Copyright

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
classic consoles, emulators, free, piracy, snes

Companies:
nintendo



If 'Everyone Just Wants Free Stuff' Is Responsible For Piracy, Why Can't Nintendo Keep Its Classic Consoles In Stock?

from the goomba-stomp dept

For a long time, we've been trying to debunk the "But people just want stuff for free" myth that purports to explain why the only proper strategy for infringement is heavy enforcement. Everyone should have instantly recognized that this was a dumb meme put forth by the content industries, so simple was the offered explanation for what is a vastly complex issue. Still, the meme persists, even in the face of contrary evidence.

Evidence such as the fact that Nintendo has had trouble keeping its classic consoles in stock to meet consumer demand. Earlier this year, Nintendo hit the brakes on manufacturing the classic NES mini console after selling over two million of them. The result on the secondary market was immediate. Prices for the retro console skyrocketed, with people desperately searching for one. The interest from the public was high enough that, as Nintendo is set to release the SNES mini console as a follow up, the company is going out of its way to assure the public that it is making enough of them to meet demands.

Earlier today, Nintendo announced that it will launch the SNES Classic on Sept. 29 for $79.99. The system will come preloaded with 21 games, and the package will include two SNES Classic Controllers. That’s all well and good, but considering that Nintendo vastly underestimated demand for the NES Classic last year, the question on everyone’s minds right now is this: Will the SNES Classic be just as impossible to find as its 8-bit predecessor was?

“We aren’t providing specific numbers, but we will produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition,” Nintendo said in a statement to Polygon.

So, I have a question: doesn't pretty much everyone who can afford these retro consoles also have a computer and smart phone capable of running emulators? And can't pretty much everyone fairly easily find these same games coming preloaded on these mini systems for free on the internet? The answer to both questions is "yes", except that Nintendo is still having to go out of its way to assure it will meet the paying customer's demand for these retro consoles. Why?

Well, the answer can't be "because everyone just wants free stuff", or there would be zero customer demand and everyone would be emulating. The actual answer is more likely that most people don't simply want everything for free and are happy to pay for something they want when its available. Add to that the nostalgia of actually having a familiar console from the good 'ol days connected to their TV and it's easy to see where all these sales are coming from, particularly when Nintendo's price points on the consoles and the bundles they come with are fairly good. It's worth specifically noting that these consoles come loaded with 20 or so classic games, while the internet comes bundled with all the games for free. Again, you cannot simply say that everyone just wants everything for free.

Leave it to Nintendo of all companies to finally put this one to rest.


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  1. icon
    Ninja (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 12:45pm

    But, but... PIRACY!!! *incoherent blabbing* Freetards! *lunatic look while drooling* Theft, theft!!!! - We know who

    "The actual answer is more likely that most people don't simply want everything for free and are happy to pay for something they want when its available."

    Emphasizing it. And with special attention to that "available" in the end. If it costs a ton then it's not really "available". If it's only available via one specific, crappy, costly platform or riddled with conditions then it's not "available".

    Also, these mini consoles are finite physical goods that SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! Ahem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 1:54pm

    But those pirates on the internet might cost us a dollar!!!

    They are ignoring paying consumers, to spend time railing against the pirates & what might happen. If they stopped worrying about the imaginary, and focused on the real they would have made a killing on the first machines.

    These masters of the universe are so far removed from the universe the rest of us live in, they are fighting what they think are huge wars while leaving tons of money on the table in reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:03pm

    So, I have a question: doesn't pretty much everyone who can afford these retro consoles also have a computer and smart phone capable of running emulators?

    The Nintendo boxes are nothing more than emulators running on a small computer in a retro case. This reinforces your point: they're not even "better" in the sense of having actual NES/SNES chips (some people might like to have a genuine SPC700). But they're pre-made and work well, with a good selection of games. And you get real controllers without having to find USB adapters (really, there are premade controllers like Logitech F310 or Buffalo's SNES imitation that are good enough, but those are $20 each).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:07pm

    Bit of a strawman here. Emulators and piracy are free in the form of money, but there is a great deal of non-monetary cost putting the hardware and software together in a usable package.

    People are paying for convenience.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:14pm

    Re:

    Umm, that's less a strawman and more...the point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Thad, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:20pm

    I wanted to buy an NES Classic Mini for my nephew last Christmas.

    I couldn't get one, because they were sold out everywhere.

    So instead, I bought him a couple third-party controllers, and set up Retroarch and EmulationStation on his computer.

    I think that's what the content industries like to refer to as "a lost sale".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re:

    I wish I could give this a gazillion fucking upvotes....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re:

    It doesn't disprove the assertion that most people want things for free because emulation and the SNES Mini are not equivalent experiences. The SNES Mini is plug and play and comes with real controllers. Those who don't value what the SNES Mini provides won't pay for it.

    It's like trying to argue that everyone wants to pay for an oil change because not as many do it themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:41pm

    While Emulation and the ROMs or Disc Images are illegal to download, I question how it harms the developers and publishers if the ONLY market for the game(s) is third party sellers.

    The developers and publishers are not actively selling the game, so where's the harm in downloading the game illegally then? There's no money being lost, except to the third party sellers, but I have pirated games, and then went out and bought them after pirating them because they were that good and I wanted to own it physically. Case in Point for me, Sonic Colors. I pirated that, then I bought it new in store. Because I felt that Sega deserved my money.

    Back to the topic at hand though, seeing how little Nintendo does with it's hardware in terms of supply, I question what they are doing. Release a popular product, then not supply the demand. The original Wii, NES Mini, Switch and SNES Mini. Demand is or was there, where is the supply? What's going on Nintendo?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Emulators are pretty much plug and play too. Download the emulator and the ROM, launch, and play. I would say it's about as much work or less than unboxing and hooking up the SNES mini. And you can buy USB recreations of the original controllers and hook your computer up to your TV.

    The only thing you don't get is the physical case. Even then, people will go out of their way to recreate it with a Raspberry PI inside that looks exactly like the original. With 3D printing nowadays, that's easier than ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Those who don't value what the SNES Mini provides won't pay for it.

    That’s called “circular reasoning”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:54pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:07pm

    More than a bit. Its like a barn in here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, now that I think about it, the oil change analogy works perfectly. It's true that you can change your oil for free, but it generally takes the average person longer to do it since they don't have all the fancy tools and expertise a mechanic does.

    The reason they are paying for someone else to do an oil change for them when they could do it themselves for free is because it is easier and quicker to have a professional do it. If it provided more value to purchase something instead of pirate it, then people would do that.

    But the reason people pirate is because they don't see the value in paying for it. Why get in the car, drive to the store, buy a DVD (and/or TV and DVD player if you don't have one) for $20 or more; or buy it online, pay for shipping and then have to wait for the disk to arrive?

    Instead, for the exact same experience, you could download it free online within 15 minutes. (Provided you have decent internet of course)

    Emulating and the SNES mini provide the exact same experience, it's just one is pre-built and ready to go and not everyone has the expertise, time, and tools to fully recreate that experience for free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    >not everyone has the expertise, time, and tools to fully recreate that experience for free.

    But if you need all those things to create an equivalent experience, it's not really free is it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Those who don't value what the SNES Mini provides won't pay for it."

    You're so very close to a realization here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In order to pirate something, someone has to buy the disk, a computer and software to rip the files, more software to convert to a universal format, then upload the files to a server.

    I'm not sure how that is any different.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:06pm

    Re:

    >Where's the harm in downloading the game illegally then?

    Certainly not all, but many retro games are available via digital downloads for consoles or re-released in compilations for newer systems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The realization is that most people are not buying the SNES Mini for the ROM files.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    s7, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:23pm

    Re:

    Wanted to get one for my Nephew. Searched high and low. I almost went the same route as you only I built him a Raspberry Pi / Emulation Station and loaded it up with games I liked, and thought he'd like too.

    I very much also wanted to give Nintendo enough money to buy 3-4 NES Classics to give to family members as gifts. I couldn't justify the $200+ scalpers were and are still asking.

    I'd like to do the same with the SNES Classics, and I fear that my money once again will stay in my pocket, and not Nintendo's.

    I have Raspberry Pi's, computers, I know all about emulation, and I still want to give Nintendo money, and they're making it hard to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Keep going, you're so close.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:35pm

    I Feel Like this Is A Poor Comparison

    First and foremost Nintendo has been intentionally understocking everything they make since (2006?) when the Wii launched. No one has ever been able to find out why officially but for more then ten years it's been the norm. That's like saying no one downloads Band A's music for free because Band B can't keep CD's on the shelves.

    Also, as anyone who enjoyed playing those industry-killing ROMs in the early 2000s will tell you, Nintendo and the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) are very buddy-buddy. There were never any official announcements of such things of course, but if you ever saw an ESA notice instead of a download link there was a 9/10 chance you were looking for a Nintendo game. There's a good chance that Nintendo believes piracy of their games is impossible (which of course it isn't) because they take a very manual and active process in trying to curb it.

    Compound all of that with Nintendo's popularity and brand recognition. Yeah, this isn't even remotely related.

    You're right that few pirates do it to get free stuff, as well as any low barrier means to obtain goods legally with always be welcome with open arms, but this is just a terrible comparison.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's more than just that: I bet that there's a huge overlap between people who are buying the mini consoles and people who download classic games from ROMs sites and run them in an emulator.

    The purpose is different: pirates are often trying to keep a historical collection of the old software, and are running it for historical or educational purposes as well as to actually play the games.

    Nintendo's offerings create an easy experience by which a group of friends can sit around the TV playing nostalgic games without investing a bunch of time and energy in setting things up each time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 4:25pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:41pm

    i have gone the opposite route on that, by downloading roms i already own. (which is what rom-supplying persons note as the only legal way to posess a dumped rom) it's more convenient than hooking up different systems to play a game or two on each, plus emulators let you do things like screenshots and, oh, save state whenever you like? pretty handy when you don't have another half hour or whatever to get to some point you can save. or you can put a game down for months without having your saves gone or corrupt when you pick it up again.

    it's nice when your console or cartridge dies or partially dies.

    those are definitely bonuses to emulators. downside is roms that are not so well dumped or emulated by one of the offerings.

    i can well imagine that console companies like nintendo could make an even bigger killing if they made a box that emulated all their disparate legacy platforms and provided some conviniences of third party emulators. just imagine say, zelda fans being able to play all of the games on one little box.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    emulators are not very hard to set up and run in most instances, even on old hardware.

    this doesn't entirely disprove, on its own, that peolle just want free things. the tons of prior examples and research backs it up pretty handily. this is just a rather obvious case that does add evidence to the fact that not everyone just wants something free. sure, some people do, and they will even be trollishly loud and proud about it. but most people are happy to pay reasonably for something accessible.they even pay for things that become inaccessible under a variety of circumstances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Thad, 25 Aug 2017 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, I was going to build him a Pi until I found out his dad had already hooked a small PC up to his TV.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Download the emulator and the ROM, launch, and play.

    Or play via the Internet Archive without installing anything. You'll note that link is for Sega, not Nintendo, because Nintendo's lawyers spend their free time sending angry letters to archive.org.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:41pm

    Seconded. I was perfectly content to play my GameBoy Color amd Advance games with the hardware I own, until the internal cartridge battery on Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening finally gave out and saving was no longer possible. Going digital eliminated this hardware limitation, and now thanks to google drive syncing, I can cross-play the same game saves between my Android and my PC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 7:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So if it's not really free, why do you keep complaining about it?

    Bloody hell, even when people pay for products you piss and moan about it. This is why people pirate, because even when they legally purchase a product, assholes like you bitch about how and when and how often they use it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Years after anyone's cared, though.

    If Radiant Historia wasn't getting an updated remake, emulation is the only way most players today would play the game because of how understocked the game was.

    Or they could do without. Neither option gives Nintendo any money, but guess which option doesn't keep up demand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 7:40pm

    I hesitate to use Nintendo as an example. They deliberately understock their consoles and slow to restock. People are STILL having trouble getting a Switch because some stores only get FOUR in a shipment.

    Likewise, SNES Minis went up for pre-order at 2AM and sold out within minutes by scalpers using bots and jacking up the price on the secondhand market and Nintendo is pulling a NES Mini all over again because they will only make a limited amount of something they KNOW people want and once it's gone that's it.

    If anything, Nintendo makes the case FOR emulators and ROMs because if they're going to willingly understock something that people cannot get WITHOUT paying through the nose then I have no qualms about getting a Raspberry Pi and loading it up to the gills with ROMs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    SirWired, 25 Aug 2017 @ 8:01pm

    It's not an either-or

    It's kind of funny that a couple articles after posting about how large issues are complicated and have grey areas, we see this tripe about how because Nintendo is being silly and shortsighted about supply of their product, that is somehow conclusive proof that most people that pirate content would certainly pay for it otherwise.

    Just because Nintendo is being stupid doesn't mean there aren't an awful lot of cheap bastards out there that would still refuse to buy one if they were sold in every Best Buy and WalMart in the country and stacked to the rafters.

    In any case, it's Nintendos decision to make. No content provider is obligated to make their content available in a manner, time, and price that some random third party deems fair. And a providers unwillingness to do so is no justification for piracy.

    I have much sympathy for "orphan works" where there's nobody around to even attempt to buy from,, but that certainly is not the case here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 8:34pm

    Re: It's not an either-or

    Is the title of your comment a description of your 3rd paragraph in which you completely misrepresent the article?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    ECA (profile), 25 Aug 2017 @ 8:35pm

    1 REASON Just 1..

    ANYONE know the markup prices/value on any of these VIRTUAL PRODUCTS??

    REALLY..
    Did they make THEIR product markup and development costs from the FIRST UNITS??
    And the only USE it has is to PLAY virtual Goods.. THAT they SHOULD of made profit from over HOW MANY YEARS??
    RESALE AND UPDATE of the old games?? On Newer hardware SHOULD of paid for everything YEARS ago..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2017 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:41pm

    To be brutally honest, I wish I had the hardware to emulate xbox 360 games.

    I was increadibly heartbroken after my SECOND 360 red-ringed... and I STILL hadn't gotten the zombie genocide achievement in Dead Rising. In fact, as far as I am aware, the first Dead Rising is the only game in the series that IS NOT AVAILABLE on any other platform! Which drives me nuts!

    I want my mega buster T^T

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 12:22am

    Everyone wants these classic consoles because

    1) They are cool looking collectible little mini consoles

    and

    2) They give a much closer experience to actually playing a retro console than you can get from an emulator on your phone or computer. They look like consoles, they come with original style controllers and you can plug them into any TV in your house. You can't get the same experience on your phone or computer and it would take a lot more money and effort to replicate it by say, buying rasperry pi, 3D printing a custom console shell and buying usb controllers for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:13am

    Re:

    so where's the harm in downloading the game illegally

    To those publishers, people playing illegal games are not buying and playing the games they currently have on the market. Therefore they see those illegal downloads as lost sales of their current crop of games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:41am

    Re:

    Ding! Winner.

    People are not buying these things as an alternative to piracy (they will continue to pirate), but because of the factors of coolness and functionality.

    I played the first one with friends a while back. It was amazing. The game play was correct, everything worked, there was no funkiness, no weird key combinations to remember, and everything was correct in speed and experience. Ripped games often don't work exactly as intended, in part because many of the games depended on game clock or cycles to time things. Get that even slighlty wrong, and the games don't play well.

    People still want stuff for free, there is no denying that. They are also sometimes willing to pay for a superior product, especially one that all the piracy in the world cannot "emulate".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re:

    As an admitted pirate, sometimes we are in fact willing to pay for something we could wait a little while to get for free.

    Heck I've even bought a few games I honestly am too squemish or cowardly to play, like Amnesia the Dark Descent and the Penumbra series, because I wanted to support what I saw as a genuinely eerie, creepy and unsettling atmosphere in a game, something I was sort of sorry not to see more of in the industry. Still haven't played them. I watch lets plays of them, but I wanted to support them.

    This however is something I will honestly never want to support. 80 bucks for 20 twenty year old games and a game they apparently never thought worth releasing, pushed out as a collectors item to scalpers looking to triple or more their investment. Good games by all rights, half of which I used to own, but all the same 80 bucks for a bunch of games they made their money off of a long time ago, slapped on some cheap hardware, stuffed in a cheap plastic shell and pushed out as some kind of super rare limited stock treasure without even taking basic measures to ensure it was customers, and not resellers, who get them.

    They can't be bothered to get most of them in the hands of people who ACTUALLY want them, deliberately limiting their stock for god knows what reason and failing to secure their online pre-orders from simple scalper bots ensuring that they aren't even the ones who are going to profit most off of them.

    I'm not saying this is the only thing that would drive people to piracy, but I will say this will drive some legitimate potential buyers to piracy, and others to simply put their money back in their wallet due to obscure barriers (lack of supply, lack of value for price, lack of patience) It functionally amounts to the same thing for Nintendo. Money they aren't getting. Lost sale potential. An understanding that cheaper, simpler, more convenient alternatives or even NOTHING AT ALL is better than what they are offering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 4:17am

    Re:

    Okay on point two, Why would you bother printing a custom console shell? That is entirely superfluous. Like, genuinely I'm curious. Okay if you have the spare cash and/or a 3d printer then sure why not but why go out of your way to do it if cost is a concern of yours buying this thing? It seems entirely unneccessary.

    Also, if you bought a raspberry pi and USB controllers for emulation... you could use it to emulate a lot more than 21 snes games... you could use it to emulate most/all snes games, most/all genesis games, most/all nes games... gba, gb, gg, possibly/probably more.

    If it costs more money, and I am saying if because unless you got REALLY lucky with one of their very limited brick and mortar store pre-orders you're paying a good deal more than $80 from whatever jerk used a script to pre-order several of them to resell on ebay, you're clearly getting a lot more mileage for it ._.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    athe, 26 Aug 2017 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:41pm

    First Dead Rising is available on Steam.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It's true that you can change your oil for free"

    I download an oil filter and the synthetic oil ... all for free!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It doesn't disprove the assertion that most people want things for free"

    Isn't that a bit backwards thinking there?
    Not sure why one needs to disprove an assertion when that assertion is without supporting evidence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 7:28am

    Original game consoles that still work are destroying the game emulator market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re:

    So piracy isn't a threat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Rich, 26 Aug 2017 @ 8:30am

    I'm really sick of every time there is an article about these classic consoles, multiple idiots in the comments scream that everyone is stupid, and they should learn about emulators, and just get a Raspberry Pi. Yes, we all know about emulators. I have many. I STILL want one of these classic consoles because I think they're cool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 26 Aug 2017 @ 11:32am

    It's an entire package.

    You're forgetting one key element of the original experience.

    THE CONTROLLER.

    The retro controllers alone may be worth the price of the product. Proper controllers are a major issue for emulated games. It's just not the same thing playing a classic game with a modern controller. Some types of game controllers are woefully out of style. So they are either expensive or difficult to get or both.

    There's also the issue of convenience.

    This isn't something you have to cobble together yourself. Most people aren't the DIY sort. They want something that's "plug and play".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 26 Aug 2017 @ 11:34am

    Not quite.

    The only monetary consideration is the controller.

    The rest is already a sunk cost.

    It's far more relevant that you have to put the thing together yourself. The issue of time and effort is probably more relevant. That's probably even the case when it comes to the controller.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 26 Aug 2017 @ 11:37am

    Can't be bothered.

    Piracy is only a "threat" to a vendor that can't be arsed to offer their product for sale.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 26 Aug 2017 @ 11:39am

    Multi-slot classic consoles.

    It gets even better. There are clone consoles that play the old carts directly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:41pm

    Is it finally? Gonna have to look into that.

    And a better computer >.> I have an old POS that was a POS at the time x.x

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 12:08pm

    Re:

    If you want one to have on the shelf or to play the (very) limited selection of games they have on it that's fine, but it really doesn't change the fact that it's probably cheaper to get your own built than to get theirs considering Nintendo seems to refuse to meet demand with supply, botches their online pre-orders so scalpers can get 90% of them and refuses to accept that they don't own the entire means of production anymore ._.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    ddpalmer, 26 Aug 2017 @ 12:56pm

    Re: 'Ignoring paying customers'

    Exactly.

    Look at a grocery store. They have some pilferage and they do try various methods to stop/minimize it. If they really wanted they could post guards and do searches of everyone leaving. well, OK legally they could search everyone. But they could control entry/exit and access to the goods to a point where they would stop pilferage.

    Why don't they?

    Because the paying costumers wouldn't put up with the intrusion and the cost would be prohibitive. So the store does what they can to minimize the loss while knowing there will be some, but the paying customers will more than offset the loss.

    The anaology isn't perfect and I have greatly simplified things. But the basics are the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Aug 2017 @ 12:59pm

    Re: It's an entire package.

    You're forgetting one key element of the original experience.

    THE CONTROLLER.

    If you're talking about NES era systems, that's actually a negative for me. I know I'm pretty much alone in this, but I feel the D-pad is the worst thing to ever happen to games. They're hard on your thumb, extremely difficult to reliably hit diagonals and why the hell did they put it on the LEFT side of the controller when most people are right-handed?

    One of the things I love about emulators is that I can use any controller I want. I can use an Atari joystick to play NES games if I want. Although I do need to mod one to add more buttons.

    This isn't something you have to cobble together yourself. Most people aren't the DIY sort. They want something that's "plug and play".

    There are many plug-and-play adapters for classic game controllers. Name any mainstream system from the 80s or 90s and there's an interface to plug it into a USB port. You can even get one to plug in the controllers from an original model Intellivision.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    While Emulation and the ROMs or Disc Images are illegal to download, I question how it harms the developers and publishers if the ONLY market for the game(s) is third party sellers.

    The developers and publishers are not actively selling the game, so where's the harm in downloading the game illegally then?

    Many years I actually sent an email to EA asking them this very question about their Amiga and C64 games. At the time, many sites wouldn't host copies of old EA games because they said that they were getting notices from the IDSA (which later became the ESA) about them. I asked how it harmed EA for sites to have copies of these games if EA was no longer selling them and had basically washed their hands of them.

    I never got an answer, however the person who received my email accidentally CCed me on an email he sent to someone else in the company asking how he should respond. I guess they told him to ignore me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:41pm

    i have gone the opposite route on that, by downloading roms i already own. (which is what rom-supplying persons note as the only legal way to posess a dumped rom)

    Actually, it's legal to dump a ROM yourself, but downloading a copy, even if you own the game is still illegal. Welcome to the screwed up world of copyright. I can record a TV show and make my own digital copy without breaking any laws, but if I download the same show off the net, I'm a criminal.

    it's more convenient than hooking up different systems to play a game or two on each, plus emulators let you do things like screenshots and, oh, save state whenever you like? pretty handy when you don't have another half hour or whatever to get to some point you can save. or you can put a game down for months without having your saves gone or corrupt when you pick it up again.

    I definitely agree.

    downside is roms that are not so well dumped or emulated by one of the offerings.

    Or games that just aren't available, like pretty much any Atari/Colecovision/Intellivision homebrew game that was sold in cartridge form in the last decade. There seems to be a world-wide ban on dumping any of them. Someone made Boulder Dash for the Intellivision. I doubt I would seriously play it as I prefer the C64 version, but I'd like to try it just to see how it compares. I'm not prepared to spend $100+ just to satisfy my curiosity though.

    I have no problem with people making money off their work, but most of these games are produced in limited quantities and sell out quickly. Once it's no longer being sold, the only people making any money off them are scalpers selling copies on eBay.

    Actually, I find the community's attitude to be a little hypocritical. The dumped all the old games "for archival purposes" and when a new prototype is discovered, everyone calls for it to be dumped, but a homebrew game that sold out five years ago? Nope, can't dump that!

    i can well imagine that console companies like nintendo could make an even bigger killing if they made a box that emulated all their disparate legacy platforms and provided some conviniences of third party emulators.

    I'd go even further and say that they should produce and sell a software emulator for playing all their old games. Being the company who produced the original console, they could make a 100% accurate emulator and people would gladly pay a modest fee for it. Of course if they ever did that, I'm sure it would be locked down with all the games being encrypted so that you could only play the 20-30 they decided to release for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 25th, 2017 @ 2:41pm

    To be brutally honest, I wish I had the hardware to emulate xbox 360 games.

    I'd be happy with a system that could properly emulate the Gamecube. My current system is too slow to play the games with sound. I can only get acceptable speed if I disable the audio. Even PS2 games are hit and miss. Some games seem to play at or near full speed, some are playable but slower than they should be and some run like a slideshow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    2) They give a much closer experience to actually playing a retro console than you can get from an emulator on your phone or computer.

    Not always. In the past I've seen reviews of the various Flashback consoles where it was noted that the games aren't always emulated perfectly. Sometimes the sound was a little off, or the graphics didn't look quite right. Some games that originally used different controllers were altered to work with whatever the console came with. Like changing the game Kaboom to work with a joystick instead of paddles.

    Back when the Wii Virtual Console included C64 emulation, I recall hearing that at least one game was pulled because emulation problems prevented you from completing the game.

    Also, because of licensing, sometimes some of the most popular games are the ones that they leave out. Do any of the Atari Flashback consoles include Donkey Kong or Mario Brothers? (Not being a smartass, I really don't know)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Aug 2017 @ 1:52pm

    I'm a huge fan of emulators. Yes, some of the appeal is that I can get the games for free, but it's also a huge draw that I'm not limited to whatever selection of games they felt like including. I also love being able to use save states, save screenshots and use any controller I want, configured any way I want.

    To be honest, I never end up playing most of the games I download. I have thousands of games for older systems and I rarely play any of them. I'm basically a digital hoarder. I like having a huge selection of games that I *can* play if I choose to.

    The one game series I find myself going back to are the Burnout games on PS2, which my system can just about play at a semi-decent speed. I only learned about this series a year or so ago, so I never knew they made a Burnout game for Windows. I immediately wanted to buy a copy, until I learned that it was from EA and required online activation. I guess I'll end up pirating it at some point, because I refuse to buy games that come with a digital leash attached to them. If it ever goes up on GOG, I'll buy it there, although I'm not optimistic that will happen any time soon...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re:

    Which is terrible reasoning.

    I don't want Shooter Person 3 - This Time It's Personal, I want Shooter Person 1 like dad and I used to play (or whatever). Corporations are either completely out of touch or greed-driven liars.

    Probably both.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. icon
    shane (profile), 26 Aug 2017 @ 4:08pm

    Copyright is Evil

    Simply put, it is evil to threaten someone with violence for making a copy of something. Making copies bears no resemblance to theft. The government has no role to play in artificially jacking up the cost of singing, dancing, playing pretend, and playing children's games "professionally" well into adulthood.

    Serious art will always have patrons and sponsors. Copyright is about giving a tiny minority a corner on the marketplace of information distribution.

    It is evil and must be abolished.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Thad, 27 Aug 2017 @ 10:15am

    Re: It's not an either-or

    It's kind of funny that a couple articles after posting about how large issues are complicated and have grey areas, we see this tripe about how because Nintendo is being silly and shortsighted about supply of their product, that is somehow conclusive proof that most people that pirate content would certainly pay for it otherwise.

    Not "most", but certainly "some".

    In any case, it's Nintendos decision to make. No content provider is obligated to make their content available in a manner, time, and price that some random third party deems fair. And a providers unwillingness to do so is no justification for piracy.

    You may not believe that it's moral justification for piracy, but the thing about that is, morals are personal and subjective. Making a moral argument against piracy isn't going to reduce piracy; the past couple of decades should have made that abundantly clear.

    You know what reduces piracy? Providing reasonably-priced, abundantly-available legal alternatives. (Something which the past couple of decades should also have made abundantly clear. iTunes and Netflix have done pretty well for themselves selling/renting content that people could just find for free on a torrent site.)

    No, Nintendo isn't obligated to do that. But if it doesn't, then it's going to sell fewer products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    Thad, 27 Aug 2017 @ 10:18am

    Re: Copyright is Evil

    I don't think copyright covers dancing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. identicon
    Thad, 27 Aug 2017 @ 10:22am

    Re: It's an entire package.

    I really like 8bitdo's controllers, but I've heard some complaints that the diagonals don't work well on games like SF2.

    I also wish they'd make controllers in the style of the late-era NES "dogbone" model. No sharp corners, only two face buttons. That's the best way to play NES.

    (I'd rather see them release Genesis controllers, though.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2017 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Copyright is Evil

    It does if the dance has been choreographed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Thad, 27 Aug 2017 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: It's an entire package.

    The "directions on the left, buttons on the right" format didn't originate with the NES; it didn't even originate with Game & Watch. It was the layout on most arcade cabinets, too.

    As for stick versus D-pad, it really depends on the game. Generally speaking, games designed to be played with a stick work better with a stick, while games designed to be played with a pad work better with a pad -- just as you'd expect.

    Street Fighter 2 works vastly better with an 8-directional joystick. But if you think Super Mario Bros is easier to play with a stick than a directional pad, I think you're nuts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. identicon
    Rekrul, 28 Aug 2017 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's an entire package.

    The "directions on the left, buttons on the right" format didn't originate with the NES; it didn't even originate with Game & Watch. It was the layout on most arcade cabinets, too.

    I know. That never made sense to me either. Consider a scrolling shooter like R-Type. To survive in the game, you have to quickly and precisely move your ship to avoid the enemies, avoid their shots and avoid crashing into the scenery, all while trying to line your ship up to shoot whatever is shooting at you. Wouldn't you want to use your most coordinated hand for that?

    By contrast, all the other hand has to do is press buttons, which really doesn't require that much dexterity. Even in a game with multiple buttons, like SF2, you're basically just moving your hand around a little and pressing different buttons. There's a reason that aiming in FPS games is done with the right hand.

    Sure, if left-handed controls are all anyone has ever used, they can eventually get used to them, but the question is why should they have to? With enough time and practice, a right-handed person can learn to write with their left hand, but virtually nobody does this because it just doesn't make sense.

    Further evidence that it's not the best design is that if you give a right-handed gamer an ambidextrous joystick with the buttons on the stick, or a game that doesn't require the buttons at all, like Pac-Man, almost all of them use their right hand. Also, if it makes sense for right-handed players to use their left hand for movement, why was it considered a problem for lefties to use the original Atari joysticks with their right hands?

    As for stick versus D-pad, it really depends on the game. Generally speaking, games designed to be played with a stick work better with a stick, while games designed to be played with a pad work better with a pad -- just as you'd expect.

    Maybe, but game systems from the NES/SMS/SNES/Genesis era had plenty of original games that weren't designed for the D-pad. Scrolling shooters, 8-way run-&-gun games, various fighting games, etc.

    But if you think Super Mario Bros is easier to play with a stick than a directional pad, I think you're nuts.

    I'm probably the one person on the planet who doesn't like the SMB games. I hate the inertia based movement and the way he easily skids off single blocks when you try to jump on them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. identicon
    Thad, 28 Aug 2017 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's an entire package.

    There's a reason that aiming in FPS games is done with the right hand.

    Yes -- because movement is done with the left.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 29 Aug 2017 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re: 'Ignoring paying customers'

    Look at a grocery store. They have some pilferage and they do try various methods to stop/minimize it

    Home Depot are trying a new technology. Instead of discouraging pilferage, they are sacking people who write down tag numbers of pilferers, or who pick up goods dropped by pilferers on their way out.

    This is part of their new, more efficient brick-and-morter experience program. The new technology allows people to select merchandise, carry it to their cars, and depart. This is a real time-saver over the old method, where shoppers were expected to queue up to pay.

    I got a newspaper column out of them last year, but I doubt that they are alone in trying out the new fast-exit schemes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. identicon
    william, 29 Aug 2017 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's an entire package.

    To survive in the game, you have to quickly and precisely move your ship to avoid the enemies, avoid their shots and avoid crashing into the scenery, all while trying to line your ship up to shoot whatever is shooting at you. Wouldn't you want to use your most coordinated hand for that?

    Arcades want your quarters. So, no, going with the more common dominant hand is not good way to make a profit. Also note the number of Mario Bros cabinets with joysticks.

    It's obvious that early console controllers were a case of follow-the-leader to arcade cabinets. It's bad enough that developers constantly forget about the lack of a coin slot on consoles, even when it makes an arcade-port insanely difficult. But since the PC games of today are in a constant decline when it comes to key-mapping, there's probably a larger underlying problem with the video-game industry, like ignoring the message of their medium. A message that seems to read damn you, muscle memory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. identicon
    Rekrul, 30 Aug 2017 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's an entire package.

    Yes -- because movement is done with the left.

    In arcade games, movement is often the more complex part of the game requiring the most dexterity. In an FPS game, aiming is the more complex part, so it's given to the right hand. Movement in FPS games, while important, is less complicated than aiming, so it's given to the less coordinated hand.

    Try this game (don't worry, it's not one of those jump-scare pranks);

    http://www.dailyhaha.com/_flash/mouse_maze.htm

    Click on START, then move the spark to FINISH, without touching anything. Try it with both hands and see which one you get farther with. Now consider the fact that if this game was ported to a console, right-handed players would be forced to play it with their left hand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. identicon
    Rekrul, 30 Aug 2017 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's an entire package.

    Arcades want your quarters. So, no, going with the more common dominant hand is not good way to make a profit.

    That honestly never occurred to me before, but it makes sense that a good way to make people waste money would be to make them play left-handed.

    It's obvious that early console controllers were a case of follow-the-leader to arcade cabinets.

    I've actually had people argue that the original Atari joystick and the NES Advantage are both right-handed, despite having the joystick on opposite sides. Some claim it makes a difference if you hold the joystick or if it sits on a table (or is mounted in a cabinet).

    Apparently there's even an arcade playing style called "cross handed" where players use the stick with their right hand and the buttons with their left.

    The one thing that always gets me in these arguments is that the people who claim that it makes sense for the movement controls to be on the left for right-handed people, never try to claim that lefties should use a joystick with their right hand.

    It's bad enough that developers constantly forget about the lack of a coin slot on consoles, even when it makes an arcade-port insanely difficult.

    I know exactly what you mean. Or when developers forget that computers have hard drives and instead put in console-style checkpoints. There are many games I skipped playing because they only had checkpoints. The last game I played without manual saves was Halo. I hated that I would often cross a checkpoint with the wrong weapons (it only saves the first time you cross it), or with little health.

    But since the PC games of today are in a constant decline when it comes to key-mapping, there's probably a larger underlying problem with the video-game industry, like ignoring the message of their medium.

    I've played a bunch of small, freeware indie games and I always hate when they don't let you invert the mouselook. Having played quite a few flight simulators in the past, pushing forward to look down is natural to me, but many small games hardcode it with push forward to look up.

    Full disclosure, I don't have a state of the art system, so I haven't really played any recent games, however from watching videos of some games, I hate what they've become.

    Every object you can interact with is marked with a bright, impossible to miss outline. The game tells you what key/button to press for every action you can take. There's an unskippable cutscene every 30-45 seconds. Achievements for stupid crap keep popping up on the screen. The levels are entirely linear and you get yelled at if you try to stray off the path set for you. Health regenerates for no apparent reason. Not to mention that content that used to be included with a game is now sold separately as DLC. That's if you even get the full game on the disc, rather than just an installer that downloads the rest. Then there's the mandatory online registration, ensuring that you can never sell your copy of the game, or buy a used one.

    It's not that new, but a week or so ago, I downloaded a copy of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time for PS2 and tried in an emulator. Graphical glitches aside, the game played fine, but I got so angry at the constant, unskippable cutscenes that I rage-quit after about 10 minutes and erased it from my drive. I downloaded the game for free and still didn't want it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2017 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re: Copyright is Evil

    Don't worry. They're working on it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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