Nintendo has reportedly issued a DMCA takedown notice to the developers behind Lockpick, a popular Switch homebrew tool. It’s believed that the legal action may be linked to the leak of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

That’s not because Lockpick is in anyway connected to the leak.  It appears that Nintendo’s goal was to prevent Switch homebrew users from playing Tears of the Kingdom on a PC emulator instead of buying the game for their consoles.

Nintendo Switch (current-gen)


The unfortunate irony is that Lockpick is used to dump keys from a user’s own Switch. As numerous Twitter users point out, pirates don’t generally use the keys from their own Switch to launch pirated games.

The action against Lockpick has already impacted at least one other Switch homebrew project. The developers of the Skyline emulator posted an update that they were ceasing work on the project immediately “due to the potential legal risks.”

Skyline’s code is still available, so it’s possible that someone else will fork it. For now, though, the looming threat of legal action by Nintendo may have a chilling effect on the Switch homebrew community.

It’s been a busy couple of years for Nintendo’s legal department. In November of last year the company went after fan-made icons that had been uploaded to SteamGridDB . Earlier in 2022 tits target was a tool that allowed users to patch their own Switch games to run under the Atmosphere custom firmware. In January of 2021 there was a mass takedown of nearly 400 fan-made games hosted on Game Jolt. That same year Nintendo won $2.1 million in damages in a case brought against the operator of a ROM site.

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Lee Mathews

Computer tech, blogger, husband, father, and avid MSI U100 user.

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  1. “In January of 2021 there was a mass takedown of nearly 400 fan-made games hosted on Game Jolt.”

    I don’t know the story, but am I reading this right, that fans made games to play on the switch, and Nintendo had them taken down?

    If so, that is truly unfortunate. What a way to alienate fans of your platform.

    1. lets put some thought on this situation, who matters most for nintendo, crappy game developers who take “inspiration” from nintendo games(music, sprites, characters most of whic is a trademark), or average nintendo fan, which buy production of nintendo, buy and hold their stock shares?

      1. People who take the time to make fangames are likely the same types of people who pour tons of money into Nintendo products. The same goes for the people who play them. All this really accomplishes is, as the first guy said, alienating fans. And a fangame can definitely fall under fair use, being that it’s transformative content.

        1. I love nintendo games, and I loathe nintendo. Which is why I made it a point to only buy a Nintendo console past it’s EOL. Right now I have a 3DS and a Wii. In a few years I’ll have a Switch too. Nintendo however will never see a dime of my money, it goes to the person I’m gonna buy the console and the games from.

    2. These aren’t fangames made for Switch, rather they’re typically made for PC, but still, I completely agree.

  2. While there may be unintentional side effects, it is hard to fault Nintendo for trying to take some actions to protect their work from piracy – the company has spent years working on Tears of the Kingdom.

    1. You’ve clearly missed the point of this article – that this tool Nintendon’t are trying to shutdown is not likely to be used for piracy but for players who LEGITIMATELY OWN their own copy of the game ON THEIR OWN SWITCH to LEGALLY create a copy of it for use on THEIR OWN DEVICES.

      This is Nintendon’t illegitimately overreaching their control over your devices and FOSS. Hopefully the Law shows Nintendon’t the door for being a vexatious, time-wasting litigant.

    2. Piracy is the risk you take when you have an underpowered, 6-year-old console that was hacked on release due to some silly hardware vulnerability. At the very least they shouldn’t be shipping physical copies of the game out 2 weeks early.

      1. There’s probably also the fact that the ARM architecture, which Nintendo has been using since the GBA for its portables, is much better documented and well known than esoteric architectures like the Cell used by the PS3.

        1. The biggest flaw with the Switch’s hardware was that they essentially used an off-the-shelf Tegra X1 chip, of which was also made available on a development board sold by Nvidia. Due to this, there was a wealth of documentation for that chip specifically and developers were able to figure out how to put the Switch into RCM mode which is like a recovery mode of sorts.

          1. That’s not much of a flaw.

            The problem is Nintendo wants to eat their cake and keep it too.

            They want to sell you cheap hardware, at a marked up price, make a ton of profit, use community ROMs and Emulators to resell their retro games, re-release some old titles, and make new games based on the same franchises. All of this is low effort, low risk, and high reward.

            They have great marketing, and their fans are some of the lowest IQ out there for supporting such a tyranic corporation. Meanwhile their competitors like Sony, makes great hardware, sells it at a loss, makes money off their games, continually innovates into New-IP Games to evolve their platform. And when they overreach, their fans are quick to put them into place.

            The best way to “fix” Nintendo is to send a strong message to them, stop buying their software and hardware, tell that to all your friends, en-masse boycott them for their actions, and let their financial department respond to it, just like how the dumpster-fire “Xbone” had to do a 180′ on their bad policies.