Retro console Retron 5 accused of stealing open-source emulator code

Ben Parfitt
Retro console Retron 5 accused of stealing open-source emulator code

Hyperkin's Retron 5 console has found itself at the centre of an emulation code dispute.

Game Politics reports that the company has been accused of stealing code from a number of open-source emulators including the SNES9x (SNES), FCEUMM/FCEUX (NES), VBA NEXT (Game Boy Advance), GenesisPlusGX (Mega Drive and assorted Sega consoles).

It is alleged that parts of the code powering the console's ability to run said games has been directly lifted from said emulators. And as all the software is either open-source or under General Public License version 2 (GPLv2), its use in a commercial product is prohibited.

The people behind open-source project RetroArch also claim that elements of their code are found in Retron 5's UI, which itself uses a GPLv3 license that forbids its use in a locked system.

All of which is a bit confusing. What it essentially boils down to is that the makers of Retron 5 have been accused of thieving code created by others in direct violation of the its license and without seeking the permission of its creators.

The Retron 5, which was delayed several times last year before its release early this year, allows users to play game cartridges designed for an assortment of retro systems.

UPDATE: Nintendo Life received the following response from Hyperkin developer Lawrence Lee:

"It has always been our intention to release the relevant source code for the open source emulators used within RetroN 5. We have not been as quick as we could have been, since we have been busy improving the RetroN 5 user experience. The relevant source code has now been released. From this point forward we will not only keep our copy of this code updated for those who wish to obtain the latest version, but also submit patches for any fixes that we implement back to the original projects so that the entire community may benefit. Hyperkin will continue to endeavor to fulfill the licenses of any project used within RetroN 5 and any other software we write."

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