The most beloved piece of pirate treasure in Japan these days is the Chinese-made Nintendo DS piracy device called the R4. [looks around innocently] Never heard of it.
According to The Times Online, the device is taking Tokyo's geek haven Akihabara by storm, and retailers say that sales are "very strong." Storefronts advertise the item, but won't say exactly what the item does.
“New R4 shipment has finally arrived! You know what it does! Absolutely no questions will be answered concerning this product . . .” reads the sign outside one electronics store just off the main Akihabara drag. “Guaranteed for one week only! Of course we can’t explain what the R4 will do . . .” reads another in the store next door.
The R4 permits the downloading and usage of illegally-copied DS games on the portable console, and games are readily available on the internet. Of course, any well-rounded gamer knows how this device and others like it work, but I'm sure that Nintendo is not loving the attention that the article has called to this piracy device for the rest of the world.
As an experiment The Times obtained an R4 chip and downloaded free of charge on the internet ten new Nintendo DS games – worth about £400. The games, one of which had gone on sale only the day before, worked perfectly. The entire process took less than half an hour.
It seems that Nintendo knows what is going on. “We are keeping a close eye on the products and studying them. But we cannot smash all of them,” a Nintendo spokesman said.