Saturday, June 11, 2005

Is the revolution really a helmet?

Some pretty intriguing pictures have surfaced today on the infamous mozlapunk blog. They claim to show the technical manual accompanying the Revolution´s dev kit. The manual´s cover shows a pretty cool looking helmet alongside the Revolution. There are also pictures of what is said to be an NDA, a non-disclosure agreement, common in this industry.

As much as I´d like to believe it... the supposed NDA is fake. The original photo is found here.

I do not claim to have found this myself. It is courtesy of someone on the above mentioned mozlapunk blog and this Engadget thread calling himself ´yeoz´ linking to this rather cryptic and mysterious blog.

The original picture shows someone at the Electronic Frontier Foundation or EFF. They are concerned with Digital Rights Management or DRM. Of course, I could have posted rumours on how Nintendo is also busy implementing DRM for the Revolution, but... I wanted to be journalistic about this.

The person on the photo is called Seth Schoen. He is the EFF´s staff technologist. I emailed him and got this reply:

I find this very amusing. I have never heard of Nintendo's Revolution before now and have no connection to this hoax. The picture of me that you see documents a letter that I wrote to the editor of Wired News around 2002 to ridicule shrinkwrap licenses. The envelope had seals and text indicating that Wired was promising to publish my letter by the act of opening it.

It's certainly true that video game consoles have been implementing DRM and that I have been critical of them for this. I was involved in advising Andrew "bunnie" Huang prior to the publication of his book _Hacking the Xbox_, and I support the creativity of people who find new ways of using console machines.

That said, I do not own any console machines, nor do I want to buy one, precisely because they have become so encumbered with licensing. I also don't follow the console markets closely except when there's some kind of legal dispute of interest to me. I recently bought a new computer solely in order to play Stepmania because I love DDR but didn't want to buy a game console machine designed to play only software produced under license with Microsoft or Sony. My hope is that "convergence" will mean that the video game console, mobile phone, and set-top box markets will become open-platform general purpose computers, rather than that the PC will become a game console, mobile phone, or set-top box.

Thanks for letting me know about the hoax.

You´re welcome. Thanks for clearing this up for us. Once again, rumours seem to turn out false... but strange things are afoot.

No comments: