View From the Road: Nintendo’s Piracy Plan

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View From the Road: Nintendo's Piracy Plan

Will the 3DS help reduce piracy, or make it more common than ever before?

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You know at this point its anyone's guess how the install feature will work in terms of piracy prevention. I would be pleased to see a major company take a completely new stance on the way they deal with pirates, rather then the tried-and-failed method of clobbering them into submission. Hopefully Nintendo can figure out how to work against the pirates without coming across as a big, stumbling lummox.

Personally, the 3DS is the most exciting hand-held I've seen in awhile. I'm very excited to get my hands on it when its released. The features they packed into that tiny device has my nerd senses all a'tingling.

I find it extremely hard to believe that there won't be any sort of limitation (even if it's something as simple as an install lock that keeps the memory copy of Game A from interfacing for multiplayer games with the same game copied to the memory of a second 3DS). It should be interesting to find out what those limits are though and, either way, even if the space only allows for a couple games with respectable locks in place it will still be good for legitimate users.

I'm sure you'll only be able to have like, 5 games max on the thing. But it's still exciting and new if there's no DRM.

God knows what kind of wicked thoughts they have behind all of this. Either way, piracy cannot be beaten, that's for sure.

That's a fair point. Sanctioned and ready-made convenience would help some stay away from the piracy side of things. Here's to hoping that's what will happen.

Huh. I really like that. Maybe if that is the way things turn out, other publishers might take the hint and shift to better systems. It's all about getting the stone rolling. Also: not having to switch out carts on plane rides (probably the way I;ve lost all my games)? Awesome.

But... The cartridges...

I love the cartridges...

*eyes water*

Well, its going to be intresting. I got a feeling its going to be a bit of both, but, UI am sure people out there will find ways to mess with the system, and, of course, it will be just like any other console works really..it will be a small minority for the most part

Anyone else read that last line as "John fucking hates Greg Tito"?

Am I the only one who's sick and tired of all the "classics" being remade over and over again?

It's like Nintendo is channeling EA Sports or something ... [shudder]

I currently use an R4 for my DS, simply becase I can't afford to buy every new game that comes out (high school, no job, etc), and for the convenience of not needing a suitcase full of cartridges. Same with my friends. But if the 3DS has the ability for me and my friends to all buy one copy of the game to install on our shiny new handhelds, Nintendo will get SOME money, as opposed to none. Now think about how many times this will happen over the country? Over the world, even?

I wonder if they make money on the handheld? There's a large "pirate" market out there that won't or can't buy software where they live, but might be willing to pay for the import of the handheld itself if it's download-friendly.

Off topic, but Mr. Funk are you related to Ted Dibiase in any way? I ask because you could pass as a brother to Ted Jr. with ease.

My fear would be that it would be fairly easy to crack open the software so that it accepts stuff on the SD card. However, Nintendo seems to be gunning for the "why try harder?" factor in deterring piracy (i.e. you have a copy of the game from a mate on your 3DS, why try harder? You already have a copy, no R4 or cracking required)

That is a very interesting thought. Count me among the small percentage that actually uses a DS flash cart for the convenience, instead of solely the free games. I honestly try to buy every game I want on my DS, even if that means they basically never leave the case. And DS games are cheaper than console games, so that helps. Hell, I've been playing Picross 3D for over a month straight and it was $20 on the day it was released!

Umm, no. Absolutely not. Several games on torrent sites have 0 DRM whatsoever. They are downloaded mercilessly. Nintendo "playing a different game" doesn't work. Free is Free, and its hard to argue with it.

Remember the Dreamcast? You could burn whatever you wanted and just place the CD into the drive.
That didn't last too long...

DRM will always be broken, but making it braindead doesn't make any sense. The only way for it to work is if the code on the cartridges could not be replicated through a false medium (verify the source of the game). But that's only a matter of time before they figure that out too.

The best DRM in this case is to make the 3DS brick so easily flashing it for the average joe is too costly, BUT make sharing legit games easy. You show a carrot, but hide the stick until its too late.

Secrets to success are:
1) Easy to buy, and not too expensive games (This includes different price-range, size, and game types)
2) Support and incentivize those that pay for games
3) Make game sharing with a legit copy of the game easy.
4) Make flashing or sharing non-legit copies of the game difficult or risky.

My guess the DRM will be an install that requires an online activation, and "game sharing" is 5 3DSs per install. Otherwise you need the cartridge.

Scotty.:
I currently use an R4 for my DS, simply becase I can't afford to buy every new game that comes out (high school, no job, etc), and for the convenience of not needing a suitcase full of cartridges. Same with my friends. But if the 3DS has the ability for me and my friends to all buy one copy of the game to install on our shiny new handhelds, Nintendo will get SOME money, as opposed to none. Now think about how many times this will happen over the country? Over the world, even?

Guess what? Your stealing isn't justified because you "can't afford it". I can't afford a Ferrari, does that mean I can justify stealing one? You don't deserve to have any of those games. Yeah, I'd like to see you try and say that to them, "At least one of us thieves will give you some money, instead of none!"

"John Funk hates Greg Tito for getting to play the 3DS at E3. What a jerk."

Hahaha. Me too lol

I hardly ever use my DS so I don't know much about the R4 and stuff, but I really don't see how this feature will help combat piracy.

The people who want to download games for free will still get an R4 or whatever they'll make for the 3DS and pirate whatever they want. All this feature will do (assuming there won't be some kind of special protection, which I find hard to believe), is make it extremely easy, and thus more attractive, for people who normally wouldn't buy an R4 to still pirate games. Sure, it's on a smaller scale than the 'real' pirates, but it's still an increase in illegal activity.

And it gets worse. I've frequently made a point that most pirated games aren't lost sales. Yes, pirates selfishly want to play games without paying for them, but that just means that they're far less inclined to buy games if they can't get them for free - they'll just get something else. This new group of pirates would be a group that isn't that much into the whole piracy thing from the get-go, so it's a lot more likely that the games they pirate are lost sales - if they didn't get them for free, they might've bought them.

I certainly see the (legal) use for features like this. I think it's comparable to what I do for most PC games: I visit pirate sites and download no-cd cracks just so I don't have to swap disks whenever I want to play a different game. The same would apply to copying games to the 3DS' internal drive. It's simply a matter of convenience. It's just that I wouldn't like to see Nintendo shoot themselves in the foot by facilitating would-be pirates like that.

Yeah, but as you said on the ending, it's way to early to tell what kinds of DRM there will be. We should wait until more information is available before making any judgement call.

Xersues:
Umm, no. Absolutely not. Several games on torrent sites have 0 DRM whatsoever. They are downloaded mercilessly. Nintendo "playing a different game" doesn't work. Free is Free, and its hard to argue with it.

But that's not directed at the people who go 'I wanna free games gog dammit!' It's directed at the people who first go 'This R4 chip will be really useful, I'll only use it on games I own though.' Then 'I want this game so bad, but I can't afford it! I'll download it now, I can buy it legit later.' Then 'Wow, every game I ever wanted is on this website!' Then 'I'd never buy these lame games anyway, so no profit loss for them.'

Not every pirate starts at the bottom of the slippery slope, and those that do are those that do are those that enjoy pirating the most. Companies shouldn't be trying to stop them from pirating, they should be trying to stop Average Joe.

I bet it will be similar to the PSPs limits with ps1 games. You can only have one active PSP at a time, I bet there is some code in each cartridge that has to be activated on transfer.

It's Nintendo. They'll find a way to DRM it.

well, you still have people buying the system isntelf, that has to account for soemthing

Anyway, I would probably get a few games from friends but for the most part, I'd buy the games. I dont' game enough to go around stealing the two games I'll play.

I guessing it's not going to have a huge reservoir of memory so there will be a limited number of games that can be downloaded (most likely 3 or 5, since those numbers come up a lot in games). I'm sure Nintendo has considered piracy when they made this feature but it seems less like an attempt to curb piracy and more like a convenient feature that was developed outside any thoughts of piracy. I'm not sure if any DRM will be present but I honestly think that DRM or not Nintendo is going to get pirated a lot. Remember children, gamers are assholes.

Installing games might help those who would use an R4-like device for legitimate purposes--keeping all their games in one convenient place--but I fear some hacker will just figure out a way to pluck that game right out of the 3DS's memory even more efficiently than he would have through some other means. It may increase, not decrease, piracy.

What might really help matters if the pirates had any morals or ethics whatsoever. It's simple: If you can't afford it, that's not an excuse for stealing it. If the developer or publisher ticked you off, just don't buy the game, because that's still not an excuse for stealing it. If you "just want to try it," rent it. Video games are not a necessity and it is impossible to justify their theft except under extreme cases that are unlikely to the point of being ridiculous (terrorists are holding your son hostage and will only release him if you get them some warez).

But as that's not going to happen, I think what the software industry should try lobbying for harsher laws against piracy. Those torrents, for instance, need to be shut down. As far as I'm concerned, it makes no difference if you're merely hosting the torrent to an illegally downloaded game--you're still an accomplice in the crime, and should be punished as such.

Sounds like a keen idea, actually. Take away one of the advantages of the piracy system rather than adding DRMs and other various things that make piracy seem more appealing. Now, if it works or not, that's gonna be a different story. Then again, these days, piracy is so freaking rampant, trying anything has to be better than doing nothing.

...well, unless you're trying it the Ubisoft way.

Jiraiya72:

Scotty.:
I currently use an R4 for my DS, simply becase I can't afford to buy every new game that comes out (high school, no job, etc), and for the convenience of not needing a suitcase full of cartridges. Same with my friends. But if the 3DS has the ability for me and my friends to all buy one copy of the game to install on our shiny new handhelds, Nintendo will get SOME money, as opposed to none. Now think about how many times this will happen over the country? Over the world, even?

Guess what? Your stealing isn't justified because you "can't afford it". I can't afford a Ferrari, does that mean I can justify stealing one? You don't deserve to have any of those games. Yeah, I'd like to see you try and say that to them, "At least one of us thieves will give you some money, instead of none!"

But it's still going to happen. It doesn't matter who's in the right, people will do what they do. The question is how do you adapt? You can't change consumer habits by finger-waving and stick-beating; the RIAA has proven that much. DRM only works for a short time when it does, the exception being Steam. The only recourse is, as others have said, to make piracy extremely risky for your hardware while incentivising the purchase and use of legitimate software.

Here's hoping Nintendo won't use some draconian anti-piracy system.

I look forward to hearing the details from Nintendo themselves.

I could see them drifting to digital distribution.. Why buy a cart, go online, or even go to the store, when you can download your full-fledged games right on the DS? Pioneer the trend by releasing Kid Icarus (and other popular titles) as download-only through the DS store and you've got a good start.

This is a very good idea. Nintendo still makes plenty of moola from DS(x) titles, even with pirates. so if someone knows someone with a 3ds and a few games they like, they will go out and buy one to play those games. Sure, no money from the games after that, but nintendo still gets their money from the handheld. Which is arguably much more than from the game anyway

They could even put a copy-limiter on the rental versions, will get cracked but how soon? I mean i don't think the pirate will want a late fee on their record, even if they are stealing the game. Those rental companies can get alittle over-the-top with late fees.

Phyroxis:
I could see them drifting to digital distribution.. Why buy a cart, go online, or even go to the store, when you can download your full-fledged games right on the DS? Pioneer the trend by releasing Kid Icarus (and other popular titles) as download-only through the DS store and you've got a good start.

A good start to reducing sales and increasing piracy, maybe. Just because you or I have a good internet connection with wi-fi to buy download only games for a handheld system doesn't mean everyone in the world does. If you deny people a physical copy, you leave many people with the choice between not being able to play at all or pirating it.

It would be very nice. But, unfortunately, I think you're being too optimistic. It is highly likely that there will be limitations, and probably copy protection as well.

Scotty.:
I currently use an R4 for my DS, simply becase I can't afford to buy every new game that comes out (high school, no job, etc), and for the convenience of not needing a suitcase full of cartridges. Same with my friends. But if the 3DS has the ability for me and my friends to all buy one copy of the game to install on our shiny new handhelds, Nintendo will get SOME money, as opposed to none. Now think about how many times this will happen over the country? Over the world, even?

Do you really have to have every new game that comes out?

mjc0961:

Phyroxis:
I could see them drifting to digital distribution.. Why buy a cart, go online, or even go to the store, when you can download your full-fledged games right on the DS? Pioneer the trend by releasing Kid Icarus (and other popular titles) as download-only through the DS store and you've got a good start.

A good start to reducing sales and increasing piracy, maybe. Just because you or I have a good internet connection with wi-fi to buy download only games for a handheld system doesn't mean everyone in the world does. If you deny people a physical copy, you leave many people with the choice between not being able to play at all or pirating it.

Except that if a country already has high piracy rates, its not necessarily due to lack of internet. (see any number of Escapist Editor columns here and read about the physical piracy in other countries)

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