When Nintendo first announced the DSi several weeks ago, many wondered how the new handheld offering would react to homebrew software. After weeks of speculation and Nintendo saying that the DSi would not be a hackable device, the DSi has (supposedly) been hacked.
Three days and over 170,000 DSi sold after launch, the hacker "Yasusoft" has put a video up on YouTube that shows his "Hello, World!" message floating and centering on the top screen of a DSi. If the DSi has indeed been hacked, it represents the good and evil that comes with hacking any hardware. While high-quality homebrew software is a positive aspect of hacking or jailbreaking a piece of hardware, software piracy represents numerous dollars of lost revenue for Nintendo.
One of the biggest differences between the DSi and previous DS handhelds is internet connectivity. While the DS and DS Lite both included online play for many of their titles, the DSi takes it one step further by allowing games and other Nintendo software to be downloaded and stored on SD cards. If the DSi has been hacked, this could lead to an iPhone-like jailbreak following, leading to an endless amount of downloadable homebrew software.
Again, the ugly side of this is piracy. Because pirated games are downloaded most of the time, pirated software could now potentially be brought straight to the DSi, without having to use a computer as an intermediary. With a DS or DS Lite, users need a flash cartridge on which to put downloaded titles and software. While cartridge-based games for the DS platform are not region locked, the downloadable games are region-locked. With a hacked DSi, you can be sure that region-locked titles will make their way onto hardware not of that specific region.
According to several users on DS/GBA fansite GBAtemp.net, the hack was likely perpetrated using the same methods that PSP and PS3 hackers use. By using an intentionally corrupt TIFF image file, the memory buffer is overflowed with information, which allows for homebrew software to be installed.
While the DS has been on sale for several days in Japan, it will not hit U.S. stores until the summer of 2009. With such a vast gap in between the two launches, you should expect to see some interesting DSi hacks before it hits North American shores.