Ah yes, the infamous flash cart - bane of Nintendo’s mega-profits. Only the other day we were musing on Nintendo’s appeal to the US Trade Representative to put pressure on other countries to make a more concerted effort to curb piracy, and now it seems Japan is listening.
Last year, Nintendo and a party of 53 other companies petitioned the Tokyo District Court to put a stop on sales of the R4 flash cart, and it seems their call has now been answered.
Japan has now banned the sale of the R4 device, which, among many other (legitimate) things, allows gamers to play pirated DS games.
What’s a bit unusual is this ruling essentially only seems to prohibit that particular brand, while similar flash carts bypass the ruling. At least, for now.
Nintendo apparently intends to chase the entire flash cart industry into extinction. To be fair to Nintendo, one of the most prominent uses of DS flash carts is indeed piracy, though such a ham-fisted pursuit of a device that’s also used to unlock the console’s potential won’t do it any favours in the technophile arena.
And right now, cutting off a passionate hardware customer base (on the dawn of a new system release) isn’t a particularly wise move for a games system that, it has to be said, is wilting in the sun of a changing industry.
We’ll have to wait and see how this Japanese ruling affects the rest of the world, but for the time being Japanese DS gamers are going to have to look elsewhere for their homebrew DS apps.