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Nintendo Cracks Down on Copying Devices

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the protecting-your-interests dept.

Nintendo 361

Adrian Lopez writes "Nintendo is cracking down on mod chips and copying devices with the help of the Hong Kong government. 'The Hong Kong High Court has intervened, at Nintendo's request, to help stop a global distribution operation involving game copying devices and modification chips that violate the copyrights and trademarks of Nintendo DS and Wii. On Oct. 8th, the court ordered the raid of Supreme Factory Limited facilities, through which Nintendo representatives seized more than 10,000 game copying devices and mod chips over the course of three days. The devices seized are used to copy and play Nintendo DS games offered unlawfully over the Internet, and the mod chips allow the play of pirated Wii discs or illegal copies of downloaded Nintendo games.'"

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In Soviet Japan... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083051)

Copying devices crack Nintendo!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Re:In Soviet Japan... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083341)

Try harder next time moron. That joke is old and stupid.

But they wont achive much (5, Informative)

Tainek (912325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083057)

Its like taking piss out of a swimming pool, you can make wii chips out of commonly availible materials for $5 (WiiFree, OpenWii etc)

Re:But they wont achive much (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083101)

Or pissing into an ocean of piss.

Making stuff illegal just drives it further underground.

Re:But they wont achive much (5, Insightful)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083629)

Making stuff illegal just drives it further underground.

And driving it further underground makes it that much harder for Joe Sixpack to access, which is exactly what they want. Nintendo (or any other company hitting hard on pirates) aren't dumb. They know that piracy will always exist, but they want to drive it underground, really deep underground. So deep most people won't know about it.

Re:But they wont achive much (5, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083509)

That's all fine and dandy for the Wii, but for the DS it's not so simple. The sad thing here is I think Nintento is missing the opportunity for a new product.

What a lot of these 3rd party cartridges do for the DS do is allow people to (aside from copying DS/GBA games) play music and movies, and have PDA functionality. They also allow users to play NES, SNES, etc games on them as well.

Many of these cards sell for $80+ (or do once you add the removable flash memory). If they were smart, they would take a page from the Wii's online service, sell a cartridge for $20 that allows you to buy and download old NES/SNES games with Nintento points like you can on the Wii. They could also sell a cartridge with a flash memory slot and allow it to do multimedia playback.

Re:But they wont achive much (5, Interesting)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083553)

In Japan, they do- it's called the Play-Yan. Strange that they don't try to sell it outside Japan.

Re:But they wont achive much (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083587)

Many of these cards sell for $80+ (or do once you add the removable flash memory). If they were smart, they would take a page from the Wii's online service, sell a cartridge for $20 that allows you to buy and download old NES/SNES games with Nintento points like you can on the Wii. They could also sell a cartridge with a flash memory slot and allow it to do multimedia playback.
Maybe that's exactly what they plan on doing and that's why they are cracking down. The Nintendo folks are pretty smart. They lost the king of hill spot in the video console market to Sony and Microsoft mostly by being fat and lazy, not by being stupid. They've managed to maintain their lead in portable gaming, even despite the onslaught of PSP.

Booo! (1, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083059)

The devices seized are used to copy and play Nintendo DS games offered unlawfully over the Internet, and the mod chips allow the play of pirated Wii discs or illegal copies of downloaded Nintendo games.

And personal backups of your own media so that you don't have to buy a new copy when your friend/pet/child/"significant other" scratches it.

I don't know what the laws are like in HK, but I feel that the continued erosion of this right in the media (and thus the public perception) is wrong.

Re:Booo! (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083115)

Media-shifting is only a fair-use right when encryption is not involved. Under the DMCA, you cannot break encryption to media-shift. It's not just media hype, it's been US law since 1998.

Re:Booo! (-1, Offtopic)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083163)

We have Bill fucking Clinton to thank for that. And next year they're trying to put an even worse Clinton in office! Well I for one say no thankyou. I'd rather keep my rights thankyouverymuch.

Re:Booo! (-1, Offtopic)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083189)

I don't know about anyone else here, but I think we have bigger problems than the DMCA.

Re:Booo! (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083299)

I think we have bigger problems as well as the DMCA.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Booo! (3, Insightful)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083323)

We have Bill fucking Clinton to thank for that.

Uh, didn't it pass the Senate with 99-1 votes for vs. against? It wasn't particularly Bill Clinton's baby. Not that he would have vetoed it even if the vote was closer, but there are few politicians out there that show much opposition to increasing copyright restrictions. And Rich Boucher isn't running for president.

Re:Shooting the messager (-1, Offtopic)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083565)

We have Bill fucking Clinton to thank for that.

OK I agree the language is a little strong and maybe not safe for work, but it was Bill Clinton that signed the DMCA into law.

Next up is the other Clinton who promises socialized health care with everyone entitled. Have you ever needed anything besides a basic need met from the government? Needing treatment and getting only triage care due to overload of entitled people who may just need thera-flu is the problem. Everyone now just runs to the doctor for every sniffle instead of spending the money at the pharmacy. Socialized medicine would have failed me for my surgery last year. I'll take insurance instead with a reasonable deductable. The care is there if I need it for major care. If you want socialized medicine, adopt a foster kid on a State Medical Coupon and try to get an appointment. It will be an eye-opener compared to your regular insurance.

With insurance I schedual dental appointments every 6 months in advance. The kids on state medical don't get appointments. You call every day and see if they have an opening. (opening is a regular patient that cancelled and they haven't filled the slot yet) If I had to call daily to get an appointment only one or two days in advance for the dentist, it would probably not get done.

With insurance, it's scheduled and done. With government health care, getting an appointment is the same as getting an appointment to renew you drivers license because you can't drop-in and spend time in line. The state has not figured out how to do mail in dental work. Office visit appointments just don't really exist.

Anyway, I hope the flaimbait was for the liberal use of explicitives instead of the content. I too am afraid the other Clinton may make it and mess up the economy.

Re:Shooting the messager (0, Offtopic)

tripmine (1160123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083647)

hotOFF topic! yea!

Re:Booo! (2, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083177)

Yup, but not in the rest of the world.

So I still don't see why people shouldn't be allowed to use these mod chips and play their copied games here.

Re:Booo! (1, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083247)

So don't crack the encryption; just copy the encrypted text, and let the authorized decryption device do its job with your perfectly legitimate encrypted backup copy.

This is already how most Wii mods work. (1)

Boinger69 (673392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083529)

Wii Mod chips dont crack the encryption, really they dont do much of anything. They wire to the serial programming interface of the drive controller, and tell it to lie to the console about the disc's authenticity. Past that the chip shuts off and any encryption on the disc is being decoded by the console.

Re:Booo! (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083621)

It's not just media hype, it's been US law since 1998.

Last time I checked Hong Kong was Chinese-governed, not American.

You're right, but it's kind of beside the point; the rest of us don't (yet) have to deal with that particular unjust law.

Re:Booo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083149)

The only right being eroded here is the right to make a living creating intellectual property - by a bunch of raving entitlement-headed proto-communists who don't understand where the wealth they so compllacently sqaunder actually comes from.

Re:Booo! (2, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083151)

That's OK; in another generation or so, physical media will be a thing of the past, and instead of shipping a "thing" that you use to install/load the game, everything will be digitally distributed over broadband, "software as a service" will be the business model, and you'll either rent playing time or have a monthly subscription fee. Backups will be limited to your account data, and will be automatic as the information will be housed on their datacenter, but you won't truly own the data beyond the right to access it and modify it through in-game actions; the service vendor will reserve the rights to alter the binaries at their discretion for any reason, and once they push updates the game-that-was will no longer be available for anyone to play. There will be no replay option once they determine that a game is no longer profitable enough to continue serving, and there will be no right of resale, because there will be nothing to sell -- there'll be a black market for selling achievements such as special items a la the Everquest economy, but that's about it.

Re:Booo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083295)

1984 has come and past, just an fyi.

Re:Booo! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083427)

No, you won't be able to sell achievements, because the achievements will be tied to a key unique to your device. So, you could sell the device itself, but then you'd be selling all your achievements.

Re:Booo! (2, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083453)

In such a consumer dystopia, I'd think that open-source games would start to gain a foothold in the old off-line, infinitely replayable niche, and eventually the proprietary game producers might partially return to produce games for that niche. Look, we're not talking MS vs. Linux here, you don't use games to run all the other programs on your computer.

Of course, by that time widespread use of computers as general purpose computational platforms might be dead, so the open-source games couldn't compete (e.g., Linux on Playstation 3 cannot use the GPU). I would hope not.

Re:Booo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083193)

Imported games. It took almost a year for Trauma Center: Second Opinion to reach Europe. I'm starting to think Sony is the good guy of this generation with the PS3 being region free.

Re:Booo! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083215)

The legendary Stuart Campbell interviewed ELSPA's (Europe's ESRB, basically) then-boss on the grey legality of backup devices ages ago. His stance was that you buy a single copy of the physical medium, and that's it - regardless of the law, and what many game manuals say ("this product is licenced, not sold...") they were going to prohibit all of the consumers's copyrights. Asked what customers should do when, by no fault of their own, the physical medium becomes unusable, he unrepentantly said they were stuffed and they'd have to buy it again.

Well it can be fixed. (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083235)

The requirement should be, create a back up copy for the end user which cannot be used; easily; by anyone else. Granted many companies won't like that either but it may be easier to keep it off their radar if the system truly doesn't make it easy to just copy and distribute paid content.

The problem comes down to the fact that the "innocent" users are being lumped together with the abusers. Yet who do people bitch about? The company being negatively affected. Do you know people who have pirated games? Have you told them to take a hike? If not, why?

Re:Booo! (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083245)

And personal backups of your own media so that you don't have to buy a new copy when your friend/pet/child/"significant other" scratches it.

If that's what you would do, then great, but i'll bet you anything it wasn't what the people they seized this stuff from had in mind - I'm sure it makes a comforting thought to the vast majority that use mod chips and such to play "backups" of games they never bought, though.

Sucks for our rights, I agree, but the reality is that most people just want obscenely cheap/free stuff.

Re:Booo! (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083405)

Or, you know, people who use modchips to play legit games that won't run due to idiotic region-lock (Euro players buying US games, for instance- because you honestly aren't going to get one Wii for every region, are you?).

Re:Booo! (2, Insightful)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083319)

And personal backups of your own media so that you don't have to buy a new copy when your friend/pet/child/"significant other" scratches it.

Yeah that or... you could learn to start taking care of your stuff in the first place. I lost a few CD's to scratches when I was a kid. My parents never said, well you should have made a back up copy, they were more apt to say "GD it! When are you going to learn to take care of the stuff we buy you", so fast forward a decade later and how many DVD's or games have a lost to scratches. None.

Come one people take responsibility for your stuff. If your friend scratches them your friend owes you a new disk, if your child scratches them, well if that's the worst your child does to your stuff you got off easy, if your significant other scratches them, you have to take the good with the bad. If your pet scratches them... Wait what?!? Thats just stupid. I can't see any good reason why your pet should come near your media... Media has cases and those cases should be stored some where that Rover can't get to.

Re:Booo! (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083441)

There are some accidents you just can't prevent, such as those caused by drunkenness, but I think reinstating Prohibition is a bit much. That, and no amount of grounding your kid for destroying a disk will bring it back.

Re:Booo! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083527)

I suppose you think libraries are a real burden on authors?

Re:Booo! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083585)

And what exactly does your nice strawman argument have to do with taking care of your crap?

Re:Booo! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083431)

And personal backups of your own media so that you don't have to buy a new copy when your friend/pet/child/"significant other" scratches it.

While I agree on the Wii discs, the truth of the matter is that it is probably illegal to backup DS chips. According to the decision of Atari v. JS&A [patentarcade.com] , backups are only authorized when they're necessary to protect against "mechanical or electrical failure" of the cartridge. Given that DS media is similarly sturdy, a US court would be likely to rule in the same manner.

However, the question that remains is: Do these chips have other legal uses? In the case of DS games, that somewhat depends on whether or not these chips are the ones used by homebrewers. If they are, then you have a significant legal use right there. (This was a defense that JS&A attempted, but was unsuccessful as console homebrew communities did not really exist back in the '80s.) If homebrewers use a different set of chips, then I'm afraid that our HK friends have no real legal leg to stand on here in the US, either.

Re:Booo! (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083605)

I think that my cartridge falling apart due to faulty construction counts, but apparently it doesn't happen enough to be significant.

R4 (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083649)

In the case of DS games, that somewhat depends on whether or not these chips are the ones used by homebrewers.
Yes, the R4 card that's popular with pirates is the same R4 card that's popular with homebrew users and even developers such as myself [pineight.com] . Likewise, on PCs, pirates and legit users use the same DVD burners.

Re:Booo! (4, Insightful)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083447)

I'd bet a lot of money that use of these devices for the purpose of personal backups pales in comparison to their use for playing copied games.

Sure, it's a bitch, especially as I was hoping to pick up an R4 for Homebrew purposes, but you've got to admit that Nintendo have a point with this.

Colors! (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083675)

I'd bet a lot of money that use of these devices for the purpose of personal backups pales in comparison to their use for playing copied games.
Some people on the gbadev.org forums have stated that they bought a DS and a homebrew card just to use Colors! [collectingsmiles.com] . So I have only one thing to say about your assertion: Citation needed.

Re:Booo! (2, Insightful)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083515)

Trouble is that there is no physical difference between your "back up" and a copied version of the game. One may come on a dodgily photoshopped CD but they are essentially the same (as the original). You probably even have the serial written on the front as well.

The software industry is slowly realising that the concept of selling physical CDs and of those being of some worth is a joke. It is what is on the CDs that matters and that can be copied with ease. Eventually everything will be downloaded via Steam/Xbox Live and you will have to log on to run it. At that point you can make as many back ups as you like.

Re:Booo! (1)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083517)

ah but you see that is where you are wrong. You are buying the disk, not the media on the disk. The media on the disk you are only being licensed to use. . . in conjunction with that disk. Loose or damage your disk and well, you violate your licensing agreement with them, because you no longer can use the media in conjunction with the disk.

Hey I didn't say it was right, but would you rather pay 3-5 times the price you pay now to have that disk so that you can have the rights to use the media on any medium that you wish?

Slashdot 10 year Party? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083099)

I can't help but notice that every article on the Main Page has been posted by ScuttleMonkey...where did everyone else go? Was there a party last night that Scuttlemonkey wasn't invited to?

Re:Slashdot 10 year Party? (0, Offtopic)

damaki (997243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083159)

Shhhhhhhh!

Re:Slashdot 10 year Party? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083267)

Posting as Anonymous and doesnt know about the party....

HI Scuttlemonkey nice to see u here :D

Re:Slashdot 10 year Party? (0, Offtopic)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083429)

CmdrTaco, we know it's you posting anonymously just so you can mock him. You're not fooling anyone...

It's a lose-lose. (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083157)

If Nintendo is 0% successful at this, they will have wasted a lot of money and time for nothing.

If Nintendo is 100% successful, on the other hand, they will save some revenue, but at the cost of pissing off a lot of users, legitimate and otherwise, who might decide to take their business elsewhere.

Odds are pretty good that their actual success rate will fall somewhere between 0% and 100% (most probably close to the low end of the scale), making this endeavor slightly annoying to the users, while being in the main a big waste of time.

Any way you slice it, it's a dumb idea.

Re:It's a lose-lose. (1)

kkiller (945601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083197)

Is this the only factory in the world making modification devices? Somehow I doubt it.

Re:It's a lose-lose. (1, Interesting)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083205)

No it's not. They're chasing down copyright thieves who are violating the use of their software/hardware. If they shutdown one factory and seize (from the article):

more than 10,000 game copying devices and mod chips
then they've already made a win. Sure, if people are using these for legitimate means (i.e. making backup copies of their purchases) then they're hurting the good guys; but let's face it, the majority of mod users are breaking the law so they don't have to pay.

Don't get me wrong, I hate all this Facist Copyright theft chasing, but I just don't think the recent raid was 'a big waste of time'.

Re:It's a lose-lose. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083301)

Copyright thieves? Who is falsely claiming copyright over the property of Nintendo? And what in the name of FSM does "violating the use of their software/hardware" mean? Surely if Nintendo have sold the hardware to others its not theirs anymore, and its up the new owner to decide what they do with it. Is owning property illegal? How did this scam come about whereby corporations sell stuff to you, then claim they still really own it - and the right to control what you can and cant do with it?

As near as I can tell, Nintendo are the ones actually stealing the physical property of others - chips, consoles, and a whole heap of stuff that isnt theirs. Fuck them and the corrupt legal system that helps them commit crimes against people.

Re:It's a lose-lose. (1)

muffen (321442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083665)

I doubt it makes any difference. There are plenty of countries in the world where producing the modchips is not a crime, so the only thing this does is delays shipment of the stuff by a few weeks until someone else starts producing it in a country with (imho) sane laws.

As long as people are willing to pay for the modchips, there will be someone that produces them. Even if Nintendo managed to close down 90% of the modchip makers, the only result would be that the remaining 10% would produce more and earn more money.

But it's CHINA! (2, Interesting)

NealokNYU (779603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083209)

This is China we're talking about. It's not hard to find information about their almost total disacknowledgment of international copyright laws. Let's start with a Google search. [google.com]


Software piracy is the norm. You can acquire scandalously cheap, perfect-looking copies of everything from Office to Everquest for dirt cheap, i.e. cents, not dollars. The Chinese government has been remarkably slow in taking action to support the authority of nations seeking the enforcement of copyright laws, and while I doubt this action will have any real effect, if it's the sign of a larger commitment to action-- and it well could be, what with China's footprint in the global economy increasing every day-- this could well be a major sign of things to come.

Re:It's a lose-lose. (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083213)

However it turns out, I'm just glad that I got my R4 [r4ds.com] from HK before the crackdown happened.

Re:It's a lose-lose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083231)

R4 is the -reason- why I bought the DS to begin with!

Re:It's a lose-lose. (1)

SkeezerDoodle (1178213) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083283)

Odds are pretty good that their actual success rate will fall somewhere between 0% and 100%
How profound! Did you stay up all night crunching those numbers? :p

Re:It's a lose-lose. (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083421)

This is just HK. They haven't touched the mainland yet, which is, as we know, the manufacturing center for damn near everything.

How do they want to crack down on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083165)

Ripping Wii Discs [death-zone.org]

You don't need any mods at all. Just copy.

Re:How do they want to crack down on this? (1)

chr.vinter (925095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083249)

You don't need any mods at all. Just copy.
I will admit it is not extremely clear on the issue, but if I can read, the WiiKey mentioned several times in that article is necessary and it definitely is a modchip.

Re:How do they want to crack down on this? (1)

Spookticus (985296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083263)

heh....its works very wiil....and the "cons: cons belong in prison" reviews people left on newegg

Misread that.. (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083183)

Heh. I misread the first sentence as:

Nintendo is cracking down on mod chips and copying devices with the help of the Donkey Kong government.
Need more coffee.

Re:Misread that.. (1)

rohan.p (1116529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083359)

don't worry i saw the same and im not sleep deprived, its Nintendo hitting propaganda into our heads I LOVE NINTENDO.. oops

You can't do anything but admire... (4, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083185)

...the way this article is spun.

Yes, mod chips could be used for illegal activities, but also for good. The article really fails to highlight that. With a tone like this, you'd wonder how tape recorders ever got sold.

B.

Re:You can't do anything but admire... (0)

beatmania (1136353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083257)

You said it. I had a Wiikey installed into my Wii about a month ago, and now I can buy games again! I bought my Wii in Japan with 5 games, 2 Wiimotes/Nunchucks/Classic Controllers, and probably a dozen games on Virtual Console. And now that I changed jobs, I'm back in the USA (now with my chipped Wii), and I've bought 3 new games here. Total loss to Nintendo: -$150? That's right. Because of the Wiikey, I was able to give Nintendo $150 more in sales. Seems like someone at Nintendo is missing something to me...

Re:You can't do anything but admire... (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083303)

This whole zoning system is fucked up anyway. Wasn't it Sony that abandoned the zoning for the PS3? As for your case, it sounds like they want you to buy a US Wii besides your Japanese Wii, for playing US games. Hell, I think you're lucky that the TV signals are even compatible, otherwise you had to buy a Japanese TV for the Japanese Wii and a US Wii for your US TV :).

B.

Re:You can't do anything but admire... (1, Flamebait)

CGDR2 (1178215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083297)

Yeah, but how many more people use it for illegal purposes than legal purposes? Being absolutely, 100% honest, it's not fair to expect Nintendo, or any other company to simply do nothing because a few people genuinely want to back up their games.

Re:You can't do anything but admire... (2, Insightful)

beatmania (1136353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083313)

Well, being absolutely, 100% honest, it's also not fair to expect ME, as the CUSTOMER to simply do nothing (or buy another Wii here in the USA) because Nintendo made a poor marketing decision when they decided to region lock their console.

Re:You can't do anything but admire... (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083635)

I don't know where you got the flamebait tag from, I think it's undeserved.

Yes, Nintendo should pursue their rights. But they should not quash the rights of the owner in doing so. I think if they had a "backup" option, or a method of putting their games on harddisk and plying it from the harddisk, that the back-up rights would be preserved. Doing away with this zoning system also gives the owner one less reason to meddle with the innards.

You might fear people copying their friend's disk onto harddisk, and sure, that will happen. But the damage incurred from copying a friend's game is negligible compared to the damage of a person playing a game downloaded from the internet. So the back-up option would be the lesser "evil", required to maintain the rights of the owner.

All in all, if the manufacturer maintains the rights of the people, then I think it's free to take whatever steps against illegal activity that it can.

The way this article really reads (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083327)

He, I can mod my Wii? Never knew that, thanks.

You would be suprised how many people learn about filesharing from the medias attack on it.

Chasing users? (4, Insightful)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083233)

I've always wondered if those that use R4 cards [r4ds.com] (I don't have one) for the DS and play online are at risk of being caught and having their doors knocked down by the SS..err I mean Police. Surely they're logging users and have means of identifying legitimate/illegitimate users?

Re:Chasing users? (3, Interesting)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083387)

have means of identifying legitimate/illegitimate users

I'm assuming sarcasm but I've always wondered what is legitimate with the DS. You can use R4 (and others like it) to play movies, read ebooks, listen to music, and play homebrew your DS. That's hours of entertainment without touching an illegal, downloaded ROM or altering your rig in anyway. The R4 isn't like plopping an EPROM in a console or rerouting wires since it doesn't alter anything the DS was sold as... not even the firmware.

Then the step further, you can buy ROMs, dump them and, and put multiple games on your DS. Most would find the convenience in traveling without all the ROMs or the chance that your kid drops it down the air duct shaft. But is that legitimate to Nintendo? Seems the same as ripping my own CDs and putting them on my MP3 player.

Re:Chasing users? (2, Informative)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083469)

How? Once the game is loaded into the card's RAM, for all the DS knows it's just a regular DS game card. There's no other way for those to work (not sure about the ones that used to run from the GBA slot, though, but we're talking about the R4).

"Blatant Stealing." (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083251)

"It can destroy years of hard work by a team of very talented software developers, who strive to create games consumers enjoy playing."

It -can-, but it doesn't. Instead, it allows people that don't have the money to buy the game to play it anyhow, and get their friends excited, and get them interested in sequels and spinoffs. Instead of forcing the penniless gamer to go out and play in the yard for free, it keeps them addicted to video games.

On the other hand, people that -can- afford the games buy them, for the most part. I'm not talking the teenagers that have to skip lunch this month to buy a game, but the people with full-time jobs and disposable income.

And when it comes right down to it, the only difference between someone "stealing" a game using a modchip and that same person buying the game used is the timeframe. The developer doesn't get any money from either way. (Of course, GameStop gets some money on the used route, but that's irrelevant to this discussion.)

My current tactic? Rental. Any game I don't absolutely have to have right away, I just rent it. For 1/3 of a game per month, I can rent 2-4 by mail. For 3/4 of a game per month, I can rent 4-8. Since I lose interest in most games after a few hours anyhow, this works great for me. I've had some games that I thought I'd love that I spent less than an hour playing them before they were back in the mail. GameFly (and probably other services) will even let you buy the game at a reduced price if you want to keep it. That makes it really hard to justify buying it brand new.

So in the end, Nintendo can rid the market of these devices and it won't change things for the better. That isn't their goal, though. Their goal is to remind people that they are illegal and 'wrong'. And they did that.

Re:"Blatant Stealing." (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083411)

I'm not talking the teenagers that have to skip lunch this month to buy a game, but the people with full-time jobs and disposable income.

Incorrect assumption on those with a full-time job. Many with full time jobs are the working poor. Their disposable income was spent years ago while they lived in their parrents basement. Now they have full time mortguages, phone bills, credit card bills, tuition loans... Those with a debt load of $50,000 or more shouldn't be buying $50 videogames. I don't have any console games. My kid bought a playstation.. Used for $19.95. Guess how many brand new retail games we buy for it? I may have sold a bunch of stock lately, but that just rolled over into getting out of an ARM at over 8%. Investments are not disposable income. They have a purpose. Debt is just that, debt. Now that my car is paid for, doesn't mean I now have disposable income. It simply means I can now attack debt at a faster rate. $50 videogames are still not in the budget.

Re:"Blatant Stealing." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083551)

Sounds like you need a better job, or you need to budget a little bit better. I can afford the $50 video game, the mortgage, car payment, and all the other bills. That is not including the student loans and the current tuition for the wife's masters program. I think you should look at your spending and figure out how you got $50k in debt. Maybe you need to lay off the credit card or tell little Timmy no every once and a while. Just a thought.

Re:"Blatant Stealing." (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083619)

What assumption? Read it again. I said 'people with full-time jobs and disposable income.' I didn't say people that have full-time jobs HAVE disposable income, I said those with both.

It should come of no surprise to anyone that people with no disposable income don't buy luxury items. It's pretty obvious.

Speaking of scrathed disks (4, Insightful)

wannabegeek2 (1137333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083269)

I've not made a habit of backing up CD / DVD media based games or content, primarily due to the hassle. For the adult stuff my wife and I are careful enough with the disks that the risk of the disk becoming damaged through normal use is reasonably low. (read as not worth the hassle and cost of obtaining technically illegal software and quality media)

An incident last weekend however has me reconsidering my current practices, at least where my kids CDs, DVDs and games are concerned.

Over the course of the last few years I've had to use the furniture polish trick on a few game CDs. Usually after one of the kids left them sliding around in a drawer and the PS2 or 'puter couldn't read them anymore. With I think one exception, so far I've been lucky and they've all be playable.

Last weekend however my son had a friend over for cooperative HALO3 fest. On the second evening they're setting up the friends system when my son decides to "stand up XBox so it can get some cooling". After this the system says the disk is unreadable, and it's discovered that their is a perfectly circular series of scratches about a quarter inch from the out edge and an eighth of an inch wide.

After multiple attempts with the furniture polish and toothpaste tricks I finally get the disk to read. I have NO doubt I'll be buying the young man a new HALO3 disk in the near future.

The moral of the story?

It should be EASY and LEGAL to make backups of your media. It doesn't matter whether it is music, a video or a game!

    Oh, by the way, anyone have any favorite, tried and true, game disk restoration tips? :-)

Re:Speaking of scrathed disks (3, Funny)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083415)

For the adult stuff my wife and I

Your lucky... I wish my GF liked pr0n :(

Re:Speaking of scrathed disks (2, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083451)

Your lucky... I wish my GF liked pr0n :(

I'll give you a tip, it depends on what kind of porn. I know that in stores like Ann Summers they sell "adult movies" which are "suitable" for girls, or at least, they like them. You could always also start with "Pirates" which has a pretty funny story.

Btw, the first porn movie I saw with my girlfriend (we had a really good time as the movie is hilarious these days) was Deep Throat (the original). My GF got interested after the documentary was released, so I got it and we watched it...

Re:Speaking of scrathed disks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083463)

For the adult stuff my wife and I are careful enough with the disks that the risk of the disk becoming damaged through normal use is reasonably low

You're here on slashdot AND you have a wife AND you have a stash of porn of/with her?

The only way to safely backup and store porn is through P2P. I have a good upload speed, so I offer my services to help you to ensure your data is safely stored without risk of loss.

Re:Speaking of scrathed disks (3, Insightful)

Alaria Phrozen (975601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083571)

I thought they give instructions on how to receive a replacement disc for like the cost of shipping and maybe $5? It's in the back of the manual of every game you buy. I've done this with multiple computer games, even 5+ year old titles like Descent 3.

Typical lies (4, Insightful)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083285)

The devices seized are used to copy and play Nintendo DS games offered unlawfully over the Internet, and the mod chips allow the play of pirated Wii discs or illegal copies of downloaded Nintendo game

They're also used to play games that aren't available for sale in the USA (and won't run on a North American Wii even if you import them legally), and they're used to play legal ("Fair Use") backups of game discs that have been damaged.

All of you MAFIAA shills can whine "oh but that's not what you guys are REALLY using them for!" all you want, but my both my sister and my girlfriend like Japanese date sims (weird, yes), and I've known several people who've had a game disc damaged beyond playability--usually by dogs or small children.

Re:Typical lies (1)

CGDR2 (1178215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083393)

All of you MAFIAA shills can whine "oh but that's not what you guys are REALLY using them for!" all you want...

Why, yes, thank you; I shall. Discs really aren't that fragile - trust me, I've always treated my CDs / DVDs like shit, and I've had very few breaks. Besides, why are these people letting small children play videogames by themselves? I'd be more worried about the parenting failure than $40 on a Wii game.

Likewise (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083445)

I have a "hacked" ps2 (softmod, not hardmod, using HD Advance) and use it to store games on the HD. The advantage? No more scratches and wrecked disks, no more worn out lasers and much faster loading times (in game it makes a huge difference). It also allows me to play out of region games.

I'm not a pirate, so leave me the hell alone.

Re:Typical lies (-1, Flamebait)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083473)

All of you MAFIAA shills can whine "oh but that's not what you guys are REALLY using them for!" all you want, but my both my sister and my girlfriend like Japanese date sims (weird, yes), and I've known several people who've had a game disc damaged beyond playability--usually by dogs or small children.

-1: Argument by anecdote

Re:Typical lies (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083557)

Nintendo's "bait and switch" region-coding scheme should be enough to piss off even the staunchest nintendo supporter...

"We're going region-free!" (and the crowd rejoiced)

"Wait, scratch that... we're not..." (and the crowd missed the announcement)

I'd have felt better if they'd have kept it to themselves... but it was most likely just an "also-ran" press release to keep in the news... (all too quickly retracted.)

Meh... that really annoys me to no end.. Their motive? Regional pricing is all I can think of. I mean, the Wii doesn't play movies... so it's not at the behest of the MPAA... It's solely so the big "N" can force price A for Japan (and game library)... and price B for NA... and so forth. Even the PS3 is region-free for games (but blu-ray's not.. I suspect that's part of Sony picture's interest in the thing...)

Let's not give the customer choice even though the little bastards in the clown car "would like to play". Just don't do it outside your region, or they'll thump you with a wiimote. (Yes yes.. I know most people who are the Wii's target market are not interested in playing Japanese games... but the principle still stands...)

Re:Typical lies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083599)

You posted this to slashdot and didn't even mention that you can run Linux? For shame.

I have Nethack, and an FTP server, too! It's slow as hell (seems to max out at ~4KB/s) but it works...

Microsoft's tactic of winning the masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083287)

Many years ago MS turned a blind eye to rampant piracy of their products. They knew people would get used to their applications and stick with them over time, often ensuring the workplace purchased new versions trigging the costly upgrade cycles we see.

Nintendo have been doing the same with the Wii and NDS, it's the reason so many people are buying them. There is a large amount of "free" software available, so the units sell like hot-cakes. Now that they've beaten the xbox and ps3 by selling incredible numbers, they're closing the doors. Now they want you all to buy lots of games. Don't forget, Wii games can update your OS and can render the drive hacks to do strange things.

The same thing happened to the playstation. It was ticking along, then the modchips came out and people were going nuts buying playstations to chip. I only have to look around the office to see that they all pretty much bought Wiis because of what they can download. Just in my 20 person dept, there are 11 Wiis, 3 xboxes and 4 ps3, two people own all three. The recurring conversation is when will the ps3 get an iso loader. 5 people claim to be holding off the ps3 until it has one. Strangely, there's not much interest in the xbox despite it having a nice catalogue of games and priate scene.

Re:Microsoft's tactic of winning the masses (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083479)

They haven't done such a thing so far, thank goodness. The latest firmware works fine with modded Wiis.

Re:Microsoft's tactic of winning the masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083591)

Actually, people playing new games out of region are getting odd things happening.

Soooo much homebrew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083369)

Damn them.

The DS has a thriving homebrew community. I'm working on a home brew game. And I've written at least one program that helped turn my DS into a PDA. If Nintendo wants to stop the mod chips, they need to at least provide the same value these mod chips provide. It sucks when a company makes such features unavailable when you know they are easy to add.

I do understand why they do this though. I am amongst a group of engineers who all have DS's and mod chips. And what did the group do with their mod chips? Obviously, they pirated games! Not a single one of them thought twice about buying $100 worth of games for steam, so they could play games on their $1000 40" high-def LCD panels. They aren't hurting for money, they aren't making a statement against the RIAA or the MPAA. This also shows how DRM works. While they no longer buy games for the DS since they can copy them, they do buy games on steam since they can't copy those as easily.

So while I'm excited about home brew and what I can do with the DS, people are using these things for piracy so naturally Nintendo will go after them. It pisses me off to have things I use taken away because other people use them to cheat.

Re:Soooo much homebrew (3, Insightful)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083519)

Yep- I use DSOrganize and MoonShell on mine. Makes a decently priced MP3 player. I am guilty of pirating games too, though- mainly because I live in China and the DSes are region-locked to only play Chinese games (of which there are less than 10) due to some idiotic decision. But, they left the GBA slot completely unprotected, because the GBA game library consists mainly of fan-translated games flashed onto blank cartridges and sold commercially; from big department stores to small street vendors, none of them are official.

What kind of excuse is this? (1, Insightful)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083383)

I'm sorry, but to all those who say that they're using their mod-chips for legitimate purposes: who are you trying to fool? I can see the point that you might not want your kids or your dogs chewing on your games. Here's your legal solution: DON'T FEED THEM TO YOUR DOGS. If you're too stupid or lazy to keep them out of harm's reach, then you don't deserve to have them. God help your kids if you ever decide to own firearms.

If you were actually serious about being worried that your game would break, you simply would have gone to GameStop or Toys'R'Us or the local equivalent and gotten one of their game warranties. I think its $3 for a $50 game and it gets cheaper for cheaper games. I used to work at a GameStop and have seen disks that were scratched, cracked in half, chewed on, mangled, we even replaced the one with a bullet hole in it. Now that TRU is getting into the same racket, I bet other stores follow too.

Having lived in a college dorm, I can tell you the real use of mod-chips is for downloading games that you don't own and playing them. I remember a big event back them was that the French version of Halo 2 was leaked right before the American release. In my dorm you could walk up and down the hall and hear a lot of zapping, followed by French profanity. If you listen to only slashdotters, you would swear that the only people that buy and use modchips are little old ladies that have piles of legally purchased pristine discs locked away, and bring out copies for their rowdy grandchildren to play with on weekends. In my experience, I've never seen them used for that.

HOMEBREW -- lsdj, nanoloop.... (1)

capseed (1002778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083537)

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the impact on the homebrew scene. I don't really think of backup as neccessary for cartridges, but AFAIK these devices are the only way to make a http://www.littlesounddj.com/lsd/ [littlesounddj.com] or http://www.nanoloop.de/ [nanoloop.de] cartridge. I don't know much about the DS/Wii scene, but I bet they are also targeting stuff that affects thriving GBA and GBC homebrew projects. The problem here seems to be that console makers don't offer any legitimate means for users to create software for their platforms without forking over lots of cash for a developer license (and a machine that runs unsigned code).

Re:What kind of excuse is this? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083559)

I'm sorry, but to all those who say that they're using their mod-chips for legitimate purposes: who are you trying to fool?

DS Linux, DSorganise and other assorted homebrew makes the perfectly legit Mario Kart machine just a little bit more useful for one example.

Re:What kind of excuse is this? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083569)

... we even replaced the one with a bullet hole in it.
Thanks. I've always been wondering how those holes in my CD's got there.

Re:What kind of excuse is this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083589)

Ummm.... in case you didn't know, making a backup copy is also a legal solution.

Re:What kind of excuse is this? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083617)

I own the fucking hardware. I put a modchip on it if I fucking want, fer crying outloud.
Nintendo[or]Sony[or]Microsoft sold the console to you. The hardware, after the sale, is not theirs, it's yours to do whatever the fuck you want to.

Re:What kind of excuse is this? (1)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083651)

Not only was your post hilarious, it hits the nail on the head perfectly when it comes to people using modchips for legitimate reasons. I call +5 Insightfunny.

Re:What kind of excuse is this? (1)

Foxxxy (217437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083653)

Not trying to kid anyone. Why would I pay $50 for a game and $3 for insurance when I can pay $0.25 for a DVD to back it up myself. Then I don't need the hassle of driving to the store and fighting with someone that it actually doesn't work and I did buy it at that store.

Perfect example, back before I got smart about OS choices, I BOUGHT a copy of Windows 95 on floppy. After initial install, I messed up some things, went to re-isntall and disk 13 (strange but true) didn't read. I contacted the store I bought it at, they said go to M$, I went to M$ and they said buy another copy.

Ever since then, I have backed up every legit disc I have ever paid $0.01 for. So when I bought my first CD Burner and was called an evil pirate, I just laughed it off.

I will continue to back up every bit of data I ever see. I do not currently have a mod chip in my Wii but as soon as one of my legit game discs gets damaged, I will have one installed, and not feel the slightest bit guilty for doing so.

GBA Flash2Advance / eBay / ESA Tale Of Woe (5, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083455)

I recently sold my Gameboy Advance & two Flash2Advance backup cartridges on eBay (all of them separately). Along with the F2A cartridges, I threw in with each a DVD full of **ONLY** GBA PD ROMs.

Fortunately, the auctions ended & the buyers had paid me before eBay informed me that they were taking the F2A listings down due to software piracy. When I questioned eBay as to why this had been done when I was not advertising any commercially copied software with the cartridges, they told me to get in touch with the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) who had asked for the listings to be removed.

So far, I have emailed the officious tosspots at the ESA four times & demanded an explanation as to why they insisted the F2As be removed when eBay can still advertise writable CDs & DVDs, USB flash keys and DVD writers, all of which can be used for piracy in a similar fashion.

In over 4 weeks now, I have not received one reply from the ESA who, as far as I am concerned, have accused me of being a software pirate & been heavy-handed in their attitude - even though I made it clear to them that the F2A can be a legitimate developer tool for homebrew GBA ROMs.

All these heavy-handed corporations are just assholes!

Homebrew anymore (1)

lastskypainter (1178233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083575)

Given that nintendo DS is so cheap to develop hombrew apps with a backup devices, I could only be worried about this.
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