Holding Nintendo Accountable

Castle of bricks

Over a period of 10 days, 138 people from twenty different countries made donations of $10 or more in order to send Nintendo's President and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime, a total of 220 bricks.

Last week, volunteers for Defective By Design assembled the cardboard bricks (and had some fun doing so!). Today we are individually wrapping each brick, attaching our signed letters, so we can ship them out over the next few weeks to the Nintendo of America headquarters. At the end of our letter, we have issued the following demands:

  • Drop DRM from the Nintendo 3DS and all future Nintendo products.
  • Change your terms of service. Tracking a user's activity; claiming a copyright license on a user's data and her creative works; and bricking a user's device if she chooses to modify or use it in an "unapproved" way, are intrusive and completely unacceptable, to say the least.
  • Make a formal statement apologizing to your customers and responding to these requests.

Those of us who have sent a letter expect a response from Mr. Fils-Aime. But, we are not the only ones awaiting a response.

Our collective outcry over the digital and legal restrictions imposed by Nintendo has spread widely. Over the past two weeks, the bricks have brought much media attention to bear on the dangers of the Nintendo 3DS. Major gaming blogs and community forums; widely read sites such as PCWorld, BoingBoing and TorrentFreak; and mainstream publications such as Metro UK and the New York Times, are all looking for answers. So far Nintendo has only issued cryptic and troubling responses from unnamed spokespeople. All of these people &mdash all of us — deserve better from Nintendo and their COO and President Reggie Fils-Aime.

Nintendo 3DS surveillance camera

In our ongoing research, we came across this additional tidbit to share with you. Nintendo is actually trying to sell its control over users as a feature. On one of their promotional pages, they write, "The Activity Log tracks both your game play activity, noting which games you've played and how long you've played them, as well as your physical activity, counting every step you take while carrying your Nintendo 3DS." The choice Nintendo leaves users with such "features" is all-or-nothing — you either allow them to track and record your every move, or you turn off the wireless entirely. While companies such as Apple and Google were recently forced to testify before the US Congress to explain having done similar (to the ire of their users), Nintendo hopes to fly under the radar, playing off the 3DS as just a "gaming device." But we know you're not fooled — help us make sure others aren't either.