The lights are on
In a post on the official Ouya forums, forum administrator Ed Krassenstein states that a variety of emulators are being prepped for the March 28th launch of Ouya, designed to play NES, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64 ROMs. A representative for Ouya has responded to Game Informer with a statement on the company's policy towards emulators.
Krassenstein's post reveals that a number of emulator developers have already submitted their programs to Ouya for review, which should ensure their availability on the console's March 28th launch if they pass inspection. While the emulators themselves are not illegal, developers have no way of confirming whether or not a ROM has been obtained legally – if it's even possible to legally obtain a ROM. That grey area doesn't seem to be a problem for the company; when asked about emulators, a spokesperson for Ouya gave Game Informer the following statement:
"OUYA will accept emulators as long as they adhere to our content guidelines and are not submitted with any games."
The content guidelines for Ouya don't appear to have any rules that would prohibit emulators, though under the entry for "Illegal Activity," the guide simply states "Use good judgment and do not break the law." If anything, the company's statement appears to confirm that there will be a variety of emulators available on the new console, though we won't know how they will handle importing or playing ROMs until owners start receiving them in the mail. Also unknown is what legal recourse Nintendo may have against Ouya and whether or not the company is interested in pursuing it.
We have asked Ouya some follow-up questions and will update this story if and when the company responds. Ouya will start shipping out consoles on March 28.
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