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Nintendo's Lawsuits Aided by Fans

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  • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:19AM (#10795575) Homepage Journal
    Nintendo probably has a more loyal fan base at this time. Rather than the Record Industry pain in the butt Sony, or the Borgish I could bash them forever Microsoft. What harm has Nintendo really done to people other than sue the occasional Warez site distributing old Nintendo ROMS? People get cheap crap from these imitation game consoles, and see a Nintendo piracy hotline somewehere infuriated they give them a call...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well there was the price fixing thing but that took places about 15 years ago. Recently they haven't done anything that bad except for unleashing the Virtual Boy upon the world.
    • Well, if you look at their history, while they essentially resurrected the video games market, they also severely limited the game developers. In fact, it is this behavior that eventually led to their own fall.
      Indeed, Nintendo had a grip on home consoles in the 80s that would make Microsoft weep. Granted a grasp that was finally loosened by numerous law suits.
      A more loyal fanbase? certainly, but only at the cost of so many million more PS2s and Xboxes.
      • It was never about Xbox or PS2, Playstation 1 took all the former Nintendo developers and you can bet if nintendo had released a CD based console in the PS1 era sony would have never gained dominance. Note how many Nintendo sequels were done for the playstation 1 and you will see why the PS2 succeed, most hardcore PS2 owners own a GC as well I would imagine.
        • Re: Wrong mistake... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Luigi30 (656867) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:52AM (#10796734)
          The PS1 *WAS* going to be a Nintendo console. It was a Sony-developed add-on for the SNES. When SEGA's CD system failed, Nintendo rethought it and told Sony they didn't want it anymore. Sony had to do something with this CD-based system, so they turned it into a standalone console and released it.
      • Seconded.

        They are one of the few companies that have been nailed by the EU competition commission for deliberate and blatant flaunting of the EU open market laws. In fact they hold the title for the biggest fine payed in the computer industry (all higher fines are in the construction or pharmaceuticals). Of course, it may yet be eclipsed by Microsoft if the commission will manage to go all the way with that one (as the new commissioner has been known to be a rabid Bill fan I have serious doubts here).
      • Nintendo isn't Atari here. Sure they don't have the dominance that they once had in the home console market, but they still are a thriving company.

        Their past dealings with developers may have been shakey, and a lack of third party games may have cost them some customers, but they have always been good to their customers. They make state of the art, reasonably priced systems that don't break. They always support their systems unlike Sega.

        And as of E3 there were more GameCubes sold than Xboxes. I'm tired of
      • True but you have to consider the video game market at the time. In the 80's when Nintendo was THE company, video games were still fledging little things in comparison to today's standards (this was still when PC developers were 1-man developing teams working in basements). If Nintendo tried doing what Sony is doing with the PS2, do you think they would've succeeded? (Sony's 'flood the market with tons of crappy games and let the market decide' method takes up a lot of shelf spaces...) This is pre-internet
    • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:31AM (#10795633) Homepage Journal
      I think if a market stall appeared selling dodgy copies of movies and albums, then I would also do something about it.

      I have always been totally two faced about things like this. If no money is exchanged and its not being used commercially, then I don't see a problem. However, once people actually begin using actual cash, it DOES start to divert money from the real content providers, whoever they may be.
      • The thing that gets me, ive seen these and almost bought one. Now I wish I had.

        Counterfit or not, it was a great idea! A nintendo the size of a controller that had all those old games loaded on it. Good product, its really too bad that the legitimate companies like nintendo didn't come up with the idea themselves. It would be a great way to give people a product that they would think is really cool and buy (there would be no issue here if nobody was buying them, the counterfiters would just go out of buisn
    • What harm has Nintendo really done to people other than sue the occasional Warez site distributing old Nintendo ROMS?

      Well, they had a licensing program in the 80s that forbade any third-party manufacture to release the same game for Master System if it was released for NES in the US. The result? The Master System didn't do too well in America. Not to mention their battles with Tengen.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Friday November 12, 2004 @04:06AM (#10796131) Homepage
      DEAR GOD, I have NO idea what you just said.

      1) Learn English
      2) Post to slashdot
      3) ???
      4) Don't look like a sodding idiot

      How in the world did you get modded up?
  • by discontinuity (792010) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:21AM (#10795580)

    Music fans reporting file sharers.

    • by LoadWB (592248) * on Friday November 12, 2004 @02:09AM (#10795802) Journal
      That's because sharing music and movies cannot duplicate the experience of the genuine article. The only way to do that is to produce exact copies of the original CD or DVD, but such copies are a rarity on the P2P networks.

      When you buy a ticket to a theater, or you buy the DVD to watch on your system at home, you are getting a specific experience. Same with CDs. These copies you download, even really good screners, just cannot compare to the original. The compression makes movies look blocky and grainy, and music sound more tin-canny.

      But the majority of these things being reported are exact copies of the original ROMs. You then take them and connect them to a TV or monitor, just like the original. Ergo, the experience has now been duplicated, and hence stolen.

      There was a site which allowed you to legally purchase ROMs, but I cannot remember what it was (or maybe still is.) Everybody got caught up in the dot-com fever of "everything on the Internet should be free," which then translated to "everything which CAN be put on the Internet should be free." This just is not so, and should not be so. And to hell with the law, the issue is that of ethics and morals (and we often find the law conflicting with the later two.)

      As I have stated plenty of times before, I download movies (I even made a shirt which says so which I wear to the theater,) and I download music. If the preview is good enough, I will buy a ticket or the DVD. If it sucks, then I have lost nothing but time and do not have to try to return this unpleasing product -- which cannot be done anyway.

      ROM images, and now XBox rips and the like, are a completely different story. There just is no way to get a reduced quality copy of these -- you get the real deal, the genuine article, the real action and feel of the original game, even if it is Tinky Winky replacing Mario. And this should not be free, and should not be profited from by anyone other than the original producer, not unscrupulous scum that produce the clones.

      What has been happening now is that because of the freebie revolution many companies are realizing that the market which they abandoned years ago is still viable. We said "if you won't give us what we want, then we will take it." So, now they are giving us (albeit rather highly priced... $20 for a single "classic" retro!) what we wanted, and in return they are telling us to stop giving away their swag. Seems a reasonable compromise to me.

      Even parts of the music industry has conceded to this new medium by offering legally licensed, lower quality downloadable music. But even that is encumbered by damnedable rights management. Sure, DRM is really all about the Evil Corp, Inc. controlling what we do, but we do not have a leg to stand on in the fight against it because time and time again, the majority of file traders have proven themselves not trustworthy -- and that affects us all.

      So, coming full circle, if we report Abdul, Sheehaba, Big Tony, and Mr. Earl for profiting on illegitimately gained product which gives the exact same experience as the original, then we are saying "hey, your argument that all we want to do is steal is wrong."
      • The only way to do that is to produce exact copies of the original CD or DVD, but such copies are a rarity on the P2P networks.

        I disagree. Exact DVD copies are all over Emule and Bittorrent. Check out Suprnova [suprnova.org]. Right now there are two dvd iso torrents on the front page, and countless more on the movies page. It's becoming feasable to send uncompressed DVDs around the internet. Granted this cannot be done with movies that are newly out, but it's pretty scary fron the movie industry's viewpoint that

      • That's because sharing music and movies cannot duplicate the experience of the genuine article. The only way to do that is to produce exact copies of the original CD or DVD, but such copies are a rarity on the P2P networks.

        Not at all. Offset-corrected, accurately ripped and losslessly encoded CD releases aren't rare at all. They are on the rise.
      • by lou2ser (458778) on Friday November 12, 2004 @03:38AM (#10796066)
        FYI: The site where you can legally purchase roms is http://www.starroms.com/ [starroms.com]

        Not much there, but its about you're only bet for legit emulation on a computer.
      • by mongbot (671347) on Friday November 12, 2004 @05:27AM (#10796373)
        Sorry, you're wrong about CDs. It's rare that someone can discern the difference between a well-encoded 192kbps MP3 and the original CD version. If you doubt me, I challenge you to take a blind hearing test. And many networks have lossless compressed audio files, such as FLAC.

        The real reason people don't blow the whistle on music sharing is because CDs are overpriced due to the RIAA oligopoly.
    • You won't see game fans reporting file sharers either. We're talking about people actually selling and profiting from these games. I'm sure music fans get upset by people selling illegal copies of Red Hot Chili Peppers albums too.

      • That's it exactly. The old-school pirate mentality was "Give this out for free, but don't sell it." and it still is there to a large extent-- freeloading is one thing, and profiting from someone else's work is an entirely different thing under this mindset.

        Doesn't make the former any less legal under the law, but we're talking about human reactions here anyway.
  • Piracy in China (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thepyre (697537) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:21AM (#10795583)
    I have been living and working in China for the past year. There is a street in my city dedicated to console games and equipment. Some of the Game Cube knock-off hardware is incredible. They make the game console smaller, prettier, more see-through-ish, higher quality and cheaper. I know that piracy is the issue here, but it's interesting to see what other designers can do to improve the console.
    • So are these pirated Chinese GameCubes running the same hardware as a Nintendo GameCube? I'm kind of interested because as I understood it GC's used fairly custom hardware.
    • Re:Piracy in China (Score:5, Interesting)

      by taxevader (612422) on Friday November 12, 2004 @02:06AM (#10795793)
      Umm.. I call bullshit. I have been living (and gaming) in China for 3 years, and have yet to see the product you mention above. A knock-off GC??? The hardware is so proprietary it would cost them more to make a pirated version than to sell the official one, which sells here for just a bit more than the RRP overseas (1200 RMB). If they modded an original and put it in a pretty clear case I could understand. But as far as hardware goes, the only pirated consoles available are the 8-bit NES preloaded with hundreds of games. Maybe you could post some pics of the machine you claimed to have seen? It would send shockwaves through the hacking scene, because it seems not even the hardcore hackers have ever seen one of your fabled consoles.

    • They can make is cheaper, because they don't have to pay developement costs, and for other IP.

      They can make it smaller, and prettier because they can design it using new products out now, rather than having to stick to a design created years ago.
    • "Some of the Game Cube knock-off hardware is incredible. They make the game console smaller, prettier, more see-through-ish, higher quality and cheaper."

      You're assuming their GameCubes. Counterfeit Famicoms (i. e. NES) have been designed to look like anything from a Genesis/Megadrive to a PlayStation to a Dreamcast (you open the "disc drive" cover to find a cartridge slot) in the hopes of confusing unwary shoppers. Even if those "GameCubes" you saw accepted external media (instead of "500 built-in games
    • Some of the Game Cube knock-off hardware is incredible. They make the game console smaller, prettier, more see-through-ish, higher quality and cheaper. I know that piracy is the issue here, but it's interesting to see what other designers can do to improve the console.

      Exactly why would a Gamecube knock-off console be illegal or "piracy", provided:

      - It was not referred to using any of Nintendo's trademarks

      - Nintendo does not have patents covering the Gamecube

      - They are not using Nintendo's BIOS except as per

  • the corporation is loyal to their customers and treats them fairly---fan's will do their best to have everyone else support them legally. I know I do buy the CD's and games of my favourite artists/titles regardless. I had warcraft3 beta, then the release as it hit the shelves....but I still bought it.
  • by Locky (608008) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:22AM (#10795586) Homepage
    I'm convinced that as a brandname, Nintendo has the most loyal following of any corporation in existence today.

    This is a multinational company that can sustain profitability by selling ONLY to their fans.
    • by MrLint (519792) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:30AM (#10795625) Journal
      so the cult of mac gets knocked out of first place. :)
      • by BTWR (540147)
        so the cult of mac gets knocked out of first place. :)

        The early/late 90s would prove otherwise. The dedicated Macies bought their 840AV's and Power Machintosh's, but Apple was SERIOUSLY stuggling until Jobs came in and saved them with brilliancy-after-brilliancy (iMac, revilalized laptop division, iPod, iTunes music store, Mac Stores) in an effort to win new customers.

        The parent correctly states that, unlike apple, nintendo can stay profitable with only their main hardcore customer base. Case in poin

    • I'm not sure how you could prove or disprove that statement, but I think there are certain subjective evidences all would agree upon. I mean, have you never seen someone that isn't a hardcore Nintendo fanboy playing a GBA? I'm sure. Loyal fanbase or not, their products still appeal to the mass market...
    • Perhaps you've never heard of Apple?
    • I'm pretty sure Harley Davidson has a more loyal following among their customers. As my Marketing professor used to say, "How many companies have customers willing to tattoo the brand name on their arm for no other reason than they enjoy their products"
  • by terrymaster69 (792830) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:23AM (#10795589)
    Despite how often we trash the RIAA etc. for their (misguided) attempts to defend copyrights, this just proves that if you treat your customers well and produce quality products, you'll be paid back. I'da turned 'em in too. Rock on Nintendo.
  • by irving47 (73147) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:23AM (#10795590) Homepage
    I tried one at a mall about six months ago. The thing was junk. Super Mario Brothers was playing about 10% too fast.... Anyone else seen that?

    • Super Mario Brothers was playing about 10% too fast

      So not only are they running hacked pirate ROMs, they're running hacked, pirate, PAL ROMs on NTSC hardware? I'm just surprised it took N so long to notice.

    • Yes, they are all garbage, but I personally haven't seen any that run noticeably off from the genuine article.

      I wonder if the systems might be running in PAL mode internally, but hacked to output an NTSC-compatible signal. Running a system designed for 50Hz at 60Hz would result in the games being 20% too fast.

      Another legally notable thing about many of the designs is that the lightguns they come with are VERY realistic looking, and almost certainly qualify as illegal imitation firearms in several states.
  • Ive done this.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegoogler (792786) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:24AM (#10795597)
    There was a "toys and games" shop that opened near my house, i thought nothing of it untill my friend said they were selling SNES games for $2 for any game, buy 2, get 2 free. so i headed down there. turns out they were selling counterfeit systems all the way up to the N64, and every game you could think of... I emailed nintendo, and got an amusing thank you note..
  • by Ambient_Developer (825456) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:25AM (#10795602) Journal
    I probably helps that nintendo has been seen (as far as I know) as a company that has had a long long history of being a rather "good", innovative, and untainted (compared to it's counterparts). I personally like nintendo, regardless of what others say.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:26AM (#10795605) Journal
    This isn't about gamecube piracy, this is about these cheesy import deals that look like N64 controllers, and plug directly into your AV jacks (like all those Atari deals), and have a bunch of old nintendo games built in.

    They sell 'em everywhere, go to any flea market and you can find them. They're as flimsily built as you can imagine. There's a light gun too, for Duck Hunt.

    I believe they just have an image of the old 100-in-one NES bootleg from the olden days.

    Anyways, they're no doubt illegal. But we're talking about Kid Icarus and Duck Hunt, not Metroid Prime and Resident Evil Zero.
    • There is a company in South Africa selling educational "computers"... Labeled the "IntelliGameStation" (just makes you sick, doesn't it?). And it's basically a NES in a little tower case, that comes with some custom educational software in the traditional NES cartridge. I think they throw in one of those "X in 1" game carts as well.

      I've always wondered if this is legal, and whether they license the tech from nintendo. From your post, it doesn't seem to be above board. Which I find surprising, seeing as
    • It may be worth pointing out at this state that the Atari and Intellivision consoles-in-a-controller are both officially licensed products, and are perfectly legal. (And actually well constructed - the Atari one feels exactly like the classic 2600 joystick, and is just as resistant to damage)
  • by aardwolf204 (630780) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:27AM (#10795610)
    IANAL, but I've read a lot of Groklaw, and from what I can understand Nintendo has never really cracked down on NES, SNES, or N64 roms, maybe it has something to do with over-the-internet, rather than in-the-shopping-malls where Joe Sixpack and Jane PonyKeg wander. At this point I deem it perfectly safe for Suicide Girls [suicidegirls.com] to start selling these mame-wanabees [cmdrtaco.net] on their site.

    You can put down the DMCA now...

    Thank you.
    • "IANAL, but I've read a lot of Groklaw, and from what I can understand Nintendo has never really cracked down on NES, SNES, or N64 roms"

      Ehhh... it depends. Two years ago, as was all over Slashdot, Nintendo was among the companies that went after Lik Sang, particularly for selling Flash Advance Linkers that could download and upload GBA roms. I also remember the hooplah over UltraHLE, an N64 emulator that was released when the N64 was still current. All in all, though, it seems Nintendo's anti-piracy ef
  • by Tethys_was_taken (813654) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:30AM (#10795627) Homepage

    I remember that when the HL2 source code was leaked, Gabe Newell (VALVe founder) sent out a request to the HL community [halflife2.net]. It worked. Pretty soon, they managed to get a few leads and tracked down the guy who initially distributed it. Best part was, all this happened over IRC rooms when some guy started boasting about his exploits.

    This is setting a very positive trend, IMO. (Besides showing that IRC is not *just* the home of the pirates and the script kiddies :) It shows that the community will back a game publisher/developer who gives them quality stuff, and is willing to pull down shitty publishers like EA.

    Anyway... long story short, this is Very Good(TM). I hope this continues

  • Rewards (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dadjaka (827325) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:30AM (#10795629)
    Are they offering rewards? I can see a large industry for dobbers...
  • I've seen this in a couple of local malls too...

    Is this the first time American suburban shopping malls have been used for piracy on a large scale? Obviously you can buy knockoff CDs, etc. on the streets of New York or Hong Kong, but I didn't expect to see it in the local mall.
  • by telemonster (605238) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:46AM (#10795699) Homepage
    There are Kiosks here in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area as well. It looked like the games are all original NES games. This is similiar to the Atari classics self contained joystick sold thru places like Walmart? Are the Atari 2600 games licensed in those console systems?

    I think it is funny that they started remaking Mr. Pac-Mac/Galaga arcade games. I guess they had to update the hardware+software since the original arcade couldn't be set to accept 50 cents per play. Bastards.

  • Go Nintendo! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nossie (753694) * <[teN.tnempoleveD4] [ta] [eivraHnaI]> on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:55AM (#10795745)
    I think any company should have a right to enforce their own IP. I'd even support the RIAA/MPAA if they cracked down on marketstalls or websites profiteering from the distribution. Sadly they also abuse their consumers, and I think thats going too far.

    Nintendo is doing nothing less than protecting its rights, and in a far more amicable way than some of the other corporations. Sure the emulation scene has been blasted by lawyers over the years. Although, considering they are still making a profit from the old games (classic handhelds etc) do you really blame them?

    Systems to support this would be the Classic NES and snes converstions to the GBA

    *** (I'm not suggesting constant remakes and re-releases is right either here btw ) ***

    People are slating that guy in the link because he was miffed at recieving a counterfit product. I have to say I support him 100% for taking it back.

    WE ALL know counterfit copies exist, some of us are even quite prepared to buy them *knowing* they are fake/stolen but not wanting to pay full price. It's a totally different story when a shop tries to sell such products and pretend they are legit.

    how would you like to buy a $60,000 Rolex to find a quartz movement inside? OR a an athlon64 4000 to find its an overclocked 3800?

    I think then, you might not be so jeering when it was you that had the wrong end of the stick.

  • Loyal fanbases: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nomihn0 (739701) on Friday November 12, 2004 @01:58AM (#10795762)
    Almost unconsciously, I have categorized nearly all brand names I know into one of two categories: those I imagine to be supported by die hard, underdog loving fans and those embraced by the conformist, top of the game crowd. Although I realize that some of these associations are flat out absurd, they sit in my mind as such, nonetheless. I am curious if others have the same type of relationships in the back of their minds:

    *Apple:Microsoft
    *Linux:Windows
    *Nintendo:Sony (and more recently, Microsoft)
    *Armadillo Aerospace:Scaled Composites
    *Blizzard:Valve
    *Mozilla:Internet Explorer
    *Texas Instruments:Hewlett Packard (despite TI's market hold)
    *Star Trek:Star Wars
    *Archos:Apple
    *Find-a-drug:Seti@home
    *Wina mp(rip):WiMP

    I wonder how much of this is my personal bias and how much is a result of clever advertising. Clearly, some of these comparisons are not legitimate or accurate, but the vast majority are. Regardless, those are the pairs I imagine. It's the fans of those things on the left that I feel would go out of their way for their cause.
    • TI = what students buy because school tells them to/everyone has them. HP, with its RPN, is still about loyalty and catering to those who know better ;) Check out c.s.hp48 - the user base has written a ******* manual that's better than the original! Hopefully, we'll have an alternative by the time Carly will have totally killed off the calculator division.

      Bliz/Valve is debatable too.
    • After the bnetd debacle Blizzard firmly punted themselves onto the right hand side of those comparisons for me. All I wanted bnetd for was to run LAN games without having to install IPX. I blame Vivendi Universal rather than the Blizzard developers themselves.
    • Interesting list.

      I think "Archos:iPod" is what you meant and would make it clearer, though.
  • by rm999 (775449) on Friday November 12, 2004 @02:02AM (#10795773)
    I'm sure I will get modded down for this, but I honestly don't think "pirating" classic NES games, which are up to 20 years old now, is that wrong. Nintendo made a lot of money off the NES, but at this point the market for the classic Mario and Donkey Kong games is limitied to the nostalgic crowd, most of whom legitmately bought the games when they were kids. Why should we have to shell out 20 bucks for a game that we not only already bought, but that pales in comparison to newer games regarding programming time and complexity? In my opinion, these old games should be freely given to the community who made Nintendo what it is today instead of whored out by the marketing department of Nintendo to squeeze the last few cents out of them.
    • In any case you shouldn't claim that a product made off pirate roms is a legitimate Nintendo product.
    • by BTWR (540147) <.americangibor3. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday November 12, 2004 @03:06AM (#10795978) Homepage Journal
      Why is it you get to decide that video games have an arbitrary shelf life (and... a shelf life 1/5 the current copyright length?).

      You know, they just released a special edition of Dr. Strangelove. That movie is over 40 years old. Are you going to say that it should be legally piratable? What about Back to the Future? Return of the Jedi? All are at least as old as Super Mario Brothers. Are they ok to copy? Lord of the Rings books - a half-century old. Are they now public domain?

      Listen, I think abandonware sites are ok. But... let's look at the word abandonware: Abandon and Ware: i.e. "software" that has been "abandoned" (i.e. completely given up).

      This year, Nintendo decided to re-release their classic NES games. And you know what? They made one hell of a profit. Did you have to buy them? No. Could you have gotten Metroid free from other sources (i.e. beating Metroid Prime + metroid Fusion)? Sure. But, it was a decent price (half the price they were in 1985) and a lot of people got to either re-live their childhoods (the avg person doesn't know what the hell a ROM is) or introduce an awesome game to an 11 year-old whos never seen anything 2-D.

      Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with that and it is hardly "whoring" of nintendo "to squeeze the last few cents out of them."

      • Why is it you get to decide that video games have an arbitrary shelf life (and... a shelf life 1/5 the current copyright length?).

        In the USA, the Constitution requires this.

        It states that Congress may establish copyright protection to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts". 20-30 years of copyright protection does promote progress, by giving authors a better chance to earn money from their work.

        However, copyright extending much longer than that becomes counter-productive: it allows autho
    • I think a far more reasonable approach is to allow nonprofit redistribution of copyrighted works which the copyright holder no longer makes available for sale.

      Another approach would be to require an exponentially increasing fee of the copyright holder each year to maintain the copyright of a work, thus guaranteeing that the work will eventually enter the public domain once it no longer serves a rational benefit to the copyright holder.

    • Simple: they want more money.

      If you had several hundred ROMs of games made 15+ years ago, many of which (let's say 20) you still find quite enjoyable to play, would you shell out $150 for a new system, and $40+ for supplimental games?

      Probably not.

      Just like MS's main competition is old versions of their own software, a large part of Nintendo's competition comes from their older games and systems. Quite likely to a similar extent, as Nintendo seems to have a fairly niche market, compared to the Playstation
  • Why I reported them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2004 @02:39AM (#10795890)
    I was one of the "400 loyal fans"... ... except I'm not really a loyal fan. They lost me to the dark side (Sega) after their stubborness over CDs. Sure, I like their games, but I haven't really been a Nintendo fan since the SNES.

    There are a few reasons I reported them. First, some of those games aren't abandonware. Nintendo is actively re-releasing them for the Gameboy Advance. Second, they're competing unfairly with Nintendo. The kiosk I reported was just outside an Electionics Boutique, and I suspect a fair number of parents that were asked for a Nintendo system for Christmas saw this as a deal, and got that instead of a real system. Third, they're unfairly profiting from Nintendo's IP. They were selling these devices for nearly $70! And finally, they were extremely pushy, and used high-pressure sales tactics on anyone who passed by their kiosk.

    I think emulators are perfectly legal, and trading old ROMs doesn't really hurt their bottom line, but this was wholesale abuse of their IP.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    At a mall kisok in Orlando a few months ago some guy tried to sell me one of these machines, he started out at 75 bucks, and it came with about 200 games he said(which i'm guess was similar to a multicart where about 160 are the same danm thing and only a few orignials) now while i thought it was cool after seeing Galaga he let me snoop around at the other games, which included shrek(a mario bros hack which was just mario all green), smurfs(a mario bros hack which was just mario all blue), superspider man(a
  • I can say for sure I've seen these things for sale at kiosks at the malls in Lubbock, TX and Midland, TX. I'm surprised to be just now hearing that Nintendo is sueing them.

    The particular one I've seen for sale is called "Power Player." It boasts of an image of the lighsaber duel from "The Phantom Menace." Quick, someone call George Lucas.

    So then, what other rip-offs of Nintendo games are out there?

  • I'm no supporter of piracy believe me but Nintendo is just another mega-corporation whose only function in life is to milk the rest of us for as much money as possible so that a few fat cats at the top get rich.

    If you're that much in love with a corporation that you have to spend time in your life to do their policing for them, then you probably need to go get a few extra hobbies.

    I just wonder how many of these Nintendo "fanboys" would report someone selling a few pirated games but step over someone lyi

  • Actually, I'm a little bit uneasy about this. When the RIAA or MPAA tries to recruit an army of snitches, everybody here cries foul, but when Nintendo fans rat each other out, it's seen as something noble. Nintendorks indeed!

    Now please excuse me, I have to report on my neighbors.
  • Come on, guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2 AT earthshod DOT co DOT uk> on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:09AM (#10796636)
    We're always told how America is the Land of the Free Market and Government Regulation is a Bad Thing. Yet the instant someone tries practising free-market economics for real over there, they're suddenly evil. What the hell difference is there between this type of counterfeiting, and what every supermarket is doing with its "own brand" copies of bestselling goods anyway? Isn't Tesco Rich Blend Instant Coffee just counterfeit Nescafé? Aren't Sainsbury's Rice Pops just counterfeit Kellogg's Rice Krispies? What's the freakin' difference already?

    Joe Punter isn't going to be fooled for one minute into believing this sort of thing is endorsed by Nintendo. Nor, at that price, is he going to be bothered whether it is or not. All it has to do is keep the kids entertained for longer than they will take to break it. Realness isn't part of the equation. And if some third party can satisfy the relevant factors, then they're going to be the ones that get the money. Pure and simple.

    It's the same thing with the obviously fake designer clothing sold on market stalls, and those awful fake Rolex watches you can spot a mile off {hint: a real Rolex does not go around in jerks. Just on the wrists of jerks}. Nobody's expecting it to be real, and nobody's disappointed that it isn't.

    You know, just maybe if perhaps "official" stuff wasn't so overpriced, there might be a chance that people perhaps wouldn't feel so much of an urge to counterfeit it, possibly. It's all very well to say that if you're poor and have principles, you should do without; and I should know all there is to know about doing without. But while there are all these big rich corporations wanting to eat their cake and have it*, while simultaneously shoving it in your face that if you don't have foo you're obviously a loser, what the hell kind of example is that setting?

    * I just think it sounds better that way around.
    • Re:Come on, guys (Score:4, Insightful)

      by El Camino SS (264212) on Friday November 12, 2004 @12:05PM (#10798268)


      We're always told how America is the Land of the Free Market and Government Regulation is a Bad Thing. Yet the instant someone tries practising free-market economics for real over there, they're suddenly evil. What the hell difference is there between this type of counterfeiting, and what every supermarket is doing with its "own brand" copies of bestselling goods anyway? Isn't Tesco Rich Blend Instant Coffee just counterfeit Nescafé? Aren't Sainsbury's Rice Pops just counterfeit Kellogg's Rice Krispies? What's the freakin' difference already?


      There is a differene between competition, and outright theft. These people are selling software. Someone else's software. They are not selling a controller insomuch as it gets you the software.

      The difference is, if you make your own coffee that tastes like another, it actually requires effort to do it. Getting beans. Comparing styles. You can even say, "Tastes like our competitor!" on the outside.

      They are not selling knock offs, they are selling stolen originals in a new casing.

      There is no effort other than buying the crap device to put the ROMs in. They are not selling the crap device, they are selling someone else's product. If you could instantly copy a Coca-Cola for free infinite times, and then put it in a can that is cheaper, then you could have a comparison. But you cannot. There is no way to compare software (which is what they are selling, not the controller) with food items. Coffee is coffee. Video games require ingenuity to make them. If you think that the beans and software are comparable in any way, may I humbly suggest you stay out of the business world.

      Your argument is specious at best.
  • Not piracy but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skeletonliar (741852) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:10AM (#10796642)
    One thing I have always wondered about is my local Software Etc.'s policy of selling games (usually GBA games) after they cross out the "NOT FOR RESALE" mark on the label with a sharpie. First of all, where do these games come from in the first place? Bundles? Demo units? Secondly, while I doubt that little mark is legally binding, you figure Nintendo would try and put a stop to it if they found out. Having gone through all the trouble of printing special labels and all.
  • by tuxedobob (582913) * <tuxedobob AT mac DOT com> on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:21AM (#10796667)
    I called today (with my own report), and the guy I talked to said they'd also been getting calls from people who had bought them and wanted some support.

    It seems not all the ROMs are complete. Some give up after a certain level, so you can't finish the game. As a result, Nintendo is getting calls.

    Considering it costs money to keep people on the phones, and they're getting calls for something that isn't actually theirs, yeah, I can see how they'd be losing money on these things even if they weren't rereleasing some of the games.
  • by michaelzhao (801080) on Friday November 12, 2004 @09:40PM (#10804315)
    I am Chinese. Every year I go back to China, I pick up GBA Games for 2 Dollars American. It's not the fact that the Chinese government doesn't do anything. It's more of the fact that intellectual property rights are not developed in China. Also, many Chinese people have a mindset that the American companies are exploiting Chinese resources and manpower so what the workers make rightly belong to them anyways. So many DVD's and GBA games are pirated under that circumstance. Fighting piracy isn't anything new, but it might take longer than previously thought to win this battle in developing third world countries such as China. The way to win this battle, is to make sure these developing countries have a means of passing and enforcing intellectual property rights.

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