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Nintendo Battles Makers of the R4

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the another-victim-of-moore's-law dept.

Nintendo 188

eldavojohn writes "A neat little device called the R4 allows for homebrew on the DS ... and as micro SD prices fall, it is becoming easier and easier to put on these cartridges binary dumps of games people don't have the right to play. Which is why Nintendo will see them in court. Note, it's not just the console maker pressing charges, it's also Capcom, Koei, Square Enix, Tecmo, Bandai Namco, and Sega. Is this truly a case of fighting piracy, or is it also an attempt to stop homebrew from stealing the market?"

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188 comments

What is the R4? (0)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392429)

The link in the summary is 404 already.

Re:What is the R4? (2, Informative)

digitrev (989335) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392477)

Nintendo DS mod chip. Wired has a short blog post as well [wired.com] .

Re:What is the R4? (1)

JeremyBanks (1036532) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392613)

It's not a mod chip, exactly. You don't mod your system at all. It's just a custom game card with a microSD slot that allows you to play NDS ROMS you put on it.

Re:What is the R4? (5, Informative)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392617)

Technically its whats referred to as a flash cart.

The gist is that you load in the roms to flash memory and then insert the cartridge in your DS and then you can access and play the games as normal.

The R4 takes this a step further and allows you to use a microSD card.

While I think they have a case, the lack of action of previous iterations of flash carts might end up hurting them in the long run.

Re:What is the R4? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393015)

For the price of about 1 DS game, you can play DS games for free, all in the convenience of 1 cartridge.

Why hasn't someone/Nintendo made a download cart and service? Hell, make it usable from the Wii for gods sake!

They'd make a killing and they'd just have to keep up the server, and manufacture less.

Re:What is the R4? (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393597)

This is just another example of how far behind Nintendo is in the online market. Sony has been selling downloadable PSP games pretty much since the PS3 came out.

Rob

Re:What is the R4? (4, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393097)

It's one of SEVERAL different DS flash carts out there. Last I checked, there were at least 10, some of which are superior to the R4 in terms of functionality (they offer things like ingame cheats, ingame guides, even savestate functionality), just the R4 was one of the first of it's kind and thus the most well known of the bunch.
It's a futile attempt to curb piracy on the DS, most of the technology invovled in their making is public knowledge (in terms of "you can find most of it by googlong around", not in terms of "any average Joe knows it"), hell I'm sure I seen schematics on how to build your own - Nintendo taking down this one group wont stop anything.

It's akin to the MPAA shutting down a single torrent site - 5 more pop up in it's place almost overnight.

A lot of homebrew games... (0, Troll)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392471)

have the quality of a Atari 2600 game, which means they stink.

Re:A lot of homebrew games... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24392805)

Oh snap, son! Homebrewers just got told.

Re:A lot of homebrew games... (2, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393125)

A lot of DS games have the quality of an Atari 2600 game, same for the Wii. Doesn't mean some AWESOME ones don't exist out there as well.

Re:A lot of homebrew games... (2, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393405)

DS homebrew isn't just about games. There are IM and IRC clients, many innovative music making programs that make interesting use of the stylus interface, remote desktop clients, demoscene productions, ereaders, web browsers, and even an FTP server. The DS is a great little platform with a zillion nonstandard uses that Nintendo will never be smart enough to sell.

Well, that's an easy one to answer (3, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392475)

Is this truly a case of fighting piracy, or is it also an attempt to stop homebrew from stealing the market?"

It is truly a case of fighting piracy. Anybody who thinks otherwise is severely delusional.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (3, Insightful)

Spykk (823586) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392539)

While I do believe that the primary goal is to fight piracy, these devices have legitimate uses as a conduit for homebrew and backups. Being able to choose a game from a list that contains your entire library sure beats carrying a backpack full of cartridges around...

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393187)

Backpack? A normal size lunchbox could probably hold a copy of every DS game ever made...

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24392615)

Well, I just ordered a CycloDS flash cart and while I could load it up with illegal ROMs, I'd be totally satisfied with backing up the games I already own. It's going to be much easier to carry around one card with my 10+ games rather than keep track of the separate cards and having to swap them out. Plus I can load it up with MP3's, videos, and NES and ScummVM games of which I do own legal copies.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24392769)

It's going to be much easier to carry around one card with my 10+ games

Because that 2 square inches that those 10 games take up is too much for you to afford?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (2, Funny)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392827)

Not too much to afford.... too HEAVY, we're geeks, not body builders... sheesh!!

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393087)

The entire library of DS games available in all countries may get hefty, but the cards themselves weigh, what, three paperclips? My cat could carry all the DS games I've ever played and not break a sweat. Although I don't think he's ever sweated.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (4, Insightful)

Hoknor (950280) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393049)

Any amount of cartridge swapping creates new oppurtunity for misplacing of said cartridge. How many games does somebody need to own before it is considered an acceptably large amount of games that space saving is allowed?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393095)

How many of them do you actually want to carry around with you at the same time? I have 20-30 games but I carry at most 10 of them and usually much less (they're pretty damn small if you don't bring the large plastic cases along, I can fit two into a protective case that was meant for one GBA game).

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Hoknor (950280) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393387)

I want to carry around all of them. There is no reason the amount of games I have available on my DS should be restricted by something beyond the amount of games I can both afford to purchase, and afford a large enough flash to pack them all into.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393109)

Any amount of cartridge swapping creates new oppurtunity for misplacing of said cartridge.

Which creates opportunity for you to buy it again. This hurts the company how?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (4, Interesting)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392655)

Well, I don't know anything about using R4 for pirating, but I do know that with the right homebrew software, the DS is a cheap portable art tablet par excellence.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (5, Insightful)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392695)

Devils Advocate Fair use argument:

I have 10-15 DS games. Traveling with them is a real PITA. Either I am hauling around a manpurse or pockets full of cartridges.

The ARRRR4 would allow me to load all of my games to a single cartridge thus reducing the risk of theft, loss, or damage. Sure I can always lose it too but I find its generally easier to keep track of one thing, especially when that one thing "lives" in a larger one thing than it is to keep track of lots of little ones.

For the record I am not deluded. I know that one of the primary uses for these things is piracy, however that is not their ONLY use. Further arguments on that subject would be semantics.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

solraith (1203394) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393119)

Generally, the idea behind these things is, if you own the actual cartridge, you're allowed to make a backup. How you store that backup might be a gray area, but I would hate to see this get shot down for the very reason you mentioned. DS cartridges are small and transportable, but easily lost.

That's not to say the R4 helps prevent piracy, exactly, but then again, not many things do. Aside from crappy games, anyway.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

jplkeekif (1186447) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394859)

Good argument, but one of the problems with it is that the R4 doesn't allow you to backup any of the cartridges you own, so you'll never be playing a backup copy of your own game, instead you'll have to go online to grab a copy that somebody else ripped and doing this would mean that you're contributing to sites that distribute copies of games.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392751)

While I'll agree, it is very dangerous to concede to the "It can be used for bad things... who cares about the legitimate uses". Imagine other things taken on if this becomes ok... alcohol, guns, gambling, motorcycles, bleach, linux, dogs, sharp pencils, etc. You may think some of that is a bit off the wall, but once you let the bad guys into the building, good luck telling them what rooms they can go into.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (2, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392945)

While I'll agree, it is very dangerous to concede to the "It can be used for bad things... who cares about the legitimate uses".

I was taking no moral stand at all on its uses for any purpose. I was merely answering the silly question posed by the article: Whether Nintendo was suing to stop piracy or because it was afraid of homebrewers. The answer to that is blindingly obvious, no matter what you think of the worth of products like the R4.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (5, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392795)

It is truly a case of fighting piracy. Anybody who thinks otherwise is severely delusional.

Wow, I feel personally offended by such comment.

I do develop homebrew programs for the DS. I am specifically developing a translator (based on the dicts.info dictionaries) using PAlib.

There are several *really good* homebrew apps for the Nintendo DS like Moonshell, DSOrganize or games like Lemmings (all the levels of lemmings for the DS, REALLY good). The DSLibris game is also a *very* good piece of software which allows you to read XHTML ebooks.

I am also in the process of doing a TIF image "reader", with the idea of converting PDF files directly to TIF multipage (monochrome for now...) via ghostscript and then being able to read them directly in the DS. This, after having played with the idea of porting xpdf or other programs... unfortunately the PDF and RTF are too complex for the tiny DS...

I don't have an R4 but a CycloDS Evolution and it is a really neat piece of technology.

So, as you can see, there are pleny of opportunities for a device like the DS. It is really a neat piece of hardware, and the touchscreen makes it more versatile.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (0, Flamebait)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392891)

Wow, I feel personally offended by such comment.

Then you did not understand it. I'm sure you're doing all kinds of wonderful things with your R4, but that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of people use them for piracy, and neither does it change the fact that neither you nor anybody else in the homebrew scene is any kind of threat to the established developers.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (2)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392973)

Then you did not understand it. I'm sure you're doing all kinds of wonderful things with your R4,

haha
You really should read my post.

I don't have an R4 but a CycloDS Evolution and it is a really neat piece of technology.

:)
Other than that, yeah I guess I took it to personally. The bad thing about trying to take out R4 or any other similar card manufacturer is that they also hit us the homebrew developers :(

DMCA/BnetD (1)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393237)

The bad thing about trying to take out R4 or any other similar card manufacturer is that they also hit us the homebrew developers :(

Similar fight happened with Blizzard Vs BnetD.
http://www.eff.org/cases/blizzard-v-bnetd [eff.org]

That + how they deleted your Diablo 2 account after 90 days ticked me off at Blizzard badly enough I never subscribed to WoW.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Hoknor (950280) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393275)

Wow, I feel personally offended by such comment.

Then you did not understand it. I'm sure you're doing all kinds of wonderful things with your R4, but that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of people use them for piracy, and neither does it change the fact that neither you nor anybody else in the homebrew scene is any kind of threat to the established developers.

There wasn't much to understand, you made a statement with no supporting argument and said anybody that didn't already agree with you was severely delusional. Beyond that, is there some sort of document explaining how vast a majority must be to qualify something as "piracy paraphenelia" and make legitimate use unworthy of protecting? The makers of the R4 itself can be considered part of the homebrew scene, and clearly they are some kind of threat since they are being battled?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393435)

Beyond that, is there some sort of document explaining how vast a majority must be to qualify something as "piracy paraphenelia" and make legitimate use unworthy of protecting?

Did I ever say anything of the sort? No, I did not.

I merely answered the question regarding Nintendo's motivations, and took no stand at all on the merits of their or anybody else's actions.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Hoknor (950280) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393937)

Homebrew products are competing directly with Nintendo products. The question was clearly biased and poorly written, but it was phrased as this or also this, not this or that. There is an argument to be made that Nintendo would also be motivated by the chilling effect this could have on people developing and using software they do not recieve a licensing fee for. Nintendo even recently announced the official Nintendo MP3 Player will be launching this fall. It is a cartridge that accepts SD cards. Now where have we heard about devices like that....

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394573)

Funny, the only people that I know that are sufficiently advanced game pirates are professionally employed game developers.

I sincerely doubt that the majority of the DS/WII demographic are all that interested in carting around everything on an SD card.

I've had the ability to carry around tons of backed up albums on different mediums for years now. Let's face it - piracy is a problem for the industry to solve when it comes to distributors, not end users nor content creators. As soon as you're illegally distributing a work of art, fine, go after it. But man, we have this exact same argument every 5 minutes - the VCR did not kill movies. The ability to back up and distribute roms will not kill games, as long as the industry remains focused on those who distribute ROMs rather than those who provide a mechanism to utilize them conveniently.

How difficult is this? It's easy as shit to pirate anything, and the method of distribution isn't SD cards. It's just a technology that overcomes an artificial limitation in the hardware that makes life more convenient for legitimate owners and interested programmers - many, by the way, who cut their chops before they end up working in the trenches of 'the establishment'. iPODs didn't kill music, DVDs didn't kill movies, etc etc etc.

So what's all the hubub about? Shitty games get pirated, but wouldn't have sold anyhow, and great games make tons of cash and are pirated by a small amount. Never mind the fact that if you want to carry around a bunch of games at one time on a cartridge on a DS, you already can. It should say lots that I love Nintendo to death and have more than 40 gamecube/wii titles on my shelf, but man, cooperate juggernauts like Nintendo are the last things on earth who actually need anybody to stand up for them. They're doing just fine on their own, and what you see as a means to enable piracy, I see as the usual technological one upmanship that is good old-fashioned capitalist innovation. The barrier to entry, for the vast majority of end users, to engage in piracy is always high enough to not really impact whatever the mass market form of publishing is. Publishers know that - theres no technical reason that DS games don't involve gigs of data. They just know that nobody is going to plug in a DVD reader at the back of the DS for the same reasons. They know their market, which is what makes this kind of legal issue so disingenuous. It very very slightly raises the bar of convenience, and therefore, there's no way it'll make a significant dent in game sales.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394609)

Did you have a point that was actually relevant to the question at hand?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (4, Insightful)

drcagn (715012) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392955)

He never said that there wasn't any good homebrew on the DS. He said that the reason why Nintendo fighting the R4 is piracy.

I really doubt Nintendo would go this far over homebrew.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (3, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392843)

I have to agree. On certain gaming boards/sites I visit with lax rules about content, it's not uncommon to hear people talking about their R4.

I can recall one time when someone asked about homebrew. This is contrary to the 500+ times someone has asked what games to load on it first (and sites to get them from).

I like the R4 as a product for convenience. I would love to be able to load up the info for my moderate-sized collection of GBA games (actual cartridges, not some ROM folder) and take them all with me in a convenient package. However, the primary use of the R4 is pirating and, as suggested by the OP, anyone telling themselves (or others) that the push against it is for its homebrew ability is delirious.

Honestly I'm surprised it took this long for Nintendo et al. to react. Though from what I hear, the R4 (and its close cousin, the M3) is on the way out and some other card with similar functionality is on the rise.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Hoknor (950280) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393079)

If it is so clear and obvious as to make one "severely delusional" to consider alternative motivations, it would be nice if you provided some form of supporting content for the statement.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394539)

If it is so clear and obvious as to make one "severely delusional" to consider alternative motivations, it would be nice if you provided some form of supporting content for the statement.

But it's clear and obvious; why should he? The only people who argue against it are deliberately ignoring the truth, or misunderstanding him. (Really... it is both clear and obvious).

He's not saying that's the only use for it, just that that is the obvious primary purpose, and that is the reason Nintendo and all the game publishers are going after it. I'm sure you know that.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393157)

Is this truly a case of fighting piracy, or is it also an attempt to stop homebrew from stealing the market?"

It is truly a case of fighting piracy. Anybody who thinks otherwise is severely delusional.

R4 is used 99% for piracy. End of Story.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393189)

And as a counter-point, I take you to the Metacritic DS list [metacritic.com] .

Notice how few green titles there are on that list?

The DS has become a shovel-ware platform, mainly because it has no competition, so all sorts of crap gets released for it. Of course they want to reduce competition from actual creative and innovative games.

Hell, the first green game on the list (as of the time I'm posting) is Final Fantasy IV - a rerelease of a 20-year old game! (How it got that high a score I'll never know, but since almost all the Sqeenix games on the list got good scores it's fairly safe to say that the reviewers are biased in favor of Squeenix.)

So, yes, it's safe to say that at least some of this move is to drive out competition from unlicensed games.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393243)

Of course they want to reduce competition from actual creative and innovative games.

Yes, but what does that have to do with the homebrew scene?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393587)

To be fair, Final Fantasy IV for the DS is a complete remake of the game. It is presented in 3D (vs the 2D sprites of the previous incarnations), and features full motion video and voice acting. It does stil follow the same story and characters, and is probably one of the best FF stories (though I'm still very partial to FF6).

Homebrew is wonderful (4, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393195)

I decided to get an R4 chip for our Nintendo DS. The kids love it, as I loaded it up with things like Colors! [collectingsmiles.com] , which is a touch sensitive drawing program. It also nicely plays music and home videos. My kids were both mesmerized by family movies I took of them from a couple years ago.

There is a long list [wikipedia.org] of homebrew software out there. And yes, you can even get your DS running Linux.

Re:Homebrew is wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24394633)

And yes, you can even get your DS running Linux.

Behold! There first ever reversed meme:

Of course you can. What doesn't run Linux?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (3, Insightful)

jkerman (74317) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393573)

So are blank DVD's then?

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (-1, Troll)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393847)

Not to anywhere near the same extent, and that is also completely irrelevant to the question at hand.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393783)

You're totally right man. Nintendo's shown that they don't mind homebrew even if they can't take steps to actually support it.

Anyone who thinks they might be pissing on homebrew hasn't been *anywhere* near the NDS homebrew scene.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (2, Insightful)

retroStick (1040570) | more than 5 years ago | (#24395033)

My company recently produced a single-purpose application for the DS, best described as a "virtual schedule" for a conference our client was holding. Since it was for a private customer as opposed to a retail application, we made it entirely using homebrew software and distributed it on M3 flash carts - almost identical to the R4 ones. Shipped about 1,500 of the things as I recall.

If those flash carts are now banned, I doubt there would be legal repercussions for our company distributing them - but the prospect of repeat business would be gone, and our months of development time on the application would suddenly become less valuable if not wasted.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24395075)

That would be a shame, but I'm not sure I see how that is relevant.

Re:Well, that's an easy one to answer (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24395139)

To an extent, I agree that these cards are for piracy.

I have an M3DS Real, and the launch menu clearly has a slot named NDS for commercial games and MyCard for homebrew stuff. (It also has one called GBA, which can be used for both commercial and homebrew.) It is clear that one of the purposes of these cards is to run commercial software. Depending upon the owners actions and the definition of piracy, this card is made for running pirated software. If it's purpose was to run homebrew, they would not have the option to use copied commercial carts.

That being said, if you want to run or create homebrew you don't have much choice. And there is a lot of excellent homebrew for the DS. Particularly on the applications front. (I'm not really into games, and only regularly play two games on the DS. Even though I bought four. Wimper.)

It would be nice (1)

Wiseblood1 (1135095) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392529)

To finally see a graphical Nethack or slashEM on the DS one day, I might even buy the DS just to fiddle with it and play nethack. Would be a fun way to waste time.

Re:It would be nice (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392789)

To finally see a graphical Nethack or slashEM on the DS one day, I might even buy the DS just to fiddle with it and play nethack. Would be a fun way to waste time.

Haven't tried any of them yet, but here you go. [gamesetwatch.com]

R4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24392535)

You can pry my R4 from my cold, dead R4.

SuperCards for All! (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392565)

I had bought a MiniSD SuperCard for my Gameboy Advance SP some time ago. Due to the SP's form factor I can take it just about anywhere, so I always have a robust arcade in my pocket. GBA games, Gameboy and Gameboy Color games if you like, as well as full NES and Game Gear emulation!

Avoiding the pitfall of the PSP (3, Insightful)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392589)

I just see this as Nintendo seeing what happened to the PSP and homebrew and getting it under control before it's too late.

It's sad - both systems should have some level of a 'code pack' that lets people write apps and such for their portable toys, but the level of flat piracy that the homebrew community has created for the PSP is really affecting it's viability as a game platform for developers.

http://www.pspfanboy.com/2008/03/09/ridiculous-psp-piracy-numbers/ [pspfanboy.com]

Re:Avoiding the pitfall of the PSP (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393219)

Its already too late. At this point, the PSP has it -better- than the DS... There -is- a reason why the PSP made a "come back". It was originally the one of the two that was pirate-land... but now that the two are (and the DS doesn't even require custom firmware), PSP looks better from a publisher's point of view than it did originally...

You're right though. I'm sure console makers would like nothing more than to give us a cool SDK and tools... it would raise the value of the machine enough to sell it at a profit earlier on (I'm guessing the DS always was, but I doubt the PSP did). But they can't: the FIRST freagin application that -always- comes out on these things is Emulator ABCD for console XYZ.

Re:Avoiding the pitfall of the PSP (1)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393389)

Actually - the come-back seems to be (as an owner and somewhat a fanboy of the PSP) because:

1- Exceptionally successful games and marketing in Asia.
2 - Redesign in the USA causes new splash.
3 - Actually, I think a couple of the latest new games have helped alot, see God of War.

Note that #3 actually is contrary to my argument, but factor in that there may have been more piracy of that game than there were sales (which may have helped drive up system sales, as a thought) AND that the developer that designed this incredible game immediately shut down PSP development, even shipping off all their dev kits.

Re:Avoiding the pitfall of the PSP (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393993)

Point 2 stands, though it came -after- the big come back of the PSP (plus its not like the DS Lite... if you look at the demos in stores, the 2 PSPs look the same from a couple of feets away unless you look carefuly =).

Mind you, I do have a PSP2000, mostly because component support kicks ass, so it still helped at least move one unit.

The other 2 are -results- of what I was talking about :) first party aside, the good games came -after- (MUCH after, too) the DS got piracy-pwned.

Seriously? (4, Insightful)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392599)

I can't tell if the article summary comment is tongue-in-cheek or actually serious. I should hope that it isn't the latter, its tough to believe people are really that delusional. How can a game written by 3-4 teen/early 20 year olds hope to compete against games that REQUIRE dozens of designers/artists? The cost and man-hours necessary to complete a modern game have effectively shoved small time developers out of business. Its not like they were muscled out, the technology and cost just ran away from them. Today, an amateur game maker can realistically hope to make games equivalent to those seen 15 years ago. How much market share will the 800th clone of pong or snake or RPG Maker-esque rpg really take away from licensed games? How fun is it, really, to play yet another generic 2d platformer?

Don't lie to yourself, nobody's clamoring to buy this to play any of those games. This is designed for piracy. I guarantee >95% use it exclusively for getting non-homebrew games.

Re:Seriously? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392651)

Far more fun than to play yet another FPS, a genre that hasn't had anything new to it since deathmatch.

Look at the kind of numbers simple games like popcap, yahoo games, and similar flash games sites get. Those can easily be written by 1 man in a few weeks. And people play them like mad. So yes, there is a market out there for simple yet fun games that the majority of publishers ignore. Graphics and art are not required for fun gameplay.

Re:Seriously? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393173)

Yeah but those simple games are often free and can be played on an office PC, they don't require a dedicated piece of gaming hardware along with a specialized cartridge for it. Then again many attribute the success of the Wii to delivering exactly these games but in forms people haven't seen before...

Re:Seriously? (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394809)

> they don't require a dedicated piece of gaming hardware along with
> a specialized cartridge for it

They do if you want to play away from a PC. Zillions of people play simple flash games. It stands to reason that some non-trivial number would play them on a handheld if it were easy. The reason vendors don't sell games like that is Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft demands a large fixed price per title on all of the locked consoles and simple games like that would have to sell for $5-$10 to have a chance of selling.

A Nintendo DS is a small computer: Trying to stop people from running programs on it is like trying to make water not wet. (To mangle an infamous quote.)

Personally my dream is to someday have the Supremes issue a ruling to that effect. Say something like, "You can try to lock down your products if you like, just don't expect US to put people in jail for running programs on a computer they own. Oh, and that goes for you Apple, we won't put people in jail for running your software on whatever computer they want to."

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24392877)

How can a game written by 3-4 teen/early 20 year olds hope to compete against games that REQUIRE dozens of designers/artists?

This is the same question that people ask about the rest of the game industry. The answer is, and always has been, originality and better gameplay. If you think that bigger is better, then you're severely deluded. Tiny teams make great games all the time.

Re:Seriously? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392907)

How can a game written by 3-4 teen/early 20 year olds hope to compete against games that REQUIRE dozens of designers/artists?

I'll play Devil's Advocate here, but I've played the crap out of Line Rider [wikipedia.org] , Porrasturvat [wikipedia.org] and Desktop Tower Defense [wikipedia.org] , all games made (initially) by a single person (or a very small group). DTD is a lot more fun and challenging than most blockbuster games.

Re:Seriously? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394105)

I'll play Devil's Advocate here, but I've played the crap out of Line Rider, Porrasturvat and Desktop Tower Defense, all games made (initially) by a single person (or a very small group). DTD is a lot more fun and challenging than most blockbuster games.

Would you have paid $35 per title to purchase any of those games as a commercial cartridge, without having had the opportunity to playtest them first?

If not, homebrew can't really be considered a threat to the game publishers. Which leaves concerns over piracy at the motivation for Nintendo, et al, in filing suit.

Re:Seriously? (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394945)

> Would you have paid $35 per title...

Who cares?

> Which leaves concerns over piracy at the motivation for Nintendo,
> et al, in filing suit.

Who cares? By your logic the Supremes would have ruled against Sony in the Betamax decision, because most VCR use was piracy. Especially if you buy the argument that recording TV was infringing use. And thus the whole home video revolution would have been stillborn. You can't ban technology because it MIGHT be used for ill, you can't even ban it because MOST use of it is illegal. You CAN bust people trading ROM images.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 5 years ago | (#24392917)

Well, it would be a real shame if that 95% ruined it for the rest of us. I have an R4 and I'll be using it exclusively for a VNC-like application I'm writing so I can run programs on my desktop computer remotely. (Originally I wanted to use DSLinux, but it turns out that without a GBA cartridge to expand the memory capacity, it can't run very many programs--not even ssh. And the web browser in DSOrganize was a letdown as well.)

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

Paralizer (792155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393071)

Don't lie to yourself, nobody's clamoring to buy this to play any of those games. This is designed for piracy. I guarantee >95% use it exclusively for getting non-homebrew games.

I suppose they should also sue anyone who makes the microSD cards since they are the medium stores any copyright code the R4 may use. Now let's expand that to include Sony, Maxwell, and all the other companies that make blank CD-R's and DVD-R's because they can be used to copy copyrighted material.

This is utterly ridiculous. The R4 is a development tool, if it can or can not run copyrighted code is irrelevant. I've had one of these things for a while and I have to say they are pretty awesome. (I'm a developer.)

These companies need to get over themselves and focus on making quality products consumers want to buy and stop blaming their shortcomings on piracy that only a tiny fraction of their potential customer base even abuse.

Re:Seriously? (1)

pxc (938367) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394229)

I could care less about the homebrew games for it--but I'm not talking about piracy, either. I'm more interested in its capabilities as a little portable media player and web browsing device.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394621)

How can a game written by 3-4 teen/early 20 year olds hope to compete against games that REQUIRE dozens of designers/artists?

Well, here's three ways:

(1) You're ID is just over half mine. You should know by now about this whole F/OSS thing that lets people build on other's work. A F/OSS project can (not always does, but can) use a lot less man-hours than a proprietary job that has to re-invent the wheel.

(2) Games that REQUIRE dozens of designers/artists usually end up being very unoriginal, because whomever has to fund the whole thing does not want to take a risk (and justifiably so). Homebrew stuff, with very small investments, can afford to act out their dreams and try crazy new stuff which may very well be super-awesome. Super-awesome can compete with unoriginal very, very well.

(3) "Games were better back in my day." Maybe I'm getting old and out of touch, or maybe it's just the nostalgia-bonus, but most new games these days don't appeal to me nearly as much as some of the older ones. The ability to take some of my favorite oldies around with me on a portable platform like the DS is very appealing.

I can't tell if the article summary comment is tongue-in-cheek or actually serious. I should hope that it isn't the latter, its tough to believe people are really that delusional.

I ended up buying a used PSP specifically - and only - for homebrew/ports. I haven't purchased or pirated a single "official" PSP game (from what I've seen they all suck to varying degrees - none are worth the bandwidth to pirate), but for quite some time I've used it for things like Quake, NES/SNES/PS emulation (all games I *should* have the rights too - I even own multiple copies of games like Super Metroid), and board games like Chess and (the best game of all time:) Go.

I'm willing to accept that technology is primarily used for piracy and is hurting Nintendo financially, but acting as though there is no way anyone would actually prefer the legitimate usage is, to be frank, either severely misinformed or blatantly malicious. I'll give you Hanlon's razor and just hope you're modded down.

Hey Nintendo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24392819)

Thanks for telling me about this device. Now after a bit of searching and reading the R4 wiki I can figure out how to pirate your games more easily!

Big names are always making the same mistakes (2)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393055)

Bad move [wikipedia.org] , Nintendo...

Re:Big names are always making the same mistakes (1)

uglydog (944971) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393361)

that's not applicable. streisand effect refers to unwanted publicity generated by an attempt at censorship (first line of the wikipedia article). nintendo at al are not censoring anyone, and they aren't trying to prevent some piece of information from becoming widely known. they are attempting to prevent piracy of their video games. analogies to the riaa and mpaa would make more sense.

i also dont see nintendo or other video game producers as evil as the riaa or mpaa. maybe that's just habit. anyway, i don't mind paying for a video. i play it for a few months, then sell it. i do have an r4 tho. i downloaded sim city for the ds before it was available in the us, and i ended up buying the us version when it came out. cuz i also own nintendo stock.

They'll have to fight a hell of a lot of battles.. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393081)

.. since there are plenty of R4 clones, and successors out there.

Re:They'll have to fight a hell of a lot of battle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24394667)

I was thinking the same thing, why only R4? [wikipedia.org]

for once i agree with the corporation (1, Insightful)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393101)

I think it's pretty obvious that this is about piracy and not killing homebrew or modding. How are game developers supposed to make money if all their games can be dumped onto a cartridge for free, easily.

Re:for once i agree with the corporation (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394557)

(Oh, does anybody know if this will affect M3? Or is it just R4?)

I personally don't.

There's a lot of room for good homebrew there. Unless Nintendo wants to try selling us FTP, MP3, etc. software carts.

But of course Nintendo is doing it for piracy. It's not unreasonable to see why. Nintendo hasn't dropped the pricing on ANY of its games in two or so years. New Super Mario Bros. is still 35$/40$ here, same for all the other nintendo games. At least here in Canada.

IMHO Nintendo should release its own homebrew kit, but that still allows you to play commercial games. However, it'd be styled like Virtual Console. You buy your games as digital downloads, they get put onto the console, and they do some sort of digital signage technique; maybe something that locks it down to the DS? Like it's saved on microSD cards, but it's an encryped and/or obscure format... You can then buy games for ~5$ as digital downloads, 10$/15$ for new releases. Or they make the carts with built-in flash enough for a small downloader-type app, and then they sell a GBA cart that can have an SD card or microSD card or like 2GB of flash or whatever, in which the games are stored, and can be backed up, but it will sign them with a system like GPG so that you can't just get any random files and play them, just stuff from the DS store...

I know this isn't as good as the R4/M3 but what the fuck do you want?

There's a lot of good games for the DS, they don't all deserve 20$+. Drawn To Life looks like a great game but I don't want to waste 20$. I want Tingle games but they're only in Japan.

Re:for once i agree with the corporation (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24395055)

> How are game developers supposed to make money if all their games
> can be dumped onto a cartridge for free, easily.

How does Hollywood make billions when DVDs can be trivially copied? How does the music industry make money in a world of mp3 trading? They do it, perhaps not quite as humongous piles of cash but Batman just cleared 300M$ at the box office and Britney Spears is heading back to the studio so she expects her mindless drones^W^Wremaining fans to cough up some more cash.

PC games often have 'no cd' cracks up before the game is in the stores and they still rake in Sagens.

Copyright grants authors an exclusive right to control reproduction and public performance of their works. I missed the clause in the Constituition that gives em the right to control any and all physical products sold in interstate commerce on the grounds that among their uses is that it might make infringement a little easier. Thus the DMCA is flatly unconstituitional and I for one ignore it.

Re:for once i agree with the corporation (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24395091)

I think it's pretty obvious that this is about piracy and not killing homebrew or modding. How are game developers supposed to make money if all their games can be dumped onto a cartridge for free, easily.

Right. It's unfortunate that it's necessary, though -- if they got their protection right (as they did for the Wii, excepting Virtual Console titles), these devices would be useful only for homebrew.

That said, contrary to the conclusion you implied (to the question you beggered), publishers certainly do make money off the DS, despite the very longstanding availability of hardware to circumvent its protection mechanisms.

Legitimate uses (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393545)

When I was over in Asia last year they were everywhere. They also enable your DS to play MP3s, videos (after conversion), and function as an E-Book Reader and PDA. How many people use them for those functions can be debated, but there are legitimate uses for the devices.

Re:Legitimate uses (1)

kn0tw0rk (773805) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394055)

I use my DS with one of these mod carts to listen to music, as I'm not allowed to put any media on my pc at work. Cheaper than an Ipod and it has built in speakers as an alternative to wearing headphones. I had a R4 as my first cart but changed to the M3 after finding out that the later would support the higher density mirco SD cards.

Yeah, this is a bit late (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393643)

Not only has the R4 been superceded by other carts, but the no$gba emulator [emubase.de] has fairly reasonable DS support. Nintendo has basically no chance of stopping piracy on the DS.

Rob

Think again about homebrew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24393757)

This won't do anything to stop DS piracy, The pirates know, Nintendo knows, everyone does. That's why they never had more than a token effort at fighting flashcarts.

However Nintendo's new "casual" focus changes things a bit. The casual market seems to like a few small, quirky and fun titles, with a good degree of shovelware to pad things out......which couldn't sound more like the homebrew scene. If the R4 or one of its' ilk got mass market somehow that could be a serious dent for Nintendo and 3rd parties.

R4 is the sole reason I purchased a DS (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 5 years ago | (#24393981)

If no card had existed like this, I would not have purchased the unit, nor the Zelda game that I bought the first week. I'm only willing to spend enough to buy a game or two per year, which would've pushed me to the psp or cell phone games, except for the ease of the R4.

I'll still buy the game or two per year that I was planning on, and Nintendo profited on the sale of the device. So, in my case, the R4 gave Nintendo profit they wouldn't have had otherwise. However, probably only a small percentage of R4 users match my scenario (only purchased DS because of the available crack). Nintendo may or may not want me as a customer, but I'd think that some profitable revenue is better than none...

lol wut (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394011)

Is this truly a case of fighting piracy, or is it also an attempt to stop homebrew from stealing the market?

Are you fucking kidding me.

Many of the plaintiff companies here -- Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, et al -- have traditions of excellence in video game design dating back nearly THREE DECADES. Who in the homebrew community, though I do love and support them, is going to beat them at their game?

There are TONS of homebrew apps for DS (2, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#24394687)

The Nintendo DS is homebrew heaven. There are dozens of mod chips [modchipstore.com] for the DS. And many, [dev-scene.com] many [gbadev.org] forums and libraries [palib.info] for homebrew [palib.info] applications. There's several development [bottledlight.com] wiki's [tobw.net] and some must have [dev-scene.com] applications. [dragonminded.com]

This is not a tool for piracy. If they want to stop piracy, they need to stop the people who are dumping roms. And you won't find tools to dump roms quite so easily. Attacking the companies that make legitimate devices lazy and anti-customer.

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