Nintendo has announced that it has won a considerable amount of damages in its continuing legal battle against R4 sellers. In a statement released today, a Tokyo court ruled that two major R4 distributors must pay Nintendo and 49 other Japanese gaming companies – Square Enix, Capcom, Konami, amongst others – a total of 95,625,000 yen, the equivalent to $944,966.25 US dollars.
The lawsuit has been an ongoing battle against the pirating of games which infringes Nintendo and other companies’ intellectual property rights. Last year, government officials in Japan banned the use of R4 devices – more commonly known as flashcarts or flashcards – which are used to store pirated software and emulators for the Nintendo DS and 3DS. In the past, Nintendo has cracked down on piracy overseas as well, and has incorporated piracy bans on such devices within Australia and Europe. The company has also said they will continue to fight against the piracy battle in their official statement.
Nintendo has urged the U.S. Trade Representative to put pressure on countries where pirating of its video games are rife. Nintendo says that its suffering huge losses due to the increasing amount of online piracy. The company also says that it wants certain file sharing websites to be blocked so that consumers can’t get hold of the downloadable games so easily. Nintendo will also pursue criminal prosecution against those who pirate games or facilitate copyright infringement.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has announced that R4 cartridges – which allow users to play pirated games – are now strictly prohibited by law. R4 cards have already been banned in the United Kingdom and France where they became immensely popular. It seems as though Nintendo lead the cry for the importation of R4 cards to be banned in Japan.
The sublime Super Mario Galaxy 2 has taken the accolade for most pirated Nintendo Wii game of 2010 according to TorrentFreak with over 1,470,00 downloads served.
1: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (May 2010) – 1,470,000 downloads
2: Wii Party (October 2010) – 1,220,000 downloads
3: Donkey Kong Country Returns (November 2010) – 920,000 downloads
4: Kirby’s Epic Yarn (October 2010) – 880,000 downloads
5: Red Steel 2 (March 2010) – 850,000 downloads
Online gaming publication CVG is reporting that the Nintendo Wii is the most pirated games console with an incredible 25,770 torrents, versus 24,240 torrents for ‘PlayStation’ and 24,108 for Xbox 360.
PC: 113,624 available torrents
PSP: 31,742 available torrents
Wii: 25,770 available torrents
PS3: 24,240 available torrents
X360: 24,108 available torrents
DS: 18,714 available torrents
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told investors that the company can’t solely blame poor software sales on rampant piracy.
“I do not think we should attribute bad software sales solely to piracy”
“It is true there is always the influence of piracy, but it is important for us to increase the number of our consumers who are willing to shell out their money to purchase our products. So, we do not intend to think that slower sales are solely due to piracy.”
- Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has stated that the Nintendo 3DS will feature automatic firmware updates to continuously provide new features to the console and also thwart the rampant piracy that had plagued the Nintendo DS.
“The main thing we want to do is offer players new features whenever possible.”
- Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata
Nintendo have taken further steps to reduce piracy on the Nintendo DSi by providing a firmware update that effectively blocks the majority of flash carts that are readily available for the popular handheld.
The 1.4.1U update provides a number of system related fixes but according to numerous gaming publications the firmware update goes one step further and prevents the use of unauthorised flash carts.
Nintendo have informed games developers that their anti-piracy measures for the 3DS are extremely sophisticated.
Ian Curran, THQ’s executive Vice President of Global Publishing, has been informed that the piracy prevention methods for the Nintendo 3DS are extremely sophisticated in comparison to the Nintendo DS.
“The problem with the DS market in the last few years, particularly with the DS Lite, is that it’s just been attacked by piracy. It’s made it almost impossible to shift any significant volume. The DSi combated it a little bit, but the 3DS has taken that a step further. I actually asked Nintendo to explain the technology and they said it’s very difficult to do so because it’s so sophisticated.”
- Ian Curran, THQ
Nintendo have made significant steps in cracking down on Nintendo DS piracy by hiring Warner Brother’s anti-piracy group.
Nintendo will now be putting more pressure on rogue retailers who sell Nintendo DS flash cards in stores by hiring the ex boss of Warner Brother’s anti-piracy group Neil Boyd.