While Nintendo has taken the close-mouthed ‘Giving anyone information is giving the pirates a leg up’ approach to anti-piracy measures in their new 3DS system, one can make some pretty reasonable conclusions at their probable approach. Come with us through prediction lane, with some hard facts from the past to back things up. You’ll see that the future of the Nintendo 3DS as far as piracy is concerned is likely already set in stone.
It doesn’t take more than a few seconds of looking into the matter to know that piracy is serious for the hand-held console industry. The DS is facing a serious slump in sales. Despite the fact that the primary technology for pirating games for the DS was rendered illegal in courts, access to piracy is still rampant and has a low-barrier to entry. Without an efficient legal punishment mechanism, the actual illegality means nothing.
Likewise, Nintendo’s attempts at combating piracy by preventing it directly have had mixed results at best. The most effective results have been from the game coding side, where certain games are programmed to cease running on a pirated system. This, however, can be mistaken for a bug in the actual game which sometimes turns consumers off to products. While the actual profits lost from all this are questionable, one must still note that the hand-held game sales are dropping substantially year by year recently.
So what does all this mean for the Nintendo 3DS will be trotting out soon? It means that Nintendo has taken a much harder stance against piracy in the very design structure of their hardware. The 3DS has additional anti-piracy measures built right in that some brag to be utterly uncrackable. It’s likely to be a new or little-used technology rather than a rehash of an old trick, based on claims of the sophistication of the anti-piracy measures being such that the feature is actually difficult to describe in simple terms.
Based on the past history of gaming, one can presume that any anti-piracy features short of a constant online checking system a la Steam will be futile in the long run. This seems supported by Nintendo’s very reluctance to talk about the feature’s technical details in the first place. However, it may be that the company can manage to stall long enough for people to get tired of waiting for their favorite games to get cracked. And if they do that, the industry wins.
The final verdict is that if you had to bet, bet on the pirates. But with Nintendo upping the ante, the 3DS has a better chance of making it than anything else we’ve seen so far. Whether that will be enough is something we’ll all have to wait to see.
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All the best!