How not to launch a games console, a lesson courtesy of Soulja Boy.

During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine on December 7th 2018, famous rapper and part time entrepreneur Soulja boy announced his new games console the Soulja Game. The Grammy nominated artist, whose backlog incudes the hit single ‘Crank that’, went on to state that “I feel that everything was 100% legit”.

The only problem was that the ‘console’ was a Chinese emulator made by Anbernic that would allow the user to run many unlicensed video games, including a large amount from Nintendo’s impressive catalogue. At the time of the announcement however Nintendo’s legal team seemed to be unaware of the infringement.

Fortunately for Soulja boy, the novelty of a famous rapper selling his own console was not lost on many internet observers, as such articles covering the products release from Unilad and Tech-crunch (to name a few) followed. All the media attention lead to large amounts of interest in the product this meant that on the 15th of December alone Soulja boy claimed to have made $850,670 (approximately £658,000). It should be noted that the amount was disputed by some online articles namely GQ magazine.

The product itself was a games console that was able to emulate (run) old classics (the official store website said it could run 800 games) it was revealed that among its offering were titles such as ‘the legend of Zelda a link to the past’ published by Japanese game developer Nintendo. There was one issue, Nintendo is notoriously protective of their IP as such they wouldn’t and didn’t licence Soulja Boy the classic games. This meant that by late December Nintendo’s lawyers had given the rapper a choice between legal action or removing the console entirely from all platforms.

On the 31st of December Soulja boy sent out a tweet saying he had to ‘boss up’ and removed the Soulja-game from his Soulja Tech store. This concluded one of the most informative lessons in online marketing as well as one of the most blatant cases of copyright infringement in gaming history.

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