This morning while showering I thought about the usual – video games. Specifically, I thought about the article we did on DS games and how some people reacted by saying the PSP is backwards compatible with every old console someone wrote an emulator for. After mulling over the pros and cons of that argument, I spent some time pondering the future of emulation and something struck me. Unless motion control and touch control become ubiquitous, the DS and Wii will not be emulatable by anyone not willing to put in huge amounts of effort.
Nintendo has always had a particularly strong fear of piracy. Primarily because CDs are so easily duplicated, Nintendo gave the N64 a cart slot. For the same reason, they burned Gamecube games onto mini-DVDs.
After a lather rinse repeat, it struck me that Nintendo’s new systems may not be different only to capture new audiences, but to prevent emulation. There is a small jump in logic here. Their older systems were built around preventing physical piracy and these new systems have mechanisms that make digital piracy almost impossible. Despite the difference between burning a game to a CD and downloading it, they are both ultimately forms of piracy.
The thought that in ten years Sony could release a PS4 (I hear the PS3 has a ten year plan) that is capable of playing high def 1920 by 1080 video games while curing sclopbop (the next big disease after cancer, which was cured by the PS3) but still will not be able to emulate Wii and DS games must make Iwata’s pants mighty tight. Unless he does his thinking in the shower.