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Capcom’s Home Arcade Emulator Creates Backlash Due To Open-Source Software

Capcom Home Arcade

Capcom’s recently announced home arcade emulator is causing some controversy among the arcade emulation community for its use of open-source software.

Last week, Capcom announced the introduction of a new home emulator called the Home Arcade. It’s basically a giant 2-person fight stick like from one of those old arcade boxes only it comes bundled with a bunch of classic arcade games like 1944: The Loop Master, Final Fight, Ghouls ’N Ghosts, and Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting.

They’re all old Capcom beat-’em-ups, side-scrolling shooters, or fighting games that tickle a gamer of a certain generation’s sense of nostalgia like a walk down memory lane.

Everything is plug-and-play, so you just need to hook the Home Arcade up to your TV, select the game, and you’re ready to play. All 16 bundled games are the original arcade ROMs, and the system uses FB Alpha as the simulator software.

That software is proving to be a sticking point for people in the games emulation community. As Kotaku originally pointed out, FB Alpha is completely open-source and its distribution license specifically prohibits anyone from using the software to make a profit, which is exactly what Capcom seems to be doing.

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Barry Harris, one of the head programmers of FB Alpha tweeted that Capcom is using the software under license last week, but not everyone agrees. As with most open-source software, FB Alpha was created with the help of lots of other programmers and their code, and some of them are threatening to pull their code from FB Alpha due to Capcom Home Arcade apparently breaking its distribution license.

Even if they do, this likely won’t affect the release of Capcom Home Arcade. Until someone is willing to lawyer up and actually start suing, all of this amounts to mere posturing. Open-source software is notoriously difficult to control once it’s out in the open, and this wouldn’t be the first time a company has used open-source code to create a for-profit product.

We’ll be sure to circle back to this story if Capcom issues a statement.

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