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3DS

3DS May Be Brickable If Flash Cards Used

by Andy Goergen - March 10, 2011, 11:03 am PST
Total comments: 45 Source: <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-03-07-nintendo-3ds-logs-flash-cart-use">http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-03-07-nintendo-3ds-logs-flash-cart-use</a>, http://www.gonintendo.com/viewstory.php?id=152082

According to Japanese retailer Enterking, a system update could render your 3DS unusable if you've used a DS flash card.

A Nintendo 3DS system update could potentially brick the system if the update detects traces of flash card use, which are often used for the purposes of playing pirated software. Japanese retailer Enterking has posted a warning on their website as follows:

"Dear Customers who resell Nintendo 3DS:
In case if you use equipment which is illegal or unapproved by Nintendo, or if you do customization which is unapproved by Nintendo, there is a possibility that Nintendo 3DS become non-bootable by system update."

The warning continues to state that because of this, Enterking is unable to buy a used 3DS if there is any trace of such usage. Users are to format their system before bringing them in to sell them, noting carefully that they will not be held responsible in the case that a user formats their system, brings it in to sell, and is declined, leaving the 3DS owner with a blank system.

Nintendo declined to comment when asked by Eurogamer about the potential countermeasures:

"We do not discuss product security details (for obvious reasons), nor can we discuss the details of countermeasures available in the Nintendo 3DS system. Nintendo 3DS has the most up-to-date technology. The security has been designed to protect both the creative works in the software and to protect the Nintendo 3DS hardware system itself."

Talkback

TheBlackCatMarch 10, 2011

I think it all depends on how this Sony otheros lawsuit goes.  I am not a lawyer, but if that succeeds I think Nintendo would have a much harder time legally justifying bricking systems in such a way.

The Enterking warning reads a lot like the warning you get when you update your Wii. So far, Nintendo hasn't been actively bricking systems, just removing certain unauthorized pieces of software. Hopefully, this is just Enterking trying to cover their ass, rather than a new approach by Nintendo.

rad.i.kalMarch 10, 2011

i don't think i want to hack this one! DSi is probably hackable soon and I just want to play handheld super nintendo games on the move.

ShyGuyMarch 10, 2011

Nintendo is going to go Dolph Lundgren on pirates.

3DS may be Lunchable if Cheese and Crackers are used

KITT 10KMarch 10, 2011

I'll just stick with the SD card that will come with it.

DannymclMarch 10, 2011

There is practically no way that Nintendo are just gonna let hackers carry on doing what they have done to other handhelds. Personally I am glad they've done it, it'll help keep third parties on their side so legit people can keep buying bloomin' good games.

NintendoFanboyMarch 10, 2011

you go Nintendo.
it's way to easy to buy a card and download roms and never buy a game.
i for one welcome it, especially if u get demos and game videos thru the  e shop.

there is way to much piracy, and i want to see it go away.

TJ SpykeMarch 10, 2011

I am also glad they are doing this. Flash cards are used mostly for pirating games, so I have no problem if the 3DS bricks systems that use them.

MorariMarch 10, 2011

Just another reason not to buy a 3DS right away...

TJ SpykeMarch 10, 2011

Another reason to buy it right away.

It's not gonna change, if anything the security will improve over time. Besides, only criminals should have a problem with this.

And anybody interested in consumer rights.

TJ SpykeMarch 10, 2011

Since when do consumers have the right to pirate games? Several countries have already ruled that R4 (one of the more popular types) are illegal and have shut down the countries.

Nobody said anything about pirating games.

Since the 3DS is region locked there's now more legitimate reason to want to hack the hardware.

edit: Has a Talkback thread ever been locked before or is this going to be the first one?

There's that for sure, but I'm also worried about all the collateral damage from people unknowingly obtaining pirated software, as well as the simple ethical considerations of unilaterally bricking a device. Anyway, as I said, I think people are reading more into it than is really there at this time.

KnowsNothingMarch 10, 2011

I think people (myself included) have read a little too much into this but unfortunately it will be a while until we know the truth behind their plans.  We'll at least have to wait until the first firmware update to find out if they are actively bricking devices, and even long after then there will always be a seed of doubt.

To me it is an issue of consumer rights and anyone who agrees with this practice because it helps prevents piracy is foolish.  Yes, these cards can be used illegally but that it not their only purpose.  You know what else can be used illegally?  Your computer.  A gun.  A boxcutter.  A pencil.  I realize the analogy isn't perfect (although the computer example is pretty apt), but the fact is that you shouldn't punish people who buy these cards.  You should only punish people who buy these cards and use them to pirate games. 

You could also argue that using a flash card to run alternative firmware, even for the purpose of innocent home brew, is against Nintendo's terms of service.  However that is also an issue of consumer rights, namely the right to actually own your freaking hardware and not have it on extended loan from Nintendo.  The Library of Congress added an exception to the DMCA for jailbreaking iPhones, how is this any different?

Ian SaneMarch 10, 2011

It's pretty normal to accidentally buy a counterfeit GBA or DS game on Ebay.  These things then sometimes make their way into user game stores with no one involved, except the original counterfeit seller, being aware of it.  Not everyone is as savy as us.  Not only can they not spot a fake, they don't know to even be looking out for them to begin with.  So you go to Gamestop, buy a used 3DS game and then Nintendo bricks your system?  That's crap!

I understand the need to stop piracy but it isn't worth the risk of innocent people getting their system disabled.

MorariMarch 10, 2011

Quote from: TJ

Besides, only criminals should have a problem with this.

We should start installing tele-screens in everyone's home too! After all, only criminals have something to hide.

SixthAngelMarch 10, 2011

Isn't it fairly normal for hacked consoles to be bricked on updates or have all kinds of broken programs?

I know it happens to the Wii and I'm pretty sure the psp as well.  Once they are hacked people stop updating for a reason.  Any eventual 3ds hack + flashcard will almost certainly involve hacking the actual system this time instead of just plugging in a cart simply because the system actually has memory on it and an upgradable OS.

TJ SpykeMarch 10, 2011

Quote from: Morari

Quote from: TJ

/
Besides, only criminals should have a problem with this.

We should start installing tele-screens in everyone's home too! After all, only criminals have something to hide.

Don't start with this again Morari, you have made it clear you don't care about the law.

No. No personal attacks. Only opinions with logical reasoning is allowed here from now on.

Nintendo shouldn't be able to remotely brick your hardware no matter what you do with it. I'm all for going after software pirates, but that's not the way to do it.


Anyway, I doubt they would do it even if they could. As has been pointed out, there's way too high a chance of false positives. That's bad if it happens to a gamer, but much, much worse if it happens to someone who's not familiar with this kind of stuff. My guess is Nintendo will use this data to void warranties, and that's about it.

ShyGuyMarch 10, 2011

It looks like the pirate wars have come to the talkback...

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorMarch 10, 2011

Quote from: TJ

Besides, only criminals should have a problem with this.

I have a problem with this and I'm not a criminal.

Does this mean Nintendo can brick my 3DS for using an Action Replay or other similar unlicensed device?  Does this mean if I get a pirated cart from eBay that my system might brick if I don't realize it's pirated?

ShyGuyMarch 10, 2011

Are these system updates automatic? Can you decline them?

EnnerMarch 10, 2011

Last I checked, yes. It doesn't work like the Chrome browser where the device updates everything automatically in the background.


EDIT: I mean I assume that you can decline them like for the Wii updates.

ShyGuyMarch 10, 2011

So reject these updates and the conditions they bring. Both sides should be free to choose.

StogiMarch 10, 2011

That may not be possible though. Nintendo does want it to work like Chrome. Whether you can say no to automatic updates is one thing, but Nintendo plans on updating your console without your knowledge.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were a way to turn auto-updating off. I assume there's at least a way to turn off StreetPass in general, but you'd be losing a bunch of other stuff as well.

Scatt-ManMarch 11, 2011

I recall Wii software forcing you to upgrade before allowing you to play new games. Yay.  :-\
If the option is there and a few games I really want don't get released down here, I'd definitely feel a lot less guilty for playing ROMs given that Nintendo've region locked this thing. I'm not buying a second console for more English games. Bah, I should've just imported a US 3DS.  :Q

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusMarch 11, 2011

Quote from: TJ

Besides, only criminals should have a problem with this.

Trust me, the minute I have a chance to hack my 3DS, I'll be doing it. I love to import games and have been doing since the N64 - with the 3DS region lock, I won't be able to play any import titles with my North American 3DS. The only means of doing this is using some sort of homebrew application that either makes the system region free or can load out of region games. Bricking my system because I want to use it in a different means than Nintendo says is a bunch of crap. I have no interest in pirating 3DS games, but I absolutely will not give up my ability to import games.

Even if Nintendo decides to actually do this (they won't), it won't stop people who intend to pirate games anyway. Hackers will eventually figure out how to block any remote bricking and all of the pirates will go on their merry way. Being that these types of users constitute such a small percentage of the market (who would actually buy the game), it's not worth potentially harming innocent 3DS owners in the crossfire.

NintendoFanboyMarch 11, 2011

perfect solution.
homebrew stay on ds and dsi
buy only NEW games from trusted stores.
which is what i do.
i never buy from ebay, to many shady people on that service.

Pirates have been hiding behind homebrew and importing for years.
honestly no one is forcing you to buy a 3DS so dont if you dont agree with this.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorMarch 11, 2011

Quote from: NintendoFanboy

Pirates have been hiding behind homebrew and importing for years.

I'm not a pirate (and am very vocally against the practice) and I like the occasional import.

KDR_11kMarch 11, 2011

That probably means importing won't be possible.

Also I hope for Nintendo that there are absolutely zero false positives.

MorariMarch 11, 2011

Quote from: TJ

Quote from: Morari

Quote from: TJ

/
Besides, only criminals should have a problem with this.

We should start installing tele-screens in everyone's home too! After all, only criminals have something to hide.

Don't start with this again Morari, you have made it clear you don't care about the law.

And you've made it clear that you don't care about morality. So long as it's law, you'll go full steam ahead defending it, regardless of the ramifications. Hell, you probably actuallydo want telescreens in every room of every home throughout America. That way, the government and their corporate overloards can keep everyone in check 24/7. It wouldn't bother you, since you're not a criminal... unless of course they see you with that hacked PSP.

Regardless, these measures won't hold up for long. Nintendo will never be able to lock down their system enough to really matter. Piracy will continue unhindered, whereas homebrew and import efforts will be the ones to struggle. Once again, only legitimate customers will be harmed in the crossfire of a useless struggle.

Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law?

Ian SaneMarch 11, 2011

Even if you can decline automatic updates that still can leave you S.O.L.  It's very common for new games to come out that require the latest update.  So let's say I'm afraid of my 3DS getting innocently bricked so I don't install the updates.  But then the new Zelda game has the update on the cart itself and requires it to even play.  In that case I either install the update or I miss out on the game.  You don't really have the choice.

I'm just upset that the remote off switch is here.  Yeah here we're talking about bricking pirates (in theory) but if Nintendo or any of these other companies can get the law on their side I don't see what's to stop them from bricking your old system 10 years from now when they decide it is no longer "supported".  The way things are moving I see this is as inevitable.  Nintendo might not be the ones to start it and it might not be for any system currently in the pipeline but I think it is coming.  And when it happens public apathy will be enough that they'll get away with it.

viciouskillersquirrelMarch 12, 2011

I think everyone is panicking at nothing.  At best, this is a garbled translation by the manager of a single retail store.

My guess is that while the 3DS will log activity on your system, Nintendo will never actively brick systems remotely.  That violates various consumer rights laws and will only lead to bad publicity and class action lawsuits without helping the bottom line.  Disabling a CE device you paid money for is akin to vandalism - it'll never happen.

However, if you do soft-mod your system somehow, it means that if you try to update in future, the system will be different to what the update is expecting.  Sometimes, this will mean that the update won't install correctly and introduce bugs - resulting in a brick.  If you tried to sell the system back to a retailer and they could tell (via the log) that you soft-modded it or violated some higher level system permission, they then have every right to refuse to buy it from you since you modded the system.  After that point, they have no guarantee that it will work as intended and have a duty of care to not sell a potentially defective unit on to other customers

If you mod a system or otherwise do something to it that allows it to do things it wasn't designed for, that's the same as spray painting it or putting sticker decals all over it.  You wouldn't expect to be able to take it back to the store for a refund or to get a good trade-in price for it if it isn't close to the same condition as you bought it in.  This has nothing to do with Nintendo having a killswitch they can trip.  Regardless of how much they might want to do it, it would be breaking the law.

Quote from: viciouskillersquirrel

I think everyone is panicking at nothing.  At best, this is a garbled translation by the manager of a single retail store.

My guess is that while the 3DS will log activity on your system, Nintendo will never actively brick systems remotely.  That violates various consumer rights laws and will only lead to bad publicity and class action lawsuits without helping the bottom line.  Disabling a CE device you paid money for is akin to vandalism - it'll never happen.

However, if you do soft-mod your system somehow, it means that if you try to update in future, the system will be different to what the update is expecting.  Sometimes, this will mean that the update won't install correctly and introduce bugs - resulting in a brick.  If you tried to sell the system back to a retailer and they could tell (via the log) that you soft-modded it or violated some higher level system permission, they then have every right to refuse to buy it from you since you modded the system.  After that point, they have no guarantee that it will work as intended and have a duty of care to not sell a potentially defective unit on to other customers

If you mod a system or otherwise do something to it that allows it to do things it wasn't designed for, that's the same as spray painting it or putting sticker decals all over it.  You wouldn't expect to be able to take it back to the store for a refund or to get a good trade-in price for it if it isn't close to the same condition as you bought it in.  This has nothing to do with Nintendo having a killswitch they can trip.  Regardless of how much they might want to do it, it would be breaking the law.

This is an excellent post. I agree 100%, and I hope you continue to post here.

Mop it upMarch 12, 2011

That post above said something similar to what I was going to say. This is just a standard warning that a device may cease to function when used in a manner other than what it was designed for, every electronic device has such warnings and possibilities so I don't see the big deal.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusMarch 13, 2011

I am going to have to disagree a little. I have had an ADSL modem brick when I updated it with the official firmware that failed to unbrick following the companies procedure. What surprises me is that it doesn't have some sort of ability to fall back or roll back to hardwired 1.0. Devices brick because they are badly designed or have zero room for contingencies or are draconian.

I only hope this is only boiler plate as I know I will end up soft moding this in time to play import, if nothing else get games at a fair price. Getting bricked would be like getting shot while walking on the grass at the park.

Chozo GhostMarch 13, 2011

Even if a system is bricked, isn't there a way to unbrick it?

ShyGuyMarch 13, 2011

Quote from: oohhboy

I am going to have to disagree a little. I have had an ADSL modem brick when I updated it with the official firmware that failed to unbrick following the companies procedure. What surprises me is that it doesn't have some sort of ability to fall back or roll back to hardwired 1.0. Devices brick because they are badly designed or have zero room for contingencies or are draconian.

I only hope this is only boiler plate as I know I will end up soft moding this in time to play import, if nothing else get games at a fair price. Getting bricked would be like getting shot while walking on the grass at the park.

RoboCop says STAY OFF THE GRASS

viciouskillersquirrelMarch 13, 2011

Quote from: oohhboy

I am going to have to disagree a little. I have had an ADSL modem brick when I updated it with the official firmware that failed to unbrick following the companies procedure. What surprises me is that it doesn't have some sort of ability to fall back or roll back to hardwired 1.0. Devices brick because they are badly designed or have zero room for contingencies or are draconian.

I only hope this is only boiler plate as I know I will end up soft moding this in time to play import, if nothing else get games at a fair price. Getting bricked would be like getting shot while walking on the grass at the park.

I'm personally just going to import the system from the get-go.  I imported my Wii from the US and have never regretted doing so.  It'll mean that I'll miss out on some Japan-only games, but that's still an upgrade from Australia's release schedule.

Mop it upMarch 14, 2011

Computers are complicated machines, glitches happen.

Quote from: Chozo

Even if a system is bricked, isn't there a way to unbrick it?

It depends on what caused it to brick. With the Wii, if you have a backup of the internal memory, then you can usually restore a bricked system if homebrew caused it, and sometimes for certain updates too, I believe. If you don't have a backup though, then I don't think there's anything that will restore it. But it isn't something I know much about.

BlackNMild2k1March 22, 2011

http://i.imgur.com/LrSno.jpg


Just incase anyone can't read it, it says:


Important! Read the Nintendo 3DS Operations Manual before setup or use of your system. This product contains technical protection measures. Use of an unauthorized device or any unauthorized technical modification to your Nintendo 3DS system, will render this game and/or your system unplayable.

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