News Article

New 3DS System Update Warns You About Piracy

Posted by James Newton

Stern words indeed

Remember when Nintendo warned using piracy devices may disable your 3DS? The latest 3DS system update may well have started that process.

The update arrived yesterday with little fanfare, but here's the official description from Nintendo:

System stability improvements and other adjustments

Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.

Your Nintendo 3DS system and software are not designed for use with any unauthorized device and/or any unauthorized software. Please note that the Nintendo warranties do not cover any defects to or defects caused by unauthorized devices, software, modifications and/or non-licensed accessories. Furthermore such use may lead to injury to yourself or others and may cause performance issues and/or damage to your Nintendo 3DS system and related services. Nintendo (as well as Nintendo licensees or distributors) is not responsible for any damage or loss caused by the use of such devices, software, modifications or non-licensed accessories.

IMPORTANT: After the Nintendo 3DS system is updated, any existing or future unauthorized technical modification of the hardware or software of your Nintendo 3DS system, or the use of an unauthorized device in connection with your system, may render the system permanently unplayable. Content deriving from the unauthorized modification of the hardware or software of your Nintendo 3DS system may be removed. Failure to accept the update may render games unplayable.

Note that previous updates haven't carried the same message, so it's possible this new update introduces future anti-piracy measures. Of course, Nintendo is known for including a similar message in the documentation for many of its consoles and games, and this could be nothing more than a polite reminder.

We'll contact Nintendo and see what comes back.


From the web

User Comments (74)



Bass_X0 said:

You're just renting your 3DS from Nintendo (for $250 or whatever). Its not yours to own. They can revoke your rental anytime you violate your agreement to renting the 3DS.



Blaze said:

@BasaXO True but I think they do need to install this precaution to destroy Piracy, otherwise so many games will become Pirated that it will become the case that people begin to think that Pirated games are just normal games, legal games, and such.



Einherjar said:

In my opinion, this sentence is there, that if you brick your system with pirate stuff they dont have to exchange it because it voids warranty. They must inform their customers or else they have to pay for bricked systems



daznsaz said:

wondered what the update was for this morning does it mean that i cant play lego pirates now not that id want to



ImDiggerDan said:

@3 - The first section suggests what you say, but the 2nd section suggests that they will actively "mess with" your system if you have/do use a device to play copied games, including deleting your copied games (presumably from a dodgy flash card).



6ch6ris6 said:

is this even legal?

i mean when i buy something it gets my property. if nintendo destroys my system it is a crime. i can do what ever i want with my property.



theblackdragon said:

my only worry is whether they'll wind up bricking 3DSes on accident even though the people involved may have never used a flashcart before. the 3DS has had such a shaky start with the Black Screen of Death thing, games freezing, the remove-battery-and-lose-ability-to-streetpass-with-miis-you've-already-met thing... god forbid i pop in a new game somewhere down the line and it mistakes it for a fake one.

if the 3DS had been stable from the start, i wouldn't worry. but it just hasn't been. :/

@6ch6ris6: i think it would be illegal if they didn't warn you and give you the choice to update or not. they're skirting the edges, but i doubt their legal team would've let them move forward if they didn't think they had solid backing somehow under the law.



Sneaker13 said:

Well I don't care. I don't use pirate games. Piracy stops people from making or releasing games (like AAI in the Netherlands). So I won't shed a tear if someones 3DS that uses piracy equipment gets bricked.



StarDust4Ever said:

A while ago, I plugged in my DSi Action Replay cart into my 3DS just for kicks, and recieved the message "The device inserted in the DS slot cannot be used." Game Cube/Wii will also give you the same message when you plug an unliscensed accessory into the memory card slot: "The device inserted in Slot B cannot be used," though in the Game Cube's case (and Wiis not updated since before July 2007), the unlicensed Game Cube devices still worked with the accessory disc inserted. Since July 2007, if you insert an unliscensed disc into the Wii, it says, "An error has occured. Please remove the disc and consult the user manual." Pressing the A button powers off the Wii with a red light.

To the best of my knowledge, the Homebrew people still have yet been unsuccessful at running native code in DSi mode on a DSi, though DS and Wii have both been exploited thoroughly despite regular updates in the Wii's case. I'm not worried though. I don't pirate. I also don't run homebrew out of fear of bricking my Wii/DS, even my DSi Action Replay supports this function.

It will be a sad day indeed when someone finally hacks the 3DS to create a Virus/Trojan which infects other consoles with drive-by downloading via the built in Streetpass/Spotpass feature.



crazyj2312 said:

Not saying that I'm super rich and can afford anything (because believe me I can't lol) but I save up a lot of money from hard work to purchase games that had a lot of work put in to them. I think the idea of a piracy free system is nice.



Juampi said:


So if you buy a knife, since it's now your property, you can do whatever you want with it. Like going out and stabbing people. Right?



LuigiSucks said:

Bass_XO you're wrong. Rent means you pay monthly or yearly. And it's $250 FYI. The fact that they can revoke it is purely a legal matter as with almost all big-name devices.



StarDust4Ever said:

@15. Juampi: Running homebrew on your Wii/DS doesn't kill people. Bricked consoles can be replaced. People can't.

Likewise, if I buy a sports car that is capable of traveling at 155 MPH (250 km/h), that doesn't mean it is safe or legal to drive on public roads at those speeds.

Piracy is illegal. And yes, while homebrew and game modification devices are technically legal, they use the same methods to defeat security measures. Nintendo pulled the plug on the Wii Freeloader/ Action Replay. Expect them to do the same when/if any type of "device", illegal or not, gets released for 3DS.



Hardy83 said:

I don't mind when Nintendo does this..But...At least give the consumers something interesting in the firmware update, like a video, or even a new AR hat. SOMETHING.

It's sad that Nintendo is worst at firmware updates then Sony, because Sony is REALLY bad at it. lol



Samholy said:

lets say you buy a game on ebay, or a used copy at a store, but its a pirate game and you dont know it. pop it in, then bang. no more 3ds for you because you got own by fake software you just bought without knowing.

i recently installed the nyko powerpak+, i do hope my 3ds wont be permanently unplayable because i installed a third party hardware ? because you know, i felt nintendo didnt quite do their job by installing a poor battery with their console.

geez. where is the good old days when you bought a snes and it was yours. now i feel like im playing a console that is half mine and half nintendo.

i like it anyway, but i dont agree with such measures. of course i wont use anything illegal on it, but bad luck can happen, i use to buy a lot of games on ebay, i save money like this... i already bought a ds game online and received a fake one. will it mean that if i play it on my 3ds, it will lock it ? cursed game allright.



longtimegamer said:

@TBD: Well, sometimes I believe people buy games that they don't know are pirated. I think you have to know what to look for on a gba game to know if it was a pirated one.

Anyway, my point is that it would kinda suck if someone got one of these (like on ebay or something) and didn't know it wasn't a legal copy and got bricked. I know I'd be p*ssed, since alot of games I buy are used, I could see the possibility of this happening somehow.

edit:@Samholy: Dang! you beat me to it. I guess I really took a long time trying to write MY comment.



theblackdragon said:

@ltg: lol, i know for a fact people buy counterfeit games without realizing it — i wound up with a fake copy of M&L:PiT myself a couple years ago... it makes a hilarious conversation piece because the warnings are in such horrible English, but it doesn't work on my DSi. counterfeits are all over the place on eBay... i seriously hope Nintendo can tell the difference between a flashcart and a counterfeit game (e.g. intentional vs. potentially unintentional) when they start rendering consoles unplayable :/



koops330 said:

I know Nintendo was hurt by a lot of pirates in the past so I see why there doing this and since I don't pirate I don't really care anyway I applaud you Nintendo



CapedGodot said:

Hackers will find a way. I'm sure the Wii had similar warnings when it started out. That's not to say that I'll put Homebrew on my 3DS (whenever I get one), but it's inevitable. Hackers are tricky, and have a knack for getting around things.



motang said:

Ah that's why there was an update, I wonder if DSi will also get one.



bezerker99 said:

Good thing I never buy used games. I would hate to ruin my relationship with Reggie by having a bricked 3DS!



ThomasBW84 said:

While I hope no-one gets a bricked 3DS from an unintentional mistake (buying a second hand game that turns out to be fake), I absolutely agree with efforts to combat piracy. Like everything else the gaming industry needs to make money, and the hard work of developers to produce games should be rewarded by sales.

I'm not denying some publishers have been a bit silly in some anti-piracy measures, but the fact is that piracy is illegal. Just like we all expect to be paid for work completed in our jobs, games developers and publishers are no different.



Nintendork said:

This might actually be "good" for Nintendo in another way, too, used game sales. I imagine a lot of parents, clueless gamers, etc. are not going to bother reading this and proceed to go on Ebay for a cheaper deal on a game they want to get, either for themselves or for kids. So not only could their game be counterfeit, which was simply an annoyance back then, but can now BRICK YOUR SYSTEM.

I don't know about you, but I'd buy new from that point on, or quit gaming altogether for the MASSIVE waste of money that the cause was not even my fault. I guess file that into the numerous reasons to wait on getting a 3DS.



Juampi said:


You don't get it, do you? I was just giving an example to show how flawed his logic was. There are countless other examples that don't get people killed.



DarkKirby said:

I don't understand how Apple lost the lawsuit to do the same thing to the iPhone (you never own the hardware, you pay full price for a permanent rental), but video game companies succeed at it. I understand lots of anti piracy makes developers and distributors very, very happy, but this is a violation of customer rights. I would be happier about this if I thought Nintendo would use this ability to at least punish the rampant hacking that goes on in multiplayer Nintendo games, but Nintendo has never put ANY effort to punish these people.



Scribbler said:

Everyone shouting that this is a good move because it will put an end to piracy, consider this. As long as there are torrent sites and emulators, piracy will still have a home. Just because games can't be played on a legit system doesn't mean that they won't be illegally acquired. Legitimate customers are frightened away and the try-before-you-buy crowd has jumped ship. Now, I'm not saying that piracy is justified, but Nintendo is playing in a different arena than they were back in 1985, and this isn't the best way to deal with piracy anymore.

Also, if you go messing around with your system files in a softmod while Nintendo is messing around with the system files in firmware updates, there is ALWAYS a good chance you'll mess your system up by accident, just like Microsoft Windows. They're not TRYING to brick your system on purpose. They just don't care if they do or not. Though on a computer, if your bootloader is corrupted, you can easily replace it.

@DarkKirby You're absolutely right.



Freeon-Leon said:

A good one for Nintendo. Here in Mexico, the piracy has been huge since the PSOne era, I think just 5% of the people who owend the PS had original games, and that must be a bad punch to developers. They need money to make new games, without money, we lose at the end of the day.



Meta-Rift said:

So what happens when someone buys a used game and doesn't know it's really a pirated copy?



Ark said:

I think this is just a scare tactic. You could use flashcards out of the box since before it even launched in Europe and America. They haven't tried to fight it at all, but this is probably because hackers haven't made any major progress being able to run 3DS games. The DSi was updated for anti-piracy after the 3DS was released, but 3DS wasn't. It almost seems like a truce (or they're bringing out something very big).

Nintendo doesn't want you to pirate, because they want the money (and understandably so). It would be counter-productive to brick the system of someone who is desperately waiting to pirate Super Mario 3DS when you could stop hackers briefly and increase sales a tad. They would pnly be shrinking their own userbase, which is dangerous right now. Some pirates don't buy games at all, but some actually do or will buy them if anxious. You're not 'losing' tons of money, so long as you continue to counteract and make it a huge pain to pirate things. They've been very lax concerning piracy, but who knows. Putting down $40 is easier than $290.

I think we'll find out once hackers get something major running. I doubt Nintendo will make the first move unless truly needed.



Squiggle55 said:

I'm baffled by those complaining about this and quoting Anonymous as if punishing criminals isn't legal. Until someone has their console accidentally bricked there is absolutely nothing to complain about. That sounds like the only legitimate worry.

It's like complaining that your city now has more policeman and you can no longer rob a bank easily. "It's not that I want to rob the bank, I just like knowing I could if I wanted to."
How about you just don't break the law and I'm sure everything will be fine.



Scribbler said:

@Jaguar8481 They're not fighting piracy as a whole. They're fighting illegal activity from happening on THEIR system. But if it were really so simple, piracy would already have been nipped in the bud. If all it takes to curb piracy is software updates and flashcart banning, then why is it so easy to download ROMs from multiple sites, download an emulator and play the latest games without ever having to buy the system itself? Quite honestly, the pirates and emulator teams are treating its patrons as valued customers, whereas Nintendo is treating theirs like potential criminals. I realize that first parties and publishers need to protect their IP because it's their livelihood, but this isn't the way to do it. Hardcore pirates aren't going to buy the system anyway, and legit customers are turned off by its invasiveness. Maybe if Nintendo stops treating everybody like children, people will start viewing its systems with more respect.



Meta-Rift said:

@Scypher: Yeah, I don't buy this for a second. I think they said something similar during the Wii launch, too. Bricking a system is getting into the grey area of what they have the right to do. They can probably stop providing additional services, but I really doubt they would get away with preventing a product from working as advertised without some kind of lawsuit. I haven't heard of anyone's 3DS getting bricked yet, either.



Scribbler said:

You're missing the point, Squiggle55. We're not saying that people who rob banks shouldn't be punished. We're saying that we don't want our bank to have so many security protocols that we have to be treated like criminals just to access our own money while a bank robber can walk into an open safe and walk out with our nest egg without the bank president so much as batting an eyelash. If a bank did that to me, you can be guaranteed I would withdraw all my funds and close my account. Likewise, I'm not buying a 3DS, and neither is anyone else who is turned off by "anti-piracy" measures.



Azaris said:

the thing im wondering about is a future ar 3ds i mean stopping my system from using one like they do with ar dsi is one thing but if my system gets bricked for using ar that would be messed up seems like that since ar is not illegal bricking my system for uisng one would violate the law and if it doesnt it should.



The_Fox said:

"Furthermore such use may lead to injury to yourself"

You heard it here: Hacking your 3DS may cause Nintendo to dispatch hired goons to your location.



Rags said:

@bezerker99 ... Wow... It's okay to think for yourself... geez... and that smiley at the end of the comment, combined with your suggesting a relationship between you and reggie... that's just awful... sad... awful..
This update is messed up. maybe if there were more than 33 games available 4 months out of the gate(never mind the quality of most), people would be less bored with the machine and not have to look into hacking it for entertainment.



Squiggle55 said:

But I don't feel like I'm being treated as a criminal. This is truly not going to affect me in the least bit. Until news comes out that someone's console was unjustly bricked I still don't see how anyone can argue against anti-piracy.



theswweet said:

I have been told not to really talk about stuff like this on Vitagamr, butr since this is what its about...

Honestly, I don't think this is how to handle it. Didn't they already learn their lessons with the Wii?



Chris720 said:

What happens if I lob in a new game and the 3DS lobs it in the "Pirate" trash can and locks my console? This could either be really good, or really crap.

I don't hack... except for a few games on the internet, but have never tried or bothered with hacking consoles. Pirating, hacking or glitching games is just stupid anyway.

I just can't see people stop pirating video games, I've even seen sites where you can download Wii, PS3, 360 and even 3DS games to a SD Card, compact disc etc. without even paying...



tanookisuit said:

Good for Nintendo and bad for the whiners here pissing about renting your 3DS and the rest of that non-sense. It is the law and been so a long time you own the hardware, and you're licensed the firmware. That's nothing new, and they have every right to block pirating trying to rip their off as the DS got it pretty bad, not sure if it was worse than the GBA but it wouldn't surprise me. The writing on the wall is as post #3 says, covering their and letting you be fairly warned and warned if their later updates happen to so break the piracy toys some have or due to how those toys work jack up your 3DS you did it to yourself and deserve it (and you do.)

This is nothing more than fair warning of a 'could be' and also legal notice to cover their if someone breaks their system using unlicensed crap to circumvent the system software to run freebies or whatever else. I have no problem with and love homebrew and indie stuff completely, but until someone can wave a wand and get that working while not allowing the theft there will just be casualties potentially and that's that. Until someone comes out, 100% proof positive, not someone making stories to get nerd rage going, that some system update with X game on the shelf bricks hardware beyond any reason of doubt there's no argument here other than covering your need to pirate and screw with the system beyond what it's intended for. Yeah it's yours to do so, hell enjoy it, but if Nintendo (or anyone for other hardware) comes along and some update hoses your system due to playing shenanigans with it, it's your own damn fault, not theirs or anyone elses as you made that choice.



zionich said:

It seems that should there be cases where you buy a used game, or new for that matter, and it bricks the sytem, its as simple as sending a copy of the receipt and the bricked system to Nintendo and having them fix the problem. ( And if there smart, throw in some eshop money for the inconvenience)

If ya bought the game from some one, or a shady operation, well, good luck with that.



tanookisuit said:

I'm sure there are cases it's just not advertised because people who do generally get treated well keep it to themselves until the time comes for them to get hot about a bunch of the vocal minority whining trying to act like the majority which is common place. I've heard from other site in the past when a DSi got bricked over stupid crap errors from updates or a specific game repairs were done and typically not at cost as they called (not setup over the faceless repair website.)



AlbertoC said:

@15: Sure. But also there is this thing called responsibility. The posibility is one thing, and having to deal with all the consequences is another thing.

@Motang: The last two (three?) updates did nothing. Until i read on the webs that they were only to block piracy.

Also the wii updates. So, block and all, but next time do something more than push the numbers up nintendo, OK?



Capt_N said:

If Nintendo were really smart, they would update/install intro the 3DS a checker system that validates/invalidates a game card inserted into the system as something the 3DS can't legally play, or can legally play. I'm talking about one that examines/"checks" the game, before/prior to running it. (Edit: This would prevent the system from bricking by warning you that your game card might be a pirate/hack/whatever.) If it turns out the 3DS calls it hacked/pirated/bad game/whatever, something similar to what zionich said should take place. You could send the supposedly "offending" game, & maybe even your system too, into Nintendo to analyze whether the game is really pirate/hack/whatever, or just the 3DS giving a false positive.

If Nintendo did this, it would also be in their best interest, as far as their consumer base is concerned, to send you a free mailing envelop/pack to send your possibly bad game in to them. This also would help them improve the 3DS's capability to determine a legit game, or not.



dizzy_boy said:

if you`re bothered by this news, obviously you`re the type of person that would hack your console or buy pirated games.
how ever you look at it, the general consumer isn`t going to actively seek out pirated games or hack their 3DS, so it shouldn`t be a problem eitherway.
if you need to hack a game to beat it, the appeal of playing that game will wear off quicker than if you played it legitimatley, and it means you`ra a pussy that can`t play games properly.



StarDust4Ever said:

Whatever happened to the good old days, back when things were simple and you plugged the Super Mario Brothers game cartidge into the Game Genie, crammed them both into the NES, and started typing in random 6-character codes in the hopes that it would cause some useful, bizzare, or just plain hilareous side effects on your game? If your NES froze or crashed, just power off and reset; since the NES had no corruptable firmware, there was no need to worry about bricking the system.



dizzy_boy said:

@stardust. i don`t know about the game ganie, i never had one. but i did have the action replay for my nes, and that abomination corrupted my console and games cartridges.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I hope this is true and not just an empty threat. It's about time Nintendo took serious action against pirates.

As far as buying used and it being pirated, all I can say is don't buy from a sketchy seller. Don't forget that Nintendo always prefers you to buy their games new. They don't see a penny when you buy used. That said, this update doesn't really affect buying used as long as you buy from a trusted seller. Just don't buy on ebay, especially when it's ridiculously cheap and coming from China...

Also, I don't understand how Nintendo doing this could be illegal. They are selling a device to play official 3DS software ONLY. You can't buy a mac and sue because it doesn't run PC software, nor can you sue when you try to make it compatible and it breaks. It's not their responsibility. Putting a pirated anything into the 3DS is no different than trying to shove a flash drive into the cartridge slot. In both cases the item is incompatible with the 3DS, even if one fits and the other doesn't. If you put either one into the system it should break.

By buying a 3DS you gain the right to do just about anything you want with it, as long as it's not illegal. However, Nintendo has no obligation to support anything on it that isn't their own. In fact, they have the right to offer updates that would kill whatever unofficial content you've added, and put an end to adding it, as long as there is a choice about getting that update. After all, couldn't someone offer you gas that would kill your car as long as you knew what it was? If you took it, it's not their responsibility. By accepting the update, you are agreeing that your 3DS might be bricked if you've been doing something illegal on it.



Scribbler said:

@TrueWiiMaster This is NOT serious action against pirates. The logic behind this move makes no sense because there will still be pirates on torrent sites and emulator forums where the majority of the damage is done. It's not about stopping piracy, it's about having an iron fist control over what content reaches Nintendo's systems, just like region locking and developer requirements.

If Nintendo were really that concerned about piracy, they would take measures to keep software from being emulated properly and crack down on uploaders and torrent sites. If they were really that concerned about unlicensed homebrew and indie developers, they would listen to the users and actually implement the features they want. Despite what has been said. Nintendo hasn't listened to us, and Nintendo doesn't care.

That's why people are so up in arms about this, TrueWiiMaster. The issue of legality is not in question. It's ethics. People can see past the corporate tactics. No one is saying that pirates don't deserve to be punished. All we're saying is that this is NOT the right way to go about it. And it's not just Nintendo. This is the direction that ALL media and technology is headed, and not everybody agrees with it. You can't even repair your own computer anymore because some systems will lock "foreign" components out of the BIOS. How is that ethical? It's Nintendo's right to do whatever it wants to its system and its users, but that doesn't mean we all have to agree with it.



dizzy_boy said:

thing is, you can`t expect a console manufacturer or software publisher to impliment everything that the consumer requests. it`s not that easy, and probably not vary practical.
what should hapoen is maybe meeting in the middle, you buy a bare bones console. and then download the programs you want to use.;orobkem is, as somebody above suggested, the industry doesn`t listen and doesn`t care what the consumer wants.
i think before long, there will be huge crash when people get sick and tired of the way things are going. and the industry has only itself to blame.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I don't really get what you mean by saying this move isn't against pirating...If it is implemented well, pirates will be unable to steal games and play them on their 3DS. If I understood correctly, you were saying most of the damage caused by pirating doesn't occur on the system itself anyway, so locking the system wouldn't help. This might have been fairly true for the DS, where people often downloaded and played games on their computer with little difference from playing on the system, but on the 3DS doing so would be a huge loss. A big part of the 3DS is the 3D, and the only way to get it is to play the games on the 3DS. Even if people manage to get the games online, they'll only be getting half the experience if they play them on their computer.

If you really want to be able to run things Nintendo hasn't approved of, just don't get the update. It's your choice. Sure you won't be able to play Nintendo's new games, but that's a choice you have to make. If it really bothers you, I'd say get 2 systems, one to be official and one to be tinkered with. My guess is the official one would see more use (unless we're talking roms). I honestly think there's little to be lost in not using homebrew.

And as for the region locking, I'm with you. I find it pretty irritating that so many great games never make it to the west, and it's all the more irritating that we can't play the Japanese versions of those games on our systems.



castor said:

Hahaha, most people in my country will have the 3DS bricked! Piracy lives here (just because of the game stuff high prices)



jolly said:

"You can't buy a mac and sue because it doesn't run PC software, nor can you sue when you try to make it compatible and it breaks."

That is a terrible comparison. I think what you are trying to say is, "you can't sue when you successfully hack your Mac to use PC software, and Apple chooses destroy your personal property for not using it how they want you to," then yeah, maybe you have a point. COULD you sue if that happened, if you signed away your the rights to your personal property in an agreement up front? Probably not. But Nintendo making the decision to threaten people into using their products only how they want them to causes me to lose respect for them as a company, and frankly means I won't be buying their products in the future. I don't pirate games, but I shouldn't be coerced into signing my property rights away just to play Zelda.

Luckily, it seems like just about every game they come out with lately is just a spare copy of games I loved 10-20 years ago, so I will just go back to playing the originals if I feel the need. This is just a good reason save my money rather than throwing hundreds of dollars a year at a company that clearly doesn't respect my personal property and doesn't want me as a customer.

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