After the Nintendo DS came out, something delightful for those who owned the DS and very nightmarish for those who developed games for the DS emerged. Formally known as a Nintendo DS storage device, the R4 Revolution DS Card, or simply known as the ‘R4′ allowed millions of gamers worldwide to go to websites such as RomUlation to illegally download the newest games. The chip is set up in a way that pretty much anyone can download games, music, and even videos to play, listen to, and watch on the Nintendo DS.
The R4 and other forms of the DS storage devices wreaked havoc on game sales particularly for Nintendo’s DS games. Games like the newest version of Pokemon, Mario, Zelda and other ‘hot’ games were readily available after a couple of days after their release on the Internet. “It’s a blatant exploitation of our work and the money that goes into all this”, scorned a representative of Nintendo. All the downloads worked perfectly, there were no restrictions nor exact punishments for those who pirated the games. Connect the chip to the computer via printer or other device, download, open, move the files, pull out the chip, return it into the slot located back in the DS, and play. Simple.
The only cost to the DS owner is the chip itself for as low as $12, which obviously does not equal to a sum of perhaps $60 for several DS games. Of course, the ‘paradise’ for Nintendo DS owners slowly faded away.
Nintendo, Square Enix, Capcom, and other game companies started to crusade against these storage devices starting in Japan. In an almost, easy legal ‘battle’, Japanese courts in 2008 ruled that the R4 chip and similar devices were illegal in the nation of Japan which quickly clamped down on the quiet, back-alleyway sales of these chips in the Japanese gaming market.
However, these game companies couldn’t take the law to the world where approximately more than 90 million owned a DS, DSL, or DSi. Around late 2009, regular visitors to downloading sites such as RomUlation were surprised to discover that their downloaded games suddenly “froze”, “gave an error”, “didn’t work” past a certain point in the game, or simply didn’t work at all. It was to the dismay of many who relied on downloading games to play them, that Nintendo and other game developers put in anti-piracy into the games, so if that the files for the games were downloaded something would go awry for the downloader.
Individuals determined to get their games started to ‘patch’ the anti-pirated games and even provided new versions for storage devices so the downloaded games, regardless of the integrated anti-piracy program, would work for those who downloaded them. Although download results became less satisfactory, thousands of downloads on popular games still continued. Lately, RomUlation, one of the most popular sites for individuals wishing to download Nintendo DS games rendered all DS games non-downloadable in response to a “request”.
The website states “The goal of RomUlation has always been to provide users with an opportunity to try out games in order to determine whether it is a game worth purchasing or not. We have always respected when publishers or developers tell RomUlation did more harm than good to the sales of their product.”
RomUlation continues, “The owner of this game contacted us with concerns that our service was doing more harm than good, so as per our goal and beliefs we have complied with their request ro remove their intellectual property…this current covers ALL of the NDS games and is permanent.”
Apologizing to its visitors RomUlation stated that they “understand that this may frustrate users who were looking for new games to test but we hope you also understand that this is both necessary and in accordance with our beliefs.” Downloads for Game Cube, Dreamcast, and other devices are still available on RomUlation.
Although Nintendo DS games are not downloadable on this popular site, there are still a few other reliable sites besides RomUlation to provide pirated games to millions such as NDSUniverse which had lately surpassed RomUlation in providing better, patched downloads.
Nintendo and its fellow companies still have a long fight ahead.