News Article

Nintendo Spain Secures Win Over R4 Card Retailer

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Better late than never

While Nintendo has, for the most part, successfully held off the mass proliferation of pirated software on 3DS and Wii U, it was a major issue for the DS, in particular. R4 cards, regardless of their potentially innocent use, were largely sold and utilised to download and play ROMS of DS games for free, and for a time they were easily available on the market. Nintendo's firmware and security options from day one were certainly weaker in the last generation, and piracy is still cited as one of the great problems faced in that period.

Of course, legal cases and law changes are still filtering through on this issue, with the matter only moving on in any meaningful sense in Japan last year. There are still retailers and manufacturers of R4 cards out there, too, and it seems Nintendo Spain is the latest to secure a victory in shutting down this area of business. A store in the region called ChipSpain had been selling and distributing these goods, and before the matter went to trial the retailer has now admitted fault, recognising that the import and sale of the cards was illegal under Spanish law. For his part the deputy general manager of Nintendo Spain, Rafael Martínez Moya-Angeler, has said the following (translated):

The marketing of devices that violate the protective measures of consoles and video games has led to the proliferation of illegal game downloads online. This situation has caused irreparable economic harm. Piracy is the biggest threat to creativity in this industry, so this statement is a big step forward for the gaming industry.

While the damage has arguably already been done by R4 cards, it's certainly the case that Nintendo has successfully resisted the threat — on a mainstream level — in the current generation. By pursuing older cases, it's also a show of vigilance against potential future products on 3DS.

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User Comments (43)



Corleonis88 said:

But what about the people who buy them for running homebrew on their ds consoles?... yeah, right



gurtifus said:

Hey Nintendo, and what about Gateway 3DS ? Do you mean to stop it before it become the R4 successor ?



unrandomsam said:

Nintendo was making hand over fist during the R4 times. (Even before the success of the Wii). The people who lost out were the 3rd parties.



unrandomsam said:

@Corleonis88 What like that Colors! thing ? (He wrote it originally as a DS homebrew). The only crime should be the piracy itself. (And dumping your own carts is already legal).

Nintendo could release something like the Wonderswan homebrew kit and pretty much remove the problem completely for the 3DS.



Artwark said:

I can understand that piracy can be harmful at times and it certainly shows that it can make losses.

But in all seriousness though, how can some countries like India possibly get supply and services for Nintendo products? How else can you get a game that's so old and hard to find? I believe that Nintendo needs to figure out how they can benefit from piracy instead of stopping it like emulation. If they can do it like how steam does, it will make them a lot of money.

But I guess I'm going a bit to far off topic am i?



Starwolf_UK said:

Quite a contrast to Italy where pre-loading Wiis with homebrew to add functionality not present in the system was considered fine (I think it went to a European court) as there was no mention or ability to play pirated software with those provided services.

Then again that ability to run pirated software is the main difference with the R4 cart (and thus this case). If it was something like Games N' Music (the DS flashcart I own) that would be a different matter (it can't run commercial games, heck some homebrew struggles too).

@gurtifus The fact you need an almost 2 year old firmware to use it is a pretty good deterrent. Also the thing is its own worst enemy with the high cost of it.



Sionyn said:

indeed notice the trend the 'high rate of piracy' made nintendo a lot of cash the DS and WII were phenomenal success. Now look at wii u and 3ds little to no piracy and phenomenal flop, strangle piracy help sells consoles and software.

Source: worse pirates buy 300% more

The gateway has been sorted it only works on 3DS with firmware 4.5 below

As for dumping your own games nintendo would say that, but unfortunately for them TOS and EULA have no real legal binding simply because your agreement is after the sale.

I appreciate that nintendo wishes it can substitute a contract after sale, that nobody reads, they bear no relation to a contract negotiation and clicking reading or printing through them does not constitute an acceptance of nintendo desire to change the terms of the sale. Their selling goods which are governed by sales of goods act.



Gridatttack said:

In the end, the things that suffered where the foolish retailers who charged the games almost the double more than its original price.
(they got their DS from the US, not here)



eleccross said:

@Sionyn A) whether you read them or not, pressing accept/signing your name/owning the product still means you have to obey the contract.
B) They get more sales, but lose money. That's like saying owning a console should give you ownership of every game on it.



AmyGrrl said:

Nintendo has nothing to worry about with the Gateway 3DS. For it to work. You need system software 4.5. Once you update. You can no longer use the Gateway 3DS.



xerneas said:

Other than homebrews, people also used R4 cards mainly to access games that aren't available in their country (so many games are japanese-only, like Taiko no Tatsujin) or to try out games quickly before buying them. Those things could be fixed with giving out more free demos and removing the stupid region lock which is pointless and ruins everything.



Hy8ogen said:

The Gateway 3DS is a piece of garbage.

1. It is freaking expensive. At the price of 1 Gateway I can get 2~4 3DS games.
2. You cannot update your firmware. Which means you do not get the awesome new features and games.
3. You cannot go online, which means you will miss out all the awesome in game online features and eshop games and stuff.
4. Not ALL games work of the gateway. AFAIK, Pokemon and Animal crossing does not work with it.
5. The cart will only carry one game.
6. Suffering by knowing Nintendo may brick your 3DS.

With all those inconveniences and limitations, I do not see the point in getting the Gateway. There is not no justification in getting it. Not only you are breaking the law, you do not gain much by using it. You just get to play some games for free while missing out on other awesome stuff. Not worth it.

The age of video game piracy is ending, and I'm glad it is.



unrandomsam said:

@Erixsan Its not illegal unless you break the copy protection a 1:1 copy is totally legal. (Even Nintendo of America's legal page mentions that specific exemption).



Mk_II said:

These cards really hurt the industry here in the Netherlands. You could see the NDS shelf space disappearing in all the shops and this left only a few Nintendo releases and the latest Pixar/Disney shovelware available.



Hy8ogen said:

@DarkLloyd It is ending if you think about it. When I was a kid back in Asia, there was literally NO WAY to get your hands on genuine games. All of the stores sell modded machines and pirated games. Now you have to go through all sorts of channels just to get your machine modded. The hassle is just not worth it and people are starting to buy genuine game copies. Not to mention the increase influences of online gaming drove a lot of people going genuine because they will lost a lot of features if they were to pirate.



Link506 said:

Good to hear they finally wrapped R4 cards. Hopefully, the 3ds and Wii U won't have this large of a problem in the pirating category.



Cav44 said:

Ferrari's are darned expensive too, so I don't own one....
The price of an item being out of reach doesn't make stealing it OK. I worked in the industry for many years and finding ways to justify software theft makes me puke. Most folks that bleat about games being too expensive haven't considered the stability of the cost of a game vs say, a pair of branded trainers. Save up and cherish each game you buy, you'll get more satisfaction from it in the end.



jayclayx said:

@Hy8ogen Im not agree with piracy, I do not use any of those flash cartridges, however I bet you will eat your own words with the "The age of video game piracy is ending, and I'm glad it is." I would not be that sure about this statement, since hackers are always playing with nintendo toys.



KTT said:

It's good that piracy is being fought - it's nothing worse than a pirated/bootleged game - but there are good sides of it as well - I belive the only thing that makes Nintendo somewhat recognisable to casual person in my country, is the existence of bootleged games and systems in our past days, when Nintendo literally didn't exist here. Let's call it an advertisement. Bad, but still profitable in a long turn (if you are a company who didn't care about your customers).



FullbringIchigo said:

I never understood why people would want to pirate games, I you love playing games you should want to support the industry by buying your games



Mus1cLov3r said:

What if a game is old and I can't find it anymore? I still can't get a pirated game? I want Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, but so far I've had no luck finding it. Also, I don't understand Nintendo's decision to add DS games to the WiiU virtual console INSTEAD of the 3DS. The 3DS is the DS's successor, not the WiiU. I don't understand why they decided to add GBA games to the WiiU instead of the 3DS, either, but I'll shut up now. :-/



Windy said:

@Mus1cLov3r haha the great Copout "but I can't find the game anymore" I've been gaming for 30 years. I have never had a problem finding 1 single game. If there is a game I want from an older or newer system usually Ebay, Amazon, GameStop, Toys R Us or an in town mom and pop videogame store will provide. It can become an issue of Tracking it down. But I have always found what I was looking for somewhere. If you don't shop online you find friend or family who does and give them the money to buy it for you. Seriously its not too hard.



Mus1cLov3r said:

@Windy 1) My nearest Toys R Us barely has ANY games.
2) If I want to find a game from GameStop, I have to keep checking back every week. .-.
I don't have a "mom and pop store" anywhere near me (Just because you have one nearby doesn't mean I do).
3) The reason I don't shop online is because it's inconvenient to me. <-Personal opinion
4) I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's hard to respect someone rude like you.



unrandomsam said:

What I don't understand is how people are ok with commercial bootlegging (i.e Reproduction Cartridges) but against casual piracy. (I am totally against bootlegging and used games (As a commercial thing anyway that money is money that exists and could go to the producer of the title)). On the other hand a kid spending all his money on games has no money - anything that he does after that makes no difference overall.



Deathgaze said:

If it wasn't for DS flash cards (Supercard in my situation) I wouldn't have bought any where near the amount of games I did for the system. I own 61 games for the DS, without my flash card I wouldn't have ever bought any of the Ace Attorneys, The World Ends With You, Elite Beat Agents, Ouendan 1 and 2, Advance Wars and many others.



Mus1cLov3r said:

@Windy You didn't "offer" viable solutions, you shoved them down my throat and called my reasoning a "cop-out". There's a huge difference.



grimbldoo said:

I don't endorse piracy, I personally buy all of the games that I want and play, but I don't agree with the fact that it creates additional losses. Most people that pirate wouldn't have bought the game in the first place. Look at Steam, you could torrent all of the games that they offer, yet they are able sell thousands upon thousands of games a day. You want to know the secret to defeating piracy? Make good game. If the game is any good, people will want to own it. If more people pirate than buy your game, it's because the game isn't good.

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