“Crank Dat” rapper Soulja Boy has pulled his video game consoles from his website, presumably due to a legal threat from Nintendo. The game consoles that were available for sale included the SouljaGame Console, SouljaGame Handheld, and the Retro SouljaBoy Mini.
You may be wondering how a rapper was able to get their own line of video game consoles made in the first place. As it turns out, the consoles that were sold on souljawatch.com were just cheap Chinese-made emulation boxes, preloaded with hundreds of ROMs. Soulja Boy just slapped his name on them, promoted them on Twitter, and sold them through his website at a huge markup.
In case you don’t know, emulators are programs that allow you to play old games (ROMs) on newer devices (For example, using a Super Nintendo Emulator I can play Super Metroid on my phone). Soulja Boy’s consoles each had multiple emulators installed along with hundreds of popular classic games, mostly from Nintendo’s library. It is not illegal to sell or use emulators, but selling ROMs without getting permission from their original creators is extremely illegal, as you are basically selling pirated games.
It is apparent that since this tweet, Nintendo has, in fact, done some, uh, stuff.[/caption]
As was foretold, Soulja Boy has since removed these consoles from sale. It has not been confirmed that Nintendo was the company that pulled the trigger and sought legal action, as Soulja Boy’s consoles also infringed on companies like Namco, Capcom, Sony, and Konami.
It is strange to see Soulja Boy so blissfully unaware of copyright laws and good business sense. Say what you will about his music, but the man is a successful entrepreneur who was one of the first musicians to utilize the internet to market himself. Soulja Boy is no stranger to the video game industry. He has spoken repeatedly on his love of games, and is responsible for this hilarious video of him playing the indie classic Braid:
He also attempted to get Sonic the Hedgehog’s attention on Twitter years ago, sadly to no avail.
— Soulja Boy (@souljaboy) December 17, 2013
It seems that legal trouble hasn’t stopped Soulja Boy’s attempt to enter the video game industry, as he says he is putting together an eSports team this month.