Automatic firmware updates could help the 3DS fight piracy

In a recent Q&A session, Nintendo revealed the possibility of automatic firmware updates for the 3DS, which they hope to use to deliver additional features and functionality to the handheld.

Yawn. Firmware updates aren’t anything new to videogame platforms, so you’re probably wondering why this is noteworthy. Well, the fact that the updates would be automatic could give Nintendo a huge advantage in their fight against piracy.

Pirates abused the DS like a small town sheriff in the last year of his term, so Nintendo has to be putting a lot of effort into making sure that doesn’t happen again. They’re looking into using the handheld’s new networking systems to download firmware while in sleep mode, which means you could be eating lunch in a Wi-Fi hotspot while your 3DS silently downloads an update. Or you might even get one from another 3DS owner riding on the same bus; likely preferable to anything else you could catch from someone on a bus. And even if pirates manage to avoid downloading anything, Nintendo is looking at including the updates on game cartridges.

The only concern the average gamer might have is that we’ve seen firmware updates break systems in the past. If Nintendo is making these updates involuntary, they had better be careful about what they put out.

Seeing as how the 3DS won’t be out for months, no one knows exactly how this will all turn out, so you might want to temper any nerd rage for now. If we’re lucky though, this system will work as intended and will curb piracy without negatively affecting everyone else.

Oct 1, 2010




  • shemhamforash - October 4, 2010 5:04 a.m.

    I just meant that everything can and eventually will be hacked. The 3DS is the first of it's kind in console world to implement this sort of an updating scheme and what will happen remains to be seen. There's no point in panicing in advance and I'm sure that Nintendo has taken precautions to handle these security issues. :)
  • brickman409 - October 4, 2010 4:23 a.m.

    so does this mean my 3DS cant get a virus if standing too close to an infected 3DS????????
  • Crimmy - October 3, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    Wait, if you unvoluntarily download updates from other 3DSes, can't pirates hack your 3DS with fake updates and screw you over? Nintendo, auto updates from other 3DSes is a bad idea.
  • GameManiac - October 2, 2010 4:10 p.m.

    Your move, pirates.
  • shemhamforash - October 2, 2010 4:36 a.m.

    Nice though somewhat insecure if(=when) the 3DS wi-fi will be hacked and used maliciously. Thinking of open Bluetooth on the Symbian platform, which has caused several outbreaks of virus infections. Also, the 3DS will be easier since the platform base is 1:1 throughout instead of hundreds of mobile phone models.
  • Syncmaster - October 2, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    good ol' jack sparrow there always finds a way to get what he wants.
  • wormytables - October 2, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    but you can't connect to wifi without the password! i can walk through a million wireless networks but if they're all encrypted (which they are these days) it won't download jack... i remember the psp getting hacked - sony would fight back, the hackers would retaliate. and then the hackers made self-updating firmware, this meant the thing no longer came close to having an official firmware. if this happens to the 3ds then it's boned - maybe firmware updates will prevent it, maybe not... i have heard nintendo are SO confident they can't be pirated, i get the feeling if it happens they'll be completely unprepared. mind you - if they don't release demos for 3ds games i'm going to be quite mad.
  • QWERTYCommander - October 1, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    So... you just stay away from Wi-fi spots. Inconvenient, but still.
  • Bonesqaw - October 1, 2010 11:17 p.m.

    @crumbdunky Well said. I don't like the stuff publishers have to do to fight piracy, but the fact is they have to do it. I hate pirates for everything they've done to the industry, and joining them in protest will only make it worse
  • AWBrawler - October 1, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    pirates: Yarr we be homebrewin ye ole 3D portbull pirate: Yarr what ye ol' fuck iz this? Me 3D portbull not working
  • crumbdunky - October 1, 2010 9:49 p.m.

    IDK. How much income did devs lose because of piracy on the DS(and how much support did the PSP lose because of it?)? Every kid with a DS in my nine year old's class seems to have a pirated R4 with 50-100 games on it-the issue must be MASSIVE so their desperation is understandable but as most don't take DS online I'm guessing a l;ot of updates must also be going in game carts too? That loophole alone will allow piracy in, imho, and the only weay to root it out(on every platform) AND avoid annoying legitimate gamers is if we gamers stop buying pirated games and stop tolerating those who make and those who buy them. UIt would help no end if gamers weren't, then, routinely ripped off by the industry. The games industry is the only one crying about used sales, it passes little of the savings it makes on to gamers(take DD for instance)and it's reaction to piracxy i8s to treat us like we're ALL guilty. None of this helps gamers feel connected to the industry. Should the day come when we get a little respect for supporting the industry things could change, though, I'm annoyed that the PSN versions of PSP games are often as expensive or more so than the trad discs! It's this kind of tightness allied with the draconian measures(DRM etc) that affect legit gamers more than the pirates that give pirates a ready made excuse in the eyes of most gamers-"they rip us off anyway, so why shouldn't we?" Take that away, treat us like we might have half a brain between us and, like with things like drink driving(which laws never affected)the society(in this case gaming community)will have an attitude change and no longer find the action(in this case piracy) acceptable. Messing about witrh FW and DRM that harms honest gamers just makes it easier for pirates to flourish as gamers don't feel any loyalty to an industry that abuses them as badly as the pirates abuse it. That's what I think anyway-in a way they're creating the atmosphere for piracy to grow and flourish and alienating thoise who would be capable of stopping it for good.
  • Robx - October 1, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    For some reason, db1331's story was more amusing than the article. Maybe because the article is based in another attempt to stop pirates that will most likely end up messing up their legit users... That doesn't means the story is bad though. The blue shell one of course, we could spend days talking about how much we hate it...
  • tuomotaivainen - October 1, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    *sigh* This isn't going to change anything... it'll just slow down the pirates and possibly make things annoying for us innocent honest folk.
  • db1331 - October 1, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    @And_ROOS Shortly after I got MKW my wife asked to race me. She rarely plays any games, and if a game requires more than 2 buttons she is hopelessly lost. So we get to racing, and she is falling off almost every possible edge and quickly lands in last place. On the final lap, after two full laps in dead last, she goes on a tear of blue shells, stars, and bullet bills. She passed me up at the finish line with a star for 1st place, despite the fact that I never fell off the course once and I ran a damn near perfect race. She was naturally excited, so not wanting to be a poor sport I congratulated her on her win. That was the last time I played that garbage. There has always been a great deal of chance in Mario Kart, but they basically turned it into Mario Party, where nothing you do in the race matters and a winner is randomly chosen at the end.
  • Gable - October 1, 2010 8:01 p.m.

    And the pirates say: "simply, get away of the Wi-Fi spots".
  • isaacthejust - October 1, 2010 7:46 p.m.

    Seeing the old DS again, makes me wonder what the updated 3DS will look like.
  • And_ROOS - October 1, 2010 7:45 p.m.

    I remember upon getting Mario Kart Wii, with excitement i put the game into the machine and it told me to update it. Update i did, and it f**ked my Wii. Took weeks to send to Nintendo, who said "eh" and just sent me a new one. By the end of the month, i finally got to play MKW, which led to rage after i was blue shell raped. Long story short, auto updating sucks.
  • cj12297 - October 1, 2010 7:40 p.m.

    i like the pic of the original ds used as a pic of 3DS

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