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Print 31 comment(s) - last by NoCashBob.. on May 8 at 2:33 PM

Nintendo DLC now pirate booty

Even the current generation of consoles is not immune to piracy. The Wii especially is a big target for pirates, thanks to a large user base.

Just months after the launch of the Wii in November 2006, crafty developers had created a modchip that allows the console to run bootleg game copies. Nintendo responded by making its hardware more difficult to interface with modifications, though not impossible.

Up to this point, however, most piracy occurred on the physical media level. Pirates would create near-duplicates of retail discs.

The latest development is now in digital downloads. Last month, the console hacking community successfully extracted Wii Virtual Console titles. Through the use of a special WAD packer that would make the Virtual Console download installable on a Wii that did not originally purchase the title.

The ability to rip and install Virtual Console titles led to the latest effort this month to bring WiiWare titles onto unauthorized Wiis. Thus far, only a couple of WiiWare titles from Japan (a ping pong game and Pokemon game) have been ripped and released on the Internet.

With the use of a patching tool, the Japanese WiiWare titles are made playable on North American Wii consoles.

While it’s safe to say that most of the recent Wii hacking will lead to piracy of paid downloads, a segment of console modders will put their efforts towards homebrew applications. In fact, modders have posted a YouTube video showing off an early version of a homebrew channel that could run applications such as ScummVM.



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A Shame
By littlebitstrouds on 5/6/2008 10:08:33 AM , Rating: 0
Consoles are becoming so computerlike, it's so tough for me not to want to use their power for other applications. Sometimes it's just a shame that you can't do certain things with them without also crossing the line of piracy. I loved modding my PSP to use Homebrew applications, but it also sucked that it voided my warenty because it also allowed me to play downloaded games (never did). Funny, as a kid I always thought the postal service owning your mailbox, or the phone company owning your phone was insane, it seems now Consoles are reaching that point. Like, oh no your PS3 isn't yours, it belongs to Sony, you're just leasing it for the lifetime of the original owner. Don't put it in your will and they'll come knocking for it later.




RE: A Shame
By mmntech on 5/6/2008 10:34:36 AM , Rating: 3
Funny you should mention the PS3 given that it's the only seventh generation console that openly allows you to run homebrew software on it. That being Linux.

Legally, the hardware is yours once you buy it. Sony, or Nintendo, or Microsoft isn't going to send guys to repossess your console if you do something with it they don't like. It's the software (including firmware) that's not yours. Under the DMCA, it's illegal to circumvent copy protection. That's why modchips are technically illegal. Even though they are a hardware mod, they are used to circumvent DRM. Custom firmware also falls under this category.

Game piracy, in my opinion, is still a relatively minor issue, particularly on consoles. I don't think it warrants the attention it has been getting as well as the severe restrictions the legal end user is now stuck with. Arguably, it's this fear that's killed PC gaming. Stardock proved that restriction free PC games can be viable for both gamer and publisher/developer. I don't buy the argument that developers are loosing money left, right, and centre from piracy alone.


RE: A Shame
By MrBlastman on 5/6/2008 10:45:06 AM , Rating: 5
PC gaming isn't dead, at least the last time I looked.

Hmm, I spend 95% of my gaming time on PC (and NOT in MMO's), 5% on consoles. Doesn't sound too good for the theory that PC gaming is dead.


RE: A Shame
By LatinMessiah on 5/6/2008 1:43:50 PM , Rating: 4
I'm an equal opportunity gamer. I play on both console and PC the same amount of time, just so one doesn't get jealous over the other.


RE: A Shame
By sprockkets on 5/6/2008 10:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Starcraft 2!!!!

Somehow I think the world will end before it comes out :(


RE: A Shame
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2008 9:23:43 AM , Rating: 2
That would send ripples throughout spacetime and possibly cause a wave function collapse on the universal superstring itself - potentially ending everything in existence almost instantaneously.

To think of the implications would be catastropic.

I suggest Blizzard go ahead and publish StarCraft 2 ASAP to prevent any possible catastrophe.


RE: A Shame
By robinthakur on 5/7/2008 6:35:39 AM , Rating: 2
Clearly you represent all gamers since they must all think the same as you and certainly wouldn't each have differing opinions...

Personally, I think pc gaming is sadly nearly dead, it just doesn't know it yet. Its not a good sign when EA stops releasing major games on PC, even though everybody seems to hate them. The last major release I was aware of was Crysis, and that sold disappointingly. Apart from brag factor, I think the market for ultra high end graphic cards seems a bit pointless for the majority of people especially in some of the crazy triple/quad SLI configs these days. What do you play on them? I'm reminded of how arcades' popularity faded quickly once consoles surpassed them graphically...

The ease of piracy combined with more technical target audience, the range of differing hardware specs to support and the associated increase in testing time, the lack of success of Vista/dx10, not to mention the increased functionality of modern consoles means that its simply not in the interests of profit to continue to develop, and as noble as development studios are, they will go where the money is. A good example of this is COD4 where nearly everybody plays a cracked version on multiplayer.

Another very influential step that some do not pick up on or choose to acknowledge is Nintendo's success targetting non-gamers which has got alot of publishers/developers looking away from hardcore gamers.


RE: A Shame
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2008 9:26:36 AM , Rating: 2
EA are just a bunch of profit hungry whores who care nothing about the gamer. Shame on you as using them as a reliable indicator as to the state of the industry - when they themselves can't even produce a non-steaming pile of crap from any IP they acquire.

I guess you forgot to notice how well that little thing known as the Orange Box sold... But wait, that is Valve, not EA. Oh no!

I'd love for you to substantiate your claim that COD4 is mostly pirated. I think you're wrong. The people I know whom have it all paid for it.


RE: A Shame
By StormEffect on 5/6/2008 10:45:32 AM , Rating: 5
PC Gaming hasn't kicked the bucket yet.


RE: A Shame
By Omega215D on 5/6/2008 1:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks to games like Half-Life, Orange Box goodies, COD4, various RTS games etc.

Only idiots make the claim that you have to spend $2000 for a gaming rig. Now I sit and wait to see if Rockstar brings GTA IV to the PC.


RE: A Shame
By onwisconsin on 5/6/2008 2:32:17 PM , Rating: 2
You'll probably spend that much ($2 grand) for the full experience, in HD, for a console system


RE: A Shame
By Pirks on 5/6/2008 6:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
PC Gaming hasn't kicked the bucket yet
Too bad Cevat doesn't agree with ya :P

http://www.pcplay.hr/modules.php?r=23

"Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we wont have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future."


RE: A Shame
By EricMartello on 5/6/2008 10:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
Game and software piracy has existed ever since there were games and software. What's labeled as piracy today is really no different than what people have been doing all along with regards to games. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was common to swap game cartridges with your friends...sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently. You may not have had the "license" to do so, according to the publisher, but really, who cares? If some misguided politicians pass legislature that was pushed forward by self-serving corporate interests, it may give said corporations a legal shield but it does not make the act of sharing media wrong.

The only piracy that should be considered a crime is piracy by definition - when you steal something and resell it or otherwise profit from it. Piracy can also include unauthorized duplication of electronic circuitry that is sold at a lower price than the product it was copied from. Happens all the time to companies who outsource their manufacturing overseas. That aside, merely sharing games and other media to make them more accessible IS NOT piracy, and has never had an adverse effect on any industry.


RE: A Shame
By Locutus465 on 5/6/2008 10:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know if that's quite good enough... Frankly, not paying for something you need to pay for, i.e. going to a download site and downloading WiiWare with out paying for it also needs to be just as illegal. What you describe is basically shop lifting should only be illegal if you turn around and sell your stolen goods. Problem is the store you're shoplifting from loses either way, so why should it only be illegal if the theif is trying to profit from the theft?


RE: A Shame
By robinthakur on 5/7/2008 7:10:44 AM , Rating: 2
Traditionally law enforcement has only gone after pirates when they try to make profit out of said warez. The alternative to this is to go after end users, which while arguably far more effective is not really logistically possible without criminalising the majority of the population. I don't think that piracy of digital content can be considered the same as shop-lifting. It is at the same time not as serious (in the cconventional sense) and also far more serious in terms of loss of revenue. Despite the general sentiment on here against piracy, the real-world numbers would paint a different story


RE: A Shame
By JustTom on 5/6/2008 11:38:21 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with your analogy to cartridge based games is that a cartridge could only be played on one console at a time. Digital copying removes that restriction.

quote:
The only piracy that should be considered a crime is piracy by definition - when you steal something and resell it or otherwise profit from it.


By definition copying of software implies profiting since you get the value of using the software without incurring the cost of purchasing it.


RE: A Shame
By Shawn5961 on 5/6/2008 2:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
By definition copying of software implies profiting since you get the value of using the software without incurring the cost of purchasing it.


I have to disagree with that. Yes, in some cases, what you stated is true. In the case of making a backup however, you're not using the software without incurring the cost. Yet under some definitions of copyright law, it is still considered to be illegal.


RE: A Shame
By afkrotch on 5/6/2008 4:12:02 PM , Rating: 2
Copyright Act allows you to create an archival backup. The problem is the DMCA of 1998 that came into play for software. It states that you can make a backup while you are maintaining or repairing your machine, but after that is done, you have to destroy the copy. What would be considered maintaining?


RE: A Shame
By BarkHumbug on 5/7/2008 7:50:04 AM , Rating: 1
As any person who built his own computer I'd say my computer is under constant maintenance. ;)


RE: A Shame
By JustTom on 5/7/2008 2:14:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'll concede your point on making personal backup copies. However, I don't really think that is the major problem.


RE: A Shame
By afkrotch on 5/6/2008 3:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Game and software piracy has existed ever since there were games and software. What's labeled as piracy today is really no different than what people have been doing all along with regards to games. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was common to swap game cartridges with your friends...sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently. You may not have had the "license" to do so, according to the publisher, but really, who cares? If some misguided politicians pass legislature that was pushed forward by self-serving corporate interests, it may give said corporations a legal shield but it does not make the act of sharing media wrong.


Sharing the original hard copy of the game with a friend is not piracy. Me taking the original hard copy of the game, making more hard copies of it and giving it away is.

Me sharing the original hard copy of the game with a friend, them installing it onto their computer and using a crack for the game, and then giving me the hard copy back would be piracy.

quote:
The only piracy that should be considered a crime is piracy by definition - when you steal something and resell it or otherwise profit from it. Piracy can also include unauthorized duplication of electronic circuitry that is sold at a lower price than the product it was copied from. Happens all the time to companies who outsource their manufacturing overseas. That aside, merely sharing games and other media to make them more accessible IS NOT piracy, and has never had an adverse effect on any industry.


Huh? Do you understand what piracy even is? Here is the definition, since you don't seem to understand.

quote:
Main Entry: pi·ra·cy
Pronunciation: \'pi-r?-se\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural pi·ra·cies
Etymology: Medieval Latin piratia, from Late Greek peirateia, from Greek peirates pirate
Date: 1537
1: an act of robbery on the high seas; also : an act resembling such robbery
2: robbery on the high seas
3 a: the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright b: the illicit accessing of broadcast signals


Where does it say that you have to resell it or profit from it to be considered piracy? It doesn't, it's simply just you stealing the item. Duplication of someone else's property and distributing it for free does affect an industry.

If I buy a copy of R6: Vegas 2, make a copy and share it out to the world for free. Then 200,000 ppl who were looking at buying the game, decide to download it from me instead. You telling me this wouldn't affect the company? At $50 a copy, that's $10 million dollars lost.


RE: A Shame
By mars777 on 5/6/2008 3:47:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Then 200,000 ppl who were looking at buying the game, decide to download it from me instead. You telling me this wouldn't affect the company? At $50 a copy, that's $10 million dollars lost.


It's not quite lost, because they didn't get the money yet in the first place.

It's a loss of possible profit. If nobody bought the game except you then it would not be a loss ayway :D


RE: A Shame
By afkrotch on 5/6/2008 4:33:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's a loss. They gave the game out expecting money and if they didn't get the money, they lost it.


RE: A Shame
By Shawn5961 on 5/6/2008 5:57:00 PM , Rating: 2
That's not technically a loss. It's failure to produce revenue, not negative revenue.

To put it simply, by your reasoning, when I play the lottery, if I expect to win and don't, I am still legally entitled to the money.

In the sense of software companies, that's like saying, "Hey, five people bought this, but twenty should have, so we need that money." The big problem in the whole situation being that there was no money to begin with.

One thing companies never learn. Just because somebody downloads a pirated copy of something, doesn't mean they would have spent money on it if it wasn't available for free download.


RE: A Shame
By robinthakur on 5/7/2008 6:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
I also beg to differ. The way you have construed it is incorrect and I don't think that all the recent claims by music companies etc that they have tangibly lost money from piracy can have any credence unless its in a market like say, China where the originals are not obtainable freely. How on earth can you prove that the people pirating the work would actually pay money for it if they didn't rip it off. Maybe people are just more discerning about what they pay for now?

When you pirate lots of things (like everything you play, listen to or watch), the value of each item naturally drops, after all you go it for free and you start acquiring stuff you might just play once then delete or archive to media and never touch again. This has happened and is happening across the world for more than a decade and has led to a general devaluation of music, games and movies in the minds of the consumer. It has nothing to do with the individual's ability to pay for the item. In the UK newspapers have started to give away cds and dvds with some editions for 'free' (e.g. Prince's last album) and this has a similar effect. A not inconsiderable amount of people have not bought a music cd since the mid-90's when mp3's became commonplace, and generations after mine might never by one. Ever. People are also used to getting content free through their experience on the internet where alot of things are still free.

Therefore, whilst its unquestionably wrong, criminal and unlawful to pirate content, putting an actual figure on how much piracy is detracting from revenues is all but impossible because the attitude of the public to paying for content has fundamentally changed in the last 2 decades. This is one reason why Nintendo (to name but one) is successful, because it spreads its net wide and targets people to whom piracy is still not common-place. The Wii has been modchippable for a while now, yet piracy is not big on it which tells you everything you need to know.


RE: A Shame
By inperfectdarkness on 5/6/2008 6:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
i personally don't have a problem with the virtua console. yes, portability with SD would be nice...but then it becomes impossible to keep cloned copies from being dispersed. besides, with a nintendo.com account; your purchases are permenently logged in their server. so if you ever upgrade, swap out, etc...they know you've already bought and paid for said games.

no you can't input games from an SD card. i had my wii sent in for warranty work--and it required customer service to replace my wii points so that i could re-download the games. only your game SAVES can be put on an SD card--iirc.

geez, ppl. with ps3 games selling for $60, why do people feel the need to pirate games which all cost $10 or less? seriously, if there's ANYTHING to be upset with nintendo about--it's that they don't release these games fast enough on virtua console.

nuff said.


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