John Hillier, manager of the UK's Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association's intellectual property crime unit, believes that up to 90 percent of Nintendo DS owners in the U.S. play pirated games.
Hillier also fears that a similar level of widespread piracy could spread in the UK, where ELSPA supports the police in cracking down on software piracy.
Speaking to the Sunday Post, Hiller expressed concern
in particular about the Chinese-made R4 chip that enables users to play downloaded DS games. UK copyright and patent laws make it illegal to sell the R4 chip or to download games using it, punishable by fines or two years' jail time, Hillier said.
"Takings from Nintendo DS games in the US are lower than any other console and no doubt it will have a similar impact here. That's the real danger -- you may think you're getting a good deal, but using the R4 is risking the future of the games industry," Hillier concluded.
He added: "Crucially, 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."
: Speaking to UK site GamesIndustry.biz, ELSPA has distanced itself
from the comments, suggesting that a genuine conversation with Hillier on the availability of the R4 cartridge in the UK did take place for the article, but explaining of the controversial comments:
"The quotes from The Sunday Post were ascribed to his name from another article which originates from a website in Singapore. This, it appears, is where The Sunday Post first found out about the supposed R4 situation and for some reason unknown to John have quoted him on what this article said."]