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3DS

Nintendo 3DS Takes Piracy Prevention 'A Step Further'

by Jon Lindemann - July 12, 2010, 7:51 pm PDT
Total comments: 73 Source: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?i..., CVG

THQ VP is confident that technology in the upcoming system will significantly curb handheld piracy.

THQ's executive VP of global publishing Ian Curran has had a look at the anti-piracy technology in Nintendo's upcoming 3DS, and he believes that it will be a significant step forward in the fight against handheld piracy.

While pinning his company's recent inability to "shift any significant volume" on the Nintendo DS squarely on piracy, he admitted that the Nintendo DSi was a little better in combating pirates (Nintendo doesn't believe the DSi has been cracked yet).  However, Curran believes the Nintendo 3DS is on another level entirely. "I actually asked Nintendo to explain the technology and they said it's very difficult to do so because it's so sophisticated."

Many publishers have been hit hard by devices like the re-writeable R4 cartridge, which has been outlawed in Japan and has been the subject of several recent piracy sting operations around the world.

Curran pointed out that the 3DS raises the piracy stakes even higher, due to its increased cost of development.  "It's going to probably cost us more to do [game development] all in 3D - so we want to make sure we get a return on our investment when we do it."

(Credits)

Talkback

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 12, 2010

Oh do sod off. THQ games are generally rubbish. That's your real problem, especially on the DS.

This is a really stupid claim to make publicly.

KDR_11kJuly 12, 2010

Quote from: oohhboy

Oh do sod off. THQ games are generally rubbish. That's your real problem, especially on the DS.

Blaming it on piracy lets the company get away with saying "we don't need to change our products, we only need to get some better protection tech or laws!"

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 12, 2010

It doesn't matter - people pirate first party, high quality Nintendo titles and make up all kinds of excuses as to why that's okay.

Spak-SpangJuly 13, 2010

In Korea everyone pirates.  It is really quite sad.  But there is a reason why Nintendo waits so long to release games in this country...it isn't worth it.


Piracy is one of those "victimless crimes" that really pisses me off.  It isn't victim less, you are outright stealing from people, and when you do that companies take actions to prevent it.  It raises game prices, limits game releases and much more. 


I am happy that Nintendo is working so hard to kill piracy.  I now it if a futile attempt because it eventually the pirates will break anything...but at least Nintendo is trying.

I found it interesting that the DSi hasn't been hacked yet.

It's been hacked, but not cracked, I guess would be the way to put it.  Homebrew works through the usual savegame exploits, but not piracy.  Nintendo's been using some pretty heavy encryption, but they've made a few bonehead errors that have resulted in totally compromised systems.  Security is only as strong as its weakest link.  So far, it appears they've done better with the DSi.

Ian SaneJuly 13, 2010

THQ uses piracy as an excuse but you'll notice Nintendo doesn't.  Square Enix doesn't.  Capcom doesn't.  All three will complain about piracy but none of them seem to have the problem that THQ.  And those companies release GOOD DS games while THQ does not.

Piracy is clearly a bad thing and it is going to affect some sales.  But unless EVERYONE is struggling to make a buck on a system you can't claim that it prevents you from succeeding when others clearly are.

In countries like China or Korea where everything is pirated I don't see the point of even bothering to release product in those markets.  North America, Europe, Australia and Japan all seems like perfectly good markets and their governments actually enforces copyright laws.

Quote from: Ian

In countries like China or Korea where everything is pirated I don't see the point of even bothering to release product in those markets.

If you ever expect to curb piracy, you have to first make software legitimately available.  Nintendo is at an advantage here though since they make money on hardware.  In countries with high piracy rates, game companies seem to price their software way too high for the local market (even higher than their core markets)... perhaps they should take a page from the PC industry and lower their prices.  In any case, digital distribution should make the effort worthwhile since they won't have to factor in manufacturing costs.

Ian SaneJuly 13, 2010

Quote:

If you ever expect to curb piracy, you have to first make software legitimately available.


If the software has never been legitimately available in an area then that area has never been part of the profit margin to begin with.  In that case piracy really is somewhat of a victimless crime.  It's not like Nintendo relies on the Chinese market to make a profit.  Their whole business plan is based on those other markets I mentioned.  So they lose nothing by having piracy running rampant in China.  Now you could consider that market potential revenue if you could break into that market.  But I just don't think the local government gives a shit.  That makes it more or less impossible to sell to that market.

Piracy is different than somebody literally taking a physical object from you.  Because we're just talking copies it is all about potential lost revenue.  Curbing piracy in areas where your software isn't even legitimately available is nonsensical.  You are losing no revenue because there was never any to begin with and you could argue that it has no negative effect on you.  The loss of potential revenue is what makes piracy wrong, not the fact that someone made a copy.  So if you're entering into a piracy-ridden market you should take into account whether or not it makes sense to bother.

I'm not sure what you're arguing about since I mostly agree with you.  I'm just saying if they want China as a market and think it's worth it, then they have to adapt to the local conditions.

Also, a good point made at an anti-piracy talk at GDC was that companies should not rely on hardware protection since once it's cracked, the floodgates are open.  If every title had its own type of protection, it would quickly overwhelm pirates' abilities to release cracked versions in a timely manner.

ThePermJuly 13, 2010

THQ games are good when they are developed by outside companies. Aki/Asmik made NWO World Tour :P

also, on china piracy

China until recently was a country filled with a huge lower class. The lower class just got upwardly mobile and there is now a huge middle class of consumers. There are 2 billion people in China, and if Nintendo gained a market there then their profits would rise substantially. Making product available in China is the best way to curb piracy, because before the reason they were pirating was because it wasn't available. As people get more middle class the less they might be able to pirate. Someone from an upperclass might find piracy beneath them. At the same time as China becomes more capitalistic, they will most likely start smiting pirates. This may make piracy less viable and actual sales potential will eventually go up in an exponential curb. The world is changing.

AVJuly 13, 2010

Nintendo needs to be 20 steps ahead of pirates to make sure they are ok.

Quote from: Mr.

Nintendo needs to be 20 steps ahead of pirates to make sure they are ok.

That's a good thought, but shouldn't they be about 21 steps ahead? Better safe than sorry.

ThePermJuly 13, 2010

why not 100 steps ahead, or 1000, or 1 million!

Now that wouldn't be prudent

nickmitchJuly 13, 2010

The extra steps will be great for their pokewalkers.

Ian SaneJuly 14, 2010

I think when designing anti-piracy measures the important thing is to make it so at the very least pirating will be too much work for the average Joe.  Every system will be pirated.  There is however a big difference between criminals doing it and your average person doing it.  I remember the Playstation and the Dreamcast had major problems with piracy because it wasn't just some crooks in Hong Kong doing it.  It was so easy for just regular people to do it.  I could probably say that 50% of PS1 or Dreamcast owners I knew at the time pirated all of their games.  It was so effortless.  It has to be enough of a hassle that regular people won't do it.  Because someone will always do it but you're better off if it's just criminals and hackers.

ThePermJuly 16, 2010

Dreamcast had a ridiculously bad problem with piracy, i bet Sega could have gotten more software sales had it not been for the piracy problem. anyone who says piracy never hurt anyone forgot about Sega. Look at them now! It was a bad time to be the target, and boy were they.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 17, 2010

Reading up on the new DroidX from Motorola, there's some hub-bub about eFuse....

While this part doesn't seem to apply to the DroidX, I'd be interested in hearing something like this for the 3DS or future home systems:

Quote:

Specifically, the culprit is said to be a technology known as eFuse -- developed by IBM several years ago -- which allows circuits to be physically altered at the silicon level on demand.

This would be interesting - load a particular file onto your 3DS, the chip detects the right command and *bamn* your 3DS is a paperweight.

Now, of course, this wouldn't stop some people - I'm sure someone would figure out how to internally mod the 3DS to remove this "feature".  I'm sure some others will figure out what the "right command" is and figure out how to strip it from ROMs.

But - the average person isn't going to want to pry open their 3DS and hard-mod it.  The average user is going to be weary of downloading ROMs for fear they might be tainted.  Even homebrew (and "homebrew") would be effected - there might be some jerks who would create "Really awesome games!" that do nothing but brick your 3DS.

I like this plan.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 17, 2010

I don't think they could use that in a consumer level device. What happens if it bricks it from poorly made/manufactured software?

It would also open the possibility of someone remotely bricking your device via the wi-fi.

Banning someone from your network is one thing, but bricking them? I just don't thing such a thing could legally be deployed and neither should it be on any mass market device. It's too big of a liability issue. Copyright infringement is one thing, but to retaliate with property destruction with no due process?

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 17, 2010

If I'm not mistaken iPhone and several of the new smartphones have features that will "brick" phones remotely by Apple.  This is generally used to deactivate phones that are either lost or stolen (and this would be a good feature for 3DS as well,) but the flipside of this great piece of customer service is that Apple and such have a pretty good grip on your phone and if you start piracy they'll just deactivate your phone, leaving you little recourse as to file suit you'll basically have to admit to copyright infringement before your case begins. 

It has a lot to do with a business's right to refuse service, and being a software pirate would certainly qualify.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 17, 2010

I disagree.  Obviously, I can't speak 100% on the legal side of things, but I don't see -at all- how one could hold a company liable in a situation where you used the product in a manner the users guide expressly says not to do and the product fails.  "I got my DS wet! Nintendo should make them waterproof!  Gimme a new one!"

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 17, 2010

The DS, iPhone or what ever the device maybe is a good, not a service. As a good you can do what ever you want to it, including detonating it, selling it, hoarding it, eating it and of course using it.

By allowing the company to remotely brick your phone over piracy isn't something that should be allowed. We all know how accurate the RIAA is at targeting piracy (Not at all), but this would remove even that small amount of legal protection from a company from screwing you over.

What would stop them from bricking your device claiming "misuse" with your evidenced locked in a bricked device which is also the very device they can claim as evidence to your piracy? It's circular. It erodes legal safeguards. The company would become Judge, Jury and Executioner to your device.

It is potentially useful if only the owner could activate such a feature, but it would be far too open to an outside attack for the average person. If this was for some high security thingamabob, that required deactivation over some sort of Tom Clancy situation, yeah, maybe. Like the Presidential nuclear football, but that would defeat it's purpose, which is to give the President access to the arsenal at all times.

As far as existing remote bricking services, if I remember correctly, with cell phones it is possible for the owner to request a stolen phone be denied from the network, but not bricked.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 17, 2010

I'm not in favor of a system where Nintendo can "brick" a device from afar with a flip of a switch.

What I'm looking for is something where if you run a program on your 3DS that specifically tells your 3DS to go into brick mode, then it does it.  If you don't want your DS to go into brick mode, then, obviously, don't run programs that do that.  Likewise, if you don't want to format your hard drive, don't run a program that formats your hard drive.

Of course, no Authorized Nintendo programs would contain this code.  So long as you follow the directions and only use/download authorized Nintendo programs, you'll be fine.  However, it's completely unfair and unrealistic to expect Nintendo to build and cater the device around what unauthorized programs any individuals may try to run on it.

TJ SpykeJuly 17, 2010

I am all for a system that will automatically brick a system if unauthorized programs are run. People have hack their systems won't have any right to complain, and all licensed games will be thoroughly tested to make sure they don't cause problems.

Mop it upJuly 17, 2010

Well, maybe if Nintendo designed a better user interface, one which didn't do things like restrict which save data cold be copied, and if they had more games with user-created features, people wouldn't have a need to hack...

TJ SpykeJuly 17, 2010

If Sony makes a PSP 2, I wouldn't be surprised if they use this technology. The piracy on the PlayStation Portable is worse than any other system I have seen.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: Mop

Well, maybe if Nintendo designed a better user interface, one which didn't do things like restrict which save data cold be copied, and if they had more games with user-created features, people wouldn't have a need to hack...

People would hack stuff just because they can.  Rationalizing it doesn't prove any point.  Some guys will hack it just to put Linux on it for the hell of it.

YmeegodJuly 17, 2010

Also, I'm all for it as well.  Pirating is getting worse not better so it's time to get tough.

There's some things I like nintendo to fix, namely getting rid of regional lock. 

Mop it upJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: Deguello

People would hack stuff just because they can.  Rationalizing it doesn't prove any point.  Some guys will hack it just to put Linux on it for the hell of it.

That's true. People wouldn't need to do it though, and so I think less people would.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: Mop

Well, maybe if Nintendo designed a better user interface, one which didn't do things like restrict which save data cold be copied, and if they had more games with user-created features, people wouldn't have a need to hack...

You know, if it was just things like the locked game saves and the real homebrew (and not the "homebrew"), I would be surprised if Nintendo (or any other company) gave two poops of raisins about what's done by users with their own systems.  This is just another way that a select few individuals who feel they are privileged and deserve to take what they want, when they want it, how they want it - the law and the IP owners be damned - these individuals ruin things for everyone.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: TJ

I am all for a system that will automatically brick a system if unauthorised programs are run. People have hack their systems won't have any right to complain, and all licensed games will be thoroughly tested to make sure they don't cause problems.

Hahahahaha, sorry I had to laugh. Did you know that Q and A i the very last line in the budget when it comes to making a game and the very first line when it comes to cuts? I would bet real money that some company, even possibly Nintendo themselves, should such a mechanism be implemented, would brick your system with a legit game.

Also what about counterfeit games? For all intents and purposes they look, feel, and seem legit when you buy them thinking its a second hand/new game. Would you feel happy that your system got bricked because you got conned into purchasing a game that you thought was legit? You would have been boned twice over with no fault of your own. You would be a victim twice over.

We have all heard the stories of DRM gone wrong with games from Ubisoft shitting a brick because it missed a packet. Sony Music CDs rootkitting your computer. Securom denying access to legitimate users to their own game. Hell, even Steam freaks out once in a while. If such reversible, widely used DRM can go wrong, just imagine a potential mayhem with something as irreversible as an eFuse.

Quote from: TJ

If Sony makes a PSP 2, I wouldn't be surprised if they use this technology. The piracy on the PlayStation Portable is worse than any other system I have seen.

The PSP has system updates all the time, sometimes things go wrong. Instead of going it to recovery mode, they now brick themselves. When you update a device, you always run the risk of bricking it and to increase the chance of that happening runs contrary making a solid product. This is especially true of Nintendo who have a long and illustrious history of making basically bomb/kid survivable products.

What about unlocking an iPhone for use in your country? A side effect this is that you can now run non-app store code. You are opening up a perfectly legitimate function on a device that was locked to reduce competition, in the process, which is unavoidable allows for the potential to run open software.

I have unlocked an iPhone before, but they also gives you the funniest thing, a rival app store that contains mostly free open software.

Quote from: UncleBob

What I'm looking for is something where if you run a program on your 3DS that specifically tells your 3DS to go into brick mode, then it does it.  If you don't want your DS to go into brick mode, then, obviously, don't run programs that do that.  Likewise, if you don't want to format your hard drive, don't run a program that formats your hard drive.

Of course, no Authorized Nintendo programs would contain this code.  So long as you follow the directions and only use/download authorized Nintendo programs, you'll be fine.  However, it's completely unfair and unrealistic to expect Nintendo to build and cater the device around what unauthorized programs any individuals may try to run on it.

You can always take a hammer your DS, that would brick it. You could flush it with water, although for Nintendo products, that isn't a very reliable way of destroying them. It would seem backwards for Nintendo to pay for a feature, just so users have one more way of destroying their consoles, when what Nintendo wants is for you to use their device.

Nintendo may have built the device, but they most certainly didn't "cater" for unlicensed software. Code is code. They build a device, it runs signed code. If you want to run unsigned code on it, you are the one who has to take extra steps, not Nintendo.

Pirates are all potential customers. They don't cost Nintendo any money. Like shares that fall in price, these losses aren't realised until you cash them out and Nintendo could never metaphorically cash out. But they can and some do buy games. They like any other gamer go out and sing praises for games good or so bad it's good. These gains are real, but the losses aren't.

The real problem is counterfeiters. This cost Nintendo real money. If a user buys counterfeit software willingly or even more importantly unknowingly, would that user be willing to spend even more money feeling they have already been burned once? or would they more likely continue playing not caring or knowing at the end of the day?

TJ SpykeJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: oohhboy

Hahahahaha, sorry I had to laugh. Did you know that Q and A i the very last line in the budget when it comes to making a game and the very first line when it comes to cuts? I would bet real money that some company, even possibly Nintendo themselves, should such a mechanism be implemented, would brick your system with a legit game.

Yeah, I doubt that Nintendo or the publishers would let a huge flaw like that from getting through (ESPECIALLY Nintendo, who do tons of QA for games).

Quote from: oohhboy

Also what about counterfeit games? For all intents and purposes they look, feel, and seem legit when you buy them thinking its a second hand/new game. Would you feel happy that your system got bricked because you got conned into purchasing a game that you thought was legit? You would have been boned twice over with no fault of your own. You would be a victim twice over.

First, I only buy video games from retail stores (i.e. GameStop, Walmart, Toys R Us) or Amazon (Amazon itself, not a third party on Amazon), so my games are always legit unless Walmart decides to start selling counterfeit games. As for other people, that is their problem. Take GBA games on eBay as an example, the majority of those were counterfeit games made in Taiwan; you knew you were taking a chance and you only have yourself to blame if they don't work. Buy your games from reputable sellers and it won't be a issue.

Quote from: oohhboy

We have all heard the stories of DRM gone wrong with games from Ubisoft ****ting a brick because it missed a packet. Sony Music CDs rootkitting your computer. Securom denying access to legitimate users to their own game. Hell, even Steam freaks out once in a while. If such reversible, widely used DRM can go wrong, just imagine a potential mayhem with something as irreversible as an eFuse.

Quote from: oohhboy

First, IIRC the Sony one got the company sued because what they were doing was ruled illegal (since they didn't inform users of what they were doing. As for something like eFuse, I am confident that Nintendo would do enough thorough testing before using it that it would only brick systems that deserved to be bricked because someone was tampering with it or the game.

Quote from: oohhboy

The PSP has system updates all the time, sometimes things go wrong. Instead of going it to recovery mode, they now brick themselves. When you update a device, you always run the risk of bricking it and to increase the chance of that happening runs contrary making a solid product. This is especially true of Nintendo who have a long and illustrious history of making basically bomb/kid survivable products.

What about unlocking an iPhone for use in your country? A side effect this is that you can now run non-app store code. You are opening up a perfectly legitimate function on a device that was locked to reduce competition, in the process, which is unavoidable allows for the potential to run open software.

I have unlocked an iPhone before, but they also gives you the funniest thing, a rival app store that contains mostly free open software.

This is why I support something like eFuse. People tampering with their iPhone/iPod Touch and then bitching when a update bricks or otherwise damages their system. Apple has the legal right to decide what software can be used on their devices, same with Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft. If that means bricking systems that try and get around this, so be it. I am all for indy games, but all three console manufacturers provide support for that now.

I am willing to admit that there is potential risk in something like eFuse, but if it can help cut down on piracy and counterfeiting (unfortunately that will always exist), then I think it could be good for both publishers and consumers in the long run.

I highly doubt something like that would hold up in court. If Nintendo had a legal argument against people running unauthorized software they'd have been able to get devices like the R4 banned. They can make it hard to do, but they can't brick the device you bought (I don't buy the whole "software is just a license and not an actual good" argument, but you can't seriously argue that when I buy a piece of hardware I don't actually own the hardware) just for doing something with it they don't like.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: insanolord

I highly doubt something like that would hold up in court. If Nintendo had a legal argument against people running unauthorized software they'd have been able to get devices like the R4 banned. They can make it hard to do, but they can't brick the device you bought (I don't buy the whole "software is just a license and not an actual good" argument, but you can't seriously argue that when I buy a piece of hardware I don't actually own the hardware) just for doing something with it they don't like.

If you use a product in a manner that is inconsistent with the instructions and that product breaks, you think the manufacturer of the product should be held liable?

Quote from: oohhboy

Pirates don't cost Nintendo any money.

See, this is just where we're going to have to disagree.

Now, I'll agree that it's hard to quantify how much money piracy really costs.
I'll agree that it's not a 1:1 ratio on sales vs. piracy.

But if you want me to believe that piracy doesn't cost Nintendo (or any other companies) any money... you're full of it.

Let's say it's something as simple as, say, someone downloading a copy of Mario Kart DS.  Let's say there's absolutely no way in heck this person would ever, ever buy Mario Kart DS.  Nintendo lost no money, right?

So, what happens when this copy of Mario Kart DS, which has never been paid for, goes online, using Nintendo's servers?  I assume magic faeries cover the costs?

Piracy costs publishers money.  You can argue how significant the amount is.  You can say you don't care.  But when you say it's $0, you are wrong.

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote from: insanolord

I highly doubt something like that would hold up in court. If Nintendo had a legal argument against people running unauthorized software they'd have been able to get devices like the R4 banned. They can make it hard to do, but they can't brick the device you bought (I don't buy the whole "software is just a license and not an actual good" argument, but you can't seriously argue that when I buy a piece of hardware I don't actually own the hardware) just for doing something with it they don't like.

If you use a product in a manner that is inconsistent with the instructions and that product breaks, you think the manufacturer of the product should be held liable?

If the manufacturer intentionally bricked the product because I did something with it they didn't like that may or may not be legal, but they're in no position to know which, then you're damn right they should be held liable.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: insanolord

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote from: insanolord

I highly doubt something like that would hold up in court. If Nintendo had a legal argument against people running unauthorized software they'd have been able to get devices like the R4 banned. They can make it hard to do, but they can't brick the device you bought (I don't buy the whole "software is just a license and not an actual good" argument, but you can't seriously argue that when I buy a piece of hardware I don't actually own the hardware) just for doing something with it they don't like.

If you use a product in a manner that is inconsistent with the instructions and that product breaks, you think the manufacturer of the product should be held liable?

If the manufacturer intentionally bricked the product because I did something with it they didn't like that may or may not be legal, but they're in no position to know which, then you're damn right they should be held liable.

With the system I'm imagining, the manufacturer did not brick the system.  *You* downloaded and ran code that commanded the system to brick itself.  Not the manufacturer.

Do you blame IBM because you typed "format C:" at the DOS prompt?

If you obtain and execute a program that the manufacturer warns you against doing, I don't think you can blame the manufacturer when something goes wrong.

Even if that argument were to hold up in court, which I'm not convinced it would, that would require Nintendo to clearly and explicitly warn people not to do it. I think that would be a bad move on Nintendo's part. Hackers will find a way around this measure, because they always do, and all Nintendo's warning would serve to do is inform DS owners that it's possible to do those things, calling attention to an issue Nintendo would most likely prefer not to be that publicly known.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 17, 2010

So you are willing to destroy the second hand market, collateral damage be damned in order to increase the risks to yourself that should you ever accidentally load a illegitimate/buggy game or a bad/incomplete legitimate update bricking your system in order to serve a company, which in at the end of the day really couldn't give shits about any one individual user just so they can make more money at the expense of your rights as a consumer.

Companies do not have the right to dictate what code can or cannot run on your device. They have an imperative to prevent you from doing so, but they do not have the right. The consumer, purchasing the device as a good, can do what they wish to do to it. Whether such actions lead to copyright infringement is irrelevant. The device is a physical item, a good, not a service.

As for the Q and A, once again you believe publishers care or are univerially compentant. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=13338

Games have released that are outright broken, saves not working, blatantly glitchy. Q and A isn't some magical place where you send your games that come back fixed. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/23388/Feature_Quality_Quality_Assurance.php

Bricking also isn't comparable to formatting. Sure you lose the data if you format and if your willing to go through the expensive or have the know how, recover the data. However bricking would be irreversible. You format your computer, you can still use and reload the data if you have a backup. It is still functional computer. Bricking is called bricking because it renders your device as useful as a brick.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 17, 2010

Quote from: insanolord

Even if that argument were to hold up in court, which I'm not convinced it would, that would require Nintendo to clearly and explicitly warn people not to do it. I think that would be a bad move on Nintendo's part. Hackers will find a way around this measure, because they always do, and all Nintendo's warning would serve to do is inform DS owners that it's possible to do those things, calling attention to an issue Nintendo would most likely prefer not to be that publicly known.

Quote:

The official seal is your assurance that this product is licensed or manufactured by Nintendo.  Always look for this seal when buying video game systems, accessories, games and related products.

Quote:

This warranty shall not apply if this product: (a) is used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo (including, but not limited to, Non-Licensed Game Enhancement and Copier Devices, adapters, software,  and power supplies ; (c) is modified or tampered with;

Quote:

Connect ONLY accessories designed and licensed for use with the Nintendo DS to any external connections.

You mean warnings like that?

wordswordswords

Quote from: UncleBob

Do you blame IBM because you typed "format C:" at the DOS prompt?

This is an utterly ridiculous comparison.  One more analogous to your proposal is, Do you blame IBM because you typed "wolf3d" at the DOS prompt, and the computer instead executed "format C:"?  Damn straight you do.  If you did actually type "format C:" then no, they should not be responsible (as long as they provided you with a way to reinstall the original software!).  As oohhboy has pointed out, Nintendo sells hardware.  They have the right to do whatever necessary to prevent piracy short of denying you access to advertised functionality.  If they want it otherwise, then they should rent the hardware instead (and see how far they get with that).  Banning you from online service for hacking the online component of a game is fine -- that's a service.  Denying warranty service after you ran a virus is fine.  Programming in a way to have your system break on purpose is not.
For a car analogy, you're basically saying if Ford sold you a car, but said you couldn't use it on dirt roads (because say some smugglers use dirt roads), you'd be okay with the engine automatically filling with salt if you did decide to drive it on a dirt road.  That's simply unconscionable.  People are able to modify other equipment such as cars -- yes, it may void the warranty, but it doesn't give the original manufacturer the right to actively disable other functionality.  In other industries, you actually want some people using your equipment the "wrong" way because it leads to innovation and the potential for new customers.  In the end, a system like this will only end up inadvertently hurting consumers since as you said, the pirates will probably find a way around it anyway.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2010

Quote from: UncleBob

I am under no illusion that Nintendo loves me.  If so, I would expect them to mail me free games instead of making me buy them.

I have faith in Nintendo that if I were to legally obtain an officially licensed game that bricked my system that Nintendo would repair/replace.

And you are correct - companies can not dictate what code I can or cannot run on my device.  So, if I'm stupid enough to download and execute code on my device that bricks it, then that's my decision and my fault.  The company can make recommendations - and if I choose to follow them or not is up to me.  But if I don't, then I can't blame the company because I'm an idiot and did the exact opposite of what they suggested.

It's one thing to run code that bricks your device, but it is another thing to brick your device because you ran any other code at all. By allowing them to brick your device by running any other code, even as harmless as "Hello World", you forfeit the ability to so, even under your own risk. Which is where we are today.

Nintendo would more than likely replace your device should they brick it through legit software. Again, how would you prove that the game bricked your system when you can't reproduce it without buying a new device and bricking that assuming you knew what bricked it in the first place. It's bad enough these days with a lot of software making the end user bug testers, but with the potential penalty being a bricking? Why should I have to bear such risks.

I can understand your faith in Nintendo, they have a general history of doing what is both right and happy for the average consumer. But it's just that faith. That same faith and I suspect crack keeps people buying 360s endlessly throughout the RROD fiasco. Sticky misaligned faced buttons on the PSP. Bungled Nintendo online network?

But this issue is bigger than Nintendo. It's bigger than the big three. It's bigger than computing. It questions the very definition of what is a good and what is a service.

If you brought a muffin, and you for what ever reason decided to shove it up your arse. Does the baker have the right to tell you not to shove that muffin up your arse? Does he have the right to tell you not to feed the hobo that is standing outside the store? Does he have the right to tell you to eat the muffin in a certain way? Does he have the right to place a poison pill inside the muffin to force you to use a special device in order to remove the poison so you can eat the muffin without, in this case dying.

Is the Baker required to tell you not to shove that muffin up your arse? No. Is the baker required to make an edible muffin regardless of taste if he wishes to continue selling muffins? Yes. Does the baker have to outline every time you buy one, how you can and cannot use your muffin. No.

Shorty McNostrilJuly 18, 2010

There is no way a company with any fraction of a modicum of grey matter at all would implement this in a wide scale device such as a 3DS.  Think of the potential disasters.  One mistake, one slip through the cracks and there is potential for millions of devices to be ruined.  Sure, Nintendo has good rep for QA, but they are surely not infallible. 

Look at the whole IPhone 4 fiasco for example.  Something as simple as holding the phone a certain way causes problems.  Now if something that simple can get through testing and QA, (from Apple themselves I might add) do you really think this could be 100% fool proof?

What if a 3rd party does it?  There procedures are surely a lot looser than Nintendos are.  And it won't be as simple to fix as sending out free covers either.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2010

There's already precedent for software manufacturers dictating how and when you can use their products.

Steam by default requires you to be online to play games because it verifies them on launch.  They somehow get to regulate what you do with a machine that isn't even their product.  If your argument is that the data involved is not a good, but rather a service like Steam, then it can be argued that the whole "software" part of the hardware/software relationship is a service, meaning that the devices actual intended use (running software) is a service itself, which a company can stop without prior notice as is their right (you can seek redress, but that burden is on you, not the company.) 

So the "good" is just the machine itself and thus it is only required to exist and manipulate electricity, and the carts which receive electricity.  The "service" is the non-good data in the machine itself and the data on the card and subject to the provider's whim to let you access (as is the case with Steam), and while illegal to stop it for false reasons, the onus is on the affected party to seek redress, which the content provider is banking on nobody doing out of intimidation of taking on a large company or realizing they'd have to admit to piracy at the outset and would immediately lose said lawsuit.

YmeegodJuly 18, 2010

Also agree that oohhboy is wrong with that whole pirating isn't hurting anybody.  It spreads from one user to the next, at first a few people might be doing it but if unchecked then millions more will follow. 

You're theory about "it's a good and not a service" doesn't hold up as well.  There's clearly a service agreement when you purchase the console, if you disagree, fine go make your own nothing stopping you.  Any company has the right to protect it's profits. 

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2010

Lets back up a little. What if the device was a record player which plays LPs. When you brought the record, the store clerk didn't make you sign anything. Money changed hands, product changed hands. A simple transaction. You now own that LP. While you don't own the copyright of the music on the LP, you do own that copy of the recording.

What would happen if you made and recorded your own music to play on that LP. Is that wrong? I am not arguing whether piracy is right or wrong, that has been established. The question is whether I am allowed to play my own music or music from some third party without interference from the record player's manufacturer, especially if said interferrence destroys or redenders the player unusable. The answer is of course I have that right.

Instead of electricity, it's vibrations holding that data. Yet the same would hold true if the record player ran on and was base on electricity.

Quote from: Deguello

So the "good" is just the machine itself and thus it is only required to exist and manipulate electricity, and the carts which receive electricity.  The "service" is the non-good data in the machine itself and the data on the card and subject to the provider's whim to let you access (as is the case with Steam), and while illegal to stop it for false reasons, the onus is on the affected party to seek redress, which the content provider is banking on nobody doing out of intimidation of taking on a large company or realizing they'd have to admit to piracy at the outset and would immediately lose said lawsuit.

There is a very significant difference between Steam and a brickable DS. Steam will not brick your machine should you use a non-steam product. Nor could they ban your account should you commit a crime unrelated to Steam, civil or criminal. So even if you committed piracy without using Steam, even if it was a game available on Steam you would still win access to your account. Of course you would potentially have to answer for your crimes, however, Valve would have to explain themselves as to why they had so much access to the users personal data in order to make the claim in the first place. It's a MAD scenario. Both sides would lose. Your problem would be civil, while theirs would be federal. It's a line they can't cross.

I brickable console would cross that line. With Steam, the games would be considered a service, but convertable to a good. However just because it is a service, it is still considered intellectual property, a form of good. An intangible good. The DS, which is clearly a good, is also partially intellectual property. The look and feel, the boot ROMs contained within, the manufacuring process. Just because a good contains intellectual property, does it, by extenstion render the good a service or vis versa.

Quote from: Ymeegod

Also agree that oohhboy is wrong with that whole pirating isn't hurting anybody.  It spreads from one user to the next, at first a few people might be doing it but if unchecked then millions more will follow. 

You're theory about "it's a good and not a service" doesn't hold up as well.  There's clearly a service agreement when you purchase the console, if you disagree, fine go make your own nothing stopping you.  Any company has the right to protect it's profits. 

When I brought my DS, there was no such "Service agreement". I did not sign anything. It contained warnings about potential health effects like cigarettes. There were no click through agreement, that is assuming such an agreement would ever hold up in court. How an obvious good can be made a service just because one said so is utterly ridiculous. It goes back to the muffin example earlier. There is one minor difference. While the baker has not right or ability to dictate how you use your muffin, a console maker also has no right, but has the technological ability to do so. In essence, write their own laws.

Piracy doesn't hurt anybody because the harm caused and the good it also causes is un-quantifiable. It has the obvious, but immeasurable harm of letting someone use the software without paying. It also functions as an opposing force to the manufacture's want to increase prices, but I am not saying that price is zero as that would make as much sense as setting the price to infinity as a response. By providing, abet unwillingly, free entertainment, reduce crime by keeping people busy. In a perfect world neither copyright infringement or theft would occur, but given the choice as to which one I rather have people commit, I rather have them commit CI.

The above doesn't hold true for counterfeiting. Whether the customer was knowing or otherwise, the customer had placed a price with the counterfeiter drawing that money away from the manufacture would have received. Very real harm has been done. The lost revenue has been actualised, stolen. If the game was faulty and the person didn't know it was a counterfeit, they would blame the manufacture, damaging the brand.

Of course all of the above doesn't ask a very important, overriding question. What happens to the false positives?, and there will be false positives. Instead of saying, no, I will not run this, it bricks itself. What happens if the contact was a little dirty, providing a less than complete connection? The NES or DS will lock up or display an error or garbage. But with the fuse would it mean that when this happens, it would think you are trying to run unsigned code or trying to bypass security. How would it know the difference? It would be the equivalent of shooting someone dead for jay walking or causing a fender bender.

There is reason why nobody has used this fuse for the many years of it's existence, as they cannot answer the question of false positives.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

Quote from: MegaByte

Quote from: UncleBob

Do you blame IBM because you typed "format C:" at the DOS prompt?

This is an utterly ridiculous comparison.  One more analogous to your proposal is, Do you blame IBM because you typed "wolf3d" at the DOS prompt, and the computer instead executed "format C:"?  Damn straight you do.

If I had illegally downloaded what I thought was Wolfenstein, tried to run it and, instead, it formatted my hard drive, no I wouldn't blame IBM.  Because that would be stupid.

I keep reading, over and over, "It's *MY* DS.  I can do what I want with it."

No one is arguing against that.  I agree with you, 100%.  You can do what you want with your DS, even if it's something as stupid as shoving it up your back end.

You bought it - it's your DS.  Do what you want with it.

But don't blame Nintendo when you choose to do something with it that breaks it.

Quote from: UncleBob

If I had illegally downloaded what I thought was Wolfenstein, tried to run it and, instead, it formatted my hard drive, no I wouldn't blame IBM.  Because that would be stupid.

Of course it would; I'm not arguing with you there.  But what you proposed is if somebody ran legitimate (by iD Software), but not IBM-approved Wolfenstein Shareware, and it instead triggered the system to format the hard drive.  Big difference.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

Quote from: MegaByte

Quote from: UncleBob

If I had illegally downloaded what I thought was Wolfenstein, tried to run it and, instead, it formatted my hard drive, no I wouldn't blame IBM.  Because that would be stupid.

Of course it would; I'm not arguing with you there.  But what you proposed is if somebody ran legitimate (by iD Software), but not IBM-approved Wolfenstein Shareware, and it instead triggered the system to format the hard drive.  Big difference.

Not at all.  Because illegally downloaded ROMs are in no way "legitimate".

Who said anything about illegally downloaded ROMs?

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

We're talking about piracy on the DS - thus it is logical to assume that a large component of that would be illegally downloaded ROMs.

We were talking about eFuse in relation to the Droid X -- the Android platform was practically founded on the ability to modify and run software as  you see fit.  Don't conflate the issue.  There are legal and illegal uses.  I was specifically giving examples falling under the former and you keep trying to twist it into the latter.  Even if a large component is illegal, that doesn't give the right to intentionally damage property.  See again car analogy.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

Quote from: UncleBob

While this part doesn't seem to apply to the DroidX, I'd be interested in hearing something like this for the 3DS or future home systems

I could see why that part might have confused you.  I did actually mention the DroidX.  In the part where I said it didn't apply to the DroidX.  Then went on to talk about how I'd like to see something like this on the 3DS.  In a thread about piracy on the 3DS.  Then posted more about Nintendo (who makes the 3DS and not the DroidX) and used various examples involving Nintendo software and the current generation of the DS.

To clarify, the only reason I brought the DroidX into the thread about piracy on the DS is because this product and the hub-bub surrounding it is what made me aware that such a technology could be made available in consumer-level devices.

Actually, it was the latter part of that post that seems to be confusing people, so let me get it straight.  Are you or are you not advocating the ability for Nintendo to have a system trigger a brick on any and all software it deems illegitimate?

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

I am not.

I'm advocating for Nintendo to include a system trigger the bricks the system if the exact code is ran telling it to brick the system.

Okay, then please redirect many of my previous arguments to TJ Spyke instead ;)

As for the trigger, how would that be determined?  Or are you saying it wouldn't be determined and it would essentially only be there for malware?  In that case, it would be fairly superfluous since there has already been software for DS and Wii that would brick the system even without eFuses.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

Now the part that people won't like.

I foresee, somehow, some way - some ROMs being leaked onto the internet that include the trigger.  It wouldn't go off right away - perhaps after loading the illegally-gotten ROM 10 times or something.

These ROMs would look to be actual (illegal) copies of high-profile 3DS titles.  Like, say, a month before New Super Mario Bros. 3DS comes out, there's suddenly this awesome ROM of it in the various ROM-getting places.  This particular ROM (where'd it come from?  who knows... *wink, wink*) would be the full game.  In this case, I'd program it so that it wouldn't trigger until the system's date is set after the launch of the game *and* the ROM has been loaded, say, 10 times.  That way, plenty of pirates have gotten the game and they've all had the chance to legally purchase it.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

And, instead of bricking the system, it locks out the power button, turns the volume up all the way, disables the volume control and plays this video non-stop until the battery dies.  If you recharge your DS and turn it on again, it simply does all this over and over again.

I'd probably buy a second system just to do this to it. ;)

The problem there is that if it ever got traced back to Nintendo, they'd be in a world of hurt.  One, distributing their ROM in that matter would not be good from a copyright standpoint.  And two, the damage caused.  Some music companies (or their proxies) have tried similar approaches.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2010

UncleBob believes the best defense is a good offense.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

Quote from: MegaByte

The problem there is that if it ever got traced back to Nintendo, they'd be in a world of hurt.  One, distributing their ROM in that matter would not be good from a copyright standpoint.  And two, the damage caused.  Some music companies (or their proxies) have tried similar approaches.

If it traced back to Nintendo.  Of course, it'd be interesting if the ROM was distributed with instructions that said it was copyrighted Nintendo, for internal use only, do not distribute and do not play on regular 3DS units.

Quote from: Deguello

UncleBob believes the best defense is a good offense.

And that's the truth. :)

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2010

None of this UncleBob help fight counterfeiters. They would have the means and ability to identify and strip out any such code.

The delay in action and count down would mean that your average consumer wouldn't make the connection when their machine died. They would think

1) It was his fault.
2) Nintendo makes shitty hardware.
3) Maybe it was their friend or families fault.

After 1) and 3) they are going to rationalise that it is 2). Instead of a message saying don't pirate games, go kick your friends arse for give you one or the seller for selling one, it will all look like a hardware failure.

Once again none of this asks what happens with the false positives.

Bloody hell UncleBob, you are acting like some back country sheriff that has received some federal funding and access to the arsenal of national guard surplus. You got the gear and just itching to use it because you can. "Lets go bust down the very next house we can get a warrent on".

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 18, 2010

Quote from: oohhboy

None of this UncleBob help fight counterfeiters. They would have the means and ability to identify and strip out any such code.

You know, I'm sure counterfeiters do make a dent in sales and profits - but, at least, there's a hard trail to track these people down.

You don't have that with downloadable ROMs online.  There's scarcely any kind of traceable trail to follow up on.  Between the people uploading and the people downloading, you simply can't go after every person with a Guy Fawkes mask on.

Quote:

After 1) and 3) they are going to rationalise that it is 2). Instead of a message saying don't pirate games, go kick your friends arse for give you one or the seller for selling one, it will all look like a hardware failure.

I would assume, instead of just bricking the system completely, the hardware would give a general error code.  While I was joking about my "You are a pirate" idea above (but seriously, I would lol so hard if Nintendo actually had the balls to implement something like that), I would expect something like "This device has experienced an irrecoverable error.  Please contact Nintendo customer support for assistance."  At which point, you can have a little chat with Nintendo about what you were doing when the system failed.

Quote:

Once again none of this asks what happens with the false positives.

On the off-chance that, somehow, this "KILL" code managed to get into a legitimate game?  You know, I would just have to trust that Nintendo's Q&A would check for this before authorizing the carts.  As MegaByte said - there's software out there now that will brick your Wii... yet none of it has managed to make it to the market.  But, if it did, then, again, I trust Nintendo to honor repairs and replacements.

Quote:

Bloody hell UncleBob, you are acting like some back country sheriff that has received some federal funding and access to the arsenal of national guard surplus. You got the gear and just itching to use it because you can. "Lets go bust down the very next house we can get a warrent on".

Maybe I'm just tired of companies like Nintendo being told to suck it up because some people feel that the law doesn't apply to them.  People who cry out "but that's not fair!" at the thought of Nintendo doing something like this all while unfairly and illegally downloading as much as they want.  It's bullcrap.  If pirates get to resort to illegal tactics, then they shouldn't get to complain when Nintendo punches back.

There are perfectly legitimate reasons people use homebrew; it's not all piracy. I haven't been able to update my Wii to the newest firmware because the imported games I own would be rendered completely unplayable by the loss of homebrew functionality. Because of this, Nintendo is losing money: there are several VC and WiiWare games I'd buy if I had access to the Shop Channel.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 19, 2010

Quote from: insanolord

There are perfectly legitimate reasons people use homebrew; it's not all piracy. I choose not to to update my Wii to the newest firmware because the imported games I own would be rendered completely unplayable by the loss of homebrew functionality. Because of this, Nintendo is losing money: there are several VC and WiiWare games I'd buy if I had access to the Shop Channel.

Let's be honest here.

Now let's put ourselves in Nintendo's shoes.  You have to find a way to combat piracy.  By being soft you lose potential sales to software pirates, by being hard you lose potential sales of homebrew users who have access to piracy materials but only deigned to put Linux on the Wii or something.

If you were Nintendo, which would you surmise is the greater number of lost sales?

Now I'll concede the point that not all software pirates are "lost sales."  Some are just greasy pirates forever.  But in the true interest of being honest about such things, we have to be honest that "homebrew" is basically piracy tools with a very minuscule number of benign applications, which usually get trumped up when Nintendo needs to get serious about piracy.  Don't kid yourselves.

Now picture you are Nintendo thinking about the next DS model and Kotaku just posted a step-by-step guide to copying DS games and playing them with a flash cart (which they did.)  What's the solution?

BeautifulShyJuly 19, 2010

Insanolord there is a solution.Get another Wii.Make that one for ligitimate use.While your current Wii can be used for homebrew.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 19, 2010

Quote from: insanolord

There are perfectly legitimate reasons people use homebrew; it's not all piracy. I haven't been able to update my Wii to the newest firmware because the imported games I own would be rendered completely unplayable by the loss of homebrew functionality. Because of this, Nintendo is losing money: there are several VC and WiiWare games I'd buy if I had access to the Shop Channel.

Like I said before, if it were just honest homebrew, I don't think Nintendo would really care that much (if at all).

BlackNMild2k1July 19, 2010

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote from: insanolord

There are perfectly legitimate reasons people use homebrew; it's not all piracy. I haven't been able to update my Wii to the newest firmware because the imported games I own would be rendered completely unplayable by the loss of homebrew functionality. Because of this, Nintendo is losing money: there are several VC and WiiWare games I'd buy if I had access to the Shop Channel.

Like I said before, if it were just honest homebrew, I don't think Nintendo would really care that much (if at all).

But there are always a few that will ruin it for the whole.

Mop it upJuly 19, 2010

Quote from: UncleBob

Like I said before, if it were just honest homebrew, I don't think Nintendo would really care that much (if at all).

Does Nintendo still care about people using/creating unlicenced software for their systems? I don't think they were none too happy about Tengen's unlicenced NES games, and I believe they even attempted to stop them in court. But I don't know for sure.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 19, 2010

Quote from: Mop

Quote from: UncleBob

Like I said before, if it were just honest homebrew, I don't think Nintendo would really care that much (if at all).

Does Nintendo still care about people using/creating unlicenced software for their systems? I don't think they were none too happy about Tengen's unlicenced NES games, and I believe they even attempted to stop them in court. But I don't know for sure.

I think releasing unlicensed commercial software is a whole different category than homebrew.

Quote from: Deguello

Now picture you are Nintendo thinking about the next DS model and Kotaku just posted a step-by-step guide to copying DS games and playing them with a flash cart (which they did.)  What's the solution?

To be fair to Kotaku, it's not like they're the only video game news and information site out there encouraging piracy through their postings and such...

TJ SpykeJuly 19, 2010

They crushed Tengen in court, Tengen basically killed any chance they had by lying to the US Patent and Trademark Office website and illegally getting a copy of the NES10 patent. The lawsuit was basically Tengen suing Nintendo because they had a security chip on non-Japanese NES systems called NES10 (they developed the chip after they already released it in Japan) that prevented unlicensed games from playing. They then lied to the USPTO to illegally get a copy of the patent (they would be able to get it if they were being sued, so they lied and said they were) so they could get around it. Nintendo wound up winning the lawsuit after they showed the judge that you could get around the security chip and play unlicensed software on it. The ironic thing is that a different branch of Atari Games (parent company of Tengen, they formed Tengen because they were not allowed to use the "Atari" name for game systems due to Jack Tramiels Atari, Inc. owning the rights) were close to finding their own way around the chip until that paralegal screwed up and got the illegal paperwork from the USPTO.

The only time I really recall Nintendo not going after companies making unlicensed games was Wisdom Tree. Wisdom Tree made religious based games for NES, SNES, and GB and only sold their games in places like religious book stores. Nintendo figures it wasn't worth the bad PR to sue a company that made religious games that most people didn't even know existed.

StogiJuly 21, 2010

If I can "jailbreak" my 3DS with no consequences, then I will totally do it. The only thing better than having the ability to have all your old school games on one portable system, is being able to watch compressed 3D bluray on it!

SUCK IT SONY! (Or at least be prepared to suck it)

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