Dbrand is a purveyor of some pretty cool skins for a variety of products, including the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox. They also sell a bunch of different cases, screen protectors and other assorted bits and bobs. They’ve grown to quite a size, appearing in numerous places, including as a long-running sponsor of Linus Tech Tips where they quite often use their money to make fun of Linus himself.
But over the years they’ve also acquired a reputation for being outspoken, skirting the law in terms of copyright and conducting their business with tongue firmly planted in cheek. For example, they launched their Darkplates for the PS5 while also daring Sony to sue them. Sony sent them a threatening legal letter and Dbrand backed down before returning just weeks later with a revised version of the sideplates which they claimed circumvented any legal issues. It’s a divisive style that has garnered plenty of hatred, but it has also earned them a lot of fans, too, who appreciate their Madmax style and their funny product descriptions.
Now the company is taking a shot at Nintendo with their brand new Clone of the Kingdom skin for the Switch. It’s a very obvious recreation of the special edition Tears of the Kingdom Switch that’s currently out of stock pretty much everywhere. Below, you can see Dbrand’s skin with a black background, and then the official console with a white background.
On the Dbrand website, the company says this about The Clone of the Kingdom: “Contrary to popular belief, you need to spend money to save money. Specifically, by giving it to us. You see, when one of the world’s most litigious companies announces a $359.99 price tag to replace your Switch with a limited edition variant, only dbrand is up to the challenge of charging you slightly less for a “creative reinterpretation” of their overpriced novelty console. If a dollar saved is a dollar earned, Clone of the Kingdom is the easiest $310.04 you’ve ever made.”
I imagine Dbrand are actually expecting Nintendo to come after them and may already even have a second design ready to go. They did something similar with the Darkplace fiasco because they came out with an altered design so quickly that people began to suspect that Dbrand were a few moves ahead and just wanted to use it as a publicity stunt to build excitement.
But there might also be something special hidden in the new skin. If you look at the symbols on the left-hand side of the dock and squint a little, it almost seems to read, “Go fuck yourself, lawyers.” The code in the central ring appears to read, “This pays for our legal defence.”
As with most Dbrand stunts, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is quite funny and they do raise a valid point about skins being able to make your console look almost as good as the real thing at a fraction of the price. And Nintendo’s near-religious fervour when it comes to pursuing legal action is well known. On the other hand, it also blatantly rips off the design of the official console. I can’t help but think some artists who spent a lot of time designing the special edition Switch are going to be pretty pissed off.
In other words, I will not feel sorry if they do actually get sued by Nintendo because if you want to dance around copyright fire then you have to be willing to get burned. Nor will I feel sorry for Nintendo if they fail to take Dbrand down.
And I might just buy the skin for myself. I does look pretty good.