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  1. An IT researcher who hacked the recently released Nintendo Game & Watch allowing it to play additional games is feeling the corporate presence of the Japanese gaming giant on YouTube. After publishing a hacking video on the platform, someone working for Nintendo issued a curious and relatively rare manual Content ID copyright claim to have it taken down. Using any amount of copyrighted content in a YouTube video can result in a claim by a copyright holder, even when fair use exceptions should be applicable. This type of action is often taken through YouTube’s Content ID system after being detected by an algorithm. However, there is another option available to rightsholders that requires action from real-life people which, perhaps counter-intuitively, can mean claims are sometimes more controversial. Nintendo Game & Watch Hacker ‘stacksmashing’ As previously reported by Gizmodo, last November and a day before its official release, Nintendo’s Game & Watch console was hacked by IT researcher ‘stacksmashing‘ in order to play new games. Of course, this type of activity is always frowned upon by Nintendo. The Game & Watch released with Super Mario Bros. and the gaming giant would’ve preferred it to stay that way. But with Doom, Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3 and even Contra playable on the new machine, there’s now more variety, whether Nintendo likes it or not. Surprise: Nintendo Doesn’t Like It Nintendo can put pressure on hackers in all kinds of ways but an action taken against at least one of stacksmashing’s videos on YouTube reveals the company isn’t averse to playing some games of its own. As revealed by the hacker on Twitter, Nintendo has filed an interesting copyright complaint against one of his videos. As the above shows, Nintendo says that the video infringes its copyrights relating to Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. However, the important information relates to what supposedly infringing content stacksmashing used in his video and in what context. According to the hacker, not much at all and not for very long either. The Claim From Nintendo “It’s a claim with time stamps – the beginning of the time stamp is a terminal window.. and then just the device being on and Mario running for a couple of seconds,” he explains. From the explanation and assuming that the terminal window didn’t infringe any of Nintendo’s rights, that leaves the few seconds of gameplay footage as a potential Nintendo irritant. While that could conceivably get caught up in an automatic Content ID claim, that wasn’t the case here. Fairly unusually, an actual human being made a manual claim against stacksmashing’s video, within Content ID. “This was actually a manual match, so someone at the big N put in the time to do this,” he notes on Twitter. So how exactly do manual Content ID claims work? The Parameters As Per YouTube “A manual claim is sent to you when a copyright owner identifies that their content has been used without their permission. Copyright owners use the manual claiming tool to claim your video, which sends you a manual claim,” YouTube explains. In a nutshell, Content ID’s algorithms didn’t flag the video as infringing but someone acting on Nintendo’s behalf watched the video and determined that it did. They then took time out to tell YouTube that Nintendo’s copyrights had been infringed so it should be taken down. “The manual claiming tool is used by copyright owners who demonstrate advanced knowledge of our Content ID system. The tool gives copyright owners a way to manually claim videos not matched by the Content ID system. Manual claims must include accurate timestamps to show exactly where the claimed content is in your video,” YouTube adds. While stacksmashing hasn’t revealed the exact timestamps, the progress bar on the screenshot shows that Nintendo claimed a very small part of the video. Furthermore, the requirement for an accurate set of stamps doesn’t appear to have been strictly adhered to, if indeed the only problem was a few seconds of Super Mario Bros. gameplay footage. Taking that to its logical conclusion, another question raises its head: Why are there so many other videos on YouTube showing Game & Watch gameplay that haven’t received a copyright complaint? Stacksmashing is Reportedly Editing, Filing Disputes With Gizmodo reporting that stacksmashing has had two of his videos targeted in this way, the hacker is reportedly editing them in an effort to get them back on YouTube without further issues. On top, he’s also filing disputes against Nintendo’s claims of copyright infringement. While having any kind of copyright claim against a video is an irritant, in this case a manual Content ID claim does not immediately mean copyright ‘strikes’ for stacksmashing. However, there is an option for a copyright holder to send an actual takedown notice (rather than a Content ID claim) and if this is deemed accurate, a damaging ‘strike’ can be applied to an account. Since the hacker is reportedly prepared to trim out the contentious few seconds of video, his YouTube account will remain in good standing. On the other hand, if Nintendo is found to be “improperly claiming content that they don’t own the rights to” this could result in “penalties including legal liability and partnership termination,” as per YouTube. This, of course, is highly unlikely. Source: TorrentFreak
  2. Leaked Nintendo documents have revealed a frightening surveillance operation carried out against a hacker who was researching exploits for the 3DS handheld. In addition to monitoring his private life, including aspects of his education, when he left the house and where he went, the company followed its target from his place of work in order to pressure him into stopping his activities. Projects to protect the intellectual property rights of corporations are underway all around the world on a continual basis but it is rare for operational details to leak out to the public. Unfortunately for Nintendo, leaked documents are now revealing how frightening things can get for console hackers in their crosshairs, even when those targets have already declared that their work isn’t designed for piracy purposes. Leaked Documents Reveal Police-Style Surveillance Operation During the past 24 hours, various Twitter accounts (1,2) have been posting snippets from documents that were recently leaked from Nintendo. While there are numerous items of interest, the most shocking revelations involve Neimod, a hacker who several years ago developed exploits for the 3DS handheld console. Of course, it’s not surprising for a company like Nintendo to have a keen interest in work carried out by someone like Neimod. Nintendo’s documentation described him as a “highly skilled hardware engineer” with “a very high reputation within the hacker scene, for Nintendo products.” However, the scale of the operation, which is revealed in detail in the leaked documents, shows just how far the gaming giant was prepared to go to stop his work. For example, the leak reveals personal profiling that dug deeply into Neimod’s education status, listed details of his working life, while offering evidence of physical snooping on his daily lifestyle. What time he could be found at home, who came to see him there, and even when he visited places like banks and restaurants are all included. While this kind of surveillance is creepy in its own right, additional documents reveal a detailed plan to use the gathered intelligence to physically confront Neimod in order to pressurize him into complying with the company’s demands. Detailed Operational Planning to Intercept Target According to Nintendo’s planning, the operation would begin around April 15, 2013, with its team meeting at a local hotel to discuss and finalize their plans. Following a review of Neimod’s movements of the previous week, the team would then decide where and when contact would be made – after work or at home, for example. With an undercover investigator monitoring Neimod to discover what time he left work, Neimod was to be approached by a ‘contact team’, who were instructed to approach their target “in a friendly, non-threatening, professional, and courteous manner. “Provide a business card,” the instructions read. After Neimod had been engaged in conversation, the team was instructed to flatter the hacker by “acknowledging his engineering/programming aptitude.” They were also told to reference his stated aim of not “facilitating piracy” with his hacks but point out Nintendo’s concerns that a release of his hack could do just that. Whether Neimod complied or resisted, Nintendo prepared for both eventualities. The following slide, posted to Twitter by Eclipse-TT, shows a flow chart that begins with instructions for the “Knock and Talk Team”, details a staging area, rules of engagement, and plans for what should happen when things go to plan – or otherwise. The Nintendo “Final Enforcement Proposal” document describes a “carrot and stick” approach, with the stick being a laundry list of potential offenses committed by Neimod under Belgian law and the carrot representing a number of sweeteners that might be of interest to the hacker. If cooperation was achieved, Nintendo suggested it could refrain from filing a criminal complaint. It may also enter into a “bounty” contract with Neimod with payments made for finding and documenting exploits. Within certain parameters, his discoveries could still be announced to the public, allowing him to retain “bragging rights.” This could help Nintendo’s image, the company wrote. “If successful, Nintendo’s public image may be further bolstered as a modern, tech-savvy company, while hinting that hackers should be cooperative rather than aggressive with Nintendo in the future (in contrast to Sony’s missteps with George ‘geohot’ Hotz),” the document adds, noting that a trip to Japan to meet Nintendo’s hardware engineers might also prove attractive. Of course, significantly boosting public image long term is only possible when details of invasive surveillance operations stay out of the public eye. With the leak of the full “Hacker Enforcement Proposal” now in full swing (here, pdf), that will be just a little bit harder for Nintendo. On the other hand, it might also give hackers pause for thought. Or, indeed, drive them further underground. Source: TorrentFreak
  3. Hundreds of non-commercial Nintendo fangames have been removed from the popular game publishing community Game Jolt after the platform complied with several DMCA takedown requests. Many of the affected games have dedicated fanbases including many die-hard Nintendo fans, some of whom now seem eager to revolt. As one of the most iconic gaming manufacturers in the world, Nintendo has been fighting piracy for decades. The company has an in-house anti-piracy division that signals the latest threats to steer enforcement actions in the right direction. In recent years it’s gone after sites and stores that offer pirated games and has assisted in the criminal prosecution against alleged members of the hacking group Team-Xecutuer. However, the smaller fish are not being ignored either. Nintendo Targets Non-profit Fangames A few days ago, Nintendo’s legal department sent DMCA notices to the game publishing community Game Jolt. The site, where hobbyists and indie developers share their creations for free, was notified that hundreds of fangames infringed Nintendo’s trademarks. The takedown spree, which was published publicly by Game Jolt co-founder and CEO Yaprak DeCarmine, notes that the games in question use copies of Nintendo’s intellectual property without permission. Game Jolt allegedly profits from this. “These web pages display images of Nintendo’s video game characters in connection with unauthorized online games that copy the characters, music, and other features of Nintendo’s video games. “The web site at gamejolt.com generates revenue from advertising banners displayed on the site and advertisements played while users wait for the games to load,” the takedown notices add. 379 Games This certainly isn’t the first time that Nintendo has targeted fangames, but the scope of this recent effort is massive. In total, the two notices posted by Game Jolt target 379 game URLs, which were all taken down. Game over. The developers of the games and many of their fans were taken by surprise. Players were suddenly greeted with a 404 error message like this one and developers received an alert notifying them that their game had been targeted. The mass removal is a hot topic in the Game Jolt community. Many people don’t understand why Nintendo would target some of its most dedicated fans. That includes the indie developers who spent weeks or months on their projects. Game developer ‘Eeveeloverdoesgaming,’ who publishes several Nintendo-inspired games, wasn’t targeted but summarizes the general feeling towards Nintendo quite well. No Sympathy for Nintendo “They’ll get no sympathy from me, this isn’t the first time they’ve pulled a stunt like this. They’ve made it clear they hate their fans and repeat it time and time again never learning from it.” The developer will continue to work on his “Five Nights At Team HQ series” but fears that it will be targeted eventually. That doesn’t stop the developer though, and he encourages others to simply flood the Internet with copies. “Nintendo if you think taking down everyone’s games will help your image and get people to buy more of your games then you’re sorely mistaken! I’ll keep making and reuploading fan games even if you try to take them down, so DEAL WITH IT! “All people who have copies of the fangames that were taken down take them and reupload them all over the internet so they stay up no matter what!” Reuploaded Although some developers prefer to lie low and stay out of Nintendo’s hairs for the foreseeable future, some have indeed brought their games back to life. For example, ‘Jeb Yoshi’, the developer of “Five Nights at Yoshi’s,” re-uploaded it with ads disabled. “After looking into it, I believe the fact there was profit being earned from advertisements on the game page was the reason for the takedown of this game among countless others,” the dev writes. ‘Jeb Yoshi’ refers to Nintendo’s mention of the advertising element in the DMCA takedown request, which is mentioned by other people as well. They are not sure whether that’s indeed the case though. “Let’s hope this goes well,” the dev wrote on Discord. In pursuit of more clarity TorrentFreak reached out to Nintendo for a comment but, at the time of writing, we have yet to receive a response. We also reached out to Game Jolt to hear their thoughts on Nintendo’s DMCA requests but the company didn’t immediately reply. We will update this article if more information becomes available. Source: TorrentFreak
  4. Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo, but got laughed out of the room The company wanted Nintendo's software for the original Xbox. STR New / reuters Somehow, it’s already been two decades since Microsoft first announced the Xbox, its foray into console gaming. Specifically, the Xbox was unveiled at CES in 2001 — to commemorate that launch, Bloomberg has published an in-depth oral history of how the console came to be. It’s a fascinating read, but one particular passage stands out: details on Microsoft’s efforts to secure games for the brand-new console. While the company implored third-party developers to work on the Xbox, Microsoft also considered using its considerable financial might to buy developers. And Microsoft set its sights high, approaching Nintendo about an acquisition. Microsoft was laughed out of the room, says Kevin Bachus, a director for third-party relations on the Xbox project. “They just laughed their asses off,” Bachus said to Bloomberg. “Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.” Microsoft’s specific pitch did make some amount of sense. At the time, Nintendo was lagging behind Sony badly from a hardware perspective. So Microsoft figured it could take on hardware production and leave Nintendo to focus on the software. “We actually had Nintendo in our building in January 2000 to work through the details of a joint venture where we gave them all the technical specs of the Xbox,” said head of business development Bob Mcbreen. “The pitch was their hardware stunk, and compared to Sony PlayStation, it did. So the idea was, ‘Listen, you’re much better at the game portions of it with Mario and all that stuff. Why don’t you let us take care of the hardware?’ But it didn’t work out.” While this is certainly the most notable of Microsoft’s failed acquisitions, there were a few other notable developers who passed on the company’s overtures. EA was the first company that Microsoft reached out to; the software giant passed with a more simple “no, thanks.” Microsoft also was meeting with Square (now known as Square Enix) and Mortal Kombat developer Midway. One acquisition that did go through gave Microsoft what’s been the flagship franchise for the Xbox since day one. At the time, Bungie was a little-known developer, but Halo: Combat Evolved arrived alongside the first Xbox in November of 2001 and was met with immediate acclaim. It’s not a stretch to say the game gave the Xbox immediate legitimacy and helped it carve out a significant chunk of the gaming market despite the dominance of Sony and Nintendo. For more on how the first Xbox came to be, Dina Bass’s oral history at Bloomberg is a must-read. Source: Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo, but got laughed out of the room
  5. Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo online services being investigated by UK government Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all being investigated by the UK government's Competition and Markets Authority watchdog, to establish, among other things, whether the auto-renewal terms of Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and Nintendo Switch Online are "unfair". Based on the CMA's initial announcement, it's a fairly broad investigation, and will seek to answer a number of questions. The watchdog says it's written to Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony to "help better understand their practices" when it comes to their online gaming services. Specifically, the CMA says it's looking to ascertain whether the companies' contracts are unfair ("do the companies' terms give them wide discretion to change the quality of the deal, for example, by reducing the number of games included or increasing the price?"), how easy it is to cancel or secure a refund ("are there any factors that make it difficult for people to cancel their contract or get their money back?"), and whether the auto-renewal process is fair. On this latter point, the CMA says it's curious to know whether customers are "clearly told that their membership will be rolled over, [if they're] regularly reminded that they are on a roll-over contract before further payments are taken, and [if] auto-renewal [is] set as the default option". The watchdog stresses that no verdict has yet been reached on whether Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have "broken consumer protection law", but it could take "enforcement action" if it decides the companies' practices are misleading or unfair. According to the CMA, the investigation is part of a "Citizens Advice 'super-complaint'", which previously looked at issues around loyalty penalty. The watchdog says that it's seeking the views of players with current or expired memberships to Switch Online, PlayStation Plus, and Xbox Live Gold, and there's an email address for those with something to say. Source
  6. Security researcher pleads guilty to hacking into Microsoft and Nintendo 24-year-old also involved in Vtech breach Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge A 24-year-old security researcher narrowly avoided prison today, after admitting to hacking into Microsoft and Nintendo servers and stealing confidential information. Zammis Clark, known online as Slipstream or Raylee, was charged on multiple counts of computer misuse offenses in a London Crown Court on Thursday, and pleaded guilty to hacking into Microsoft and Nintendo networks. Prosecutors revealed that Clark had gained access to a Microsoft server on January 24th, 2017 using an internal username and password, and then uploaded a web shell to remotely access Microsoft’s network freely for at least three weeks. Clark then uploaded multiple shells which allowed him to search through Microsoft’s network, upload files, and download data. In total, around 43,000 files were stolen after Clark targeted Microsoft’s internal Windows flighting servers. These servers contain confidential copies of pre-release versions of Windows, and are used to distribute early beta code to developers working on Windows. Clark targeted unique build numbers to gain information on pre-release versions of Windows in around 7,500 searches for unreleased products, codenames, and build numbers. IRC AND WEB SHELLS WERE KEY PARTS OF THE INTRUSIONS Clark then shared access to Microsoft’s servers through an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server chatroom, allowing other individuals to access and steal confidential information. Prosecutors say other hackers from France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries were then able to access Microsoft’s servers. Police found the stolen files on Clark’s home computer after a joint investigation involving Microsoft’s cyber team, the FBI, EUROPOL, and the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU). 26-year-old Thomas Hounsell, known in the Windows community for running the now discontinued BuildFeed website, also appeared alongside Clark in court on Thursday. Hounsell has always closely followed Microsoft’s development processes and used Clark’s server breach to conduct more than 1,000 searches for products, codenames, and build numbers over a 17-day period. Photo by James Bareham / The Verge NINTENDO ESTIMATED DAMAGES OF UP TO $1.8 MILLION The Microsoft intrusion ended when Clark uploaded malware onto Microsoft’s network, and he was subsequently arrested in June, 2017. Clark was then bailed without any restrictions on his computer use, and went on to hack into Nintendo’s internal network in March last year. Clark gained access through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and used similar software to hack into Nintendo’s highly confidential game development servers. These servers store development code for unreleased games, and Clark was able to steal 2,365 usernames and passwords until Nintendo eventually discovered the breach in May 2018. Nintendo estimates the cost of damages between £700,000 ($913,000) and £1.4 million ($1.8 million), and Microsoft previously provided the court with a vague estimate of around $2 million in damages. Clark, who was employed at the Malwarebytes security company at the time of the Microsoft hack, was also previously cautioned by British police after being arrested for his role in the massive Vtech data breach in 2015. Clark accessed the account details of millions of Vtech toy users, including children’s accounts. Names, dates of birth, profile images, and even addresses were stolen. Clark fully admitted to the Vtech breach, but the toymaker did not wish to assist with the prosecution so the case went no further. Vtech was eventually fined $650,000 for violating children’s privacy. Clark has also been involved in security research for a number of years, previously uncovering flaws in school internet monitoring software and preinstalled apps on laptops sold by Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba. THE JUDGE COMMENDED CLARK’S PARENTS Clark’s defense barrister said that because the former security researcher is an autistic person and has face blindness, he would be highly vulnerable to violencefrom fellow prisoners or even at a greater risk of reoffending if imprisoned for his crimes. Sentencing Clark, Judge Alexander Milne, QC, compared the offenses to that of a common burglar who had entered a house, stolen goods, and altered a home. While the offenses are certainly serious, and similar cases have involved jail sentences, the judge weighed up the unique aspects of this particular case. “Everything I have heard and been told leads me to believe this is a young man who would suffer disproportionality if he went to prison,” said Judge Milne. The judge revealed a letter penned by Clark’s parents, detailing his plans for rehabilitation and his challenges with autism, had weighed heavily on his decision. Clark’s mother has given up her day job to help supervise her son and work on his rehabilitation, and the case had clearly taken its toll on the family. “The heartbreak, and I can only see it as heartbreak for his parents, comes across loud and clear. They are to be commended,” said Judge Milne. Clark was sentenced to a total of 15 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. A Serious Crime Prevention Order was also granted for a period of five years, which carries an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison if breached. Hounsell was also sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and given 100 hours of community service. These suspended sentences mean neither Clark or Hounsell will spend immediate time in prison, providing they don’t reoffend. Ending his sentencing, Judge Milne said “I am trusting this will be a lesson from which you will all learn.” “Today’s action by the Courts in the UK represents an important step. Stronger internet security not only requires strong technical capability but the willingness to acknowledge issues publicly and refer them to law enforcement. No company is immune from cybercrime. No customer data was accessed, and we’re confident in the integrity of our software and systems. We have comprehensive measures in place to prevent, detect, and respond to attacks,” says Tom Burt, CVP of customer security and trust at Microsoft in a statement to The Verge. We’ve also reached out to Nintendo for comment on the sentences, but the company did not respond in time for publication. Source
  7. Gaming on Android has usually meant gaming on the touchscreen of your smartphone. While Android does boast of a very large collection of touch-optimized games, some titles just work out better when the player uses a gamepad and real hardware buttons and keys. For the same purpose, you can find a whole host of generic gaming accessories, including controllers, that will easily allow you to upgrade your gaming experience. For example, if you have a PlayStation 4, you can connect the DualShock 4 controller to your smartphone to play. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work on every device, and the reason usually boils down to missing key layout files. If you are looking to reuse one of your existing game controllers, Android has been gradually adding in support for various popular controllers, such as the Xbox One S wireless controller, and the Xbox Elite Series 1 Controller. A study of the AOSP commits revealed that Android 10 also brought along the ability to connect and properly play on Android using the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. A commit in the AOSP Gerrit had added in the key layout file for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The key layout file enables Android to properly recognize the button presses on the controller, and map it to the appropriate Android action that games can listen for. Without this key layout file, the game either will not be able to recognize hardware presses or it will initiate wrong actions. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller was launched alongside the Nintendo Switch and served as a better alternative to the Joy-Cons. This commit was added back in June 2019, so Android 10 updates on your phone are likely to have the same already incorporated. If you have a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller around, you can check and confirm if the same works seamlessly on your Android 10 device. Source: Android 10 brings controller mapping support for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (via XDA Developers)
  8. In the ongoing saga of Nintendo’s Joy-Con drift problem, it appears even the Switch Lite isn’t immune. On Saturday complaints about the barely week-old system were added to a class-action lawsuit against Nintendo. Originally filed in July, the lawsuit alleges Nintendo knew about a design defect in the Switch’s controllers and has failed to correct or acknowledge the problem. This issue causes a Joy-Con’s analog stick to register input, a.k.a. drift, even when nothing’s touching it, significantly disrupting gameplay. And it doesn’t appear to have been fixed with the Switch Lite. Online reports of players experiencing drift on Nintendo’s newest system started cropping up days after its release, several of which were referenced in the lawsuit. “I can’t believe it, my Nintendo Switch Lite is already drifting,” one player cited wrote. “I was playing BOTW and the camera kept moving without touching the analogue stick. I tried to calibrate and update the controllers but it was still the same.” “I beat Link’s Awakening over the weekend on my original Switch Lite system,” said another, “I had only put like 20 something hours on it, and it started to show joy-con drift. Why is this happening earlier on than with the earlier Switch?” The firm Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith (CSK&D) is representing 18 plaintiffs in 16 different states as part of this suit, which goes on to cite online complaints of drift with a new version of the Switch released last month. This updated version sports a longer battery life and apparently the exact same joystick defect. While there are no official numbers indicating how widespread this problem may be, online complaints have been cropping up since the Switch’s launch in 2017. One of my Joy-Cons started experiencing it recently, causing problems that range from frustrating to completely game-breaking. Though not nearly as frustrating as having the issue crop up on the Switch Lite. While Nintendo hasn’t addressed the problem in any kind of detail, the company did begin offering free Joy-Con repairs, no questions asked, after the lawsuit was entered. But the Switch Lite’s controllers are built into the system itself, which means any kind of fix would involve shipping the whole thing off to a repair center, a process many users have reported takes weeks. Plenty of online tutorials have popped up offering DYI methods for troubleshooting and fixing Joy-Con drift yourself, but they don’t always work and, in the case of the Switch Lite, could damage the console itself. According to a company memo obtained by Vice, Nintendo doesn’t require warranty information as part of this free Joy-Con repair offer, but there’s been no official news yet regarding anything similar with its newest system. Worst-case scenario, you could just be out a Switch Light. Nintendo did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. You can find the updated complaint in its entirety here, per Polygon, and those interested can sign up here to enter your name to participate in the litigation. Source
  9. TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese gaming company Nintendo Co Ltd on Tuesday reported a 10% decline in quarterly profit, far wide of market expectations, as a rise in costs dulled stronger sales of its hybrid home-portable Switch console. Operating profit for the three months through June was 27.4 billion yen ($252.26 million), versus the 40 billion yen average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv. The Kyoto-based gaming company said it sold 2.1 million Switch consoles in the quarter, bringing the total installed base to 36.9 million units. It maintained its full-year sales forecast of 18 million units for the year ending March. Looking to offset declining sales of its aging 3DS handheld console and expand beyond its core fanbase, Nintendo will in September launch the Switch Lite device, which cuts unit costs by dropping the Switch’s TV dock and detachable controllers. The Switch Lite will retail in the United States at $199.99, compared with the Switch’s price of $299.99. Nintendo did not provide a sales forecast for the new device. The launch comes as the famously secretive Kyoto-based gaming company shows signs of greater openness, tying up with mobile game developers for smartphone-based titles like Mario Kart Tour, which is due to be released this summer in partnership with DeNA Co Ltd. While some analysts said that could prove a breakthrough hit, early download numbers for Nintendo’s most recent mobile title Dr Mario World, developed with Line Corp, have trailed earlier releases like Mario Run, data from Sensor Tower showed. Nintendo’s expansion plans also include a partnership with China’s largest games maker, Tencent Holdings Ltd, that aims to sell the Switch in that country’s stunted console market. The two firms are set to exhibit at Shanghai’s ChinaJoy gaming expo in early August. Last week, Tencent said it will work with Nintendo-backed The Pokemon Company on a new game, in a partnership that could capitalize on the popularity of Japanese characters in China. On the Switch, analysts are looking to the release of the device’s first full Pokemon games - Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield - in November to further push sales. Nintendo’s diversification drive comes as the global gaming market faces a shake-up as entrants like Google parent Alphabet Inc and Apple Inc move into game streaming services. Many analysts nevertheless said games fans will continue to hew to traditional console manufacturers like Nintendo and Sony Corp with their exclusive games featuring well-established characters. Nintendo’s shares closed up 0.7% ahead of the earnings announcement. Its share price has risen 39% year-to-date. Source
  10. The admin of RomUniverse has filed his reply to Nintendo's piracy lawsuit. In a pro se defense, the operator maintains that he is unaware of any copyright infringement, claiming protection from the DMCA's safe harbor. Instead, he argues that Nintendo profited from free advertising while demanding millions in damages for false allegations of infringement. Last September, gaming giant Nintendo filed a lawsuit against the game download portal RomUniverse. The website, which also allows users to download movies and books, stands accused of enabling massive online copyright infringement, including that of many popular Nintendo titles. “The Website is among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games. Through the Website, Defendants reproduce, distribute, monetize, and offer for download thousands of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games,” the company wrote. RomUniverse profited from these copyright infringements by offering paid premium accounts that allow users to download as many games as they want, Nintendo further alleged. The site’s operator, Los Angeles resident Matthew Storman, clearly disagreed with these allegations. Without an attorney, he decided to defend himself in court and responded to Nintendo’s claims by filing a detailed motion to dismiss. This motion eventually failed after Nintendo picked it apart. The court instead ruled that Storman had to face the charges and file a reply to Nintendo’s complaint. The reply was initially due in January, but the court later agreed to push this deadline back. That was done to allow the RomUniverse admin to attend a Federal Pro Se Clinic to get free advice on how to fight the gaming company on his own. After the brief delay, Storman filed his answer to the complaint at the California federal court. Still without an attorney, he maintains his innocence and denies all allegations of piracy and infringement. The site operator states that he is unaware of any infringing content that was uploaded to the website. And if there is any, these uploads may be legally protected by the first sale doctrine. Storman likens his site to other platforms that deal with user-uploaded content. He therefore argues that he can’t be held liable for uploads carried out by others because he is entitled to safe harbor protection. “Defendant provides copyright owners access to all files that are arranged by uploaded title only. This is required under 17 U.S. C and an implied contract with Nintendo, where Nintendo has full access to all contents to locate any potentially infringing material..,” Storman writes. That the site also collects membership fees is not a problem as long as Nintendo doesn’t remove any content from the site, according to the admin. “Defendant is unaware of content. Furthermore, Nintendo can request removal of any material it has a good faith believe to be infringing. Defendant may receive potential membership fees as long as Nintendo does not remove all material,” he writes. In an attempt to turn the tables, Storman argues that Nintendo profited from his site. RomUniverse.com and the associated NDSUniverse.com, serve as free advertising vehicles for the gaming company which generated profit from it, for which the site owner never received a penny. “Copies on the Website originally from Nintendo when seen by users is a positive advertising asset to Nintendo. It is part of an implied contract with Nintendo over the last 10 years. This advertising asset can be calculated and measured by Nintendo in cooperation with Defendant,” Storman adds. The response to the complaint includes several of the arguments that were also made in the motion to dismiss. However, it also does a step further, by demanding damages from Nintendo. Instead of compensating Nintendo, Storman wants the gaming company to pay up instead. He demands $150,000 per copyrighted work for the false allegations of infringement, as well as $2,000,000 for each false counterfeiting claim. On top of that, Storman also wants Nintendo to “permanently approve all copying, distributing, selling, performing, displaying, playing, or otherwise using any copy of an [Nintendo] copyrighted work, or any derivative thereof.” Storman’s demands are the exact opposite of Nintendo’s, which requested the same damages for the alleged infringements and wanted the site admin to permanently cease (instead of approve) the copying of any copyrighted works. While Storman’s reply is certainly a bold move, we expect that Nintendo will have a different view on the matter. The company’s legal team may also point out several procedural and technical issues, as it previously did. In any case, it will be a major challenge to defeat a company of this size in court, without any legal representation. For now, however, both RomUniverse.com and the associated NDSUniverse.com remain online. Matthew Storman’s answer to Nintendo’s copyright infirngement complaint is available here (pdf). Source
  11. Are these the first pictures of the “Switch Mini”? Accessory maker shows system without detachable Joy-Cons, with traditional d-pad. In 2019, we've seen rumor after rumor after rumor after rumor that Nintendo is planning to release a new, smaller version of the Switch in the near future, possibly without the original system's signature detachable controllers. While Nintendo hasn't announced anything officially, some new listings from Chinese accessory manufacturer Honson have reignited the rumor mill surrounding a redesigned Switch system being potentially in the pipeline. Honson's Nintendo Switch Mini landing page showcases 11 different products, including a variety of bags, carrying cases, hard shells, and a screen protector. One page promises a "professional design to perfect fit Nintendo Switch mini." Similar product images were posted to the company's Facebook page a week ago. All of these products are listed as "out of stock" on Honson's own website (the company told NintenDIY that they'll be available starting next week). But some Honson products "for Nintendo Switch mini case" are already available for bulk order through Alibaba right now, complete with customized packaging and logo options for large bulk orders. As shown in Honson's images, the Switch Mini seems to be contained in a single unit, with the usual Switch controls embedded in the system rather than on removable Joy-Cons. The face buttons look a bit larger than those on a standard Switch, and the front shoulder buttons seem to wrap around the corner of the system a bit farther as well. The biggest apparent change, though, is that the Switch Mini is shown in Honson's images with Nintendo's traditional d-pad design, a change from the distinct buttons on the current Switch's left Joy-con. That could make some sense if the controls on the redesigned system aren't removable and thus don't have to act as face buttons for games played in "single Joy-Con" mode. Is this for real? While Honson might not be a household name internationally, the Shenzen-based company has been around since 2004, making various console controllers and accessories for international distribution. So this isn't some anonymous troll or a fly-by-night company that was set up just to play a practical joke on the Internet. If anyone is in a position to be briefed on Nintendo's early Switch Mini plans, Honson is among the candidates. And this wouldn't be the first time tech hardware info leaked out early through the Chinese supply chain. That said, the images posted on Honson's site don't exactly seem totally credible. Quite a few contain obvious signs of photo manipulation, with faux screenshots and human hands inserted at noticeably different resolutions and lighting than the system itself. The black system shown in the listing for Honson's clear protective case (which looks quite a bit like a 3D render) also shows a few marked differences from the grayish system shown in other listings. The black system includes a larger, shallower d-pad, slightly redesigned analog sticks, and the presence of a screenshot button that is missing on the gray system. Those oddities are perhaps explained by a message Honson posted under a YouTube trailer for the accessories, which suggests the company may not be privy to insider information: You can doubt and you can wait. But now we are doing for this, please wait and see! ... This time we have tracked and analyzed all the picture information about Switch Mini in domestic and international media. And then with professional perspective and detailed product research, we have launched several accessories for the Nintendo Switch Mini like the carry bag, screen protector and crystal case. Maybe you still have doubt for this. But leading one step ahead means seize business opportunities! That suggests Honson may be trying to get ahead of the game by simply guessing at the likely design and size of a possible Switch Mini to come. If that's the case, it seems a bit odd to market and sell a line of accessories that might have to change significantly if and when the system's actual dimensions are announced. Honson's clear protective case, in particular, includes openings for the system's various ports, controls, and cooling vents that would seem heavily dependent on knowing the actual design and sizing of the system itself. (Honson has yet to respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica. Nintendo of America told Ars "we have nothing to announce on this topic.") Interestingly, the Switch Mini images Honson posted strongly resemble a gray, unibody, 3D-printed Switch mockup design that was shown at the E3 booth of off-brand accessory maker iPega. Perhaps Honson was using this mock-up as one of the sources of "picture information" for its accessories. Or maybe both Chinese companies are working from the same set of educated guesses and/or insider information from Nintendo. In any case, it seems it's not only the tech press and Nintendo fans that are paying close attention to the frequent whispers of a Switch redesign coming from Nintendo. At least some parts of the Chinese accessory supply chain seem convinced that a miniature Switch is happening in the near future and are ready to try to cash in on the move early. Source: Are these the first pictures of the “Switch Mini”? (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  12. Nintendo confirms portable-only, $200 “Switch Lite” for September [Updated] Smaller unit features non-removable controls, can't be docked to a TV. After months and months and months and months and months of credible rumors, Nintendo this morning confirmed that the Switch Lite is real in a short video announcement. The cheaper system, which is "dedicated to handheld play" and is not compatible with docking to a TV set, will be available for $200 starting September 20, 2019 in three different colours. The more compact system shrinks the original Switch's 6.2-inch screen to 5.5 inches diagonally. The screen keeps the same 1280 × 720 resolution, though, resulting in a small increase in PPI and overall sharpness. The Lite system also reduces the original's weight (from about 0.88 pounds to about 0.61 pounds, including Joy-Cons), height (4.0" to 3.6"), and width (9.4" to 8.2"). Nintendo says there should be no performance difference between the two versions of the console when it comes to portable mode. And the smaller system still supports games on physical cards, eShop downloads to SD card storage, standard wired headphones, and a Wi-Fi connection to the Nintendo Switch Online service. Nintendo promises the Switch Lite will get 20 to 30 percent more battery life than the original system. That means the official "approximately 2.5- to 6.5-hour" battery range for the first Switch should approach three to seven hours on the Switch Lite, with actual performance heavily dependent on the processing and display requirements of the game being played. And despite the lack of TV docking support, the Switch Lite still sports a USB-C port on the underside for charging. As rumored, the Switch Lite won't sport the Switch's signature detachable Joy-Cons and will instead feature the same basic controls integrated into the body of the system. The four distinct buttons on the left side of the console have been replaced with a more traditional d-pad, in the style Nintendo itself popularized with the NES in the '80s. This means Joy-Con features like HD rumble and the IR camera won't be supported directly on the Switch Lite. Games that require these features—such as 1-2-Switch, Super Mario Party, and Nintendo Labo—can still be used with the system if players buy separate Joy-Cons (which will need to be charged with a separate, original system or an accessory like ). But the Switch Lite does not include the (flimsy) built-in kickstand of the original unit, making it awkward to play games in "tabletop mode" without an additional accessory to prop it up. Otherwise, the Switch Lite is compatible with all Switch games that run in Handheld Mode, which includes the vast majority of the system's existing library. Last year, Nintendo of America's future President Doug Bowser told Ars Technica that overall play time on the Switch was "about even" between portable and docked modes. And in an October 2017 investor presentation, the company suggested roughly 30 percent of the Switch audience plays "primarily" in handheld/tabletop mode, compared to just under 20 percent that play primarily docked. Switch owners who buy a Switch Lite as a secondary system will be able to easily share digital purchases across both units, thanks to a September system update that allows "non-primary consoles" to log in to the same Nintendo eShop account. The secondary system "must have an active Internet connection" to play downloaded games, however. The introductory video for Switch Lite includes a brief, glossy advertisement showing beautiful young people pulling the system out to play at a skate park, a rock climbing gym, a waterfront party, a camping trip, and even floating in a space station. That's somewhat reminiscent of the three-minute trailer that first introduced the world to the Switch in 2016. In addition to the three coloured versions launching alongside Link's Awakening HD on Sept. 20, Nintendo is also planning a "Zacian and Zamazenta" version, styled after Pokemon Sword and Shield, which will launch alongside those games on November 8. Source: Nintendo confirms portable-only, $200 “Switch Lite” for September [Updated] (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  13. This Game Boy restoration is an ASMR video for nostalgic Nintendo fans It will put you to sleep, in a good way The only thing that can dampen a ‘90s nostalgia trip is seeing an old, beloved gadget fall victim to the cruelty of time, specifically the degradation of a consumer electronic device until the point it barely works properly and is covered head to toe in grime. And gadgets as old as the original Nintendo Game Boy, which came out in 1989, tend not to hold up too well unless they’ve been lovingly cared for and protected from harm over the years. Thankfully, there are those brave souls out there willing to revive these fallen devices, and YouTube channel Odd Tinkering has done just that to Nintendo’s first handheld. Detailed in a nearly 15-minute video posted last month, and resurfaced yesterday by Gizmodo, Odd Tinkering’s Game Boy restoration project is a meditative experience for Nintendo fans. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to watch the half-working, dirt-encrusted Game Boy be brought back to life step by step, but Odd Tinkering’s fantastic mic setup turns the whole video into a borderline ASMR affair. The video has no music or voice over, so you’re left with only the sounds of the restorer’s handiwork in action, including everything from the crunchy pop of AA batteries being pressed out of their plastic case to the accelerated noises of turning screws when he pops the internal circuitboards out so he can water bath the case in hydrogen peroxide. Odd Tinkering gives a detailed explanation of the work in the video’s description, detailing how he solders missing lines in the broken screen back to life and his process for cleaning every part of the case and its various components. The description says the whole restoration took around 15 to 20 hours in total, but he cautions against trying it at home unless you’re willing to break your Game Boy; he mail ordered his already mucked up straight from Japan. “This is not a tutorial but a piece of entertainment,” reads the description, “and something to give you inspiration what to find out before starting project like this.” Source
  14. Nintendo Targets Amazing C64 Port of Super Mario Bros. After 7 Years’ Development Developer ZeroPaige has spent the last seven years creating a port of Super Mario Bros. for the Commodore 64, a record-breaking home computer released in 1982. He released the game just before the weekend to critical acclaim. It didn't take long for Nintendo to start filing takedown notices. When it was released in 1982, the Commodore 64 (or C64) was a revelation. Resplendent in all its 8-bit glory, the machine packed 20 kilobytes of ROM, 64 kilobytes of RAM, the ability to display multicolor sprites and a sound chip (the now legendary SID) to die for. How many machines were eventually sold is up for debate, but with lower estimates of more than 12 million units and some as high as 30 million, it was clearly a massive success story that still has developers excited today. In parallel with the companies who wrote code for Commodore’s machine, a thriving hobbyist scene thrived in the 80s. So-called ‘demos’, distributed via BBSs, pushed the computer to its limits, delighting users with super-smooth scrolling and sampled speech – in fact anything it wasn’t originally expected to do. The fascination with the C64 has persisted for decades. It wasn’t officially discontinued until 1994 but since then has lived on, both in hardware and emulated forms. Those pushing the limits of what the machine can do have also remained hard at work. One of those individuals is a programmer known online as ZeroPaige, who for the past seven years has been attempting to cram a port of Nintendo’s 1985 NES game Super Mario Bros. into Commodore’s now ancient hardware. On April 18, 2019, ZeroPaige revealed that his goal had been reached, with the release of Super Mario Bros 64. “This is a Commodore 64 port of the 1985 game SUPER MARIO BROS. for the Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System,” ZeroPaige wrote. “It contains the original version that was released in Japan and United States, as well as the European version. It also detects and supports a handful of turbo functionalities, and has 2 SID support.” The developer released the somewhat incredible port as a C64 disk image file, playable on hardware or emulators. The reception it received was amazing, with many fans heaping praise on ZeroPaige for completing a task many believed couldn’t be done. But of course, the mighty Nintendo was watching too. Links to the image squirreled away on hosting platforms started to go down, with the suspicion that the Japanese gaming giant was behind the deletions. Seven years of hard work taken down with a few lines of text. Early this morning, the Commodore Computer Club revealed that it too had been hit with a copyright notice, effectively confirming that Nintendo was behind the action against Super Mario Bros. 64. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that Nintendo has targeted the project. The company has been extremely busy in recent months taking down sites that offer ROMs that infringe on its copyrights. Furthermore, Super Mario Bros. is also available on its Game Boy, Wii U, and Switch platforms, so the ….erm….Commodore 64…is also a market threat. But while this takedown will have C64 fans shaking their heads, it will prove impossible to delete Super Mario Bros. 64 from history. As things stand, the disk image is available for download in a number of places and for those who want to play it, a few minutes searching will yield results. The other factor is that the people most interested in this project will already have plenty of connections in the emulator scene, so much of the sharing will go on behind closed doors. This is perhaps a fitting tribute to the distribution that took place in the 1980s, when hobbyists began pushing the C64 to perform tricks its creators never envisioned. While Nintendo’s lawyers clearly see Super Mario Bros. 64 as just another threat to be countered, the company’s programmers are probably sitting quietly at their desks, smiling quietly at the impressive work of ZeroPaige. After all, they’re all striving for the impossible. Source
  15. As more and more reports of flaws in the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers surface, a New England law firm is championing the players with a lawsuit against the company. If you haven’t experienced it, the fault occurs sometimes in Joy-Con that have been in use for a while. The Switch will react as if the thumbstick is being moved even when it’s not being touched, which can obviously cause some gameplay problems. The so-called “Joy-Con drift” has never really been explained. Is it the result of a hardware problem or stress from use? Nintendo isn’t saying, and I can’t even find a reliable source who knows what part of the Joy-Con causes the drift. Regardless, the legal team of Chimicles, Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith have filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the affected users, claiming Nintendo‘s lack of response to this defect constitutes an unfair or deceptive business practice — and it’s replicated the complaints from Reddit and the Nintendo Support forums to support its case. Part of the complaint (which you can read in full here) hinges on the idea that Nintendo knew about the drift problem, but shipped the console anyway: Defendant controls the manufacture, development, marketing, sales, and support for the Switch and Joy-Con controllers. Accordingly, Defendant was responsible for performing pre-release testing on the Switch and Joy-Con controllers which should have alerted it to the defect. The Switch was first released in March 2017 and is still on the market today. Despite knowing about the Joy-Con defect, Defendant continues to market and sell the Switch and Joy-Con controllers (through third-party retailers) without disclosing the defect. Another concern is that, when contacted about the problem, Nintendo won’t fix it for free. From what I’ve seen in the anecdotal evidence of others (my own Joy-Con are thankfully drift-free), the company‘s solution appears to be “buy new Joy-Con.” Not that this surprises me — this is the company that responds to requests for return on digital goods with, “Well why didn’t you read reviews first?” But whether it’s actually illegal or unfair will probably be the backbone of the issue. As for what reparations the company can give, the law firm says in the complaint the plaintiffs want “injunctive relief in the form of a recall or free replacement program [and] Equitable relief in the form of buyback of the devices.” We’ve contacted the law firm for more information. If you want to submit your own experience with Joy-Con drift to Chimicles, Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith, you can do so here. Source
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