Nintendo cripples DS’ R4 piracy threat

Nintendo has revealed a major breakthrough in its fight against the pirate cards that are wrecking DS software revenues – as online giants Amazon and eBay finally agree to prohibit the sale of the devices.

The illegal cards, which include the notorious R4, allow pirates to download DS games via their PC and play them on the handheld.

MCV first drew attention to the R4 crisis in July last year, when leading publishers declared that the device was seriously hurting sales of DS software.

Independent retailers pledged to stop selling
the card as a result, but eBay and Amazon continued to allow consumers to offer the product through their respective marketplaces.

However, in a major blow to the manufacturers of the cartridges, both sites this week told MCV that they had changed their policy to support the format holder.

Nintendo is pleased with the co-operation it has received from both eBay and Amazon to prevent the sales of game copying devices,” Nintendo of America’s global head of anti-piracy Jodie Daughtery told MCV this week.

Nintendo has been aggressive in curtailing the sales of these devices on a global scale, from manufacturers in Asia to internet webshops and retail operations across Europe and the UK.

Since January 2008, Nintendo has coordinated over 560 actions and confiscated approximately 411,000 game copiers. In the UK, Nintendo collaborates with ELSPA and takes independent actions. Over 225,000 devices have been seized by authorities in 170 actions since 2008.”

An eBay spokesperson added: eBay prohibits sellers from listing any hardware or software that allows people to make unauthorised copies of copyrighted games, including the R4 DS cards, and we are taking steps to remove the few listings found on the site.”

And Amazon UK’s games director Chris Poad commented: As you know, Marketplace items are sold by third parties. We have a ‘notice and take down’ process at Amazon. So where a third party believes that their IP has been infringed, they can highlight it and we can take it down. This is what happened in the case of the R4.”

MCV reported last week that display advertising for one card had appeared on social network Facebook. MCV has contacted the site for comment.

Late last year, MCV revealed that the new DSi was incompatible with R4 cards. However, since then new devices, including the R4i, have been built for use on Nintendo’s updated handheld.

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