3DS Piracy Affects Long-Term Handheld Prospects, Says Developer

Publishers are now unwilling to offer resources to games for the platform

Peter Ong, the co-founder of developer DreamRift, says that piracy is clearly a problem on the 3DS handheld from Nintendo because it forces video game publishers to allocate fewer resources for projects that target it.

The developer tells Gamasutra that, “We definitely found that piracy was a significant factor in our Nintendo DS development efforts. When we approached publishers to propose potential game projects with them, most of them brought up their concerns about piracy at some point.”

Apparently, the problem is worse when the project represents a new intellectual property.

Ong adds, “The publishers' fear was that, in a climate where piracy is commonplace, original games and new mechanics are far less likely to be successful than games based on previously successful mechanics, established licenses, sequels, and sports.”

Because it takes an amount of technical skill to pirate video games, publishers tend to create more video games that appeal to the casual audience and fail to provide resources for more hardcore titles.

The DreamRift leader also believes that publishers see certain areas, including parts of Europe, as the most affected by 3DS piracy.

Ong praises the Nintendo handheld for its capabilities and for the fact that it is mainly a gaming device and does not take the smartphone route of blending entertainment with communication.

Recently, hackers have claimed that they have found new ways to circumvent the protection measures that Nintendo built into the 3DS, with one saying that he is now able to use an exploit to take full control of an unmodified device.

At the moment, no pirated games have been shown running on the hacked 3DS, but that’s probably just a matter of time.

Piracy had a big impact on the original DS line of handhelds and Nintendo is keen to avoid a similar situation on its new device.

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