Users who have attempted to use a specific 3DS flash card device have been left with a permanently broken console.
A thread on the gbatemp forum, as spotted by Eurogamer, reports that users of Gateway’s 3DS flash card, an accessory designed to allow the playing of homebrew (read: pirated) code on Nintendo’s handheld, have run into trouble when trying to use it for a region-free hack that was recently discovered and distributed online.
It is claimed that a recent firmware update to Gateway’s card introduced a “kill code” that triggers if a user tries to tamper with Gateway’s files – something that is required when trying to introduce the region-free hack.
Once non-Gateway verified code is detected on the device it permanently corrupts the 3DS’ internal memory, with Nintendo the only company able to salvage it.
Gateway has said that the issue only occurs when people use its card with launcher firmware from other sources – such as the aforementioned region-free patch.
It added that it has warned against such activities in the past and is therefore arguing that it is not liable. Instead it has vowed to add a region-free code into its own software in the future, although that is of little help to those left with a broken machine already.
Indeed, said users have been left aggrieved with Gateway, saying that the use of mechanism deliberately designed to brick a machine is “unethical” and goes far beyond any anti-piracy measures Nintendo itself has ever used.
Gateway’s device if of course illegal, so Nintendo’s willingness to help may be limited.