Nintendo Sues ‘Modded Hardware’ and r/SwitchPirates Moderator ‘Archbox’ * TorrentFreak

nintendoNintendo is doing everything in its power to stop the public from playing pirated games on the Switch console.

The Japanese gaming company won several court cases in recent history, shutting down websites that distributed pirated ROMs.

Most notable, perhaps, was the criminal referral that resulted in the demise of the infamous Team-Xecuter hacking group. The group released several jailbreak hacks for game consoles in the past and was widely regarded as Nintendo’s archenemy.

With the win against Team-Xecuter, Nintendo hoped that the modding scene would fade into obscurity, but it didn’t. In recent years, new tools and hardware solutions have been released, requiring Nintendo to push the implementation pedal again.

For example, Nintendo has recently gone after various Switch piracy-related sites and services, including Yuzu Emulator, Lockpick, and MIG Switch.

Nintendo vs. Modified hardware

Nintendo also targeted Modded Hardware behind the scenes. The gaming giant reached out to its alleged owner and operator, Michigan resident Ryan Daly, who also operates under the moniker “Homebrew Homie.”

In March, Nintendo threatened to sue him, after which both parties agreed that the alleged illegal activity, which includes the sale of MIG devices and modified consoles, would stop.

Despite this deal, Modded Hardware didn’t close up shop; which led to further outreach by Nintendo earlier this month, after which it remained online. Daly said he was looking for a new lawyer, but Nintendo had run out of patience and sued.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Seattle, Washington, Nintendo accuses Modded Hardware of copyright infringement and DMCA violations by trafficking in circumvention hardware, among other things.


These unauthorized activities are causing Nintendo substantial and irreparable harm, she argues, and the company wants them to stop immediately. In addition, Nintendo hopes to compensate for the damages, which could potentially reach millions of dollars.

Mod Chips, MIG Switch and Pirated Games

The complaint mentions that Modded Hardware sells some hardware that bypasses its piracy protection. These include Mod Chips and “MIG Switch”, a memory card that allows people to play pirated copies of Nintendo Switch games on authentic consoles.

In addition to selling hardware hacks, the defendant also offered mail-order modding services and modded versions of Switch consoles for the less technically inclined. According to the complaint, these were said to be loaded with pirated games.

“Defendant not only provides the hardware and firmware to create and play pirated games, but he also provides his customers with copies of pirated Nintendo games,” the complaint states.

“Typically, when a customer purchases a hacked console or circumvention services, the defendant pre-installs a ready-to-play portfolio of pirated games on the console, including some of Nintendo’s most popular titles such as Super Mario , The Legend of Zelda, and the Metroid Games.”

Loaded consoles


Selling alleged circumvention hardware is a problem, Nintendo writes, because it’s the only way people can play pirated games. As such, Nintendo’s piracy problem persists.

“Indeed, because pirated Nintendo Switch games cannot be used or created without a hacked console and related software and hardware, it is only because of products and services such as those sold by defendants that illegal markets that distribute pirated games exist and thrive,” Nintendo wrote. .

In general, Nintendo alleges that Modded Hardware and its alleged operator trafficked bypass hardware by selling mod chips and MIG devices. This violates the DMCA, for which Nintendo is seeking damages.

Additionally, the gaming company seeks damages for direct and contributory copyright infringement, accusing the defendant of adding pirated games to consoles. These hardware devices and consoles must all be destroyed, which may or may not include consoles that customers have shipped.

Archbox & r/SwitchPirates

In addition to Modded Hardware’s lawsuit, Nintendo also filed a complaint in Washington federal court against Arizona resident James Williams, known online as ‘Archbox’. According to Nintendo, Archbox is linked to several ‘pirate shops’ through which unauthorized copies of games are distributed.

“Defendant is the operator, supervisor, and driving force behind several pirate stores through which Defendant has offered massive libraries of pirated Nintendo Switch games,” the complaint states.

In addition to running these pirate stores, the defendant allegedly helped people obtain and use circumvention software so they could play pirated games. This activity allegedly grew through the SwitchPirates subreddit, where Archbox was a moderator.

“Defendant became a primary (if not primary) moderator of the SwitchPirates Reddit community, which he helped grow to nearly 190,000 members. “Since 2019, the defendant has posted thousands of comments and messages on the SwitchPirates Reddit Group,” the complaint states.

“The defendant’s posts have included, for example, messages directing users to Pirate Stores […]; and providing technical advice and encouragement to other users on how to use Pirate Shops, how to download and install Circumvention Software, and how to play pirated copies of Nintendo Switch games.”

claims noa

Pirate shops Archbox is believed to be involved in include Jack-in-the-Shop, Turtle in the Shop, and NekoDrive, all of which were shut down following a cease-and-desist letter sent by Nintendo in March.

A fourth store, LiberaShop, is still operational, apparently on Telegram, which supposedly promotes and offers thousands of pirated Nintendo games to the public.

Self proclaimed Pirate

The claims made in the complaint shouldn’t come as a surprise to Archbox, Nintendo suggests. He is said to be a self-proclaimed “pirate” who is unwilling to pay for legitimate games and also helps others join the ranks of pirates.

“The defendant is well aware that his conduct is illegal and infringes Nintendo’s intellectual property rights. Indeed, the defendant has publicly boasted that he is a ‘pirate’ who ‘[isn’t] will give Nintendo $50 per game,” Nintendo wrote.

$50 for a game?

not 50

The complaint includes a wide variety of additional examples. Ultimately, it accuses Archbox of direct and contributory copyright infringement, various DMCA violations including trafficking in circumvention devices, and breach of contract.

Similar to Modded Hardware’s complaint, the alleged damages are not specified, but could theoretically run into the millions of dollars.

A copy of the complaint against Modded Hardware is available here (pdf) and the complaint against Archbox can be found here (pdf). We’ll be watching both cases closely and will likely discuss these, as well as the responses, in more detail later

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