Nintendo's somewhat controversial war on pirate and ROM sites continues with a lawsuit filed against RomUniverse.
ROMs offered on pirate websites contain Nintendo games copied from the Japanese gaming giant's original cartridges. In some cases, these are retro games that fans share without making any money off them, rescuing some classics from oblivion, while other times, as is the case with RomUniverse, they charge subscription fees for “unlimited downloads.”
One thing they have in common is that Nintendo goes after both types of operations, looking to shut them down and collect millions in damages.
RomUniverse is one of the last sites of its kind still standing, and with the lawsuit, Nintendo wants to extract $150,000 per pirated title and $ 2 million per trademark violation.
RomUniverse's games catalog has more than 6,800 games – which means Nintendo's total claim could reach over $2 billion. Also, the giant wants to take over the website and shut it down. In terms of numbers, Nintendo's lawsuit states that its games offered by the site have so far been downloaded a total of 800,000 times.
RomUniverse, meanwhile, seems to be preparing to fight back and is currently accepting donations to finance the legal battle. But there is cause for concern if the luck of previous targets of Nintendo's lawsuits is anything to go by last year, two similar sites, LoveROMS and LoveRETRO, pleaded guilty and agreed to a settlement worth $12 million.
These websites shut down in the aftermath and signaled the start of many others deciding to close shop before Nintendo got to sue them. RomUniverse was among a small number who defied the giant and continued to operate despite increasing pressure.
The new filing says:
“The Website is among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games. Through the Website, Defendants reproduce, distribute, monetize, and offer for download thousands of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games. This includes games for nearly every video game system Nintendo has ever produced including hundreds of games for its recently released Nintendo Switch. According to the Website, as of the date of filing this Complaint, hundreds of thousands of copies of Nintendo games have been illegally downloaded through the Website including nearly 300,000 downloads of copies of pirated Nintendo Switch games and more than 500,000 copies of pirated Nintendo 3DS games.”
Nintendo's filing also alleges unfair competition on the part of the pirate site.
However, lawsuits are not the only way Nintendo goes about its anti-piracy campaign. Earlier this month, the company asked a UK court to order five ISPs to block access to several sites who either allow users to download Nintendo Switch games, or instruct them on how to do it.
Read the lawsuit here.