News Article

Nintendo Titles Continue To Be Illegally Peddled On Android Google Play Store

Posted by Damien McFerran

Donkey Kong Country HD, anyone?

Smartphones may be a growing market when it comes to gaming, but the companies running these platforms seem to have a real problem controlling what kind of content goes up. Android's Google Play market is probably the worst offender, with Google seemingly content to allow developers to sell whatever apps and games they choose.

Take Retro Box Studios, for example. This hitherto unknown developer has two titles for sale on the Google Play market which are the property of Nintendo — right down to the actual code being sold.

Donkey Kong Country HD is basically the SNES version of Donkey Kong Country, while Super Mario All Stars + World is — as you might expect — an emulated version of the combined cartridge which appeared on Nintendo's 16-bit console.

Needless to say, avoid these games like the plague.


From the web

User Comments (56)



Flash-Jordan said:

ive tried emulators on my phone but tbh i never use them at all an i own nearly all of the original games is an insult that theyre on the store legally up for download though.dont know what google is thinking by allowing this.



OGGamer said:

If they aren't peddling the games some developers are just ripping off the design of nintendo's main characters . Example , if you use android look up "skyblade eden" and tell me if the character portrayed in the game doesn't bare more than a striking resemblance to one of Nintendo's most beloved franchises .



Tsuchinoko said:

With how common this is, I don't think its melodramatic. Plus, its still illegal when it does happen. I remember several of the Mario knockoffs and sometimes straight up emulated Mario games that appeared not too long ago.



GraveLordXD said:

@OGGamer wow yeah just looked at that, its kinda sad really shows how talentless they are no creativity or imagination at all



BestBuck15 said:

I can only speak for myself. I've a windows phone and I never play games on it. This big threat to gaming that is smartphones isn't affecting me.

Nintendo need to sue Google. That would make the headlines.



WiiLovePeace said:

Both pages that the article linked to on the website are gone. So perhaps Nintendo's Ninjas have worked their magic already? I hope so.



unrandomsam said:

Annoying people always go on about this but ignore the physical counterfeit carts problem on ebay and amazon marketplace. (I imagine the 3ds will have the
same problem very shortly as Pokemon is usually the first.)



unrandomsam said:

Wonder why people always use franchise when referring to games. (Franchises are where the IP is licensed from the Franchisee from the Franchisor). If everything is done by one company it isn't a franchise. (The only Zelda stuff it makes sense for is the CDI games and maybe the Capcom Oracle ones.)



Tornado said:

Yes, it's illegal and I'd never ever download them.

That said--if I'm not mistaken, neither DKC nor the SNES version of the Mario games are available for legal download on any Nintendo platform. Making those games legally available would be a prime way to cut down the demand for pirated versions.



rjejr said:

I don't have a problem w/ this - "shriek horror, no!"

If you expect Google to to call up Nintendo and ask for their permission every time somebody comes to them w/ an app that is, looks like, or resembles a Nintendo game you have no idea how the real world works.

This is how it goes -
company comes to Google w/ an app.
google asks if they own it.
company says yes.
google puts it on the store.
copyright holder (in this case Nintendo) calls Google, presents proof of ownership of code, content, whatever, Google takes it down

If there are any stories of google refusing to take something down after the legitimate owner has contacted them, that's a story.

This happens on Youtube ALL THE TIME. Why would the Google store be any different?



unrandomsam said:

@OGGamer That is legal though look at Zynga. The hardest thing to come up with is a totally new type of game and that is not protected at all.



XCWarrior said:

Nintendo (and any company really) should be able to set up an automatic fine with mobile games. If a game appears on the their app store that is illegal, its a $10 million fine. I bet the restrictions on games would go up real fast.



shinpichu said:

Android controllers are a thing you know.

Except Google didn't make this "game." They weren't the ones who put it on the store, and from what I can tell they took it down right quickly when they were alerted to the problem.



unrandomsam said:

@Falco Wouldn't be any benefit to sue Google. Look what happened with Tiffany & Co vs EBay. There is no way to compel them to do anything.



Blue_Yoshi said:

I mean like it is messed up that there doing that but no need to shame them for it, there merely making these titles available to a wider audience. Lets face it, Nintendo isn't going to just roll these titles out onto the App Store for phones therefore somebody has to do it whether it be illegal or not. Just because something is illegal doesn't necessarily mean its wrong, take graffiti for example.



PanurgeJr said:

@rjejr Because Google makes money on the sales, which means they accept a share of the responsibility not to violate copyright.



rjejr said:

@Kroisos - But b/c of the way the law works their responsibility probably consists of asking on the app application if the person owns it or not. Have you ever seen an online video asking you to verify you age by entering your date of birth? How good is that? It's up to people who own copyrights to enforce them. That's just how it is.

And again, if google is offering something for sale and Nintendo protested, and google continued to sell it, then Googlle should be punished. But I haven't read that story yet.

Not everybody working at google is going to be familiar w/ every single game Nintendo has ever made. If every time Google received an app the person approving it would have to play every video game ever made to make sure it doesn't encroach on any prior art then nothing would ever get published b/c it would take a long time to play every video game ever made.



SpookyMeths said:

@Blue_Yoshi Well, when you're old enough, you can vote or lobby in favor of those things. For now, try writing a letter to your local politician if you want copyright infringement, defacing of public property, and illicit substances to be legal.



unrandomsam said:

@Kroisos Doesn't work like that Ebay makes direct profit from all the fake stuff on there nothing that can be done about it without changing laws. (If something is found Ebay keeps the lot which is even worse.)



LztheQuack said:

@Blue_Yoshi Someone "has to do it"? No one has to do it.

Let's say that you make a work of art, but you only want to keep it to yourself. Now I copy said work and sell it to everyone, and you get no recognition or money. However, I had to do it because it wouldn't have been done otherwise. Does that sound alright to you?



Mk_II said:

it clearly suggests that Google does not "police" uploaded apps although they profit from the sales. That does not seem right to me



PanurgeJr said:

@rjejr Google doesn't have to be familiar with every game Nintendo has made. They do have to be familiar with everything they profit from, and if they choose to sell thousands of new apps every week they have the responsibility to make sure each one of those apps does not violate copyright. It's the same concept as receiving stolen goods; it is a crime to profit off of anything illegally obtained whether you have foreknowledge or not. It is not the responsibility of the one being stolen from to prevent the goods from being resold.



rjejr said:

@Kroisos - "they have the responsibility to make sure each one of those apps does not violate copyright."

I know they do. I'm just saying their responsibility is probably legally covered by asking the person who gave it to them if they own it or not. I trade in lots of videogames to Gamestop. Gamestop always asks if they are my games and I tell them yes. Do you think Gamestop will be held responsible if I stole those games from my neighbors house? How does Gamestop know I stole them? The police come and ask them after the person reports them stolen. Gamestop doens't call up every house in my neighborhood asking everybody if they had games stolen.

That is what you are asking google to do, to call up every copyright holder on the planet for every app they get and ask them if it is infringing.

You're doing it backwards.



Senario said:

@rjejr That system is flawed and it is the job of the people who run the online app store to make sure that the person presenting content actually owns that content. After all, what group putting an app on an e-store would say "oh no, I don't own the content in the app but put it on your store anyway!". This should be policed better and I don't care if it happens elsewhere. Copyrights need to be enforced.



rjejr said:

@Senario - "That system is flawed"

Not saying it isn't, just pointing out that's the way the legal system currently works. Innocent until proven guilty. If I go to Google w/ an app I made - only I didn't make it I stole - but I tell Google I made it, how do they know? To what extent are they required to research it? How many apps are on the Google store? How many are copyright violations? If it's less than 1% wouldn't you say they are doing a good job? No system is perfect.

Not every company wants to behave like Nintendo and when 1 person sends 1 bad picture you shut down an entire network that is being enjoyed by millions of law abiding members.

Anybody who says Nintendo should keep Swapnote up despite the "bad people" but Google Store should be shut down for a few bad apps is a hypocrite. (Not you, just in general.)

You cant have it both ways. Any system, store whatever stays open and you deal w/ a few bad incidents, or you shut the whole thing down. Google is doing what most of us wish Nintendo would have done w/ Swapnote.



PanurgeJr said:

@rjejr I fail to see how I'm doing it backwards when you begin by saying you know Google has the responsibility not to sell apps that violate copyright. And your Gamestop example, while absurd, illustrates my point nicely. Gamestop has the responsibility not to sell stolen games. How they choose to attempt that is up to them. Of course if a game is stolen it is impossible for them to know who it was stolen from, and of course they cannot call everyone in their zip code or area code to check. The law doesn't care. The nonviability of your proposed solution, which by the way I never remotely suggested, does not exempt them from their legal obligations. The same applies to Google. Of course it is impossible for them to know where an app may be stolen from. It doesn't matter. They sell it means they share the responsibility. How they attempt to exercise that responsibility is up to them, and if it is difficult, so be it. They are not entitled to a simple method, and the lack thereof does not excuse them from their legal duties.



Mortenb said:

I don't think this is necessarily Googles problem, just because they could theoretically stop it. You might as well say it is internet providers responsibility to check that all activity on their net is legal, or a building owners responsibility that no illegalities occur in his building. This requirement could potentially lead to no internet provider daring to offer services to anyone who was not a huge company with resources to make guarantees about all such things, or no one wantig to rent out houses except to people who could absolutely assure them no such things would occur. Likewise, putting this responsibility on Google, might lead to a halt in app development for the platform, as they would have to basically require a huge staff, lots of guarantees and a certification of the publishers. Google should of course be helpful to Nintendo if unauthorized copying is proven to actually occur, but they should not be responsible for the illegalitites them selves. It should be the guy uploading and the guy downloading who is held criminally responsible.



rjejr said:

@Kroisos - "How they choose to attempt that is up to them."

I think you summed it up nicely with that sentence.

My take on Google's attempt - put something on the store, if someone notifies them it's illegal, they take it down. Simple. Logical and probably 100% legal.

What Mortenb above me said is good too.



JuanitoShet said:

I don't like emulators. And I don't like people who steal from others. I wouldn't support this at all.



DarkEdi said:

This means Nintendo needs to back DKC trilogy to Wii VC so they can´t lose more money.



ValentineMeikin said:

What is WORSE than the fact they're putting it on the service is this...
You look for a emulator on Android, more than half of them are PAID applications, which is effectively making money off a simulated Gameboy, NDS or similar.

Imagine it in the high street, someone going 'Give us $3 and we'll give you a bootlegged Nintendo console, mostly works like the full price one, looks like it too.'
Things like that are what give Customs and Excise a job, and Google is failing to police it properly.



Blue_Yoshi said:


I never said it was right, I know its a crime but seriously, no one ever has or ever will go to jail for downloading ROMs, the Justice System is too focused on Music and Movies to ever give a damn about the Video Game Industry, which sadly suffers the most from piracy. But like legit, Nintendo has a chance to release these ROMs on iOS platforms and they neglect to even release it on there own Virtual Console. I mean c'mon seriously I love Nintendo as much as anyone on this website but there never going to learn that there literally sitting on a goldmine of classic releases and sequels and wanna give us one overpriced NES game a week that's probably some trash like Tennis or Urban Champion. Nintendo 64 is without a doubt the fan favorite console for all kinds of gamer's and yet they neglect to release their games on the Wii U when its been out for over a year.



Tiberius30 said:

Ah, the cancerous mass that are the Apple and Google Play store...

(Eww, casual phone games...)



Capt_N said:

This is unfortunately going to continue. No matter what Nintendo(or any co.) does, people will still pirate. Isn't right, but people will.

Even if, & when Nintendo does put these out, on say, any platforms, for free, as example, people will still pirate. But a huge step is to offer your ips in a convenient, & reasonably priced way.

If I had a co., I'd say that the main trick(in combating piracy) is to accept that piracy will occur, no matter what I do. Not to just throw in the towel, due to that. To keep on going as a co., & to use relatively reasonable anti-piracy measures in my software.

Nintendo should take these piracy accounts, as a hint to the potential to be made in it's back catalog. Also, someone please correct me on this little bit of info, if I am incorrect, but originally wasn't the Wii VC going to be free? Then Nintendo stated that there would be a charge to d/l individual titles? Off to Google, I go... I shall return.

Edit: Yep, I thought so.



miletich3 said:

Nintendo... Would you PLEASE put the DKC Trilogy on the Wii U VC and SMAS, too?

I promise I'll boycott the Android versions of these games.



Akai said:

US government should fight with google like with Kim Dotcom or Pirate Bay... the logic of combat with piracy - guilty is service not users or developer who sells Mario on google store.



unrandomsam said:

@Capt_N What I don't like is the best possible user experience for the 3DS is someone with all downloads for 3DS retail and eshop and a DS flash card in all the time. (They don't have to mess around carrying carts or not bring the one you want to play which always seems to happen to me). There is a significant number of DS games that they could get me to buy again if they would let me do that. (There is a few DS games I bought from a 3rd party for lots more than the RRP.) There is also the issue with VC stuff if they were cheaper I would end up spending more. There is also some stuff e.g Earthbound / Rendering Ranger R2 / Recca that nobody would have known they wanted to buy at all. Plus for the DS all those systems sold to people who never bought a game still made NIntendo money. (The 3rd parties lost out much more from that situation than NIntendo. That is money they wouldn't have got in any other situation).

Counterfeits bother me much more than someone else getting free games. Means they are about 10 DS games that I want I will probably never get because of the risk and hassle involved.

There is also stuff like the Wii Club Nintendo SNES controller. I can get one off Ebay for £50 but that is money again not going to Nintendo.

I presume Nintendo want the most money they can get from me (I want the best convenience and to not having to with and at least the same price for a download as a retail cart).

The Region Lock is not helping certain dev's either. (I would have paid the full retail Jap price + import duty for Kokuga as it stands they had to sell it for £14.99). I would probably have bought the download as well.



Sceptic said:

@rjejr: Enough with the truth already.

You know very well these cheap knock offs are just part of the global conspiracy to bring down the genius that is Nintendo. And Google is obviously part of it too. Just like all these people here featuring copyrighted material in their Avatars. Water down the IP until it's worthless.



DBMONK said:

"Needless to say, avoid these games like the plague." - Nope, bought them both lol



Vincent294 said:

It's one thing to put Nintendo's old games up on the App Store or Google Play for free. When you make money off that however, that's when it's just sad. Really? Speaking of Google Play, I've seen a lot of these on Google Play. Google is just lazy w/ this, like how they never fix all the major bugs w/ Android Froyo. I thought Windows Vista was bad, then Android Froyo came & was like "You haven't seen anything!" Apparently there are fixes in the newer versions of Android. Well if Google wants me to buy a new phone w/ their OS to get a more functional phone, screw them. They can forget my money. That's like buying a defective car & Honda saying "Well this year's Civic fixes that."



Kolzig said:

Well, if you have a Froyo phone, sounds like it's quite old one already. Time for an upgrade. For example Nexus5 is out already.

Google's rules for putting apps to the Play store is quite relaxed and loose, but if you report to them the apps that are clearly stolen or copies of other apps they will rather quickly remove those just like in this case.

It's possible for such apps to be in the Play store for a moment since Google is more open source style than for example Apple's walled prison app store environment.

Google seems to be at the moment only really tightly focused on checking that there are no malware, adware or virus filled programs in the Play Store.



BlackStar9000 said:

@rjejr I would PREFER that Google do a qualtiy test on the apps it allows, it would cut down on potential lawsuits and spyware/adware/viruses, something that has become far too common on google play.



BlackStar9000 said:

@Kolzig viruses focused my kids put viruses on my phone within an hour of playing, which is why daddy had to ban them from downloading apps

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