Nintendo 3DS killswitch bricks pirate consoles

Nintendo 3DS owners who play pirated games could end up with a non-working device, thanks to a firmware killswitch.

Fan site GoNintendo reports that Japanese second-hand console reseller Enterking issues the warning to 3DS buyers on its website.

According to the slightly shaky translation, Enterking says it will not buy 3DS devices with a history of using illegal or unauthorised software. The shop claims that they are liable to stop functioning thanks to a device-bricking firmware update from Nintendo:

"If you use equipment which is illegal or unapproved by Nintendo or if you do customisation which is unapproved by Nintendo, there is a possibility that Nintendo 3DS becomes non-bootable by system update."

The shop's claim hints at the idea that 3DS devices are capable of storing a complete record of all software played on them - enabling Nintendo to pinpoint devices that have been used to play illegally copied games, and disable them.

If true, the rumoured killswitch looks set to counter the piracy problems that dogged Nintendo's earlier DS handheld.

The third-party R4 flash cartridge enabled DS owners to store hundreds of illegally downloaded games on micro-SD cards. The games company successfully secured a UK ban on the cartridge last year.