News Article

Illegal Nintendo Clones Are Running Rampant On Windows Store

Posted by Damien McFerran

Fancy Mario Jump!, Bowser Town Defense, Pokemon Attack! or Yoshijump?

Games which illegally use Nintendo characters are flooding the Windows Store, according to a report by Develop.

Titles such as Mario Jump!, Bowser Town Defense, Pokemon Attack! are Yoshijump are all available now for download on Windows 8 devices — some of these games have been downloaded many times over, working their way to the top of the charts.

Microsoft claims to be taking copyright theft very seriously, but also says that it can't automatically decline new submissions. It says it has safeguards in place to ensure infringing apps are flagged, and that Nintendo should use these to bring offending titles to the company's attention:

With regards to trademark infringement, with every app there is an option to report the app for violating the Windows Store's Terms of Use. If a company feels a Windows Store app is infringing on their copyrights or trademarks, they should report the app and we will take immediate action to determine if the app should be removed from the Windows Store.

Have you sampled any of these titles? Do you think Microsoft should be taking harsher action against copyright infringement? Let us know by posting a comment below.


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User Comments (66)



johndevine said:

It isn't Nintendo's job to highlight these to Microsoft.

This poopsiedoodlediggiedoggiedoodoopoop needs sorted out, it is damaging for Nintendo's characters.
Watch the profanity please — TBD



XCWarrior said:

I think Nintendo needs to sue Microsoft into the ground until they tighten things up. Microsoft knows that these "Nintendo titles" will sell better than most mobile titles, that's why they don't care if they get on the marketplace or not. I would really like to know why Nintendo hasn't already gotten the lawyers and the ninjas out to take care of this problem.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I think Nintendo should start offering Halo Adventure, Killer Instinct Bold, Perfectly Dark and Gear of Wars on their eshop.

@XCWarrior - all the Ninjas were busy working for Sony, killing people who write negative PS4 stories on mainstream sites.



Shiryu said:

Well, it's the biggest form of flattery... now SUE!!!!!!!!!! SUE SUE SUE!!!!



VoiceOfReason said:

It's even worse than the article suggests! I just went on the Windows store, and about a sixth of all the "New and Rising" games were with Nintendo characters (most Pokémon). This should Stop!!!



nik1470 said:

don't forget the NES emulator on the Windows 7 phones available from the marketplace doesn't come with roms but lets be honest they are not hard to source.



Shworange said:

It just goes to show that when you have no real approval process in place, a free for all will occur.



Dogpigfish said:

Microsoft will take care of it. Nintendo is too careful to sue them and my guess is there is a partnership there, being partially owned by IBM. I wouldn't expect much to come of this, just a few days of review. Nothing new here.



The_Fox said:

This isn't really anything new. These types of games can be found all over the android and apple marketplace.

Suing Microsoft? Good luck with that one. Microsoft's lawyers would likely chew them up and spit them out.



Yamitora1 said:

I never used the app store, so how does the flagging feature work?

I know many sites refuse to let anyone but the copyright holder flag items, some even demanding asinine proof that there is a copyright violation, at least one sites I have tried to report movie rips. Sometimes they say its anti-bot motivated, but I often run into questionable report forms that demand a full name, address and phone numbers to file reports. In the end it seems to just be a scam to waste time and gather more traffic to their site in the time these Copyright infringing files are on servers. I'm not saying this about Microsoft, but about certain websites I have been to that make reporting anything a hassle.

Also, we shouldn't let Microsoft try and pull that "we can't decline new submissions" That is a bunch of red-tape bull pucky. They can easily implement a number of safeguards, including probation periods where members cannot upload a new app the moment they sign up, and they can also implement programs that search for and generate reports on possible apps that violate copyright based on key words in both the title and description. If Microsoft can't make a simple background program to tell them a App has the key words "Nintendo's Mario," then clearly Microsoft is not doing their jobs.

While the responsibility to report and take action against copyright violations falls to both companies, in the end its Microsoft that has the most responsibility for running the platform that arbors these apps.



GN004Nadleeh said:

well maybe nintendo should do something with the characters. look how long it took for pikmin 3 to release. nintendo want to TELL us what game WE like. look at that pc pokemon game that is open world and you really control the pokemon in a 3d battle, but no nintendo says we can only have on a nintendo handheld with 2 screens, now the 2 screens don't really add anything but make it harder to emulate nintendo games. i've been playing since nes and have had all nintendo consoles and handhelds. right now the wii u has not been used in a month and a half while i'm still playing gta v even after i got 100% completion.



ledreppe said:

Microsoft says they don't have an automatic checking system, and that Nintendo need to flag it up? That's basically Microsoft saying 'we don't condone this but we'd rather do nothing about it ourselves so we can continue to rake in the money.



Raylax said:

Dodgy bootlegs are pretty much the only thing actually available for Windows Phone.

/windows phone user



JebbyDeringer said:

"can't automatically decline new submissions" Apple does it, everything is vetted before it is posted which is why there aren't apps that have trojans in them and usually no serious bugs. Microsoft's store sucks though so they have to compete on volume.



eza said:

on every application's detail page on the store there's a link to report it for violation.
I just saw an app in the 'top free' category, that I hadn't seen before, which translates as "jumping turtles" and it uses Nintendo sprites. I just reported it for using Nintendo IP.
I suggest other people do the same with any similar apps they find.

All emulators in the Windows store are completely legal, however.



Darkness3131 said:

I don't think it should be Nintendo's job to report it. I highly doubt they have someone refreshing the Microsoft app store every three seconds. Microsoft needs to be aware what is going on their app store especially if it goes against a copyright.



DESS-M-8 said:

This is rubbish, Microsoft clearly support this passively an claim plausible deniability. Their 'terms of service' will be worded to dump responsibility for crap like this away from them, whereas they clearly support it.
The damage this rubbish seres to make is.that new gamers will play these 'Nintendo game' deem them rubbish and correlate that to genuine Nintendo hardware and software. That opinion will stick with that potential consumer for years.
Same as comments in teen comedy shows like the inbetweeners saying "the wii is for silly people" 10,000's of teen lads will have seen that and then thought no way will they ever ask for one,

Microsoft want suing an suing now. They are disgusting company and I'm glad my house has been 100% Microsoft free for the last 5 years and for the rest of time.
Please don't post those sorts of slurs here, even when used in example — TBD



Sceptic said:

It is absolutely the rights holder's job to point out what he deems to be copyright infringements and that he wants stopped. That's not an argument, that is the system.

The idea behind it is that the rights holder is entitled but not required to do something. It's up to him. It's that way for everybody, so yes, even for Nintendo.



SkywardLink98 said:

@nik1470 As far as I know, emulators are legal. Giving someone the tools to break the law, and actually breaking the law are two very different things. Some people actually get the roms themselves using devices such as the retrode.



Nintomdo64 said:

Nintendo might be looking at this as free advertisement. Playing cheap knockoffs probably pushes at least some of these people to buy the real thing. It also increases awareness of Nintendo characters. I'm not trying to say ripping off Nintendo is a good thing, but it might be more worthwhile for them not to fight it.



unrandomsam said:

@Sceptic Totally it. That is also the reason Ebay gets away with selling so much counterfeit stuff.

(Anybody complains other than the rights holder they don't have to do anything. And they can drag their feet even then which they do the maximum extent possible).

I don't think MIcrosoft are like that.



Kitsune_Rei said:

Sounds like the good old "well we don't allow that type of thing, but leave it up to the copyright holders to actually police all marketplaces and report infringements themselves rather than do something about it on our own."



SCAR said:

I know. One of the highest paid apps on Google Play Store is GNES Nintendo emulator.

Honestly, I think those people are freaking _______________. They know this stuff is wrong, and they still do it. They must be pretty desperate.



unrandomsam said:

@Raylax There is enough good stuff. (Original version of Dodonpachi Maximum / The Harvest / Mirror's Edge / Dragon's Blade DX / Galaga Legions DX / Final Fantasy)

Not as good as iOS but at least for what there is it is not stuffed with pointless junk like Android and it mostly works properly.



SCAR said:

It's part of the system management, too. People are stupid enough to add that stuff to the store, and Google, Apple, and apparently now Microsoft are stupid enough to let it slip by.

There's no excuse.



Williaint said:

@Nintomdo64 It's bad advertising. With cheap ripoffs, I'd imagine more people would be thinking "Why get real stuff, when I can get it free?"

Yeah, the emulators ARE legal, it's just software. The roms aren't. However, If you took away the emulators, then the roms wouldn't be playable.
Shouldn't anything submitted be checked first?



TrueWiiMaster said:

In other words, Microsoft doesn't care what gets released on their service, and it's up to IP owners to get infringing games removed? That's not how it should work. Imagine if Nintendo had a similarly open service, and someone ported Halo to the Wii U. I doubt Microsoft would be okay with their own policy being reflected back at them.

Also, what happens to the money raised by these apps? Does Microsoft keep the profits they make from Nintendo's property? Are the developers fined so they won't do it again?



Williaint said:

I'm sure if there was some program called Schkype Microsoft would be all over it.



SwerdMurd said:

This has always been my main beef with Win mobile / Android markets, vs. iOS markets. Waaay more of this illegal trashware shows up on those services, and never seems to disappear. I wanna say there are a good 500+ illegal paper-thin minecraft clones in the android market alone, all named / pictured / described to trick users into thinking the game is the REAL minecraft.



eza said:

freeware ROMs are legal (eg. homebrew games)

FYI, after reporting an app in the store to MS, you get an email which takes you to a web page where you have to sign in with your Windows Live ID (or whatever they're calling it these days), fill in a big long form and provide supporting information.
At the end of this form, there are three required checkboxes, containing statements which only the copyright owner can affirm.

So basically it doesn't look like they're making it an easy process. Really, any app that receives more than a certain number of complaints should be investigated.

Here are those three checkboxes, copied and pasted (sorry for the length of this comment!):

Good Faith Belief:
[checkbox] By typing my name (electronic signature), I have a good faith belief that the use of the material is not authorized by the intellectual property owner, its agent, or the law (e.g., it is not fair use).

Authority to Act:
[checkbox] I represent that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

512(f) Acknowledgement:
[checkbox] As applicable under 17 U.S.C. 512(f), I acknowledge that I may be subject to liability for damages if I knowingly materially misrepresent that material or activity is infringing.

I understand the information I provide on this form may be shared with third parties, including the developer of the application about which I am filing this complaint.



eza said:

...unless of course it allows you to check the first box and leave the other two unchecked.
But I don't like the idea that the info provided (which includes my name and address) may be shared with the developer of the app that i'm complaining about!!!



MegaAdam said:

I wonder how long Microsoft would take to pull a game ripping off Halo from the Windows store.



unrandomsam said:

@adamical More than likely just as long. The only thing I reported was something called "Windows Media Player" that got past them. (Thought they had released one that actually supported the DRM that iplayer used for Windows 8 Metro).



unrandomsam said:

@TrueWiiMaster Wouldn't be the same. A more similar situation would be something getting on XBLA which just wouldn't happen. (Maybe it could get XBL Indie games for a very short period of time).



unrandomsam said:

@Williaint It is more complicated than that. As long as you don't break any encryption different things apply. (i.e If you own Gamecube Animal Crossing and rip those roms or Rom City Rampage from Retro City Rampage). As far as I know ripping roms from WiI VC you own isn't allowed because of encryption. (There is whether the encryption is reasonably decent or not as well which applies in some cases. e.g the situation with DVD copying software that breaks CSS). There is also the problem that the companies will never go to court with something that might cause a fair use kind of verdict to be possible. (Copying music from a CD to an mp3 player is an accepted thing. Logically taking a rom from a legitimately owned title is a similar type of thing). There is also stuff like this : - Use real carts but play on an emulator.



Retrowire said:

Oh lord, first Microsoft shows their Surface Tablet is capable of running Nintendo Emulators and now this. Stay classy, Microsoft... :/



unrandomsam said:

Be interesting if someone made a parody of a NIntendo product (Doing everything right in order to get it categorised as such and released that.) just to see what happens in an American court.



Chris720 said:

It's not like there's anything worthwhile on the Windows Store. Android all the way!



LittleKing said:

The truth is, while it would be nice if Microsoft policed this better, they are technically right. No matter how flagrant the violation, it is up to the copyright holder to complain. It doesn't matter whether its a small entity being infringed upon or a large entity. Microsoft isn't creating these, they only provide a service for hosting content. Is it up to YouTube to make sure no copyrighted content whatsoever makes it into the videos? No, it's up to you to catch violations as the copyright holder.

This problem is not exclusive to Microsoft. Let's look at Google Play search results for Pikachu.

And then on iTunes we've got crap like Wubu Guess The Pokemon. That sucker has IAP to boot.



deusy said:

"Titles such as Mario Jump!, Bowser Town Defense, Pokemon Attack! are Yoshijump are all available now for download on Windows 8 devices"

I think you mean 'and'.



Nintomdo64 said:

@Williaint Those cheap rippoffs don't even come close to being as entertaining as the genuine article. Emulators are mostly used by people who were never going to pay for games anyway. Why should Nintendo waste resources on fighting these knock-off games when they are raising awareness that the real games are better and available? Nintendo doesn't even need to care about smartphone consumers who don't want to pay more than $2 a game.



Buob said:

Yes, please tell us your sound. I think most people think you act like a bell...Ringing and Dinging and the like.

ON TOPIC: I have mixed feeling about this. I think that people are trying to use Nintendo's popularity as their own, but I also believe they're using premade sprites to become better. That may just be my "assume good intent" value coming forth but hey, you never know.



CzartD said:

@nik1470 "sell your emulator" ? Emulators are free. And legal. Roms in the other hand, are only legal if you own the actual game.



nik1470 said:

@CzartD no the emulator I refer to is £2.29 and that whole if you own the game is legal is a myth as you don't own the game you own a licence of a game to play on a particular piece of hardware.



placidcasual said:

Legally this should be the same as selling counterfeit goods from a bricks & mortar shop. If you're getting money from selling items then it should be at least partially your responsibility to ensure they're not dodgy rip-offs. Sadly it seems online stores don't have to take any responsibility for whats sold in their shops unless someone complains. Don't think its right in my opinion...



Squashy said:

As others have said, it's disgusting that Microsoft have said it's up to Nintendo to report these fake games. The Windows Store belongs to and is run by Microsoft, therefore it is their responsibility to manage what they are offering on their shop. The bare faced cheek they have is outrageous and it's just another example of what complete gits Microsoft are.



UnseatingKDawg said:

It shouldn't be Nintendo's job to tell Microsoft this. They need to keep this stuff in check. How many people work for Microsoft? You can't tell me that their isn't at least one person to look into this on their end.

I hope Nintendo sues. Hard. Because this crap needs to stop.



unrandomsam said:

@UnseatingKDawg Foolish thing to do over something so trivial. Remember Nintendo uses FAT32 in the 3DS. Microsoft no doubt has submarine patents on it that nobody knows about. Probably got stuff they can use on resistive touch screen technology as well.

If Nintendo go back at Microsoft and win then they will get a presidential veto (Same as Apple did against Samsung when it was a legitimate win for Samsung).

Anyway it has always been the problem of the company involved (And they are the only people who can force action and even then only against the developer in question.)



gregrout said:

What a load of crap. It's like they're saying their Windows 8 apps store is the wild west of the internet where they have to sell whatever gets uploaded (ripoffs, malware, password hack software, it's all welcome) until told otherwise. As Microsoft is the sole distributor of these apps they should be held accountable for everything they green light / authorize for sale through their Windows 8 app service. The idea that they have to wait for external approval is utter nonsense. What they're really doing is desperately trying to pad their pathetic app numbers and if it hurts an Xbox competitor it's all the better. Ninetendo should just sue Microsoft outright for distributing illegal software. Microsoft IS the key component here, if it wasn't for them none of these games would have hit the market.



CzartD said:

@nik1470 You're allowed to make copies/backups of a game for your own use if you own the actual game. And if you download a ROM of a game you have, nobody is coming to knock on your door and ask did you get the ROM from your own game or from the internet.

In other words, nobody cares.

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