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Video games piracy

Ahead of Christmas, the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is telling gamers to ‘play safe, play fair’. Police are seeking to tackle video games piracy. The unit says that criminals are selling modded consoles with hundreds of unauthorised copies of video games.

How does it work?

The seller modifies a Nintendo Switch video games console by installing a modification chip or software. Or, they may sell hardware devices such as the SX Pro which also circumvents the security measures in a Nintendo Switch. Whatever method is used, the use of a circumvention device or software invalidates the manufacturers’ guarantee that protects users. Purchasers of the ‘modded console’ are then able to play pirated games often downloaded from the internet.

However, what you may not realise is that with a ‘modded console’ there is a risk that you are unable to enjoy the full functionality and experiences that an authentic console provides. For example, it is possible that you cannot play Nintendo Switch games online against other players. There is also the risk that the ‘modded console’ will no longer work following network updates. Purchasers are often not made aware of these downsides when purchasing ‘modded consoles’.

If you download unauthorised copies of games to play on the ‘modded console’, you also run the risk that these files may contain malware or viruses which can infect your PC, police warn. They also point to possible consequences of providing personal details to online criminals who may use them to commit fraud such as registering counterfeit websites.

Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) said: “If you’re looking to buy a Nintendo console as a Christmas gift, make sure you know who you are buying from, otherwise you could get more than you bargained for.

“If you buy a gaming console that gives illegal access to pirated content, you could be exposed to malware and identity crime. You’re supporting a crime that takes away money from the small creative companies who often produce Nintendo’s games.”

See also Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment) the trade body for the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry. Visit https://ukie.org.uk/content/our-campaigns.


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