We all know about emulators. Anytime you downloaded one of those original NES or PSOne console games, you needed an emulator. While this allowed you to play it on your PC, companies hated them. At one point in time, the industry cried afoul when people would use them. You can say Sony had a change of heart.
With its release of the PlayStation Classic retro console, guess what it uses? An emulator. During a review of the console on Kotaku, they noted that it uses one. In the licenses list for the console can be found PCSX ReArmed. That’s the ARM port of PCSX Reloaded, itself an offshoot of the original PCSX emulator, which ceased development in 2003.
Now, this isn’t a huge deal, but it’s something a kin to ironic. Sony was one of the original companies that blasted the use of emulators to play their old games. Mainly because they weren’t compensators for using pirates versions of their games. Normally, they would be unplayable, unless you had an emulator.
They are using something we’ve used for years
This isn’t that much of a surprise as Nintendo does the same thing for its NES and SNES Classics. However, they built their own emulators, like they did before in the Virtual Console. But even then, those devices run on a custom Linux build, which of course uses a similar open-source license. So one way or the other the gaming world is finding itself in bed with the open-source community.
It’s true that the emulators themselves were never really illegal. Unless they used some proprietary code or something. It was always the ROMs themselves, copies of games, that companies fought hardest against. But emulators have always lived in a sort of grey area. Even if few actions were taken against them. The last few years have seen a resurgence in interest for retro games and a willingness to pay for them. If emulators hadn’t been letting us do that for free for decades, there’s a good chance that many of these games would have been forgotten.