“Iron­i­cally, the 4D car­tridges them­selves have been sub­ject to piracy”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Gaming Reviews -

the law. In Aus­tralia ear­lier this year, a web­site was fined AU$520,000 (¤358,257) for sell­ing R4 cards. And ear­lier this month a court in the Nether­lands ruled against on­line re­tail­ers who sold the car­tridges and mod­i­fi­ca­tion chips for the Wii, say­ing they in­fringed Nintendo’s in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights. Car­tridge sales have also been banned in Ja­pan.

While the rul­ings are all over­seas and are un­likely to spell the end of the R4 com­pletely, they might make it more dif­fi­cult to get hold of them.

Iron­i­cally, the R4 car­tridges them­selves have been sub­ject to piracy. The orig­i­nal R4 card has been dis­con­tin­ued, but there are plenty of clones and copies avail­able on­line – and guides on how to spot the so-called coun­ter­feits.

The ar­gu­ment for the R4 is that it’s not just for in­fring­ing Nintendo’s copy­right. Sim­i­lar to blank DVDs, the R4 can have le­git­i­mate uses, such as back­ing up legally bought games that play­ers have al­ready paid for, and re­duc­ing the num­ber of game cards they needed to carry with them. It can also be used for “home­brew” games (un­of­fi­cial soft­ware) or to store a li­censed de­vel­oper’s work-in-progress im­ages.

That may all be true; still, it’s likely that most car­tridge users have no idea how to back up a game, but plenty of ideas on how to down­load games for free.

De­spite the crack­down on the R4 car­tridges, get­ting free games may about to be­come even more tempt­ing, with the spec­u­la­tion that the 3DS, Nintendo’s 3D hand­held con­sole, will lead to higher games costs.

How­ever, 3D it­self could be a saviour for the in­dus­try be­cause 3D games are said to cut down on piracy. With Nintendo set to launch its own 3DS soon, the bat­tle against pi­rates may shift a gear.

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