Nintendo has once again intervened to protect us all from misuse of the company’s intellectual property. This time, lawyers have been issuing DMCA takedowns to SteamGridDB (opens in new tab), a site for the uploading and sharing of custom images for use in your Steam game library.
As reported by GBATemp (opens in new tab) (via GamesRadar (opens in new tab)), Nintendo has demanded SteamGridDB remove images of Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, Splatoon 3, Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The site wasn’t hosting any files related to the games themselves, mind you: You couldn’t download a ROM or an emulator, but if you were using Steam to launch an emulated version of those games, you could get some artwork off of SteamGridDB to add to its library entry.
But apparently even that was too much for Nintendo. Since the DMCA notices were served, the relevant entries on SteamGridDB have all been replaced (opens in new tab) by notices that the assets have been “removed in response to DMCA takedown notice sent by Nintendo of America Inc”.
Predictably, users have begun uploading even more artwork in response. Breath of the Wild’s SteamGridDB page (opens in new tab) is awash with art uploaded in the last few days, including images that poke fun at Nintendo’s DMCAs (opens in new tab). The same is true for the other DMCA’d games, though their art is less of a visual feast than BOTW’s.
It’s not clear what sparked the takedown, but it might have something to do with the Steam Deck’s potential as a Nintendo Switch emulator (opens in new tab). When even Valve itself is having to quietly edit its own trailers (opens in new tab) to remove references to Switch emulation, Nintendo’s jealous protection of its intellectual property starts to make a little more sense.
Regardless, it’s hardly new behaviour from Nintendo. The company is infamous for stomping down on anything that even looks like it might brush up against Nintendo properties, including a fan remake of Metroid 2 (opens in new tab), a Super Mario Bros battle royale (opens in new tab), and a No Man’s Sky parody called No Mario’s Sky (opens in new tab). The fact that people are out there reverse-engineering games like Perfect Dark (opens in new tab) and A Link to the Past (opens in new tab) in a technically legal way must have Nintendo lawyers grinding their teeth to nubs.