Forum > Blogs > Piracy Ain't So Bad
Piracy Ain't So Bad
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Fri, 09 Mar 2012 22:29:46
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While observing the conversation about the second hand game market coming to an end (with online codes becoming the new normal), I came to the realization that those that pirate, on the whole, would never have bought the games they steal in the first place.  I looked at the massive amount of games I had purchased second hand over the years and wondered what number of them I would have paid full price for -- likely less than 15% of them.  The publishers received no further benefit from me buying their games on the grey market than had I pirated them.  But nor were they harmed.  In fact, some benefit came to them.  Those I liked acted as demos for the sequels for which I later paid full price.

Morally, I still think that piracy is stealing (actually see comment below). It's taking content for free that someone created with the sole purpose of selling comercially. But in terms of fiscal impact on the industry, I think the impact is vastly overstated.

From what I can tell pirating a game is still more hassle than working for the time it would take to buy the game. Particularly when you factor in paying for bandwidth, risking your console being bricked and removing the online components of the games.  Basically, from what I can tell, the only people likely to pirate games are children and teens who have no capability of paying for these game in the first place.

Frankly, I went through the same thing, but in my day it involved taping songs off the radio to a cassette rather than buying it from a store. It took a hell of a lot of time, the DJ's spoke over the beginning and ends of songs and it sounded like shit.  But hey, it was free. Later, when I got a job I would buy albums of the recording artists I earlier stole from, so it worked out for them in the end, and pretty much, I think that is how it's going to shake out for game publishers as well.

Edited: Sat, 10 Mar 2012 08:01:19


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Fri, 09 Mar 2012 22:57:46
+2

On this topic, not long ago I finally tried out a Dolphin Emulator. After all the work I went through to set it up correctly I finally played a game with it... and boy what a waste of time that was. You have to dedicate a lot of time and energy to have it run properly and even then there are still so many issues. The game's speed never runs quite right - either too fast or too slow, the music doesn't sound anywhere near right, and while the textures do look good it still seems like Revenge of the Jagged Edges. Supposedly there's additional fixes you can do to get things to play right, but if what I've read is correct you still have to make adjustments for each individual game. At the end of the day it really is easier just to plop down a few bucks on a used Wiii game and calll it a day. If nothing else it really helps keep the blood pressure lower.

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Sat, 10 Mar 2012 01:53:03
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You've only come to that conclusion to justify your exploitation of Pamela's trial system. I'm on to you daddy-o!

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Sat, 10 Mar 2012 03:39:39
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+1 for adjusting your views based on new information, regardless of whether I agree (which, for the most part, I do).

I will continue to take issue with the conflation of copyright infringement with stealing.  They have separate definitions.  It's not a matter of one being worse or better, they're different moral and legal issues with different moral and legal ramifications.  

It's amazing, though, that even now content providers don't seem to recognize (or don't care to) that a significant portion, though not by any means the entirety, or perhaps even majority, of piracy is about convenience and quality of product.  It's most evident in movies, though it applies in part to gaming.  I'll use movies as an example because it's the most blatant.  Piracy provides a better service and a better product than legitimate distributors.  No commercials, no DRM, no bullshit.  Easy access, usable anywhere, goes right to the film.

Can you truly install games to play without the disk?  How hotswappable are harddrives?  Can you get any game through digital distribution, or only the ones you want?  DRM?  Going to lock me out of my games if the network goes down?

From a business perspective, piracy is a competitor, whether or not it is "right".  So when the competitor has an unbeatable price, the worst thing you can do is make their product the superior one as well.
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Sat, 10 Mar 2012 07:56:32
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I'm still open to the moral question, now that I think about it some more.  

If someone shoplifts a game from a store, that is clearly morally wrong and is damaging to the party that paid for the merchandise.

If someone obtains a digital copy of a game, (a party that was not going to purchase it under any circumstances), then what harm is done?  There is not a limited amount of bits in the world.

Now I know that morality is more than just determining harm, but it is where justice begins.

As to convenience, my first reaction when I discovered last month that the Back to the Future game trilogy was just now being released in Europe was, "Well, in this case I couldn't fault someone for pirating that game -- why would they wait almost a year to delay a territorial release in this day and age?".


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Sat, 10 Mar 2012 14:07:40
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Friend of mine used to pirate xbox 1 games. he had a huge collection but never played anything. Its better to buy, it gives you an incentive to play too, get your moneys worth.
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Sat, 10 Mar 2012 17:31:39
+3
gamingeek said:
Friend of mine used to pirate xbox 1 games. he had a huge collection but never played anything. Its better to buy, it gives you an incentive to play too, get your moneys worth.

You realize who you're talking to, right? LOL

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Sun, 11 Mar 2012 15:00:26
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I never felt bad playing old games on an emulator, can't play most of them without them.I pay for what I want but like you said yoda many times the pirated Ganesh are much easier to play, they come out on time and in the end those will be the only place to Preserve our entire game history.
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Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:26:34
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I agree with Yoda. Piracy is not the same as stealing, but merely stating that isn't meant to indicate that it's not wrong. Stealing involves the relocation of the object such that the original owner no longer possesses it. Game piracy (unless it's the actual thievery of the disc or packaging materials) is copyright infringement.

It really is about convenience and quality of product. The gaming industry needs to treat piracy as a competitor and enrich their legally-obtainable games accordingly if they want to diminish illegal acquisition.

Piracy in general is on shaky moral grounds. If everyone pirated, the profit-making portion of the software industry would probably cease to exist. People wouldn't get paid enough, so they would lose their jobs. On the other hand: 1) the "if everyone x'ed" argument is stupid, since there would be bad consequences if EVERYONE did ANYTHING (aside from eat, sleep, etc.); and 2) piracy definitely isn't theft, because nothing is being deprived of a party. It doesn't actually hurt anyone in the manner that theft does. It's more like voters not voting for anyone, rather than voters voting for a candidate's opposition.

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Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:56:35

^Good points which I agree with Beave.


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Wed, 21 Mar 2012 14:21:43
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Piracy will always exist, so DRM and other measures to try and "prevent" it are useless. Hopefully, more content-offering companies will eventually realize the way to get more people to buy your product instead of pirating it is to offer more value to it. And I'm not even talking about free content either (althoguh it doesn't hurt). Prolonged support, user friendliness, ease of use are always welcome.

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Thu, 22 Mar 2012 20:17:38
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^ and by value, NOT removing features and requiring a one-time use code for them *cough*EA*cough*
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Sun, 29 Apr 2012 10:29:10

As with most things the "morals" I go by are mostly my own gut feelings.  I do things which fall under piracy but which I can justify to myself.  For example a game like The Last Story.  I bought it legit, full price and upon launch, only to find out that they didn't include the Japanese voice track, much to my disappointment.  Since my wii is modded I have the option of downloading and playing an "undub" version of the game, where some clever geek interfered and inserted the Japanese voice track into the European version of the game.  I don't feel bad since I've bought the game, I just want to enjoy it as much as I can.

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