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Widespread bans rock Nintendo 3DS modding community

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Hacked systems are booted from online services for good

New Nintendo 3DS XL angle photo (Poly wm) 1024 Polygon

The Nintendo 3DS hacker community is reeling this week as owners of modded handhelds are reporting in large numbers that they can no longer access online services, like streaming apps and multiplayer features.

On sites like Reddit and GBAtemp.net, one of the most widely used sites by 3DS modders, users say they’ve received an error message — Error Code 002-0102 — that says “access to online services has been restricted by Nintendo.” No official reason for the ban has been given.

Owners of modded 3DS systems say they can longer access apps like YouTube, Hulu and Netflix on the system. The 3DS friends list is also unusable.

That’s left those affected trying to deduce the cause on their own, as well as figure out whether this restriction will be permanent. What’s making this especially hard is that there’s “seemingly no linking factor,” as one GBAtemp poster, called Chary, put it.

An accompanying thread about the major series of bans is keeping track of all potential reasons for the ban that users can dig up. Whatever the cause may be, one thing’s for sure — it’s likely due to players using unofficial modifications, like firmware and homebrew software, on the system.

“If you hack your devices/games then their online functionality may be troubled,” Chary wrote. “This has been known for decades, Nintendo seems to have finally caught up with that.”

One upside modders are finding in all of this is that those running into the error code can still use the 3DS web browser and Nintendo eShop. The ban doesn’t completely solve the 3DS’ piracy problem, then; hackers can still circumvent Nintendo’s systems and grab eShop titles for free, if they know how to.

Nintendo has banned 3DS owners in similarly large numbers before, particularly after players were caught playing Pokémon Sun and Moon before its release date. This seems to be the company’s biggest series of them yet, however, and that there doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason for it has hackers in an uproar.

We’ve reached out to Nintendo for clarification on what’s resulting in the bans and will update accordingly.