Nintendo Begins Banning Switch Consoles Running Pirated Software

Nintendo has been selling the Switch about as fast as it can build them resulting in some bountiful profits for the company. The Switch has been the subject of some hacks with all the consoles on the market suffering from an unpatchable exploit thanks to the NVIDIA Tegra chip inside. Hackers have been able to leverage that exploit to do things like install Linux on the device. The ability to load unauthorized software led to concerns of piracy for Nintendo.

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The exploit may be something that Nintendo can’t fix but it can most certainly tell if you are running pirated software. Nintendo is banning consoles running any pirated software from its network. There are a few ways that Nintendo can detect pirated software, so you might want to think twice before you go that route.

One of the methods is that every game card has a unique key inside. When that game is dumped online and pirates begin to play it, Nintendo knows and can ban the game card from being used online again. This method has raised concerns about buying used games via GameStop and other locations. Nintendo also knows when downloaded games are being pirated.

Reports indicate when a player downloads a pirated game purchased on a different console or account, Nintendo can detect that mismatch and ban the console from the network immediately. It's able to detect and ban this way because there is unknown encrypted data shared in certificates when a game is being uploaded. Those pirating games are unable to have signed tickets and the tickets can’t be forged.

The tickets have information like device ID and account ID included that Nintendo can read and use for banning the console. There is no recourse to users of banned consoles giving Nintendo the ultimate banhammer to wield against those using the unpatchable exploit for piracy.