NES on WP7? Microsoft says no.

It appears a Microsoft promise to officially facilitate homebrew development on the Windows Phone 7 platform doesn't extend to emulator apps, with one developer reportedly told his NES emulator will not be allowed in the Marketplace.

According to WMPoweruser.com, hobby developer Matt Bettcher ported code from the My Nes and SharpNES projects to Microsoft's mobile platform to create the NES EMU 7 project. Mr Bettcher claimed he contacted Microsoft and was told his work will not be allowed to pass through the gates of the Windows Phone Marketplace. Not content with that answer, he is now asking for community support to pressure Microsoft into changing their mind.

''Microsoft is telling me I can't make an NES emulator! I can't invest time into this for nothing. If I can't get this resolved by MS then I will create a Codeplex project of what I have done so far and let the developers decide!'' he wrote on the page of a YouTube video demonstrating the emulator.

In the same posting, he claimed the emulator runs at about 10-20 frames per second on a Samsung Focus and said he aimed to have the project running full speed with sound.

For its part, Microsoft gives a strong indication as to its stance on game emulation on Windows Phone devices. In a post on the official App Hub forums (also quoted on Mr Bettcher's YouTube page), it is stated that:

''Microsoft takes intellectual property rights very seriously.  If you post a game/image/source that uses unauthorized intellectual property, we will delete it immediately.  This includes technologies that are clearly intended to enable unauthorized use of intellectual property, such as game console emulators.''

As WMPoweruser.com pointed out, even notoriously over-cautious Apple have allowed emulators in their App Store, albeit after a fair amount of controversy - and a NES app is not among them.

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Emulators are for piracy and are illegal? Huh, when did this happen, you mean I won't be able to take my legally owned collection of NES games with me on the go if I purchase WP7?

Damn.

Betcha there would be no problem with allowing an app like VMware (if possible) on the WP7 marketplace.

Yeah pirating NES games is gonna cost the gaming industry billions!

Face the fact, people. The market for NES games and emulators is small. What MS fears is that by allowing the NES emulator, other emulators from larger, still alive markets may have a case to be authorized and it will make their position difficult.

I don't blame MS one bit for not wanting to allow it on the market place. They are responsible for all the apps they approve, and they do not want Nintendo's lawyers knocking on their door.

It doesn't matter if there is homebrew NES games, you cant get a rom on the device in the first place if you don't have a developer unlocked phone, so its pointless to be on the marketplace.

Since you can't copy data to the phone unless its a unlocked developer phone how are normal people supposed to copy roms to the phone to begin with? The answer is they can't, which is probably the biggest reason why it failed.

I'm with Microsoft on this one. Legal issues aside, I don't like that he wants to make money off other people's work. Who pays for emulators? Plus he sounds like a crybaby. He should have asked Microsoft beforehand.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. Even if emulators are technically legal, most ROMs (excluding homebrew ones) definitely aren't. Even the 'backup copy' fair use argument is shakey at best, since very few emulator users (including myself) no longer, or never did, own the actual cartridges for many of these games.

Besides, Microsoft and Nintendo of America are literally right across the street from each other in Redmond, WA, so their lawyers wouldn't have far to go if there was an issue.

Microsoft needs to allow side-loading of apps from outside the marketplace. Not for emulators, but anything the user wants to put on their own phone... That's all.....

Well to those of you talking about the "legal way" of getting old Nintendo games, let me say this: One of the main reasons why I bought a Wii a few years back was so that I could legally RE-purchase the old games I loved. But to this day, Nintendo's Virtual Console library sucks. There are still tons of games not available (some of them big-name games), and it's not entirely Nintendo's fault. In the years since those games were produced, many of those companies have merged or went out of business, and it's not easy for Nintendo to acquire the rights to distribute those games again.

In conclusion, the best place to play your favorite old console games is on the PC.

Chugworth said,
Well to those of you talking about the "legal way" of getting old Nintendo games, let me say this: One of the main reasons why I bought a Wii a few years back was so that I could legally RE-purchase the old games I loved. But to this day, Nintendo's Virtual Console library sucks. There are still tons of games not available (some of them big-name games), and it's not entirely Nintendo's fault. In the years since those games were produced, many of those companies have merged or went out of business, and it's not easy for Nintendo to acquire the rights to distribute those games again.

In conclusion, the best place to play your favorite old console games is on the PC.

QFT, I use Emulators daily, and yes, I have owned the carts in the past, and no, I don't usually download games I haven't owned, I had a massive library of video games back in the 90's. Damn good times, too bad time/fire/burglary, claimed most of them.

Yet another reason for me NOT to get this phone! I want to get a smartphone of some sort and this turns me off. I wanna be able to game on the go and sometimes I feel a lil old school. This sucks.

remixedcat said,
Yet another reason for me NOT to get this phone! I want to get a smartphone of some sort and this turns me off. I wanna be able to game on the go and sometimes I feel a lil old school. This sucks.

I'm confused why you would expect MS to allow something only useful for pirates in the marketplace?

remixedcat said,
Yet another reason for me NOT to get this phone! I want to get a smartphone of some sort and this turns me off. I wanna be able to game on the go and sometimes I feel a lil old school. This sucks.

Pretty simple, get an android phone There are ups and downs for every smart phone.

remixedcat said,
Yet another reason for me NOT to get this phone! I want to get a smartphone of some sort and this turns me off. I wanna be able to game on the go and sometimes I feel a lil old school. This sucks.

You want portable old-school gaming? dig out your gameboy SP and buy some gbc carts

bob_c_b said,

I'm confused why you would expect MS to allow something only useful for pirates in the marketplace?

Can you show how it ONLY useful for pirates?

farmeunit said,

Can you show how it ONLY useful for pirates?

Well, as he doesn't own the IP for Mario Brothers, if someone is downloading or purchasing this game on their WP7 device, that wouldn't be legal either. So the whole thing is pirated however you want to try to twist it. Would it be cool to be able to play Mario on the phone? Sure. But legal? Unless it's from Nintendo, No... And I don't see how anyone with a brain can blame Microsoft for that...

Looks from the video that even if it was allowed to go through the approval process, it would never have made it to the market as the quality just isn't there. How's he exactly planning to get it up to a reasonable framerate? It's not exactly native Silverlight / XNA I'm sure... Was the codebase even permitted?

Well I've spotted another issue with emulators (apart from the legality)..how are you supposed to load the roms onto the phone? Sure you can enable mass storage, but it isn't exactly "supported."

/- Razorfold said,
Well I've spotted another issue with emulators (apart from the legality)..how are you supposed to load the roms onto the phone? Sure you can enable mass storage, but it isn't exactly "supported."

download it on the phone?

ObiWanToby said,
If it isn't legal, wtf are they supposed to do? Can't support it.
The emulator itself is probably legal (ignoring any possible patent or trademark issues), so there's no reason why Microsoft couldn't allow it. It is true that it has close to no legal use though.

hdood said,
The emulator itself is probably legal (ignoring any possible patent or trademark issues), so there's no reason why Microsoft couldn't allow it. It is true that it has close to no legal use though.
The emulator is probably legal. What can be done on it might not be. Nintendo would have to make thier own emulator for the WP7, then Microsoft would accept it.

hdood said,
The emulator itself is probably legal (ignoring any possible patent or trademark issues), so there's no reason why Microsoft couldn't allow it. It is true that it has close to no legal use though.

Well, then, there is one reason Microsoft couldn't allow it - principle. They don't have to only disallow applications developed using illegal; if there is close to no legal use for an application, they could reasonably deny submission of it for ethical reasons.

hdood said,
The emulator itself is probably legal (ignoring any possible patent or trademark issues), so there's no reason why Microsoft couldn't allow it. It is true that it has close to no legal use though.

Doesn't the emulator use NES's code though? Wouldn't that be plagerizing code?

andrewbares said,

Doesn't the emulator use NES's code though? Wouldn't that be plagerizing code?

No, it doesn't. It doesn't include any NES code. It simply emulates a NES. If he had actually included copyrighted Nintendo code then that would obviously be a copyright violation and illegal ("plagiarism" is not a legal term and doesn't mean anything.)

i can understand microsoft's unwillingness, but if they wanna get ahead in the industry again, they've gotta make drastic changes to their ideals, entailing a much more open philosophy. or google's gonna keep kicking their butt.

joemagoe said,
i can understand microsoft's unwillingness, but if they wanna get ahead in the industry again, they've gotta make drastic changes to their ideals, entailing a much more open philosophy. or google's gonna keep kicking their butt.

Openly enabling software piracy isn't going to them any favours. I'll give you a tip about NES emulators - people aren't going to go down to their local game store, buy NES games, and then rip the ROMs themselves. Wonder where they'll get them...

MS Pandya said,
Openly enabling software piracy isn't going to them any favours. I'll give you a tip about NES emulators - people aren't going to go down to their local game store, buy NES games, and then rip the ROMs themselves. Wonder where they'll get them...
Not only is it completely illegal to download ROM images, but even the issue of ripping them yourself is debatable. The contents of the cartridge is still copyrighted, and you don't have an unlimited right to make new copies of it. Ripping it is creating a new copy. Loading it into the emulator creates a new (transitory) copy. The law here depends on where you are, but even in places where it might be legal to make a backup copy, it doesn't follow that you can then run that copy in an emulator.

hdood said,
Not only is it completely illegal to download ROM images, but even the issue of ripping them yourself is debatable. The contents of the cartridge is still copyrighted, and you don't have an unlimited right to make new copies of it. Ripping it is creating a new copy. Loading it into the emulator creates a new (transitory) copy. The law here depends on where you are, but even in places where it might be legal to make a backup copy, it doesn't follow that you can then run that copy in an emulator.

Also...

Nintendo patented the idea of create a simulator for simulate their old system :gameboy, gameboy sp, gameboy advances, nes and snes.

MS Pandya said,

Openly enabling software piracy isn't going to them any favours. I'll give you a tip about NES emulators - people aren't going to go down to their local game store, buy NES games, and then rip the ROMs themselves. Wonder where they'll get them...


OOOOHHK so why don't you just go down to your local game store and buy a NES or even SNES game. OH WAIT they don't sell them anymore.... SO how else am I going to play super mario then??

danisflying527 said,

OOOOHHK so why don't you just go down to your local game store and buy a NES or even SNES game. OH WAIT they don't sell them anymore.... SO how else am I going to play super mario then??
Same way you'd get anything else that isn't sold anymore... By buying a NES/SNES second hand. You have no inherent right to play Super Mario.

danisflying527 said,

OOOOHHK so why don't you just go down to your local game store and buy a NES or even SNES game. OH WAIT they don't sell them anymore.... SO how else am I going to play super mario then??

Wii Virtual Console. They have all the copies you want.

hdood said,
Not only is it completely illegal to download ROM images, but even the issue of ripping them yourself is debatable. The contents of the cartridge is still copyrighted, and you don't have an unlimited right to make new copies of it. Ripping it is creating a new copy. Loading it into the emulator creates a new (transitory) copy. The law here depends on where you are, but even in places where it might be legal to make a backup copy, it doesn't follow that you can then run that copy in an emulator.

Aw you're such a good person, I bet you don't torrent pirated games at all, or listen to music on Youtube, cause technically that's illegal, I bet you plug your ears whenever someone plays a song on their MP3 player, cause you're THAT awesome, keep it up Mr. Anti-Piracy!

Azies said,

Aw you're such a good person, I bet you don't torrent pirated games at all, or listen to music on Youtube, cause technically that's illegal, I bet you plug your ears whenever someone plays a song on their MP3 player, cause you're THAT awesome, keep it up Mr. Anti-Piracy!

I bet you're the biggest software pirate around then, are you? Have no respect for other people/companies IP either, do you?

Azies said,

Aw you're such a good person, I bet you don't torrent pirated games at all, or listen to music on Youtube, cause technically that's illegal, I bet you plug your ears whenever someone plays a song on their MP3 player, cause you're THAT awesome, keep it up Mr. Anti-Piracy!

Listening to music on YouTube is perfeclty legal, like watching music videos from Vevo's channel. Where are you getting your "facts" from? And playing a MP3 which others can hear is perfectly legal too, as long as you aren't using it in commercial situations. You can throw a party at your house and play music and it's not illegal.

Azies said,
Aw you're such a good person, I bet you don't torrent pirated games at all, or listen to music on Youtube, cause technically that's illegal, I bet you plug your ears whenever someone plays a song on their MP3 player, cause you're THAT awesome, keep it up Mr. Anti-Piracy!
I don't pirates games, no. Listening to music on YouTube isn't illegal for me, and neither is accidentally listening to someone else's music (which seems to be what you're saying.)


That said, I have no idea why you felt you had to launch into a personal attack because I was commenting on the legal status of emulation. I could personally be running the whole warez scene and my post would still be relevant. There was nothing about me personally in there at all. Nothing.

MS Pandya said,

Openly enabling software piracy isn't going to them any favours. I'll give you a tip about NES emulators - people aren't going to go down to their local game store, buy NES games, and then rip the ROMs themselves. Wonder where they'll get them...

http://www.retrousb.com/produc...cPath=24&products_id=36
or
http://www.retrode.org/

Yes there is a small community out there who will live up to their reputation of legitimately backing up their own games. Why should they have to pay for the masses? Their are bunch of emulators from PCs. How is this going to make a difference?

hdood said,
Not only is it completely illegal to download ROM images, but even the issue of ripping them yourself is debatable. The contents of the cartridge is still copyrighted, and you don't have an unlimited right to make new copies of it. Ripping it is creating a new copy. Loading it into the emulator creates a new (transitory) copy. The law here depends on where you are, but even in places where it might be legal to make a backup copy, it doesn't follow that you can then run that copy in an emulator.

Really? Says who?