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Pokemon Sword/Shield Early Access FAQ

Oct 20th, 2019
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  1. >What prevents us from getting into Sword and Shield early?
  2. Three layers of protection.
  3. -The game content needs to be uploaded to the CDN.
  4. -The game content needs to be owned by an account.
  5. -The game titlekey needs to be made available (this is equivalent to saying the games must be released).
  6.  
  7. >What's a titlekey?
  8. A titlekey is a 128-bit number, used to decrypt content that has been downloaded from the CDN.
  9. Titlekeys are stored in Tickets, which your console receives once a title it has been purchased has been released.
  10.  
  11. >What does "needs to be owned by an account" mean?
  12. Starting in system version 9.0.0, Nintendo has enforced serverside anti-piracy techniques on the CDN. Downloading a game now requires authenticating with the server with a Nintendo account that owns what's being downloaded.
  13. This means that the game content cannot be downloaded until an account can own the games -- effectively, they cannot be downloaded until they are pre-purchasable.
  14.  
  15. >Nintendo made the games prepurchasable. Why can't we decrypt them? Your Sun/Moon FAQ says titlekeys are available on purchase, and I purchased the games!
  16. On the 3ds, this would have been true -- purchasing a game on the 3ds always gives you its titlekey. To solve the preload problem there, Nintendo introduced "content lock seeds" -- data that is unavailable until release.
  17. On the Switch, titlekeys work the way content lock seeds did on the 3ds. They are unavailable until release (instead of a ticket, your console gets a "PrePurchaseRecord" which does not have a titlekey in it).
  18. Without the titlekey, the games can't be decrypted, even if you've installed them via pre-purchasing. Nintendo is not stupid, and has not and will not release this value to anyone prior to release.
  19.  
  20. >What does all this mean?
  21. -The games will probably be uploaded to the CDN in the next couple of weeks, as we approach their release date.
  22. -The games will not be downloadable from the CDN until they can be pre-purchased, which will probably happen sometime in early November according to the Japanese Member Club.
  23. -The downloaded games will be protected by a 128-bit value, which nobody can brute-force before the universe dies.
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