When rapper Soulja Boy dropped his line of game emulator consoles, the internet arched a collective eyebrow. This, we knew, probably would not end well and lo, less than a month after launch, both the SouljaGame Handheld and SouljaGame console have been pulled from the rapper’s online store.
In a tweet, Soulja Boy says that he had to “boss up” and had no choice in the matter, possibly hinting at an impending lawsuit over licensing. This tracks with early speculation that both products looked eerily similar to knock-off, unbranded emulators sold by Chinese retailer Anbernic. While it appeared that Soulja Boy just lent his name to the devices, along with a slight markup, the emulators were still suspiciously cheap—$150 (£117) for the console, $100 (£78) for the handheld. They could supposedly play Nintendo Switch, 3DS, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Neo Geo, SEGA, NES classics, and Playstation Vita games. The console came with 800 games built-in, while the handheld had 3,000 titles.
I had to boss up, I didn’t have a choice. ♂️
— Soulja Boy (Drako) (@souljaboy) 29 December 2018
All this raised pesky questions about licensing, with many on Twitter speculating that the great battle of 2019 would be Nintendo vs. Soulja Boy. Still, Soulja Boy was adamant throughout the month on Twitter that everything was fine and his haters could keep on hating. The musician was tweeting as recently as December 28th that licensing wasn’t an issue, that his console wasn’t going anywhere, and that Nintendo definitely wasn’t going to sue him—though the tweet itself used a slur and was subsequently deleted. Something has clearly changed since then, as his entire gaming line has vanished from the Soulja Watch store.
It’s hard to feel too bad for Soulja Boy. If there’s one thing the musician/entrepreneur/gamer knows, it’s how to crank that. He’s planning on launching an esports team in 2019, and his website still has plenty of knock-off Apple products available for sketchily cheap. His Soulja Watch—which sells for an unfathomable $20 (£15) and ships from either Russia or China—is still available, as are his SouljaPhone, Soulja Headphones, SouljaPods, and SouljaPad. (The SouljaPods are less than $7... I mean...).
The only question I have left is for Soulja Boy himself: Can a girl get a response about that review unit of your Soulja Watch?
There are so many questions I want to ask @souljaboy about his new SouljaWatch. Like, how is it only $20 for a wearable with sleep tracking, camera, and push notifications? Why does it ship from Russia? Is this a scam? Do I care if it's a scam? Will he send me a review unit? pic.twitter.com/PsOInG8GHD
— Victoria Song is struggs to func (@vicmsong) 5 December 2018
Photo: Getty Images