Japan Bans R4

Bowing to a request from Nintendo, the government of Japan has outlawed sales of the R4 flash cart, reports PocketGamer:

Among other uses – some of which are legitimate – the R4 allows the playing of pirated games on the Nintendo DS handheld:

To be fair to Nintendo, one of the most prominent uses of DS flash carts is indeed piracy, though such a ham-fisted pursuit of a device that’s also used to unlock the console’s potential won’t do it any favours in the technophile arena.

And right now, cutting off a passionate hardware customer base (on the dawn of a new system release) isn’t a particularly wise move for a games system that, it has to be said, is wilting in the sun of a changing industry.

We’ll have to wait and see how this Japanese ruling affects the rest of the world, but for the time being Japanese DS gamers are going to have to look elsewhere for their homebrew DS apps.

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  1. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Thats a problem with  copy right it monopolizes distribution and ownership to the point even legal owners are on shaky ground.

    Until the media maifa understands its place is with society  and not over it and focuses on profits made from and not mere distribution of information I dismiss most copy right claims as unjust, unfair and malcontent of the people of the world and the rights they have under their societies…


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.


  2. 0
    Tammej says:

    I own a card much like this, and a used DS. Guess what – I own only two DS "games": My Japanese Coach and Brain Age. I have no interest in any other DS games. I just don’t care for them. They’re too childish. It’s like the game library is either for kids, or just plain not good. There are exceptions, but I’d rather play games on a home console.


    So why the R4-type cards?


    Because a "real" Ebook Reader is ridiculously expensive, and using this card, I can carry as many ebooks I want – in cleartext – whereever I go, and read them, flipping pages with one hand. It has good backlight, too. 

  3. 0
    sheppy says:

    Ummm, what?  That’s like saying Microsoft should kill XNA because they have Live Arcade.

    Homebrew =/= Official Development
    The requirements needed to achieve official developer status on a Nintendo platform are insanely high.  DSi has solved nothing with the homebrew "problem."

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  4. 0
    catboy_j says:

    Without reading through every comment in the article. I do want to point out that yeah the R4 is used primarily for illegal purposes. And The things it allows users to do like play music and browse web are doable through nintendo put out products.

    But the nintendo products that get put out are pieces of shit. The browser costs 60 dollars with limited functionatly, and the mp3 player is the same, and neither can be found easily in Game stores. I mean it’s kinda like nintendo is about putting out inferior high priced products and then not expecting something like this to exist?

    Plus not all roms are illegal. Not all roms are of games available in the US widely or at all. Same with movies and animes to an extent. Why you would want to watch a subtitled movie on a 1 and a half inch screen, or a movie nintendo put out on it I don’t know though.

    And as for legal things with primarily illegal purposes. Alchohal isn’t exactly known for brining about world piece. Gambling has always been known for its’ highly underground buisness aspects. Guns can be used for self defense and hunting but many times people just use them to kill other people. I mean I have a knife, and I use it as a screwdriver most of the time, My brothers friend has a knife and he pulls it on people regularly to threaten them.

  5. 0
    Zen says:

    My wife wants the Jurassic Park light gun one ( no CLUE as to where I would fit that monster in the house) and I would enjoy the old Star Trek Voyager one too.  Both of those aren’t available for any other system sadly (even though they would make great Wii games now). I love the Marvel VS. Capcom games, but I got those on Dreamcast and use the same controller as I do for my arcade games, so I just play those.  I don’t think I’ve played the Aliens vs. Predator arcade game though.  I’ll have to look that one up sometime.

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  6. 0
    Zen says:

    I just dropped the cash online to order an R4 or myself in order to write up and article/editorial on my own site in regards to the good uses this type of device allows VS. the already stated bad ones (ROMS…I’m looking at you….).

    Just in the past few hours after hearing about this I’ve found some amazing homebrew games and applications that I want for my DS that made the 23 bucks I spent on it more than worth it.  One of them, titled "Color!", lets you use the DS touch screen and it’s ability for limited pressure registry to create drawings just like you would with a normal stylus and pen-pad like I do on my PC.  That’s not "stealing" any games from anybody…it’s just adding a new feature to something I purchased that will be used and helpful to myself during the day.

    From what I can see, people will program for just about ANYTHING they can get their hands on.  The DS is one of the mostly widly spread game systems in history, so people will have it readily available to see what they can do.  Heck, people used to program whatever they could on a calculator just to say they could do it.  And yes I’m aware that some people ripped off Pac-Man on them as well.  But you can’t punish the ones that are using this as a proper tool to co-exist with the games they already purchased, just to get at the ones that wouldn’t have bought the game in the first place if they are so into stealing the ROMs just to see what they can do. 

    I’m not a saint though.  I have arcade ROMs that I play using my X-Arcade sticks with friends like the old X-Men arcade game or the Simpsons one because there is no other way to get those games, short of buying the arcade cabinet, legally. But I do have a Double Dragon machine in the dinning room…so maybe someday I can get one too, who knows.  And if the option, be it in a game collection, XBLA/PSN/Wii download, or some other way to play it legally comes around, I will replace it with that version. 

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  7. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Gee why not focus your efforts on getting the games to the people in the easiest and cheapest means avalible so you can make a profit off it…instead of infringing on the rights of the consumer… Nin is making the situation worse but not making a basic plug and play and portable VLC kit.

    Oh and I got a R4 pro so I can play my GBA games on the DSlite….which I am still thinking about trading in for a DS large…. and the 32GB SD card works well as a USB thumb drive as well.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.


  8. 0
    Calling All Humans says:

    I think the logic behind this is all wrong. Think about it. Who is Nintendo to say? It’s like saying oh, we should have bland dvds because people prirate movies. There is example after example. Nintendo are so anal about their rights I want to vomit.

  9. 0
    sheppy says:

    Actually, yes you can.  In fact, this is precisely the reason why the DMCA is so hotly contested.  Yes, you CAN use a mod chip to steal games, but I had a mod chip and over $800 in PS2 import games.  Using the wording of the DMCA, companies were able to get Modchips to become illegal in the US.  Sad but true.  The weak arguement of "that’s what this is for" allowed that law to pass and R4 being illegal in the US isn’t news since it’s BEEN illegal for it’s entire lifespan.

    So why is this important?  Apple going after consumers jailbreaking their phones, Verizon threatening to cut services for unlocked phone users, etc.  It’s the same thing as R4.

    Now, you CAN argue there is some stipulation in your warranty that you agree not to use such devices.  That’s a cute arguement.  However I could sell you a pack of gum with a note attached that states "You hereby agree not to chew this gum while walking at the same time" and have just as much legal weight as that slip of paper in your DS game case.  Just because someone says what you can and cannot do, doesn’t make it the law.  In fact the ability to modify consumer goods has been successfully legally protected since the birth of the patent system.  And the ability to "backup" any media good purchased is, in fact, your right no matter what Nintendo says.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  10. 0
    insanejedi says:

    "Unless you are one of those idiots who actually believe that EULAs are good for the consumer, in which I’d feel sorry for you, your argument is wholly without merit."

    I think the term Idiot would be offensive.

  11. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    I am having trouble finding an actual "Terms of Service" or "Terms of Use" for the DS. I downloaded the manual from the Nintendo of US website and all it had in there was a Warranty clause that stated that the warranty is invalid if the product is used with any hardware not licensed by Nintendo.

    Nothing in there stating that it is illegal to mod the DS.


    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  12. 0
    insanejedi says:

    Please, where here to have an arguement not go down to personal attacks over something as stupid as buisness politics.

    Did you read the TOS of the DS? Did you read it at all? It’s debated that hardware makers can tell you what you can and cannot do with what you purchase, but it’s not impossible for a company to sue you (sucessfully I might add) that you are using a device that is not to their agreements. Thats why you get cese and disist orders in the mail when they find our you are doing something questionable with their product.

  13. 0
    SounDemon says:

    Uh, yes you can reverse engineer if the item in question is obtained legitimately; you just can’t make a COPY of it. It’s called COPYright law for a reason.

    "Reverse engineering software or hardware systems which is done for the purposes of interoperability (for example, to support undocumented file formats or undocumented hardware peripherals) is mostly believed to be legal, though patent owners often contest this and attempt to stifle any reverse engineering of their products for any reason."


    "There should be a TOS or Terms of Use in your manual saying what you can and cannot do with the DS."


    Let us replace some of the words in your sentence.

    "There should be a TOS or Terms of Use in your manual saying what you can and cannot do with your PC (such as install linux)."

    "There should be a TOS or Terms of Use in your manual saying what you can and cannot do with your car."

    There should be a TOS or Terms of Use in your manual saying what you can and cannot do with your TV."




  14. 0
    insanejedi says:

    There should be a TOS or Terms of Use in your manual saying what you can and cannot do with the DS. It’s not true that you can do whatever you want with a device. For instance, you cannot reverse engineer anything you purchase that is not the patent itself for the product. So I cannot take apart a nintendo DS or a Nikon Camera to see how it works.

  15. 0
    SounDemon says:

    Guess what?

    You are not sold a "license to use" a console, and it would not be held up in court for a microsecond.

    Do hard drive makers sell you a license, telling you what you can and can not put on it?

    Do car makers sell you a license saying that you aren’t allowed to change the mufflers or sound system in it?

    When you sell someone a copy of a physical good, IT’S THEIRS TO DO WITH AS THEY PLEASE. They bought a physical item and the manufacturer gets to fuck off as to what the consumer wants to do with it. Such as, oh, I don’t know, FIRST SALE DOCTRINE.

    Contracts are used mostly by companies to cover their ass, not to be dicks and say "Fuck you consumer, you may not mod this copy of Doom."

    Unless you are one of those idiots who actually believe that EULAs are good for the consumer, in which I’d feel sorry for you, your argument is wholly without merit.


  16. 0
    insanejedi says:

    That’s all grey area though, and that is why there was a Betamax Case in the first place. These things aren’t black and white, if it is we woulden’t need courts, lawyers and lobbiests in the first place. If the issue is big enough it gets solved in court and that is exactly what happened here.

  17. 0
    SounDemon says:

    As far as I and all other consumers are concerned, we did NOT "purchase a license" to use the product, we BOUGHT it. We did not drop a hundred and thirty bucks for a glorified rental, and anyone who says so should be shot.

  18. 0
    SounDemon says:

    Read the Betamax case.

    Would you object to the idea that using a TiVo violates copyright and you should be thrown in jail?

    The idea in the betamax case whose argument I will display here, is that the R4 has "significant non-infringing uses". You can use it to play videos, hold pictures, and play music, as well as run DS homebrew software like NitroTracker or Moonshell. I have always been supportive of homebrew and believe that anyone who wants to write software for their portables should have the right to do so.

    The PSP also has a great homebrew community, and produces gems such as iR Shell and a port of Cave Story for PSP.

    This is somewhat like modchips. Yes, they can be used to play pirated games, but they can also make your Xbox a Media Center or Linux Computer; and they can make your Wii a Media Player as well. To state that the R4, and by extension modchips, is only for Piracy is disengenuous, misleading, and untrue.

  19. 0
    insanejedi says:

    Your not getting the point of mine. The internet is not used by most people as a illigal tool. And I don’t know if it is your right to actually rip games onto a storage device. Have you looked at the manual for the DS? There should a legal agreement or something in there. Because in actuality, you might have paid $130 for the LICENSE to use the product.

  20. 0
    sheppy says:

    Well by that logic, ban teh internetz.

    I’m the last person to defend pirates.  In fact, I’d like to punch them in the mouth for how badly they’ve ravaged the PSP console.  But I also have a hacked PSP, and R4, and a preorder on a Wiz console from south korea.  I am a primary user of homebrew however if I’m going on a long trip, I will load up a stick with games I rip just to carry one card instead of 15-20.  And truth be told, it’s my RIGHT to do this.

    Why?  Well, unless Nintendo starts GIVING me the DS and the Games with rules I agree to for free, of course, I will still operate under the general assumption of "I handed you $130 for this, what I do with it beyond that transaction has fuck all to do with you."

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  21. 0
    TardisChan says:

    Not the original ones – the people behind it seem to have disapeared and haven’t updated the firmware for almost a year now. (Although someone else has been producing unofficial firmware.) Knockoffs are available – however some have been reported to brick DS’s.

  22. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    I don’t own a DS.  I don’t dig handheld gaming.  I didn’t know that the DS Lite is the same price as a DSi with 1000 free points and a ton of apps and I find that quite hard to believe but don’t really care enough to verify.

    I also don’t know for a fact that the R4 doesn’t work with the DSi but it wouldn’t surprise me.  In fact, it would surprise me if it did.

    I also hadn’t heard that the DS Lite had been discontinued.

    But none of that really matters.  My original post was not a matter of me taking the comment personally; I was merely expressing my surprise at the author’s choice of phrasing.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I wasn’t even saying the comment is wrong, just that it’s not how I would have phrased it based on sales.


    Andrew Eisen

  23. 0
    sheppy says:

    DS sales are quite strong, but break it down between DS Lite and DSi and DS Lite is dropping rapidly.  There is a reason.  For the same price of a DS Lite, in Japan, you can buy a DSi with 1000 free points, a ton of free apps, etc.  Why anyone is buying a DS Lite in Japan is a mystery.

    Now look at the R4.  The device is locked out of the DSi, so it simply cannot be used there.  Now look how Nintendo has officially "halted" the R4 device on a console who’s sales will actually dry up.  And yes, I do say dry up because according to many sources, DS Lite is discontinued in Japan.

    The quote in question is they DS Lite is rapidly wilting.  You may love the DS Lite and I like mine as well, but when the company is pulling stock from the shelves and it’s replacement isn’t an extra $40, liking the console has fuck all to do with it’s rapid wilting.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  24. 0
    sheppy says:

    Folly, or previous support against such a device.  The Japanese government gave an inch and now Nintendo, and any other maker, can actively target that mile.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  25. 0
    jsutcliffe says:

    Nobody seems to have mentioned that the R4’s sales are the ones "wilting in the sun" — it has been superceded by more capable cards (e.g. with support for SDHC), and I believe there are already flash card devices available for the DSi.

    Nintendo is making a useless gesture — unless they can call on the govt. to ban all devices of this type, it is folly to target a single manufacturer/product.

  26. 0
    GTCv Deimos says:

    I’m not condoning pirating…

    But still… when you’re that successful, trying to crack down on those who are slipping through the cracks just seems needlessly greedy.


    Also, thanks for labeling your post as "sarcasm." I totally never would have figured that out had you left it blank…

    /sarcasm… or was it!?!? 😀

  27. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    well, they are suffering. Instead of being able to buy all the execs a Gold plated Ferrari, they can only get them gold plated Corvettes.

    But I agree. Just because they are not suffering financially, that does not mean they should not be able to stop piracy of their products.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  28. 0
    sheppy says:

    That is the hilarious part.  The consumer base for Nintendo Consoles barely know they can hook up to the internet, let alone functions like a R4.  This has to be hitting a very small percentage of their base and yet they are the most actively vocal about it.  Then again they’ve been fighting importing games for as long as I can remember.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  29. 0
    Zerodash says:

    I just love how most people who are pissed about this pretty much never used the R4 for homebrew.  Seriously, who actually owns one of these and doesn’t pirate games? 

  30. 0
    insanejedi says:

    Not for Wii’s. But I have seen PLENTY and I mean PLENTY of people with R4’s and bootlegged games. Remember that British Woman who called the DS the "nintendo"? She got the DS with 150 something games, there was no conformation on whether she did have an R4 or not, but I can gaurentee you they were not 150 regular cartrage games.

  31. 0
    sheppy says:

    *points at map*

    Here you can clearly see Japan is noticably absent from the western territories.  Specifically the regions that the NPDs refer to.  Whereas over here, where Japan is currently located, is the Media Create number territories where DS Lite sales are dropping like a prom night dress.  Of course when DS Lite is competing with DSi at the same price unlike other regions, it’s not hard to guess why DS Lite sales are in rapid wilt mode.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  32. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "[This] isn’t a particularly wise move for a games system that… is wilting in the sun of a changing industry."

    *Looks at NPD numbers*

    Wilting in the sun, you say?


    Andrew Eisen

  33. 0
    MaskedPixelante says:

    It’s like swatting flies with a rocket launcher. They’ve already hampered the use of the R4 by making the DSi incompatable with it, and now they’re banning it. What’s next, inspecting private property to make sure they don’t have an R4, and then following their purchases to see that they never get one?

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  34. 0
    insanejedi says:

    You can’t use that logic because the R4 mainly exists for illigeal purposes for people. Cars, Cameras, clocks, and locks are all used primarly for ligitmate purposes to people. Kitchen knives and utility knives are not illegal because they are tools, however switch blades, butterfly knives and constant companions are restricted due to their concealability, and purpose. Those knives exist to HURT people whether in self defense or on offence, thats why they are regulated.

    Take guns for instance, hunting rifles and semi automatics have primary purposes that are ligitmate such as hunting, marksmanship, and sporting, but fully automatic rifles are banned because of their inherent use primarly used as a weapon to hurt other people.

    If the R4 is only being primarly used by people to illegally pirate and play games, then it should be banned as it is harming the industry more than it’s helping with ligitmate uses.

    How do people decide if a device is primarly used illegally? Thats what courts are for.

  35. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Cars should be banne.d They aren’t always used for illegal purposes, but it’s possible.

    Knives should be banned. They aren’t always used for illegal purposes, but it’s possible.

    Cameras should be banned. They aren’t always used for illegal purposes, but it’s possible.

    Clocks should be banned. They aren’t always for illegal purposes, but it’s possible.

    Locks and chains should be banned. They aren’t always used for illegal purposes, but it’s possible.


    Basically the same logic is being applied.

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