Nintendo, software makers target DS game piracy

Nintendo and major Japanese software companies are going after 5 companies they say sold devices to play pirated DS games.

Nintendo and a group of 53 game software companies have filed a lawsuit against five companies they allege sold a device that enables copied games to be played on the Nintendo DS handheld device.

The group filed a lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court against the five on Tuesday, which are accused of importing a device called the "R4 Revolution for DS." The small device fits into the DS's cartridge slot and allows games stored on a Micro SD card to be played on the DS. It can be used to play both homebrew and hacked games on the DS, but it's the latter that Nintendo singled out in its statement detailing the lawsuit.

That this is a fight against illegally copied and downloaded software is underlined by the presence of most of Japan's biggest software makers alongside Nintendo in the suit, including Atlus, Capcom, D3 Publishers, Hudson, Koei, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Sega, Taito and Tecmo.

The device, which has the nickname "Magicon," can be picked up in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district and costs generally less than YEN 5,000 (US$46.33), although that price might climb if it becomes difficult to acquire.

Of the five companies targeted by Nintendo, a check of their Web sites on Wednesday revealed none appears to be selling the device at present.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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