Nintendo’s attacks against anything capable of copying a video game are not just a historical curiosity. The company, along with the rest of the video game industry, continues to sue these copying devices to this day. The most recent lawsuit is against the R4, a Nintendo DS cartridge that fills many of the same purposes as the old Game Boy Advance flash cartridges. The device bypasses the protection on the system and uses a micro SD card to run pirated games, homebrewed games, or anything else capable of working on a Nintendo DS system (playing music, programming, etc.). Despite being fully aware that the device skirted the edge of legality, Japanese retailers continued to stock and sell the device to high demand (while explicitly not explaining what the device does). Of course, Nintendo was not happy about this state of affairs, and proceeded to sue the companies that make and distribute the device. 54 other software companies joined the lawsuit.
Under the precedent set by the Game Boy Advance flash cartridges these devices are probably illegal. It is easy to see why the video game industry wants them off of the market. However, the consumer base clearly loves these devices. The R4 apparently sold very well in Japan, and with the lawsuit the price of the device skyrocketed (see another article linked from this one). Consumers seem to believe that there exists plenty of legitimate uses for the R4, not just playing old, illegally obtained games. Consumers write homebrew applications that allow the DS (and also the PSP, although this is not the subject of the lawsuit) to do an incredible number of things. The author even notes that he has meet people who jumped into game design by learning on hacked DS’s and PSP’s.
Clearly, the consumer base enjoys using the R4. And while Nintendo might be perfectly within their rights to stop them, it could create massive ill will. Being told that all of the hard work you put into a homebrew application that you created without breaking copyright law is bound to make anyone angry. With a huge portion of the video game industry getting behind this lawsuit, it makes an easy target for the ire of the community. The video game industry, it seems, has not learned its lesson. Despite already angering many consumers with their attacks against any form of copying or emulation, it continues to press lawsuits. If this path continues, then the industry risks turning into the next RIAA.