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Is Emulating Games Pirating?

Jun 21, 2020
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I want to try and get Persona 5, but it's a PS4 exclusive. I could buy the PS4 for one game, or emulate it. The first option doesn't sound all that appealing, but I'm afraid the second would be pirating technically. Would it be justified to play it on PC, but still buy the game? I'd like for it to be ported to the Switch, but I doubt that's gonna happen anytime soon.

Thanks, watdahecc​
 

Frindis

Moderator
Jan 14, 2020
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Some games you can emulate without any problems, like if you have bought a GOG game and use SCUMM (not an emulator) or DOSBOX. Playing a game you have bought on PS1 as an example and using an emulator for playing it on a PC is a copyright infringement as long as you have not been given the source code for further improving on it. I guess if the game has gone public domain, it would be different, but even then the owner could put restrictions as to where you could download it from. Also: A lot of games have very long copyright on them.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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I don't think there is any problem morally with emulating games you own.
Theoretically, I would agree. It gets tricky, though, when you get into the emulation software. How was that made? If it was done by looking at the (in this case) PS4 documentation and figuring out how to make all the calls work on another platform then writing that, that sounds ethical to me. However, if it was done by pulling all the code out of the PS4 and translating it to the other platform, that's stealing Sony's code.

So what happens if there's a mix of the two? What happens if the folks that made the emulation software lie to you about how it was made? Uhhh... <runs off into the Ivory Tower and locks the door behind him>

P.S. Since we're talking Persona 5 and Atlus just released Persona 4 on PC, my advice would be to wait for them to release Persona 5 themselves. It isn't like there aren't 5000 other games to play in the meantime.
 
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May 31, 2020
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Theoretically, I would agree. It gets tricky, though, when you get into the emulation software. How was that made?
Good point, I hadn't considered that side. TBH didn't even know the PS4 was emulated yet. Googled it and the first hit claims to be reverse engineered (won't link because not sure about forum rules). That should be OK.

I might even download it! I have a PS4 and have streamed the games to my PC with Remote Play. But the bitrate can be crappy even over a wired connection so it would be nice to run something natively on my computer with more input options.
 
Jun 21, 2020
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Since we're talking Persona 5 and Atlus just released Persona 4 on PC, my advice would be to wait for them to release Persona 5 themselves.
I think that the possibility of Persona 5 being ported over is less likely, though. Persona 4 Golden was stuck on a PS Vita, whereas Persona 5 is on both the PS4 and PS3, which combined sold almost 200 million units. I can try and wait until the end of June for now, since the New Game Plus Expo is coming up pretty soon and Atlus is participating.
 
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Jan 16, 2020
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End of June? I was thinking "sometime in the next two or three years!"

yeah i'm thinking With P5 so recent and being a sort of sony exclusive, i doubt we'll ever see it soon. I think the decision to release it is probably down to Sony, I doubt they'll do anything that would jeopardize sales of the consoles/games of the PS4 or PS5 later. I'm kinda surprised that P4G managed to get through.
 
May 31, 2020
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I doubt they'll do anything that would jeopardize sales of the consoles/games of the PS4 or PS5 later.
Sony seem to be shifting on this, eg Horizon Zero Dawn (great game!) is confirmed for the PC now. Think they realise ignoring the PC is leaving money on the table.
I think most first party games will come out, eventually.
 
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Jan 17, 2020
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From what I understand, most consoles are sold at a loss, so Sony is probably not going to miss the money you would have paid for the PS4. So I don't see any problems with playing it on an emulator, even if it's using stolen PS4 code, as long as you pay for the actual game.

Alternatively, you can see if you have a friend who you can borrow a PS4 from.
 

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