The R4 has proven itself a credible threat to Nintendo over recent months.
Nintendo has grown massively since the release of the Wii and the DS Lite, but they still
want to moan about how much more money they could have made if it weren't for pirates.
Still, it's hard to blame them for whining when they estimate a loss of $975 million
in 2007 alone in a report to the US Trade Representatives.
Nintendo is claiming that the losses stem from the popularity of it's platforms, which make them prime targets for counterfeiters.
Such figures and estimates tend to be notoriously unreliable however and often rely on the assumption that each game pirated is a sale that Nintendo could have otherwise claimed - something which patently isn't true as just because someone will take something for free doesn't mean they'll pay full price for it another time.
Nintendo is doubtlessly pinning lots of this loss at the feet of the R4, a popular card-reader device for the Nintendo DS which allows users to run files that aren't paid for. The R4 itself isn't technically illegal and does have some more benign uses, like running homebrew software and games
. The homebrew market itself is one that Nintendo doesn't like either, but at least it isn't destroying the market for them.
The main problem however is that devices such as the R4 can be used to run downloaded pirate games and ROMs, which is
illegal and does make an impact on Nintendo's sales - even if a it's a smaller one than estimated.
In other news, the DrunkenCoders group
has just released a pre-alpha port of Quake 2
to the DS, which can be run from an R4 or similar device. Snazzy, huh?
Have you ever tried running pirate games or chipped a console? Let us know in the forums