Nintendo bans various Switch owners from going online, including at least one member of the homebrew scene

Looks like Nintendo is doing what they can to fight back against the wave of homebrew and hacking hitting the Switch lately. A number of accounts were banned from going online last week, including a prominent homebrew creator. He reached out to Nintendo to see why he was banned and if it could be reversed. They answered back by saying the ban is staying in place, due to violations of the End User Licensing Agreement.

Categories: Consoles
Tags: switch


Top Rated Comment
Tue May 22 18 09:20am
Rating: 13

I am in favor of this and I'm also in favor of homebrew. A person should absolutely be able to mod their console but don't expect to be playing online with other users.

Tue May 22 18 06:24am
Rating: 1

I am glad Nintendo is committing to do this to protect their online service, as long as hackers are not able to find a way to avoid being banned is going to be better for online users

The Homebrew scene actually wanted this so they can identify how Nintendo is detecting and prevent consoles from being detected.

Tue May 22 18 04:26pm
(Updated 1 time)

Not banning is not a solution to that.
It's a good thing they got banned.

Yeah it’s a damned if they do and damned if they don’t scenario. Wonder if the console and account is banned. Nintendo might make a little extra money from people who need to purchase new online passes Smile

Tue May 22 18 04:39pm
Rating: 1

Yeah, and still, detection is a lot easier than preventing to be detected. Especially online.
If Nintendo's smart they add server-sided encrypted markers generated from save data. That way, any change of online stats in save data will create a mismatch of the encrypted marker with the save data. A mismatch can then immediately result in a ban.

I do not care about the online.. Never was and never will. I have a PS4, PS3 and Nintendo Switch and never had online at all. I refused and its not for me. So I am fine.

Tue May 22 18 07:41am
Rating: 2

Good. Piracy will ruin it for everyone, just like it did with the DS.

Piracy was a rampant problem for the DS, sure, a problem for Nintendo.
How on earth was piracy a problem for everyone else?

Also, Homebrew =/= Piracy by definition, but is rather a by-product of it.

Yeah because there totally wasn't an article about how a pirated classic game was ported to the Switch thanks to homebrew. Homebrew always opens the door to hacking and piracy. Homebrew = piracy.

Is it hard to see with your head so far up your own arse?
Porting old games to new consoles is nothing new, it's how the newest port of Sonic CD for mobile devices actually made it's way to store shelves with SEGAs consent, heck that's how Gabe Newell and the original team made Microsoft billions by porting Doom to one of the original Windows systems, establishing it as a potential platform for all kinds of future ports and such.

Piracy is a by-product of homebrew.
Homebrew is not piracy.

Tue May 22 18 04:40pm
Rating: 2

You know, homebrew developers should develop tools to counter/prevent piracy. They're inaction despite their control over the tools they create is condoning piracy even though they say they don't.

Homebrew enables piracy.

It’s a catch 22. To enable homebrew you essentially need to gain root access. Once you have root you can do anything.

Sure once you have root you could change to a lesser privileged user but there will always be that moment where you have the keys to the kingdom. So even if the homebrew folks tried to restrict/prevent piracy it would be trivial to just circumvent that. The exploit to gain root access will still be there.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that homebrew enables piracy. But homebrew does not equal piracy.

I’m a firm believer that if Nintendo provided free “homebrew” capabilities the systems wouldn’t get hacked open. The PS3 was left untouched until Sony removed the ability to install a full Linux partition on the PS3 (it might have been running as a Virtual Machine I can’t remember). People used that for homebrew and it didn’t, in any way, enable piracy or compromise the PlayStation side of the machine.

Sony removed that feature and guess what happened....PS3 hacked and the doors blown off it.

If Nintendo themselves provided an option to boot into Linux in a way that is sandboxed from the Switch OS we wouldn’t see the fast homebrew developements that will result in piracy being a viable option soon. Instead we would see cool innovative uses for the hardware.

Well, that's avoiding the responsibility. If you'd agree that most people using homebrew for pirating are just using the tools others built on top of the exploits:
Go to this website to download these files, enter this DNS address etc. – that's code created and hosted by hackers and homebrew developers.

If the homebrew firmware and homebrew application had restrictions to prevent piracy, a lot of users of homebrew for pirating would be stopped, left to figure things out for themselves instead of relying on homebrew code.

Also, you can easily pirate games on Linux especially classic games, even if you're sandboxed away from the Switch OS. And besides that, there are plenty of hackers who just want to crack open the system. I don't think the anecdotal evidence of the PS3 proofs this wouldn't have happened if the Switch had an open linux virtual machine. I get that you believe that's the case but I am not at all convinced hackers would stop short of gaining full control over a system they get their hands on.

You also have to realise that Nintendo obviously doesn't want people developing applications without going through them, for various reasons (security, quality and of course also control and financial reasons). They already have a huge indie program that promotes small game developers. And they're also starting to give creators access to programming with the Joy-Con in Nintendo Labo. Obviously the latter far more restrictive than homebrew but it's still going in the direction of catering to the wish of creating programs for Switch at home.

All the big things we're seeing appear on Swich homebrew at the moment are piracy related. (Unless you also want to believe all the roms of the classic games that are being ported are ripped off personally owned cartridges in countries where it is fully legal to do that and to put it on a different system than originally built for.

We're left with a very tiny part where homebrew activities are both legal and without alternative. The least the homebrew scene could do is make an actual effort to push back to illegal activities instead of fully enable people to pirate away.

The exploits used grant you unrestricted access. The homebrew (non piracy folks) can’t change the exploits.

If the homebrew firmware and homebrew application had restrictions to prevent piracy, a lot of users of homebrew for pirating would be stopped, left to figure things out for themselves instead of relying on homebrew code.

That’s simply not how it works or can work. People who want to develop a piracy app don’t need to wait for a nice “Homebrew Launcher”. The just use the exploits to run their code. Root is root. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superuser

The people that want to do piracy-free homebrew cannot put any checks or restrictions in to prevent it.

The least the homebrew scene could do is make an actual effort to push back to illegal activities instead of fully enable people to pirate away.

Again, impossible. The exploits can be used by anyone smart enough to leverage them.
Even if the (piracy free) homebrew community stopped everything they are doing, or even stopped months and months ago, it wouldn’t prevent a pro-pirate homebrewer from continuing on.

Wed May 23 18 08:31pm
Rating: 1

People who want to develop a piracy app don’t need to wait

Obviously. And those people would clearly be wrong in doing so. However, it would definitively place blame on those who are developing a dedicated piracy app built directly on the root rather than the homebrew launcher tools. Same goes for the people using those dedicated piracy tools.
But the developers of that piracy app are only a small part of people compared to the people who don't develop but simply use the tools developed by others to pirate games.

The people that want to do piracy-free homebrew cannot put any checks or restrictions in to prevent it.

They can put checks and restrictions to prevent their developed tools from being used for that purpose. Limiting ease of use for people who want to pirate games as well as use the tools and applications available on their homebrew platform by requiring them to swap between the different homebrew platforms rather than being able to pirate games on the same platform as homebrew.
It would mean they as developers of that restricted homebrew platform don't enable piracy.
In which case their homebrew platform is not just not equal to piracy, but also not partly encompassing it at all.

Again, impossible.

Untrue. Pushing back isn't the same as preventing it altogether. They can restrict their own developed firmware mods and other tools in ways that limit the illegal use of copyrighted games.
Pro-piracy homebrewers can indeed continue on if they are smart enough and willing to put in the effort to leverage the exploits, but it would not be piracy free homebrew community that enables it.

Look you don’t understand how operating systems work and I don’t have the time to explain any further.

What you want the homebrew community to do is fantasy and can never be done. It simply is technically impossible.

No you don't understand that I don't want the homebrew community to prevent piracy altogether. Just that they put obstacles in their own platforms so particularly laymen can't use those platforms to pirate games.

The published homebrew firmware mod is installed via a website that hosts the files (the DNS redirects to that website. This is how most people will get homebrew on their system and on top of which most people will publish their programs and from which most people will run programs.
That software can add restrictions to what programs it allows to run.
This doesn't prevent people from putting other pro-piracy software on top of root access but it does prevent them from going the easy route and use existing firmware mod programs.

It'd be like a rooted android phone. You still can't download and install unverified apps from the play store or upload any app to it without having to meet the play store's demands, but with root access you can side-load programs. However, the play store isn't accountable for those actions. Likewise the homebrew "channel" developers, who modded the firmware to add a homebrew "channel" to the system can waive accountability by barring illegal content from their "channel" software. People can still side-load since they have root access but they won't be able to access or run pirating software via the homebrew "channel".

The other fella who replied said a lot of things way better than a dumb-dumb like me could, but I will say since you were kind enough to reply (twice) that I do whole heartedly agree that Homebrew enables piracy, there's no denying that for sure.

It would be nice for Homebrew makers to create protections but like the other guy said, root access and all that.

I replied to him (in depth), if you're interested you can read it.

In short:
Root access is mainly useful for the people developing the homebrew tools, not for the majority of pirates using those tools. With protections in place with their own code homebrew makers can prevent most pirates from using their tools and hosted websites directly. They'd need to figure things out themselves creating their own piracy code.

With the huge part of homebrew uses being piracy related, and only a few non-piracy uses without alternatives, the least homebrew developers could do is make it harder for pirates to use their firmware mods and homebrew applications.

When developers know their games will just be pirated en masse, they reduce support for the console because there is no point in producing games that will just be stolen instead of purchased. Publishers are businesses...they exist to make money. When developers reduce support for the console, that means fewer quality games for the legitimate users to purchase. That's how piracy is a problem for everyone else. People support the developers and publishers they like by purchasing their games, not by stealing their games.

While home-brew is indeed separate from piracy, the primary reason why <I>modern</I> consoles are "jailbroken" is for piracy. The "home-brew scene" on modern currently-supported consoles is simply double-speak for piracy.

Yay! Now we can enjoy playing without those party crashes!

Soo good! Ban all those pirates.

Tue May 22 18 09:20am
Rating: 13

I am in favor of this and I'm also in favor of homebrew. A person should absolutely be able to mod their console but don't expect to be playing online with other users.

This is how I feel. Everyone is always so “black and white” here over issues like this without considering the nuances that make most things “grey.”

I’m ok with people dinking around with their shit, but I also want to feel confident that Nintendo is doing what they can to protect the online experience for everyone else.

Homebrew can do all they want, but if they want the power to play online they gonna need to homebrew their own Internet.

Same here. When there are more things that interest me available in the Switch homebrew scene, I will be buying a spare Switch just for homebrew stuff and I won't care if it gets banned.

Yep. Same. People should be able to do whatever they want to their hardware once they bought it, but Nintendo should take steps to protect people from those who would use this method for potentially nefarious means (as in, if there were some sort of jack*** who would try to upload a trojan or some sort of virus to the people they played with online).

Tue May 22 18 09:57am
Rating: 1

These aren't pirates you idiots. These are people unlocking the machine they bought so they can use homebrew on it, as they should be able to.

Some of them, like < 0,001%, yes. The rest just want free games on their Switch or cheat during online multiplayer.

All this does is expose to homebrewers various checks Nintendo does. Once they are properly documented it will most likely be trivial to get around.

Not necessarily for online. If they use server sided encrypted markers to detect for example save data modification you'd need to have the server sided key to fabricate a marker (for which you'd need to hack the server). So the moment you mod your save data you'll create a mismatch with the marker.
Similarly they can do this within their system as well. As well as various other possible methods.
People with homebrew would need to stay offline.

I don't get you guys..I mean don't get me wrong, I am not much into piracy as much as everyone else here but how is this actually piracy? its just a homebrew...

Also, pirates have arguably helped preserve gaming in some fashion. Without them, we wouldn't have gotten emulators that can emulate Dreamcast games on HD!

We would still have the Dreamcast if they didn't pirate all the games.

19 Years after launch? I don't think so, my friend. ;)

Sega's poor decisions played a bigger role in Dreamcast's demise than piracy did.

So it's okay to pirate?

Way ahead of you lel

Tue May 22 18 01:34pm
(Updated 1 time)

I'm not saying that its ok to do it at all... I am just saying that this isn't exactly being piracy.

EDIT: Ok so I did say that..but for old consoles, it may be worth considering that its hard to get them and hard to get them to work and all.

Tue May 22 18 04:52pm
(Updated 1 time)

The difficulty of obtaining something in a legitimate way can't justify the action of stealing it instead. Sometimes there's things you cannot have. People need to learn to accept that.

So you're saying that region exclusive games shouldn't be translated and emulated?

Not necessarily. You're free to translate the text outside of the game. Or even develop a tool that adds the text over the original. However, you aren't allowed to steal the original code to play the game. So you'd need to import a copy of said region exclusive game if you really want to play it. (whether you're going to rip the rom to play on an emulator or play on hardware that enables translation mods or play on original hardware with a translated script on the side doesn't matter).

If it's difficult to find that copy in a legitimate way it still doesn't justify stealing it instead. Accept that you can't have anything you want. Realise that you don't need anything you want. IMO people should learn to have an ethical standard with this – even when they think something is unfair in the first place.

Its still piracy at the end of the day since you are playing a material that the hacker translated the script which technically means that you are using the translated script and not the original text. In any case, its a grey area that I don't want to argue further.

Piracy will never be justified but it is one of those that helped preserved gaming and still does now. While I agree that you can't get anything you want always, that doesn't mean that you can't try to get it and that's when people are bound to do stuff that many others will want.

Heck, there are companies like SEGA who do DRM plans and what not and that is anti consumer whether you like it or not.

Again, I hate piracy as much as everyone else here because it steals the hardwork of the creativity that has been established. But if products are outdated to the point that they are ludicrously expensive or if there are games where the companies that made them have gone bankrupt, there's almost no reason to get them legally.

I don't pirate at all but I do see its appeal in some fashion.

Yeah, you're right: the translation is a derivative work. In that case the only fully legal options you have are:
– learning the language or doing the translation yourself.
– translators asking and getting permission for translating the game.

However I have yet to see Nintendo sending cease and desist notices to people who are solely translating region exclusive games (and not doing other things Nintendo does have a big problem with at the same time). Some things are tolerated by copyright holders. Like you said you can try.
But when it becomes clear the copyright holder doesn't want you to make those derivative works you should stop. The best course of action is to actually ask (something I rarely hear about people doing).

Indeed it's a grey area, if you don't want to discuss that further we can stop doing so.

it is one of those that helped preserved gaming and still does now.
Preservation isn't a justification for piracy either as you can preserve games without using the preservation copies or publicly distributing them. Copying for the purpose of preservation rather than use can indeed be defended under fair use law. However, public distribution is not an action that is in line with just preservation.

I would not at all argue that continued illegal copying, distribution, and downloading of games is helping preserving games (let alone gaming). There are plenty of game musea and other efforts that are preserving all kinds of games – even ones no one is very interested in. On top of that, nowadays many publishers and developers also preserve their own masters and other, development stage material. We don't need piracy to preserve games. Piracy is preserving the ability for anyone to play games whenever and however they want even if they don't own an original copy. But I'd argue there's no justification for that.

So the argument "I'm/It's preserving the game" is also a bad justification for illegal copying, and especially illegal distribution – aka pirating.

While I agree that you can't get anything you want always, that doesn't mean that you can't try to get it and that's when people are bound to do stuff that many others will want.
That's just changing the phrasing. I said people should learn to accept they can't have anything they want.

Of course you can try to get it. In a legitimate way that is. One of the "try" options is buying an original copy from someone. Another is asking the company for a rerelease. But Sometimes all legitimate ways are impossible. That is no justification to try to get it in a illegitimate way instead. Then you're crossing the line. Rather it's time to accept you can't have anything you want (and hope you might get to in the future).

In the end DRM is copyright protection. It's main purpose is to be anti-thief. Sometimes DRM places heavy restrictions on regular users. In those cases it's placing a burden on usability and user experience. Heavy DRM is a result of continued piracy. People who steal games are mainly to blame. However, degrading the user experience to much is a bad thing and it's not good for the product either. I don't know if I would call it anti-consumer because that's not inherently the goal of the protection. It's not a way to make more money over the back of the legitimate consumer.

But if products are outdated to the point that they are ludicrously expensive or if there are games where the companies that made them have gone bankrupt, there's almost no reason to get them legally.

I'd say there's "almost no option" rather than "almost no reason". And I'd also say that there's no reasonable justification to then instead get them illegally. I'd say that that's the point where people need to learn to accept they can't have what they want all the time.

By the way, in case of bankruptcy the IP is transferred depending on the situation and the laws in place. You can try to track the current owner down.

I agree there's a lot of appeal to steal the games if there's no way to buy them legitimately. Especially when there doesn't seem to be a direct and personal consequence to doing so. But appeal also doesn't justify it. ;-)

In short:
– to be fully legal a translator should get permission, otherwise translations are indeed a grey area.
– (Continued) illegal copying, distributing and downloading of games – piracy – is not significantly helping preservation efforts of games or gaming. There are plenty of alternative public and private preservation efforts that are legal and don't have the bad aspects of piracy attatched.
– Not being able to get anything you want indeed doesn't prevent you from trying to get a game legitimately in various ways. However, not being able to do so in a legitimate way is no justification to resort to illegitimate ways. Rather that's the moment for acceptance.
– DRM isn't inherently anti-consumer. It's copyright protection that's inherently anti-thief. Piracy is the main reason for DRM and holds the blame for it's existence. Heavy DRM that degrades the UX is indeed problematic, unquestionably! But DRM is not inherently for financial gain over the back of consumers.
– The difficulty of obtaining something in a legitimate way (be it because of age, cost, or inaccessibility due to bankruptcy) can't justify the action of stealing it instead. Even though it might indeed be appealing.

Like I said, sometimes there's things you cannot have (Legally). People need to learn to accept that. (And not turn to illegal ways to (try to) get what they want.)

Yeah...I guess you're right. Still at least for Japan only games, that is fairly justifiable. Nintendo knows about the mother 3 room hack and yet they were fine with it.

Thu May 24 18 06:11pm
(Updated 1 time)

The developer was fine with it yeah.. It's not an official statement though..
It's not justification or actual permission rather tolerance of the use of their IP in certain cases.

I'd still say Nintendo in general doesn't approve nor like the activity of emulating games with illegally copied roms..

But yeah, there's a "grey" (or rather consequence free, and "kind of" tolerated) area where people have to decide for themselves whether they are going to use ways that are not strictly legal.

Those who argue that they're "homebrewers" and not "pirates" confuse me. Like, I've pirated things and homebrewed things, the community is practically the same for both, with nearly every "homebrew tutorial video" having a "piracy video" by the same person.

Like even if the exact people who rush to get homebrew on a system aren't directly expressing that it's for "piracy" the first goal of any homebrew scene is trying to get dump game images to run on the system. All this said, I hope this keeps them off the online, as that's what angers me the most.

yeah more ways for them to fundraise :/

Whatever keeps the cheaters away. I promise you cheaters, you're the only one having fun. If you don't care about ruining the fun for everyone else, you're just scum.

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