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Nintendo are banning Switch Game Cards individually to combat piracy

Nintendo Switch Console

Those of you who are Nintendo Switch fans may be in trouble. I say that because there are undoubtedly pirates out there playing Switch games in non-official ways. With emulators like Yuzu out there, there’s a good amount of gamers looking to dump game files. And with a whole host of homebrew Operating Systems for the console, there’s a lot of pirates around. And now, Switch Game Cards are getting sneakily banned.

Dumping ROMs has long been a part of the piracy and game hacking scenes. And the tradition continues with the Nintendo Switch. Hackers and pirates are dumping game files to distribute online, but it appears Nintendo isn’t playing around this time. The game files dumped from the Switch Game Cards take two primary forms, XCI or NSP. Depending on which means you’re using to either emulate or run the games, the software may require a certain kind of file to run said game. Trouble is, the dumping process carries over a unique ID signature for the game card it was dumped from. Nintendo can track these IDs posted online, and ban the game it came from. This ban means it can no longer be used in any fashion with Nintendo servers.

One prominent voice in the hardware hacking and piracy community has noted the strategy saying, “Looks like we’ve got confirmation that Nintendo is banning gamecart certificates (I guess people aren’t taking my advice…). The relevant error for trying to use a gamecard with a banned cert is 0x1F727C — 2124-4025.”

The digital cert for the Switch Game Cards is what’s used to track that user. Nintendo can ban that ID from accessing online features for the console. This poses a risk for those buying pre-owned games on the Switch. Because if you’re buying a cheap game, you may be buying a game that’s been banned. This will mean that major portions of the game may not work.

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There are also reports that Nintendo has found ways to track these dumped games running on custom firmware, preventing the games from running in such environments. This is especially notable as CFW is how many users dump games in the first place.

If you’re buying noticeably cheap copies of Switch games online, be really aware that it could have been a dumped copy that has been banned.

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