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Nintendo Piracy Portables (Games) Games

Nintendo To Take On Piracy In 3-D 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the dee-arrrrrr!-emm dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Nintendo says when its new handheld game device with 3-D technology comes out, it will have beefed-up anti-piracy measures. For obvious reasons, the company is keeping tight-lipped on the specifics. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata says they're not only concerned about software piracy, but also a growing tolerance for it. He said, 'We fear a kind of thinking is become widespread that paying for software is meaningless.'"
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Nintendo To Take On Piracy In 3-D

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  • Nail on the head (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:51AM (#32138612)
    paying for copies of software is meaningless
  • by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:53AM (#32138620) Homepage Journal

    Too true. Hence the movement toward SaaS (Software as a Service).

  • by Ceiynt (993620) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:59AM (#32138658)
    Well, if they keep allowing the release of 40 different versions of Imagine Babysitter and Pony Lover DS and whatever else crap takes up 90% of the Nintendo sections in stores, they won't have to worry about piracy, cause no one will want the crap. Push Squenix for a FFVI 3D remake and how about a new Kid Icuras, or New Super Mario Bros. 2 with bigger worlds and the racoon suit from SMB3?
  • Q U A L I T Y (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @11:04AM (#32138686) Homepage

    I don't mind paying for games. I mind paying for crappy games.

    I might pirate a game to try it for five minutes out of curiosity. (Assuming there's no demo.) But I'll gladly pay for games that are high quality and original.

    That being said, I buy only 3-5 games a year. But I'd rather see the industry doing fewer games and putting more effort into them. One great option is downloadable games in episodic format. The recent Tales of Monkey Island for the Wii are a good example. Lessens the risk both for the game developer and myself as a consumer.

  • by DaleGlass (1068434) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @11:07AM (#32138720) Homepage

    See this [wolfire.com] for an explanation why.

    Short explanation of the link: Since pirates do not pay, they can download more than they could ever afford. So for a large part of what's pirated you couldn't force payment in any manner, since the money to do so simply doesn't exist.

    I know of people who have enormous collections spanning thousands of movies, games, and music CDs, most of which they haven't even tried once. It seems that once somebody gets into that particular mindset they operate on a "Oh, this sounds interesting. *Adds to queue*" basis, and by the time it's done downloading they often don't remember what it was and why they have it.

    Those people are largely unaffected by all this. If they can't get a copy of Nintendo's latest game, oh well, they have downloaded 20 others last week. And what they download is all pre-cracked already.

    The people who it does affect though are the legitimate customers. I remember getting very angry (which doesn't happen very often to me), when I purchased Neverwinter Nights, and couldn't use it. Turns out the morons printed the CD key in a font that made B/8, O/0 and such indistinguishable. After 15 minutes I finally figured out one that worked, and I still don't know if that's the one I was supposed to use, or just a similar key that happened to work, and that will prevent somebody else from playing. I bet the pirates don't need to put up with that.

    So don't buy into this protection nonsense, and support few people who view this sanely [wolfire.com].

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @11:12AM (#32138756)

    Some people will (still) use the " 40 different versions of Imagine Babysitter and Pony Lover DS and whatever else crap takes up 90% of the Nintendo sections in stores" as a reason to justify pirating "a FFVI 3D remake and how about a new Kid Icuras, or New Super Mario Bros. 2 with bigger worlds and the racoon suit from SMB3".

  • Cop out (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ironhandx (1762146) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @11:13AM (#32138766)

    Heres a fun fact: One of the most massive reasons for many becoming tolerant of it is the (accurate) perception that many have no choice but to pirate some software to begin with because the legal version doesn't work on their platform with the DRM installed...

    I also think the president is using piracy as a cop out to explain why there aren't more games being produced for the Wii by third party developers. In reality it has more to do with the fact that the gamecube was low in horsepower for its generation and the Wii is not much of an improvement in that regard... developing for the Wii along with the PS3, Xbox360 + PC adds an entire new development line thats much much further removed from the other 3 than any of those 3 are removed from each other. I mean, the Wii is so much lower in power that you're talking new textures, new models, new physics engine... the works. This is the reason you're not seeing the big titles for it even though technically its market penetration is greater. It also doesn't help that its market penetration is almost entirely the very casual gamer... people that may buy 2-3 games a year at birthday/christmas and not buy any others. Theres outstanding sales for the Wii itself and the mario/wii fit games but the other titles that come to the platform have mostly languished despite the overall console ownership numbers.

    Case in point: I own a wii, I have Wii sports and Wii fit, and likely will never buy another game for the thing. I know at least 4 other people that are in the same boat.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @11:19AM (#32138834)

    If you're tight lipped about the nature of your security, you have lost already. Best security is still one where the procedure itself is well known but it's still secure. If you rely on obscurity, you're prone to lose. Especially if you have no option but to give your "enemy" the secured device.

  • by rxan (1424721) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @11:23AM (#32138884)
    If the games are so bad then there's no reason to pirate them, let alone buy them. Or does a product being "low quality" give you the right to steal it?
  • by Jer (18391) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @11:35AM (#32138978) Homepage

    And interestingly enough, if the folks who are playing "Imagine Babysitter" and "Pony Lover DS" are paying customers and the folks who are playing "FFVI" or "Kid Icarus" are pirating it, that gives the company an incentive to produce more "Imagine Babysitter"-type games and fewer of the games pirates like. Especially if the games that people are paying for are cheaper to develop and produce than the games that pirates like.

  • by nlawalker (804108) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:08PM (#32139244)

    Mod parent up.

    "Hardcore" gamers bitching about shovelware and casual games should realize that rampant piracy makes developing a multimillion dollar blockbuster look a lot less attractive. It's a much better financial proposition to create low-budget games that cater to people who are less likely to pirate them.

  • by jparker (105202) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:12PM (#32139274) Homepage

    Posting anon since I probably shouldn't be this specific, but the market for DS software has totally collapsed in Europe, particularly in Spain and Italy, where you sell virtually nothing. Titles in Europe are moving literally 10% of of what they do in NA. Many, if not most, major publishers are currently abandoning the DS completely, since the loss of Europe knocks out a huge chunk of their projected ROI.

    Now, I'm in the radical camp that actually reads scientific studies and approaches new phenomena with an eye to determine how they work, rather than shut them down, so I think a lot of the focus on piracy as theft is misplaced. An R40, or similar "piracy" device, also makes your DS dramatically more useful since you can carry around a large library of titles at once. Even better for kids, obviously a key demographic, it prevents the tiny cartridges getting lost or destroyed. When they came out, probably 50% of the people I knew immediately got them, and many for their kids as well. (Note that this is a very skewed sample: I work at a game development company, so we're all pretty hardcore, often each of our kids has their own DS, things like that.) Many of these people started off determined not to pirate and just use it for the convenience. (again, skewed sample - we're voracious, hardcore gamers, but we make them for a living, so we take piracy a little more seriously. Doesn't mean we don't do it, but it often does mean we try not to.) Then they were just downloading the titles to try them out. And so on.

    I think piracy is usually as much about convenience as free product. It's just like prohibition: if you try to prevent behavior that everyone sees as reasonable, people will ignore those rules and proceed to behavior they wouldn't have considered reasonable before. The best way to fight piracy on the DS is to give us an easy way to store games on the device digitally. You'll probably want to pair this with a digital distribution scheme, which is fine, and gives you a nice place to ensure that we get free demos of all games. Yes, this will mean that people won't buy the crappy games, which leads to lower licensing revenues for Nintendo, but the DS badly needs to have the wheat cut from the chaff to restore confidence in the platform.

    These are just two examples, and more than this is needed to defeat the piracy problem, but the key is the strategy. Don't focus on preventing piracy, focus on your products delivering the real value that your customers want better than the pirates can. You've got economies of scale all over them, and if you don't know your own products and consumers better than the pirates do, you don't deserve either.

    tl;dr
    Massive piracy on DS ensures fewer risky, expensive titles like The World Ends With You and more of the easy, safe, "40 different versions of Imagine Babysitter and Pony Lover DS". The best way to fix the piracy problem is to give people what they want, which isn't really games for free.

  • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:20PM (#32139342)
    "On the one hand, I hate not being able to copy my music across devices. I hate having to be connected to the internet to be able to play a certain game. On the other hand, people who create useful/entertaining/valuable things should be compensated for it, if they so wish."

    The problems you describe have NOTHING to do with the creators wishing to be compensated. Payment does NOT necessitate absurd DRM.
  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:56PM (#32139610) Homepage Journal

    On the other hand, people who create useful/entertaining/valuable things should be compensated for it, if they so wish.

    No, there's no right to compensation for creation. The creator may set their work for sale, and I may choose to buy it, but that's it.

    And if you choose not to buy it, you should not be able to use it. The use and the compensation are thus linked.

  • by metamatic (202216) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:14PM (#32139748) Homepage Journal

    The best way to fight piracy on the DS is to give us an easy way to store games on the device digitally. You'll probably want to pair this with a digital distribution scheme, which is fine, and gives you a nice place to ensure that we get free demos of all games.

    I assume that's what they were trying to do with the DSi and DSiware. The trouble is, like Sony they've discovered that download-only games you can't sell second hand have a lower value than regular games, so the people who do pay for games (like me) aren't willing to pay as much for them. That in turn has meant that DSiware has been filled with crappy minigames.

    To put numbers to it, If I can buy Zelda on the DS for $29.99 and sell it used for $20, you need to sell me the full Zelda as a download for less than $10. I don't think Nintendo are willing to do that, which means the digital distribution scheme is a non-starter.

  • by Imrik (148191) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:49PM (#32140064) Homepage

    No, the best security is one where people don't know which procedure you're using AND the procedure itself is well known and still secure. Security through obscurity isn't the best form of security, but it does add an extra layer of strength.

  • by ZekoMal (1404259) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:13PM (#32140248)
    Because...Sims 2 wasn't exactly what the users wanted? Because Modern Warfare 2 totally sucked? Peruse the torrent sites. Go on, I'll wait.

    No really, check them and come back.

    Oh, what's that? The crappy games aren't being pirated to the extent that the amazing ones are? What are the user reviews on the most popular pirated games? 7/10 or higher, usually. What about My Little Pony: The Farm 19? That being torrented AT ALL? No?

    Sorry, but pirates aren't pirating games that are 'total crap'. Why the hell would they waste their time on a game that sucked? No; they're pirating the fun games that they want to play, not that boring games they hate.

    Usually I am on the side of piracy, but this is not justifiable. Plain and simple: they don't want people playing their game that they spent 50 million making for free. When they see that a large quantity of people are pirating their game, they'll balance their options: lose money on a blockbuster, or gain money on shovelware. The only gamers losing out are the ones that complain when you can't see the nose hairs on the guy you shot through a scope; and if their asses didn't pirate in the first place they wouldn't be losing.

    While I'm on the subject, I may as well go all out.

    Pirates don't pirate lousy games. Why? Because no one wants to play that game. The games being pirated the most are fun games. So, what message are you really sending the game companies? They see a heavy amount of pirating on their top games, and not as high revenues as there should be to offset it. Greed or not, would you exactly be happy if someone trimmed off even a few dollars from your paycheck? Hell, the average adult bitched when their taxes go up 7%; how would you feel if you saw that several thousand people weren't paying you $60?

    But wait, they can't count piracy as a lost sale! Maybe not. There's no way to tell if that person downloaded it and then immediately deleted it. However, if they pirate a game and then play it for 60-70 hours, I'd sure as hell consider that a loss. Stores like Target offer full refund returns if you come back in 30 days with the receipt. If pirates bought the game and returned it, they wouldn't technically be paying. Yet they pirate.

    Are they pirating out of protest? What a ridiculous notion. Don't play the game if you don't like it! If you're complaining about a companies evil tactics, you prove nothing by continuing to use their product! That'd be like bitching about McDonalds whilst stealing burgers from them.

    They spent several years working on a game, based on reactions from the gaming community. Trends and the like. They spent millions on the tech needed to make it look cool enough for people to buy, because regardless of what the /. community says, the bulk of gamers do want insanely good graphics on top of good gameplay. At the end, they spend millions on advertisements to pump up the hype for a game. But wait! They notice that their previous game had a high piracy rate. So, they spend millions more on DRM in hopes that it will stop piracy.

    Well, the gamers see the DRM and freak out! Clearly they must boycott this game! So, they "boycott"; as soon as it's released, the legit players buy it while the pirates crack it and play it. The game companies lose money, and determine stronger DRM is needed.

    So, yeah...wow, I had a good karma run. I think I just defended game companies for installing DRM. Pretty sure that means I'm doomed.

  • by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:15PM (#32140270) Homepage Journal

    ...piracy is usually as much about convenience as free product....The best way to fight piracy on the DS is to give us an easy way to store games on the device digitally.

    That hits it pretty much right on the head. People talk of piracy like pirates are a bunch of cheap buggers who just don't want to pay for anything, but often, they pirate because it offers something that is not offered through official channels.

    I bough the M3DS so I can use my NDS as an mp3 player (moonshine has a much nicer interface than my cheap dedicated mp3 player does) the sketchpad of DS organize also came in handy. At first, I was using the M3DS to get those features that I felt should have been build in to the device, but weren't.

    Then the convenience factor kicks in: why carry around 10 individual cartridges, when I can load all my games on one micro SD card and carry them all with me? so much easier.
    Then, I quickly get used to that level of convenience, and when a new game comes out, I tell myself I will 'try before I buy' If the game is bad, it is promptly deleted. If the game is good, I purchase a physical copy, but keep it in the box, and continue playing the downloaded version. (sadly, I've yet to find 'the world ends with you' for sale in Canada)
    So now I'm in the habit of downloading for convenience, and not being able to find the legitimate copies to purchase, so I stop looking for legit copies.

    If is their were a legitimate service that offered the level of convenience offered by piracy, I doubt piracy would be the problem it is today.

  • by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:24PM (#32140336)

    I totally agree with you, Max. I have HUGE library of SNES, N64, and PSX games. My library of GCN and PS2 games is a little smaller, and my library of Wii games is less than 10. I'm tired of shelling out an increasing amount of money for ports of games (Chrono Trigger DS for $40? I bought it because I'm a fanboy, but **** you, too, Square-Enix) and increasingly shitty flagship titles (FFXIII was the my last straw for the Final Fantasy series).

    I've grown cynical of anything that any of the new games that the big publishers are putting out because all they've been doing for nearly two software generations, now, is taking a formula that worked 15 years ago and applying it over, and over, and over, and over again. The last game I bought for the DS was Black Sigil from a small startup Canadian company. It was new, and it was awesome. Other games from the big publishers, I just download them. They're either rehashes or they're boring.

    But you know, when you think about it, how many of you have actually beaten the games that you've pirated? For me, I play pirated games for an hour, maybe two, and then I'm done. Most people I know do the same thing with their downloaded games. Piracy is less about getting games you're interested in for free and more about basically replacing what game demos used to be. Game demos used to be long, and you could play them for a while for entertainment once, and then you'd either really like the game and buy it, or you'd have had fun wasting some time and never play it again. That's how I see the current trend of piracy. Most people who pirate play the pirated game for a short waste of time and then they're done. Without a DS flash cart, they wouldn't have instead bought the game, they'd have just instead played nothing at all.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:13PM (#32140714)

    Uh, maybe I misread, but wasn't his conclusion that 10% of piracy is probably completely genuine?

    Look, Wolfire doesn't care about piracy because they're a tiny indie studio and they care a lot more about getting their games into people's hands than anything else. That's true of pretty much every tiny indie studio. While it's great that he's running the numbers and figuring out a better estimate for the piracy rate, his opinion on DRM is *not relevant* to studios like, for example, Nintendo.

    And that's assuming you agree with his conclusion. I also think his argument is completely flawed. Whether you could have otherwise afforded the game or not, the fact is you still pirated it. I mean, there's no "oh well he couldn't afford it anyway" clause to any other kind of theft, right? Why should there be one for IP theft?

  • by Jer (18391) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:15PM (#32141128) Homepage

    I wish I had mod points:

    To put numbers to it, If I can buy Zelda on the DS for $29.99 and sell it used for $20, you need to sell me the full Zelda as a download for less than $10. I don't think Nintendo are willing to do that, which means the digital distribution scheme is a non-starter.

    This isn't restricted to video game companies - ALL content publishing companies underestimate the lure of "right of first sale" has on a good-sized portion of their customer base. The ability to turn around and re-sell a book, game, movie, TV boxed set, comic book, whatever is built into some of their customers' purchase plans right from the beginning. So they don't view that $50 purchase as a $50 expenditure - they see it as maybe a $35 expense and they're going to get back $15 when they eventually sell it. If they can't re-sell it then it isn't worth $50 to them because it was never worth $50 to them in the first place. It was always a $35 purchase in their eyes.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @08:26PM (#32142930)

    I'm saying companies would make more money if they spent less time on DRM, and more time on making their customers happy.

    You haven't shown that at all. Unless you're taking your personal opinion, and extrapolating it to the entire rest of the planet.

    If you want to prove a point, you have to get around to actually providing some evidence to prove the point. You haven't done that at all.

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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