Piracy drive threatens Nintendo DS

The R4, a flash card device that allows DS owners to run third party software and copied games, has attracted the attention of

The Times

, which claims that its rising popularity threatens DS software sales this Christmas.

The R4 has been available online for some time, but its popularity has grown meaning that as well as an increased presence online the device is also now showing up on the High Street. Its sale is currently not illegal (though its use is) meaning some outlets are openly advertising it, though are at the same time refusing to clarify any details about the device.

The R4 package, which retails for between 20-30, constitutes a cartridge-based programme that slots into the DS’ Game Boy Advance slot and a flash SD card, onto which copied games can be transferred, that inserts into the DS card slot.

Game ROMs, digital images of the code included with any given game, can be downloaded onto the SD card and then played on the machine.

The Times claims that: In the hands of the 35 million DS users around the world the R4 chip has the potential to deal a heavy financial blow to Nintendo and to the dozens of software developers that make games for the machine.

Some believe the R4 may have the same disruptive effect on Nintendo’s business model as early music file-sharing sites such as Napster had on the record industry.”

A Nintento spokesperson told the paper: We are keeping a close eye on the products and studying them. But we cannot smash all of them.”

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