Nintendo has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a piece of software that identifies modified content or code in users’ games.
As reported by OP Attack, the patent is designed to detect modifications to software that could result in cheating or other unfair play, particularly in online multiplayer games. A statement on the patent says, “such cheating is egregiously prevalent where the gaming environment is extended to gaming particularly multiplayer gaming over the internet. In particular, users are able to modify software in a way that enables them to have advantages over other players on different systems across a multiplayer game.”
Nintendo is also concerned about potential security risks that come with hacked software, even if the purpose isn’t explicitly cheating. The proposed software would specialize in “detecting whether a program has been modified.” While there is little information on what Nintendo would do if its software found that a player was using a modified game, isn’t not hard to imagine that it would result in some kind of automatic ban. It’s also likely no coincidence that this patent is being filed a few months prior to the release of Splatoon 3, one of Nintendo’s biggest online multiplayer franchises.
Nintendo has always held strict policies on software modding, cheating, and piracy. The company famously stuck to cartridges and proprietary discs even after widespread adoption of standard-sized discs due to concerns about piracy. The company has a draconian reputation in the gaming community thanks to its shutdown of many fan projects and YouTube uploads.