Carlos

The morality of downloading discontinued video games

21 posts in this topic

Video game emulators: I can download every single Nintendo, Super Nintendo, etc, game ever made and play it on my computer. If you like video games it is invaluable (especially the old, obscure ones that can't be found anymore).

NES game files are about 8kb, and SNES game files can be about 1Mb, so you can store a phenomenal number of these things on your laptop (see? laptops integrate values ;) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Video game emulators: I can download every single Nintendo, Super Nintendo, etc, game ever made and play it on my computer. If you like video games it is invaluable (especially the old, obscure ones that can't be found anymore).

I hope you have permission from the copyright holders for that... or at least own licensed copies of "every single" game downloaded, including the "obscure ones that can't be found anymore". These games have significant current market value, and many are being sold as new at this moment by the owners.

NES game files are about 8kb, and SNES game files can be about 1Mb, so you can store a phenomenal number of these things on your laptop (see? laptops integrate values ;) )

They tended to be quite a bit larger than this. 8kb is 1 KB, but in fact NES games tended to range from 40KB to 384KB. 1Mb is 128KB, but in fact SNES games tended to range from 512KB to 4MB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you have permission from the copyright holders for that... or at least own licensed copies of "every single" game downloaded, including the "obscure ones that can't be found anymore". These games have significant current market value, and many are being sold as new at this moment by the owners.
I'm sure many of the older titles' copyrights have expired. For these games, the demand is based on antiquity or people who are nostalgic about the way they used to be played (with the controller and whatnot).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sure many of the older titles' copyrights have expired.

None, or virtually none, of the copyrights have expired. The oldest NES titles are from 1983.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sure many of the older titles' copyrights have expired.

None, or virtually none, of the copyrights have expired. The oldest NES titles are from 1983.

Oh! You're right, I'm sorry. I should have looked it up before I made that assertion -- for some reason I thought it was only for something like 15 years. It turns out that it is 95 years: http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/features...ng-world/71150/

My mistake!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you have permission from the copyright holders for that... or at least own licensed copies of "every single" game downloaded, including the "obscure ones that can't be found anymore". These games have significant current market value, and many are being sold as new at this moment by the owners.

I honestly have no problem with downloading roms for old SNES or NES games even if I don't own them. The companies have long stopped producing these items, so I don't see how I'm stealing; I'm just acquiring free copies of a product that is no longer produced or sold by its creator.

Many of these games I quite simply never even knew about until years after they had stopped making them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you have permission from the copyright holders for that... or at least own licensed copies of "every single" game downloaded, including the "obscure ones that can't be found anymore". These games have significant current market value, and many are being sold as new at this moment by the owners.

I honestly have no problem with downloading roms for old SNES or NES games even if I don't own them. The companies have long stopped producing these items, so I don't see how I'm stealing; I'm just acquiring free copies of a product that is no longer produced or sold by its creator.

Many of these games I quite simply never even knew about until years after they had stopped making them.

Items which are out-of-print can be brought back into print, including in new formats. Piracy of these items while they were out-of-print hurts the market value of these items for the owner. As a matter of fact, many of the owners of these games license them for current sale which you can buy right now as downloadable games on current hardware.

I understand from time to time there are truly rare or unobtainable items--but the vast majority of these games are very easy to find in used form on eBay and other marketplaces.

To pick an opposite example--I'm not talking about downloading the ROM of some 20-year-old arcade board for which less than 100 may be believed to exist, would require a bunch of difficult-to-setup equipment to play if one were to obtain the PCB, and truly can bring little, if any, commercial value to the copyright holder--on the contrary, NES and SNES games are really, really easy to find used, and still easy to play in their original forms today.

I know also some people first download content on the Internet truly to trial it, to see if they want to purchase it, rather than avoiding paying for it. (20-year-old games you've never heard of and cannot be rented, for example.) Although I can't endorse this, as it's also a copyright violation, I will definitely say it's in a different category than simply enjoying all of the content for free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you have permission from the copyright holders for that... or at least own licensed copies of "every single" game downloaded, including the "obscure ones that can't be found anymore". These games have significant current market value, and many are being sold as new at this moment by the owners.

Is it not also okay when you already have the original game and console?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you have permission from the copyright holders for that... or at least own licensed copies of "every single" game downloaded, including the "obscure ones that can't be found anymore". These games have significant current market value, and many are being sold as new at this moment by the owners.

Is it not also okay when you already have the original game and console?

Copyright law probably says no, but I'm not a legal expert and there could be justification for doing that legally. Aside from the legal issues, I don't think merely using a game in a different format (like an emulator) is any big deal, and emulators do fulfill technological and preservation concerns in many ways. My objection is with using emulators to avoid owning licensed copies of the software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you have permission from the copyright holders for that... or at least own licensed copies of "every single" game downloaded, including the "obscure ones that can't be found anymore". These games have significant current market value, and many are being sold as new at this moment by the owners.

I honestly have no problem with downloading roms for old SNES or NES games even if I don't own them. The companies have long stopped producing these items, so I don't see how I'm stealing; I'm just acquiring free copies of a product that is no longer produced or sold by its creator.

Many of these games I quite simply never even knew about until years after they had stopped making them.

Items which are out-of-print can be brought back into print, including in new formats. Piracy of these items while they were out-of-print hurts the market value of these items for the owner. As a matter of fact, many of the owners of these games license them for current sale which you can buy right now as downloadable games on current hardware.

I understand from time to time there are truly rare or unobtainable items--but the vast majority of these games are very easy to find in used form on eBay and other marketplaces.

To pick an opposite example--I'm not talking about downloading the ROM of some 20-year-old arcade board for which less than 100 may be believed to exist, would require a bunch of difficult-to-setup equipment to play if one were to obtain the PCB, and truly can bring little, if any, commercial value to the copyright holder--on the contrary, NES and SNES games are really, really easy to find used, and still easy to play in their original forms today.

I know also some people first download content on the Internet truly to trial it, to see if they want to purchase it, rather than avoiding paying for it. (20-year-old games you've never heard of and cannot be rented, for example.) Although I can't endorse this, as it's also a copyright violation, I will definitely say it's in a different category than simply enjoying all of the content for free.

All I do is ask myself the question of "Am I committing an injustice to the people who created this product?"

If the product is no longer manufactured or sold by the people who created it, I don't see how I'm doing an injustice to them.

I guess we can agree to disagree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Items which are out-of-print can be brought back into print, including in new formats. Piracy of these items while they were out-of-print hurts the market value of these items for the owner. As a matter of fact, many of the owners of these games license them for current sale which you can buy right now as downloadable games on current hardware.

That's an interesting point. Sometimes old games are repackaged with new games, like the Zelda and Mario series (there were a couple anthologies), but I haven't noticed this to be widely the case. The market for most old games is so small that the companies that created them - if they still exist - simply have no financial incentive to put them back in production. But you could argue that if they weren't willing to resell the games they could always sell the rights to someone who wanted to. Only those rights became worthless when the games were copied and distributed for free.

Also, others who could stand to profit but don't because of emulators are not the game creators but the owners of the original copies. When an item is out of print but still in demand, its value should go up. But the old game cartridges are now virtually worthless except to collectors.

Anyway, I wouldn't overstate the impact of emulators on the video game market - at least, for games 15+ years old. But even if that impact is small, it's destructive nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Items which are out-of-print can be brought back into print, including in new formats. Piracy of these items while they were out-of-print hurts the market value of these items for the owner. As a matter of fact, many of the owners of these games license them for current sale which you can buy right now as downloadable games on current hardware.

That's an interesting point. Sometimes old games are repackaged with new games, like the Zelda and Mario series (there were a couple anthologies), but I haven't noticed this to be widely the case. The market for most old games is so small that the companies that created them - if they still exist - simply have no financial incentive to put them back in production. But you could argue that if they weren't willing to resell the games they could always sell the rights to someone who wanted to. Only those rights became worthless when the games were copied and distributed for free.

Also, others who could stand to profit but don't because of emulators are not the game creators but the owners of the original copies. When an item is out of print but still in demand, its value should go up. But the old game cartridges are now virtually worthless except to collectors.

Anyway, I wouldn't overstate the impact of emulators on the video game market - at least, for games 15+ years old. But even if that impact is small, it's destructive nonetheless.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00...610&sr=8-10

Older games still seem to have no problem with selling at prices significantly higher than their original value, because many gamers want the authenticity of owning the original packaged product.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Items which are out-of-print can be brought back into print, including in new formats. Piracy of these items while they were out-of-print hurts the market value of these items for the owner. As a matter of fact, many of the owners of these games license them for current sale which you can buy right now as downloadable games on current hardware.

That's an interesting point. Sometimes old games are repackaged with new games, like the Zelda and Mario series (there were a couple anthologies), but I haven't noticed this to be widely the case. The market for most old games is so small that the companies that created them - if they still exist - simply have no financial incentive to put them back in production. But you could argue that if they weren't willing to resell the games they could always sell the rights to someone who wanted to. Only those rights became worthless when the games were copied and distributed for free.

Also, others who could stand to profit but don't because of emulators are not the game creators but the owners of the original copies. When an item is out of print but still in demand, its value should go up. But the old game cartridges are now virtually worthless except to collectors.

Anyway, I wouldn't overstate the impact of emulators on the video game market - at least, for games 15+ years old. But even if that impact is small, it's destructive nonetheless.

The game Chrono Trigger was re-released on the Playstation and had significant additions made to it that many people contended ruined the original feel of the game. Because of this and the recommendations of others, when I played Chrono Trigger for the first time recently I downloaded a SNES rom to have the original experience rather than buy the re-released modified Playstation product. In this case still I don't see how that is wrong.

I would not however download the re-released version if I wanted to play it; I would buy it instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Older games still seem to have no problem with selling at prices significantly higher than their original value, because many gamers want the authenticity of owning the original packaged product.

This brings up another point: I have absolutely no desire to hunt down old copies of games only to buy them at high prices then hope they will work on my old, worn-out gaming system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another related point: Record Companies never hesitated to crack-down on internet piracy of music, even if it meant prosecuting young people.

But I never hear this happen with video game piracy: there are many, many public rom sites that operate without ever being prosecuted by gaming companies. The only conclusion I can draw from this is apparently they don't care.

The only case I ever heard of where a company cracked down on piracy is when Sony prosecuted some guys who bought Playstation products released in America/Japan then sold them in Europe before the official release date of the European Playstation product. Apparently they sued their pants off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00...610&sr=8-10

Older games still seem to have no problem with selling at prices significantly higher than their original value, because many gamers want the authenticity of owning the original packaged product.

Final Fantasy VII is not representative of "older games". Look at the original Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge for the NES, which is available for $0.60. This is the game that launched the NES, it put Nintendo on the map for millions of Americans. I remember when I was a kid, not wanting to leave a friend's house because he had this game, and dreaming of it when I was asleep. :rolleyes: This was the symbol of video gaming for years, and every gamer knows the music by heart. $0.60!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00...610&sr=8-10

Older games still seem to have no problem with selling at prices significantly higher than their original value, because many gamers want the authenticity of owning the original packaged product.

Final Fantasy VII is not representative of "older games". Look at the original Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge for the NES, which is available for $0.60. This is the game that launched the NES, it put Nintendo on the map for millions of Americans. I remember when I was a kid, not wanting to leave a friend's house because he had this game, and dreaming of it when I was asleep. :rolleyes: This was the symbol of video gaming for years, and every gamer knows the music by heart. $0.60!!

Look at what Lufia is selling for... :D :D B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Look at what Lufia is selling for... :rolleyes::D :D

You mean, what the seller is asking for. B) In any case, emulators can't give you a factory seal, which is what the collectors are paying for. They're not buying to play, they're buying to put in a display case. Legend of Zelda is available in new condition for $250 and $595, but you can get a used version for 6 bucks. It's the used price that matters here, because this is what people pay in lieu of an emulator. I think it's a safe bet that if you couldn't download them for free, those used prices would be much higher than $0.60 and $6 for the two most played games on the NES.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Video game emulators: I can download every single Nintendo, Super Nintendo, etc, game ever made and play it on my computer. If you like video games it is invaluable (especially the old, obscure ones that can't be found anymore).

NES game files are about 8kb, and SNES game files can be about 1Mb, so you can store a phenomenal number of these things on your laptop (see? laptops integrate values :rolleyes: )

Not only do the copyrights still apply, but Nintendo actually still makes money from its copyrights. Many of the classic NES games are available as downloads on the wi-fi enabled Wii system. My suggestion: find a cheap old NES to play your old games, buy a Wii,...or contact Nintendo about paying them directly for the use of their product. My guess is that if you did, they'd say no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All I do is ask myself the question of "Am I committing an injustice to the people who created this product?"

If the product is no longer manufactured or sold by the people who created it, I don't see how I'm doing an injustice to them.

One is still committing an injustice, but it is much more removed from the perceptual level (as intellectual property inherently is).

By this policy, one would be basically threatening to pirate another's works as soon as it goes out of print, thus decreasing its value to the owner while it is in print by one's threat of violation of their IP.

There is a cost to continued manufacturing of the products, so lack of continued manufacture cannot be taken as evidence of disinterest in the IP. In some cases, the continued production of the product may be tied up in contractual obligations with other companies, so that a continued intellectual property interest exists but the copyright owner(s) cannot simply restart printing on their own decision.

I cannot see how you can cite high prices of old used products and use that as evidence against honoring the intellectual property. In fact, that so many people value it at that price is the very evidence of the value of the IP! And then, you cite an example (Chrono Trigger) of the company re-releasing it in a new format, thus exploiting the IP, which would directly demonstrate how the value of copies in the old format would influence the value of copies in the new format!

This brings up another point: I have absolutely no desire to hunt down old copies of games only to buy them at high prices then hope they will work on my old, worn-out gaming system.

One's convenience is not a claim on the rights of others. And, in this case, one can simply purchase genuine copies of the game and then play ROM images, to ensure that one's meeting the obligation of the owner's copyright has compensated them for the copy of the game (by taking one copy out of circulation, the value of each remaining copy on the market, and thus the intellectual property, goes up).

But I never hear this happen with video game piracy: there are many, many public rom sites that operate without ever being prosecuted by gaming companies. The only conclusion I can draw from this is apparently they don't care.

This conclusion is absolutely not warranted. Suing (and threatening to sue, which obligates a follow-up if the party threatened does not comply with a takedown order) is an enormous cost including financial and PR. Record companies have an alternate incentive to crush digital distribution, as well as new home playback technologies (evidence: the creation of HDCP, which is useless and irrelevant to stop piracy but caused people to need to purchase new TVs or adapters to use new media equipment), and it is not just because of copyright violation, but because it threatens their entire business model as middlemen which contribute little or nothing to creative content.

As alternate evidence, I cite the case of anime distribution. The representatives of US anime distribution companies which often have a close relationship with a small fanbase have stated time and time again the damage that Internet piracy does to their business and to their licensors' business yet they have very seldom sued online traders, because they fear alienating fans, including many who sometimes buy, sometimes pirate, and who may not have a black-and-white moral view of the issues involved and therefore will respond negatively to lawsuits against fans when they might otherwise be inclined to sometimes purchase (either out of convenience, sometimes supporting the creators, or any other reason). Video game publishers are larger and thus don't communicate so directly but I think the evidence suggests that lack of lawsuits against piracy of old games sits in a similar category.

There is simply no reason to think that companies cannot mind the reduction to their revenue that piracy causes (in the general case--I am not saying without exception), when so many video game companies re-release old games in new formats thus showing that they very much value their old intellectual property.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites