Everyone who enjoy playing classic video games must know about the existence of emulators and roms – software which simulates console hardware to run digital copies of games. A simple Google search of “Nintendo roms and emulators” will show you nearly endless results. Needless to say, none of these sites have the legal rights to do so, and yet they continue to exist. According to a new story on TorrentFreak, Nintendo is now taking a stand against two sites they perceive to be among the biggest offenders: LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co. The two sites are owned and operated by an Arizona company called “Mathias Designs LLC.”
Here are some excerpts from Nintendo’s official complaint:
“The LoveRoms and LoveRetro websites are among the most open and notorious hubs for pirated video games.”
“Through the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites, Defendants reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display a staggering number of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games, all without Nintendo’s permission.”
“Defendants are not casual gamers but are instead sophisticated parties with extensive knowledge of Nintendo’s intellectual property and the video game industry more generally.”
Nintendo is seeking $150,000 USD per infringing Nintendo game and $2,000,000 USD for each trademark infringement. Considering the number of games available on these sites, Matthias Designs could be looking at paying nearly $100 million USD to Nintendo in penalties.
As of yesterday, LoveRoms has removed all Nintendo titles from its library. LoveRetro, on the other hand, has already been taken offline.
Judging by the comments section on Nintendolife, people are on both sides of the fence here with regards to whether they support Nintendo’s decision or not. It’s true that pirating is bad for the industry and Nintendo has every right to punish any rom/emulator distribution sites for infringing on their intellectual property. At the same time, it’s also true that the Switch no longer supports Virtual Console making it extremely difficult to acquire retro games legally.
For fans of older games, it seems strange for Nintendo to go after people offering a service that Nintendo themselves should be providing. Either Nintendo just doesn’t want you to play older games or they simply enjoy infuriating their fans every now and then. Looking at their track record, it’s become painfully apparent that they regularly make bizarre business decisions that are completely out of touch with what their loyal customers want. Much to the dismay of retro fans, it seems like Nintendo just wants to add another bad decision to the list by not maintaining Virtual Console and going after companies that provide the same service.
Featured Image Credits: Inside.worldgaming