the most prominent of these sites in the UK thanks to a court ruling. According to Eurogamer, Nintendo successfully argued in court that Internet providers should prevent access to at least four websites that provide information about how to hack the Nintendo Switch or that sell hardware to UK residents that enables the system to be hacked. A spokesman from Nintendo gave a statement to Eurogamer in regards to the ruling.
"Nintendo is pleased that the UK High Court has confirmed that dealing in devices or software that enable piracy on Nintendo Switch systems is unlawful. This decision will help protect the UK games industry and the more than 1800 developers worldwide that create games for the Nintendo Switch platform, and who rely on legitimate sales of games for their livelihood and to keep bringing quality content to gamers."
The UK High Court has ruled that there is no legal justification for these websites to be able to provide information that can allow people to run illegal software on the Switch. The claim that the websites infringed upon Nintendo's trademarks has also been upheld. The result of this lawsuit could lead to further regulation of websites that provide information about hacking video game consoles. The Nintendo Switch is a sales success and it makes sense that Nintendo would want to impede any hacking scene involving the system, which is why the result of this ruling is such a big deal for the company.
The ruling might seem as if it is a victory for Nintendo, but blocking access to websites through ISPs is not a guaranteed method of preventing people from reaching the sites. There are BitTorrent websites that have been banned in the UK for years, such as The Pirate Bay, which can still be easily accessed through proxy websites. It's possible to slow people down if they are looking for these websites, but determined hackers will still find the information they are looking for if it involves being able to save money by downloading games. The best chance Nintendo has of shutting down the homebrew scene is by altering the hardware in the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro.