Nintendo has brought a lawsuit against LoveROMs.com and LoveRetro.co, of which are owned by the same person, over copyright infringement. Anyone who knows Nintendo wouldn’t be shocked by this hardliner stance against emulation. Nintendo hates piracy more than anything, probably more than they like making money. Some would say Nintendo has partaken in the acts they hate most, by monetizing YouTube videos protected under Fair Use, for using a few seconds of a publicly distributed trailer footage. But that’s a story for another time. Emulators themselves are not illegal and have been protected in court. ROMs on the other hand, are illegal. But is it necessarily wrong? Not always. Sometimes the only feasible way to play a game is to download a ROM. Either they aren’t available because of licensing or were never released outside of Japan. For example, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War was never released outside Japan. The only way for anyone outside of Japan to play it downloading a translated ROM. These aren’t potential sales Nintendo lost, these are sales that Nintendo never had a chance of getting. Nintendo doesn’t lose a dime. Yet, Nintendo aggressively goes after any site that provides these ROMs.
Nintendo is technically legally right to do so, but they look very petty and vindictive by doing it. Plenty of people would love to give Nintendo money to play these games, but no better legal options are available. As with the success of Spotify, Netflix, and Crunchyroll, people will pay money if the legal alternative offered is more convenient than the illegal one. If Nintendo provided a Netflix-like service for their extensive library of games. People would be falling over themselves to sign up for it. Instead we get the shitty Virtual Console with its over priced drip feed of ROMs. Switch Online is attempting something like it, but Nintendo has been very vague about what that entails. So far it will have 20 NES games at launch, supposedly more will be on the way. That might be worse than the VC. Really Nintendo? That’s the best you can do? This is exactly why people are pirating your games. You don’t offer better alternatives.
Nintendo comes across as very dickish in all of this. Almost like bullying. Emulation sites are not cutting into their profits. Instead of bringing lawsuits, how about consider giving the consumer a better, more convenient option. Until then, many of us will continue using emulators. I myself prefer not to download ROMs, but I understand why people do. Nintendo deserves no sympathy in this situation. All they are doing is encouraging pirates to continue out of spite. Many decisions Nintendo makes only seem to benefit scalpers. Nintendo has a history of understocking supplies to retailers, like Amiibo and the previously mentioned NES and SNES Classics. Have you seen the markup on some of these things? These anti-consumer practices that don’t even net Nintendo more money. Maybe gamers wouldn’t be pirating if you didn’t purposely understock desired items. Did you ever think about that? No, of course you didn’t.