Nintendo’s tumultuous relationship with pirates just took a sharp turn with recent news that it is banning cards believed to have been used by hackers. Noted hackers are reporting that their access to online features through physical games has been rescinded by Nintendo with error 0x1F727C — 2124-4025, rendering online play through cartridge useless.
Traditionally, hackers have used cartridges to rip information and create files to run through emulators. However, one of the features of the Switch is that it creates a unique code for each physical cart, and when a new illegal ROM hits the internet, Nintendo can trace its origins and disable both the cartridge’s and the ROM’s online features permanently.
Many see this as a way of punishing hackers for breaking Nintendo’s rules and controlling the flow of its games.
While it might seem like a legitimate way to punish pirates for messing with their products, Nintendo has also raised questions about the legitimacy of another longtime rival: the secondhand market. Granted, the chances of stumbling across a game cartridge that has been used for hacking on Amazon, eBay, or GameStop is very slim. With this new policy, however, Nintendo has essentially cast a shade over anyone who looks to buy physically anymore.
What happens when a player buys one of these cartridges? Nintendo in its holier-than-thou attitude can simply tell the innocent buyer not to hack, which of course they didn’t. Secondhand buyers might not refund money since they merely need to claim that nothing was wrong with the game for them. At least GameStop has a return policy that lets you bring back games for cash, which is commendable for such a situation.
Hackers make up a small portion of the community for that to not be enough cartridges to completely shut down the honest practice of selling your games back and buying them used. But with enough anecdotes, it will be something Nintendo might have to address down the line.
And remember, don’t pirate games.