After killing legal access to hundreds of 3DS games, now Nintendo's going even harder on illegal access

 Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo 3DS

The 3DS eShop shut down earlier this year, cutting off legal access to hundreds of digital-only games. Now, Nintendo is investing its resources into ensuring that those games are truly lost to time.

A new 3DS system update launched on May 22, promising "further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience." It's unclear whether any of these user experience enhancements are actually noticeable, but the homebrew community quickly realized that the famously simple method for jailbreaking your console no longer works after the firmware update.

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Information around this update is currently evolving as modders work to figure out what changed, but for now, it seems the official update is safe to download if your 3DS is already hacked and updated with the latest custom firmware. It's unclear how (or even if) new custom firmware installs will work after this update, but the modding community obviously has a history of being resilient in the face of challenges like this.

As with, say, jailbreaking an iPhone, hacking your 3DS is perfectly legal, but let's be real here - most people hack their video game consoles in order to pirate games, which is definitely illegal. Dedicated hacking sites take measures to distance themselves from piracy, but homebrew apps that let you download pretty much whatever you want to your SD card are simple to find and even easier to use.

This isn't the first 3DS system update to break homebrew efforts and there's a decent chance it won't be the last - and it's worth noting that Nintendo is well within its legal rights to take whatever action to stop piracy it deems fit. This update just serves as a frustrating reminder of the fact that so many notable 3DS games are now available only to pirates.

Preservationists are working to re-open legal paths for playing 3DS games, but there's a long road to improving copyright law for non-corporate interests.