Nintendo Can Remotely Disable New 3DS System

Nintendo reportedly has a kill switch in place to disable the new Nintendo 3DS handheld if users are caught playing illegal games stored on unapproved SD cards. The news arrives by way of Japanese retailer Enterking who warns consumers about the possible 3DS "bricking" by Nintendo itself.

In a letter to customers who plan to re-sell their Nintendo 3DS in the future, Enterking suggests that SD cards be formatted before bringing the consoles into the shop. "If you use equipment which is illegal or unapproved by Nintendo or if you do customisation which is unapproved by Nintendo, there is a possibility that Nintendo 3DS becomes non-bootable by system update."

"Because of terms of agreement above, Enterking refuses to buy 3DS system with a record of illegal or unapproved equipment," the company added, indicating that the 3DS might actually keep a record of what's is currently on the SD card and what was previously loaded on later dates.

Although the measure of bricking the system seems rather harsh, it's not at all that surprising. Previously Nintendo had a huge problem with the R4 flash cartridge which could store hundreds of pirated Nintendo DS roms downloaded from the Internet. The R4 cartridge was eventually banned in Japan in 2009, and was later outlawed in the UK during Q3 2010.

Naturally Nintendo wouldn't comment on the kill switch, saying that it doesn't discuss product security details or countermeasures. "Nintendo 3DS has the most up-to-date technology," a spokesperson said. "The security has been designed to protect both the creative works in the software and to protect the Nintendo 3DS hardware system itself."

The Nintendo 3DS is slated to hit the North American market on March 25, 2011. In the meantime, the portable console's stiff security has reportedly already been hacked over in Japan by the team behind the R4iDSN flash cartridge. The team managed to get the 3DS to read flash cards that were previously blocked out.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • kcorp2003
    well, good news is. you given hackers a job to break your system. take note from Sony.
  • silky salamandr
    Yet again people, we dont own anything. Were just leasing equipment. The PS3 witch hunt and now this. Boy the future of gaming...
  • f-14
    i hope a hacker gets the code and bricks every single one of these devices remotely as they are activated by customers.
  • joytech22
    Hey you like it you buy it.
    That's what I do anyway.
  • razor512
    Waits for there to be a false positive or some other error and nintendo "mistakenly" bricks a few hundred thousand unmodded consoles.
  • kilo_17
    Unapproved SD cards? Are they saying you have to use a Nintendo brand card?
  • aznguy0028
    FloKidWho would want this piece of crap anyways. Sounds like Nintfago wants to take money from people just like Bill Fags.Already over 400,000 people in Japan with the 3DS sold out everywhere at launch? Your comment has to be one of the most retarded I've read in awhile, full of fan-boyism and poorly attempted bashing. Nice try troll.
  • adamboy64
    I'm sure some homebrew software would disable this and/or the automatic system updates.
    This 'approved SD card' thing is a bit concerning though - not exactly sure what that means at this stage.
  • neoverdugo
    More brickin'?? Nintendo should stop doing this type of crap. Once a system is bought, the client can do whatever it want AT IT'S OWN RISK!! Until then the console is owned by the company. Instead using updates to "protect" its consoles like the fools of Sony, they SHOULD focus on building game consoles that surpasses the next gen consoles from its competitors and add games that are focused to the more mature and adult themed clientele cuz the kiddies/family clientele ain't enough. I want more bloodshed, more oral obscenities, more violent situation, more hoes to ***, more hood politics, more psycho thrillas, etc to the Nintendo Wii and beyond console. The best games for the themes that i like are in PC, Xbox360, PS3 and even in the psp and ds and many of them are multi platform.
  • hotelromeo
    That's great since the only Nintendo users I know are 10 years old and younger, they only thing they hack is the cookie jar. Nintendo is irrelevant.