Nintendo won $12 million in a settlement after filing a lawsuit against the owners of two Nintendo ROM emulator websites. This agreement could signal the end of players being able to obtain ROM emulators and retro games on the Internet easily.
In video games, ROM emulation involves copying game data from a ROM chip to a hard disk or drive. ROM emulation software allows that data to run on computers that it would not run on otherwise. This is especially common with old Nintendo games, with numerous websites offering ROM data for free to gamers who want to run old titles on their PCs. Although hundreds of websites offer these free games, many countries, including the U.S., consider it an act of piracy. Now, some gaming companies are fighting back against emulators, claiming they are copyright infringement of their property.
One of those companies, Nintendo, recently filed a complaint in an Arizona federal court against a married couple who ran the LoveROMS.com and LoveRetro.co sites. According to Torrent Freak, that couple has now agreed to a $12 million settlement in Nintendo's favor. Both websites previously offered emulated games, including Nintendo titles, for download to the general public. The couple also profited from the sites via advertising and donations and used graphics in its design that violated Nintendo's copyright.
The details of the settlement include an agreement that the couple will not infringe upon Nintendo copyright ever again. It also dictates that the couple hand over all Nintendo games and emulators they have on their servers, as well as sign over the websites to Nintendo. They also agreed to take down both sites.
Although it is highly doubtful that the couple has $12 million to pay the company, it is likely that Nintendo agreed to such a high amount to act as a deterrent to the owners of other ROM and emulator websites. Several of those owners have already taken their sites down for fear of retribution from Nintendo and other companies. Other ROM website owners are likely to follow suit. This means that the age of easily downloading retro games from the Internet is probably over.
For those gamers who want to continue getting their retro fix, that means tracking down older used expensive systems and games or waiting for special re-releases of those consoles. Nintendo re-released its classic console earlier this year and possibly has plans to re-release other retro systems later on. Many classic games also get re-released for modern consoles.
Source: Torrent Freak