Piracy has always been the bane of almost anything that is media-related, and this is especially so for game consoles. However, THQ is quite confident that the new anti-piracy feature built into the upcoming 3DS will change the game in their favor on the war against piracy.
Read on to find out more.
When it comes to games, nothing can ruin a developer’s day more than the dreaded word known as piracy. After all, it is common knowledge that most console manufacturers (namely, Sony and Microsoft) usually use a tactic in which the console is sold at a loss to entice consumers, while they attempt to make up for the deficit through game royalties.
The only exception is Nintendo, which sells their consoles at a profit to ensure a steady flow of revenue, but to say that piracy does not affect Nintendo greatly would be to miss the point. While Nintendo may not need to rely on game royalties to make up for losses like how Sony and Microsoft do, such royalties still take up a sizable portion of their earnings, and piracy is usually the fastest way to wipe out a whole chunk of cash that rightfully belongs to the developers and the console makers.
Unfortunately, Nintendo’s consoles are popular with pirates, and this is especially true for the its handhelds. Unlike disc-based media used in the PSP, Nintendo had persisted in using game carts for its handheld consoles, and as a result, games can be easily copied from the game cart to another medium via a ROM dump and subsequently played on an emulator or on Nintendo’s own console (via a flash cart).
And while the current DSi had been able to lock out most of the flash carts currently used for older generations of the Nintendo DS console, the fact remains that such anti-piracy measures can still be eventually cracked by determined hackers have made console makers equally motivated to introduce tougher, more robust anti-piracy measure in their gaming machines. Which is apparently what Nintendo had done with the still unreleased 3DS console.
According to Ian Curran, VP of global publishing at THQ, the 3DS has a new anti-piracy feature which is built into the console, thus making it much harder to run pirated games on the system.
“The problem with the DS market in the last few years, particularly with the DS Lite, is that it’s just been attacked by piracy. It’s made it almost impossible to shift any significant volume. The DSi combated it a little bit, but the 3DS has taken that a step further,” he said in an interview with CVG.com.
He also added that it was the rampant piracy on the older DS and DS Lite which hindered THQ’s ability to publish more games for the platform. And in many ways, he is not trying to pull a fast one: the problem was apparently so bad that the Japanese government had to place a ban on flash carts after they effectively killed off revenues for publishers.
Curran, however, was unable to provide any details about the 3DS’s built-in anti-piracy features, saying that it was too complex to be explained, even by Nintendo’s own staff.
“I actually asked Nintendo to explain the technology and they said it’s very difficult to do so because it’s so sophisticated,” he continued. “They combated the piracy on Dsi, which they don’t believe is cracked yet – but they know they’ve been hurt across the world and they believe the 3DS has got technology that can stop that.”
While that may be true, we cannot help but feel that the real reason Nintendo declined to elaborate on the feature was more to protect the code from hackers wanting to release a working crack on launch day. But that will be purely speculation on our part.