Could The DSi Encourage Piracy?

Illustration for article titled Could The DSi Encourage Piracy?

So we've got a new DS coming our way, with a slightly bigger screen and a really crappy camera built in, but for some folks out there the big news is the built-in SD slot, a feature that was some worried that the DSi might make rampant DS game pirating even easier. Speaking with, Team 17 studio director Martyn Brown echoes my concerns over the sub-par camera and suggests the SD slot might become yet another entry point for pirates.

"Adding an SD slot makes a bunch of sense for downloadable content given the way things are going," offered Brown. "I just hope they've done something to counter the mass piracy that exists via the R4 on the Lite. It scares me that with an SD card input, that might leave it even wider open that it was on the original device," added.

I've known suburban housewives with flash cards for their DSes, so if you ask me, it really doesn't get much easier than it already is. Team 17 boss cautious of new DSi features []

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I don't think this will make piracy easier than buying a flash card. The DSi isn't going to run roms out of the box from the SD slot, so in order to get the DSi to boot roms from there it will require a hack to the firmware. Once you've hacked the firmware you need to flash it, which on older DS models requires shorting a contact in the battery compartment. Plus you will need some sort of flash card to perform the first firmware update or someone will need to crack Nintendo's encryption to sign a firmware update as legitimate.

Next, the code in DS games will contain memory calls to the DS card slot, so even if you could get the DS to boot a ROM from the SD card, the game code would be making calls to load data from the empty DS cartridge slot. Someone could release a patching tool that reroutes all references to the SD slot, but it's a pain in the ass patching roms before you transfer them and trivial for each new game release to break.

I could see flash cards getting firmware upgrades to read ROMS off the SD card, but I don't see the SD slot being an easier entry to piracy for your average user.