Nintendo strikes GBA4iOS with DMCA takedown notice

By , May 14, 2014

GBA4iOS5

In what is rather disappointing news for fans of iOS emulators, Nintendo of America has issued popular Gameboy Advance emulator GBA4iOS with a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice.

As a result, the official GitHub website for the emulator has been taken offline until further notice, and in-app downloads of ROMs have been temporarily suspended. GBA4iOS creator Riley Testut confirmed the news on Twitter last night… 

GBA4iOS is one of the most popular Gameboy Advance emulators for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, used by millions of users to play classic Nintendo games such as Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda on iOS devices. Perhaps the best feature of the emulator is that it did not require a jailbreak, instead installed through Safari based on a system time and date loophole.

GBA4iOS 2.0 was released back in February with iOS 7 support and Dropbox integration for both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices. Testut has been working diligently on the emulator ever since, releasing several updates to improve gameplay performance and add features like multiplayer mode. GBA4iOS 2.1 was in the pipeline just a few days before the DMCA notice was issued.

GBA4iOS1

Despite the setback, the 18-year-old senior at Richardson High School in Dallas, Texas is refusing to give up on the emulator. “I do think it has a future,” Testut told iDownloadBlog. “I’ll have to modify the app to comply with Nintendo’s DMCA notice, such as removing the game downloading.”

The good news is that, in light of the takedown notice, existing users of GBA4iOS can continue playing games that they have already installed. The only limitation is that users will no longer be able to download additional ROMs from the built-in web browser, but those with a Dropbox account can still store game saves and load ROMs using the cloud storage service.

Those looking to get their Pokémon fix on iPhone and iPad can still use the Nintendo DS emulator NDS4iOS, which doesn’t seem to affected by the DMCA notice, or even play Nintendo games through Mobile Safari. Both NDS4iOS and WebNES work on jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices. Otherwise, we can hope that Nintendo eventually changes its anti-App Store stance.

Update: NDS4iOS developer Karen Tsai has advised against redistributing GBA4iOS until Testut and herself work on this matter:

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  • ✌️

    Well this sucks.

  • Mini Apple Genius

    Does anybody know this guys e-mail? I want to e-mail him about GBA4iOS 2.1.

    • http://www.ifans.com/ Joe Rossignol

      I’m sure you can ask him on Twitter (@rileytestut) for DM or email.

      • Mini Apple Genius

        Only problem is, I don’t have Twitter.

      • http://www.ifans.com/ Joe Rossignol
      • Mini Apple Genius

        THANK YOU SO MUCH! You did a great article by the way :).

      • Damian

        Hmm, make one for this specific reason?

      • Mini Apple Genius

        I thought about it >D.

      • http://www.ideaprison.com/ ideaprison

        Not that I’m for Twitter but it only takes a split second, they do require a sample of your DNA upon registration. But at least you can contact the guy after signing up.

      • Mini Apple Genius

        Or just contact him via the e-mail Joe Rossignol gave me.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Could this perhaps signify that Nintendo is going to make mobile games or are they just being spiteful?

    • Mini Apple Genius

      Just being spiteful is my guess.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        That’s what I thought. I guess it’s time to backup all of the emulators in Cydia before The BigBoss receives a DMCA…

      • Rowan09

        Won’t happen because they sell emulators on the Play Store and they are still up.

      • OrphanNonFostered

        There is absolutely nothing spiteful about it. They are protecting themselves from piracy. Pretty simple.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Piracy? So where can I buy a copy of Super Mario for my iPhone?…Exactly I can’t. Nintendo are just being like the dinosaurs of the entertainment industry rejecting change and stifling innovation. In addition to this game emulation IS NOT equal to piracy. It’s completely legal to rip games for backup purposes and assuming you own the hardware I can’t see how / why it would be illegal to emulate your own hardware on a superior piece of hardware such as the iPhone.

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      It’s as spiteful as Apple requesting the take down of AppTrackr…

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        At least that makes some sense. AppTrackr used advertisements to make money whereas this open source project on the other hand likely made zilch (excluding donations assuming they exist). There’s other paid emulators for Android and other platforms too. If this is some serious business why is Nintendo going after the people making nothing and posting the source code too? If anything these open source projects could help Nintendo patch code or improve performance…

  • Mr Mop

    That’s too bad, hopefully things will be resolved quickly.

  • CODENAME_CAFE

    nds4ios be ready

  • David Gitman

    thank you Nintendo for taking our chance to play your games on mobile ><

    • OrphanNonFostered

      You still can play them on a mobile platform. It’s called the gameboy advance.

      • David Gitman

        I ment cellphone.. I can’t take the gameboy to school

      • kamranm1200

        Yes you can.

  • Roger Riekki

    Hope they can resolve this and release version 2.1, sounds like a big update.

  • Dennis

    That’s rather disappointing.

  • Dan

    Is anyone surprised? This is basically piracy, playing games you did not pay for. I use emulators, but just saying.

    • XboxOne

      There are some people who do own all the games they play on emulators.

      • Dan

        Yeah but Nintendo can’t know that

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        So what do you do?

        a) Assume everyone owns all of their games

        b) Embrace change and use the little innovation you have left to release awesome mobile ports of your games

        c) Roll over and die

        It’s pointless choosing ‘a’ and Nintendo won’t choose ‘b’ so let’s just wait for ‘c’…

      • Dan

        I’m just palying devils advocate here.
        I doubt Nintendo will simply roll over and die though. The worse that could happen would be for them to abandone consoles and keep releasing handheld devices. The DS 3DS did extremely well.

      • JoJo

        By that logic we might as well just turn off the internet, since it facilitates a way to download things illegally.

    • http://YouTube.com/mssoulblader SOUL-

      Well considering how the games aren’t available for purchase since they haven’t been in retail for years I very much doubt it would really be an issue for Nintendo. They’re not losing money for these older games or anything really other than their repuation

      • OrphanNonFostered

        They are losing money, when people are content with playing their old games for free instead of buying their new ones.

      • http://YouTube.com/mssoulblader SOUL-

        I think that would be due to the older games being better than the current ones available. If Nintendo were to put all these games on the virtual console for a decent price then it wouldn’t be an issue

    • OrphanNonFostered

      Agreed. Somewhat concerned with the amount of people that don’t understand that.

    • JoJo

      It is not as simple as that though.
      In most countries you are allowed download and play games on an emulator as long as you have an actual copy of the game.

      So if the Emulator is allowed and the Roms are allowed why is combining them not allowed? That makes no sense.
      IF you have bought the games you are downloading you are not doing anything illegal and neither is the developer. He does not even host any of these roms he just made it easier to download them straight into his emulator.

      Now I’m not stupid and know 99% of the roms downloaded are not owned by those who download them but that is not the developers problem right? It is not up to him to prove that you are not doing anything illegal.

      • Dan

        I agree. The roms I have downloaded and still play are from games I owned as cartriges as a kid. Just saying I can understand why Nintendo is doing it.

  • http://www.liam-merlyn.co.uk/ ConduciveMammal

    They’ve never been bothered before about emulators. Could this not be in preparation for their own version for mobile gaming? Similar to Apple’s “similar product” policy?

    • Anthony Nguyen

      No, Nintendo said before that they won’t port their games to the App Store.

      • Marcus Winchester

        Sadly Nintendo are too dumb to realise the potential of that. Sadly, they never think anything through and are too lazy to revamp their old catalog of games for mobile. WHY they don’t pare a cheap controller that fits around the iPhone and connects via Lightning connector to allow this is beyond me

  • Alu Zeros

    Nintendo needs to just get it over with and come out with their own official emulators for older systems

    • Gucciipad

      Never will happen

  • Anonomous.TECH.man

    Well I still got gpSPhone.

  • using namespace std

    This doesn’t make sense. Emulators are legal. CoolROM should be receiving this strike for supplying the pirated games, because Riley wants you to own the game before playing it.

    • OrphanNonFostered

      It makes perfect sense. It’s a company protecting their intellectual property.

  • mlee19841

    If you’re jailbroken there’s always cydia.

  • Matthew E Ford

    Go here and download it like you nomally would and it works you just have to get it from cool rom

  • Matthew E Ford

    Here

  • Marcus Winchester

    Digging that big old hole Nintendo. Emulators are legal and if you own the original disc and the ROM file, it is still legal. I’m giving you a middle finger Iwata you dumb little ass. No one here wants your Urine U