Nintendo have never been shy when it comes to stomping down the heavy boot of litigation. In fact they’ve often given the impression that they only make these video games they put out in order to fill the quiet times in between suings. It’s strange then, that while other companies have been rabidly hounding the import market as if it killed their parents, and treating the scourge of modding as if ’twere the very Black Death, Nintendo have been fairly quiet on such matters recently.
Until now, that is. The Nintendo Europe site has started carrying a news item intended to educate unwary gamers on its “Just say no” stance on mod chips:
“Modification microchips (mod chips) circumvent the security embedded into Nintendo’s products. To install a mod chip into a Nintendo hardware system, it is necessary to dismantle the product and, in some instances, remove components.”
“Mod chips have been adjudicated to be illegal in various countries around the world, including the Unites States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Most European countries have also already adopted laws prohibiting the circumvention of technological measures for copyright protection. People caught installing or selling mod chips may be subject to criminal charges.”
While technically this has been Nintendo’s line for years, the move seems a strange and arbitrary one to make right now. After all, the DS has thrived on the homebrew and modding scene for a good long time, and with this sort of thing having been around since the days of the Super NES, it seemed that lately the new Nintendo was taking a more mature and laid back attitude, particularly in light of recent debacles. We even had rumours of a region free Wii a while back, remember?
What’s doubly strange though, is that there’s been no similar warning on their American site. Doubly strange, and absolutely nothing to do with certain areas of the world actually being happy with their release schedules, I’m sure.
But what do you think? Are companies within their rights to tell you what to do with your machine? Or is that your own business alone you’ve paid them for it?