Piracy is too mainstream

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Sinkhead, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Sinkhead

    Sinkhead yay p1ngpong.

    Former Staff
    Nov 22, 2006
    Across the pond
    Although I cite GBAtemp a lot in this article, these are my own views. Not GBAtemp's. Not the GBAtemp staff's.

    I know that I am part of the problem I am about to describe.

    The slot-2 years
    To start, think back to the second half of 2006. Slot-2 flashcarts were still the only good method of pirating on the DS. To play a game you needed 3 pieces of equipment: A memory card, a slot-2 flashcart, and a PassMe or NoPass.

    Then, on August 10th 2006 at 04:44 PM GMT, GBAtemp announced the first major slot-1 flashcart, the DS-X. It seemed like a perfect solution (GBAtemp gave it 9/10 in their review, the score has since been altered). Many people didn't see the point in upgrading at that point in time, mainly because of the price, but it truly looked like DS-X was a revolution in DS piracy. In the first few months after it's release there were plenty of updates fixing both ROM and homebrew compatibility, as well as adding functionality. The skinning engine is the most complex I have seen in a flashcart, everything is customizable, and the LEDs are just cool. The built in media player has potential and although it was fairly slow at first it seems to have improved, so all in all the DS-X was a really good cart for it's era.

    Shame it didn't last.

    Firmware update 1.1.2 (third release) was the last one to ever see the light of day. And in the massive gaps between firmware releases for the DS-X, DS piracy continued as normal. Well, that is until...

    The release of the R4
    The release of the R4DS wasn't hyped. It wasn't anticipated, in fact, it came out of the blue, practically from nowhere. Then, once the GBAtemp review was released, things started to happen. Within months it was 'the' DS flashcart, it had 100% compatibility, clean ROM support, skinning support, regular firmware updates, and a huge community. Real shops started to sell the R4 and the market created sheerly through word of mouth started to overwhelm the supply. For months the R4 was out of stock everywhere. N00bs started to create threads on Nintendo's own official forums. This, I believe, is where it went too far. My aunt has heard of flashcarts, she asked me if I knew anything about a P4 for the DS, something to play free games on. I, of course, told her all I knew, so I am really a dirty hypocrite. Estimates for the percentage of people who know about DS flashcarts vary, but I believe at least 50% of DS owners would know what a flashcart is. This is too much for me...

    Reasons for Piracy
    So why do people pirate? It sounds obvious, but there are many reasons. Of course, the obvious one is to save money. Some people pirate games because they are sick and tired of Nintendo's policy of shafting Europe and Australia, we hate the fact that games cost twice as much here as in the USA and are released months or years after. People who would have bought the game find out that it is already released in another region and instead of importing it at an exorbitant cost they simply download and play it. Some people do it simply out of convenience, even if they have the money to buy the games they won't because they don't need to go to the shop to pirate a game. Using Usenet, I can have the newest release playing on my DS within 2 minutes of me finding it in the search results. If I actually buy it, I have to get ready to go out, get the bus into town, wait in the queue in Gamestation, hand over my hard-earned cash then wait for the bus back again. Which would you choose?

    Now, Nintendo and other game companies try to combat this problem by making piracy harder, but that's not the thing they should be focussing on. They should focus on the root of the problem, the fact that games, in most parts of the world, are too hard to buy. They should be trying to make it easier to buy games, more accessible, more fun.

    What Nintendo could do
    These are just some quick ideas of how Nintendo can actually compete with piracy.
    • Make games approximately the same price around the world, it's only fair, right?
    • Release games at the same time around the world.
    • Make games easier to purchase, an official flashcart maybe? I know there's already been one released but I haven't heard anything about it. I would say it's too little, too late.
    • Support homebrew from the beginning, officially.
    Now, I understand that my arguments are probably flawed, incomplete or broken and that my solutions may be worse, and it doesn't help that I assist people pirating games every day, I just want to express my annoyance at how mainstream piracy has become today.


    (and thanks for reading [​IMG])

    (and please don't be mad, WildToushi [​IMG] )
  2. JPH

    JPH Banned

    Jul 11, 2006
    United States
    That is true. Piracy is becoming easier and more people are doing it (for the DS, at least).

    I don't think there is much you can't do to prevent piracy from being so easy and mainstream. If there was a solution, Nintendo would have thought of it by now!

    You make WildToushi proud! [​IMG]

    Nice article [​IMG]

    BTW, wasn't the DS Linker announced before the DS-Xtreme?
  3. gimlianon

    gimlianon Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Canada, eh!
    I completely agree with you. I remember the days when I could amaze and astound my friends with talk of getting games for free. They'd all be like, "Wow, you are teh computar genius!!!" I liked the feeling of superiority honestly. But nowadays, everyone and their dog knows about flashcarts and piracy and whatnot. But it wasn't just the free games that drew me. It was the homebrew, development and technological stuffs that also made me interested.I know it sounds kinda greedy, but I liked the scenes (DS and others) back when they were more exclusive. The communities seemed more tightly knit. They were the good ol' days. [​IMG]
  4. Sinkhead

    Sinkhead yay p1ngpong.

    Former Staff
    Nov 22, 2006
    Across the pond
    I agree totally, it's bad for everyone when piracy is nearly mainstream, including the pirates.
  5. xcalibur

    xcalibur Gbatemp's Chocolate Bear

    Jun 2, 2007
    Sacred Heart
    I think that even if Nintendo tried anything possible, there would still be a massive pirating community and I do believe that Nintendo's efforts are well spent in trying to make piracy harder.
    Becuase face it, not all of us can go out and buy a game that you really want.
    Some of us can only afford 2 or 3 games at most a month (even if they make it cheaper). Even I used to be stuck on a budget of 40 quid a month for games. Would you rather spend it on a handheld game, as great as it may be, or buy yourself a fully developed nextgen console game with more than hours of content?

    The main problem I think you're talking about is the popularity of NDS flash cards. When your aunt knows about something like that you know its exploded but there's nothing we can do about it now...
  6. pasc

    pasc GBATemps GBA Freak

    Sep 9, 2006
    I totally agree.., hearing noobs screaming around that they are too dumb / lazy to figure stuff out themselves makes me sick.

    Nice one Sinkhead, I sugg3st sticking it.

    BTW: why is this weird message tree there and not the old style ? I hate it to have to click to be able fo read one message.
  7. Vater Unser

    Vater Unser GBAtemp Addict

    Oct 28, 2004
    Gambia, The
    Pen Island
    Notice how many people here actually buy great games (like Zelda, Mario Galaxy, SSBB) ?
    Problem solved.
  8. Extreme Coder

    Extreme Coder GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Nov 25, 2005
    Cairo, Egypt
    Nice article sinkhead, it was enjoyable to read [​IMG]

    Heh, you guys should come to Egypt one day, piracy here is a NECESSITY to be able to play games. In all of Cairo, the capital of Egypt, there are less than 10 shops that carry a Nintendo DS/Lite, all of them overpricing it like hell( I bought mine for $250 ), and with no/1 game available (usually SM64DS, selling for $90).
    I hope you aren't expecting me to import every single game I want :/ Now, if Nintendo actually fixes its situation in the Middle East and Egypt, where I can buy a DS/DS2 for its price like anywhere else in the world (ok, maybe a _little_ bit more [​IMG] ), and its games are available for the price between $20-40 then I would drop piracy.
    But since that isn't going to happen, I will just keep pirating as long as I have to :/
  9. xalphax

    xalphax Internet killed the Ponystar.

    Nov 18, 2006
    piracy has been a problem since gutenberg invented the mechanical printing, and most likely long before.

    there is no way to stop it completely, but one can take right and wrong measures against it.

    right: go down with the price, release more demos, deliver quality.

    wrong: go up with price (to invest in "copyprotection" which doesnt protect) and sue your fans and customers like there is no tommorrow.

    just a few thoughts....
  10. Renegade_R

    Renegade_R Audio/Video Expert

    Apr 21, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    sinkhead, you are on the exact same wavelength as myself. The worst part of piracy being mainstream is that since Nintendo knows this is a major problem, the next itteration of their handheld will not only be impossible (or very complex) to pirate, it will be much more expensive hence being counter productive to what you have been saying. I feel really bad that piracy has become so mainstream that this little 'hobby' of ours has moved all the way to the n00bs and even official Nintendo eyes.

    I can't really blame the R4 though...this was never their intent...it just happened to be their lucky day.
  11. TaMs

    TaMs Randomizer

    Nov 15, 2006
    The price differences comes with taxes. Usa don't have some random taxes or they are lighter than in EU.
    And about the homebrew. If you enable homebrew you kind of allow one way for pirates/hackers whatever to takeover your console. Like with psp it started with harmless hello world.

    Anyway good article. And i'd personally like to have the same release date for games all around the world.
  12. diablow2000

    diablow2000 Newbie

    Oct 17, 2006
    United States
    Nintendo should make their own flashcard, or release a new DS with integrated memory, and release games through internet. Games would be cheaper to publish (no need for expensive cartridges), and more people would choose to buy official games, rather than download pirated copies, especially when you could get the game right after release - no need for waiting, while it comes to your region, or your local rom site.
  13. Sinkhead

    Sinkhead yay p1ngpong.

    Former Staff
    Nov 22, 2006
    Across the pond
    I thought about the homebrew thing in depth before I wrote it. I figured that most consoles so far have been hacked at first to play homebrew. If homebrew support is native, there will be less people wanting to hack the system.
    I know there are problems with this argument, but that was my basic thought.
  14. budrow66

    budrow66 GBAtemp Regular

    Jun 1, 2007
    United States
    I agree Sinkhead. There is another view on this.
    I personally know 6 DSL owners that would not have even bought the DSL
    if they had not heard of and planned on buying a flashcart at the time of purchase.
    So if I had a product someone could hack my software but still had to have my
    hardware to do it, I would keep my mouth shut as much as I could so the whole world didnt
    find out and put out newer prettier hardware as to appeal to more folks. Like Crimmson and Cobalt.
    Odd maybe but makes sense to me.
  15. tjas

    tjas The Gbatemp HRManager

    Sep 10, 2006
    The son of my neighbor even has an R4!! but he did not update it and a lot of games failed to work [​IMG] So I hope that we have to do one big update on the flashcards, and the noobs that don't know that think its broken [​IMG]
  16. GH0ST

    GH0ST Your Hero is a Ghost

    Dec 17, 2006
    I was here... before...
  17. SimpleSimon08

    SimpleSimon08 Advanced Member

    Feb 3, 2008
    Great post Sinkhead, I think for me the issue is cost versus quality, how many of us have downloaded a game tried and thought "Christ! I'm glad I didn't part with my hard earned cash for this trash" and then immediately deleted it? IMO games are too expensive per se and publishers can be greedy, how about some multi-region budget games like the Japanese Simply series.

    Interesting idea to have an official flashcard and I guess then we could purchase and download games which could be subject to DRM much like Apple have done with iPod games, which are again overpriced trash.
  18. heat6jones

    heat6jones GBAtemp Regular

    Jun 7, 2007
    United States
    Last generation, for the first time, I purchased all three consoles, and the main reason was because of piracy. Usually I was only able to buy one console, because the games are so expensive, so i lacked the resources to buy all the systems. Now I can spend the money I save on buying games on buying other systems. So, piracy results in me investing less (nothing) in the third party companies who make games.

    But overall, I am putting about the same money back into the economy. I buy more consoles, more hardware for consoles, i buy media top put my games on, and paying for high speed internet is quite costly.

    If I had the money to buy all the games I wanted, I would. Usually when I get giftcards I'll use them to buy a game or wiipoints. And when I renew my Nintendo Power subscription, I'll always look for a package renew with a game with it.

    But unless you're pulling in about 40,000 US dollars or more a year, it's just not really possible to pay for these games as much as we play them. And then some of you are all little children who probably shouldn't be on the internet anyway, but obviously you guys can't buy many games with your parents money.
  19. leetdude_007

    leetdude_007 Official GBAtemp Assassin That Has Never Killed An

    Nov 25, 2006
    United States
    I'm guessing nintendo is going to move to the playing field of online distribution with a variety of anti-piracy tools in their next handheld. I hope they support the homebrew scene while they're at it.
  20. iNFiNiTY

    iNFiNiTY GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Apr 18, 2004
    i was going to write a response about how its funny someone who joined in 22-November 06 is annoyed by how piracy is too mainstream, but i see you said at the top you are part of the problem heh.

    its not just the ease of the method which has made it popular its the increasing knowledge of the internet by regular people where the information/hardware/software to pirate is available, every generation of consoles has bought increased piracy