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Nintendo: Piracy 'Heyday' Could Be In The Rear View

Nintendo: Piracy 'Heyday' Could Be In The Rear View

January 26, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

January 26, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Nintendo is implementing increased anti-piracy measures for its upcoming Nintendo 3DS handheld -- "one of our best pieces of equipment in that respect," according Nintendo UK general manager David Yarnton. He believes that better protection methods and more consumer awareness are having a real impact on the overall piracy problem, too.

Nintendo, logically, hasn't enumerated the technical specifics of its anti-piracy measures. But, says Yarnton to CVG, "There are a lot of things we've learnt over time to try and improve the security and protection - not only of our IP but of our third-party publishers' IP as well."

As Yarnton goes on to explain, tech is only part of the anti-piracy equation; consumer support for the idea of intellectual property and governmental willingness to act on IP rights issues are key tools. And these, too, are improving and evolving, believes the exec.

"...On a global basis many countries and governments are recognizing that the IP of creative industries and such needs to be protected," he says -- noting that it's always unwise, a "red rag to a bull" to claim that any system is uncrackable, as it just tempts challengers and risks protection efforts.

Respect for the industry and its works as a factor in anti-piracy should not be minimized: "People are aware that video games, music and movies make massive contributions to the economies of countries," he notes.

But despite his caution for making vaunted safety statements about either the 3DS or the game industry as a whole, Yarnton does believe it's possible the most virulent days for piracy could be in the rear view now thanks to the evolutions in protection and enforcement.

"I think perhaps there's been a 'heyday of piracy' and we've now seen a lot of rules come in to stop it," he says.

Last year saw a number of high-profile anti-piracy victories for Nintendo, particularly against the notorious R4 cards on which a community of homebrew developers and software pirates alike relied to copy DS games. Notably, R4 cards were ruled illegal to import, sell or advertise in the UK last summer, just after a significant Dutch court win against online retailers who sold R4s and similar mod chips.

"This now makes a precedent that potentially in the future it won't be a viable thing for people to do," says Yarnton.

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