It’s not even out of its infancy, and already the Nintendo 3DS has been hacked. Destructoid reports that a handful of Japanese fanboys used an R4 card to play original DS games. In order to run the games on the 3DS, the gamers edited a file built into the device’s firmware which allowed the R4 card to enable the older titles.
While the hack itself isn’t terribly sophisticated, it is fairly embarrassing for Nintendo to suffer any infiltration this early in the 3DS’ release. The handheld gaming system was specifically designed to thwart pirates and hackers alike. Earlier this month, a Nintendo hacker was arrested when he tried to blackmail the company by releasing user account information.
Gaming and console companies have become involved in increasingly complicated relationships with the hacking community. Microsoft recently appears to be conceding some its anti-hacking efforts by releasing the Kinect SDK (even though it was beat to the punch by a third-party firm), after initially threatening to look into legal action. Some – Sony comes to mind – seem hell bent on stifling piracy at any costs. And those costs are pretty significant, including penalties like isolating a growing segment of its user base and appearing to disregard any innovation its gamers have to offer.
The nature of the 3DS operation has some saying it isn’t a true hack, but definitions aside, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until the 3DS is subject to development of Kinect-like proportions. The group that took on the 3DS, who refer to themselves as R4i, note that others out there should expect Nintendo to issue a firmware update shortly that will disable the operation. Even still, after saying something like the “heyday of piracy” has come and gone, you sort of had it coming. Check out the hack in action below.