Nintendo DMCAs SteamDB, Does Not Want Users to Use Emulated Switch Game Images

Nintendo is at it again…

In a move that may have surprised a lot of us today, Nintendo has filed a copyright infringement notice against SteamGridDB, for allegedly posting screenshots of Nintendo Switch games that can be played through emulators on the Steam Deck.

Image: SteamGridDB

This is an odd move from a company like Nintendo, as it appears the company will go to great lengths to attract more players to its own platform. Maybe the company is just trying to guard its intellectual property. As a result of this, DMCA takedown notices have been issued against SteamGridDB. To provide a bit of a context, this is a website where users can upload and use images for their Steam game libraries.

On this website, players upload their own images to the site so they can use them in their Steam library. Most of these are different cover images for games that can be used to change how they look in the library. It’s also used when there’s no cover image, like when a game is being played through an emulator.

Although Steam doesn’t provide any downloadable emulation software, users can upload their own games to the Steam library and use it as a universal game launcher. While the custom game links you create might not come with any thumbnails or icons, SteamGridDB lets you grab those visuals so that your emulated Steam library entry seems legit.

SteamGridDB has become popular amongst Steam Deck users for a long time now. For both Steam and non-Steam games, people have been using to manually add in images. Some, on the other hand, use it to import ROMs into Steam for usage as “non-Steam games” via emulation.

The recent rise in Steam Deck users and the prevalence of EmuDeck in setting up emulation libraries has contributed significantly to the database website’s popularity on the Steam Grid. EmuDeck includes a utility called Steam Rom Manager that lets you set up your Steam image assets using a community database that stores all the photos found for a given ROM name. If a match is found, the images are applied within Steam.

There is, however, some good news for all you ‘enthusiasts. According to GBATemp, this notice from Nintendo does not apply to all games. For a small number of games, the company requests that users refrain from using any graphics whatsoever. Among these are Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, Splatoon 3, Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

The very idea upon which the website is built guarantees that it will continue to attract attention like this. There isn’t much we can tell you at the moment, but we’ll be sure to update you as we get more information.


Farhan Ali

Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.