Nintendo Is Playing A Legal Game Now
The Internet is forever.
As with most things, the Internet is digital. Digital is virtually everything in our world these days, from the worldwide web to computers to smartphones to music and movie files, to entertainment, to appliances – even to fast food restaurants (see kiosks and short-order robots).
Nintendo of all companies should have an understanding of this. The Japanese video-game developing firm most known for its game consoles and the Donkey Kong game franchise is learning the hard lesson that its games are digital and thus are subject to being used and duplicated in ways they may not have expected. Now that it knows, the company has filed lawsuits against the operators of a couple of websites that somehow got hold of ROM (read-only memory) files of popular Nintendo games and has offered up more than 50 million downloads to 17 million monthly visitors.
Nintendo’s action has already suspended the operation of the two websites, which are claimed by Nintendo to have gained unauthorized access to the TOM files contained inside game cartridges, duplicated them and offered them to people through their websites, which users could then upload to their computer or mobile device and play Nintendo games through what is called n emulator program. This allows people to play Donkey Kong, for example on their smartphone or tablet and skirt around having to pay for a cartridge or uploading something from an app store.
These websites are being accused of piracy as part of claims of copyright and trademark infringement, as it is believed that these pirated files are being offered free of charge to any visitor to the sites. This does make one wonder that if Nintendo wins the lawsuits how the company will be compensated other than forcing the shutdown of the websites and ordering the pirated files to be expunged.
There is another question about how long this piracy has been going on in that 60 million downloads have been executed, and the two websites have had monthly visitors combined totaling more than 15 million. Has the damage already been done that it’s irreversible? How much potential loss to Nintendo might this be?
One thing is for sure, it is cases like this that may tend to bring about discussion as to whether video game companies should work together to develop a sharing platform similar to what is done for music and movies – something called a “freemium” service such as Pandora or Spotify for music, but similar to video games so companies can mitigate the need for piracy and make a little money while offering samples of their titles for the more mobile society where I currently. Needless to say, intellectual-property experts and observers will be watching this case unfold very carefully to see how the industry transforms and adjusts after a sizable threat to its bottom line such as piracy websites.