The law is whatever Nintendo says it is | This Week in Business

This Week in Business is our weekly recap column, a collection of stats and quotes from recent stories presented with a dash of opinion (sometimes more than a dash) and intended to shed light on various trends. Check back every Friday for a new entry.

Last weekend, the developers of Dolphin announced that they have indefinitely postponed the Wii and Gamecube emulator’s debut on Steam, saying they were informed by the online storefront that Nintendo had issued a cease-and-desist order against them invoking the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

It’s the latest in a string of Nintendo moves targeting the emulation and homebrew communities. It invoked the DMCA in having GitHub pull the repository for Lockpick RCM, software letting Switch users dump their system’s security keys for use in homebrew or emulated software, which in turn prompted the developers of the Android Switch emulator Skyline to halt their work on the project “due to the potential legal risks involved.”

(Another Switch emulator, Yuzu, quickly swooped in to capture Skyline’s vacated audience by launching its own Android version.)

Finally, Nintendo updated the firmware on the discontinued 3DS line of handhelds to thwart the most convenient method of hacking the systems to run homebrew software, dump cartridges, and more.

One possible conclusion from this rash of moves is that Nintendo was understandably not thrilled about the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom being leaked and played by people using emulators weeks before anyone could legally buy it.

From fumbling around in the darkness to solving problems indirectly with cludgy workarounds, Tears of the Kingdom has a few different parallels to this subject.

None of this is surprising, exactly. After all, emulation and piracy are two circles with an admittedly significant amount of overlap on the industry Venn diagram, and Nintendo has been fighting piracy longer than many of its competitors have even been in the games business, and it is clearly in this fight for the long haul.

QUOTE | “As the piracy itself is underground, someone somewhere finds out the solution to evade our measures. When we shut one hole of the mice, they have dug a new one somewhere else. We have acknowledged that this is an endless battle and we believe the best measure is to keep fighting it technologically and legally.” – In 2009, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata

Read more