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

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Nintendo has filed two lawsuits at a Washington federal court, targeting individuals who allegedly facilitated Nintendo Switch piracy. The first lawsuit accuses Modded Hardware of violating the DMCA by selling mod-chips and MIG devices, as well as shipping modded consoles with pirated games. The second complaint accuses 'Archbox', a moderator of r/SwitchPirates on Reddit, of facilitating piracy and operating various 'pirate shops'.

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 lawsuits 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 hacking group Team-Xecuter. The group released several ‘jailbreak’ hacks for gaming consoles in the past and was widely regarded as Nintendo’s main nemesis.

With the win against Team-Xecuter, Nintendo hoped that the modding scene would fade into oblivion, but that’s not what happened. In recent years, new tools and hardware solutions were released, requiring Nintendo to gas the enforcement pedal once again.

For example, recently Nintendo went after various Switch piracy related sites and services, including the Yuzu emulator, Lockpick, and MIG Switch.

Nintendo vs. Modded 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 alias “Homebrew Homie”.

In March, Nintendo threatened to sue him, after which both parties agreed that the allegedly unlawful activity, which includes selling MIG devices and modded consoles, would stop.

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

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


These unauthorized activities cause Nintendo substantial and irreparable harm, it argues, and the company wants them to stop immediately. In addition, Nintendo hopes to recoup damages, which can potentially run into millions of dollars.

Mod Chips, MIG Switch, and Pirated Games

The complaint mentions that Modded Hardware sells several pieces of hardware that circumvent its piracy protections. These include Mod Chips and the “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-in modding services and modded versions of Switch consoles, for the less technically inclined. These were reportedly loaded with pirated games, according to the complaint.

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

“Typically, when a customer purchases a Hacked Console or the Circumvention Services, Defendant preinstalls on the console a portfolio of ready-to-play pirated games, including some of Nintendo’s most popular titles such as its Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid games.”

Loaded Consoles


The selling of alleged circumvention devices is a problem, Nintendo writes, as that’s the only way for people to 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 Defendant that illegal marketplaces distributing pirated games exist and thrive,” Nintendo writes.

Overall, Nintendo alleges that Modded Hardware and its alleged operator trafficked in circumvention devices by selling mod-chips and MIG devices. That violates the DMCA, for which Nintendo demands damages.

In addition, 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 should all be destroyed, which may or may not include consoles that customers have sent in.

Archbox & r/SwitchPirates

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

“Defendant is the operator, overseer, and driving force behind several Pirate Shops, through which Defendant has offered massive libraries of pirated Nintendo Switch games,” the complaint reads.

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

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

“Defendant’s posts have included, by way of example, messages directing users to the Pirate Shops […]; and offering technical advice and encouragement to other users about how to use the Pirate Shops, how to download and install Circumvention Software, and how to play pirated copies of Nintendo Switch games.”

noa claims

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

A fourth shop, LiberaShop, is still operational, presumably on Telegram, allegedly promoting and offering thousands of pirated Nintendo games to the public.

Self-proclaimed Pirate

The allegations put forward in the complaint shouldn’t come as a surprise to Archbox, Nintendo suggests. He is reportedly a self-proclaimed “pirate” who is not willing to pay for legitimate games, and also helps others to join the pirate ranks.

“Defendant is well aware that his conduct is unlawful and infringes Nintendo’s intellectual property rights. Indeed, Defendant has bragged publicly that he is a ‘pirate’ who ‘[isn’t] going to give Nintendo $50 for a game’,” Nintendo writes.

$50 for a game?


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, as well as breach of contract.

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

A copy of the Modded Hardware complaint is available here (pdf) and the complaint against Archbox can be found here (pdf). We will keep a close eye on both cases and will likely discuss these, as well as the responses, in more detail later


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