Nintendo Can Disable a Pirate’s 3DS Remotely

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Nintendo is getting really serious about piracy, perhaps more serious than any other platform holder to date.

Aside from those pesky moral considerations, there’s another reason to think twice about trying to play pirated games on the 3DS. It’s emerged that Nintendo will disable the device and prevent the pirate from playing anything on it, legitimate or not, if it detects that something untoward is going on.

The 3DS makes a note of pretty much everything that its owner does with it, from the games that he or she plays, to the number of steps that he or she takes. This means that if a 3DS has something like an R4 cartridge plugged into it, there’s a record, and if Nintendo gets wind of this, it can disable the device with a software update.

With the 3DS’s “always-on” Wi-Fi capabilities, this can happen automatically, although presumably you can just turn the function off. There’s also a suggestion that this might affect people who try to play games from other regions, although that seems rather unlikely, as a regional lock out seems a much easier solution.

Japanese retailer Enterking has already started warning consumers about Nintendo’s policy, and says that it won’t accept 3DS units as trade-ins if they have a history of being used to play “illegal” games. Enterking suggests that customers format their devices before trying to sell them, but says that it isn’t responsible for any lost data if it elects not to buy the hardware.

You can’t really blame Nintendo for wanting to tackle piracy, but this seems a very heavy-handed way of doing it. It’s one thing to blacklist a console and bar it from online services, which is what Microsoft and now Sony does, but it’s quite another to disable the device entirely. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Nintendo has to fight one or more lawsuit over this decision sometime in the future.

Source: Destructoid and Go Nintendo

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