Survey: Economy Tempts Aussies Toward Game Piracy

Survey: Economy Tempts Aussies Toward Game Piracy

A new survey conducted on behalf of the Australian games industry has found we’re increasingly tempted by pirated games thanks to the economic crisis.

However, while 64% of those surveyed find themselves “much more tempted” by piracy, nearly 80% felt they would be dissuaded from doing so knowing they could incur a fine or conviction or that the pirated product could be inferior to one obtained by legitimate means. A similar percentage said they would think twice about pirating if they knew their actions were harming Australian business and industry jobs.

The flipside of these findings suggests that there’s a core 20-25% of Australians who seem happy pirating games regardless of the potential consequences.

Judging by the questions asked, it seems like the industry is looking to educate consumers about the effects of piracy on both a personal level (fines, quality) and across the wider industry (jobs, business). Which approach do you think will prove more effective? What other ideas do you have for steering Australian gamers away from piracy?

Full press release below:

Industry groups warn against rise in piracy during recession

Tuesday, 5 May 2009 – A coalition of industry bodies have warned the Australian public against the increased temptation to buy counterfeit goods, following a national Newspoll survey revealing almost two thirds (64%) of consumers believe it is ‘much more tempting’ to buy or obtain pirated products in the current economic climate.

The national survey of 700 respondents commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) and the Australian Toy Association found that despite the increase in temptation, 74 per cent agreed that pirated products have a negative impact on the economy.

Clare Wharrier, Co-Chair, Business Software Alliance Australia said, “Now more than ever, it’s crucial that individuals and businesses say no to piracy because it directly undermines Australian industry and discourages local innovation and creativity.”

“Australian innovation and creative industries rely on the protection of intellectual property rights and this issue not only affects specific industries, but the Australian economy as a whole,” Ms Wharrier said.

It has been estimated that a reduction in piracy by 10 per cent over the next four years would generate an additional 3,929 jobs in Australia’s software industry. According to an IDC Piracy Impact Study (2008), the reduction would result in AU$1.9 billion in local industry revenue and AU$4.3 billion in additional GDP.

“In the gaming industry alone, the cumulative economic impact of piracy is $840 million,*” said Ron Curry, Chief Executive Officer, IEAA.

“A rise in pirated goods against the current economic backdrop puts Australia at risk of falling behind in its drive to become a ‘smart economy’,” Mr Curry said.

“In the case of the toy industry, purchasing pirated goods means putting children at risk from unsafe toys. Pirated goods also adversely affect consumers financially, through the risk of being ripped off, as well as finding that the products are of inferior quality,” said Beverly Jenkin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Toy Association.”

The majority of people surveyed said that knowledge of the tangible effects of piracy – as well as the personal risk – makes them less likely to buy pirated goods. Eighty percent of respondents revealed that knowing they could support organised crime would make them less likely to buy or obtain a pirated product. A similar proportion (78%), also said that knowing they could be harming Australian businesses and jobs would make them less likely to support piracy.

The Australian Federal Police’s Manager for Economic Operations, Commander Ian McCartney, said intellectual property crime was not victimless and the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods funds organised crime.

“Counterfeiting and piracy has far reaching impact and the Australian Federal Police is committed to investigating and prosecuting producers, organisers and distributers of offending products,” said Commander McCartney.

Other key findings of the survey included:

1. More than two thirds (73%) said knowing they could incur a fine or conviction would make them less likely to buy counterfeit goods.

2. Eight in 10 (78%) said knowing the product is of inferior quality would make them less likely to obtain a pirated product.

3. Those aged 18-34 years (73%) were significantly more likely to agree that it is much more tempting to buy pirated goods, than those aged 50 years and over (53%).

4. 78 per cent of females and 68 per cent of males said that knowing you could be fined or receive a conviction would make them less likely to buy or obtain a pirated product.

– Ends –

Survey conducted by Newspoll, April 2009. *IEAA Interactive Australia Report 2009


  • The problem is there are too many shitty games coming out and too many people have been burnt by spending $80AU+ on them so they turn to piracy. Especially so in a recession.

    If publishers weren’t gunho about publishing the first piece of shit that comes across their table the situation might be a bit better.

  • lol, law enforcement hassling you for pirating? As if. If those dodgy Chinese bootleg stores can happily operate in the middle of Melbourne and Sydney CBDs flogging thousands of bootlegs from around the world (and of local product), then obviously there isn’t much interest in dealing with the problem.

  • Neolithic that’s the stupidest excuse I’ve ever heard. Almost very game these days allows you to download a free demo to try out. People pirate stuff because they are cheap and lazy not because they’ve been burnt buying a crap game before.

  • With respect. Piracy, certainly the prevalence of which online has grown to massive proportions is more of a reaction of the market to an increase in supply than anything else.

    Video game, film, music and associated industry groups need to adequately address this supply increase by offering a better quality of product either through price reduction and/or other means of product differentiation.

    Steam and iTunes highlight that digital distribution can offer consumers a cheap legal alternative to pirated goods as well as placing less barriers to entry for artists and developers alike.

    No-one doubts that piracy is illegal, but if the industry truly wishes to regain lost profits. They need to stop treating their consumers as criminals and start recognising and adapting to the change in the market.

    The argument that just because the product is free is false, bottled water proves that properly marketed and differentiated products sell.

    • “Steam and iTunes highlight that digital distribution can offer consumers a cheap legal alternative to pirated goods as well as placing less barriers to entry for artists and developers alike. ”

      Unfortunately the key word there is “can”, as in they often aren’t cheaper, which undermines the whole point of digital distribution. I can buy CDs and games from places like JB or Big W for the same price- sometimes cheaper- than on those services. A prime example is the latest Company of Heroes expansion, it’s US$50 on Steam for Australian customers- nearly twice the price of its Australian RRP!

      I find that somewhere between annoying and insulting, and certainly reinforces the “they don’t give a crap about customers” grudge against publishers, that they’ll rip us off at any opportunity. Why should I do good by them if they won’t do good by me?

      (I’ll note that I’m one of those suckers who DOES buy games, and several times I’ve been burnt because of it, most recently my ordeal trying to get my legal copy of Dawn of War 2 to work, while the pirated copy worked perfectly for who didn’t pay… in the end I needed to download the patches meant for the pirated version to get the game to work!)

      • @Mr Waffle

        Is Tales of Valor still US$50? THQ told me last week it was priced incorrectly and should have been changed by now.

      • Good point mate. Certainly the publishers do tend to rip the aussie gamer off, by and large though Valve do offer a cheaper product.

        The weekend sales also do alot to encourage repeat usage and purchase. Orange box the other weekend for 10 bucks was fantastic value.

        Valve are probably the highlight, and whilst I don’t think the tunes on iTunes are that cheap the apps in the appstore certainly are.

      • @David

        You’re right, it has been dropped to US$29.99, which is much more reasonable. From a look at the game’s forum the change happened in the last week or two. I did notice a quote there, from the 15th of April-

        “I asked thq europe support about the high price on steam..
        “Thank you for contacting THQ technical support. Unfortunately we have no influences over what price a reseller sells our games, it is up to the reseller to determine this.”

        Their price is/was similarly broken-

        “Tales of Valor = $29.99 For Yanks etc etc!
        Tales of Valor = e34.99 For Europeans!
        Tales of Valor = £29.99 For Brits!”

        So THQ blamed Steam for that one.

  • Good to see the corporate shills doling out the “PiRACY is LoSt sAles!” line of reasoning again. /sarcasm

    Where do the people who say these things think that the magical AU$4.3 billion will come from?! People need to actually have that money in the pockets in the first place to be able to spend it on games, let alone being willing to spend it on luxuries like entertainment. When you’re struggling to pay the rent, you’re more likely than not to say “f*** the games!”

    The idea that if consumers simply stopped pirating games then the industry will suddenly, overnight EXPLODE with extra sales is patently ludicrous.

  • It’s a cute angle he takes, as usually a pirate PC game is of *higher* quality than a legit copy, seeing as it won’t have system screwing DRM.

  • If I can buy a game at a reasonable price (50 to 70 bucks depending on the game), I buy it. TAKE NOTE PUBLISHERS. Almost every game I have bought in the last year was on Steam from publishers who didnt differentiate AU and US prices (pretty much just Valve and indies).

    Games I buy for the PS3 are imported.

    Basically, we are getting ripped off and modern games aren’t worth the price of admission.

    I havent even pirated a game in a while, simply because they arent worth my precious quota nowadays (6 gig of my 40 a month for a game? No thanks).

  • It’s not just price that we get shafted on, some games don’t even make it here (banned or just obscure) so in these cases pirating is usually the only option available. I pirate any game that gets banned here 9even if I don’t think I’ll play it) just so I can have it sitting on my computer and laugh at the innefectual classifaction code.

  • I buy games if i like them and are appropriately priced…. Why does it cost $120 to buy a new ps3/360 game whereas it was unthinkable for them to be above $100 in n64 times….

    Ill pirate the game to see if i enjoy it, most of the games i pirate i wont buy because they are crap, the ones that i buy i quite enjoy like the orange box last weeekend($13), this weekend left 4 dead ($22), the weekend before that a new 360 game for $80………

    Australians do get shafted and yes they are using the music industry mentality of all those pirated copies are equal amounts lost sales. I wouldve thought they got the hint when even popular games dont sell that well until they are on sale

  • It’s just so frustrating when you buy a game (PC) but it won’t work until you apply a patch meant to facilitate piracy. The requirement to have the CD in the drive for PC games is annoying also. Mass Effect got it right by removing that.

    I might be naive, but I don’t think there’s much piracy on PS3, 360 or Wii in Australia.

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