A number of European fans are reporting that their copies of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire on Nintendo 3DS have completely stopped working. The problem was originally cited on ResetEra by a poster named Kazooie. According to the poster, a group of fans in Germany tested about 12 copies of the game, and 50% of them no longer work. Some European posters shared similar issues, while those in North America seem to be unaffected. Some posters were able to find success by removing and replacing the cartridge, or by updating the 3DS firmware, while other players were not so lucky.
There are a handful of theories about the issue. One French game preservationist has theorized that Nintendo's switch from MaskRom cartridges to FlashRom cartridges is the culprit. According to @Zetsuboushitta, FlashRoms only last 5-15 years, while MaskRoms last 30-50 years. Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire released in 2014, and the prospect that the games might begin to fail this quickly is a frightening one! It's worth noting that some have disputed those numbers, however. More gamers would likely be citing these issues, as well.
Another theory is that it's a soldering issue with certain copies of the game, and with some other 3DS titles, as well. In the thread, some posters cited similar issues with Persona Q. If the issue is a defect with soldering, that does mean there could be a potential fix, for those willing to put in the effort. It would also be a less scary scenario than massive amounts of carts failing!
For Pokemon fans, the idea of not only losing a saved file, but an entire game is quite scary! The franchise means a lot to millions of gamers around the world. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are no longer in print, and warranties for the games have long expired. Nothing lasts forever, but one of the reasons people still buy physical games is the fact that they can revisit those titles long into the future.
If the situation truly is common, hopefully Nintendo will come out and address it soon. For now, Pokemon fans might want to check out their own copies to see if they are having any issues. Hopefully, the problem is fixable, and on the smaller side.
Have you had any issues with your 3DS games? Are you worried about losing your Pokemon games? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!