Have you heard about abandonware? Does it actually mean that you can just copy abandonware and can it be in some way profitable for the original developer of the game? In this blog post we are trying to get a thorough answer to these questions.
There are many websites that provide some old games that you can download and install them to your PC. Many games are or can be played on a modern personal computer with a modern operating system. There are games also available for emulators. Some games require a special software application like DOSBox. So it is possibly to play old DOS games with a new PC.
The case of abandonware concerns console game and computer games. Some game companies, like Nintendo, like to stick with their old copyrights and try to ban and make copying old, or retro, games totally illegal. They are acting like this even when clearly there is not a clear option for them to collect a price for this kind of a game that is already some tens of years old.
Some companies publsih remakes. Some companies totally abandon their game. This is where the term gets its true meaning from. What then means public domain? Could games be released in public domain? This means that you could re-publish a game of this kind and even take some parts of the game and make a new game out of it with paying nothing for the original developer.
What would it mean if we had all old games in a public domain? We wouldn’t have to pay for our retro games. There would be more websites sharing these games. There would be a lot of exploration and even research done by playing these games and getting to understand their content.
There are many games currently classified as abvandonware right now. You can find a deeply involved website titled “My Abandonware” that provides ten of thousands of games for you to download. You can download games like Silent Hill 2 or Need For Speed Most Wanted for free. If there is a game that is currently in any form commercially avaialble this is mentioned and it isn’t possible to download it as a free copy but there might be a demo version available.
I have written here in this blog earlier that we are having difficulties of maintaining and keeping old games, I am talking about games that are 20 years old or even older than that, available. Are we supposed to just forget these games? I thinkthey have high value even if nobody has a way to buy them.
What should we do? Should we make every 20 year old game totall free? Should we allow some other parties to make more good remakes out of all these old games? Could large companies like Nintendo provide more opportunities to buy and maintain a collection of old and retro games?
We are having this business that is very profitable for game shops. You buy a physical copy of an old game and the price is very high. You keep the game for years. Of course you have the original gaming system. But what happens when the game gets so old and the divece you are playing on has become broken? Do we just delete this stuff and move on? I think we should think more about maintaining old games and trying to remember also in the future what they are all about.
Basically a game ends up as abandonware because the original owner of this game doesn’t find a way to make the game somehow profitable again. Every game can be profitable when it gets released. After many years the owner doesn’t care about the game and so it becomes abandsonware. There is an issue also with the copyright. It is hard to make a remake out of a gaem that is abandonware. This is why public domain would be a consideration.