Nintendo, Your Piracy Protection Isn't Working

Earlier this week, Nintendo pushed live an updated piece of firmware for the DSi. It was aimed at stopping piracy. Less than a day later, however, flash cart manufacturers had already found a way around it.

It took flash cart (cartridges allowing the use of homebrew and/or pirated software) producer R4iDSN less than 24 hours to crack Nintendo's new copy protection, which begs the question: why bother?

It's the policy of Nintendo (and other platform holders) to combat piracy from a "top down" approach. To constantly release updated pieces of firmware and restrict the features of their consoles in an attempt to stop people from playing games without paying for them.

Yet this immediate circumvention is just the latest example showing that this approach does not work. What's worse is that great features of games machines, like OtherOS on the PS3 and the ability of Nintendo's handhelds to play games from other regions, have been taken away from loyal customers as part of this approach.

While some will argue that some protection against piracy is better than none, I don't think that's justifiable when you're forced to negatively impact loyal paying customers as a result.

Anti-flashcart DSi update released, defeated [Tiny Cartridge]


    Agree 100%! Sony must be wishing they'd left OtherOS alone.

      No. They're wishing they never bothered offering it in the first place.

        I doubt so many researchers would have purchased the consoles if not for the ability to use its cores in Linux.

          Hear hear. The architecture of the processor is a researcher's delight. There are even plenty of stories out there where high performance clusters have constructed cheaply using PS3s and I even think there is an airline that uses them for their data centre.

    The problem with such measures always will come down to human fallibility and numbers. For every one person working at Nintendo on how not to get things pirated, there are a thousand people in the rest of the world working against them. Even the most minute of flaws is bound to be found when the sheer force of numbers comes in.

    If a million monkeys on a million typewrites can write Shakespeare, those same million monkeys will probably also be able to defeat DRM. :)

      A million monkeys will indeed eventually hammer out a copy of Shakesphere's entire works. Given enough time. Given enough time, even your lowly personal computer will be able to brute force 256Bit AES. Hopefully before the sun blows up but unlikely.

      No, sheer force of numbers has nothing to do with it. The flaw with the DSi is most likely in the fact that the options Nintendo have are limited. Yes, you can update the DSi's firmware but they're still restricted in what they can do since the same cartridge must work on the older DSLite and heavens forbid, the DSPhat. You cannot do what you can on the PS3 or the XBox 360 and mandate a new firmware and a public/private key pair because the older hardware cannot do the same. Unless you completely break compatibility with the older hardware revisions, they cannot secure the DS platform. The horse has well and truly bolted.

    At least the 3DS is secure. Nintendo can constantly release updates, and happily keep locking up offensive consoles, and I will be a happy non-offender.

      You know, they said the same thing about the PS3.

      The 3DS WILL be cracked, and there WILL be a way to bypass their lock. It always happens

      Microsoft said something like that for Windows XP - it got hacked.

      Sony said that about their PS2 back in the day - got hacked within a week.

      This little quote from BioShock's loading screen always comes to my mind when I see stories like this.

      "Sure, the boys at Ryan Industries will make it unhackable. But that does not mean we are not going to try and hack it."

      "So secure you can't even play games from other regions!"

    Sorry to say but as long as there's these measures there will always be a way to crack it

    This really begs the question, why bother in the first place?

    I REALLY hope that the success of DRM free services and games, such as many games on STEAM and ALL games on Goold Old Games show people that the only people affected by DRM is loyal customers

      Not to argue semantics here, but isn't Steam technically a DRM unto itself?

        Yes and no - it depends on the game.

        First and foremost, Steam is a delivery platform. The DRM is now a separate product called Steam Works - which among other things provides DRM go a purchased game is tied to on account.

        Believe it or not - there are games in Steam that are delivered but are not DRM protected.

      I read the other day that some titles on Steam have Securom on them...?

    I do love your mention of a 'Top Down' approach and how its failing!

    History shows that these NEVER work.

    So it begs the question, what about bottom up? Like combating the reasons that people give for pirating!

    You know, region locking, unfair pricing, ease of availability, portability (you can hold 25-50 games on a flashcart with no need to change).

      "what about bottom up? Like combating the reasons that people give for pirating!

      You know, region locking, unfair pricing"

      I do not think they will ever consider that - there is too much money to be had there.

    Nintendo should look at what succeeds i.e. Minecraft (creator is a member of the Pirate Party btw) and to a large extent Steam.

    Rather than blinding following expensive and ineffective models such as Ubisoft (AC:2 on pc anyone?)

    Unless Nintendo had the smartest man in the universe working for them all they'd determined was that they had built a security system that people dumber than them would be
    foiled by, and it would do them no good if anyone smarter than them happened to
    come along.

    I just think the whole notion of copyright protection is flawed... Who honestly believes that computers will suddenly get slower or companies will bring out more expensive portable hard drives with lower capacity?..

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