This post isn’t going to be particularly long or controversial. I just wanted to touch up on the subject since it came up after I helped you guys out with emulating for PC. Is it ethical to emulate on a completely different system?
It’s hard to gauge a real answer here. On one hand you are getting an entire gaming system for free. On top of that, all you have to do is download the ROM of the game you want to play and you can play that for free as well. The only downside is you’re not playing on the original system, so control schemes are different. Besides that, the resolutions should be the same and the game mechanics should be exactly the same as well. You can play the entire library of most of Nintendo’s old systems like the GameBoy Advance and even the Nintendo DS. Some argue it’s unethical because you usually have to pay for these things. I mean you are getting value for free. This is the work of developers and publishers that you are getting for no cost.
I don’t agree with the whole “emulating is pirating” idea, however. Whether or not it actually is pirating is up to somebody else, but it doesn’t feel like you are stealing from the developers like real pirating feels like. Here’s why: these games and systems are ancient. The publishers don’t even support the purchase of them anymore. If you were to buy a GameBoy Advance today, it would 99% be second hand. Actually I’d say 100% because they don’t even make new ones anymore, but the only way you’re getting a new one is if the seller claims it was never used. Other than that, Nintendo doesn’t get any more profit from GameBoy Advance purchases because it does not manufacture them anymore. So technically, emulating a GBA system would not have resulted in lost profits for Nintendo. That, by definition, is not stealing.
I just wanted to give insight on the whole emulating scene. Obviously, you’re getting games for free. But it doesn’t result in lost profits for the publisher, developer, or Nintendo. If anything, Nintendo benefits because most people that emulate get to play old games for free and then become interested in whatever new things Nintendo has cooking up.
Article idea came from: http://www.pcgamer.com/the-ethics-of-emulation-how-creators-the-community-and-the-law-view-console-emulators/