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Automatic firmware updates could help the 3DS fight piracy

In a recent Q%26amp;A session, Nintendo revealed the possibility of automatic firmware updates for the 3DS, which they hope to useto deliver additional features and functionality to the handheld.

Yawn. Firmware updates aren%26rsquo;t anything new to videogame platforms, so you%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;t happen again. They%26rsquo;re looking into using the handheld%26rsquo;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 getone from another 3DS owner riding on the same bus; likelypreferable to anything else you could catch fromsomeone 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%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;re lucky though, this system will work as intended and will curb piracy without negatively affecting everyone else.

Oct 1, 2010