Kodi users this week have been given a big update for the free-to-download media player.
Kodi 18 Leia is available right now for all supported platforms and includes improvements to the music library, add-ons and live TV support.
News of Kodi 18 Leia first emerged last year but the major software update has been in development for “a little longer” than anticipated.
This is because the Kodi update includes “significant changes” that “needed to be tested and bedded in” before launch.
And there’s one feature with Kodi 18 Leia that fans of the media player should be aware of.
The latest Kodi update brings with it support for “gaming emulators, ROMs and controls”.
In a post online Kodi said: “One of the big features of this release: support for gaming emulators, ROMs and controls.
“This is a significant topic in its own right, so look out for future posts on this, but suffice it to say at this time that you now have a whole world of retro gaming at your fingertips, all from the same interface as your movies, music and TV shows.
Kodi launches major update, but fans need to be aware of one issue
“For the genuine experience as well, we’ve also introduced support for joysticks, gamepads, and other platform-specific controls, so the games will work just as was intended.”
For those not in the know, emulators are programmes that emulate an old console like a Super Nintendo or Mega Drive.
Whereas ROMs are files containing all the data for specific games, like Sonic or Mario, that can be loaded up and played using an emulator.
However, arguably the world’s most famous video game company has already warned about the legalities of downloading old retro games.
Kodi users have been given a big update for the free-to-download media player
Nintendo has an in-depth post on their website about ROMs, emulators and the copyright surrounding them.
And discussing ROMs, in no uncertain terms, Nintendo said: “It is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet.”
It’s quite a widely held belief that ROMs are fine to download if you own the original cartridge or disc for the game in question.
However, Nintendo said: “Whether you have an authentic game or not, or whether you have possession of a Nintendo ROM for a limited amount of time, i.e. 24 hours, it is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet.”
Kodi 18 Leia is available right now for all supported platforms
Discussing emulators, Nintendo added: “The introduction of emulators created to play illegally copied Nintendo software represents the greatest threat to date to the intellectual property rights of video game developers.
“As is the case with any business or industry, when its products become available for free, the revenue stream supporting that industry is threatened.
“Such emulators have the potential to significantly damage a worldwide entertainment software industry which generates over $15billion annually, and tens of thousands of jobs.”
Last year one high profile emulation website announced that it would no longer be hosting its huge library of ROMs.
Kodi Leia brings with it a number of ‘significant changes’
For 18 years EmuParadise was one of the go-to places on the internet for downloading ROMs of retro games.
But last summer the founder of EmuParadise, MasJ, announced the site would no longer link to ROMs due to potential legal action.
A post on the site said: “Many of you are aware that the situation with regards to emulation sites has been changing recently. What you probably don’t know is that we at EmuParadise have been dealing with similar issues for all 18 years of our existence.
“From receiving threatening letters in the early days to our hosts suddenly shutting down our servers due to complaints, we’ve seen it all. We’ve always complied with takedown requests but as you can see, that is no guarantee of anything.
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“I started EmuParadise 18 years ago because I never got to play many of these amazing retro games while growing up in India and I wanted other people to be able to experience them. Over the years, many folks have joined in and contributed to this vision and I think I can say that we’ve been successful in spreading our passion for retro games far and wide.”
The post added: “It’s not worth it for us to risk potentially disastrous consequences.
“I cannot in good conscience risk the futures of our team members who have contributed to the site through the years. We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it’s not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble.
Kodi Leia includes retro gaming support for emulators and ROMs
“This is an extremely emotional decision for me after running this site for so many years. But I believe it is the right thing for us at this point of time.
“Thus, we have decided to make a new start. We will continue to be passionate retro gamers and will keep doing cool stuff around retro games. But you won’t be able to get your games from here for now. Where we go with this is up to us and up to you.”
Last year Nintendo also reached a $12.2million settlement with two ROM sites that were taken down soon after Ninty filed a lawsuit against them.