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Nintendo lost $975 million to piracy last year

Nintendo lost $975 million to piracy last year

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.

32 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
iwog 15th February 2008, 12:55 Quote
Yeah, the xbox hooked up to my TV has 200 gig HDD and mod chip in it, the N64 goodset, the megadrive rom collection and a few classic Dreamcast games running on Chankast. So i'll just sit here and wait for the barrage of comments saying how i'm destroying the game industry.

But if you look carefully none of those systems are supported by their developers any more. Apart from the xbox stuff everything was sourced of Underground Gamer, a site the deals with retro gaming of unsupported platforms. And as i'm not a collector and dont take great pleasure in own the physical hardware and only enjoy playing games i dont have a guilty conscience.

The same rules apply for why I occasionally visit abadonware sites and dont worry too much. Show me where i can legally purchase those games on there first hand and i'll stop using abadonware. The problem is that most of this stuff will never fall into the public domain due the ever extending Copy Right laws. (first post and already kinda OT)
DXR_13KE 15th February 2008, 13:03 Quote
i have 2 letters that show what i think about this value: BS.

edit: if this value includes wii games i have to say the next: F*** you nintendo, make those games cheaper like you promised, they are as expensive as 360 and PS3 games around here......
Bigturk 15th February 2008, 13:17 Quote
alot of people only buy the DS knowing this is possible....thats why i got the DS and PSP, i wouldnt have if i had to buy the games lol
Almightyrastus 15th February 2008, 13:24 Quote
Only modded console I have had was a PS1 unless you count removing the cart lock from a megadrive in the same vein.

Seriously tempted by an R4 though, even if it just to have a play around with and see what can be done.
Major 15th February 2008, 13:44 Quote
Even though I am a huge fan of Nintendo, the games are very expensive, and if the where around £20 I'd buy maybe 2 every month or so, but £35 for Mario, maybe one a month or every few months.
Eloquence 15th February 2008, 13:46 Quote
Ugh, 1 download does not equal 1 lost sale. I get so tired of these big corporate giants blaming everything on piracy.
JADS 15th February 2008, 14:09 Quote
In other news sperm banks blamed the widespread use of internet pornography for the loss of 432 million gallons of semen a year and the national statistics office blames a loss of 78.67% of it's statistics on rent-a-soundbite companies releasing shock reports with made up statistics.
Jamie 15th February 2008, 14:25 Quote
I would hope the actual truth behind this figure is that Nintendo believe it is the value that all the pirated games comes to this if everyone had bought the game, whilst in no way suggesting that they would.
will. 15th February 2008, 14:28 Quote
I don't see how they think they lost the sale... The person who downloads a game never intended to buy it?
Veles 15th February 2008, 14:37 Quote
I know a lot of the games I downloaded for the DS, I very, very rarely play my DS, so dropping £25 on a game I might play for a few hours seems pointless to me, things like Phoenix Wright though I tend to buy.

The R4 style carts are also really useful for putting all the DS games you own on there so you don't have to carry around a handful of cartridges and switch them around, it's all on one cart, you can take your DS with you and that's it, you'll have access to all your games.

IMO, nintendo should get on the ROM scene, like mp3s, if people are downloading it, give them the option to do it legally. They could produce their own R4 and they sell game ROMs on their site for cheaper than they are in the shops. I wouldn't really mind paying for a few hours of play every blue moon if they were only a fiver.
legoman666 15th February 2008, 14:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigturk
alot of people only buy the DS knowing this is possible....thats why i got the DS and PSP, i wouldnt have if i had to buy the games lol

same here, I wouldn't have got my DS if I wasn't able to use my SuperCard. Be it a demo or illegal download, I try every game before I'm willing to buy it.
rjkoneill 15th February 2008, 14:58 Quote
"Nintendo lost $975 million to piracy last year"
and earned $975 million from ramping up the price of the wii
lewchenko 15th February 2008, 15:15 Quote
Im normally very anti piracy... but my reaction to Nintendo here is BullSh**

I cant possibly think how they came up with that ridiculas number, and am fed up at being ripped off with Wii games/accessories that were supposed to me a good deal cheaper than 360/PS3 games. Mario Galaxy... £35 to £40. ($70-$80) Hardly any discounts online from play/amazon/either in the UK.

Nope... no sympathy whatsoever for Nintendo. Hope they choke on all the cash they are making.

So Pirate away...
mmorgue 15th February 2008, 15:32 Quote
I'm in the same thought as iwoq...

If there's a game I want and it's no longer available for purchase, I'll get it by illicit means.

Same with movies/music. I have been aching to find "MST3K: The Movie" on DVD but it's no longer produced. Occasionally you see it on fleabay for a criminal price...! Then I found the DVD rip on the newgroups, thank Christ! :D

So if the movie / music / game industry arent going to provide for the consumer, the consumer will do what they need.

Now, as for material that *is* available, well, I personally havent had a modded console since I had a PS1 all those years ago. And even then it was the original "lid spring" trick :) I buy my games. If they suck, as sadly many do, I return for instore credit.
cyrilthefish 15th February 2008, 15:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
I know a lot of the games I downloaded for the DS, I very, very rarely play my DS, so dropping £25 on a game I might play for a few hours seems pointless to me, things like Phoenix Wright though I tend to buy.

The R4 style carts are also really useful for putting all the DS games you own on there so you don't have to carry around a handful of cartridges and switch them around, it's all on one cart, you can take your DS with you and that's it, you'll have access to all your games.

IMO, nintendo should get on the ROM scene, like mp3s, if people are downloading it, give them the option to do it legally. They could produce their own R4 and they sell game ROMs on their site for cheaper than they are in the shops. I wouldn't really mind paying for a few hours of play every blue moon if they were only a fiver.
Indeed, i think nintendo could make a killing with a nintendo branded flash cart and a clone of xbox live arcade for it...

Would be easy to sort out, say each cart has a serial number: sign into the nintendo website with it, buy games, and the next time you switch on the DS the games get downloaded over WiFi.

It'd be a brilliant way to get game demos out for DS games too, must say i love that feature on the Xbox360 :)

Rather than companies whining about piracy, why can't they just deliver viable alternatives instead?
BigPoppaJNutZ 15th February 2008, 15:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
I would hope the actual truth behind this figure is that Nintendo believe it is the value that all the pirated games comes to this if everyone had bought the game, whilst in no way suggesting that they would.

Agree! It's not like people are going to buy the game if they can't get a copy. It's usually how so many people would ever try it out. The exposure should count for something...
jswilson64 15th February 2008, 16:26 Quote
Given that they're the only console maker that claims a profit on console sales (vs. the 360 and ps3 being sold at a loss), they'd have made a lot more money if they could figure out how to get more Wii consoles to market. Each of the 3 nearby Target stores received 5 (yes, 5) Wiis last week, and it was the first shipment since before Christmas. FIVE! Are you kidding me?!
evanbraakensiek 15th February 2008, 18:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JADS
In other news sperm banks blamed the widespread use of internet pornography for the loss of 432 million gallons of semen a year and the national statistics office blames a loss of 78.67% of it's statistics on rent-a-soundbite companies releasing shock reports with made up statistics.

BEST ANALOGY EVER!
completemadness 15th February 2008, 19:45 Quote
Where did they even pull this figure out of?
Major 15th February 2008, 20:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
I know a lot of the games I downloaded for the DS, I very, very rarely play my DS, so dropping £25 on a game I might play for a few hours seems pointless to me, things like Phoenix Wright though I tend to buy.

I bought a M3 Real for some homebrew games and games which I would never buy, and I'm so happy I never bought 99% of them, most of them are utter crap, not fun, and they are £20 a peice, it's a joke.
The Infamous Mr D 15th February 2008, 20:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
Where did they even pull this figure out of?

My bum. Obviously.
E.E.L. Ambiense 15th February 2008, 20:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by evanbraakensiek
BEST ANALOGY EVER!

Ditto.
Veles 15th February 2008, 22:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
Rather than companies whining about piracy, why can't they just deliver viable alternatives instead?

I imagine it will be cheaper as well? Aren't carts quite expensive to produce? I might be getting confused with the SNES days though with the whole FX chips and stuff.
DXR_13KE 15th February 2008, 22:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Infamous Mr D
My bum. Obviously.

nice first post......
[USRF]Obiwan 15th February 2008, 23:25 Quote
And I lost 200 euro last year from buying bad games... So whats their point?
Breach 15th February 2008, 23:41 Quote
Ugh, just as bad as the RIAA with their made up bull**** statistics. How can they even track this reliably? Do they go door do door and ask to see your pirated games?

Not sure about others but I keep my "illegals" as clandestine as possible...

The real question I want an answer to is: How does a company lose money on games most people would not have paid for anyway?
Major 16th February 2008, 00:22 Quote
Also if they are so pissed off about it, just make the games cheaper. I mean maybe even halved. A lot more people would buy games if they where cheaper.
BurningFeetMan 16th February 2008, 09:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwog
But if you look carefully none of those systems are supported by their developers any more.

Virtual console on the Wii allows you to download and play past games from Sega, Nintendo, and others, including N64, SNES, NES and old Sega consoles too.

Fair enough to play test something to see if it's worth buying as there are a lot of **** games out there. But remember kids. If you're playing a pirated game and enjoying it, buy it.
mikeuk2004 16th February 2008, 11:43 Quote
Are they using this an a reason why they sold millions of Wii's and no games because the only game people want to play is Wii sports which comes with the Wii hence no game sales.
sinkhead 16th February 2008, 13:11 Quote
Being staff and a reviewer of flashcarts (modchips) at the one of the largest Nintendo forums in the world (GBAtemp) is interesting. I have more than 10 of these 'piracy devices' and the problem is that piracy is easier than actually buying the game. Why should I go and buy a DS game when I can download it in less than a minute from Usenet?
Kipman725 16th February 2008, 15:51 Quote
the homebrew for DS is very good though... I would buy one entirly for homebrew if I wasn't so dammed poor.
The_Beast 16th February 2008, 19:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JADS
In other news sperm banks blamed the widespread use of internet pornography for the loss of 432 million gallons of semen a year and the national statistics office blames a loss of 78.67% of it's statistics on rent-a-soundbite companies releasing shock reports with made up statistics.


hahaha very nice ;)
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