Switch games can finally fight back against PC piracy, but it’s a double-edged sword

Nintendo protects its intellectual property as fiercely as any company in gaming (actually, the world), but it hasn’t been able to prevent Switch games showing up on PC.

Now Nintendo, and Switch game developers, has an ally in the fight against unauthorized PC emulation of top games. Irdeto, the software company that makes the controversial anti-cheat and digital rights management (DRM) tool Denuvo for developers, is launching for the Nintendo Switch.

Game developers will be able to include the tool within their Switch games, with Denuvo saying this will block the widespread emulation of games on PC, which sees gamers buy a single copy, offload it to a PC, and then share it online.

However, the news is unlikely to please Switch gamers, given the perceived affects on performance of games. In the announcement, Denuvo says there’ll be “no impact on the gaming experience” but we’ll have to see whether that plays out in the wild.

“Nintendo consoles have long suffered from piracy issues and the Switch is no different. Even if a game is protected against piracy on its PC version, the released version on Switch can be emulated from day one and played on PC, therefore bypassing the strong protections offered on the PC version. This can happen with any of the numerous games available on Switch, ”the Gamescom announcement says.

Games with Denuvo built-in will be able to block the PC emulations, potentially meaning greater revenues for developers during the launch window. The announcement doesn’t include any information on Switch game developers who’ve signed up to include the tech within their game. It’s not clear whether Nintendo itself will look to include Denuvo for first-party titles.