Standalone, this post is an interesting exploration into the 3DS’s security measures, the quest to prevent game piracy. As a provably-foolproof method for content protection has not been found, all DRM is about delaying people for as long as possible. At the end of the day, it’s just maths. This article is particularly relevant to my interests in light of recent happenings in technology. Hopefully, you can see the parallels between what Nintendo does and what Apple does with iOS devices.
When embroiled in debates over human liberties and public safety, there’s a tendency to pigeonhole the meaning of encryption as only the thing that protects personal data on your devices. In reality of course, encryption and hashing techniques are everywhere in technology. Assuming such a policy was enforceable, a ban encryption is not feasible. There are numerous, legitimate, reasons why a company wants to include encryption flows in a product.
Game DRM is just one case; Nintendo and others use cryptography to (attempt to) protect their games library from piracy. In the same way that the FBI is looking for compromises to gain access to the contents of an iPhone, hardware hackers meticulously reverse-engineer the workings of Nintendo’s consoles to break the software security policies. When successful hacks are found, Nintendo releases newer hardware with different security protocols and the hackers get to work gain. This is exactly what Apple does with its iPhones.