Convenience of backup loaders has always been a long standing argument when it comes to games consoles; having all your games immediately at your disposal does make things easy for quickly switching and you don't have to worry about a faulty disc drive or disc. I think this argument applies more so to handheld consoles because there are additional downsides to the format that you can factor in: your handheld can be used in any room of the house, so if you want to switch game it may not be as simple as just walking across the room to get a different game. if you go anywhere you have to take your games with you, meaning you're carrying extra bulk. cartridges are small, and much easier to misplace than discs. These are the reasons I bought a Cyclo DS Evolution for my original DS, it's so much more convenient to have all the games on a single card and you never need to worry about removing the card from your DS. Of course, there are even downsides to using those cards: you're breaking the law in many countries. incompatibilities can arise with certain games, or game devs can try and create ways to prevent the games from working with flash cards. you can't immediately update your console's firmware in case Ninty have blocked your cart. there's always the temptation of downloading games instead of buying them, even if you claim to be using the cart for games you own. So this got me thinking, is there a way that Nintendo could allow us to legally back up our carts to SD? Many DVDs and Blu-Rays now come with a "Digital Copy" in a bid to combat piracy and reward loyal consumers for purchasing genuine products, why can't console manufacturers do the same for us? There are a couple of seemingly plausible methods I came up with myself:- Idea 1: Flipping a bit to temporarily disable the cartridge after copying it to the console Warning: Spoilers inside! "Flipping a bit" is very much an oversimplification, but the theory behind this is that the console would back up the game to SD and encrypt it with (one of) your console's key(s). To stop you from just selling the cart on and keeping the backup, some limitations would be imposed. Specifically, you would choose a predetermined length of time to "arm" the backup, let's say you're going on holiday for 14 days so you choose 14 days. For those 14 days, the cartridge is locked to your 3DS and will not work in another 3DS. After the 14 days are up, the backup stops working and the cartridge starts working again. At any point during or after the locking period, you could insert your card and re-arm the backup without having to copy the whole game over again. Advantages Prevents abuse by just installing the game on your whole family's console. Long periods of time (e.g. 30 days) could offer a lot of convenience. Disadvantages Not ideal for families who share games (although technically they're not losing anything, they just don't use the feature). If your console breaks, you can't use the card until the locking period is over. Could introduce retailer issues - imagine someone buying the game, locking it to their 3DS for a month and then declaring the game faulty at the retailer. It's like a free rental. Idea 2: Free Digital Copy Warning: Spoilers inside! Cartridge comes with a unique eShop code, very similar to how DVD/Blu-Ray digital copy works. In order to arm your backup, the 3DS connects to the eShop to download a small bootloader for the game. The code can only be used once. Advantages Could be linked with Club Nintendo accounts/points to work retro-actively with existing games. Same level of convenience as flash carts, never need to mess around with cartridges. Relies on the public-key part of the "master key" pair, meaning this method is less likely to be hacked. Disadvantages Nothing prevents the owner from selling the cartridge after acquiring the game. Might impact sales for games that require more than cart for multi-player (ie, don't support download play). To get around the first disadvantage, they could still require the cartridge to rearm the backup once every 30 days, as per idea 1. The only difference is that the cartridge would never lock. Of course, I know the likelihood of Nintendo actually doing something like this are slim, but any implementation of legal backups would give them several benefits, such as: Fewer people are tempted to break the law by buying flash carts for backups and downloading games as a side effect. They'd reduce the number of hackers interested in creating a backup loader when the console is eventually hacked. There'd be no legitimate reason for piracy software to exist, potentially clearing up grey areas and fully outlawing such software for their console. So what do you guys think? Do you have any better ideas of how legal backups could be done?