68 posts tagged piracy
3DS flashcard bypasses region locking
I didn’t take the Gateway 3DS flashcard seriously at first due to a number of flaws: requiring separate MicroSD cards to load each game, working with only eight-month-old firmware, and offering no support for homebrew or out-of-region games.
The device’s team, though, is showing off an “alpha build” to address some of those issues. In the first part of this video, you’ll see firmware-spoofing support — you still need a 3DS with version 4.5 firmware or older to run the card, but it can now play games that require the latest system update, like Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
And in the video’s other two parts, the Gateway team demonstrates how a system from one region can play a game from another. There’s a growing campaign against the 3DS’s region locking online, and the group behind it argues that one of the primary reasons why people buy these devices that Nintendo calls "illegal game copiers" is to play releases from other countries. I doubt this development will change anything, but one can hope.
This could be the first 3DS flashcard
I say “could” because who knows if this is legit, what with this news coming out of nowhere from a company no one’s heard of, but this demonstration video looks credible. Gateway says its device supports both standard and XL 3DSes, and works with any back-up ROMs. It’s disappointing that the first product of this sort seems geared more toward piracy (which, we must once again remind you, we absolutely do not support) than homebrew purposes…
MaxConsole claims this video was put together before the Gateway team created some kind of “game manager” for the device, hence all the MicroSD switching you see here. However, there is also speculation that Nintendo could easily cripple the flashcard with a firmware update due to the presumed nature of its workaround (which doesn’t look like it would even circumvent the system’s region-locking).
DreamRift’s Peter Ong (Epic Mickey 3DS) explains why gamers should be worried about 3DS hacking and piracy on the system, arguing that publishers are hesitant to try anything new when funding projects for platforms plagued by piracy.
Not everyone’s happy about the 3DS hacking news
Opponents of the Nintendo 3DS’s region-locking and homebrew-blocking welcomed yesterday’s news that hackers have made great strides in working around the system’s security. You can see evidence of that in the above image posted this morning, which shows a custom 3DS notification (with a nod to The World Ends With You).
Though hacker Neimod is against allowing his 3DS exploit to be used for loading commercial software, some are worried about the piracy implications of this latest development. Jools Watsham, head of Mutant Mudds maker Renegade Kid, believes this could nonetheless pave the way for 3DS piracy:
"Piracy on the Nintendo DS crippled the DS retail market, especially in Europe. … If piracy gets bad on the 3DS, we will have no choice but to stop supporting the platform with new games. …
The good news is that Nintendo has the ability to put up a good fight against pirates due to 3DS system updates and such. Let’s hope this is enough to stop piracy.”
More Nintendo 3DS hacking progress
Hackers have reportedly made considerable gains in breaking open the 3DS since their breakthrough a week ago, when someone finally managed to breach the handheld’s protections and run custom code on the device.
Coder Xcution is showing off homebrew tests like the image above, and now another hacker named Neimod claims to have full control of the system in kernel mode with an unmodified 3DS and an exploit that uses a specific retail game.
While he says this exploit could be easily patched, Neimod notes that “with full kernel control, anything is possible,” including circumventing the 3DS’s pesky region lock. He adds that he has no interest in allowing others to use the hack to load pirated software.
3DS homebrew/hacking progress
Noted game console hacker Yellows8 claims to have circumvented the 3DS’s securities and run custom code on the device, according to this photo he took as evidence. He was able to run this code with the latest firmware installed, though technical issues disabled the 3D LED and have so far prevented the system from displaying graphics.
I’m uncertain how Yellows8 pulled this off, but GBAtemp member SifJar shared this thought to put the news in perspective:
"There are only two known vulnerabilities for code execution, and both would most likely be patched at once, so I’d guess it’s unlikely there’ll be a release unless another, more unique, vulnerability [is] found for Yellows8 (and those he chooses to share with) to use for further exploration once the released exploit is patched."
Nintendo has managed to keep homebrew and pirated 3DS software off its system for nearly two years now, and I imagine its engineers would be quick to release an update that would kill this latest hack.
You know that unexciting firmware update your 3DS automatically downloaded last week and prompted you to install when you opened your system?
It might not have seemed like much at the time — Nintendo’s changelog for version 4.4.0-10U is characteristically vague — but the update permanently blocks almost all flashcarts, according to SuperCard. They would know, being a manufacturer of these devices!
Nintendo has rolled out a new firmware release for the 3DS across all major territories, but before you get excited, according to the company’s Japanese site, the only notable addition is there are more character options for your password when storing credit card data on eShop.
Other than that, there’s the vague mention of “improved system stability and convenience” in this 4.2.0-9 update’s change log, and you should know by now what that means — several flashcart owners have reported problems loading their devices after installing the firmware.
Anyone else surprised that the Nintendo 3DS is more than a year old now and hardly any progress has been made by would-be 3DS pirates or homebrew developers? Nintendo’s persistent efforts to lock out these devices probably has a lot to do with this.
Super Mario 3D Land's non-game-related surprises aren't limited to the absence of a full physical manual; Japanese copies offer a new 3DS firmware upgrade, v2.2.0-4.
Initial reports indicate that the update is mandatory to play the game, and that it adds anti-piracy protections designed to block flashcarts. It’s also said to add a button in your Friends List that lets you join a buddy’s game in progress (presumably if the game has an online multiplayer mode and support for this new feature).
[Update: Other Friends List enhancements include the ability to quick scroll through your list when holding down left/right, and your friends that are currently online will now appear at the front of your queue.]
It appears that this is not the same 3DS firmware as the one planned for release later this month, which will introduce video recording, 3DS-to-3DS software transfers, StreetPass improvements, and a bevy of eShop features (demos, DLC, etc). We will update this post if we hear more news about this firmware.
See also: More Super Mario 3D Land stuff
The crackdown on flashcarts continues:
"This month, France joins a growing list of countries taking a strong legal stance against video game piracy. The Paris’ Court of Appeals issued guilty verdicts on Sept. 26th against Divineo SARL, along with five other companies, for the importation, sale and distribution of game copier devices commonly referred to as ‘linkers’ in France (in other countries, the devices may be called R4s or Magicom).
This decision now brings France in line with other European territories, including the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Italy and Belgium, based on decisions they already have rendered. It also is consistent with other court decisions that have been issued globally.”
Crown3DS, ostensibly the first working 3DS flashcart. Like the PassMe and PassCard solutions that appeared in the DS’s early homebrew days, this isn’t the most elegant solution in its current, presumably non-final state.
3DS owners have been able to run updated flashcarts on their handhelds for some time now, but only in DS mode, which doesn’t have access to much of the 3DS hardware. Though this new Crown3DS team has figured a way to get into the 3DS mode, it’s unfortunate they’ve skipped over homebrew and gone straight to commercial games.
At the moment, the device can only run one commercial ROM, and a crappy one at that: Splinter Cell 3D. The group intends to dump more 3DS games, run more tests, fix bugs in the cart, and increase its ROM compatibility.
Because the Crown3DS is not yet on sale and unavailable to the public, it’s unclear whether Nintendo can to block this device with a future 3DS update (the cart runs on the latest v2.1.0-4 firmware). The company has made efforts to keep 3DS/DSi piracy from reaching the problematic levels experience with the DS, releasing regular firmware updates, some of which increase anti-flashcart security.
About a month after its last firmware release, Nintendo has put out a new update for the 3DS, providing this super uninformative note in version 2.1.0-4’s list of changes:
System stability improvements and other adjustments: Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.
That sounds like anti-piracy measures, right? Well, according to people who’ve tried it out, the update doesn’t appear to employ any protections against flashcarts. So far, all anyone’s noticed is the NetFront web browser has been altered somehow, going from v.17412 to 1.7455; and colors were added to 3DS Sounds' StreetPass data.
Nintendo does seem to have piracy on its mind, though, as its 2.1.0-4 update notes contain this block of text: