A little bit of spontaneous info about dev kits, related to your post (and i promised something about them a few days ago if the last week news failed to deliver which wasn't the case):
The boxes are numbered and sealed by a large warning sticker that basically says that the "warranty" wouldn't be valid anymore if it was removed.
Originally Posted by MDX
Well I can imagine:
Sony or MS could have set up a "neutral" game studio just to get their hands on their competitor's hardware. There is probably a good reason why Nintendo does not give each developer the same unit. Probably the most trusted ones get the latest kits. Others might get old kits just to throw the competition off.
It comes with legal stuff & clauses that would make people working on these dev kits liable for pursuits, actionable, if they are too curious and dismantle them to do some extensive reverse-engineering. Some of the specs are seen while booting the dev kits, a list (don't know if it's complete) is accessible in SDK, so people don't really need to dissect the boxes innards to know its specifics. And if they have access to SDK and warioworld, they are again under a legal frame that forbid them to do what they want with the info.
I even bet in this pre-launch period, that studios are accountable to Nintendo and must give some news, some proofs of their development on the system + Big N surely study extensively the background/profile of the companies who want to become licensed developers for their unreleased system, to avoid the cases that you are describing.
All these measures don't prevent industrial espionage, of course, and the "natural" spreading of information amongst the industry, especially from third-parties, with the studios staff turn-over, changes of positions, etc. So, there are other ways for Nintendo to counter this, with "inner circles" policy where latest revisions of their dev kits are reserved for first and second parties, some things are kept hidden to more distant studios, in terms of hierarchy and ties. To illustrate that, MAJOR aspects of the system (not hardware specs or DRC features in this case) still aren't known by BIG third-parties in this present day, i let you guess what they are.
It comes from another source that the ones i'm usually referring to when i give infos.