Game piracy may be somewhat stymied in the West, but not so worldwide - in this case study
, Seoul-based writer Nick Rumas examines the cultural and practical issues behind Nintendo DS piracy in Korea.
Speaking on the prevalence of the R4, a relatively cheap flashcart enabling Nintendo DS users to load commercial and unofficial software on the handheld, in Korea, Rumas notes that DS piracy isn't limited to just hardcore gamers:
"It's everywhere, prevalent in every age group and economic class that exists. And beyond being a matter of money - of not wanting to spend money, that is - piracy for Koreans is, perhaps even foremost, a matter of convenience.
R4 owners aren't necessarily tech-savvy. In fact, a decent number of those who venture to Seoul's Yongsan Electronics Market seeking to buy one aren't even aware that they can pick and choose the games that they want to download from the comfort of their own computer at home.
Rather, the vendor shows them a list of games, transferring the titles they select to the flash card."
While economics are primarily to blame (minimum wage in Korea is far less than it is in North America or Japan, while cost of living is extremely high and fast on the rise), the general attitude of Koreans towards piracy as an acceptable practice hasn't helped:
"Simply put, when it comes to the downloading of music, movies, software, and games, there is no stigma that exists here whereby those who participate are made to feel as if they're doing something wrong.
Rather, ever since the practice first originated, it has very much been considered the normal and reasonable thing to do - the next logical step, so to speak, or an inevitable progression in a connected world.
The government is officially against it, but regardless of what measures are undertaken, no real dent ever seems to be made."
You can now read the full feature
on the popularity of the R4 flashcart and, consequently, the rise of Nintendo DS piracy in Korea (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).