Interesting legality issue: console vs emulator

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by GBGames, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. GBGames

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    I saw this thread on gamedev.net:
    http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=278903

    I responded, but I was wondering what everyone else thinks. I can see this being a murky issue.

    Summary: guy wants to get into game biz, but doesn't like the hoops he has to jump through to make a GBA game for Nintendo. He was wondering if he would be in trouble if he instead makes a game for an emulator. Basically, he is not making a game for the console itself, so Nintendo has no way of saying he needs a license.

    I think his main purpose is to make a game and hope it gets popular enough so he can use it as leverage to become a real developer, but I wonder about the legality of trying to actually sell games made for the emulator and not the console itself.
     
  2. Greg Squire

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    Making a console game to only be played in an emulator is probably fine if you’re using it only as a portfolio piece that you show to potential employers. However selling that game without going though Nintendo’s approval process is on “shaky groundâ€. Nintendo aggressively defends its IP (which includes the GBA platform), so I could see a lawsuit coming if he did start selling it. If he wants to sell it, he should port to the PC instead. A similar type of thing has occurred in the Atari homebrew market. People started making and selling newly created games (in cartridge form) for the 2600, 5200, and 7800. Atari (Infrograms), from what I understand, issued “cease and desist†letters to those companies and basically shut down that whole market.

    I agree with GBGames on the issues regarding emulators though. I don’t advocate using emulators to play “illegal ROMsâ€, like I don’t advocate playing “pirated gamesâ€. However in the case you own that GBA cartridge, I don’t see why you can’t play that game on your PC as well. It’s similar to music; if you buy a CD, you should be able to play the tracks on your computer (MP3), or on your portable MP3 player also. (The music industry is starting to come around on this issue.) I realize there are some legal gray areas surrounding this “fair use†stuff, and some of it may depend on the license that came with the game (after all it’s licensed and not sold so there are use conditions). But that aside, that is the way I see it ought to be (maybe that’s not always the way it is currently).

    In a related vein, another pet peeve of mine is having to buy media twice. I have lots of older VHS movies, but then I have to buy it again to get the DVD version. I realize that there’s an upgrade involved in this scenario (better quality, and maybe extra content), so I’m not opposed to an “upgrade feeâ€. Something akin to paying less for the 2.0 version of the software if you already own the 1.0 version, however I hate having to shell out the full cost of it all over again. Or another scenario would be having to buy a CD game twice because I want to play the multiplayer portion with my son, but the game requires that the copy protected CD be in the CD-ROM drive.

    Okay I’ve vented enough.
     
  3. tolik

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    Ok, being emuguru, I'm really confused for the first time.
    That's crazy, man. GBA emu like VBA needs P3-600 to barely work, even better computer to have decent sound.
    Who needs lowres game on PC nowadays?

    So much points to make, one of them is... CRAZY! :confused:
     
  4. RedKnight

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    Think back on how Sony destroy Bleem.
     
  5. papillon

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    *eyes emulynx warily and cradles her SNES emulator*

    some of us would MUCH rather have these 'low-res' games than today's market's 3d crap. :)
     
  6. Tom Cain

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    My initial impression is that Nintendo could actually find this scenario beneficial in the legal battle to get rid of emulators. If Nintendo makes money from licensed games which are derived from system patents, then it seems to me that money made by unlicensed entities that bypass Nintendo but utilize its patents could prove legally useful in delegalizing emulators. Couldn't it?
     
  7. Anthony Flack

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    Did they? What utterly despicable, killjoy scumbag bastards. I despise them wholeheartedly and wish them dead.
    I do. Emulation of old systems is a wonderful thing. If Nintendo ever do manage to kill it off... well, we'll need some kind of bloody revolution I guess.
     
  8. RedKnight

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    Is not completly true.
    Homebrew games didn't kill atari. (ok maybe 40 or 49.99 %)

    It was that E.T game that kill Atari.
    I also heard that there was a dump somewhere in new mexico, where
    they still have that 5 millions E.T games, dump into giant containers. :D
     
    #8 RedKnight, Oct 29, 2004
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2004
  9. oNyx

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    Haha E.T. :D

    I heard all those cursed cartridges were buried in the desert ;)

    Well, the question by itself is pretty interesting and I'm not really sure if it's illegal or not. I'm even unable to clearly answer it from a moral POV. All I know is that there were some guys making a small free version (you could download the rom from their site) and they tried getting a publisher that way (for the real thing). But I don't know what happened to them.
     
  10. Jim Buck

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    Well, companies like Atari HAVE to kill such things, no matter how small. The reason is that if there comes a time that there is something they REALLY want to kill, and they haven't established a pattern of protecting their IP in the past by killing off "smaller" projects, then the courts won't see the issue as black and white anymore and could favor the defendent.

    It's the reason why, though it sounds ridiculous, Microsoft had to go after that kid with the MikeRoweSoft.com website.
     
  11. Anthony Flack

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    Let's be clear - we're talking about the people who've been making homebrew 2600 roms RECENTLY, right? Those excellent people? Not people who may have been making them 20-odd years ago?

    Atari (Infrogrammes) don't have to kill this. They could explicity grant permission; make the 2600 an open platform. They kill it because they they don't really give a damn whether they are spreading joy or misery in the world. I truly hate them, and anyone who switches off their own humanity whenever they act on behalf of their company.
     
    #11 Anthony Flack, Oct 29, 2004
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2004
  12. fusionlab

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    A company called Datel has gone a step further by taking Game Boy Advance games designed on a PC and publishing them for GameCube. If you visit their web site www.codejunkies.com you'll see that in their online store they have a product called Advance Game Port for GameCube. This ships with 10 emulated GBA games which run on the GameCube. However Datel also has its own proprietary, unofficial GameCube disc - they are the only company in the world (other than Nintendo) who have the capability to make GameCube software. They also make third party, unofficial PS2 disc products such as Action Replay.

    And no, Nintendo have not successfully sued them to date so take from that what you will.
     
  13. RedKnight

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    atari 2600 is destinated to be DOOMED to infernal hades.
    since it doesn't had the chance to compete with the NES.
    because why?
    NES had an awesome library of games that atari never had.
    E.T vs Zelda???
     
  14. EpicBoy

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    Well, yeah, actually they do. If they allow it, it opens the door for other projects and it sets a precedent that they aren't prepared to follow through on. You can't (legally) allow the wolves into the barn if you aren't going to open the chicken coop next.
     
  15. EpicBoy

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    The NES also had about 100x the processing/graphical power of the 2600.

    Really wasn't too hard to come out on top.
     
  16. papillon

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    ... while I can't entirely remember all the numbers for the different Atari models (didn't own one, I had a coleco) aren't you sort of comparing apples to oranges? The system that ET was on was many years before the NES, wasn't it?

    ... Of course, the ColecoVision was better than the Atari of its time. I will still play emulated Coleco games... no interest in the old Atari ones. :)
     
  17. tolik

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    It did not, read Scribe's EmuFAQ which explains everything.
    http://www.overclocked.org/emufaq/
     
  18. tolik

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    Nintendo could start it long time ago accusing demoscene creating homebrew games. Since some of the sites request some donations and get them, plus make some competitions, that means MONEY. And since there's money, Nintendo would already start suing it.
     
  19. tolik

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    Ehm, old ActionReplay stories anyone? I remember Nintendo DID kill cheat devices.

    Also, Nintendo has it's own GC GBA hardware player...
     
  20. RedKnight

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    ahh good ole Overclock. :D
    another good example.

    Virtual game Station from Connectix
    (sony bought that company)
     

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