[Editorial Tuesday] How Emulation Helps and Hurts the Industry

Older video games can be quite hard to find to obtain for numerous reasons. The first is the obvious rarity that makes copies nearly impossible to find in most major game stores/store chains and the second reason is the price of these games can be quite astronomical. That’s why for older gaming titles, many gamers/collectors will use emulation software and download the games from various websites. Emulating games is quite common in this day and age despite sometimes being rather…illegal to say the least. However, is downloading emulators and emulating games truly such a bad thing? Does this gaming process have an effect on the gaming industry as well? Why don’t we examine that question in our Editorial Tuesday article called How Emulation Helps and Hurts the Industry?

For us to answer this question, we have proposed about emulating games and the good/bad they do, we looked at several factors here at Honey’s Anime HQ. Down below we have listed our various opinions and will try our best to show you why they are relevant to this article. These are opinions, mind you, so please understand that if you feel differently you are free to comment down below to let us hear from you. Just please respect our opinions and we will equally respect yours. With that being said, let us being our discussion on the essence of emulating games.

Allows Mods and enhancements

Emulating games actually is quite good for those who wish to make games different in numerous ways and forms. By emulating a game on an emulator, players—well, more so modders—can develop enhancements like updated visuals and performance upgrades to some of our favorite older titles. Here at Honey’s Anime, we’ve seen many modders do some amazing things with graphics such as making Grand Theft Auto V look ultra-realistic or even making Resident Evil 2—which this was taken down by Capcom for various reasons—look modern. If you tried to accomplish this task with the original version of these games you’d most likely find issues arising in numerous—sometimes legal—ways.

Emulator based games, because they are made to run on various systems, are more open than normal procured games via services like Steam or your favorite gaming shop. We here at Honey’s Anime aren’t experts on emulating games and how they work specifically so we can’t tell you how hard or easy altering these games is but we know that many modders will post notes and updates on the issues they face as they work with an emulator title. Sometimes even gaming companies notice modders working with emulators and will hire them to work on their future titles or to help with current games. Thus, for some, emulating games can be quite beneficial to one’ career and obviously to those who wish to see their games in a new light.

Even impossible to find games can be played

While we love NES and Sega Genesis games, finding some of the better and more well-known titles isn’t exactly the easiest thing to accomplish. There are some older gems of gaming’s past that cost a small fortune to obtain in semi-good condition or in mint condition. While collectors will pay without a second thought for a really rare game—case in point Mega Man 5 sells for hundreds of dollars while Stadium Events can go for $1000 easily—most of your average hard-working gamers don’t want to shell out that hefty sum. That’s where emulating games comes into focus. Rather than have to go to a bank and mortgage a home to play a title that released nearly 2 decades ago, you can just download a free version for emulators on your PC or console of choice.

Case in point, many older RPGs like Golden Sun, Castlevania and even Earthbound are constantly emulated so gamers of the current generation can see what made them so popular way back when. These classics are just some of the few that gamers seek to download because finding them in the real world or via sites like eBay or Amazon just isn’t worth it. Then there are some games which come out in different countries that are nearly impossible to play on modern gaming units or require consoles from the specific country to even allow a gamer to play them. These are just some of the trials and tribulations gamers will face on a constant basis when they wish to play games that are basically now long forgotten or considered so rare they are priceless. Emulating games in these scenarios is almost to be expected seeing as how it’s as simple as going to a website that has emulators, downloading the emulator you need for the game and then just downloading the emulated game. Simple and cheap is what makes emulating games so worthwhile for many gamers out there in the world and we do understand why here at Honey’s Anime HQ.

Loss of profits

Now we’ve mentioned the few good parts of emulation, but now we need to be realistic for a moment and say what damage it does to the gaming industry. One of the biggest issues with emulator games is the fact that it’s basically considered pirating. By pirating, we mean stealing games, not going on the ocean and getting scurvy while fighting with swords and canons. Emulating games is stealing and that obviously means game companies lose out on legitimate sales when you decide to emulate a game. That means that profits off a game—whether old or new—are diminished.

For some gamers—especially those who might be younger—they might believe that gaming companies already have tons of money and several dozen emulated games won’t hurt them. Unfortunately, this thought process couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like other industries in the current generation, the video game industry is suffering from massive problems with financial gains. It’s not uncommon to hear smaller gaming companies either suffering to the point they must close their doors—which means hundreds of jobs lost—or being forced to merge with other groups which in turn means layoffs are quite possible. The video game industry needs more money and while some big companies—like Activision or Ubisoft—might not be hurting with their successful franchises like Call of Duty and Call of Duty, other companies aren’t so fortunate. Emulating games isn’t helpful to profits and shouldn’t be done if you wish to support the game creators and developers.

Pirating games is illegal

Let’s be honest and end our negatives with the reality of emulating games. No matter why you may choose to emulate games, the action itself is still very illegal and thus, is against the law. While some claim as long as you own the game it’s okay, most who emulate titles don’t own the game and will not actually purchase the game ever in the future. Aside from the fact that we already stated how detrimental this is to sales for the gaming industry, emulating a game is ultimately no different than you stealing the game and playing it for free. That might seem harsh to some and we don’t disagree it comes off that way but the gaming industry already struggles with people trying to steal games and emulating them is just another problem they have to face.

Now we will first say this so people understand what we mean by illegal. Emulators themselves aren’t technically illegal and are perfectly fine to use. However, playing an emulated game is very illegal as it goes against various laws such as copyright. While we understand games are expensive—sometimes extremely expensive—they are still a product. Emulating games is no different than you going to a game store, taking a game and walking out with it. Even with the intentions of maybe just trying the game, we strongly recommend to just buy the game legally and avoid any possible issues that may come from downloading emulator games.


Final Thoughts

While there are some good elements to emulating games and we understand why gamers rely on doing this the bad still outweighs the good at the end of the day. Emulating games and the process of emulation is something we need to avoid doing in the gaming world but we feel most still will take the risk of using emulators and emulating games even further in the future. We also assume though that gaming companies will begin to crack down more and more on emulator systems and that will cause some to learn that the risk is clearly not worth it. What are your thoughts about emulation in the gaming industry? Tell us—but be respectful and don’t make baseless claims—in the comments below and for all your various gaming news and article needs be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime.

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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