A dark future lays ahead for homebrew game consoles as legal pressures mount on ROM sites. But is this such a bad thing?
Emuparadise was one of the largest sources for extracted game ROMs on the internet. While ROM download sites have always been in abundance, Emuparadise came with a large community backing and a paid subscription option, which in turn made the site pleasant to use for non-paying members – no intrusive adverts or malware!
However, after floods and floods of Cease & Decist requests from various different publishers, they have finally reached the end of the line with their lawsuit summons.
Pressure from Publishers
Piracy is always a heated topic, and the right of interlectual property has caused much confusion and anger over emulation over the years. While publishers have all but abandoned their older games into their inevitable oblivion, they also try their best to stop their games from being accessed DRM-free.
After many years of threats of legal action but with no recourse, these sites have happily deflected their attempts to allow us to relive our childhoods and spend precious times with memories. However, this has all changed in the wake of a particular legal threat.
Publishers Have Finally Recognised Retro
ROM Download sites found their market as publishers departed. As games come and go, they are removed from the shelves of your local game store and never seen again (except for thrift stores and sometimes the desert). However, it would appear rampant piracy has finally convinced publishers that we still dearly love our old games.
Nintendo have – for a long time now – provided paid-for emulation services on their Nintendo 3DS and Switch consoles. They also released their most popular (S)NES games on their own little mini console replicas. SEGA regularly release packs of retro games for various consoles and recently released new hardware for the Dreamcast, and some other developers have even open sourced their games!
Setting aside the debates of vendor lock-in and paying for emulation, it is nice to see commerical companies re-listing their old games for us to consume again.
At the end of the day, whether your allegance lies with true commercialism or the release of their old property, this comes as a big blow to the community as a whole. However, we wish Emuparadise all the best for the uncertain future for all ahead.
I have tried to be as diplomatic as possible over the issue, but my personal view is that Nintendo has made an awful decision. The normal approach to removing your ROMs is to send a Cease and Desist to those sites and they always normally comply. Nintendo is the only company to take this approach which means all sites – run by individuals who aren’t normally wealthy – have to shut down to avoid lawsuits.
This is not the Nintendo I grew up with. This is a Nintendo I will no longer be participating with, and will see as a patent troll. Nintendo died to me this year.