Nintendo 3DS to have ‘enhanced anti-piracy measures’

So, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has confirmed that the new 3D visuals of the upcoming 3DS handheld console will in fact be able to be turned off if the owner so desires. Apparently, the reasoning behind this is due to concerns the 3DS could have on people’s eyesight! Now, as someone who already has terrible eye’s this is somewhat of a relief, as is the fact the 3DS won’t actually require the user to wear special 3D glasses. Spectacle wearers are kind of shunned by 3D films and television aren’t they? As if the lives of the visually challenged aren’t hard enough with THAT crushing disappointment too.

But being able to easily turn off 3D wasn’t the only thing that was revealed by Mr Iwata, oh no… there’s more! He also revealed that the new machine will include enhanced anti-piracy measures, in order to combat the harmful effect illegal copies can have on software sales.  Now, I’m sure games developers, designers and artists worldwide are more interested in this little announcement than the being able to turn the 3D off thing.

Games piracy is more common than you’d think with millions of people illegally downloading games that the majority of us are more than happy to pay for. Unfortunately it costs the games industry billions a year. As a Train2Game student you wouldn’t want to work hard but then miss out on reaping the rewards of all your efforts now, would you? You’ll also need to make sure you copyright your work for a little bit of extra protection. Of course you may be more than happy to give away some of your games for free but only as a legal download in order to help you gain a foothold in the industry.

We don’t yet actually know what Nintendo will be doing to improve the anti-piracy capabilities of the 3DS and to be honest, nobody outside the company may ever find out. Mr Iwata didn’t explain any specifics, saying that by doing so he’d give “hints” to pirates…which is fair enough I suppose!

There’s no specific release date for the 3DS yet, but we can probably expect more to be revealed at next month’s E3 expo.

Are indie developers leading the way when it comes to combating piracy?

Gaming is an expensive pastime and almost always has been.  One of the first commercially available 3D release was Virtua Racing, which may have looked awful by today’s standards but in 1994 it was the height of technology and cost almost £50. Nowadays, if you look in the right places, you can pick up new releases for around £35, although some games will still get you back over £50 – Call of Duty: Black Ops has apparently got an RRP of £54.99.

Of course, there are those among us who don’t pay for games… the pirates but not ones with eye patches and swords, oh no, but the people who download brand new games illegally without paying for them. Ideas like DRM or even the Digital Economy Bill are being implemented in an attempt to crackdown on piracy but will it ever be stopped once and for all? Unlikely. A worrying prospect for Train2Game students who no doubt would much rather receive royalties for their games rather than have them downloaded illegally and receive nothing!

Now, legendary developer Charles Cecil – who’s currently working on free Doctor Who adventure games for the BBC – says piracy is “nature’s way of turning around and saying games are too expensive and the way that they are distributed is not ideal.” He suggests that an iTunes style of digital distribution could work in the future for games developers and go someway to preventing illegal downloads. Steam has gone some way towards this, but Cecil is correct about the simplicity of iTunes.

Meanwhile, Indie developers Wolfire, are currently allowing you to buy five games, including the highly acclaimed World of Goo for…get this, any price you want to pay! If you really wanted, you could give humble 1p, you could give them a grand if you so desired. The current average contribution people are handing over at the time of writing is $7.90 or about £5.20 in the Queen’s Stirling. Sure it may not be that much but the game’s are being distributed to a wide audience and the developer’s are at least getting some cash for all their hard work.

Sure, you probably won’t get major multinational developers like Activision or Square-Enix giving away the next Modern Warfare or Final Fantasy for whatever price you’re willing to pay, but this system could provide dividends for the indie developers of the future, today’s current Train2Game students. There will still be people who will pay as little as possible for their games for sure, but on the other hand there will always be more generous people who’ll hand over larger amounts for the products.

With digital distribution becoming more and more popular there’s now more scope than ever for an independent developer to get their work out there and have it played by thousands, or hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of people! So not only could creating a highly popular indie game provide you with enough money to pay the rent, it’ll also look excellent in any developer’s portfolio.

So go on my fellow gamers, support indie developers! Not only can you help stop the pirates, but you’ll also get a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside when you do.