Nintendo's biggest threat: R4

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by Ace Gunman, Nov 26, 2007.

Nov 26, 2007
  1. Ace Gunman
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    Former Staff Ace Gunman ~••Lucky҉Shot••~

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    The R4 looks like a simple piece of plastic. It is just a couple of centimetres square, a few millimetres thick and unbelievably easy to use. For Nintendo it is the Christmas stocking filler from hell.

    Made in China, available for sale over the internet and now doing a roaring trade on the streets of Tokyo, the R4 has emerged as perhaps the ultimate video game piracy tool.

    Costing a little more than £20, the device is a virtually unlimited passport to illegally downloaded software titles for the Nintendo DS – the handheld games console that has taken Japan, and much of the world, by storm.

    In the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo, where the R4 has just gone on sale, the product is ubiquitous but deliberately shrouded in mystery.

    Many stores advertise that they have the R4 in stock and describe sales as “very strong” but refuse to say what it actually does, for fear of potentially dire legal consequences.

    “New R4 shipment has finally arrived! You know what it does! Absolutely no questions will be answered concerning this product . . .” reads the sign outside one electronics store just off the main Akihabara drag. “Guaranteed for one week only! Of course we can’t explain what the R4 will do . . .” reads another in the store next door.

    Other shops in the area are visibly nervous about it because it falls into what they refer to as a “grey zone” – the product itself is not illegal – but nearly everything that a customer would do with it probably is.

    A floor manager at Iosys told The Times that the store was considering pulling out of sales following complaints; high street electronics shops refuse to stock it because it is legally questionable and damages sales of legitimate games software.

    In the hands of the 35 million DS users around the world the R4 chip has the potential to deal a heavy financial blow to Nintendo and to the dozens of software developers that make games for the machine. Nintendo is Japan’s third most valuable listed company with a stock market value of more than $85 billion (£41 billion) and revenues of $7.8 billion in 2006.

    The R4’s function is simple: it is a direct conduit for illegal game downloads and other unofficial software. Built to fit into the DS’s existing game cartridge slot, the R4 will transfer on to the console anything saved on a removable flash memory chip.

    Most DS games appear on the internet and are ready for downloading within a few days of the legitimate version going on sale. Vidoes on youtube. com offer first-time users of the R4 an easy-to-follow tutorial in making the device work. Salesmen even quietly suggest visiting youtube.com rather than attempting to decipher its Chinese instructions.

    As an experiment The Times obtained an R4 chip and downloaded free of charge on the internet ten new Nintendo DS games – worth about £400. The games, one of which had gone on sale only the day before, worked perfectly. The entire process took less than half an hour.

    The R4 is not the first time that China has exported the means of games piracy to the outside world. Games software is heavily pirated and available throughout Asia. However, the R4, said one industry analyst, takes games piracy into a new level.

    Beyond the purchase of the device, the user never has to go to stores to buy pirated software. “The R4 gives ordinary users the ability to sit at home and just browse the internet for any game that takes their fancy. A few clicks of the mouse and it is theirs free. Unlike previous piracy tools, the technology is not intimidating,” he said.

    “We are keeping a close eye on the products and studying them. But we cannot smash all of them,” a Nintendo spokesman said. Some believe the R4 may have the same disruptive effect on Nintendo’s business model as early music file-sharing sites such as Napster had on the record industry.


    Source 1: http://kotaku.com/gaming/piracy/nintendos-...t-r4-326171.php

    Source 2: http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/ne...icle2933237.ece

    Nintendo has its eyes on us AND the scene. [​IMG]
     


  2. rhyguy

    Member rhyguy GBAtemp Maniac

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    i read that a few days ago

    i dont think 35 million people have a r4
     
  3. Urza

    Member Urza hi

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    At those prices, anyone would resort to pirating.
     
  4. Lumstar

    Member Lumstar Princess

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    Let's see... 34.99 USD for most new DS games. That's 349.90 before tax.
     
  5. Urza

    Member Urza hi

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    Which is about £170, and exactly my point.
     
  6. cubin'

    Member cubin' GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Great, this is just more advertising for flashcards.


    35 million people have a DS. not an R4
     
  7. Ace Gunman
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    Former Staff Ace Gunman ~••Lucky҉Shot••~

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    I believe they meant that 35 million people have a DS, and as such potentially have access to an R4.
     
  8. unr

    Member unr GBAtemp Regular

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    Hey, I use my R4 as an experiment all the time!
     
  9. dodol

    Member dodol GBAtemp Regular

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    why they keep "bashing" r4 ? there's alot slot 1 solution, or is r4 = cheapest solution ?
     
  10. OG LOCC NESS

    Member OG LOCC NESS GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    This is exactly what they meant.

    Also, great job on advertising the R4. Thousands of people can now type "R4" into Google and the first result strikes the flash cart website. Thanks to the ease of use described in the article, who wouldn't want to "experiment" with this?

    You guys better stock up on R4s pretty soon, it doesn't seem like this is going to end well at all.
     
  11. Costello

    Administrator Costello Headmaster

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    I believe the R4 is by far the most popular flashcart around, also one of the most easy to use. And yeah, it's very cheap so ... you get the idea.
     
  12. azotyp

    Member azotyp GBAtemp Maniac

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    I think that this coins have two edges, everybody knows that in market there are "good users" not having r4 and "bad users" having r4. But thanks to testing and revievs that "bad users" do with every game, "good users" can avoid tons of crappy games and buy that one that is worth of they money. So that "black market" is kind of good for users that dont use piracy.
     
  13. enigmaindex

    Member enigmaindex the Scarecrow

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    If i was Nintendo i would not publicly advertise saying that we have our eyes on the R4 and the flash card scene, they are just asking for people to type in R4 into google as people above said and at the end of the day less money for Nintendo. It's understandable that Nintendo has their eyes on the scene, if i was them i would do everything possible to stop these flash carts as it is illegal and ever worse it's less money for Nintendo. [​IMG]
     
  14. Rayder

    Former Staff Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

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    Out of the 8 people I know who have DS's, 5 of them have R4's. And the ones who have the R4's NEVER "buy" games.

    Those without an R4 want one.....so they never have to buy games again either.

    Frankly, if you have a flashcart (any brand) and it plays downloaded ROMs perfectly, why would you actually "buy" games anymore? I believe anyone that has a flashcart and says that they buy games that have proven to be good, after playing them on the flashcart, is lying. They just "say" that to appear to take some sort of moral high-ground and validate their use of ROMs.

    And it's not hurting Nintendo as bad as that article makes out. Ninty is currently making money hand-over-fist.
     
  15. Little

    Member Little I r Little

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    Games in the UK retail at £30 (which would be $60)... meaning value of 10 games is £300... they were still a bit off on their figure but not as much as £230 as suggested.
     
  16. xcalibur

    Member xcalibur Gbatemp's Chocolate Bear

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    this is really not smart of nintendo if they really wanted the R4 shut down
    i would shut it down without making such a big fuss aboiut it and go for the hardest approach
    it wouldnt hurt us though, itd only be a matter of time untill someone else realises that there is something else like the R4 around and they would just start selling that
    im amazed though, why would you sell an R4 instore?
    im assuming that these are gamestores and if they did that wouldnt that just cause them a loss?
     
  17. Little

    Member Little I r Little

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    Its only stores in places like Toyoko that have started to sell them. Its more likely to be small electronic stores/stalls rather than actual large chain stores.
     
  18. leetdude_007

    Member leetdude_007 Official GBAtemp Assassin That Has Never Killed An

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    They're watching.
     
  19. azotyp

    Member azotyp GBAtemp Maniac

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    Many people buyed nintendo DS because there is so many flashcarts on it,
    I myself would never spent money for ds games (if there were no flashcarts on ds, i would buy original psp games and psp of course [​IMG] , but since i like to have many games on one card (homebrew of course [​IMG] ) and dont care about high end graphic that much, ds is good enough for me).
    I think that many people over the world buyed ds , because big-N do not make War Against Piracy (like sony), but if they ever will make like games that does not work on flashcarts it will be end of they big selling of DS all over the world.
     
  20. Mars

    Member Mars Radioactive Propaganda Minister

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    That article is advertising the R4 in a way. Now people who never heard of it will probably look it up.
     

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