Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Nintendo Businesses Government The Courts Entertainment Games News

Nintendo Battles Makers of the R4 188

eldavojohn writes "A neat little device called the R4 allows for homebrew on the DS ... and as micro SD prices fall, it is becoming easier and easier to put on these cartridges binary dumps of games people don't have the right to play. Which is why Nintendo will see them in court. Note, it's not just the console maker pressing charges, it's also Capcom, Koei, Square Enix, Tecmo, Bandai Namco, and Sega. Is this truly a case of fighting piracy, or is it also an attempt to stop homebrew from stealing the market?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nintendo Battles Makers of the R4

Comments Filter:
  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @05:48PM (#24392475) Homepage

    Is this truly a case of fighting piracy, or is it also an attempt to stop homebrew from stealing the market?"

    It is truly a case of fighting piracy. Anybody who thinks otherwise is severely delusional.

  • by Spykk ( 823586 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @05:51PM (#24392539)
    While I do believe that the primary goal is to fight piracy, these devices have legitimate uses as a conduit for homebrew and backups. Being able to choose a game from a list that contains your entire library sure beats carrying a backpack full of cartridges around...
  • by VoxMagis ( 1036530 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @05:54PM (#24392589)

    I just see this as Nintendo seeing what happened to the PSP and homebrew and getting it under control before it's too late.

    It's sad - both systems should have some level of a 'code pack' that lets people write apps and such for their portable toys, but the level of flat piracy that the homebrew community has created for the PSP is really affecting it's viability as a game platform for developers. []

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Robert1 ( 513674 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @05:54PM (#24392599) Homepage

    I can't tell if the article summary comment is tongue-in-cheek or actually serious. I should hope that it isn't the latter, its tough to believe people are really that delusional. How can a game written by 3-4 teen/early 20 year olds hope to compete against games that REQUIRE dozens of designers/artists? The cost and man-hours necessary to complete a modern game have effectively shoved small time developers out of business. Its not like they were muscled out, the technology and cost just ran away from them. Today, an amateur game maker can realistically hope to make games equivalent to those seen 15 years ago. How much market share will the 800th clone of pong or snake or RPG Maker-esque rpg really take away from licensed games? How fun is it, really, to play yet another generic 2d platformer?

    Don't lie to yourself, nobody's clamoring to buy this to play any of those games. This is designed for piracy. I guarantee >95% use it exclusively for getting non-homebrew games.

  • Devils Advocate Fair use argument:

    I have 10-15 DS games. Traveling with them is a real PITA. Either I am hauling around a manpurse or pockets full of cartridges.

    The ARRRR4 would allow me to load all of my games to a single cartridge thus reducing the risk of theft, loss, or damage. Sure I can always lose it too but I find its generally easier to keep track of one thing, especially when that one thing "lives" in a larger one thing than it is to keep track of lots of little ones.

    For the record I am not deluded. I know that one of the primary uses for these things is piracy, however that is not their ONLY use. Further arguments on that subject would be semantics.

  • by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @06:13PM (#24392843) Homepage Journal

    I have to agree. On certain gaming boards/sites I visit with lax rules about content, it's not uncommon to hear people talking about their R4.

    I can recall one time when someone asked about homebrew. This is contrary to the 500+ times someone has asked what games to load on it first (and sites to get them from).

    I like the R4 as a product for convenience. I would love to be able to load up the info for my moderate-sized collection of GBA games (actual cartridges, not some ROM folder) and take them all with me in a convenient package. However, the primary use of the R4 is pirating and, as suggested by the OP, anyone telling themselves (or others) that the push against it is for its homebrew ability is delirious.

    Honestly I'm surprised it took this long for Nintendo et al. to react. Though from what I hear, the R4 (and its close cousin, the M3) is on the way out and some other card with similar functionality is on the rise.

  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @06:19PM (#24392945) Homepage

    While I'll agree, it is very dangerous to concede to the "It can be used for bad things... who cares about the legitimate uses".

    I was taking no moral stand at all on its uses for any purpose. I was merely answering the silly question posed by the article: Whether Nintendo was suing to stop piracy or because it was afraid of homebrewers. The answer to that is blindingly obvious, no matter what you think of the worth of products like the R4.

  • by drcagn ( 715012 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @06:20PM (#24392955) Homepage
    He never said that there wasn't any good homebrew on the DS. He said that the reason why Nintendo fighting the R4 is piracy.

    I really doubt Nintendo would go this far over homebrew.
  • by Hoknor ( 950280 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @06:27PM (#24393049)
    Any amount of cartridge swapping creates new oppurtunity for misplacing of said cartridge. How many games does somebody need to own before it is considered an acceptably large amount of games that space saving is allowed?
  • by cpicon92 ( 1157705 ) <> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @06:32PM (#24393101)
    I think it's pretty obvious that this is about piracy and not killing homebrew or modding. How are game developers supposed to make money if all their games can be dumped onto a cartridge for free, easily.
  • by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @06:34PM (#24393125)

    A lot of DS games have the quality of an Atari 2600 game, same for the Wii. Doesn't mean some AWESOME ones don't exist out there as well.

  • by spyrochaete ( 707033 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @06:59PM (#24393405) Homepage Journal
    DS homebrew isn't just about games. There are IM and IRC clients, many innovative music making programs that make interesting use of the stylus interface, remote desktop clients, demoscene productions, ereaders, web browsers, and even an FTP server. The DS is a great little platform with a zillion nonstandard uses that Nintendo will never be smart enough to sell.
  • by jkerman ( 74317 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @07:13PM (#24393573)

    So are blank DVD's then?

  • by retroStick ( 1040570 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:40PM (#24395033)

    My company recently produced a single-purpose application for the DS, best described as a "virtual schedule" for a conference our client was holding. Since it was for a private customer as opposed to a retail application, we made it entirely using homebrew software and distributed it on M3 flash carts - almost identical to the R4 ones. Shipped about 1,500 of the things as I recall.

    If those flash carts are now banned, I doubt there would be legal repercussions for our company distributing them - but the prospect of repeat business would be gone, and our months of development time on the application would suddenly become less valuable if not wasted.

  • Because they only have to win one to get the rest to crumble more easily. They have very highly paid and very skilled legal and PR staff. They didn't bring this suit without reason and, most likely, have every expectation for a successful outcome.

    My *guess* is that the outcome won't be making the product illegal, my guess is that they want some money for it and future versions will somehow make it more difficult (read: suck) to do what you want with them in the name of preventing piracy.

  • by LordVader717 ( 888547 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @09:13AM (#24400257)

    Shitty games get pirated, but wouldn't have sold anyhow, and great games make tons of cash and are pirated by a small amount.

    The shitt games sell alright, as they're usually the ones a parent buys for his kid.
    The users who are prepared to spend 100$ or so to play pirated games OTOH will know better than to waste their time on shitty games. They're the ones who would buy the next installment of Final Fantasy because they want it, but would rather pirate it and save 30 bucks.
    A freind of mine has 40+ PS2 games, most of them purchased at full price even. He didn't feel like modding his console and didn't like the idea of pirating tons of games anyhow.

    He then bought a DS and a card reader and has yet to buy a single DS game, despite it being the only system he plays nowadays.
    I think it's largely down to the fact that it's so fucking easy.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"