A designer for Hyperkin – a game peripheral manufacturer- posted the concept art for a new design he’s working on to Reddit earlier today – dubbed SmartBoy – sparking a large debate on the social media network. The new concept shows what looks like the bottom half of an original GameBoy with the top half hollowed out, allowing for the user to plug their smartphone into the bottom and use it as a controller. The back of the device appears to have a slot for original GameBoy games, presumably to allow GameBoy games to be played through your smartphone screen. It’s an intriguing – and very appealing – idea.
However, as many users on Reddit have pointed out, the problem with the idea stems from some questionable business decisions that Hyperkin practices. According to Reddit user crwcomposer, Hyperkin has been “taking advantage of and profiting from thousands of hours of volunteer work from the emulation community”, posting two links to articles that verify his assertions. The majority of the Reddit post quickly devolved into arguments about copyright, trademark, and the validity of supporting these products.
In order to get a complete picture of the situation, I’ve reached out to the designer – and Hyperkin – for comment about the Smart Boy and will report when I hear back.
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