Private headers. Why does Nintendo allow some of them?

Discussion in '3DS - Flashcards & Custom Firmwares' started by dan0f3, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. dan0f3

    dan0f3 Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    United States
    I know they do, but why allow us to use headers that are obviously single player titles like OOT. Titles that are impossible to use online. Seems like it would be another good way for them to swing the ban hammer.

    Then they allow me to throw that single header on everyone of my 3DS roms (or the header txt that sky3ds+ uses)?

    The only thing they appear to do is check to see when the same header is being used simultaneously. 2 things must be lacking at Nintendo:
    1. A database that ties ranges of headers to the actual game
    2. A way of seeing that the same header is being used on more than one game title ID

    Anyone know why? or if it is possible that they might implement this in the future?

    It's Friday and I have always wondered this so why not share your thoughts. Better than our real jobs...
  2. gunner007

    gunner007 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Dec 31, 2013
    United States
    Possible to implement, but I imagine they ban similar to how games do.

    When Sky3DS released, Nintendo probably took notice of how the software worked and noticed all use a common header. Wait for a bit, then cast the net to catch as many as possible.
    Seriel likes this.
  3. dan0f3

    dan0f3 Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    United States
    All just interesting theory (unless someone actually knows the their limitations), but...

    I'm guessing they did not make uniquely identifiable headers that could be tied to titles.

    They could have made, for example, every Ocarina of Time (U) cartridge with a unique header that included that game/region ID.
    This would give them all unique headers that could still be identified as tied to OOT (U).

    Then they would know that a whole bunch of single player headers were impossibly online. Then the bloody crunch of their banhammer would rob many a humble pirate of life and limb...

    But wait, we would counter with using the header from the cheapest multiplayer cartridge we could buy in our region. Then use that header for all of our online roms.

    To stop us at that point, they would need another point of reference to check our headers against when we popped onto their network. Otherwise they would have to assume that we were playing the game from which the header was pulled. They may already be able to do this (It's hard to believe they would not be able to know what game was actually being played. I mean, they should be able to see which title's multiplayer network is being accessed by your 3DS/profile). But knowing which multiplayer your DS is hooked up to is meaningless if the header does not include the game ID.

    If they did this, I think they may succeed in stopping a big part of the scene (excluding CIAs as they use the 3DS hardware's header, I know).

  4. Biff627

    Biff627 GBAtemp Maniac

    Aug 15, 2015
    United States
    Youre just handing nintendo ideas xD Do you want a crap ton of people banned?
    cvskid and Seriel like this.
  5. FenrirWolf

    FenrirWolf GBAtemp Psycho!

    Nov 19, 2008
    United States
    Sandy, UT
    It's rather unlikely that they wouldn't have thought of that idea themselves if they wanted to implement it. And less likely that they're gonna browse around here and only do it because of a random forum post that alerted them to it.
  6. Seriel

    Seriel >//<

    Aug 18, 2015
    United Kingdom
    Well, I wouldn't be suprised if the nintendo employees are skulking around on here for information, but probably not.
  7. Nephiel

    Nephiel Artificer

    Nov 3, 2002
    N has plenty of means and resources to catch pirates. All they'd need to do is to make use of them.
    I think it's more like they have decided not to. It's very likely that someone up there ran the numbers, cost vs benefit, and concluded that devoting those resources to this purpose was not worth it. Maybe they think it would be bad PR. Or they don't regard piracy as a serious threat.
  8. drfsupercenter

    drfsupercenter Flash Cart Aficionado

    Mar 26, 2008
    United States
    It's definitely this. Their shareholders are the people who think piracy is a threat, not Nintendo themselves. So they push out half-baked updates to keep their shareholders happy but really they couldn't care less about piracy, they're making enough money from selling consoles as it is.
  9. YourHero

    YourHero GBAtemp Maniac

    Apr 22, 2010
    United States
    My theory is much like games all from a single PC developer, all the CD keys for their games are the exact same style. Basically all the CD keys come from the same generator. And since every 3DS game will have the same style of CD key output, they cannot detect which key belongs to what game because they are all the same string length.

    So Nintendo would need to record every game made, and their key as they go online for the first time. Say OK, this key went online with game "X" we now know it only belongs to this game. This is the only way I see private headers being thwarted. Otherwise, any header could in theory belong to any game on 3ds.
  10. Aroth

    Aroth GBAtemp Addict

    Apr 14, 2015
    United States
    Nintendo does to some of what you guys are discussion to a small degree.

    There were reports of people using private headers (i.e. a header stripped from a game the player personally own and used for all of their online roms), and iirc it was discovered that the header contains info about the chip manufacturer id (or something similar) and that Nintendo was capable of comparing it to the data in the exheader of the game rom itself (which also contained the same ID) and if they didn't match they would flag the account for a ban.

    There was also some talk of people being banned for using exclusively single player headers for their online roms, but idr if it was ever confirmed or not.

    At the end of the day, the best way to avoid a ban (and even then its not 100% safe, just that there are no reported instances of it happening) is to only play online with .cia versions of the game. Any time you play online with a .3ds rom you run a much greater risk of a ban.
    Last edited by Aroth, Mar 5, 2016
  11. dan0f3

    dan0f3 Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    United States
    Sorry for the late reply. First, there is no way that N has not thought of this header stuff and far more than I can think of. I think it is helpful for more of us to be aware of how things work so we can pull together and fight fight the next AP tactics.

    Anyway, I knew some of you already had some ideas about this.

    Totally feasible and a great response. I didn't think of that. Damn though, I don't see them making all of that effort. Especially this late in the game. They missed their chance to tie headers to game IDs and will not try to track each cartridge. Whew! can you imagine the overhead!

    Really... That's great to know. I'd not heard of this ever happening (more like what YourHero stated about each key being generic and from the same generator). Still though, it may be a better idea (for those using native roms rather than CIAs), to use a 'multiplayer' game header. More over, an OLDER multiplayer game header, because if a system was put in place to track "multi vs single player" headers and matching "Private header to game header/ID" then I am betting that they would have needed to update the way they generated headers. If you had an older title/header... they could only assume that you were playing one of those older title rather than the game you threw the header on.

    Thanks for the awesome responses folks! Informative read for sure. As I have the Sky3ds+ and can pull headers from games, think I'll pickup an older multiplayer title to pull my private header from. Any recommendations? if not this was great fun!