When Bootlegging Gets Serious

As discussed a couple weeks ago, the biggest criticism facing Nintendo for the way they handled their NES Classic retro console was the short-sightedness of their production run and allegedly completely underestimating the desire people would have for their mini-emulator. And to make it all worse, when faced with this demand, Nintendo chose to stop making the console instead of ramping up production to meet it. So as consumers, if someone still really wants one, they have to turn to the re-sellers. And the markup is painful. As of the time of this writing, it's available from 3rd party sellers on Amazon for nearly $250. For a $60 console. Ouch.

But have no fear, the Chinese bootleg market is here to save the day! The weird bootleg trade around video games is nothing new. We can actually look back at the original NES to see the impact of bootleg cartridges. Bootleg consoles aren't anything new either. We've all seen the hilarious rip-off bootleg consoles, and heard the horror stories of people's parents or grandparents buying these online for christmas thinking they are "close enough." 

The difference here is that instead of the weird looks and bundling 5000 games on one console, they're actually trying to make something that looks and behaves almost exactly like the NES Classic. To the point where it's actually difficult to tell the difference unless you're looking for one. Externally, slight misalignments to the text on the front are one of the only clues that you might be dealing with a fake. They even go so far as to clone the UI of the thing to the point where only some fonts are slightly off. 

They're starting to make their way to the west, and they're undercutting the massive price hikes of the resellers. This might lead to the prices of the legit ones to go through the roof. Or... it could cut the legs out from under the market and cause all prices to plummet. We won't know until months from now what kind of impact it will have on sales and prices of the NES Classic on Ebay and the like. But it does pose some interesting questions.

If you really wanted an NES Classic, and didn't want to spend $300 on one, would you be willing to spend less to get one of these knockoffs? We know this isn't legal, but do you think Nintendo should make a pathway for another hardware manufacturer to build these consoles? Should Nintendo make a licensing fee for the software for these retro consoles, passing the hardware costs they don't want to incur off onto a 3rd party, but properly compensating the people who made the games? Do you think these issues will come around again once Nintendo potentially stops building and selling the SNES Classic in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.


Before we get into the LCS, I want to let you guys know that one of the biggest fighting game related eSports events takes place this weekend. Street Fighter V, Super Smash Brothers (Melee and Wii U), Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2, Injustice 2, King of Fighters XIV, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and BlazBlue will have massive tournaments this weekend in Las Vegas. EVO 2017 is upon us. And you can find a handy schedule of all the crazy action this weekend over here (including all the places to watch it). I plan to watch this randomly throughout the weekend. To make it all even crazier, the finals of the Street Fighter V tournament will be shown on ESPN2. If you find yourself with some free time, check it out. Coverage starts Friday around 1pm Eastern on a number of Twitch Channels.

The LCS returns this weekend coming off of the back of the NA LCS kicking the crap out of the EU LCS at the first ever Rift Rivals event. So this week I want to focus on a basement team. Phoenix1 did an amazing job last year, finishing in the top 3. But so far this split they have not been firing on all cylinders. They were in last place 2 weeks ago... but swept the week before Rift Rivals... and went 4-2 at Rift Rivals, finishing with a better record than *ALL THREE* European teams. Can they ride that momentum coming back into the NA Split? Let's find out.

Saturday, July 15th @ 3pm Eastern - Team SoloMid vs Phoenix1 - They have an uphill battle right off of the bat. TSM won Rift Rivals for NA. They're also tied for second place and biting at the heels of Counter Logic Gaming. This is going to be a difficult series for Phoenix1 to win.

Sunday, July 16th @ 3pm Eastern - Team Dignitas vs Phoenix1 - Dignitas fell pretty hard the last couple weeks of the split. They were sitting in second place going into week 5, only to lose both of their matches in a pretty disappointing fashion. Can they turn it around against Phoenix1? It may not be as easy as might once have seemed.

As usual, information for where you can watch these games can be found over on the LoLeSports website.