News Article

South Korean President feeling sad about DS Piracy

Posted by Renato Velarde

Special memory cards for copying vastly outsell actual games in South Korea with little sign of slowdown.

In case you’ve just dropped onto planet earth and somehow ended up on here surfing a Nintendo website there is very popular phenomenon called a Nintendo DS. In South Korea it’s sold about 2 million console units since 2007, but software piracy has become a rampant problem in the region. South Korean President Lee Myun Bak has been impressed by DS sales enough to ask why domestic manufacturers can’t develop similar hit electronics saying “Can’t we create something like Nintendo’s?”.

But then why trouble with the hardware when the software is so easy to copy? This seems to be the attitude of the mostly Chinese manufacturers who have exported about 1.4 million memory cards used for copying into South Korea alone. The cards closely resemble the Official DS cards themselves and run about 50,000 won a little more than the 20,000 to 40,000 won of the official DS card but each hold about 50 copied games. They are designed to unlock the function that prevents the gamer from using copied software.

One shop manager in Yongsan, Seoul, a well known electronics district says, “DS has gotten devoured by illegal software”. His store only sells about 5 official DS games per month compared with 20 to 50 of the memory cards. His profit margins on the cards are also about 5 times that of the official game cards so there’s little to deter shopkeepers from encouraging sales.

Anticipating crackdowns some retailers even store shipments at other shops and send clerks to pick up the cards as they receive orders.

Nintendo of Korea has asked customs to tighten piracy controls prompting the seizure of 200,000 cards under the countries computer program protection law, but this is something of a tiny bandage to a broken leg.

The problem unresolved reduces profits of genuine software makers and hurts the software development by South Korean companies that President Myun Bak would prefer to support. Surely he’s losing lots of sleep wrestling with this issue.

Nintendo of Korea says illegal copying is reported in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Mexico and Spain as well.

With the DSi release upon us, and it’s addition of a built in SD slot as well as an official DSiware service will this alter the appeal of illegal downloads? Is it fun to eat mud?

[via contentagenda.com]

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User Comments (23)

Kawaiipikachu

#2

Kawaiipikachu said:

Seizing the cards & making them ilegal is only a first step & a step that is still ignored by other countrys including here in australia .

greyelephant

#3

greyelephant said:

Stay away from anyone selling DS games from Hong Kong. They are always pirated and are poorly made.

theblackdragonAdmin

#4

theblackdragon said:

pfft, he's got more to be sad about than pirated DS games -- they have fake clothes, fake jewelry, fake purses, and would you believe they've even got counterfeit food in Korea? some friends of mine took a short vacation there and came back with some as souvenirs. who does that, seriously?

@greyelephant: agreed. i recently became the not-so-proud owner of a fake Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time from HK; it freezes if you close the DS during gameplay. i was pissed off when i first realized it was a fake, but i figure at least i didn't pay through the nose for it, and i'll know what to look for/ask about next time i buy through eBay, so lesson learned. :/

greyelephant

#5

greyelephant said:

Ebay is where I got Super Princess Peach for my daughter. Figured I'd try to save some money. The auctions look legit enough, but once you get the package in the mail, you know right away somethings wrong. The box, the game itself, and the instructions are all conterfiet. Like you said, atleast I didn't pay through the nose.

LinktotheFuture

#6

LinktotheFuture said:

I got a fake Tetris DS on Ebay from Hong Kong, I should have realized something was up when Hong Kong had hundreds of brand new sealed copies of a US version of Tetris DS, which is out of print. Luckily, I found a legit copy from a seller in Canada. I learned a lesson, don't buy and DS stuff from Hong Kong, especially if the price is too good to be true.

Stuffgamer1

#11

Stuffgamer1 said:

I have a fake copy of Tetris DS, but it runs perfectly. Maybe if it hadn't been half the price of a used real copy, this wouldn't have happened! Note that I didn't know it was fake when I bought it, but I should've figured. How else do you get a new sealed copy of THAT game for only $30?

I'm still kinda mad that they discontinued that game so damn fast in the first place. It would've kept selling! I would've bought a copy if it was available when I wanted it!

Oh, and this whole mess in Korea is bad. There, I'm on-topic. :P

SmaMan

#13

SmaMan said:

It's not just DS games, Hong Kong pirates almost any video game console. Of course, those pirates are a bit easier to spot, like Chrono Trigger on the NES... and you fight Pokemon in it!

Objection

#14

Objection said:

Its sad how their industry is likely to collapse sometime because they pirate so much. Then again, I'm sure its not just their own fault: they sell that stuff to other nations via eBay, etc.

Expa0

#15

Expa0 said:

Yah, I too have bought a counterfeit, Final Fantasy V(Gba) on this case and when I got it, I quicly noticed it was a fake. The game was unplayable because the save function didn't work :(

Starwolf_UK

#16

Starwolf_UK said:

The oddest thing I don't get about the HK bootlegs of games is why they write their own box and instruction manual. Usually the manual is a copy and paste of Gamespots preview or review and the back of the box is complete gibberish. This even applies to Nintendo published games which you can find most the manuals of in PDF format on NOAs website.

The only silver lining is lots of these sellers will offer no quibble refunds (they don't want their account compromised). Though honestly it is probably best trying to contact Nintendo about it but contacting eBay itself is a total waste of time "I'm sorry I can't hear you over the sound of cash registered ringing".

Wiiloveit

#17

Wiiloveit said:

People who buy bootlegs and R4 carts are ruining gaming. If you can't afford the games - rent them instead, rather than doing what is effectively stealing.

sukTHEfac

#18

sukTHEfac said:

imo DS games are much too expensive. If they lower the standard prices then they might slow down piracy...but then again maybe not.

ILoveWii

#19

ILoveWii said:

It's disgraceful. I'm fed up with pirates. They're causing the recession. Cheapskates.

StarDust4Ever

#20

StarDust4Ever said:

quote: "Is it fun to eat mud?"

From what I hear, "mud" is quite yummy and nutritious - for plants! :D

Viral

#21

Viral said:

It's not shocking at all. My boss has an illegal card and it contains twenty of the top games, including Professor Layton, New Super Mario Bros, and more. I, however, buy my games in America when I am on holiday, unfortunately, no DSi for me.

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