It’s always an exciting day for Nintendo fans when a new roster of classic hits from the NES and SNES era are revealed for Nintendo Switch Online. While Sony and Microsoft don’t have titles that date quite as back as far, they also host their own libraries of retro games, and it turns out Microsoft has been hosting Nintendo games, too.
The games were discovered among the extensions available for Microsoft’s Edge web browser where they had been hiding in plain sight for at least three months. Of course, it wasn’t Microsoft who was responsible for putting the illegal games up for download. The gaming giant recently added Xbox themes to Microsoft Edge, but obviously wouldn’t have put another company’s games into the browser.
As it turns out, almost anyone can create and submit an extension for Microsoft Edge and get it listed among the hundreds of other extensions available for the browser. As it wouldn’t have been Nintendo or Microsoft listing the games, it seems clear it was an individual or small group of people who simply found a way to illegally host a few roms for a while. As rom sites are regularly shut down these days, hosting some games as Microsoft Edge extensions does show a level of ingenuity, if not desperation. Given that someone was able to illegally host games as Edge extensions, though, it does seem Microsoft needs to re-examine its vetting process.
The games that were being hosted included popular titles like Mario Kart 64, Super Mario Bros., and non-Nintendo titles like Sonic 2, Pac-Man, and Tetris. While the aforementioned titles are likely among the most frequently pirated games, some less frequently stolen titles like Microsoft’s very own Minecraft were available as well.
The games are being removed from the Edge extension list as they’re being discovered, though it’s uncertain how many are left and waiting to be found by Microsoft. Of course, pirating remains a big problem in the gaming world as well as the movie and TV world, with series like The Mandalorian being pirated in record numbers.
At the height of the illegal rom-hosting on Microsoft Edge, someone was even able to tweet from the browser’s official Twitter account bragging that Pac-Man, Tetris, Mario Kart and more were available on the Edge extensions page. It’s unknown where people will go next to host illegal copies of their favorite games, but with stories of Cyberpunk 2077‘s source code being stolen, it’s clear the illegal game market isn’t going away any time soon.
Source: The Verge