Few portable gaming consoles have ever been as popular as the Nintendo DS. Leading the industry in sales, the original DS, as well as every interaction of the gaming console since, has dominated the markets. From flexible design, customization, and great game selection, it is easy to see why so many people go for the DS.
Beyond all of these reasons however, the Nintendo DS offers a select group of people a number of additional options that have companies and governments concerned. By using a storage card with customized firmware and software, there is the fear that games can be easily pirated. Lets take a look at these cards, and see the fear behind their use, as well as whether or not they are legal.
Portable Storage Cards for the Nintendo DS
Storage cards include models like the R4 Card, including the r4 3ds, r4i sdhc and r4 ds cards. In addition to these models, there are a number of other distributers and products currently on the market. These cards are essentially blank slates, that can be programmed to interact with the Nintendo DS to perform a number of different duties. Whether it is allowing for mp3s to play over the DS or providing the template for e-books to be read, the software can make pretty much anything possible.
The Fear of Piracy
One thing that is possible with these cards is to download illegal copies of games from online, and then run them through the cards. While the number of people doing this has never been documented, there exists a real fear among game designers and politicians that the sale of these cards will lead to rampant piracy.
So, Are R4 Cards Illegal?
Yes and No. In the end, it depends on where you live. If you live in the United States, then R4 Cards are legal. This includes all models currently out. You are not allowed to use them to pirate games, and it is up to individuals to police themselves. In other countries, this is a different story. In Japan and the UK, R4 cards are illegal. In both countries, legislation was passed to ban their use, for fear that they would decrease sales of games. Whether or not the number of games purchased would decrease is up for debate. In the end, more time is needed to study gaming piracy to see if there is any link between R4 cards and illegal games.