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Nintendo: R4 Cartridges Caused 50% Euro Sales Drop
Nintendo: R4 Cartridges Caused 50% Euro Sales Drop
April 20, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

April 20, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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    12 comments
More: Console/PC



Game piracy chips like R4 cartridges are to blame for a nearly 50 percent drop in European software sales in recent months, Nintendo claims.

R4 "flash carts" allow users to download and play pirated Nintendo DS games, although a report in Japan's Asahi Shimbun points to a larger issue with "magicom" (magic computer) devices that enable users to pirate console software in general.

Nintendo says it loses trillions of yen a year thanks to software piracy, while according to the report, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the devices are so prevalent that users commonly don't feel they're doing anything wrong.

The company reportedly found 238 million occurrences of software piracy during June 2009 alone, simply based on its monitoring of 10 overseas websites that enabled users to download games illegally.

In January, analysts like Wedbush's Michael Pachter and EEDAR's Jesse Divnich specifically noted the impact of piracy on Nintendo DS software sales, particularly in Europe, and both analysts felt the increasing losses would be a key figure motivating a hardware redesign. Nintendo is at work on a new portable, the currently-titled 3DS, although details on the hardware itself are few.


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Comments


Andrew Vanden Bossche
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How does piracy account for such a sudden rise in piracy? They say in the same report that these devices are so prevalent users don't feel like it's wrong, but all of sudden everyone in Europe started using them more? "Why now?" sounds like the real question here.

R G
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@Andrew---Agreed. R4 is really only good for emulators and homebrew games, some of which are really creative. It's a neat outlet really.

Joe McNeely
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Well if Nintendo made it possible for users to put multiple DS games on one catridge I think they wouldnt' have this problem. Give the users a way to do that legally and guess what...they just might do it. (not all of them but a few will)



A portable device shouldn't require a backpack to lug games around in. I don't always feel like playing one specific game, my choices changes just like my mood.

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Daniel Lam
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It's weird... they say they found 238 million occurrences of piracy. But of those occurrences, how many of them would have legitimately bought the software in the first place if piracy methods were not accessible to them?



If a crappy game is crappy, I wouldn't buy it. But if they gave it to me for free, I might try it out, but wouldn't seriously play the game.



I do find it sad when I see a little kid playing Zelda on his DS, and can see the cartridge is an R4.

Chris Melby
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I was given a R4. I put SCUMM VM on it to play old games like Monkey Island -- which I own, because it was obvious that Lucas Arts would never release these games on the DS.



(What's his name flat out LIED about why they would not work, while being completely ignorant about the fact that SCUMM VM had already been ported to the DS.)



Anyways I buy all of my DS games. The carts are tiny enough, that if I do go some place that I'll want my DS handy, having a few in my pocket are no bother.

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Joe Lagomarsino
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The good old one download equals one lost sale argument.

Zenas Bellace
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it sounds better to tell investors that it's piracy then its a failure on the companies part to provide it's customers with an incentive to buy. ;)

Rodrigo Cordeiro
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@Daniel Lam

I totally agree with Daniel Lam, infact for sure most of the downloaded games were not a sale of the game. But the solution is simple. Pokemon Gold and Silver give more then just a game, The Pedometer that comes with it is impossible to "download". Why not include in the cartrigde of the game sensors like, movement, light (already tried), etc and other things to make it worth buying.

Tim Haywood
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Don't Nintendo know that most (if not all) European countries are currently in or trying to recover from a recession. A couple of years ago, lots of money was being lent to people who spent it on luxury goods like DS games and consoles. But now people are in too much debt, or are just unable to shell out cash as readily because of economic decline.



Today, people are more likely to spend less than the price of a game on an R4 cart, and use bit torrent to download a couple of thousand games.



(Irony on) It keeps the kids quiet in the back of the car, and it doesn't cost the earth, and its not really stealing because its off the internet right? (irony off)



WRONG. Its stealing, people who pirate roms on an R4 are thieves. There is no justification for this kind of theft.



But, piracy is not killing the game industry, as someone has already said piracy has been with the game industry for years, its a poor global economy that is affecting the sales figures.

R G
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I don't believe it's piracy if I've bought the game before, such as Monkey Island, or developing indie games for.


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