One of the most sought after Nintendo 3DS games right now is something you’ve probably never heard of, and it just got a bit more difficult to find.
Nintendo has pulled Cubic Ninja from its digital-download store. This game from developer AQ Interactive and publisher Ubisoft is an obscure platformer, but most people are not seeking out the release for its gameplay. In recent weeks, hackers discovered an exploit in Cubic Ninja that enables the 3DS to run custom, or “homebrew,” software. One of the most common uses for this kind of hack is to run pirated versions of games that players acquire illegally online. Nintendo obviously wants to avoid this.
While gamers can no longer get the digital version of Cubic Ninja, the game is also available in stores. But the platformer-turned-hacking tool is incredibly hard to find. GameStop doesn’t have it new or used online and a search of stores in several states reveals no available inventory. Even when GameStop does get the game, it is selling it for $40 used, which is more than twice the game’s original new price of $20.
In addition to playing pirated software, hacking a 3DS can break region-locking on games. This will enable people in the United States to play Japanese 3DS releases (and vice-versa). Many fans consider this a legitimate use, and Nintendo chief executive officer Satoru Iwata has even recently noted that his company is looking into ditching region=locking.
But piracy is obviously the biggest concern for Nintendo. Both the original DS and Sony’s PlayStation Portable had huge problems with gamers illegally downloading software. The problem was so bad on those systems that the founder of developer Renegade Kid, Jools Watsham, says that the possibility of piracy on 3DS would scare him off of working on the hardware.
“If piracy gets bad on the 3DS, we will have no choice but to stop supporting the platform with new games,” Watsham wrote in a blog in 2012. “Some say that piracy leads to more game sales, claiming that it enables players to try before they buy. Bullshit. The percentage of people who will spend money on a game that they already got for free is surely very small.”
That said, we reached out to Watsham who seems to have faith in Nintendo to handle this situation.
“I am very confident in Nintendo’s ability to keep the 3DS safe against piracy,” Watsham told GamesBeat. “The fact that updates can be performed to improve the system is a huge line of defense for the plucky handheld.”