"Games Lawyer" Doesn’t Understand Why People Hate Piracy Prosecution

"Games Lawyer" Doesn’t Understand Why People Hate Piracy Prosecution

“Game Laywer” Jas Purewal has written an open letter to Edge, addressed to “those who defend game pirates”. You’d hope it’s a considered, practical approach to one of the muddiest topics this industry faces today. It is not.

Instead, Purewal begins like this:

In case you hadn’t guessed, this is a letter to those folks who oppose developers taking legal action against people who download and play their games without paying. Hello.

And right off the bat he’s got it wrong. It is not the principle of legal action itself that people oppose. After all, the issue at hand is one of illegally obtaining a product (or service, depending on how you view games these days), something I’d hope most people still believe is the wrong thing to do.

What people oppose is the disproportionate punishment they’re receiving, and the controversial means via which those punished are being identified.

The meat of Purewal’s letter is him looking at five reasons or excuses people pirate and grading them out of 10, based on how credible he believes them to be.

Some gems include:

In reality, I suspect fairly few pirates actually go to the trouble of disguising themselves. Besides which, just because the method is not perfect, doesn’t mean we should throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, does it?

Piracy might result in an eventual purchase of a game, but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer. Sadly developers are not gamer banks, willing to effectively loan gamers money until we decide we like them enough to pay them.

While he does slightly redeem himself towards the end, saying “market solutions rather than legal action is my preferred response to piracy” (ie, use Steam because Steam has inbuilt DRM), the fact a “games lawyer” is sounding like a record company executive from the turn of millennium is worrying.

Does anyone else get the feeling this whole piracy business, at least on PC, is coming to a head? There’s only so much more DRM and rhetoric the industry can take before something has to give.

To those who defend game pirates [Edge]


  • What about the people who pirate it because no demo was released and wanted a sample of it (to see if it runs or if they enjoy it)? What about those who pirated it because they purchased it legally but lost their DRM code, or the online servers which they have to authenticate it with are down (which is what happened when AC2 was released on PC)?

    I’m not defending all pirates. I’m sure there are a large number of pirates who are tighta***s and download the game and play it from start to finish for free; of that, there is no question at all and they are rather scummy. But how do you differentiate between the two groups of pirates I’ve outlined? Because in my opinion, I don’t think the former are necessarily in the wrong.

    • And lets be honest, not only are we recieving less and less demos of games but more and more supposed AAA titles end up being quite a let down. And at $80+ a pop locally who wants to risk that kind of cash. Sure we can order from the UK but it is a shame we should have to just to get a good deal. But that is another problem altogether.
      I can recall even just 5 years ago I would barely pirate anything because I almost always had a good opportunity to try before I buy via demos.

      • Yup and there was always a good reason to buy your PCpowerplay, or your XBOX/PS2 Magazine’s because they came with disc’s full of glorious Demo’s.

        Heck i remember one game that probably got about 50 hour’s out of it’s demo. purely because i didn’t have the money to buy it. Yet as a demo of a party game could be insane fun with friends.

      • My approach to games without a demo is simple, if it looks really good or comes from a trusted developer then I’ll take the risk but if its a game I’m even vaguely uncertain about, its going to wait till its 5 bucks on steam

        • true that, without demos I wouldnt have become a fan of the hitman franchise. The fact that there are less demos these days goes to show you that the industry realises that 90% of its output is rehashed and uninspired.

    • Piracy is illegal. That’s it. Listening to you trying to justify it is like listening to an immature girl trying to tell herself it’s not her fault she cheated on her boyfriend.

      It’s like saying “I like those shoes, but I don’t really want to pay for them right now in case they don’t feel nice to walk in, so here’s what I’ll do right, I’ll take them for now, I’ll steal them. If after a indeterminate amount of time, however, if I deem them worthy for purchase, I’ll come back and give you the money. Maybe. Deal?”

      You’re free to do whatever you like, you can illegally download these games very easily and you likely won’t get caught, but please, PLEASE, don’t try and rationalise it out loud, it’s painful to watch.

      • So you buy all games on a whim and are perfectly happy when they turn out to be duds? You don’t ever feel the need to want to try before you buy?

        • @Chazz No I don’t, the internet has all the information you need: reviews, videos, metacritic, etc. I would love to try before I buy at times, but that’s not always an option, so I don’t break the law and say it’s not my fault, I take a chance.

          Life is filled with risks that you need to take that have far more at stake than your video game purchases, and there’s no way to pirate a girl before you ask her out beforehand, no way to move into a house for 6 months before you sign years of income away on a mortgage to pay for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if there was the piracy industry for those things would be booming, but just because it’s easy with the entertainment industry doesn’t make it right.

          And I say all this without stressing that I am not guilty of piracy too. Of course I’d never say I do it either because this is a public forum and I have more sense than that (LukeN).

          My only point is, break the law or play by the rules, but either way be accountable for your actions.

          • So you ask a girl out based on what other people tell you about her and her pictures on facebook? You move into a house based on it’s online pictures and a wikipedia entry on the style of house and the word of the seller? Because that’s the same as buying a game based on reviews and videos.

            If you want to speak out against piracy at least use decent examples.

          • Ignoring that niggling feeling that I’m wasting my time here, I’ll say you’re actually working against yourself now.

            You’re right, girls and houses don’t have these easy guides and ratings that minimise nasty surprises and disappointment. Games DO! So use them and don’t pass the buck.

          • You’ve missed my point entirely. Hearing about something and reading about something that is either physical (girl, home) or at the very least interactive (videogame) does not give the full impression.

            Relying on reviews is relying on another person’s opinion. A person you don’t know in any way shape or form thus you have nothing to measure their opinion by. Watching videos doesn’t show you how you would personally cope with the game mechanics and most don’t show the visual style to it’s fullest so even from a purely aesthetic standpoint you don’t have the full picture.

            A demo, or in this case a sampling of the pirated copy, is the only truly reliable way to tell if you would enjoy the product. Of course you can take a risk, but why should you when the avenue to try to before you buy has previously been readily available for years?

            Like I said, you get to know a person before you try to date them, you inspect a house before you rent or buy, you test drive a car before you get it, you watch trailers for movies before you see them in cinemas or buy the dvd, you taste test foods before you buy (whether it’s an in-store promotion) or out and about (maybe nicking part of a friend’s dish) so on and so forth.

            If there is an avenue to test a product before you purchase it, then you should do so. Yes, pirating is illegal, but trying to throw all people who pirate into the one boat is beyond stupid.

          • @Chazz You can be a nice person who is breaking the law or you can be a bad person who breaks the law. You’re not all in one boat but in the eyes of the law you only need the latter part of your descriptor to identify what you are.

            Some laws like the illegality of marijuana are debated all across the world right now, but just because you don’t approve of the law you have to follow, it doesn’t make it right to break it. Not until it’s changed.

            All of the examples you have listed are LEGAL ways to try before you buy. If you want to play a game before you buy (and there’s no demo) I recommend you wait til your friend who lets you steal his food buys the game and then you can play it at his house first.

            Without calling you this, your argument is more along the lines of, “I wanted to “try” this girl before I dated her so I raped her. She should have let me have sex with her for free to begin with but she didn’t give me any option to do so, so that’s what I had to do. I’m not like other rapists, I was going to date her right after! What! What do you mean I’m going to jail for several years? Shouldn’t my punishment just be the cost of a comparable prostitute in looks for the night instead of this unfair punishment? No I’m not an idiot, why are you asking? YOU’RE THE IDIOTS! You wait til the internet hears about this!” (Again, you are not a rapist, nobody here is, I hope. And no, I’m not saying women are “things” just like games, and yes, I do find it ridiculous that these bases have to be covered like this, but this a comparable train of thought to your piracy one.)

            You will never have a full picture of the ramifications of your choices before they are made, as I said almost a full hour ago now, sometimes you need to take a risk. Either buy it without knowing everything about the game (which I think is far better anyway) or pirate the game ILLEGALLY.

          • ‘Some laws like the illegality of marijuana are debated all across the world right now, but just because you don’t approve of the law you have to follow, it doesn’t make it right to break it. Not until it’s changed’

            I’d just like to point out this is something very VERY few people actually follow in any meaningful way, though many hypocrites love to argue it. While I generally agree the law is there for a reason and should be followed, I can’t stand the fallacious thinking people throw around that ‘the law is right because it’s a the law.’ Laws are created by us, they aren’t inherently the ‘right’ thing. Not breaking it might help keep public order, but appealing to ‘because it’s the law’ instead of actually giving a rational explanation of why that law should be in place and followed is foolish. Hell, I’m the ONLY person I know that doesn’t jaywalk, if you live in a major city, go and sit on a bench near an intersection and enjoy all the many thousands of hypocrits that pass you by, I find it utterly confounding that people who jaywalk even try to pull out the argument ‘breaking the law is wrong because it’s the law.’ Do that many people actually admit to intentionally being… well, law breakers?

          • Sorry, Chazz- you can’t do that with films (legally) nor with homes, etc. The temptation is to convince yourself you’d buy it if it were better, but let’s face it, most people won’t. I *really* hope we can stop debating whether taking someone else’s work for free when it has a price-tag is wrong.

            I’ll give you a clue. It is.

          • Que? You can’t watch previews of films and inspect a house before spending money on either?

          • Except that there are plenty of ways to test a movie without paying full price or resorting to piracy.

            There are movie rental outlets which for a small cost allow you to watch a movie you don’t deem worth buying or are undecided on.

            There is the FTA TV/Cable TV channels which can air movies for free or a limited cost.

            While not so readily available in Australia as say the US. There are streaming options that are even cheaper. though these admittedly require the use of ones Download limit.

            Onlive is a step forward in this regard but comes with a couple of problem’s. A) in a 1 hour demo a stream will use about 3GB of data. Which can be 1/4-1/2 of the full game.
            B) Thing’s like artifacing and the like can occur due to the stream.
            C) it gives you absolutely no idea if the game actually can run on your computer. Since all you receive is a video stream

          • Dunno where this argument is headed but you’re straying from the point which is “is piracy wrong?” to “how to judge a game before buying?”…

          • lawls, chazz. NO. You date a girl first(i.e. demo her), when you buy a house you have 14 days cooling to change your mind.

            As for PC there is little you can do unless there is a demo or a friend forks out cash. With consoles you can always go to the video store and rent a copy to try it.

            piracy is a case of a simple problem with complicated solutions. Gabe newells comments on piracy are some of the most elegant comments made on the matter.

          • Just because something is the law doesn’t make it right.

            Sometimes there are issues with the law, or the laws applied were designed to protect something else.

            There are some pretty far out laws in some countries in the Middle East, do you think that the woman shouldn’t have let her self be raped if she didn’t want to go to jail for adultery?

            I would also like to say that I don’t think the vast majority of laws are wrong, so don’t try and twist my words and call me an anarchist or something.

          • Wow! Trivialising rape to try and prove a point. What you just wrote was so abhorrent it’s unbelievable and now amount of words will change what you just said.

          • Seems my idiot-proof disclaimer let one through the net. If anything YOU are trivialising rape. If one law isn’t convenient enough for you, why should any law be?

          • Sorry but I’m done with you. You are pathetic and disgusting. Bringing something as horrific as rape into this in an attempt to win an argument over something so petty as game piracy is just all kinds of fucked up. You will get no more responses from me and trying to defend what you said in anyway is nothing more than another sign of how fucked in the head you are and when you finally meet someone who has been raped, I hope you share your little story with them so they can smack the life out of you.

          • I hate Lawful Good people like you, Alex.

            Why can’t you guys all be Chaotic Neutral like me.

          • His line of thinking isn’t lawful good. Those considered lawful good challenge law when necessary and aren’t blind followers of law.

          • Ok I’m glad you’re done commenting Chazz because it means you will just listen.

            Firstly, I know when someone mentions words like “rape” and “sexist” on the internet it’s very difficult not to jump to conclusions about what is being said, but here’s the thing, I am not even commenting on rape, I’m commenting on you. You need to read what I’m writing, not what you’re expecting to see. Your reaction makes me think you believe rape can’t be used in ANY conversations as a point of comparison which is ridiculous, but that’s beside the point because we AREN’T talking about rape here, it’s being used as an analogy for people who refuse to own up to their actions because they expect special treatment.

            Here’s the thing, this “lawful” stuff, first of all, is false. I’m not condoning the piracy law in any way shape or form, I believe the internet is the greatest tool for sharing we will ever see in our lifetimes. When I release my own works (be they music/art/writing, etc.) I will absolutely offer it up for free to whomever chooses to enjoy it. But its a company’s right to charge you for its products, that’s what fuels the economy and shapes your entire topsy-turvy, back-to front world that you are extraordinarily the centre of (What are the chances!?).

            The law is out of date, it needs to be revised for many internet based issues, especially piracy. HOWEVER, so long as I am living in a country who’s laws prohibit piracy, I am aware that partaking in piracy is a crime. If one gets caught pirating intellectual property, the law will punish them. If they don’t get caught, that’s pretty fortunate, but it doesn’t change the facts.

            If you don’t agree with a law that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t apply to you, these systems are put in place by leaders that answer to THE people, not individuals. If I don’t agree with a law, it doesn’t remove my guilt to just break it until somebody smarter than me works out laws CAN be changed so long as you don’t act like a petulant, entitled child.

            And lets talk about entitlement here for a second. As a consumer, your entitlements are numerous, but they don’t include a universal right to “try before you buy”. The minimum a company can do to avoid lawsuits is correctly establish what the product is and does without a purchase required, and to make sure the production quality is high enough that when you open up the box, you get what you understood you were paying for.

            Even refunds are completely within your rights in the face of NO REFUNDS small text, just not for reasons of TASTE which seems to be the majority of your reasoning for piracy. The law protects these rights, but many companies want to give you more than that, they want to give you bonuses, because that’s the difference between you buying their products or a competitor’s.

            Many of you say “Well, I want to test it out first and they don’t give me a demo, so it’s ok to pirate.” but the demo was never a right you were given to begin with, it was a privilege. And a demo’s main goal was a form of advertising for the game. The reason why you don’t see nearly as many demos as you used to anymore is because the games industry is far bigger now, its fan-base is exponentially increasing, and demo (discs/downloads) are no longer worth the company’s time and effort. They can advertise far more effectively without taking up valuable development time throwing together a demo to court the minority. It’s really as simple as that.

            Frankly, if you can’t make a decision whether or not to buy a game after all of the reviews online, screenshots, videos, video reviews and metacritic aggregations, you are being difficult. This doesn’t stop you from pirating the game to see what it’s like, but it is still a crime.

            You may think you’re (the “good” pirates) numerous, but you aren’t. You may think that piracy is, as a whole, a good thing, but only a small group of people actually purchase after they pirate. Piracy is good, piracy is bad, piracy is illegal, it’s entirely easy for you to achieve, and it’s YOUR fault if you get caught.

            Pirate all you like, just don’t kid yourself in thinking it’s a fault of others that drove you to it.

            And Chazz, when you meet someone who lost their job because of the piracy you shrug off as a non-issue, I hope they let you know in-depth what an affect it’s had on their life and career. I don’t wish violence upon you however, like you did to me, that’s the language of fools.

          • @Azza: I think you mean Chazz is wrong, then. But you’re right, just because you haven’t used a physical copy of something does not mean you aren’t taking intellectual property without compensating its creators.

          • I hope most people have enough sense to see this guy and his response for what they really are.

            But just so you know, Alex, at least one sane other person agrees with you.

          • Most of what you say has merit. And people who pretend piracy etc isn’t wrong are just kidding themselves but one thing that really irks me is when people carry on about how we should obey it because it’s the law or accept it because it’s the law..
            In reality if it is an unjust law (like most illegal drug laws) it is our duty to break it, to force those who can to change it. Rosa parks, Egypt etc middle east regime changes are all extreme examples of people not accepting unjust laws.
            As copyright infringement and patent law currently stands they are unjust laws, the crimes far exceed fair or rational and it just allows companies to unduly exert control and maintain monopolies. I think it is our duty to break their system until they make it fair. Fair prices/compensation and fair punishments.
            First world problems =D

          • @WOJAus; So you support using rape as a comparison to situations like piracy? Very sane indeed.

            Good to see the anti-piracy people have a wonderful grip on reality where they can compare heinous crimes to trivial matters.

          • Do all of you who trivialise rape for the sake of petty argument do the same in conversations with your loved ones? Your parents and siblings, girlfriends/boyfriends, fiancés?

          • Unfortunately Chazz is right. There is no justification for pirating games. I recently bought Arkham City and I’m not really enjoying it that much despite all of the rave reviews – do the developers still deserve my money? Of course they do – I can still acknowledge the work they put into this.

            BTW, I pirate movies and tv shows all the time. I can’t possibly justify it (apart from a lack of convenience options) but I still don’t feel that bad about it. I’m a bad person I know.

          • Chazz, you are embarrassing yourself. go read a book on everything and then go to sleep and realise you know nothing

          • disclaimer: I’m not getting involved in this arugment, I’m just pointing out that one small point, that when you’re trying to justify something you need to actually justify it, not simply use circular logic. (The law is right because it’s the law because it’s right because it’s the law etc). What might be obvious is there are rare instances that I think breaking the law is might be excuseable, though it is never desireable, but I’m not trying to imply pirating is one of these. (or that it isn’t for that matter).

        • Wow Chazz, that’s a pretty butthurt comment there. Haven’t seen this level of butthurt since you had Gears spoilt for you.

        • Hmm lets try quoting.
          Piracy is illegal. That’s it. Listening to you trying to justify it is like listening to an immature girl trying to tell herself it’s not her fault she cheated on her boyfriend.

          This line of argument is trotted out by people time and again, it is utterly stupid and all you do is show how much of a moron you are by using that line.

          Black people at the front of the bus was illegal, it’s illegal to jaywalk in most places, in many countries it’s still illegal to try and commit suicide.

          Legality has absolutely nothing to do with whether something is right or wrong, and juries actually have to the power to ignore the law if they feel it is not fair (something lawyers and judges try and lie to them about).

          Legal does not mean right, and illegal does not mean wrong. So people can justify it all the like, a simple “but it’s illegal” just shows you are a total moron.

      • It may well be a justification of piracy.

        But you know how you truly vilify piracy, how you get any gamer to turn against those who do it.

        You remove these sort’s of justifications from the equation. If the only reason anyone pirate’s games is because they are scum who outright refuses to pay for their shit. Gamer’s as a whole won’t be so defensive of them.

        ” if we provide a better service than the pirates do. This is now being accomplished increasingly by the games industry – winning!”

        Currently the pirates win out on being able to try before you buy.

        So maybe the game development teams should be looking at ways to remove that as an angle

        • You can try on shoes before you buy them in a store, dating is basically try before you buy for marriage in a way. Not actually defending piracy but your argument is not as black and white as you seem to think. Plus games reviews seem to be far less trustworthy these day too

      • > It’s like saying “I like those shoes, but I don’t really want to pay for them right now in case they don’t feel nice to walk in, so here’s what I’ll do right, I’ll take them for now, I’ll steal them. If after a indeterminate amount of time, however, if I deem them worthy for purchase, I’ll come back and give you the money. Maybe. Deal?”

        No, what I’m saying is, if there’s no demo, then all you’re doing is buying the shoes without getting to try them on at all. It’s like saying, I like the look of those shoes, can I try them?

        NO, PAY ME NOW.

        But I don’t know if I like it or not, I want to try them and see if I like it?

        No, it’s all or nothing. Pay me and buy the shoes (no refunds) or get out.

        Your analogy was stealing them and paying later. I never mentioned that, because I think that’s a grey area. I think if you pirate it day one and pay when it’s $5, I don’t agree with that. It’s better than nothing, but I don’t agree with it at all.

        • “I think if you pirate it day one and pay when it’s $5, I don’t agree with that.”

          Unless of course, that is in fact what the game is worth.

          • But that’s the point isn’t it, if i want a pair of say converse chucks and i go into store A) and they say no you can’t try these on they are 90 dollars. Oh your not sure if you want a size 13 or 14. too bad. I will walk out.

            And go to the next store that sells them until i get the store that is actually reasonable about these thing’s.

            hell i bought 3 new pair’s of black pants for work the other day. they were like 15 bucks each. Each pair is a completely different size even though they are all labeled the same. One pair is what i would deem one size smaller than i should be wearing and would probably split doing all the bending i do at work. 2nd pair fit’s perfectly that i wouldn’t need a belt and the third pair is about 2 sizes too big.

            While part of this is probably down to the relatively cheap cost. If i had tried them on i would have either saved myself 30 bucks or got 3 pairs that i can actually wear

        • That’s why they need to let you play more games in stores these days. They always used to have games running in stores 5 years ago. Now I don’t remember the last time I saw one.

      • Should also add that when it comes to shoes you are allowed to take them off the shelf, wear them and walk around in them.

        • Not with online stores, where many many people buy their clothes now. You just have to pick a size and hope it’s right. But you CAN send it back for a refund/replacement afterwards.

          So maybe the problem with online games is that the NO REFUNDS thing at the bottom is getting you down. In that case I would say buy in store where you can at the very least get in store credit if the risks are too unattractive for you. Any games that are digital distribution only are generally lower cost these days anyway.

          My analogies are simply a way of illustrating that no matter what you do, everything has risks. The games industry has its own risks and if you want to utilise it legally you have to follow the rules. Or you can get into a position where you can change the rules, or you can not play games anymore. That’s all.

          • Online shopping is optional though. Buying a game without a demo, you’re left with little choice.

            I have the opportunity to go into a store and try on an article of clothing I would like to purchase before I purchase it, I also have the option of purchasing online and hoping that it will be alright. In a lot of cases when buying online you take into consideration the opinions of other people, what you’ve seen of the products in real life either on/with friends on in stores. The same thing applies to Video Games, except publishes remove the first option of actually trying before you buy. You HAVE to rely on the opinions of others, what glimpses you see on YouTube clips, what it looks like when your friends play it.

            If publishers don’t understand this then they deserve to loose money from lost sales.

          • Precisely, if publishers don’t understand this then they do deserve to loose money from lost sales.

            That doesn’t automatically mean that you deserve to get their game for nothing. That’s an entitlement mentality, and guess what, you aren’t entitled to get what you want.

          • I take it you haven’t heard that most people do store trials anyway.

            Go to your local store take advantage of the try the clothes period then order of the net.

            It’s one of the reason the clothing sector were pushing for taxes on internet purchases. Because they can’t reasonably demand people can’t try things(Especially because then they definitely can’t compete with the online marketplace since all the have is the fact that my paying more you can take it home today)

      • Alex, no offence mate, but your wording is just as childish as you claim others are. “Piracy is illegal, ergo don’t do it”. OK, so in your books the law is the final word on any issue? What about outdated laws, e.g. concerning gay marriage? Even if you don’t like homosexuality, what about religious laws that HAVE changed? What happens if they didn’t change because someone said “it’s the law, don’t worship anything other than the officially prescribed religion”?

        Laws might not be meant to be broken, but they’re not meant to be set in stone. Heck, not even the “laws” of physics are set in stone (and are oft debated), so why should things as abstract as copyright and piracy laws?

        No issue in life is black and white, and to promote any as such is just as naïve as you’re accusing others of being.

        • I never said Piracy is illegal ergo don’t do it. I said Piracy is illegal ergo make sure you understand the possible ramifications of doing it and don’t push the blame for you actions on others if you get caught.

          I agree, laws and the world are constructs of average minds like you and I, and they can be revised and changed, but until they are, you run the risk of punishment from the society you have chosen to be a part of if you break them.

          Please don’t try and paraphrase what you think you read and tell me it’s what I’m saying.

      • Alex,

        wanted to commend your bravery in presenting a fair and rational viewpoint against the onslaught of denial you experienced. Well done dude.

        Good on you 🙂

    • Not having a demo or a decent trial period (for subscription-based games) is a sure-fire way to convince me that the publisher does not believe in their product, and if they don’t, why should I?

      • I should add that belief in their product goes just beyond how good the game is content-wise, but includes things like how it runs or if it runs at all on my/your system. PC hardware is such that sometimes or even often, having a particular graphics card for instance can cause glitches that make it unplayable.

  • I love that term “financial loss”. You can’t lose what you never had, bub.

    NotoriousR above covered the rest of my view.

    Also, did anyone else combine the quotes with the picture of Tim Curry and read them in his voice? (For me it was Curry as Frank’n’furter)

    • So by that statement:
      If you draw the most amazing piece of artwork in the world and then start selling copies of that painting for $1000 each, in the first week of you starting to sell that painting I walk into your house at night and Copy that painting almost to the exact same dimensions and detail. then I go home and put a copy of that in my house I decide its amazing and other people should have access to it too, So I set up a stand in the middle of the highway and let people make/take copies of said painting for free. all the while you havent even completed a whole week of sales.
      This is all completley justified Because You never had possession the “copies” in the first place so you cant claim “financial loss” or that its stealing?

  • NotoriousR put it perfectly. These days too few developers release demos of any sort for their games, and it becomes impossible to “try before you buy”. You essentially have no guarantee as to the quality of the product you are purchasing, only having reviews to go by. And reviews don’t account for personal taste, either. I miss the good old days when everything had a demo…

  • These people aren’t willing to pay, so you can’t really consider them lost profit. You cannot consider hypothetical profit an entitlement in any industry.

  • has anyone done a study on where piracy is worst per ca pita? i bet you places like aus where we get taken to the cleaners for games is the worst.

    • I really doubt it will be Oz, I’d guess Brazil the people are quite poor and the laws against it kinda weak

    • Mostly it’s non english speaking countries. Russia used to be the worst not sure if it still is.

      The problem in those countries generally stemmed from the fact that their would be little to no localisation language wise. Or if there was it was of that low quality that it was seen as a detriment to the game. So the pirates were releasing localized version’s of games. Sometimes before it even made it to the country as a release.

      Then you have Brazil which due to laws deciding that games are a non-essential import equivilant to gambling are covered in insane tax’s which drive the prices to the point where a worker on minimum wage there would need to save for a month to get a game.

      Hell when the PS3 launched there in 2010. The thing retailed at the equivalent of 1,130USD. so more than the thing cost in the US when it was released in 2006

  • His first 2 points are the same :(.

    IP/ISP tracing are the same and in both cases anyone can have their internet abused. I know uni student’s who swap between like 10 different peoples connections. The aim being that by only taking a little from each person they are less likely to notice

    I also luke has taken one quote extremely poorly here.

    “Piracy is not a lost sale.
    Rating: 5/10

    Maybe, maybe not. Piracy might result in an eventual purchase of a game, but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer. Sadly developers are not gamer banks, willing to effectively loan gamers money until we decide we like them enough to pay them. Besides which, again, where is the empirical evidence to demonstrate that piracy is not a lost sale?”

    So it may or may not be a lost sale, but somehow by someone taking a pirate copy of the game. the game developers have magically somehow given money to a gamer.

    They can’t loose money from piracy it’s impossible as there is nothing of value removed. Sure they might have expected X sales and instead some of those have been pirate copies instead. But they haven’t lost money, they didn’t hit their expected/desired profit margin either though or maybe they did despite the 100k pirates who would never have bought their game

    ” if we provide a better service than the pirates do. This is now being accomplished increasingly by the games industry – winning!”

    I don’t believe it is. In fact in most cases the service is getting worse, just sometimes the pirates can’t offer it. Thing’s like always online are a bane to those who don’t play games solely from their desktop and as a result don’t always have a connection where they are.

    Most game’s still refuse to offer demo’s so that the gamer can at least get a feel for the game or even see if it run’s.

    And the issue then becomes that even when these demo’s are provided since they are a different build to the final product sometimes what worked in the demo doesn’t work for full release on a person’s computer. Not to mention that if your given a 4GB demo to download of a 7GB game.

    Logically speaking, especially in those countries that still have download limits it is better to actually download the pirate version anyway. Because after you download that 4GB demo, your generally forced to download the 7GB full game because as before they are generally different build’s completely

    What they need to offer is the ability for said demo copies to be up-gradable to the full version. Making the demo more of a grab of the first 1-2 missions and make it available for most games right off the bat. Then if you want to buy the game you do so. Steam activates the key on your account and all the rest of the game files are authorized to be added to complete the game.

    Then when you go into the game you chuck your CD-Key in at the end of the demo section and continue playing. This way you have only downloaded 7GB instead of 11GB.


    Otherwise your best bet is to download the pirate ISO. Install it ,Crack it while backing up the files to be cracked, decide if you like it. Then if you want to buy the game, remove the cracked files, chuck the original’s back in and go and buy it off one of the many digital storefront’s out there.

    Want it on steam. That’s easy too.

    1)Buy the game on steam
    2)install the pirate copy of the game.
    3)initialize the install via steam, once it starts downloading close Steam.
    4) Go to the steam game’s folder and find the relevant folder for your game.
    5) Copy the pirate installation copy’s files into this directory
    6) Re-open steam, It will/Or you will, Verify the data cache, then download anything that is steam specific or updates to the game.
    7) Play the game.

    This method can be done with most games in my experience, I have used it to install Steam games from disc’s for games that aren’t steam centric. I bought C&C3 from steam during the Xmas sales. Installed it via my old C&C3 disc. Now i at least have a steam copy for future prosperity that can be downloaded anywhere if i ever have the urge to move and lose my C&C3 copy or simply not have it with me.

    • One more thing, that last method that i discussed. Can also be insanely helpful for those who get terrible speeds from steam.

      If you can get 3-4times faster speeds through means other than steam it can make your installation of your game alot faster.

    • My eyes! My eyes! They burn!! The words…too many words…it hurts! Oh make it stop! Make it stop!

      Good points though.

      • Heh seeing as you can only see like what 5 lines in the comment box. I am really rather surprised i paragraphed. or just hit enter as much as a i did.

        It could have come out as one massive slab of text 😀

        kinda curious if someone will report it for the last bit though 😀

  • I know! Everybody stop pirating then. Instead we’ll go out and buy second-hand… Or maybe borrow games from friends… Or even we could just not buy the game when it comes out and wait until the publisher/retailer gives up on it and slashes the price!

    It’s not pirating, and it clearly allows them to maximize their profits! They’ll love it!

  • I have a very simple gaming policy.

    If it’s not worth paying for, it’s not worth playing.

    Let’s face it, while I am Angry, I am not James the Angry Video Game Nerd, I’m not going to waste 3hrs of my limited time playing a shitty game when I have good games in my pile of Shame.

    If I think a game is only worth $20-$30 I will not buy the game until I can get it at that price. This may mean never getting said game.

    Now the whole try before you buy thing is something I can almost validate, but let me ask this question, who played Doom 1, Duke 3D and Quake? Everyone, they where all shareware games. Now who played the whole game? The bit you had to pay for?

    So they started making Demo’s shorter making them not like the full game to stop people clocking the 1st quarter or so of the game and not paying for it. Now they’ve stopped making Demo’s… A good Demo has instantly sold me on games but a bad one has made me hesitant.

    Because a Bad Demo is the worst possible thing you can do, other than hiring Ocean Marketting (sic) and it results in loss of projected sales. Infact almost all game information appears to be projected sales not actual sales. Take pre-Orders, do you really miss out on a game you don’t pre-order? Of course not, maybe you don’t get a special edition but you will get the game.

    DRM, everyone sees it as a horrible horrible thing, except these non-gamer account men who see it as now all the pirates will be forced to buy the game, that’s a million more sales there boys bank on it. Does it matter that “Franchise-lover_129” gets completely shafted? Not if they got his money. Heck I made this mistake myself, I have loved The settlers since I played the first one on my ol’ 486 but the latest version? I bought it in a Steam sale forgetting why I didn’t buy it originally; the always online DRM. My net connection will almost always fail when I try to play it. I purchased it, but 90% of the time my gaming experiance is degraged because I legally accquired it. And no they haven’t patched out the online connection yet.

    Now as to the try before you buy, Since EB’s 7 day return policy no longer applies to Video Games (All games have a unlock code now, the only way to know you didn’t use the code is to register it) no demo means no way to try it. But there’s always reviews to read or watch. But sometimes you need to experiance for yourself if this is right for you. So I will barely beleive this excuse for piracy. And I will outright accept the DRM won’t work on my machine so I pirated it but I still have the legit copy I paid for excuses but a lot of the rest are pretty bloody lame.

    But honestly how many Pirates don’t use the line I wanted to try it, but it was crap so I didn’t pay for it, but I than played it non-stop till I finished it.

    Longer rant than I expected, Thank you if you read it.

    • Alinos said alot of things I could have referenced if only i had of seen it, but it wasn’t there when I started typing.

    • Wait, sorry, I may have misunderstood, but were you >implying nobody (not literally) bought the full versions of Duke/Doom/Quake?
      Because I find this hard to believe. I myself owned multiple copies of those things.
      Also, nice reference to Ocean Marketting. 😀

  • I sometimes wonder if there was a direct correlation between the decline of shareware and the rise of game copyright infringement?

  • Here’s the thing that bothers me: I pay for all my games, but I also torrent all the time (if you don’t believe me look at the proportion of steam purchases I don’t have time to start – I’m ScaryMagus in the kotaku group). I’m not even talking about trying before I buy – I do it because its frequently faster than steam, to get around DRM or because the pirates patch games faster than developers (Fallout: NV). I’m not sure whether I’m breaking the law here, though I spose I’m distributing? Who’s fault is that though – I juat want the software I paid for to work better.

    • Stop right there, criminal scum!

      How dare you want the most from something you paid for! People like you are what is wrong with the world!

      Hang you head in shame, boy!

      *Comment best read in a British accent

  • There’s no excuse for pirating, whatever the reason, IMO. You’re braking the law. You can’t just brake laws because they’re an inconvenience for you.

    One thing I hate when it comes to piracy is when people say “it’s not lost sales”. Rubbish. There is a HUGE amount of people who pirate because they’re simply cheap scumbags. I know quite a few people who pirate and ALL of them do it for that reason. They don’t pirate only to see if they like it. They pirate all their movies (even their favourites) So that’s clearly lost sales.

    If people don’t think a game/movie isn’t worth it, then don’t buy it. It doesn’t give you a right to pirate it because you would’nt have bought it anyway.

    Developers have every right to protect their IP from pirates. They shouldn’t just have to compete with pirates and offer better services, so people won’t pirate. You shouldn’t be doing it, period.

    Just my opinion 🙂

    • Say you own ten copies of something (doesn’t matter what it is) and you’re selling them. Someone who is after that same something finds somewhere to get it for free. Did you lose a sale? No you didn’t. The only thing that occurred was that you didn’t GAIN a sale.

      Pirating (for whatever reason) /= a lost sale because there was no guarantee that the person was going to buy that product in the first place. Even if that product could not be obtained for free there is still no guarantee therefore it can’t be considered a lost sale.

      • If they got it for free illegally, then it’s wrong and developers have every right to try and stop it. It’s not dependent on whether you would have bought it. I gave an example of where people would have bought it if they didn’t pirate. The people I know pirate even their favorites. If they couldn’t or didn’t pirate, I am 100% sure they would go out and buy it. Unless they don’t want to watch movies or play games anymore because they has to pay.

        • You can’t be 100% sure about that. It’s impossible. It would require you to know the exact thoughts of every living person on the planet and last I checked, the immortal highlander called Connor Macleod does not exist in real life.

          • I was not speaking for every living person, obviously. I was speaking about the people I know. Which I can say would definitely buy them if they didn’t pirate them, since I know them very well. And I’m sure there are MANY piraters who would do the same. I have no doubt piracy has a large impact.

            Even if it didn’t, I still wouldn’t be ok with it. You want something, you damn well pay for it.

          • You’re still speaking for people that aren’t you therefore you can’t be 100% sure about what their actions might be.

          • Is this really your argument? Piracy’s fine because we don’t 100% know how people would have otherwise acted? Ridiculous.

      • Wrong. Its like haveing ten things that you made and a customer finds someone selling what YOU made. Someone has broken into your garage. Stolen the stuff YOU made. Messed it uo and left it on the footpath. People walking past either take it for free or dont buy from you because it has been messed up from the thief.

          • It does apply. Whether it’s physical or not. People are taking someone elses property illegally, that they have worked on and put money into. I don’t understand why some defend piracy.

          • No it’s not the same since it’s digital. There is no such thing as digital stock. The developer has not lost a copy of the game they could sell. The same amount still remains therefore it can’t be lost profit.

          • Wrong. Digital stock consists of MY time and co-workers. Server space equals money. Maintenance. The cost of R&D. The cost of every piece of equipment at my workpkace. Insurance. Water. The list goes on….But the most expensive thing IS MY RIGHT to create and own my OWN intellectual property. Further it is my RIGHT to profit from and distribute it AS I (not you) see fit.

          • To lose something, you needed to have it in the first place. The only thing downloaded was a COPY of the legit version therefore it was not something you had that you lost. The original stock is still the same and hasn’t changed.

          • Wrong. A legit code was downloaded. Any subsequent duplications and alteration of said computer code is ILLEGAL. The distribution of this Intelectual Property detracts from potential income. Thus the Pirate is a thief. Seriously.

          • A legit code? How so? What do you mean by that? As in a legit cd key? Because that’s not how cd key generators work.

            Face facts my friend until you can prove that a person pirating a copy was going to purchase a legit version it’s not “potential income” or a “lost sale”. That is nothing but an assumption.

          • There is a reason it is called Copyright Infringement and not Stealing. If it were stealing the fines would be much more rational.

          • Wrong. Again. Replace ‘thing or stuff’ with short story or intellectual property. ‘Messing it up’ can be replaced by ‘changing the code’ or with ‘replacing words’. I work in the entertainment industry. If producers dont get returns, crews aren’t hired. Kids aren’t fed. Mortgages not paid. The producers still have money though…

        • I want to critic this post.

          But i have no idea what these people have done in your situation. Have they stolen your property. Or have they simply destroyed it and left it on the footpath. Since they are two different scenario’s and neither of which is relevant to Digital piracy.

          Since in the real world it would me more like this


          Pirate A) buys/receives a copy of your work. This person then find’s out how to copy your work without any negative result for you. The person then distributes your product for free. You have so far not lost a single thing. The only difference between before the pirate existed and after is that before you were the only game in town with the product.

          Now you have someone else who is giving the product out for free. You aren’t loosing money because of this though. Your loosing potential profits, you may have sold your product to these people, or conversely these people may never have seen your product if this person wasn’t giving it away.


          TL;DR, the most you can lose is profit potential which yes is indeed an issue, but to view absolutely every pirate copy as a lost sale is simply moronic.

          Your ignoring the fact that there are alot of scum out there who only want your product because it’s free and would simply never pay for it.

          Your ignoring the fact that the download of a pirate copy can be done by legitimate customer’s for a multitude of reasons(whether you deem these reasons as acceptable or not)

          Your ignoring the fact that pirate copies can result in sales.

          • Sigh. Simulacrum. Immoral. Unethical. The goods are both stolen and like the computer code has been defecated upon. because the peoplw walking post see my goods chopped up and covered in crap they assume all my copies are too chopped up aand covered in crap and thus it lowers the percieved value of my product. i lose money.

          • If I waved my magic wand and made it impossible to pirate. Would sales of my game go up or down? i reckon they would go up – if it was a good game. by your arguements they would go down because people haven’t tried my product for an indiscriminate amount of time. The juvenile line that piracy equals sales is a falsehood.

          • It’s not a juvenile line and you can’t prove it’s a falsehood. I would even wager that evidence such as the increase in revenue that steam sales generate might indicate sale would go down if piracy is removed as reduction in price leads to greater overall revenue in the steam example. So why not in a try before you buy type situation?

  • LOL, everyone has at least 10 pirated things on their computers.
    Someone should bust this asshole for the piracy he does on music or movies himself.

  • You want to try before you buy? Hire a game legally. Borrow it off a friend.

    Those are your only legal options with other media… why do you think games should be excepted?

    • You don’t pay to inspect a house, you don’t pay to test drive a car. In fact for most, if not all, things trials of products are free. Also, not every game is available to a person via a friend.

      • why do you keep arguing as if you DESERVE the right to try everything before you buy? what are you, American? (lol)

        if a developer doesn’t want to give you a demo, feel free to bitch and whine, I do too. But its no excuse for piracy. Use some of your other arguments, they are more valid. But pirating just because you think you have the right to try before you buy is a bad excuse.

        To keep with the spirit of metaphors in this thread so far….Its like being in a magazine store. A magazine you want to flip through is wrapped up so you can’t read it. Do you quietly tear the wrapping to read the magazine? So many other magazines are not wrapped, so why this one right? You know that by the day the wrapping will be back on. And hey it gives other readers the chance to sample it. Is it ethical?

        • Not sure about you, but last I checked wrapped magazines are wrapped because they contain adult material (read; porn). All other magazines including ones that have a cd/dvd attached are free to open and browse.

          So you have another example?

          • In addition to this, it seems like games magazines are becoming wrapped more and more often these days. I can proudly say I have never bought a wrapped magazine. I have no guarantee as to their quality, and as such have no reason to believe it a reasonable purchase.

            Quite often, though, I go out and buy PC Powerplay. They are great magazines which I can flip through, read the content, and see if there’s anything good in there. And if there is, I buy it.

            On my end anyway, this is how I see some of the mentality of piracy. With no ability to flip through and have a read myself, no matter what my friends say about the magazine, I’m not going to buy it. If I however have a flip through and find it enjoyable, I may very well buy it.

            I’m not saying everyone is like this, but on my end anyway, this is how I approach pretty much everything. If I have a personal assurance of something’s quality, and I can afford it, I’ll buy it. If I don’t have the money, I’ll probably come back and buy it later. Or I won’t, and will never end up buying it anyway. If it’s terrible, I just wouldn’t buy it. And if it’s wrapped, and I have no idea of its quality, then there’s no way I’m buying it.

            If people are actually capable of applying this philosophy to games they pirate, then piracy could very well be a force for good. The problem is that too many people just consider piracy a way of getting around purchasing things. It’s like picking up the magazine and walking out with it, wrapped or not. And this is where the problem lies with piracy – not in the pirates who actually will purchase the game if they enjoy it, but in the ones who won’t purchase it either way.

          • dunno where you’ve been reading magazines and have no idea which section you are browsing…
            maybe try browsing in sections like gaming, health and even comics.

          • agreed.
            that is how a mature person thinks. If you wont buy a game because it has no demo (or a magazine because its wrapped) its your choice and you are definitely free to voice it out.

            Its when people think they are entitled to a demo is where the problem starts. then they use it as an excuse to pirate. tsk tsk.

      • But inspecting a house is not the same as squatting in it. You get to test-drive a car for twenty minutes, but you can’t see if it can handle an 800km drive. You can walk around the store in shoes, but you can’t run a marathon in them.

        Unfettered access is a privilege of purchase.

        Also, not everything has a trial. Long-term purchases like houses and cars and shoes, which will be with you for a long time, sure, it’s a big investment and you have the option to check it out before you buy.

        But your day to day purchases, your food, your entertainment, the small-ticket stuff, that’s just luck-of-the-draw. And it should be. Companies don’t have to offer demos; a demo is an advertising technique, and that’s all it is.

        Maybe no demo means they don’t have confidence in the product; maybe not. We don’t have the right to know. Nor should we.

        Intellectual property is such a complicated legal minefield that I won’t pretend to understand it, but as a small-time published author myself, I for one would be very upset to find my book being torrented. Not every pirated copy equates to a sale, but what you’ve lost is potential sales, something with real fiduciary value.

        Potential sales thrive on the “Will I / won’t I?” dynamic, which slowly builds excitement within the consumer. They discuss the potential purchases with the people around them, who also begin to get excited at the prospect of owning what might be an interesting product (the mystery fuels this dynamic). This excitement eventually fuels purchase. With the illegal availability of digital goods, this process is superceded in its entirety.

        It’s less fun for the consumer (as the delicious mysteries of life and the concept of risk/reward are cast aside), and it’s definitely less fun for the artist, who loses out on royalties (lost royalties may not be a deal-breaker for Activistion or Ubisoft, but they sure as hell hurt the indies and small-time folks).

        • I might feel sympathy for the publishers if they actually treated me like a customer, but the fact is they blatantly lie about their products in order to get sales, and then use piracy as an excuse not to give me a refund when the product doesn’t work as promised.

          I brought MW3 on PC this Christmas because Activision assured me it would have dedicated servers. What it actually had was unranked dedicated servers, which is the same as no dedicated servers at all, since unranked means that the core game play element that makes call of duty fun (ranking up in MP) is no longer there. The game also has a mouse acceleration bug that makes multiplayer unplayable, and despite being informed of this bug from hundreds of members of the community as well as people such as myself contacting Activision support directly, the mouse acceleration issue remains unaddressed after numerous patches. They have prioritized making their DLC and selling it over delivering what was originally promised to paying customers.

          As I purchased the game and activated it on steam in good faith, I am no longer able to get a refund. In effect Activision has stolen money from me and numerous other PC gamers. so if video game pirates feel like taking a small chunk of their profits in reprisal, that’s fine with me. If a company refuses to treat me as a paying customer when I pay, then why should I bother behaving like a paying customer at all?

          Publishers are the direct cause of the majority of piracy, currently pirates provide better customer service than the publishers themselves. The choice between being treated like shit and paying, or being treated like a customer and not paying, is not really a choice at all. Steam knows this, and that’s why they are so successful.

  • The main reason why I’m against SOPA and PIPA isn’t because I want to protect piracy, its because I don’t want the internet and creative content as I know it now to be destroyed by the money hungry corporations who want to stay rich.

    If these acts both go through, possible hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of people would be out of the job. Many businesses will go under. And all those favorite websites of yours will disappear.

    You’re probably thinking, this is only for America right? But you know how much of a tendency for other countries to copy America’s way to control people?

    I mean us Aussies already have to worry about the NBN as the government controls that as well, so they can pretty much do the same thing as the SOPA and PIPA bills intend to do.

  • I pirate games to try them cause most games are sh*t. You can’t hire pc games. Notice that games that are ACTUALLY good don’t have to worry about piracy . Their reputation sells them.
    I’d be surprised how many games people torrent,play for 20 mins then delete

  • and piracy is great for the industry . it drives innovation. Compare the music industry to the pre napstar days, the game industry just needs to harden the f%#k up and find away to work with it or be left behind

  • it’s because the person in question who is getting prosecued after getting caught downloading 60$ worth of stuff get millions and millions worth of fines. is like getting several life sentences after steping on somone’s toe.

  • Litigation against end consumers who get caught pirating only happens because the payoff is good enough. It’s got nothing to do with preventing piracy or anything along those lines. Look at a recent article showing the most pirated games, we’re talking 3 million downloads. Look at how many people are getting sued, thousands, if that. This isn’t about preventing anything, it’s about making money. If the judgement against the pirates was to actually pay the retail price of the game these “video game lawyers” would cease to exist.

    It’s a money making scheme, run by scummy lawyers, with no intention of stopping piracy.

    • It’s actually a deterrent. I got a cease-and-desist letter from Universal once for a DVD I was putting together that was borderline questionable.

      I backed right off, and they never followed up. My conclusion: deterrent, not money-maker. Mission successful as far as they’re concerned.

  • Is it just me or does this “Chazz” guy continually seem to miss points, ignore massive pieces of discussion and attempt moral high ground when he’s in danger of losing an argument?

    Just an observation.

  • Steam is slowly killing piracy. If you can offer a service where people can get the games for a reasonable price and it’s easier than pirating it (i.e. no driving down the road to EB and paiyng a buttload), then people won’t pirate. It’s like the Kindle Fire’s approach.

    • yes, I couldnt agree with you more jake. Steam is moving with the times, the others are too far behind and still dont even realize it.

      Also Pirating is also a great way to avoid marketing hype, so many lies get told in hyping up games.

      If i get enjoyment out of a game i buy it, if i dont it remains in my iso list completely unused. Piracy gives the consumer control over their product, Not the other way around.

  • Why do people keep saying demo’s aren’t available? Most games that aren’t a sequel have demo’s on the 360, for example I think i know what assassin’s creed rev is gonna be like. Plus every single arcade game HAS to have a trial mode. If you can’t find demo’s maybe you’re being too picky. I usually download a demo or two a week off live.

    • People are saying demos aren’t readily available in the volume they used to be. As in the vast majority of games don’t offer them.

  • It’s crazy how many people here are going on the “it’s the law so do it, it’s right” tangent. The law is not right, nor is it wrong. It’s just a set of rules created by humans to ensure all parties involved don’t peave each other off or hurt each other to the point where we exterminate each other in a lovely apocalyptic anarchy. Some of these things come under “morals”, but they’re all artificially created categories. Not that I have a problem with that. Artificial things aren’t inferior to “natural” things. A law doesn’t have to be backed up by nature or the laws of physics to be useful or good.

    But where does piracy go on the scale? It certainly isn’t clear cut or black and white. But many people choose to describe it as such. Why? We all have reasons for doing so. Sometimes to look better than others, to assert our innocence so any authorities reading the comments thread won’t persecute us, sometimes because we’re so convinced the world will end if we don’t uphold the legal system. Sometimes though we over analyse things. Is the developer REALLY that hurt by that “lost” sale? Is the sale actually lost?

    Some of us go and divvy up pirates into “demoers” and “tight-wallets”, and often attribute the lost sales to those who refuse to pay for anything. But if they refuse to pay for anything, would they bother paying for the game if it couldn’t be pirated? NO! They’d just pirate something else, or simply not pirate at all and avoid paid-for games. Do the demoers always equate to a sale when they like something? No, people have priorities. Even if they like it they might realise they can’t afford it. But they might continue playing regardless.

    Are developers actually hurt? Sometimes. But how can you tell? Where are the losses truly being made? Is it the consumers fault for pirating a game they don’t think is worth the money? After all, that person is keeping the free market system going by not paying – if they paid they’d be paying for a product they don’t like and that’s not what you do in a perfect free-market. What about if the piracy forces the developer to close-shop? Perhaps it’s not the pirates but in fact publishers (after all, we see devs closed all the time and publishers thriving/merging/not dying off).

    What happens though when legal action is taken? Even if we agree that pirates need their behaviour curbed, is it fair to go sue them for everything they’re worth? (I refer to that case where the Australian man was sued by Nintendo for pirating New Super Mario Bros Wii some ridiculous figure).

    There’s a lot to think about, and it’s not quite as clear cut as people are saying. I don’t care if you work in the industry or were personally affected, it doesn’t mean you’re b&w opinion is truth. Sometimes being personally involved in an issue makes your opinion biased, either due to emotional interference or trying to forcibly distance yourself and eventually overcompensating.

    As for me, I don’t care. Perhaps piracy should continue. Why? Because I can’t see the damage, nor can I see the benefits. It seems to be doing nothing at all in particular. Losing sales to piracy? Try a new sales pitch, new sales method. Perhaps people simply just don’t like your game. Not being affected by piracy? Then don’t take sides just for the sake of it, look into the issue from the neutral perspective you’re blessed with.

    But don’t think I’m paying for stuff I don’t want, I have limited money, and invasive DRM procedures that make a game unplayable when the company stops supporting it is one of my pet peaves, so even if the fight against piracy continues, for the love of god don’t make games throw-away items with a best-before date, even if that date is 5 years down the track, don’t overprice, and don’t force stuff down my throat and I’m happy.

    • My two cents, as a developer.

      1. Right now I can sell a game on iPhone and perhaps make a profit, but I would have to use an add supported or “fremium” model on Android to make the same game profitable on Android because of the platform’s piracy.

      2. Indie developers often suffer because of piracy… say you host content servers, leaderboards and that sort of stuff. Every player is costing you money, (even the honest ones) . Extreme example: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/06/game-developers-who-dont-hate-piracy-get-screwed-by-piracy/

      I’m not advocating legal action or even saying that DRM in general is a good idea… but piracy is definitely not a victimless crime as you make it out to be.

      • I agree with you Cratesmith, looking at most peoples comments here is giving me the impressions that the arguements supporting piracy is selfish. There is no mention of the devs (or other people involved in making the game) ability to support themselves or families etc. By depriving these people of potential income pirates could be saying goodbye to an awesome dev with awesome ideas or at least making other peoples life harder by not allowing them to have an income. To me it’s comparable to people who complain about paying taxes but then claim the dole when they are out of work.

        But on Chrissomerry comments, he/she/it is still right that some of the issues are very grey, specifically the try before you buy idealology. If a game looks promising, you can’t find a demo but you’re still not sure whether it’s worth the $80-$100 the store is asking for then maybe it’s ok to pirate it for a level to see whether you enjoy it and purchase it or delete it. The problem with this is how can you tell how many of the pirates are purchasing the game and how many are just playing it for free?

        I think that instead of attacking law-makers or development houses about these laws / DRM we should be asking the devs for more demos (I know this costs money and time but it’s part of the marketing strategy, less billboards on buses and more demos). If we could get demo’s for most games it would destroy the pirates moral arguement (about try before you buy) and they are left with nothing.

        So let’s leave the laws in place that are there to protect people’s right to sell something they have paid money and time to create and partition devs who don’t create demos to take the time to sell their product.

        Also thankyou to all taxpayers in Australia, I’m on Austudy and really appreciate being able to live with my fiancee instead of with my parents. 🙂

      • While i’m not sure about the mobile sector

        Wouldn’t this mostly be a result of the fact that the Iphone market is simply so much bigger that it dwarfs piracy concerns.

        I know nearly everyone at uni has a jail broken iphone and they only buy the hit games like Cut the rope and the like.

        Which is the same problem they have with PC piracy. It’s not the fact that it exists because it occurs on console as well.

        Their issue is that if they sell 2 million copies on PC they might have something that says there were 500k pirate copies on PC.

        While on console if you have sold 6million. Well the same 500k means that instead of the belief that 1 in every 5 people who played your game stole it on PC. only 1 in every 13 did.

        Something which can be partly attributed to a large market segment simply not knowing how to pirate. While basically anyone who continually games on PC has enough know how to do it(especially since it ain’t that much different from the legitimate way to install games)

  • The main reason most games don’t have playable demos nowadays is be mcause the developers don’t want people knowing what a rushed, broken piece of sh*t it is.

    Brink looked amazing on every video and sounded amazing in every review, but turned out to be complete crap. Just an example of when reviews and videos aren’t enough.

  • I can’t take any more as it is. I bought Heroes of Might and Magic VI (published by ubisoft) during the steam sales. I didn’t realise at the time but it has a form of allways on DRM that means if I want to play single player not connected to their on line server I can’t access the best items and heros.

    Their system was down when I first tried to play so I was forced to play in off line mode for several hours. When it finally let me connect to them it then deleted all my saved games. Not sure if the save game thing was DRM or just their save game cloud sync being stupid but deleting all my saves and forcing me to re do all the tutorials was friggen redicoulous.

    I was trying not to buy any game with allways on DRM previously but now i’m going to be doublly sure before buying a game that it has no version of this. Their server has been down more often then not since I purchased this game and it’s completly runined the single player experiance for me.

  • Still waiting for proof from all naysayers that pirating = a lost sale.

    Proof? Anyone got proof? Looking for proof that applies to all pirates. Anyone got some cos I’m looking for it?

    • Btw naysayers, I don’t promote piracy. I have 200+ games on my steam account and a nice legit selection of 360 and Wii games for my legit consoles. Buying legit is my way and has been for years. Yes I dabbled in pirating back in the day but all those games I pirated I now own.

    • I thought this was completely logical. If a person wants a game then it’s a potential sale. Said person can either purchase the game (resulting in a sale) or pirate the game (resulting in a non-sale). Both situations lead to the person having the game but only one results in a sale.

      I doubt you’re going to get hard statistics mate but look at Kotaku’s article on the most pirated games of 2011 (http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/01/the-most-pirated-pc-360-and-wii-games-of-2011/). Just times the number of pirates by the cost of the game and there you go instant statistics!!!

      • There is no guarantee those people were going to buy the game or even considered buying the game. That’s the point. Unless you can prove that all or any pirates that weren’t yourself were actually going to purchase the gameor considered it but chose the free option then there is no potential or lost sale.

        • And that’s the grey area (see my reply to Cratesmith above). I agree with you that you can’t stereotype all peoples who illegally (by definition) downloaded a game didn’t end up paying for it but on the other hand it’s reasonable to assume that a percentage of those people never bought the game considering human nature.

          I still believe that the real issue here is devs need to produce more demos. If we had a demo for every game and people still pirated it then we can assume 100% of those pirates never paid for the game. If someone believes that a game is not worth paying the $80-$100 then they can wait till it falls in price, I can’t see a justification for pirating it then.

          • Exactly. It’s a grey area. Something that can’t be proven. I’m not fond of people who pirate and play a game to it’s fullest with no intention of buying but like I said my biggest issue is the whole “pirating = lost sale” thing. It gets thrown around so often but it’s less credible than hearsay and it astounds me that it gets used so often.

          • 1 pirate copy = 1 lost sale is obviously not credible, and I’ve not seen anyone in the comments here try to argue that. What several have argued however is that it is highly credible that a game that has been pirated 2 million times for example was pirated by some people who could purchase the game but chose not to. Now that might be 10 people, it might be 10,000 people. It could be potential sales of 0.0005% but it’s still potential sales.

            What is more incredulous is that you can’t conceive that such a situation could occur, instead you seem to want definite proof that 1 such person exists. All the time appearing to alternately build you argument on your belief that because some people pirate to demo and some people who pirate would never buy therefore it must be the case that ALL people pirate to demo or pirate and would never buy.

            Well I’m here to be the 1 proof you require. Back when I was a kid in the 80’s, I pirated a C64 game “Impossible Mission”, that I could have bought, and if I’d not had access to a pirated version I would have bought. In fact another situation occurred where none of my friends could obtain a pirated copy of Q*bert on the C64, and because of that we actually bought it and copied it amongst ourselves. If we’d had access we would have had 3 pirated copies instead of 1 legit and 2 pirated.

            Oh and these days I’ve got a huge Steam library I can waggle around too.

        • The pirate was interested enough in the game to pirate it. While we get the proof that it was a lost sale, how about you get the proof that pirates delete their copy of the game after “trying it”.

          How long do you consider “just trying” 5 hours, 15, 30? At some point you’re no longer just trying it, but have played enough to warrant buying a copy. If you do end up buying a copy, fine, but until then your just trying to justify spending nothing on something that people put a lot of work into.

          • I’ve said countless times that I’m only pointing out that pirating does not mean a lost sale.

            However I can offer myself as proof for pirates using downloads to test a game before purchasing. Here are the titles; Dead Space `, Assassin’s Creed 1, Bioshock, Turok, Grid, Mirror’s Edge, Bulletstorm, Sniper: Ghost Warrior, Sniper Elite, Prototype, Prince of Persia, Singularity. Those are the one’s I kept the rest left my limited HDD space within a good 30 minutes of the installation completing itself.

          • I never said pirating equals a lost sale, what I said was if you continue to use something that you haven’t paid for, you don’t have a leg to stand on when you’re asked to pay for it. And I think its reasonable for the cost to be, the original cost + whatever expenses it cost to get the pirate to cough it up.

            I don’t pirate stuff and I don’t try before you buy. When I buy I game, if it turns out I don’t like it I don’t bother playing it and move on. Same goes for any other piece of software I have to purchase, which generally costs a lot more then a game.

            With all the reviews and information on the internet about everything, it’s pretty simple to make an educated guess if it is what you want or will like. When you’re buying something its a calculated risk, if you’re constantly getting stuff you don’t like get better at risk assessment.

          • So all things you purchase, whether it be physical or digital are all done on a whim and the word of others? You’ve never made a purchase of any kind without wanting to see how you physically responded to the item?

  • Piracy is here to stay, nothing can really do about it. Before it was cd-r now its torrents. Devs should learn to harness the power like apple did with mp3s

    • Apple’s methods are nothing more than a quick profit followed by a fall into obscurity. Just look at their tablet and phone divisions. Misinformation only gets you so far.

      The only thing dev’s need to do is work like Valve. You can pirate their games all you want but to get the most out of them? You need to pay.

      • Apple made a generation of teens think it’s hip to buy song from itunes rather than pirate. Now that’s using your head instead of crying victim
        Misinformation nothing

        • Hasn’t the pirating of music been on a consistent rise? Correct me if I’m wrong but that’s the impression I was under.

        • No they didn’t.

          Apple simply made music cheap. They didn’t make it hip to buy music instead of pirate. Hell at one point their DRM was a reason to pirate music since it was tightly controlled what your could do with it.

          What Apple made possible was the ability to buy a song for next to nothing.

          Only like 3 song’s of the new Korn album, well then you only have to buy them and not the rest.

          Personally i still don’t think that Apple uses high enough bit-rates where needed. Fortunately there are other avenues out their for people to pursue that provide higher quality rips

  • People may have forgotten the no. 1 best example of why the pirate-hate is almost unjustified, well not unjustified, simply unsupported.


    This game was one of the most highly anticipated titles of the decade.
    – Changes to the games development created doubt.
    – Had a demo, a quality demo that rekindled people’s desire to buy the game.
    – The content of the demo was not representative of the finished product.
    – Game sold well (but not well enough to meet the publisher’s estimates.)
    – Piracy through the roof.
    “It’s the pirates fault!”

    People wanted Spore. What they got wasn’t it. Were there any ‘lost’ sales? YES but pirates was not the cause.

  • Alright, my response to Chazz asking for proof regarding lost sales. I haven’t got solid proof, but perhaps just a different way of thinking. Let’s consider this shall we: Game A get’s pirated before release, 60 million downloads in 1 day. Now of those 60 million people who downloaded it, there will be those who weren’t ever going to pay for it, those who wanted to ‘try before they buy’ and those that were going to go and buy it, but thanks to Anonymous_Hacker_In_Your_Suburb818 who pirated this game and made it available to them as an illegal download, they didn’t buy it. They downloaded it without paying for it, played and kept it.

    Now in the lead up to Game A’s release, the publisher will take all the preorder figures they have from their retailers, decide how many copies of Game A to print for it’s first shipment, package it, ship it to where it needs to go, everyone’s got it in their storeroom ready to go for launch-and due to people pirating he game, you end up with X amount of copies not sold, simple sitting there, and they don’t get the money they invested into the game back. Perhaps the term ‘lost sale’ is wrong and they need to call it something else, but piracy certainly costs developers money.

    The punishments handed out to those caught for video game piracy are simply a deterrent to those still doing it. Video game companies invest huge bucks in developing software, so when they catch someone nicking their product digitally, they fine them squillions of dollars to prove a point. Like that young guy a couple of years ago with New Super Mario Bros. Got it before the street date, made it availaible for download online, got caught, and Nintendo Australia scared the living shit out of him with an epic fine. Doubt he’ll ever do something stupid like that again.

    • You can spin it anyway you want. But piracy does not result in the loss of money in any way shape or form. You can’t lose what you never had.

    • “Game A get’s pirated before release”

      Stop right there. This is the only case where I would agree that (with still baseless estimates) people will convert from buying to pirating. Nobody here would advocate that pirates would deserve to get away with having it before the paying customers.

    • 60 million download’s

      What the fuck is being downloaded 60 million times.

      Your essentially saying that a game could be pirated more times in 1 Day than the last like 3 Call of Duty games have sold total.

      When you pick numbers for an example at least be somewhat realistic about them.

      Your saying that more people could pirate something than PS3’s had been sold as of September last year.

      As to your claim of stock not being sold costing them money, This is just the same as if they make a shit game.

      The difference being that if they make a shit game yet no one pirates it yet 90% of the people who buy it decide it’s a shit game they can’t get their money back. You simply can’t return PC games.

      There is as much risk of getting saddled with a poor investment for the publisher as their is the customer. Difference being that currently at least in the PC market(Which is what they are talking about when it comes to piracy) everything is in the publisher’s hands, They can ban you for not playing to some rules that you’ll never see. They can patch the game in a way that fundamentally breaks it.

      Hell in the past year we have seen some of the worst Dead on arrival releases ever.

      Dead Island, Rage, Sword of stars 2, Barman Arkham City, Red Orchestra 2, BF3, The Witcher 2’s DRM even Skyrim presented issues for some. Could also cite CoD Elite

      There’s an assortment of indy games that had issues as well but i don’t really hold them to the same standard seeing as that often in their case it’s the money has run out.

      And when these games launch in a broken state the best you can hope for is that sometime between now and your death the publisher will fix the issue.

      I’ve had the luck to run into alot of these issues this year, which is i guess punishment in someway for actually buying my PC games.(422 in steam alone.)

        • Numbers are never fucking irrelevant.

          Otherwise. I could simply argue that piracy is a minimal thing that no one does.

          You would respond in kind that there is this evidence that X amount of people pirated. And i could say number’s are irrelevant.

          If you can’t provide something within the realm of reality for your statements then it invalidate’s the point your trying to make.

          Just the same way that no studio would come out and say, oh if it weren’t for piracy we wouldn’t have had 1million in sales we would have had 60million.

          Would there be an increase in sales if piracy was to end no doubt. But i can’t help but feel it would just be redirected from other games.

          Since those that can’t afford games aren’t going to be buying any.

          Those who like to pirate everything might buy some games but i’d be surprised if they bought even 5% of the stuff they pirate. Because remember their money would be spread not only across games, but that of music and Film/TV.

          Those who use games as a try before you buy type scheme are going to end up doing one of two things. They are going to buy some of the games but not have enough to buy them all and get into row’s over return policies.
          Or they will start either using second hand console gaming(which provides no benefit to the publisher’s to stretch their dollar further.

          Or the other option(Which is harder with steam but not impossible) Is to use a service like Gmail/Hotmail etc. And for every new game you buy you assign it to a new account. You then play swaps with other people on the internet. Swap an account with nothing buy skyrim on it to someone who has a GFWL account with Batman Arkham City on it. Then swap that to someone with Assassin’s Creed Revelations. This already occurs though it’s not widespread because it’s currently easier to just pirate stuff

  • Firstly to all the upstanding citizens and their YOU’RE BREAKING THE LAW LAWBREAKER spiels, chill the fuck out. Put down your plastic badge and go have a sit.
    Everyone has pirated something, I’m sure someones gonna pipe up and be all NOWAY IM A LEGIT CUSTOMER but lets face it, pirating doesn’t feel like a ‘proper’ crime ala stealing from a shop. It just doesn’t. Probably due to the fact it’s not a tangible object, just a bunch of data and old johnny quick fingers isn’t sweating like a beast while he waits for the staff to walk away so he can snatch whatever he’s going for. He’s sitting at home in comfort clicking a few buttons. Are the police gonna’ come a knocking? Most minuscule chance. Does that make it any less illegal? No, it doesn’t but hey, pirates gonna’ pirate.

    Get your raging response on.

  • “Piracy might result in an eventual purchase of a game, but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer.”

    What the hell, you ****ing idiot, the fact it DOESN’T mean a loss for the developer is one of the SINGLE BIGGEST, MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF THIS ENTIRE DEBATE, AND YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND IT ON THE MOST BASIC LEVEL.

    Good to know law school is as big a joke as everyone honest admits.

    • It is a loss for the developer as they are paying interest on loans and have overheads. this running debt compounds whilst you are thinking about buying the product. The fact that the producer and investors see this as a loss of potential sales is one of the SINGLE BIGGEST, MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF THE ENTIRE DEBATE AND YOU PIRATES DON’T UNDERSTAND IT ON THE MOST BASIC LEVEL. This lack of understanding has a flow on effect resulting in lower wages and a lack of re-investment. Think of the amount of time, money and resources used to combat piracy – money better spent on content. the fact you and every other letter page writer since zzap64 have argued this crap is irrelevant as you are not a financier. by the way DEMOs were available on every magazine in the 80s. people still pirated. BTW I actually did a subject in IP and copyright at UNI.

      • “BTW I actually did a subject in IP and copyright at UNI.” – Well congratu-f-ing-lations… but realy… who cares (lots of people did, myself included).
        (In the interest of full disclosure I don’t pirate games, though I buy more from online stores in the UK than I used to).

        “The fact that the producer and investors see this as a loss of potential sales”, and this is the crux of what people fail to understand, a download is NOT automatically a lost sale, it is only a lost sale if the downloading replaced a sale, counting every dowload as a lost sale, means you’re that every downloader was going to purchase the game… and this is simply not the case. So the real question then becomes: what percentage of downloads are lost sales?
        The other question is of course how many sales are encouraged by word spread from downloaders, some downloader conversions will occur, but if the game is good, word will spread and the more people spreading the word the better.

        A “lost sale” is NOT a loss (speaking fiancially) it’s just not a gain, don’t try to confuse the issue further.

        • Im not confused. its a loss of potential sales. thats the bottom line. I said loss of potential sale. Not loss of sale. I understand. I think you are confused. the POINT is that investors are in control not you! investors are stating that piracy affects production . but you say no. WTF? The IP subject mention was in direct response to the quip about law school preceding it. get over it!!! So because you were never going to buy it anyway – you have thr right to use it? BS!!!

          • You have studied IP law yet still maintain that its OK to ignore my rights as the IP owner and creator? Even if your selfish chant of ‘its not an actual sale’ blah blah blah was correct _Which it is not_ you still maintain its OK to abuse my IP???? When i categorically state you have to pay and not to remove or replace any CODE? What of my rights????

          • This is the reason I pirate highly published games, I never pirate indie games (Minecraft, Bastion, Trine) and I’ve generally been very happy with my purchases. Whereas half the major publisher games can’t even be released without a ridiculous amount of bugs (Skyrim) which need a few weeks of patching because the investors had set upon a release date NOT the developers.

            Funny thing is developers have to be paid for their time investors don’t so who am I robbing? Ebert said that video games aren’t art and with heavily invested developers I’m beginning to agree; If these big publishers go under the brilliant devs won’t be going out of a job they will go onto better jobs with more creative freedom.

            The gaming industry has seen lows but it has always become much stronger from them. Also if your worried about your IP sue the people putting it out they’re (not the people getting it for free) because I’ve been making Zoloft and Xanax in my basement for years now but no one has been knocking on my doors.

            Tl;dr version: Games are expensive, multiplayer is the best DRM.

  • hey guys did you know that overnight code was released that allows you to easily copy 360 games!!!! So overall will 360 game sales in general go up or down or stay the same??? Id say down – piracy = loss of sales. Also in similar overnight news PC piracy has magically become impossible. will general PC game sales go up, down or stay the same. my bet is PC game sales go up-others say sales will go down because people cant demo the game till they see fit.

  • Steam has gotten me to pay for more games in the last year than I have bought in the last decade.

    Caveat: I’ve played everything in the last ten years worth playing regardless.

  • When you choose NOT to pay for a licence to use an IP, you are pirating, whether deliberately avoiding the “expensive” purchase, trying before buying or whatever. Perhaps the demo-wanters could be thrown more bones, no-one denies that. Demos can make or break a long-awaited title, as well as win over a new fanbase. The price-bitchers still exist when we live in the time of historically lowest games prices. But the high cost of bananas last year didn’t justify me stealing them. I just ate them less.

    We need to stop thinking of games, music, books and movies as our rightful property purely based on their ready availability. Sure new media leads to new marketing, new distribution and new consumption patterns. But at the end of the day, the games market is like any system- any product always has a maker, a seller and a buyer. Fewer buyers means less sellers and less products made. And just as bad, worse-quality products overall. Competition may breed quality, but unrealistic sell-through kills it.

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