There’s not much that video game companies hate more than when people download games illegally. When so much hard work and dedication get put into a game, along with a pretty penny to boot, it can’t be a good feeling to watch as people steal your hard-earned work to play for free. Nintendo has recently taken to the UK High Courts to battle just that, and have emerged victorious.
There are countless sites on the internet that allow people to download and play games for free illegally, sell modded hardware, or teach people how to mod the console themselves to get free games. Nintendo had singled out four of the biggest offenders in terms of the Switch console and successfully compelled the five biggest UK internet service providers to “block, or at least impede, access” to these sites, with help from the UK High Court. The court case, which you can view here, lists five ISPs: Sky UK Limited, British Telecommunications PLC, EE Limited, TalkTalk Telecom Limited, and Virgin Media Limited. The ISPs are now required to limit their customers’ access, or block it altogether, to known Switch hack sites.
A Nintendo spokesperson made comment on the case to Eurogamer regarding the verdict. “Today, the UK High Court found the sale and distribution of ‘circumvention’ devices for the Nintendo Switch unlawful. 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.” The spokesperson also noted that the verdict will protect the games industry as a whole as well, working to protect the developers that make games.
The UK trade body for the games and interactive entertainment industry, Ukie, also weighed in on the verdict. “These circumvention devices, which enable the use of unauthorised copies of videogames, jeopardise the businesses of those who uphold and rely upon the sales of legitimate products. As such Ukie fully supports the ruling and wishes to reiterate the strong stance of the UK videogames industry against illegitimate operators,” according to the press release by the organization.