Piracy blamed for 50% drop in European DS games sales

Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun is reporting that video game maker Nintendo is losing trillions of yen due to new kinds of pirating. Nintendo says they have had a nearly 50% drop in European DS games sales in recent months. 

Kotaku reports the Japanese game maker has recently been cracking down on sellers of R4 cartridges and similar devices. Nintendo believes the devices allow users to go around existing anti-piracy protections inside the DS.

Nintendo conducted an investigation in June 2009 which monitored 10 websites that supposedly allow downloads of pirated software. Nintendo claims their software had been pirated 238 million times. Considering the average cost of games software, it is estimated the company may have lost up to 1 trillion yen ($10.7 billion). 

Nintendo frequently updates anti-piracy measures on their consoles via internet updates, however pirates can avoid these by simply not connecting to the internet. Italy, Spain and France are believed to have the largest amount of illegal games downloads in Europe.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Apple to Gizmodo, “we want our device back”

Next Story

Third of phone owning U.S. teens send 100 texts a day

30 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I can't speak for other's but I own DSi,PsP and don't play them much. Not due to lack of games but I don't like trying to play on the small form factor.

Console? Fine! DS/DSi are both awesome systems.
Games? Have you guys been playing some of the main-event DS games lately? cause there are a LOT of good ones.

Yeah, Nintendo has every right to bitch about the piracy. I don't think they claimed that every pirated copy of software was a lost sale, but instead were trying to give a better context for the size of piracy going on (larger then the sum of the legitimate games sales ... by several factors) and connecting it to the sudden drop in game sales.

Being on content/software creation side of this perpetual cycle of "consumers have the right to everything they want for free" empowerment trip and self-importance crap is literally killing small time companies and costing people their jobs.

A lot of confused comments here. If a game "sucks" so much but its still worth pirating then it's worth acquiring. That means there's demand for it and if its offered up for sale people will buy it. The logic that if a game "sucks" it will be pirated but not purchased makes no sense whatsoever.

As far as lost sales go, it makes no difference if someone would have bought the game they stole. They still stole it. They acquired it. As I stated above, the only way this could be done if there were no piracy measures would be to PAY for it. And when you PAY for it, Nintendo makes a sale. If you acquire the game without paying for it, you still acquired it but Nintendo didn't get a sale. Therefore, it is a LOST sale.

Very easy, black and white economical logic. Not sure where the confusion is coming from.

C_Guy said,
A lot of confused comments here. If a game "sucks" so much but its still worth pirating then it's worth acquiring. That means there's demand for it and if its offered up for sale people will buy it. The logic that if a game "sucks" it will be pirated but not purchased makes no sense whatsoever.

As far as lost sales go, it makes no difference if someone would have bought the game they stole. They still stole it. They acquired it. As I stated above, the only way this could be done if there were no piracy measures would be to PAY for it. And when you PAY for it, Nintendo makes a sale. If you acquire the game without paying for it, you still acquired it but Nintendo didn't get a sale. Therefore, it is a LOST sale.

Very easy, black and white economical logic. Not sure where the confusion is coming from.

Same thing with music, when piracy is so easy, people will grab it to check it out and may stop playing it shortly after because it "sucks". There also group that pride and dictate themselves on just pirating the game for the sole purpose to have other's to have easy access.

C_Guy said,
A lot of confused comments here. If a game "sucks" so much but its still worth pirating then it's worth acquiring. That means there's demand for it and if its offered up for sale people will buy it. The logic that if a game "sucks" it will be pirated but not purchased makes no sense whatsoever.

As far as lost sales go, it makes no difference if someone would have bought the game they stole. They still stole it. They acquired it. As I stated above, the only way this could be done if there were no piracy measures would be to PAY for it. And when you PAY for it, Nintendo makes a sale. If you acquire the game without paying for it, you still acquired it but Nintendo didn't get a sale. Therefore, it is a LOST sale.

Very easy, black and white economical logic. Not sure where the confusion is coming from.

What you don't understand is that when people can get something for free they are more likely to try it because there is no risk. When people go to the cinema they want to see a very good movie as not to waste there money. But when they are pirating they will probably see every movie released regardless of its IMDB rating because its free. It doesn't cost them anything, even if its a rubbish film that they don't like they didn't waste any money on it.

The same reasoning goes in to gaming. There are a lot of games I'd never buy such as Zelda on the DS or the Pokemon DS games. But if they were free downloads in the DS store I'd try them out. Just because they are free.

There are so many amazing DS games out there it's not funny. If consumers want to be retarded and just pick something up without any product research, well they're PART of the problem. Saying there's no good games though...you're just lying to yourself to justify piracy. You don't need bad games, and you should pay for the good ones.

Nintendo conducted an investigation in June 2009 which monitored 10 websites that supposedly allow downloads of pirated software. Nintendo claims their software had been pirated 238 million times. Considering the average cost of games software, it is estimated the company may have lost up to 1 trillion yen ($10.7 billion).

So they want me to believe that if piracy did not exist people would have bought 238 million of their games. Dream on. Most people download games that they wouldn't have paid for anyways. Granted I'm sure they've lost money because of it it cannot be anywhere near this much. I would never think about buying a DS and modding it. It just seems stupid to me because I never liked it to begin with.

Pretty wild claim to make. We all know now that the following statement isn't true that if someone didn't pirate they would buy it instead.

Yep, it cause the games suck, my wife bought a DS, played a few games for 5 mins, and has never touched it since. I did tell her this before she bought it, but you now women ;-)

NotSoBad said,
Yep, it cause the games suck, my wife bought a DS, played a few games for 5 mins, and has never touched it since. I did tell her this before she bought it, but you (k)now women ;-)

I'd dispute the idea that all the games suck. I bought a DS and had great fun with it for several months with just a couple of games. The problem for me was that I found myself not playing portable games as often as console or PC games, and then when a game came out that I might have been interested in, I did the maths and decided that I would have preferred to buy a console or PC game for the same amount of money as a DS game.
When you factor this with the fact that you can get decent portable games for your mobile device for a fraction of the cost of a DS game, the appeal of the DS starts to get lost.

C_Guy said,
Couldn't be... they are worth stealing after all.

What nonsense. You can't try out handheld games at all, unless you count GameFly with their subscription model, which is useless if you only want to try out a couple games over a few months. There are no demos, no trials, no rentals at video stores (at least none at the Hollywood Video / Blockbusters around here). To make matters worse, the Nintendo market specifically is littered with complete horse **** titles. If you don't watch your step, you'll easily find yourself screwed over.

Many people like myself buy the things we like. Yes, I own Pokemon, Mario/Luigi RPGs, and various strategy games. Wouldn't have bought any of those titles though (except Pokemon) if I didn't get to try them out first...

Maybe if the games were good and affordable, people will buy them. Who the heck pays $50AU for a portable game aside from Pokemon?

Yes this will have lost them money but they shouldn't be making statements under the assumption that every single pirate download is a lost sale. These devices allow for up to 100 games on one cartridge if you get 16GB SD card. Do Nintendo seriously believe if they hadn't bought the pirate device that they would have bought 100 games? No, they don't, but they know they can get away with making those sensationalist statements because the people who make the decisions (the politicians) are affected by those figures and seemingly good evidence, although it's far from the truth.

Tossers, they're still effectively printing money and they go around making these statements? Nnnnnggh.

KavazovAngel said,
Have lost?

GTFO!

GTFIN!! The consumer didn't have the game before and now they do. THey acquired it without paying for it, therefore, Nintendo LOST a SALE because without illegal measures the only way to get a copy of the game is to pay for it. The game was acquired without payment and therefore Nintendo has lost the sale.

Not hard to understand.

So am I also to blame if I have a DS and only acquire games through friends who have bought the games? Since I acquired it without paying for it, and the "only" way to get it is to pay for it?

A lot of DS games are crap, There are few games worth buying, and if it's worth buying, people will buy it. It's the recession, people are making more informed choices now and not making impulse buys.

it says "in recent months" maybe people are not buying as many games right now, because they're expecting a DS successor soon.

I wouldn't have thought they were allowed to crack down on the sellers of R4 cartridges. Afterall, the cartridges themselves aren't to blame, it's what the consumer does with the cartridge. If I want to turn my DS in to a PDA (of sorts), am I not within my right to put the applications needed on to the R4 and run it on my DS? I accept the fact that any fault that occurs won't be covered by a warranty, but I'm not doing anything illegal by doing this, am I?

I should probably note that I haven't done this. I'm speaking hypothetically.

Intrinsica said,
I wouldn't have thought they were allowed to crack down on the sellers of R4 cartridges. Afterall, the cartridges themselves aren't to blame, it's what the consumer does with the cartridge. If I want to turn my DS in to a PDA (of sorts), am I not within my right to put the applications needed on to the R4 and run it on my DS? I accept the fact that any fault that occurs won't be covered by a warranty, but I'm not doing anything illegal by doing this, am I?

I should probably note that I haven't done this. I'm speaking hypothetically.

You and me wish. As I always tell people, it MY hardware, MINE. I own the physical hardware. However, there are backwards laws in most countries in the world preventing you "removing protection measures" - DMCA (US), Some EU laws, DEA (UK)....

The world is messed up

jonnytabpni said,
it MY hardware, MINE. I own the physical hardware. However, there are backwards laws in most countries in the world preventing you "removing protection measures"
Unfortunately, your best bet for a computing device you have proper control over is an actual computer (whether it be a netbook, iPad clone or whatever, as long as it can run a proper OS like Windows or Linux). Everything else is locked down to some degree, even Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 (which is actually has more restrictions than their previous Windows Mobile offerings).


You won't necessarily be able to find something with a form factor and feature set like that of the DS/iPhone/etc., but at least it's truly yours.

Edited by Arkose, Apr 20 2010, 10:30am :

Northgrove said,
lol, it's always the piracy

I know, it can't be that the games are **** - not at all.
You'll always lose SOME people to piracy but any game worth buying, I buy. Pokemon, Mario and Luigi - seriously just pointless.

Yup, I only buy games I have tried and know are good. I don't even play my DS anymore, It only gets used when I'm on a trip or someplace where I'm waiting for something.