Paying For Emulators Is Just Plain Wrong


Antiriad

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Im all for giving credit, help and donations to authors of Emulators but paying for them outright? No no no and no.

Its all very well authors claim that it takes time to do them, but at the end of the day an emulator is only commerically viable because of the software library created for it. Something that the authors have nothing to do with and no right to exploit. And after all, doesnt the author of the emulator benefit from it as much as the others who download it? Surely then, he benefits from the time given to it this way? Emulation is supposed to be about preservation and nostalgia - not making profit.

This only gives emulation a even worse name as it comes across as ripping off commerical companies and is a red rag to corporate lawyers. The most recent and prominent example being CrimsonFire and their GBA emulator for the Zodiac.

It brings up emulation out of the underground and into the open and thereby naked to the scrutiny of the law which as we well know it cannot stand up against.
The Zodiac, therefore with "companies" such as Kalemsoft and CrimsonFire is doing huge damage to the emulation community with its paid for SNES, NES, GBA, SMS, GG and PCE emulators. No other platform has such a high number of these - check the X Box (and of course the GP32) emulation scene by comparison.

And now I see a former GP32 emu developer (who shall remain nameless) canvassing other Zodiac owners on the feasibility of paying for an MSX and SMS emulator as the authors of their sources "want a piece of the action"

Remember, this isnt only damaging to the scene in general it is also hurting the GP32 as emulation coders will abandon it and its free emulation scene for the sake of a fast buck on the Zodiac.
 

Newborn

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You're absolutely right in my opinion. When I visit Zodiacgamer's forum I am always amazed that people actually are willing to pay for an Emu. I think an author can create a paypal-account for voluntary donations but he can't code an emu so that he can make money on a system that somebody else developed. People indeed only pay for an emu to play commercial games, not PD roms. So you can never justify creating an emu for commercial gain, and I also think this is a bad thing for emulation in general
 

finty

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i agree with you, but i think people should definitly donate to gp32 developers on big projects if they use the stuff, it will help keep the developers going. Do you not have to sell emulators on the Zodiac because of some agreement with tapwave?
 

don

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As long as people are glad to pay for it, what's wrong with asking money for an emulator? I really don't get the point about "An emulator is only commercially viable because of the software library...". Following this argument, companies had to give away their PCs for free. ;)
No, seriously, I'm really an open source freak, and i'll give my (crappy) code away happily. But if someone thinks his product is worth real cash (and *good* emulators are worth some $$$), that's okay. It might be better the way it's on GP32, but on the other hand I don't see any reason to flame people for selling their stuff.
PLUS the developer you are talking about does helluvalot FREE stuff for GP32. If more people would donate for free projects, the developers wouldn't have to think about asking cash for their work. I think some slight attitude change away from being greedy and cheap and taking everything for free would be nice.
 

Antiriad

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Hell the reason I bought my GP32 was because of the work that particular developer did. And Im aware of the amount of free work he has done and is still doing (all of it has been free so far)

But my opinion remains the same. Its all a big slippery slope. And your argument about people being stupid enough to pay for them doesnt wash. Its still wrong.

And whats "Following this argument, companies had to give away their PCs for free." mean? Please elaborate.

And Im sorry but although I may not write emulators i dont charge for my retro related activites that are equally time consuming such as; dumping my Amiga disks for CAPS (who dont charge for their services, hell they only recently allowed donations) and then making them available for the community for everyones benefit; scanning my Amiga game boxes and disks for HOL as well as restoring others; doing the artwork for APoV an Amiga retro mag; writing reviews for CPC Game Reviews or scanning my Amstrad games for CPC Zone

I do it for my appreciation of these platforms. Not to make money.
 

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Personally I'd prefere Emu's to be free with an option to donate, but if someone writes an Emu and wants to charge for it then fair enough they've put the work into it. Selling an Emu or having a reasonable amount of people donate would mean they are completed faster. People complain about selling them but if someone came up with a full speed Snes, megadrive, or gba emulator for the GP and were selling it for a few quid they'd get a hell of a lot of people buying it.

Although selling an Emu is a lot more likely to attract unwanted attention than free ones.

And whats "Following this argument, companies had to give away their PCs for free." mean? Please elaborate.
I think what he means is a person would buy an Emu to play products from other developers on, you buy a pc to play products from other developers on, same argument really.
 

don

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Antiriad posted on Apr 3 2004 at 12:42 PM said:
And whats "Following this argument, companies had to give away their PCs for free." mean? Please elaborate.
Well, what I tried to say is: you said that emulator are only commercially viable because there is a large software base. The same goes for videogame consoles and computers. They are only commercially viable because there is/will be a large software base.
I can't see where emulators that are sold are bad for any scene. Remember that gameboy emulator for PalmOS some years ago. I don't remember anyone being upset about the fact that it wasn't free.
What I DO understand is the fact that you're angry because some people are earning money for retro related work while you're doing it for free. But still you'll need to leave this decision to this person.

BTW: I think it's worse for the "scene" that there are good-sets and tosec-sets and whatever where each and every rom/game/disk is collected, where thousands of people collect that stuff just for the sake of completeness. But that's just my 2 cent, no offense.
 
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Octavious

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Yes, I beleve that emu's soud be free
well first of all , lket me apologive for shitty typoing, I have my wrist in a splint and its not exactl y easy to type with....
O well, anyway, to keep the scene going, free is required, and so is people showing thereew generosity to the coders wo chode stuff. I have doneated to 2 coders for there good wprk on the scene and you should if you feekl moved to. I also beleve in almost evertything being opesn source cosde. It allows fot hre community to get invold=ved in what ever they want and make cool little spin-off's or will allow us to make our own games using there thingh as a base. Paying is wrong, and I will type miore later when my wrost dosnt huert.

~octavoews
 

Antiriad

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Hey np Don. ;) After all if everyone believed in open source like you, id have nothing to complain about. Hoarding is bad too, not every person who dumps games for CAPS has allowed them to be available, I equally disapprove of such actions. Same with Tosec and Good sets.

However, the manufacturers of the consoles and computers are the ones whom the software houses write for. Theres is a mutally benefiting arrangement, where the sale of one encourages the other. How do the software houses benefit from emulator coders? If anything its the opposite.

And ok, so I havent donated money to the GP32 emu developers - I decided instead to help them by doing artwork - icons and splashscreens. Donation as a means of gratitude and motivation - nothing wrong with that as most people cant help them in any other way.

The fact remains that paying for emulators only attracts unwarranted attention from companies and the law. It will only drive emulation into the ground.

And I really do hope this particular developer I mentioned earlier does a u-turn (like Crimsonfire had to after Nintendos legal action) and obtains some free sources (which are available) and doesnt charge for his future productions just as he has done with his past ones.
 

don

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Well, i wasn't thinking of you when I spoke about that bad attitude towards donations. I know you did quite a few pieces of artwork, which is equal or even better than donating. ;)

However, the manufacturers of the consoles and computers are the ones whom the software houses write for. Theres is a mutally benefiting arrangement, where the sale of one encourages the other. How do the software houses benefit from emulator coders? If anything its the opposite.
I assume we are talking about RETRO consoles/computers. The software houses don't benefit from some payware MSX emulator, but they don't have drawbacks.
If we are talking about GBA emulation, or some other decent console, you're right, those software houses lose quite a bit of money because of people buying a gp32/zodiac/whatever and just emulate pirated roms.

The fact remains that paying for emulators only attracts unwarranted attention from companies and the law. It will only drive emulation into the ground.
Well, I'm pretty sure nearly all game companies are well informed about emulation and the state of it. If, for example, you're coding some GBA emulator and sell it for some money, big N would kick your balls very hard. But what about companies that don't even exist anymore?
 

moz

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if someone wants to give thier own work away for free- great

if someone demamds money for thier own work- great

if someone requests donations for thier own work- great

its great to have a choice, no one is ever forced to pay or donate
 

Delsabre

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Emulators are made for a software library that already exists.

Consoles/Computers are made to pull in money and generate a software library that will help it pull in money.

When someone makes an emulator, no ones going to be making anymore software ( do PD ROMs really count? ) for it, unless:

1) The emulator was designed for development purposes. This is okay to charge money for.

2) The console/computer it emulates is still in the market. This is wrong.

3) The console/computer it emulates has a cult following ( Dreamcast ).

It is up to the developer to decide whether or not to charge money, but as soon as someone releases another emulator for free, theyre not getting much support anymore. Plus, they can't sue for unfair market practices ( they can, but it isn't likely they'll win ).
 

krousti

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well i don't see any wrongs points in paying for an emulator... as soon as the program is top quality. Look at magic engine, no one complains to pay for this state of the art emulator. U just got too used to free stuff...

I'm an emulator author, i did parkorama for gp32 and loads of others emus (www.pascalorama.com), in the readme.txt of all my projects i was asking for a small postal card.
Amount of cards received so far in 4 years : 1
Amount of donation : 0$
and even with popular project like smsplus for dc.. for which i received hundreds fan mail.So i get into the conclusion that the free scene is just ungrateful (at least for me) as i was asking for an single postal card...
 

moz

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most console makers dont make any money from the hardware in fact they sell them at a loss.

as long as the people who use/buy emulators still buy the roms for the games they play on the emulator then where is the problem?

i think the problem is with people stealing software not copying the hardware
 

jlebrech

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u could always ur software non downloadable and when someone donates leave their email you could email them the app.

by the time they've spread the app round ud have made a new version for sale, and u can keep updated the donators.
 

don

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PinkSpider posted on Apr 3 2004 at 04:13 PM said:
Paying for an emulator feels like paying for warez.. which in my mind is wrong :/
So you compare emulators with warez? So free warez is okay but paid warez are evil?
 
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