An official with ELSPA
, the European game publishers' trade association, has told a U.K. newspaper that 90% of American Nintendo DS owners are believed to be using a Chinese-made copyright-cracking device known as the R4 (left).
In an interview with the Sunday Post
, John Hillier, who manages ELSPA’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said:
Legitimate business is at serious risk from the R4... It gets around the protection built into the Nintendo DS to prevent playing of unauthorised games. The R4 in effect blinds the console and makes it think it’s seeing a genuine game. Trading standards and police are finding these devices in raids on people who sell pirated games...
The implications are massive. In America it’s thought 90 per cent of Nintendo DS users are playing pirated games because of R4s. Takings from Nintendo DS games in the US are lower than any other console and no doubt it will have a similar impact here...
The R4 has shifted balance of power in the piracy industry to the consumer — and that is hugely worrying. That’s why we intend to stop trade in these chips wherever we can.
According to the Sunday Post, the R4 sells for about £40 in the U.K.
While I don't doubt that the video game industry has legitimate concerns about the R4 (see video below), the 90% figure cited by John Hillier is absurd on its face.
Seriously, does anyone really believe that nine out of ten DS users are jumping through these hoops
with their handheld? This comment, posted on Next Generation by a reader, pretty well sums it up:
NINETY percent? As in a nine followed by a zero? I find that number completely impossible to swallow. That means MOST of the little kids out there who got a DS for Christmas immediately went online and bought a chip.
Stake out the Wal Mart or Target near your home, and take note of how many people buy a DS in one day, now try to imagine nine in ten of them even knowing what an R4 chip is. Doesn't work for me.
ELSPA is really overreaching in their bid to sensationalize this R4 boogeyman. I support their efforts to ensure that developers get paid for their games, but I suggest they make up a more believable statistic next time.
I'm also wondering why ELSPA, which represents the European game industry, is issuing statistics on alleged American piracy. Why wouldn't this "information" come from the ESA? Why wouldn't ELSPA issue a percentage that relates to European use of the R4?
Early this morning I sent an e-mail to the ESA requesting clarification on this issue and will update the story when they respond.
Via: Next Generation