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Emulation - The Elephant in the Room

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Dawn, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Dawn

    Dawn La vie est drôle

    Cresselia
    (Cresselia)
    Level 1
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    Emulation is a dirty word in the mind of the majority of video game developers - a game that has been emulated is a copy that has not been sold; profit slipping through their fingers. All that matters is the letter of the law, which very clearly states that downloading a copy of a game you did not pay for is illegal.

    Nintendo in particular are very keen to stamp out emulation: having hit two high profile websites with law suits, and indirectly taking out the significantly large emuparadise as a result, they seem to have finally had a significant impact on video game piracy online.

    Legally, their actions are justified. But is it really so clear cut? With many games there is little hope of playing them any other way: with physical copies being obscenely scarce (or terrifyingly expensive) and in the hands of third parties - meaning the original developers will never see any of the profits made from the sale of these used games - or not even available, emulation is the only option for those who want to experience these games. Many will never be released again due to license issues or the simple fact that it wouldn't be profitable to do so.

    If you missed them the first time, as the law would have it, that's just tough luck. But is it justified for companies such as Nintendo to stamp out emulation when they offer no other alternative? With a Switch Virtual Console off the cards, it is unlikely that Nintendo 64, Gamecube, and Gameboy Advance titles - at least - will be made available on another platform any time soon.

    How do you feel about emulation? Whilst its legal status is obvious, is it morally acceptable to emulate video games that you cannot access any other way - either due to the cost of original versions, or the lack of updated versions on current systems - and should this be acknowledged by video game companies? Or is emulation a plague on the industry that needs to be stopped by any means possible and necessary? How would you tackle the "problem" of emulation - if, indeed, it is a problem?
     
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  2. LostSpirit

    Odd-ish
    (Oddish (J))
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    Emulation is a problem and it's extremely hard to get rid of completely, especially with a growing demand for old players to get back into the franchise. I feel like the virtual console was an excellent fix to this, and I'm surprised to see it not being implemented even further.
    What Nintendo, and companies alike could do, is to expand their virtual consoles to include a library of the most popular games in order to satisfy a sizeable audience who want to play those games. Because it's digital, it would cut the production costs that would be involved in hard copies.
     
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  3. Absolute Zero

    Absolute Zero The second seal

    Jeff
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    Virtual console (or other publishers' equivalents) is the best cure for emulation piracy. Let's say I want to play Mega Man Zero, a game I only heard about a few years ago, a solid decade or more after its release. I have three ways to acquire this game:

    1: I can buy the virtual console version of the game if it was available. It is not available in this way. Nintendo and Inti Creates get no profit from this.
    2: I can buy the cartridge of the game used or from some other third-party or borrow it from a friend. Nintendo and Inti Creates get no profit from this.
    3: I can download a rom of the game and play it on my phone or computer emulated by that method. Nintendo and Inti Creates get no profit from this.

    Those are my only options for experiencing this game, and in none of those ways does the publisher or developer get any profit from it, partly by their own volition. They could change option 1 of that list by publishing these games for the virtual console, but since they don't do that, I'm forced into option 2 or 3 or just refusing myself the pleasure of enjoying this decade-plus old product.

    So I don't really feel bad about the emulating that I do. Right now, I'm existing in some kind of a weird limbo: most of the games I emulate either are old an nostalgic so I do have cartridge/disc versions of them, and so technically I'm playing a legally owned (but illegally acquired) backup copy of the data my parents bought for me centuries ago when SNES was a thing, or are new enough they they're emulatable but not available in VC, so my only way to play them realistically is by emulating them instead of paying $100+ to some dude on ebay.

    Nintendo, the ball is in your court. If you want to make a profit off these old games, you know what to do: let us keep buying old games direct, either cartridge or digital. Not marked up by third parties charging insane amounts because they know nerds like us really enjoy the product. Make that profit yourselves.
     
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