Nintendo DS News: R4 ‘Piracy Enabling’ Carts Now Illegal In UK

GearDiary Nintendo DS News: R4 'Piracy Enabling' Carts Now Illegal In UK

I think by now I’ve made it known that I am frothingly anti-piracy, so the new ruling in the UK that bans the R4 Revolution and similar devices thrills me.

The high court set a new precedent by adjusting that it is illegal for the R4 card to circumvent Nintendo’s security systems in order to play content on the DS.

In the US this sort of thing isn’t necessarily illegal to sell, but since they are such piracy-centric devices even Amazon who used to be a big seller of the devices has stopped supplying them.

Basically the R4 is an empty DS cart that will hold a SD card and allow direct transfer of game files that will then run on the DS as if they were actual game files. The implications are pretty obvious, but I will explain further in just a bit after some more details of the ruling from Nintendo’s point of view:

“Nintendo promotes and fosters game development and creativity, and strongly supports the game developers who legitimately create new and innovative applications,” read a statement from the platform holder.

It added: “Nintendo initiates these actions not only on its own behalf, but also on behalf of over 1,400 video game-development companies that depend on legitimate sales of games for their survival”.

The company adds that in the UK alone there have been over 100,000 game copying devices seized since 2009.

Of course, piracy isn’t the only reason to use such a device:

This ruling impacts on emulator owners who have hitherto insisted that playing homebrew games on the DS is not piracy.

Ah yes, the HomeBrew Argument! This is the same thing used by folks who cracked the PSP firmware – they claimed that by breaking the firmware and adding a manual app loader they could encourage folks to develop nifty utilities and ‘indie’ games and let people play and use them without having to go through Sony. On the PSP one big use of this was using the Japanese PSX emulator for the year or so before it came to the US. On the DS emulation is also a biggie.

But the BIGGEST use of R4 carts (and PSP hacking) is PIRACY. Plain and simple. Anyone telling you different is just blowing smoke somewhere. I was active on several PSP and DS web forums for quite a while and it was impossible to escape the constant piracy talk – I would estimate that >95% of users of ‘custom PSP firmware’ and R4-like devices use it *only* for piracy … and everyone else uses it MOSTLY for piracy.

Which is too bad, really. I have seen what ‘homebrew’ developers can do – and it is amazing stuff. It is such a shame that their work gets lost because the effort required to get it to run is subverted into a way to avoid paying developers for their efforts.

So while I am happy to see this piracy-enabler go away, I really wish that hardware makers and developers would fine more ways (like the Android App Maker) to allow folks to get their small-scale projects into the hands of more people without resorting to piracy-enabling efforts!

Source: Develop Online


About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!