Nintendo Wins Another Court Battle with R4 Cartridge Manufacturers
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Nintendo and others to be paid nearly $1 million in damages
The DS family of systems has long since been replaced by the 3DS, but almost as an ironic tribute to the slowly grinding gears of legal systems, Nintendo and around fifty other companies have just been awarded nearly $1 million in damages; this will be paid by two R4 device sellers based in Tokyo. Still, a late victory is better than no victory at all.
As most will likely know, R4 cartridges were devices that allowed the circumvention of security measures on the DS systems, allowing owners to run homebrew channels but, more tellingly, download and run illegally acquired ROMS. Some will argue that the homebrew scene and legitimate backups of software justified these R4 carts, but they also allowed rampant piracy and those with enough savvy to acquire those ROMS for free without buying games at retail. Whatever the good intentions of some, the negatives of the devices led to the inevitable efforts from Nintendo — not always successful — to ban and block these carts.
Legal steps did come into action during the lifespan of the DS family of systems, as it became illegal to import, advertise or sell R4 carts in the UK in 2010, while selling them was illegal in Japan in 2009. Actual prosecutions took years to come to fruition, however, and it was only last year that it became illegal to import R4 carts into Japan.
Joined by major Japanese publishers such as Konami, Capcom, Square Enix, Level-5 and Bandai Namco, Nintendo has now successfully claimed compensation from two of the offending distributors in its homeland. The big N has managed to keep the 3DS far more secure, to date; not so long ago a company produced evidence that it had developed a functional flashcard for the 3DS, but then had to announce it had been blocked by a recent 3DS system update before it had even begun to sell its product.
While Nintendo continues to duke it out with those that made hay from R4 flashcards, the 3DS remains secure to date. Let us know what you think in the comments section, but please stick to the Community Rules and discuss the topic at hand.