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Sony and Nintendo Step Up Anti-Piracy Efforts 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the escalating-arms-race dept.
Edge reports that Sony and Nintendo are both expanding their anti-piracy operations in an effort to reduce piracy rates on the PSP and the DS respectively. Nintendo has hired Neil Boyd, who handled anti-piracy operations for Warner Brothers, to help them demonstrate their "willingness to take action against criminals who are making money out of the infringement of games developers' copyright." Sony has taken a more direct approach, choosing to alter the hardware used in the PSP Go so that things like the Pandora battery can no longer be used to alter the firmware.
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Sony and Nintendo Step Up Anti-Piracy Efforts

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  • What, Warner Bros. anti-piracy strategy? Suing people?
    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      What, Warner Bros. anti-piracy strategy? Suing people?

      Warner Bros. anti-piracy strategy is suing people. What?

      There, fixed it for you.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Warner Bros. anti-piracy strategy is suing people. What?

        Found out that Warner Bros. anti-piracy strategy is... *wears sunglasses* eating kittens. YEEEAAHHHH!!!

        There, all true..

  • by marcansoft (727665) <hector@@@marcansoft...com> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:57AM (#29270601) Homepage

    No, really. The've shown that they believe that Wii homebrew == Wii piracy (having attacked generic homebrew almost exclusively, not just piracy tools, and considering that they harassed us when we attempted to notify them of a security issue), and yet it's been over 5 months since the latest security-related update. Somehow I don't get the felling that Nintendo is interested in combating Wii piracy very much (it's not like they've done a whole lot to stop modchips either).

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's because they make so much money on selling systems and accessories. DS profits are primarily software related.

    • by kawabago (551139)
      Why don't they open source the game software and sell subscriptions to the server. That way the more the game is shared the more people will buy subscriptions to the server. Also they can offload development costs partly onto the community. It's a win win situation. The more 'piracy' the better. Oh, too simple. Sorry.
      • Why don't they open source the game software and sell subscriptions to the server.

        Because then every player would have to buy a $1,440 two-year subscription to mobile Internet access. Not everybody wants another $60/mo phone bill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)
      I understand "piracy" to refer to infringement of a copyright, patent, or trademark. So:

      The've shown that they believe that Wii homebrew == Wii piracy (having attacked generic homebrew almost exclusively, not just piracy tools, and considering that they harassed us when we attempted to notify them of a security issue)

      I seem to remember using Google to search for the phrase "homebrew is piracy" and ending up on a page that argues that Nintendo holds one or more patents on the DS Game Card protocol. If this is true, then homebrew devices infringe patents.

    • by ookaze (227977) <ookazeNO@SPAMmail.ookaze.fr> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @07:59AM (#29272133) Homepage

      No, really. The've shown that they believe that Wii homebrew == Wii piracy (having attacked generic homebrew almost exclusively, not just piracy tools, and considering that they harassed us when we attempted to notify them of a security issue), and yet it's been over 5 months since the latest security-related update. Somehow I don't get the felling that Nintendo is interested in combating Wii piracy very much (it's not like they've done a whole lot to stop modchips either).

      So somewhat, you not getting the feeling that Nintendo is interested in combating piracy equates to "They've given up on Wii piracy"? Seriously?
      Looks like complete BS to me.
      The fact is that the only thing separating the homebrew tools from piracy tools is what the user deem moral or not. The exact same tools used for homebrew are used for piracy.

      I use the homebrew tools, and really, if it wasn't for the fact that my play time on a game is not registered in the Wii when I use them, I would always use the homebrew tools to play my games, that I have all ripped, just in case. And you can see how tiny of an argument I have already to not use these tools (but they're still installed).
      Once someone starts continuously using the homebrew tools, all hell breaks loose, as they will be more and more tempted to download some games "just to see".
      The sole thing preventing me from downloading some games and then play them on the Wii is in my head. If I didn't have enough money or if I played lots of games all the time, I guarantee I would have downloaded lots of games already.

      So to me it's no wonder that for Nintendo, Wii homebrew == Wii piracy because that's exactly what it is. You can't scan people's heads to make a difference between pirates and legitimate homebrew users. And I'm sure there are far more pirates than homebrew users.
      If Nintendo didn't put region lock in their console, I wouldn't even have considered homebrew. This is one of their mistake. That's the sole thing that pushed me to install homebrew.

      Then again, modchipping your console is on another level entirely, and so I understand that they don't get out of their way to stop these people, because the return on investment is far too ridiculous.

      Even installing homebrew is not for the faint of heart, and most people don't even understand how all of that work and don't care. I'm even sure that most people installing homebrew on their console don't understand at all what they're doing, which is evidenced by all the video tutorials I've seen people made just to install homebrew.

      All of this is far more difficult than buying a flash card for the Nintendo DS.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by xtracto (837672)

        The fact is that the only thing separating the homebrew tools from piracy tools is what the user deem moral or not. The exact same tools used for homebrew are used for piracy.

        Nope, at least not in the case of the Wii. The main homebrew community has been very cautious (and clear) on separating the war3z-related homebrew from the "original" stuff. For the later you can check wiibrew.org you will find a lot of legitimate homebrew applications and games that do not empower copyright infringement (I agree that emulators are a gray area, specially in the light of the VC)

        • Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you need material from the legit (or at least morally ok/grey by my books) homebrew sites in order to play "backup" games?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)

        So to me it's no wonder that for Nintendo, Wii homebrew == Wii piracy because that's exactly what it is.

        Nintendo states on warioworld.com that it categorically declines to deal with students, hobbyists, and microISVs: one needs a dedicated office and a track record of published titles. So for which platform should students and hobbyists be building a portfolio to start a company? Most PC monitors are just too small for four people.

        Even installing homebrew is not for the faint of heart

        Bannerbombing a Wii into the Homebrew Channel installer involves loading files onto an SD card, putting it in the front of your console, and going into the Wii settings. And you pro

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          > So for which platform should students and hobbyists be building a portfolio to start a company? Most PC monitors are just too small for four people.

          Use the DVI/HDMI port that comes with many PCs now and plug the PC into the TV.

          Use many of the Linux/Windows hacks to enable WiiMote access on the PC.

          The untrained and the unwary might mistake my mini for my wii.

          • Use the DVI/HDMI port that comes with many PCs now and plug the PC into the TV.

            CRT SDTVs already in homes have no DVI/HDMI input. Should I just point anyone who wants to buy my game to SewellDirect.com, which sells VGA to composite adapters?

            • by jedidiah (1196)

              I was addressing your "dev kit", not the in home units.

              A proper DVI port also has the nice feature that it's pretty trivial to drive an SD TV.

              • by tepples (727027)

                I was addressing your "dev kit", not the in home units.

                So once my team has developed a PC game that works on my dev kit (PC + Vizio HDTV), how do we deploy it to the masses, many of whom still have SDTVs?

                A proper DVI port also has the nice feature that it's pretty trivial to drive an SD TV.

                How many DVI ports on PCs are "proper" in your sense, which I take to mean "supporting the composite output pins"?

                • by jedidiah (1196)

                  The i945 Mac mini has such a DVI port. It also happens to look strangely like a Wii too.

                  Perhaps you could actually look into what low cost, low profile, console-ish gear exists out there.

        • by psm321 (450181) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:46AM (#29273631) Journal

          Nintendo states on warioworld.com that it categorically declines to deal with students, hobbyists, and microISVs: one needs a dedicated office and a track record of published titles. So for which platform should students and hobbyists be building a portfolio to start a company? Most PC monitors are just too small for four people.

          Xbox 360. Seriously, I don't really like Microsoft, and I don't really like xbox (or playstation for that matter) games in general (i tend to like more playful games, http://www.ukresistance.co.uk/2005/11/blue-sky-in-games-campaign-launched.html [ukresistance.co.uk])

          But, one thing Microsoft is good about with the 360/xbox live is allowing independent content (or at least so I hear). I've seen other people trying out games from the market with lots of interesting gameplay concepts that you would probably not see in a mainstream game

      • The fact is that the only thing separating the homebrew tools from piracy tools is what the user deem moral or not. The exact same tools used for homebrew are used for piracy.

        Ha ha no. A homebrew tool is one that takes an executable file and runs it. A piracy tool is an executable file that fucks up half of your system, has a 50% chance of bricking it, then plays pirated disc games or installs pirated VC games. Piracy apps are specific, considerably sleazier, lower quality, and more dangerous than most home

      • by jroysdon (201893)

        Uhm, I'm was a homebrew virgin before this weekend. I followed one guide and extracted 1 zip file on an SD card and had homebrew up and working, then backed up my NAND (system memory), and started downloading all the GPL free (non-pirated) games for the HBC via the Homebrew Browser. Backing up my NAND took more time than anything, and I think I was done in less than 30 minutes and trying out everything available via the Homebrew Browser.

        It may have been hard before some of the current tools, but literally

        • by ookaze (227977)

          It may have been hard before some of the current tools, but literally it was following a guide of 10 steps, dragging and dropping files to an SD card, and then pointing with my Wiimote.

          The big problem is that it's so easy now.
          Anyway, my point is that the same countermeasure used against piracy work against homebrew, because homebrew use the same flaws to get installed, than piracy tools. Nintendo has no way and no incentive to differentiate who is who.

          However, I am still tempted to get the backup stuff working on an old USB HDD and putting all of our games on it. It's not like we have a ton of games (maybe 20), but I'm mostly concerned about wear and tear on the discs. My kids are pretty well trained in handling DVDs, CDs, game discs, but company often is not. I'd only backup and run from USB HDD the stuff I own, but the problem with that I hear is that the way those loaders work is "illegal" even if you are using it for backup. Somehow the HBC claims not to be "illegal," but it still voids your warranty.

          I've installed the tool for the same reason, and would actually use it if it registrered my game time and other things like games played from the DVD drive.
          That's not for me to decide if HBC is legal or not though, and I don't care.

          Playing DVDs and watching Youtube is cool on the Wii. I don't get why Nintendo doesn't license that and blow AppleTV and that sort out of the water since they've got a huge marketshare? I don't have a major need for this as we've already got a killer MythTV setup, but I love that the Wii is ultra portable. Not that we'd take it anywhere, as if we're going on vacation, we can take a break from all of that.

          Nintendo

          • However, I am still tempted to get the backup stuff working on an old USB HDD and putting all of our games on it.

            As one of the authors of the Homebrew Channel and someone who has spent way too much time analyzing the Wii software, I'll just say that installing any of the backup stuff is going straight into poorly coded dangerous software territory. Not to mention that most of it is illegal in and of itself (not in the DMCA circumvention device kind of way, which we all know about, but in the distributing le

    • Well, they aren't too happy about what can be done now with the Wii.

      I currently have a 100% hacked Wii that has not been opened or had any hardware added at all. Purely through exploits used to get the Homebrew Channel installed you are able to modify the Wii's firmware enough to allow you to install wiiware/virtual console titles, or even back up game discs to an external HDD.

      So I'd say Nintendo are concerned about piracy on the Wii. As far as security updates, each release of the Wii firmware puts an halt

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by marcansoft (727665)

        Wrong. The Homebrew Channel uses an undisclosed exploit to install itself that the warez people don't know about. Currenty they're using an older exploit that Nintendo failed to patch to install their stuff. The patch cycle for the past couple of updates has been like this:

        - Nintendo releases update, breaks everything
        - We use an exploit that we developed to release a new version of HBC (this is useless for the pirates because they still can't use that to install their patched IOSes, it only lets you run hom

  • Totally Retarded (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:27AM (#29270771)

    in every way.......

    Sony produced the PSP Go for a very specific market, whether they understood it or not. People buying that are not interested in stupid fucking "snackables". Dear God, they make it sound like something a 2nd grader would eat at lunch.

    The PSP Go is for people that *already* understand how to take existing UMD's in their collection and convert them and play them on the PSP. The attraction of the Go model is more memory, less power consumption (UMDless), and a smaller form factor, and possibly longer battery life.

    Their attempt to cripple the unit so that you cannot play UMD backups, while being blatantly offensive towards supporters of Fair Use, just totally destroyed their *real* market for the product.

    I am actually interested in the PSP Go. ONLY IF I CAN PLAY MY UMD BACKUPS. If not, then STFU Sony and you don't get my money.

    Total Morons.

    P.S - Yes... it can be used for pirated ISOs as well as Fair Use ISOs, but that does not make my point any less valid about their market does it?

    • If, instead of putting the "SELECT" and "START" buttons in the little round spot in the mirror-image position of where the thumbstick is on the Go, they had put in another thumbstick and put those two buttons somewhere else, they would have made ports of shooters and other PS2 and PS3 games to the PSP a lot easier. Backward compatibility with old PSP games would be trivial - the old games don't "know" about the second thumbstick, so they'd automatically ignore it.

      I like my PSP quite a bit. It has served me

    • Hmm thats funny, I wanted a PSP Go because of the smaller form factor and the possibilities that bluetooth brings to the unit.
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:45AM (#29270857)

    Come on, fixing the Pandora problem was as easy as changing the firmware that listened to the battery.

    It is an enormous stretch to think that the PSP Go! doesn't have a removable battery because of the Pandora battery. Wouldn't you think it would be more because non-removable batteries are in vogue in high-line devices like the iPod Touch and Zune HD, both of which the PSP Go! competes with?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A new fleet of ships of the line, bristling with cannons and hung with sails.

    Let's see how those pirates handle a few hundred pounds of cannonballs coming at them!

    Also, they're sending in the Plumbers to clean things up.

  • ...because Sony and Nintendo will just be annoying us homebrew users. Indiscriminately criminalising your customers will not make the "bad guys" go away - they'll just multiply!

    The real problem is that the industry - and that's not just Sony and Big N - still keeps ignoring is pricing. Maybe you gotta stop labeling crap the same as diamonds. (and yeah, I know Third Parties don't get a say in this!)

    I think a general drop in prices is called for - and maybe the dropping of the belief that "Visuals are Everything".
  • One has to wonder if the the money wasted on redesigns and protection schemes doesn't actually exceed the revenue that would have resulted if piracy wasn't possible. Every pirate I know fills one profile...cheap bastards that wouldn't buy anything to start with. Nearly all the friends I have that pirate speak about "homebrew" but do no development themselves and their idea of homebrew is emulation so they can pirate other stuff.

    However, the current software model is a dead end. Many people are just not w

  • I bought a PS2 with the intent of purchasing $20 games. If I can't find them (out of print or not sold here or whatever), I'll just download them. I intend to give them my money, but if they make it impossible to do that I won't do it.

    Of course, that probably means I'll stop buying console stuff and move back to computers. I feel better about giving hardware mfrs my money anyway, even though PC gaming is a constant upgrade treadmill.

    Ever higher game prices are only shooting yourself in the foot.

    • I bought a PS2 with the intent of purchasing $20 games. If I can't find them (out of print or not sold here or whatever), I'll just download them. I intend to give them my money, but if they make it impossible to do that I won't do it.

      Of course, that probably means I'll stop buying console stuff and move back to computers. I feel better about giving hardware mfrs my money anyway, even though PC gaming is a constant upgrade treadmill.

      Ever higher game prices are only shooting yourself in the foot.

      Actually the upgrad treatmill has slowed down significantly thanks to the consoles.

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