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Retroarch Launching on Steam

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by g12345567, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. g12345567

    g12345567 Member

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    RetroArch the a frontend for emulators, game engines and media players. Enabling you to run classic games on a wide range of computers and consoles through its slick graphical interface. Will soon be launching on Steam.

    Retroarch Steam Launch lineup revealed


    10 Cores Available On Launch Day

    We are deciding to launch with 10 cores at launch. These cores have already been approved and uploaded on Steam. They are as follows:

    Additional cores will be available as DLC.

    Retroarch Steam page.

    Further Information and discussion can be found on the GBATEMP Independent gaming community forum thread.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  2. Reaper

    Reaper Member

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    Does that not promote piracy of roms? How will they do that? I'm surprised steam opened that can of worms, Nintendo will bankrupt them. I see the psx viable as you can put the original disc in, but how to plug in my gba/ds/n64 carts to my computer?
     
  3. zero_velocity

    zero_velocity Member

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    It will be one of those intentional ignorance is bliss moments... the software itself does not breech any copyright/piracy protection, only what users choose to do with it.
     
  4. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    In the same way that CD and DVD burners promoted the piracy of software and film? Or VHS recorders before them? In the same way that the endless commercial emulators on the Apple Appstore and Google Play stores promote piracy of ROMs?

    Intent is a really difficult thing to prove. The "guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people" counter-argument. The point is, this isn't new, and has been tested in court.

    Nintendo have failed to bankrupt the half-dozen commercial emulators on mobile stores. Legal precedent exists already (see Sony vs Bleem!) where emulation software itself, assuming it breeches no copyright (i.e.: doesn't use proprietary designs, BIOSes, etc, and was developed in a clean room environment) cannot be taken down nor sued.

    Nintendo absolutely can and do take down ROM sites. This is not a ROM site. Additionally, there exist a number of individuals that both sell commercial ROMs ("Micro Mages" for Nintendo NES, "Xeno Crisis" for Megadrive, "Tanglewood" for Megadrive, "Pier Solar" for MegaCD, the huge volume of Sega and Neo Geo games that are literally shit emulators with a ROM file on Steam currently, and countless more) as well as plenty of homebrew software. One cannot argue that the emulator is pointless without content-that-must-be-pirated. Plenty of ways to legally use commercial and open source ROMs with zero piracy right now.

    There exist multiple tools today that you can buy to plug a cartridge into an emulation system (all of the Hyperkin systems do this - game data is dumped from a cartridge to a ROM file, then executed in a software emulator).

    The answers to why this can't be touched by Nintendo (or anyone) exist in number, and are set in legal precedent.

    Note that I'm not taking a moral stance here at all. I am absolutely not defending piracy, and I am absolutely not painting Nintendo as a villain. Nintendo (and any other publisher) are 100% within their legal rights to stop anyone distributing copyright material without appropriate licenses to the full extent of the law in that territory. RetroArch releasing on Steam is not that.

    Beyond that, what is needed to turn this from bad to good is for competent, commercially supported emulators to exist, and for copyright owners to see that there's zero effort on their behalf to legally release the titles they own the rights too. A huge reason old games don't see commercial support is because it's seen as "not worth the dollar cost" to write an emulator, release it, and support end users. If RetroArch are willing to do the hard work on the technical side, the incentive for legal copyright owners to sell their old games is now higher. If anyone (not just the big players like Nintendo) want to release old game ROMs via places like Steam, can do so for an adequate fee (say, a few bucks per ROM, or in bundles) and then just point people to RetroArch on the same platform.

    This is a good thing that's happening. We need viable "compatibility layer" platforms to exist to make selling old games easier. The antidote to piracy is not telling people to stop playing old games all together. The antidote to piracy are providing legal options to make sure they do it the right way. And for that to happen, it needs to be easy and convenient.

    In the words of Steve Jobs - make something easier to buy than to steal, and people will buy it.

    In the words of Gabe Newell - piracy is not a legal problem. It's a service problem.
     
    darkmenace likes this.
  5. Reaper

    Reaper Member

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    That facetious and you know it.

    Ok, now you're serious. That information is helpful to see that side. All I know of in the past Nintendo would jump on anything that they saw as piracy and I know I'd like a way for that to not be and we all can just enjoy the games.
     
  6. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    That genuinely wasn't the intention. My bluntness doesn't translate well to the written word. The intention was to demonstrate that both within the world of media copyright and outside of it that there exists legal precedent around a thing versus the intended use of the thing, and the assumptions we make on people who use the thing.

    Again, I take no moral stance there. My personal feelings have nothing to do with it (I'm personally anti-gun, and loathe the "guns don't kill people" argument). But that doesn't matter - the point is at a legal level we need to consider these aspects. Both in the current climate, as well as across historical examples.

    When machines exist that have no other intention but to copy and re-use, whether they are fax machines or photocopiers or VHS recorders, there exists valid discussion around how to balance policing the misuse of the thing while not penalising those who play by the rules.

    For example - in Canada, there is a surcharge on all recordable optical media. This has existed for around a decade to my knowledge. The surcharge is paid for at point of sale by everyone who buys CD-R/DVD-R/BuRay-R media, and the money goes straight to large movie and music industry megacorps, purely on the assumption that everyone pirates and that the sole intention of recordable media is to breach copyright law.

    Consider that carefully. How would you feel if there was a mandatory "tax" of sorts on recordable media, hard disks, your Internet connection, or anything that could potentially be used for piracy, and that money went straight to a megacorp who'd convinced a court that everyone breaks the law? That's not some dark Orwellian hypothetical. That's law in Canada. And what it does is penalise those who do right because a few do wrong.

    Copyright is a difficult subject, no doubt. I repeat - I don't take sides. In fact, I do genuinely support copyright owners being paid for their hard work. But history shows us that just slapping the ban hammer down on customers doesn't work (I've seen movies and TV shows I worked on sitting on PirateBay, so that technically affects me). People will find a way to copy digital content whether you want them to or not. And on the flipside, there exist plenty of people who do play by the rules, and considering them nothing but financial collateral in a war on piracy isn't a clever option either. While the solution is non-trivial, and the topic broad, specific to an emulator, there is nothing anyone can do to stop the legal distribution of clean-room generated open source emulation code currently, for a whole bunch of reasons surrounding this complex topic.

    Nintendo only take down things that infringe copyright. Web hosting that distributes ROMs or makes ROMs playable in-browser, emulators that distribute BIOS ROMs with their projects, etc. Ditto for pirate cartridge manufacturers.

    They have not ever taken down:
    * Open source emulators that were distributed independently of ROMs
    * Flash carts (either multi-use or single use) with no ROMs on them
    * Hardware clones that don't distribute ROMs ("Famiclones", Analogue Nt Mini, MiSTer, etc)
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  7. Reaper

    Reaper Member

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    I suppose what I'm getting at is, how to "legally" get the games? The disc based ones are simple, just buy them and put them in, the cart ones, not so much without the special hardware.
     
  8. zero_velocity

    zero_velocity Member

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    short answer - you probably wont. But thats not their problem.
     
  9. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    There are already numerous games for sale right now. There's a massive back catalogue of legal Neo Geo games on Steam (literally a rubbish emulator with the ROM sitting there neatly in a directory). Ditto for most of Sega's collection. And then there's numerous modern games for old consoles released years after their commercial death (I mentioned a few above, but there's plenty more).

    I would estimate the number of games available legally now in the hundreds. Certainly not entire catalogues, but also not zero.

    Dumping ROMs yourself is legal in certain territories. Companies like Hyperkin and others sell cheap hardware that make this trivial to do for a large volume of cartridge based consoles. Likewise the Analogue FPGA consoles can all dump cartridges to ROM files. There's no shortage of modern hardware options to do so.
     
  10. Grant

    Grant Member

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    My very outdated and flaky understanding is that format-shifting is legal in Australia, going back to the days of VHS.

    On the Nintendo side, even though I don't know of any ROM+emulator packages they sell for PC, there is software available to extract the ROMs off a SNES Mini for example (let alone jailbreaking a 3ds/wii etc. and copying a legally-purchased ROM to your PC).
     
  11. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    I actually don't know any more, particularly since free trade agreements threw copyright here into a bit of a tizz.

    Was certainly a thing back in the vinyl record through to CD days however. But lately these things get murky, which the conspiracy theorist in me is certain is intentional.
     
  12. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    Retroarch Lite (with bundled malware) or Retroarch Premium (subscription based)
    EDIT: DRM too

    Call it a cynical joke if it doesn't come true and a prediction if it does :leet:
     
  13. OP
    OP
    g12345567

    g12345567 Member

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    Amazing none of those bootleg console manufacturers have been sued. For selling all those dodgy consoles that always seem to clearly come supplied with both official pirated roms and rom hacks.

    As far as I can tell Emulators are totally legal. As long as they use no code from the original console they are emulating, are distributed for free and contain no console bios, roms or links to download roms.

    Retroarch has always been free. I don't really see the point of a subscription unless people are paying for support. Though there are always other ways to get this. Although the steam version does add option for remote play together and steam link support
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  14. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    I find RetroArch brittle and overcomplicated. Hope steam comments section (the fact that regular people will use it, not just IT pros) will inspire someone to improve the ui.
     
  15. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    As above, the clone consoles are fine.

    The cartridges full of ROMs are not, and Nintendo does sue them frequently. But it's not only a game of whack-a-mole, it's also difficult to do in places like China.

    RetroArch has multiple UIs and skins. The default one changed recently too. But you're certainly not stuck with a single design.
     
  16. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    That is true. But the general folder-like navigation structure is the same. You know, the one when you navigate multiple subfolders a few levels deep just to find the simplest of options and then accidentally press esc do go back and the emulator closes. I know I can reconfigure the Esc button, but I don’t think I have to in 2020 and there is no solution for sub sub sub navigation issue afaik.
     
  17. rireland

    rireland Member

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    If you own the cart just download the rom, saves wear on old hardware too.
     
  18. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    Devil's advocate: RetroArch is designed for navigating with a controller, not a keyboard. The initial design was very much modelled on Sony's XBR interface (found on PSP/Vita/PS3/PS4).

    I know that's kind of jarring for PC users. But that was their target audience. Again, lots and lots of customisations available should you not like the defaults. Yes, it's annoying that they target something different. But at least you can "fix" it to your liking.

    This isn't legal in most territories. The discussion wasn't so much about what's doable, but rather about what's legal.
     
  19. rireland

    rireland Member

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    Thought that it was legal to have backups of media you own, plenty of legit reasons to prefer using them instead of the originals too like having music on my phone without having to carry an external drive and a bunch of discs everywhere I go.
     
  20. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    I mentioned this above a couple of times. For a period of time it was legal in Australia to "format shift" your own media. However the US Free Trade Agreement has changed this, and from what I can tell (and I am not a lawyer), but that appears to no longer be legal here.

    Regardless, it has NEVER been legal to download a ROM (or video or song) that you already have in your collection. Your licenses grants you access to the media you purchased, and not a copy of someone else's. Prior to the US Free Trade Agreement you could make a single copy from your original onto another format, but you were legally restricted in that you could only use one at a time, and couldn't carry multiple copies beyond that first one. And repeating: you can't just download someone else's copy - you must do the work yourself, and it looks like that is no longer legal anyway due to said agreements with the US.

    Anyone who *is* an actual copyright expert in Australian law, please correct me if any of this is wrong. But to the best of my knowledge, this is where we are here in 2020.

    "legit reasons" <> law.

    Copyright is a really tricky subject, intentionally muddied by IP holders over many decades, and further confused by free trade agreements. As retro lovers we are probably more affected by it than most, particularly when the things we want to use are no longer available for commercial sale. Sadly the law is more interested in the first few years of commercial sale than it is the long tail of IP and ownership, and that is a huge challenge for our hobby.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020

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