When media talk about privacy, pirates, and piracy groups, they often paint a picture of a united community working towards a common goal to thwart laws and unleash content, sharing tools and links to pirated content among themselves. They often fail to demonstrate how even that community is slightly fractured, split along lines of self-imposed principles and guidelines that not everybody agrees with. Nowhere has that fragmentation become more evident than in the latest and biggest leak to happen since Game of Thrones Season 7. Super Smash Bros Ultimate has leaked barely two weeks before its launch and not all pirates are happy about it.
Piracy is a very thorny topic and different people have different arguments for or against it, depending on the context or materials. That’s a discussion for another day but as far as laws and Nintendo are concerned, it’s black and white. Piracy is illegal but that has never stopped pirates from doing their thing.
But not all pirates agree on the why’s of piracy. They don’t even see eye to eye on when and how to spread pirated content, especially before the original’s release. In fact, some piracy groups compete fiercely among themselves for the distinction of being the first to release. It doesn’t always matter whether that release ends up being safe for users or not.
Case in point is Smash Bros Ultimate, Nintendo’s biggest leak and its biggest headache to date. The leaks have already been confirmed to be legit, at least based on second hand evidence. But WarezNX, one of the more popular Nintendo Switch piracy communities, is taking steps to halt the distribution of pirated copies from its Discord chat server. Administrator JJB disagrees that the game should have been leaked this early and perhaps for good reason. Pirated Switch games can brick consoles.
The Nintendo Switch is still relatively new and piracy groups and hackers are still coming up with ways to circumvent protections that Nintendo continually updates in turn. For users resorting to pirated copies, every game carries the risk of bricking their Switch, especially when the leak comes from less credible sources. Then again, they should also know what they’re getting into in the first place when they decide to use a free but uncertain copy of a game.