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Joystiq presents

90% of DS owners are pirates? Not bloody likely!

In a recent chat with Scotland's The Sunday Post, John Hillier of the ELSPA (Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) warns retailers that the R4, a popular DS flashcart capable of running pirated and unauthorized software, could ruin businesses and the gaming industry. In the scaremongering piece, Mr. Hiller throws out an unsourced statistic: "In America it's thought 90 per cent of Nintendo DS users are playing pirated games because of R4s."

90%? Considering the near-ubiquity of the handheld and its expanded casual audience, we highly doubt that even 9% of DS owners in the US have a flashcart of any sort, let alone know of their existence. Though we don't consider ourselves supporters of piracy, stating a false figure like that as fact just to rally people to his cause is unconscionable.

In a way, we kind of wish the R4 was that popular, but not for any illegal reasons -- it would likely result in more homebrew projects and a much larger homebrew audience. Mr. Hillier will hear none of that, though: "The R4 has shifted balance of power in the piracy industry to the consumer -- and that is hugely worrying. That's why we intend to stop trade in these chips wherever we can."

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Reader Comments (Page 3 of 3)

Daniel Ferguson41

1-31-2008 @ 3:02PM

Daniel Ferguson said...

I have a M3 DS Real. The perfect Bundle. I didn't buy it o pirate DS games. I bought it because a flash card allows the Ds to become possibly he best portable emulator available. Atari, C64, NES, Genesis, MAME, SNES, even SCummVM! Sure it was an added bonus that I could carry around one flashcard and have all my 20+ DS games, but I was more excited about the homebrew available that added functionality that should have been there in the first place. DSOrganize adds decent PDA features and a basic web browser that's no more crippled than Nintendo/Opera's.

Sure Flash carts allow you to pirate but most websites and communities like won't even let you talk about that or where to find roms.

Flashcards are like bittorrent. At first glance , they only seem useful for piracy, but there are many uses for both that break no laws.


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1-31-2008 @ 3:56PM

RaiDesu said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa. So this is why my R4 hasn't arrived for 10+ days? Because some little fool thinks that using DSOrganize and Colors is pirating. COME ON. Some people need to conjure up a little intelligence and research. Provide US with some solid proof, and you might not be an idiot.


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1-31-2008 @ 3:56PM

hvnlysoldr said...

In recent news the eye patch makers of America are reporting record sales.


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1-31-2008 @ 4:33PM

MidnightScott said...

I guess I'm a half pirate then?

I own 47 DS games legally. I just like to try before I buy so I don't end up with something I won't like. It's convinced me to get Mario & Sonic DS after all and helped me decide to get 10 other DS games I own. =D

I like it because of the try before buy feature but I would never stop buying games because if I just pirated them it would only hurt the industry which means less games coming from my favorite developers.

While the R4 might help people I'm sure tons of the people out there who have one don't buy the actual games. Which is why these types of devices will never be legal in the US.


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Ken Seang45

1-31-2008 @ 4:45PM

Ken Seang said...

The market is so large with the DS that the percentage of people with flashcart are relatively low.


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1-31-2008 @ 4:57PM

nunix said...

By the by, you can buy them via Amazon. They may not be mainstream, but you don't have to deal with dodgy overseas webfront companies if you don't want to, which was the only thing holding me back for a long time.


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1-31-2008 @ 7:00PM

Dan said...

honestly thats a load of crud. Im sure less than 1out of 10 DS owners even know of the R4 and even less use them. I didnt even know that such a thing existed untill now. Besides what does Mr. Hiller hope to gain by slapping a completely absurd statistic to an equally absurd claim?


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1-31-2008 @ 8:07PM

nintendo1889 said...

What about games that Nintendo never intends to release in the US? (*Cough* Mother 3 and Dragon Quest IV *cough*)! Or what about Snes games that will never show up on the Virtual Console? If Nintendo doesn't like it, why don't they do anything about it!?


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1-31-2008 @ 11:46PM

Dio said...

Nintendo is planning on releasing their own official flashcart called the DSVision, and it will allow you to play downloadable content, etc.

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2-01-2008 @ 2:24AM

raindog said...

The DSVision is by AM3 (makers of the original GBA Movie Player), not Nintendo. But it is officially licensed.

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2-01-2008 @ 2:21AM

chichi said...

my ds is usually left on the shelf if it werent for colors ds homebrew :( i use it to paint everywhere and i find it more fun than pirating games.

i do however play roms too. thats because most games i tried to buy here are either not available, or pirated (or worse pirated and overpriced- i tried to buy a kirby game that was for $50 but i saw the cover was a cheap printout!) so im not threatening the market in any way

and owning a flashcart does not make you a pirate, my friend only uses hers to go on msn and as a personal organiser.


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2-01-2008 @ 6:07AM

Frastoglegnia said...

Huge companies use piracy as an excuse to quash user-generated content. They scrutinize the model of the web -- free exchange -- and soil their stat sheets.

An R4 can be used for ROMs, but its redeeming purpose in a democracy is to act as an open access channel. People who develop free games in their free time free of restrictions and publish their work on the web deserve console access, and people who want to play those games deserve access as well, which flashcarts provide.

Other media have done this before, minidisc being the most egregious offender. But for its need to control content, Sony could have owned the portable recorder market in the period between DAT tape and portable hard disc recording. Instead, it chose to shackle users and strangle the format.

Huge record and game companies aren't merely protecting their own games. They're also trying to limit user choices of other available game. This decision is as ruthless as it is conscious and we shouldn't stand for hypocrits who want to limit access to products in the name of possible abuse. Ridiculous, to ban sudafed for everyone because some people choose to run meth labs. Hunting down meth labs themselves ought to be enough.


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2-01-2008 @ 9:35AM

Matdredalia said...

I own an R4, but I'm the *only* person I know who does (and I know LOTS Of DS owners). I got mine because I'm a Homebrew enthusiast. No, I don't program (yet), but I am absolutely fascinated by all the nifty little things that DS users have come up with. I mean....MSN Messenger...on the DS...brilliant (I can IM people from my toilet now (^-^)!~)

Fact: this man is a twat who doesn't know what he's talking about.


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Fire Storm54

2-01-2008 @ 10:40AM

Fire Storm said...

i have a flash cart and the majority of my friends do, and pretty much every other person ive met with a ds have a flashcart


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2-01-2008 @ 2:03PM

Collin said...

Well said and good points. I have no idea how much money I've spent on gaming over the years, but it is my one vice. No drinking, drugs, smoking or buying time with "pros." But gaming. Good grief. And not just the DS. Most of what I buy game-wise is pre-owned just because I can't afford to buy everything I want to play new, and I don't want to pirate games. Give me a legal option that satisfies my gaming Jones without breaking my wallet and I'll take full advantage of it. I've made use of VC, XBox Arcade and Playstation Network. Make something like that for the DS and I'm there.


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2-01-2008 @ 2:10PM

Collin said...

And that was supposed to be a reply to ALH's comment (#35 on pg 2). Not sure what went wrong there.

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Jonah Falcon57

2-01-2008 @ 3:00PM

Jonah Falcon said...

The article states that 90% of pirates use an R4, not 90% of DS owners are pirates.


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2-02-2008 @ 2:09AM

raindog said...

No, the article literally said "90 per cent of Nintendo DS users", not "90% of pirates."

And the ELSPA is backpedaling like crazy now.


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