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Piracy and the Nintendo DS

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the portable-but-not-too-portable dept.

Nintendo 261

Graffitiwriter writes "With the average DS game weighing in at about 30-60MB (well within the reach of anyone with a half-decent broadband connection) gamers now have an alarmingly easy route to free games — a fact that Nintendo is all too aware of. Pocket Gamer takes a look at how piracy affects the Nintendo DS console, along with the reasons so many gamers turn to piracy to play their games — including the slew of inferior games, availability of flash carts and industry greed."

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well it is expected... (5, Informative)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444835)

People are going to pirate your software, no matter how hard you try to protect it, there was even devices for the original gameboy.

People are going to copy software, and find an excuse for it, they always have, and always will.
company X is bad, Company x charge to much...

You can take a nigger out of the jungle... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444921)

but you can't take the jungle out of a nigger!

Pittsburgh police detectives are trying to identify a man who sexually
assaulted two women this week in Shadyside and Hazelwood by crawling
through open windows.

The rapist assaulted the first woman in the early morning hours
Wednesday and the second Thursday morning.

"I understand its been hot and humid and people leave their windows
open, but people need to make sure they do so in a way so that someone
can't gain entry to their house," Pittsburgh police Deputy Chief Earl
Woodyard said.

Police described the suspect as a thin black man in his 20s, between
5-foot-7 and 6 feet tall. He had braided hair and wore a do-rag, police
said.

In the first assault, he crawled through an open, first-floor window of
an apartment building in the 6300 block of Fifth Avenue in Shadyside
between 1:15 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. The woman living there was sleeping and
heard a noise but didn't get up to investigate. He entered the woman's
bedroom and sexually assaulted her before leaving through the front
door, Woodyard said.

About 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, a woman living in a multi-unit home in the
700 block of Hazelwood Avenue in Hazelwood awoke to find a man in her
bedroom. The man, who fit the description of the Shadyside attacker,
held a do rag over his face as he sexually assaulted the woman, Woodyard
said. The suspect had crawled through an open window.

When the suspect left the Hazelwood victim's apartment, she saw him
drive away in a tan, newerâ'model sedan. That victim told police her
attacker smelled heavily of cologne.

"Because the second victim didn't hear any noises, but awoke to find him
in her bedroom, we don't know how long he was in the apartment,"
Woodyard said. "We also don't know if anything was taken from the
victims during either assault."

In both incidents, the victims screamed once, and the suspect told them
to stop. But both victims screamed again.

Woodyard said the suspect didn't threaten either victim with a weapon.
"It's possible he may get more courageous and strike again since both of
these incidents happened so close together," Woodyard said.

"Particularly since the second assault happened at a time when it's
light outside and people are moving about."

Police are investigating whether the suspect targeted the women in
advance. The first victim is married, but was home alone, and the second
victim lived alone, Woodyard said. Both victims are in their 20s.

Woodyard said investigators are encouraging any other victims or anyone
with information to call city sex crimes detectives at 412-323-7141.

Re:well it is expected... (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445045)

People are going to pirate your software, no matter how hard you try to protect it, there was even devices for the original gameboy.

Thus the release of the DSi. Not only will it lock out R4 cards for classic DS games, but Nintendo has added significant upgrades to the protection on DSi games. They've even added region coding to round out the new protection bundle. (Thanks a lump, ya bunch of pirates!)

I doubt these changes will completely eliminate piracy. As you said, there are always those who will make the effort. However, it may stem the rather rampant degree of DS piracy and bring it back down to reasonable levels.

I imagine these protections are particularly important for the DSi since it has downloadable titles that can be saved to an SDCard. If Nintendo failed to encrypt these games like they did with the Wii, everyone could give their friends copies just by swapping SD Cards.

Re:well it is expected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445087)

(Thanks a lump, ya bunch of pirates!)
Don't thank the pirates, thank Nintendo.

That said, I'm still looking forward to the DSi, as much as I loathe white plastics and the lowercase "i" in my consumer electronics device. Digital distribution is the way of the future, and I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Re:well it is expected... (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445251)

It's kind of naive the way you blame pirates for the excesses of the industry. As if any kind of "lock out" can stop people in it for the thrill combined with nearly endless freetime, or an audicence of many people who are willing to pirate because they just want nice things for free.

On the other hand, such lock out can easily prevent honest customers from exercising their rights (first sale), and create difficulties for them that they just won't easily resolve. May even drive some to piracy to avoid all the headaches.

Region codes have nothing to do with piracy, they exist solely to support price discrimination by region and prevent first sale doctrine. There's a reason Australia's otherwise-draconian DMCA-equivalent explicitly allows disabling DRM to eliminate such structures.

My solution to the crap the industry pulls is more on the stop playing games side than the piracy side, but it's pretty easy to see how this goes.

Way to drink the flavor-aid.

Re:well it is expected... (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445349)

It's kind of naive the way you blame pirates for the excesses of the industry.

Excesses of the industry? We're talking about Nintendo handhelds here. You're probably the only one in history who has considered that market "excessive". (Whatever that's supposed to mean.)

On the other hand, such lock out can easily prevent honest customers from exercising their rights (first sale), and create difficulties for them that they just won't easily resolve. May even drive some to piracy to avoid all the headaches.

Did you miss the part where we were talking about a handheld console? Right of first sale is NOT impeded by encryption of DS game cards any more than the NES lockout chip impeded the right of first sale. And you're going to have to backup your comment about "headaches" with some solid data here. We're not talking about PCs. We're talking about a ROM-based handheld game console. You know, the things where you plug the game in and it works right the first time, every time?

Region codes have nothing to do with piracy

Normally they don't. But in this case, they do. Nintendo has produced seven generations or so of handheld game consoles. Not a single one supported region codes until the DSi. It stands to reason that if Nintendo wasn't trying to lock out pirates with new protection technology, there's a good chance the region codes never would have made it into this system.

Way to drink the flavor-aid.

Way to stick your head up your ass. If we were talking about PC games you might have a point. But not a single comment you made applies to this particular market. Which means that you've just gone from having a potentially reasonable point to becoming an apologist for illegal and immoral behavior.

"Rated E" is meaningless in Europe (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446907)

Nintendo has produced seven generations or so of handheld game consoles. Not a single one supported region codes until the DSi. It stands to reason that if Nintendo wasn't trying to lock out pirates with new protection technology, there's a good chance the region codes never would have made it into this system.

DSi is also the first Nintendo handheld to enforce parental controls based on a rating system, and each region has a different rating system. For instance, ESRB ratings are meaningless in the European market, which largely uses PEGI.

Re:well it is expected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26447143)

Actually The region codes are for piracy. Nintendo never had region codes on their handhelds until the Dsi and that's probably because it's so easy for anyone to produce something, like the R4, and it can be used across the globe and cause more damage.

Nintendo has always been very fair about handhelds and teh fact y ou can take them on travel and might buy a foreign game. So yes pirates did ruin that for the rest of us.

Re:well it is expected... (5, Informative)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445657)

Well, the card developers have already come up with a working flashcard for the DSi, so Nintendo has lost that battle. http://www.dsfanboy.com/2008/12/02/acekard-produces-first-dsi-flash-cart/ [dsfanboy.com]

Re:well it is expected... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26447009)

Except they region locked the honest people.

Re:well it is expected... (1)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445693)

They've even added region coding to round out the new protection bundle.

Gee great, like this wasn't already a needless PITA with DVDs - needless because de-zoning happens anyway, so in the end it's just there to piss off people who aren't tech savvy.

Re:well it is expected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446435)

Perhaps they can prevent people from pirating games for use on their DS but they will never be able to stop piracy by people who use emulators. The PSP is powerful enough to emulate a Sony Playstation, Nintendo 64 and most likely the Nintendo DS so that would be the logical choice for pirates who still want the portability.

DSi's effect on homebrew (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446859)

Thus the release of the DSi. Not only will it lock out R4 cards for classic DS games

Locking out R4 cards and comparable cards locks out amateur developers. From the article:

(let's not forget that many people who use pass-through carts are actually doing so because they wish to experiment with the system and not play pirated games)

What handheld platform should homebrewers be developing for instead?

Re:well it is expected... (4, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445263)

Its a very wide spectrum. I know very few people who modded their Xbox 360s, because if they get caught MSFT disables them from playing online - a pretty severe punishment. Most consoles are similar - they require you to hack hardware (i.e. soldering) with expensive mod chips that void the warranty.

The DS, on the other hand, is ridiculously easy to pirate. A 15 dollar cart from dealextreme, a 10 dollar microsd card, and a 1 hour bit torrent download can get you 50 of the most popular DS games - built into your DS. It's more convenient, far cheaper, and you can play games even before they come out. It doesn't void your warranty and isn't traceable.

I personally bought the DS because of its ability to be hacked, but not for pirating. I run a lot of homebrew on my DS, including a very capable Nintendo emulator, an e-book reader, and a few open source games.

Re:well it is expected... (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445663)

People tend to forget that emulation, possibly even if you own copies of the software you're using, can still count as piracy. Just because the platform's obsolete, and the games are no longer sold by your average retailer, doesn't mean the roms are in the public domain.

Re:well it is expected... (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446355)

True. But morality and legality never have been identical and never will be. One more case study of how the best we can only hope for is a crude approximation.

But then again, pretty much everybody is committing hundreds of "crimes" per day, the justice is all in the enforcement.

There's nothing immoral with ROM dumping a game YOU own and playing it on your computer, no matter what industry propaganda may claim otherwise.

Re:well it is expected... (1)

NorQue (1000887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445591)

People are going to pirate your software, no matter how hard you try to protect it, there was even devices for the original gameboy.

These devices cost a hell of a lot more back then, though. *cough*Someone I know*cough* bought his first flashkit for the GBC for more then 200 EUR. And those devices weren't exactly easy to use, parallel port introduced a lot problems and they were quite picky on the power supply. Today you shell out 5 EUR and you get a device that plays nearly all games without any effort from your side, any idiot can use that.

its not the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444839)

I find that the portability as well as the look and feel of the DS make it a more fun experience than sitting at a computer playing games of the DS level.

I mean, sure netbooks work too - but you can't stick them in your pocket quite yet.

Re:its not the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444865)

Is that a netbook in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Re:its not the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444939)

People can store backups of DS games on flash cards and play them on their DS. I understand that this is most often done for the purpose of piracy, but I do it just because I don't like to have to carry around 50 cartridges with me everywhere. Also, homebrew is pretty sweet.

Re:its not the same (3, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445003)

You actually use all 50 carts? I've got enough room for 12 in my bag and rarely ever use more than 1-2 of them.

Re:its not the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445011)

50 carts takes up about the same amount of room as 12 of them. Honestly, DS carts are small.

Re:its not the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445019)

You actually use all 50 carts?

No, who told you that? I just like to have my collection with me. When I wake up in the morning, there's no way for me to know if I'll feel like playing Brain Age or Mario at any given point during the day. It's also nice not needing a bag.

Re:its not the same (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26447191)

They are useful for building a house to put your ds into, didn't you know it's the new "in thing" to do...

Size doesn't matter... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444855)

A hacked PSP with LARGE ISO's, some up to 1GB, is just as common as someone with a Nintendo DS and an R4.

Nitendo DS (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444857)

Recently, I was going on a road trip and was looking for somethings to keep myself and others entertained. I borrowed a friend's DS and bought a couple games for it. I ended up dropping about $60 on 4-5 games that I had heard of or seen commercials for.

Afterwards, I wished I had skipped it. Only one of the games was played to any degree by anyone. The others were trash/shovelware that got old after 15 minutes. Also, it frustrated the hell out of me that the games featured only 1 save slot, prohibiting anyone from starting new games.

I thought I was back in the stone age of gaming. Until they get with the program, they've lost me as a portable gamer.

Re:Nitendo DS (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444927)

Or, you could actually take a few minutes to look up online what the good games are which aren't. Or just grab a top 10 list from someplace. Just the same concept of using rotten tomatoes to avoid dropping money on bad movies.

I don't think ignorance is really a valid excuse anymore. At least 90% of any media has always been crap.

Re:Nitendo DS (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445421)

Yeah, all he really needed to do was just buy one game... ChronoTrigger for the DS. He would have come back from his trip thinking the DS was the best thing ever.

Re:Nitendo DS (2, Interesting)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445681)

If you're going to look for game reviews I suggest metacritic and only look at the user ratings. I've noticed a lot of game review sites and magazines consistently give big release titles a much higher score than they deserve. Just look at the average critic score given to Far Cry 2 versus the average user score on metacritic. I think hundreds if not thousands of user scores coming from people who play games for fun are a better indication of a games worth than a handful of people who are paid to review them.

Just my opinion though.

Re:Nitendo DS (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446869)

yeah, then he would have had 1 or 2 games for that amount of money -_-
maybe i'm the only one who finds it ridiculous, but here in europe, the ds games are prices 40â new (some even 45)...
wtf -_-, for a handheld game, that obviously didn't cost as much to develop as a pc game, that get sold at 45-50â....

Re:Nitendo DS (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444981)

So, you didn't do any reasearch or look at any reviews whatsoever, just bought the cheapest ('about $60 on 4-5 games is about $7 a game) games you could find?

And then, you're going to blame Nintendo for games made by /other companies/?

Are you for real?

Re:Nintendo DS (5, Funny)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445007)

('about $60 on 4-5 games is about $7 a game)

Where did you learn math?

Re:Nintendo DS (4, Funny)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445417)

I was thinking the same thing!

His Brain Age must be, like, a MILLION!

Re:Nintendo DS (0, Troll)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26447177)

The Americian schewl system, the war hasn't affected us at all.
We never really needed that funding .. really...

R4 cards (2, Informative)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444861)

It's called an R4 card [r4ds.cn] , though there are others too.

Re:R4 cards (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445047)

I got tired of carrying around 10+ individual carts. Last time I was in Tokyo, I stopped by Akihabara and grabbed a R4DS card and 8gb micro-SD card.

Now I can consolidate all my games and, just as importantly, try new games before I buy them. Works great. The only down side is that you have to download the firmware from the site and copy that to all the MicroSD cards. I wish they'd burned it onto the R4 itself.

Also, I sometimes have to try the card 3 or 4 times to get it to read properly. This is only an issue if I remove the card to play a normal cart and then swap back.

Re:R4 cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446363)

I know a parent who bought the R4 because the kid was traveling around with US$400 of original games, and it's hard to tell a 12 year old the value of something that is so small and portable.

Re:R4 cards (2, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445125)

It's worth noting that the original R4 is no longer sold, and the company that made it is long gone. The R4's sold now are all poor knock-offs with no support. If you're a pirate they won't work with future games, and if you're a homebrewer the compatibility is absolutely terrible thanks in part to shoddy DLDI patching. There are other, better flash carts (AceKart, CycloDS, M3, etc) that can meet your needs, whichever side of the spectrum you may go.

Free mod points! (2, Insightful)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444867)

flash carts

/standard rant about Slashdot editors

Re:Free mod points! (2, Insightful)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445031)

Mario Flash Carts i presume.

Re:Free mod points! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446087)

insightful? wtf!!!!

Re:Free mod points! (3, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445285)

Nothing wrong with that.

A flash cart, short for flash cartridge, is a device you place in your DS. The flash cart contains a flash card, which stores the games/data. This is (was?) the most popular flash cartridge when I got my DS: http://r4ds.cn/ [r4ds.cn]

Re:Free mod points! (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445533)

This got modded up as insightful? Jesus Christ. /standard rant about Slashdot moderators

Re:Free mod points! (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446555)

It's a holdover from the days of cartridges, still used sometimes.

As a CycloDS owner (5, Interesting)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444873)

As a CycloDS owner, I can say that exactly zero (0) of the roms I have are pirated.

Why did I get a flash card if not to pirate?

Primarily, my upgrade to the lite left the gba cart sticking out, which made it less than convenient to carry with anything but the plug in the gba slot. Next was the convenience of not having to bring anything more then the DS itself while still having access to all my carts. Also some used games can't easily be restored to a clean state. The ripping process and separate save files solves that problem.

Re:As a CycloDS owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444949)

Multiple save files, RTS, Cheats, Homebrew.. Many other reasons legitimately for using a flashcart.

Re:As a CycloDS owner (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445371)

Good for you, as I get older, and FOSS meets more and more of my needs, I am finding my self decreasingly impartial to software piracy.

Re:As a CycloDS owner (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445531)

Does the DS run off of USB sticks, CD's or DVD's?

If not, I don't think they have too much to worry about.

I do it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444885)

A quality mod cartridge and a MicroSD card cost no more than three or four games, so it really pays for itself.

Plus, I can now play NES, SNES, and GameBoy games in emulators. I can also listen to music, look at pictures, watch videos, and even chat over IRC and AIM with my DS.

I would never be able to afford my collection of DS games if I went legit.

I can get free games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444889)

I did not know you could get free games, thanks for the info.

Missed one (5, Insightful)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444929)

Pocket Gamer takes a look at how piracy affects the Nintendo DS console, along with the reasons so many gamers turn to piracy to play their games â" including the slew of inferior games, availability of flash carts and industry greed."

Which sort of leaves out the obvious. People are cheap, and given the choice between having something for money or for free, many opt for free.

Re:Missed one (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445259)

Yes. But rather than focusing on the needs, wants, and desires of those who would never give you money and will get it for free no matter what you do, the companies would do better to make better products.

Though I've always wondered how even the most pro-piracy people could claim 'slew of inferior games' is a justification to pirate...if it sucks, wouldn't you /not/ want to waste time playing it?

Re:Missed one (4, Insightful)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445381)

I agree with you, I just get a little annoyed when people say things that make it sound like piracy is a natural and defendable consequence of the actions of the industry, ie "industry greed". It's true, there are definitely measures companies could take to try to minimize piracy, ie making great products that people will think are worth the cost. But at the end of the day, there's no reason why anyone has to have (insert hot name game title here), and so citing industry greed is just dumb.

Re:Missed one (1)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445389)

err...(insert end of italics tag after "has"...)

Re:Missed one (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445433)

Naah, I don't intend to /justify/ it. I just object to claiming piracy is no different from theft (deprivation of sale/versus deprivation of a good AND a sale). Most of my objections are on a PC market, where you have to worry about tons of viri on legally purchased games. I usually "justify" my own piracy, when I do it (not common) by spending an equal amount of money on DRM-free companies' products, and playing both. This way I can protect myself from dangerous malware, ensure I can always play the game in the future even if they decide to turn off the DRM, and still support the industry. I know this doesn't make it right, but it's the best compromise I can find in my moral principles.

I do like that console games are a physical dongle, so they really can't stop you from reselling it and the like, though with the new switch to DLC I'm afraid that first sale might go right out the window.

Re:Missed one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445721)

If getting something for free, without permission, that you would otherwise have to pay for, isn't theft, then what is it?

Re:Missed one (2, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446335)

It's when, in addition to your condition, you remove from someone else the good.

Consider: when you steal a stick of gum from a store, you are both obtaining something for free AND depriving the store of the good. Essentially, you are committing two crimes. Suppose you merely copied the gum. You still didn't buy it, but the store can sell it to someone else.

An alternate argument: If you weren't going to buy it, how is the seller actually harmed?*

They're definitely related, but it's a gross oversimplification to claim it's the same thing.

* Personally I'd argue you always "were" going to buy some portion of the number of media you pirate, and hence it's still wrong. But assuming you *actually* wouldn't have taken it if you couldn't have it for free, then I fail to see any direct harm the same way stealing a car from a dealership is. You have a car that isn't yours AND the dealership is out one.

Re:Missed one (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446677)

Luck?

Re:Missed one (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446233)

Though I've always wondered how even the most pro-piracy people could claim 'slew of inferior games' is a justification to pirate...if it sucks, wouldn't you /not/ want to waste time playing it?

Assuming there is no option to try before you buy, I guess the piracy has already occurred as a precaution, prior to discovering aforementioned suckage. Money saved.

That is the justification. Obviously, the bit where they realise the game is good and still don't actually buy it (in most cases, I'd imagine) is the actual contradiction to the idea.

Re:Missed one (2, Informative)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446523)

Though I've always wondered how even the most pro-piracy people could claim 'slew of inferior games' is a justification to pirate...if it sucks, wouldn't you /not/ want to waste time playing it?

Come on, you're just deliberately misunderstanding the situation there.

A slew of inferior games on the market, implies a few good ones at least. And if the only way to tell is to play, then you're going to statistically spend a fortune on duds, before you get a gem.

Why can't the people who buy games just read review magazines? Try it some time. I remember seeing positive reviews for some truly shitty games. And when some clueless well-meaning relative buys a game as a present, are they first supposed to have checked out what's hot and not online?

Re:Missed one (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26447221)

Why can't the people who buy games just read review magazines?

I stopped taking reviews serious when I started working for a computer magazine. Take a wild guess why.

It's not so much that you're outright "bought" to write a good review for a shitty product. It's more the psychological pressure. After all, you get nice stuff from them, ya know? You get all those "test samples" and other goodies. They sit down with you for a lenghty interview. And you got to fill those pages, you really, really have to, because first of all, you're paid by the page and you have to provide some content for your reader or they'll wonder why they should drop their five or even more bucks on a mag that's more the thickness of a leaflet and contains a few full page ads with little in between them.

And then there's this super-nice company that gives you all that for free. Free! You don't have to go out and buy their crap to write a review, no, they hand you a ton of pics and even an interview that's good for a page or even two, and they also give you those test samples so you can easily (and cost free!) write a couple more pages.

And then you should go and call it a stinker? Where do you think you'll get your next test sample from? Certainly not from those guys, that much I can tell you!

Re:Missed one (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445267)

Which sort of leaves out the obvious. People are cheap, and given the choice between having something for money or for free, many opt for free.

Okay. So let's see the income graph that is the inverse of the piracy graph.

Re:Missed one (1)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445365)

That's kind of a non sequitur. I didn't say people pirate because they don't have money. I said people just don't like spending money, and so there will always be people in every income bracket who will go to any length to avoid doing so.

Re:Missed one (2, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445773)

I hear ya. The question isn't about whether or not there are people who will go out of their way to avoid spending money, it's whether or not the number of people is very big. There's this industry-wide suggestion that a downloaded game equals a lost sale. I've yet to see anything that actually supports that. Well, I take that back. There was one number that I thought raised a few eyebrows. This isn't exact, mind you, but it was something like 800,000 DS's were sold in Korea and 200,000 units of software. Piracy? Even I'd admit that's a strong possibility. So why don't we have a number like that in the US?

Well, I'll tell you this: We wouldn't be in this economic problem right now if large numbers of people were penny pinchers. Heck, look at the success of Starbucks. $3 for a cup of coffee that even the place that changes my oil gives away for free? Oil changes!! I actually know how to change my oil, but I never do. It's just $20 away! Okay okay, I'm getting anecdotal here, but hopefully you catch my meaning. For all we know lots of people pirate games, that keeps them excited about playing, so they go buy other games. Provable? No. But consider how singles were popular for a long time, singles of songs played all the time on the radio. This is, mind you, after it became trivial to record radio transmissions.

I may be thinking on larger scale than you are, and I apologize if that's creating some unnecessary drama for you. The FA basically says that Nintendo launched the DSi to fight piracy. Frankly, I do not believe that. I think they released it because of virtual console sales on the Wii. That's the whole BFD of that system and why the lack of a GBA port isn't causing a frantic waving of torches and pitchforks.

'Industry Greed' (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444943)

Ah yes, that old yarn never gets old. Whenever we want to justify our theft we don the Robin Hood costume.

Re:'Industry Greed' (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26444971)

Yeah, ripping people off is only okay when a multi-billion dollar corporation does it.

Learn and evolve (2, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26444963)

It won't help much, but it would be a step in the right direction to offer the comodity of having all games in a single cartidge (or simply to a static internal memory).

Maye a system like Steam that downloads any game you own to your DS from any computer with internet access.

Just an idea.

Re:Learn and evolve (3, Informative)

erwanl (1209904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445129)

You should give your idea to Nintendo, I'm sure they will love it. Unless they already had the same idea... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Learn and evolve (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445637)

The DSi (next hardware revision) will already have a software download service. I'm not sure how many games it has since it seems to be aimed at productivity applications mostly but I think I did hear about some games.

I know I'm not supposed to say this, but... (3, Funny)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445033)

along with the reasons so many gamers turn to piracy to play their games -- including the slew of inferior games, availability of flash carts and industry greed.

Not to mention consumer greed. It's all the industry's fault, or at least those damn flash cart manufacturers. They provide a product like that, how could we possibly have the free will to say no?

Industry greed vs consumer greed? (4, Interesting)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445095)

If someone wants more games than he or she can pay for, isn't it fair to call that consumer is greedy?

Re:Industry greed vs consumer greed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445141)

It's fair to call that consumer human. If a consumer resorts to piracy, then it's fair to call that consumer poor or greedy, but only one of the two.

Re:Industry greed vs consumer greed? (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446019)

It's fair to call that consumer human. If a consumer resorts to piracy, then it's fair to call that consumer poor or greedy, but only one of the two.

So, is it okay for a poor consumer to resort to piracy? or is there no such thing as poor *and* greedy consumer?

Re:Industry greed vs consumer greed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445727)

Yeah because software is such a rare commodity that is expensive to duplicate... oh, wait.. what?

Re:Industry greed vs consumer greed? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446875)

If I can afford 5 games and pirate the rest, is that any worse than if I only buy 5 games? How is it not a victimless crime?

Is there anything actually worth pirating? (3, Funny)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445127)

Do I really want to download "Strawberry Shortcake: The Four Seasons Cake?" I think not.

Re:Is there anything actually worth pirating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445161)

Probably not, but you might want to download the multitude of good games on the DS.

Re:Is there anything actually worth pirating? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445467)

Or what about "Let's play Mums" [gbatemp.net] .

Seriously, the number of crap "games" for the Nintendo DS is astounding... whatever happened to the Nintendo Seal of Quality.

OTOH, I do have a CycloDS. That combined with Visual C++ Express and GCC toolchain has been a godsend for me to play (yes, programming games is like playing for me). Right now I am doing a port of the dual n-task game.

There is one very simple reason to get a flash cart. After you have more than 10 games it becomes unpractical to take all of them wherever you go. Instead, you just upload them to your flash memory and now you have all your games in there.

Re:Is there anything actually worth pirating? (3, Interesting)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445487)

The problem persists with every Nintendo console. The DS had amazing two years. Nintendo brought out quality games, third party developers were toying around with the new input controls and brought ought amazing games. Year three. Nintendo reduces a lot of its output down to the usual annual pokemon shit... Third party developers flock onto other consoles with their better developers, the rest is up to Disney and Co... That means 1-2 excellent quality titles per year which are drowned in a flood of my horse farm, cook yourself a bread, pink pony games...
If you look at the shelves you will only see the cheap cash in games, because they flood the games, the 1-2 excellent games drown and often do not even reach the shelves anymore.
It was like that with the Gameboy, the GBA, it is like that with the DS and to some smaller extent with the Wii.
But the situation still is better than on the PSP, the PSP currently only gets 5 shovelware games per year and not even a single good one, or one if at all.
For me I am rather sick of this entire situation I reverted back to PC gaming, the situation on the PC has changed a lot, you do not have to do yearly upgrades, and a mid range card does it mostly!Also the games are way cheaper than on the consoles. Also the games are not abandonware once the next upgrade cycle comes, like it was with the case PS2->PS3

Laptop gaming (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446977)

For me I am rather sick of [shovelware after the first two years of a Nintendo handheld, so] I reverted back to PC gaming, [...] a mid range card does it mostly!

The topic of the article is handheld video game systems, and the closest counterpart to those in the PC gaming world is a laptop. Unless the situation has changed dramatically since I bought my laptop, laptops don't have video "cards" that the end user can easily replace. What price range of laptops would you say come with "a mid range card"?

Re:Is there anything actually worth pirating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26447297)

That's completely false.

The start of the DS was slow and most games were rubbish until everyone got used to making games with the new controls.

This last year has had some of the best gaming output with the Final Fantasy remakes, Contra 4, Ninja Gaiden, the new Advance Wars title, Castlevania etc.

Next year will be equally good with titles like Grand Theft Auto.

Sure there are a lot of rubbish games but that's because there are a lot of games full stop. In fact the DS is the only system that actually caters to every spectrum of gamer with a decent collection of titles for both hardcore and casual gamers.

Gentlemen, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445147)

Welcome to 2005.

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.m3adapter.com/

This says something about any digital media (1)

isaacklinger (966649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445289)

Now that consumers can get pretty much any digital media without compensating the copyright holder -- films, music, videogames -- what is a copyright holder to do?

Right now they've found they can use cryptographically signed copies on a closed system. That evens the playing field for pirates and content providers for now, because people find it unappealing to hack their hardware and risk loss of support. That's what's happening in consoles through their virtual shops, and that's what'll happen with the DS.

Small game size does not mean piracy... (2, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445403)

People pirate X-Box 360 games, PS2 and Dreamcast games, and emulate Game Boy Advance and Super Nintendo games. From a 750kb ROM to a full 4.9 gig ISO file.

Anyone with a 'decent' broadband connection can leave a torrent or PSP program on overnights and grab any game they want relatively easily.

Size has never stopped most people from pirating games before who want to pirate.

People segmented PC games into .rar/.zip files and shared them on IRC or USENET well over a decade ago. Those games were ten times the size of a single DS game and that was then.

I purchased Golden Sun I and II for my Game Boy Advance when they came out but only opened them for the manual, the games are sitting in a box never used. I downloaded the ROMS that same week and played them off of an emulator. Full screen, my own controller, save states, etc.

Yes piracy sucks for game companies but for keeping old cartridge games alive I use ROMS always. And I own the original game at least.

Re:Small game size does not mean piracy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446127)

Dear brothers. How many games are in the market and how many games can you buy legally and. I think peoples have no choice but to use pirated software. I give a example of Microsoft who is not ready to lower his operating system price in developing countries and happy with the piracy. This is surely a greed.

Re:Small game size does not mean piracy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26447121)

If NDS games weren't so easily available and the NDS as trivial to "crack" as inserting a mod-card, do you really think it would have had such huge sales? If pretty obvious Nintendo want their devices to be simple to run pirate software, they make plenty of money on the hardware. That said, like the Wii, the NDS is largely crapware, so does anyone actually play games on it?

Hypothetical case (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445475)

What Nintendo should do is find a way to meet the demand and profit from it. They should put out their own flash cartridge and set up an online downloading service to allow customers to download games at a reduced cost, like what Amazon did with MP3's.

Amazon's DRM-free service has taught me that I really don't mind paying a dollar to own the right to play a song I like, in a format I prefer. I'm simply unwilling to pay $15+ for a CD that probably only has a couple of songs I want. Similarly for DS games, I'm simply not willing to pay $20 to $30 for a hard copy of a game, if the hard copy is less "functional" and more inconvenient to obtain and own than the pirated ROM version of it. Give me a $5 to $10 downloadable version of DS games I want, and it's a no brainer.

Re:Hypothetical case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445611)

The transition to downloaded content across the board is probably inevitable at this point. Companies can get product to market faster. Products no longer have to be "out-of-print", so retailers can offer a huge selection. Customers can get nearly instant gratification. Sales can be reclaimed from the used market.

It's always seemed a shame to me that companies let a concern like piracy stand in the way of all that. Piracy is already rampant, odds are good it will be in the future too, so I wonder if there'd be more profit for big companies to set that issue aside for now and readdress it in a time when they've maximized their own potential for content distribution?

Escapist just covered this topic--and better (2, Informative)

muel (132794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445813)

The Slot-1 Secret [escapistmagazine.com] -- this piece from early December '08 looks not only into rampant DS game piracy but how Nintendo rendered this piracy moot by shifting toward new audiences. The latter point is far more interesting, as the R4 topic is otherwise old hat.

My piracy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26445917)

Im not saying that it justifies piracy, but the only reason that i bought my ds was knowing that i could drop around 60$ and hold all of my games on one cartridge. If Nintendo simply dropped the cartridge and added a micro-SD slot with an xbox live/steam download system it would be great. My Greatest pain with portables is that once you begin carrying multiple games they are suddenly less portable due to needing a case or holder for the games

A bit OT... NDS USB charger cable (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26445991)

I will take advantage of this post to ask a question I have been asking myself, has anyone done a USB cable charger for the NDS? I travel a lot in and out of Europe and hate to take the European, American, English converters (not to mention the difference in voltage).

Last time I looked in Google there was one page with a DIY project mentioned , however the page was not available any more (and archive.org did not got it)...

I have also looked for it on stores without success...

It's obviously hitting them hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446029)

Yes, obviously piracy has been a massive problem for the Nintendo DS.

No, wait, the other thing: http://www.vgchartz.com/ [vgchartz.com]

Re:It's obviously hitting them hard (1)

BarneyL (578636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26447247)

Thanks for the info which shows that despite the DS massively outselling all other consoles it doesn't have a single game in the top five software sales.
Remember easy piracy may be a good selling point for hardware the same may not be true for software.

I wonder what RSA has to say about this (2, Interesting)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26446533)

When the Nintendo DS came out, RSA made it well known that its code protected the games [rsa.com] Now I don't hear so much from them about this. Maybe it's not their best example of protecting data?

the price of DS games is ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446543)

thats mostly why i dont own a DS

My Nintendo DS games were Pirated last week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446571)

I encountered a software pirate just the other day, he boarded my ship, blade drawn, and killed everyone onboard, he stole ALL my Nintendo DS games and put a ransom on my head.

Let's please stop using terms like "piracy" to describe what is really just unauthorized copying and sharing, all you're doing is playing into the propaganda.

Playboy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26446809)

Buying DS flash cards for development is like saying I buy playboy magazines for the articles!

Out of Print (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26447045)

These are also a great way to play games that you can't reasonably buy anymore. I have varied tastes and spend A LOT on games every month. But I don't have enough disposable income to buy everything I want at full price.

Maybe this is just a problem in the UK, but if I have £40 to spend, that usually will only get me 1 brand new game (not DS) and as I stand looking at the boxes, I have no idea which one is going to be £10 in the bargain bucket in a few months time and which is going to be the next Panzer Dragoon Saga, selling for £100+ on ebay.

I buy what I can and pirate what I can't. The publishers have been complaining about the second hand market lately so it's not like it's any different to them whether I download it or make some ebay trader slightly richer.

We don't just mod to pirate (1)

module0000 (882745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26447277)

I modded my xbox (250gb hd, xeniumgold chip), and it doesn't even HAVE an xbox game on it. I did it to put on all my emus and about 300-350 DivX movies I ftp to it over from my PC. Also, the controller and such is so easy that my girlfriend and house guests can figure out how to watch movies, or play old emu games without me having to walk them through installing ZSNES and using bittorrent on a pc.

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