Why People Pirate Video Games

Why People Pirate Video Games

For such an important topic, it's a shame that we can't ever seem to have a real discussion about video game piracy. Any attempt normally goes down like this: people downloading games are painted as criminals, publishers trying to stop them are portrayed as monsters, everyone sticks to this division and nothing ever gets done.

So I recently asked those of you with experience pirating video games to write in and tell me your story, to see if we could inject a little humanity and perspective into proceedings. You certainly obliged. I've received thousands of messages from people all over the world, from all backgrounds, all keen to share their own personal perspective on why they download video games for nothing (or used to, and have now stopped).

Their stories (or excerpts from their stories) are below. I of course haven't pasted replies from everyone; instead, I've chosen those that either present an interesting case or point on their own, or are representative of a position that I might have received dozens or even hundreds of similar messages about.

Before we begin, though, some important notes: What follows is the result of a discussion. It's not science. There was nothing forcing people to tell me the truth (or even part of the truth), and the scale and variety of responses only reflect the stories of those who responded, not the piracy scene as a whole.

You'll also notice some sections of text have been bolded. That emphasis was added by me, not those submitting.

With that out of the way, here's a selection of stories explaining why Kotaku readers have (or still do) download video games for free that they could or should have paid for.

Why People Pirate Video Games

"The reason piracy is so popular is because piracy is, for many people, the only way to be able to get a game..."

Our first series of responses are from people who, well, steal video games.

Poor people should be allowed to enjoy games, music, and movies as well, as anyone else. No one should be denied something because they can't afford it.

I agree that I shouldn't pirate but my situation means I tend not to have the dosh and games are my main method of fun for anything except annoying the missus (that is my favourite past time). Piracy is here to stay and it doesn't make as much of an impact as publishers say and I'm still gonna pirate for games I'm not sure about so yeah that's my two pence :v

What people don't understand is that piracy isn't done out of malice or some desire to destroy gaming, it's done because of poverty. The reason piracy is so popular is because piracy is, for many people, the only way to be able to get a game. A lot of gamers out there know how good it can be to relax with a game after a stressful day, but for those that can't afford games and the increasingly expensive consoles or gaming computers, it's their only outlet.

I'm seventeen years old, and yes, I do pirate video games. Why? Because I honestly just don't have the money.

People who use piracy with an excuse of "I'll buy it, if i like it" should stop lying to themselves and just face the fact they just want to play the game without paying for it. I'm one of those people who just want to play The Witcher 3 without paying, because i'm an arsehole and have better things to spend my money on. Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love to pay for my games and play online on BF4 or GTA Online but the problem is...

I don't have a card for online purchases.

Why People Pirate Video Games

"There are some games that I cannot obtain legally..."

Next, we reach one of the more contentious areas of video game piracy, at least in its most legal of definitions: the fate of those who are, for want a softer term, "casually importing".

I have pirated, yet I don't do it anymore, at least not in the more traditional way. I do, however emulate games. The games I emulate are usually games that can not be played normally anymore, or that never came out in America (the continent).

For example, as a big Fire Emblem fan, I have emulated every game in the series up to FE7, the first one to get out of Japan. I bought evey other FE game.

I don't see piracy as a problem if buying the game doesn't help the developer or publisher in any way, such as retro games that haven't been remastered or sold on services like VC.

There's two games that I never pirated, but that I played briefly at a friends house. I was reminded of them a few months back and I've been looking for them everywhere ever since. The games I'm talking about is Impossible Creatures and Black & White 2. I've spent hours and hours looking for a place to either buy these with a digital download or where I can order the box online.

The only retailer I've managed to locate is Amazon, but as they don't operate in Sweden (yet) I'm unable to order from them. As a result, I ended up pirating Black & White 2 the other day.

There are some games that I cannot obtain legally, like Suikoden 2 but considering that it's been out of print for years, an original copy costs an average of $US250 and it's the best RPG ever made, emulation does not bother me and to a certain degree i do not consider it piracy since they can no longer be bought from the publisher.

My background with game piracy is mostly summed up in the category of playing games not available in my market. I'm a huge fan of JRPGs, and as that became an unpopular thing to be among US gamers the games I wanted to play simply weren't available. I imagine the first five Atelier games will never come to the United States, and this is heartbreaking to me. I want to pay the developers, I want to show my love for Atelier and the genre as a whole. I can't. It's either import the game and illegally modify my system to play it while relying on my elementary Japanese or get an English-patched ROM. And truth be told, that's a hard decision.

Something I use a lot is emulation for old consoles. A lot of the things I play aren't even available, so why would that even be ilegal? I really don't see why I should wait for something to be made available again so I can play it, and that also applies to some old computer games. If I buy an used copy, how is that gonna help the original creators?

I gladly pay full price for games like Bayonneta that wont make the sales expected from them, knowing that if I buy it used the developer wont see a dime. But for years I"ve search for a legal way to own games like Einhander, Thunderforce VI, MUSHA Aleste, heck even versions of RType. But neither Sony or Nintendo have them in their US store!!! Yes. They have some emulated games...but considering how easy is to pirate any of this games on a PC, even on a good android tablet; they are just asking for it. In fact, I belive the prefer that. If it not for emulators all those classic arcade games will be lost forever. If you want to know were all games began there is little choice but to pirate all those lost gems.

Why People Pirate Video Games

"Things here are expensive. Really expensive..."

It's easy to point at someone dodging a $US50 game price and call them a thief. But what if that "thief" was being charged $US100 or even $US150 for the same game? And what if, thanks to currency exchanges and their local economy, that $US150 is worth more than it is to Americans?

I personally pirate, and I know my reason are not justifiable, but I live in a third world country (Ethiopia) where we don't get platforms like Steam.

So my only option is to pirate. Sometimes i regret pirating and not supporting the devs.

The first time I tried child of light, was the time I truly felt bad for not supporting them in any way... It was so good.

Piracy was a strong part of my life as a kid here in Brazil. Things here are expensive. Really expensive. Thus, people here pirated games as a norm. There were no original games in stores, only pirate games. I didn't even know what it meant, or that original games were a thing until much later in life.

I'm a big consumer of gaming news and visit virtually every site of repute and I'm aware how piracy is generally loathed by the west. Things are very different here in Kenya though.

Piracy is THE way of life. From Movies to games and even books, it's most of the time the only way to acquire something.

"Now that I'm older and have a real job, I buy my games..."

Just because someone used to pirate doesn't mean they still do. A very common theme I saw in a lot of stories was the way people pirated when they were younger and broke, but as they got older and wiser, replaced torrents with Steam sales.

What made me stop pirating was a little game called The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for the Nintendo DS (such a good game). I downloaded the game using a torrent file, loaded it onto my R4 cartridge and loaded it up on my DS. I love Zelda so you can imagine my excitement and how that contrasted with my confusion that the train controls wouldn't show up (pirated versions don't have train controls)! I rebooted a few times, thought about whether there was something missing, and spent a good hour wrapping my head around what I could possibly be doing wrong. Finally, I caved, and opened IGN's walkthrough and saw that there must be something wrong with my game since they have train controls! After a little Google search, I got my answer as, "because you are playing the pirated version. Buy the game!" And since then, something clicked. I felt exposed by the developer and I was reading more about piracy and how it was hurting the industry and decided that I should put it all aside and just buy the games I want to play.

Pirating has become too much of a hassle. It is easier than ever to get software from torrents but the source and the file may be untrustworthy. And then there is the trial and error of getting it to work. And you may or may not be able to do any multiplayer due to the online only multiplayer. Gone are the days of local lan play it seems.

So I only buy games on deep sales on steam mostly.

I started pirating maybe 5 or 6 years ago. I never had a great computer, so I missed out on a whole plethora of great games. I had also bought games that didn't end up working on my computer back then. Spent my time and money buying and installing games just to have them not work. So when I got older, I started pirating games to figure out what I could and could not play. It's kind of shitty, but I'm not really knowledgeable on computers and I don't have that kind of money to piss away. After a while, I pirated everything I could. Pirating games actually became more interesting to me than the games I was stealing. I could have it all at my fingertips, from Star craft to the original Deus Ex, to I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. For someone who was never great with computers, figuring out how to pirate certain games was an accomplishment. The rarer and older the game, the more accomplished I felt when I got it to work. I spent hours and hours getting these games, and played most of them for about 5 minutes each, just to see if they worked ok.

Now that I'm older and have a real job, I buy my games.

You mentioned 3.5 floppies and I was definitely part of that crowd, pirating Wolfenstein 3D by copying it onto blank diskettes. As just a kid before the information age really hit, I didn't even realise it was piracy. Even when file-sharing services hit, I don't think I thought of it then as piracy. It was only when I started working in the industry that I realised how much a problem it is and how it can hurt people.

TL;DR: pirated games when I was a kid. Now I don't because I work on them sometimes and realise all of the effort that goes into making a profitable game.

Back in the 80s, my father would travel to Indonesia for business. The trip was a month long, so it was hard on everyone in the house, but my melancholy was tempered by what I knew my father would be bringing home with him...a big stack of floppy disks chock full of games!

It was like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one big holiday. The stack consisted of probably 30 games or more, often with photocopied manuals as well. They had to be cheap, because my father is notoriously cheap, and for him to bring back 30 or 40 games means they must have been almost giving them away.

As an adult, I can see the issues with what we took part in. Just because my dad paid for the games does not mean we weren't stealing. I doubt my father even thought about it, but I have. On the positive side, getting all of these games helped cement a life-long love of video games. The downside is that the authors and publishers didn't receive the royalties to which they were entitled.

Things are a lot more complicated now. I pay for everything I play, because I have that luxury. But if I were a poor college student, or a kid who doesn't have $US60 just lying around, I'll bet I would steal a game now and again. If pirating didn't take as much effort as it does, I might even steal now.

Why People Pirate Video Games

"When I download a game illegally, I do so to see if it will run on my computer..."

Games are expensive, and the personal computer can be a fickle thing. Until very recently, there was no way to get a refund for something that didn't run on your PC, so in lieu of official demos and testing, some people like to try before they buy. Or, at least, they told me they do.

When I download a game illegally, I do so to see if it will run on my computer before I make a purchase. When a sale comes up, I can purchase it with confidence.

I used to download games because i couldn't afford them. Now that i can afford them, I pirate games because I don't want to spend an average of €60 on a game i might not like, so i'll try it first.

"I...will bear that shame to the end of my days..."

For some, it wasn't enough to simply end their stealing ways. Here's a good example of how complex the piracy discussion is/can be: this guy knows the effects go way past people simply not paying for games. And is very sorry for all the damage he has caused.

I know that people like me caused the new pay-to-play model. Micro transactions and the like. If your audience doesn't want to buy until hooked, it's a very logical transition. I accept that, and will bear that shame to the end of my days as my kids pay per minute on the Holodecks of the future.

"I know that I've purchased it multiple times..."

Here's a scenario many of us can relate to. We've bought a game, sometimes multiple times, only to misplace the disc, or a serial number, or something that stops you actually playing the thing you've already paid for. In times like those, well.

I can't tell you how many copies of Starcraft or Diablo 2 I've purchased, probably a dozen across the two titles. I know that I've purchased it multiple times, at varying prices, over the years. At some point, buying it over and over (this was before Blizzard allowed people to digitally register their purchases for re-download) gets really old really fast.

"While I was out Hong Kong Customs had called my home..."

Most piracy involves little more than downloading some files off the internet. But there can still be an actual criminal element involved, especially when physical copies are involved.

Back during the PS1 era you could buy games printed in Hong Kong for like $US1 per disc. I got a fair number of games that way; mostly Japanese games that I wanted to try. Well, one day I came home from school and my father was waiting for me outside. While I was out Hong Kong Customs had called my home. Turns out the person from whom I was buying games was also dealing drugs and had suddenly disappeared. They had been monitoring the person and knew I had contact with him and wanted to know if I knew of his whereabouts. Needless to say my father was not the least bit amused. Thankfully we never heard from HKC again.

Why People Pirate Video Games

"The appeal was never about stealing the game..."

The impulse that seems to drive most pirates is "I want this thing for free". Some people have multiple impulses.

Back when I was 16 I became heavily involved in an mIRC warez channel (pre-bit torrent days). I helped run multiple FTPs present in the channel focusing almost exclusively on games (PC/PS1/PS2/XBOX). I helped distribute rar files containing ISO images across each server, helped manage the connections to each server and make sure nobody's connection idled for too long, as well as maintained the automated chat bots that ran server advertisements in the channel itself.

For most of us who were actively involved in piracy to this extent, the appeal was never about stealing the game. In fact many of us had significant collections of legally purchased games, most of which were initially pirated to determine their quality. Our problem wasn't that we couldn't afford to buy a game, it was that we didn't trust reviews that rated crap games with near perfect scores, demos that only gave you the tutorial level and expected you to make a purchasing decision off almost no gameplay whatsoever, and publishers that crank out sub-par releases in droves.

"Paradoxically, piracy allowed me to experiment with and acclimate to digital console gaming..."

Many pirates grow out of the habit when they get older, but the process has changed them. Having access to games quickly and easily has weened them off the hassles of physical purchases.

After a while, my newfound obsession with ROMs mirrored my physical video game collection habits. That is, I kept getting games for the sake of getting games. I knew I wouldn't play all of them, even though I wanted to, and I hoarded them anyway. Interestingly, though, the obsession inspired me to be more minimalistic about my physical video game collection, which was previously unaffected. Knowing the convenience of digital games convinced me to embrace digital downloads this current console generation, which ultimately led to me selling nearly all of my physical video games, especially all of the cartridge games for which I could find ROMs.

Paradoxically, piracy allowed me to experiment with and acclimate to digital console gaming and, as a result, I now almost exclusively purchase digital copies of games instead of waiting for their physical counterparts to drop in price.

"This showed me that the hassle of updating custom firmwares, and learning to pirate, wasn't worth it..."

Many will argue the driving force behind software piracy is that it's a matter of service, not stealing. People pirate because that's easy, not to commit a crime. I heard from quite a few people who saw Steam's progress in this regard as a win.

I started realising that I simply wasn´t enjoying gaming as much as before. There was too many games available and I simply would play something and then move on to something else. I must have played only 10% of what I downloaded thru the end. Pirating was becoming a hassle, specially on Wii and PSP. I had less and less time to play as I grew older. Then, Steam sales came along, and I realised that I could buy most of the games that I wanted for a fair price, if I could wait a little longer after release.

This showed me that the hassle of updating custom firmwares, and learning to pirate, wasn't worth it anymore.

As a game developer I've never worked on a game that has had to deal with DRM at all. I think I agree with Gabe Newell on the issue of piracy in games, it's a service issue. Steam makes it super easy for me to buy and acquire games, so I use it. Once a game service makes it really hard to buy and play their games, I might consider piracy.

I also think that developers largely don't care about piracy, they have sort of accepted that a pirated game isn't a real sale lost. But publishers worry about it a lot. I'm just happy people are playing my game!

We used to make games for kids. Every now and then we had some rude parent calling our tech support wondering why the fuck their game didn't work. Our first question was always; Have you checked if the disk is damaged? In 9 out of ten cases, it turned out the adult had downloaded a ripped version of the game and couldn't run it cause they had never bought the game and didn't have the disc.

The increase in digital market have worked wonders, cause its so much EASIER to pay for a game. Yes, people still rip games and download them illegally. But the sales have gone up since our kind of games became available at the touch of peoples fingertips in app format.

"I try to follow a moral code..."

Pirates don't just get games for themselves. Here's an example of an educator resorting to piracy in order to get their job done.

I teach video game design to middle school students. Once a week, I have my students play a game that is in some way relevant to the game design work we will be doing that week. High quality free games are certainly getting better, but there are still classic games, or game with fantastic conceptual ideas, that deserve analysis. However, I can't buy 30 consoles and 30 copies of a particular game for a 30 minute play session. Instead, I buy single copies of DRM free games, or I use emulated console games. I try to follow a moral code: no emulations of anything PS2 or newer, no emulations of games I could otherwise obtain through DRM, and no multi-copies of DRM games if I can find a reasonable price for the game.

Why People Pirate Video Games

"...do I fork out $US50 of my hard earned and struggle with uPlay..."

It's all well and good to have a nobler purpose driving your piracy, but sometimes, you just want to get around something that sucks.

When presented with the option of buying or pirating this years version of Assassins Creed, do I fork out $US50 of my hard earned money and struggle with uPlay, or do I make a brief stop at Piratebay, click on a link or 3 and get the new and improved uPlay-less version for a grand total of free?

"I never paid for TES 5 Skyrim..."

If pirating a game is a crime, pirating one then making money off it is a...sin?

TLDR - I never paid for TES 5 Skyrim. But I made $US600 off the mods I wrote the first couple months it released

"I'm too fucking stupid to know how to pirate..."

To pirate a game, you need to know where to look, download it, unpack it, crack it, get it running...it's not rocket science, but it's not the easiest thing in the world, either. Something Steam and console marketplaces will always have going for them.

I prefer to buy games. It's not out of some misplaced sense of moral superiority, but rather because I'm too fucking stupid to know how to pirate em without being caught.

"I somehow decided he didn't deserve money..."

This person is the worst.

After reading terrible things about Phil Fish (yes him again) I somehow decided he didn't deserve money and torrented Fez.

"If there was a legal way for me to pay a few quid for Dolphin-compatible ROMs, I'd gladly do so..."

Nintendo has long been a company at the very centre of the piracy conversation, both because its games are so popular, but also because the company's reactions to the challenge (and the world piracy has created, for better or worse) have often been...not the greatest.

I use Dolphin Emulator for playing GameCube and Wii games on my PC and I've pirated about 20 games. I use Dolphin partly because I really enjoy the enhanced graphics, especially when the gaming community produces excellent HD texture packs for games like Xenoblade Chronicles. I also use Dolphin out of sheer convenience - I simply can't be bothered to dig out my Wii and GameCube, connect them up to my monitor/TV etc.

However, if there was a legal way for me to pay a few quid for Dolphin-compatible ROMs, I'd gladly do so. The fact is that pirating the ROMs is so easy and convenient vs the alternatives.

Why People Pirate Video Games

"Hardware is failing, physical media is frail, and some of these games will simply be lost..."

If piracy is stealing, how can you steal something that isn't actually available to buy? And what will happen to that game if everybody stops sharing it and it simple ceases to exist?

Many games are disappearing into history, and many developers and publishers are doing little or nothing to preserve them. Hardware is failing, physical media is frail, and some of these games will simply be lost. Digital distribution is making it worse (see P.T., a game I'm terrified will vanish). From what I've seen both in the business and out on the internet, it seems like the pirates are the most effective at preserving this history. I'm not talking about people off ripping Xbox 360 and PS4 games, I'm talking about organised efforts like TOSEC, Redump, etc.

I applaud the efforts of groups like the Strong Museum, they're the kinds of people I would most like to see spearheading this effort, but their hands are tied by the law and there's only so much they can do.

I've also "pirated" many old PC games that are out of print and only "legally" exist on Ebay or Amazon for "Collector Prices". Granted, with services like GOG and to a lesser extent, Steam, old PC games are becoming easier to obtain legally, but there are still many, many more obscure and classic titles that have been lost to time and collectors.

I'd hope that by reading through the above you've gained a more diverse, human perspective on video game piracy. Yes, some pirates are thieves, regardless of their attempts at justification.

But in many other cases, it's not so black and white! Is downloading a game you literally cannot buy a crime? Is pirating a game to make up for customer service shortfalls a crime?

Where do you draw the line between a pirate and a fan? A pirate and an educator? A pirate and a historian? A pirate and a hardcore lover of foreign games?

Each case is affected by so many variables, from where the person lives to what they're pirating to how they're obtaining it to what they're doing with it, that to throw everyone under the same banner and approach them in the same way is ignorant at best, and destructive at worst.

Yet that's exactly what happens. Publishers treat everyone downloading a game, regardless of their circumstances, as the same class of criminal, and in the end, we all suffer. We're lumbered with intrusive DLC that affects everyone, not just pirates. We've seen entire segments of the video games market shift or even disappear as developers and publishers pivot to games and genres (like MOBAs) that cannot be pirated.

Worse, we've seen legitimate efforts to educate, preserve and learn from video games thwarted not by the failings of physical media or ignorance from fans, but from outdated laws. I'm reminded of this 2012 piece by Technologizer, which highlighted the triumph of piracy in the fact of inept laws and short-sighted publishers:

If...copy protection schemes had been foolproof, as intended, and copyright law had been obeyed, most of the programs published on those fading disks would now be gone forever. Many cultural touchstones of a generation would have become extinct due to greed over media control.

What's needed is a greater understanding of the myriad of reasons and circumstances causing people to pirate, and a more nuanced approach to tackling its dangers and addressing its needs. There's never going to be a single, silver bullet that ends video game piracy. Only through engaging (and learning from) the many root causes of the problem can the industry and those making games hope to get on top of it.

Some companies know this, and should be applauded! Riot Games has shown that even broke-arse teenagers can enjoy a game, become super-fans and spend money (when they can) with League of Legends. Steam's design and sales strategy is clearly beating piracy at its own game, both in terms of acting as DRM and encouraging purchases through ease of use.

But there's still so much work left to do. Nintendo's back catalogue pricing is out of step with a world accustomed to $US2 remakes on a mobile store, as is their insistence on charging you for the same game on different platforms. Publishers trying to implement their own forms of DRM may be stopping a few pirates, but they're testing the patience of many more legitimate customers. The massive discrepancies in the pricing of digital goods around the world needs to stop. As does region-locking. And concessions need to be made, whether by lawmakers or publishers, to the needs of historians and educators.

As you've seen above, those factors (and many more), are what have turned the piracy debate into a mess of causes and explanations. What should be a simple matter of punishing those breaking the law has instead become a mess of excuses that range from "100% understandable" to the absurd.

This story isn't going to contain a "fix" for piracy. If there was such a thing, then people smarter and richer than me would probably have thought of it by now, especially if they could fit it into a single internet story.

But surely the answer lies somewhere in answers like those above. By cutting through the stories of people frustrated by the failings of the industry and the law to meet the realities of a 21st-century fanbase, and singling out the actual pirates, maybe we can live in a world where the criminals are punished and the rest of us are free to buy and play games when we want, how we want.

Illustration: Sam Woolley


    Mum used to confiscate my disks as punishment, additionally the Apple 2E lab techs at my school used to regularly cut up our 5 1/4 floppies when they caught us playing games, so naturally I learnt to make and share backups. It is a difficult habit to get away from.

    Poor people should be allowed to enjoy games, music, and movies as well, as anyone else. No one should be denied something because they can’t afford it.

    Holy shit, this statement reeks of entitlement. I can't afford a Ferrari, should I go out and steal one? I fucking think not. Entertainment is not a right.

    Last edited 09/07/15 12:24 pm

      Obligatory can't compare ip to physical material theft. Physical theft is the loss of an object, IP theft is the loss of revenue.

        Agreed, but it's still a crap reason!

          Maybe but depends on your circumstances which is what I think this article's trying to point out. I grew up in a third world country where purchasing a game for its actual retail price was the equivalent of my family's monthly wage; however hundreds of stores had the pirated versions for a fraction of that price. Does that count as piracy if it's being sold in a store? Does it count as a piracy to charge a month of the average national wage for a single game?

            If you pirate something, how expensive it costs in a particular country is irrelevant, you still pirated it.

              I bet you always play paladins.

                Until they introduced pay to win, I probably played Paladins more than Overwatch... sorry internet

        Getting so sick of this argument, be it for video games or for movies. Theft, copyright, whatever you want to call it, comes down to a person not paying a developer to play their game or not paying a film studio to watch their film. It's just wrong and trying to justify it is ridiculous. If you can't afford it, why not work hard and save the money until you can? If it's not available in your country, why not make the effort and actually do something about it? Trying to morally justify it makes people who pirate look even more stupid.


          Another thing is, entertainment usually gets cheaper the older it gets. Can't afford to see the film in the cinemas? Fucking wait until it's on tv. 2 or 3 year old games are sold at bargain prices all the time.

          Plus, if you can afford a PC that can run the latest games, and then can't 'afford' those games, there is something you need to learn about PRIORITIES!

            National television in third world countries don't get tv shows or movies after 2-3 years. Believe it or not most countries outside of the western world aren't actually all that well off to be able to afford licenses to movies/shows two to three years old; 8-10 years is probably more accurate. The governments usually have better things to spend national revenue on, like maintaining the prime ministers gardens or renovating his mansion.

              I watched Django on CCTV in China last October - at least I tried to since it was all dubbed into Chinese - less than 2 years after its cinema run worldwide

                China's not really the best comparison here- the purchasing power of chinese media companies is quite high. I'd consider perhaps looking at other countries to make a better argument.

          What if I told you cinemas and theatres in third world countries use pirated copies of movies; does it count as piracy if you purchase a ticket and watch a pirated copy of a movie in a cinema?

          Are you really under the impression that anything in third world countries is easily changed? There's a reason they have failing economies and large portions of the population in poverty. That said this is probably falling on deaf ears, the way your comment reads reveals a complete disconnect to how people in those countries live/survive.

            I'd be curious to know which countries and whats the quality of the pirate copy?

            Also, are they really "cinemas" or just a hall with a big screen and a few metal fold back chairs?

              Actually we just got together bales of hay and used an oil lamp with paper cutouts. I'm not sure if you're trying to be offensive but it certainly comes across that way.

              I know what a theatre is and I definitely know a pirated copy of a movie looks like.

              Also China represents the second largest economy in the world; while sure their human rights abuses could constitute them as a third world country from an economic perspective they're richer than Australia.

                Easy there tiger
                I think the question was more if the main chain cinema type places showed pirated copies or it it was just the smaller ones. The hall with a big screen isn't a 3rd world thing, I have been to country towns in Australia that have that as a cinema.

                  In response to your comment tigs and assuming dansdans was asking a legitimate question; the country in question was Sri Lanka. The reason I knew they were pirated is because of the lighting and pixelation. Like a poor pirate copy it looked like the movies were short during an eclipse. While this wasn't the case across all the movies being screened I recall quite a few having this degree of quality (King Kong and the Fantastic Four Silver Surfer movie off the top of my head)

                I was asking a legitimate question, however wouldnt have bothered if you were going to be so rude with your response

                You may not be aware of this but country towns around Victoria Australia have halls with fold-back chairs and a large projector screen that they use to show movies on for the locals who cant get to the city - I was making an assumption (clearly how wrong of me) that perhaps this was the same set up and of which I wouldnt really class it as a "cinema", rather just a multi-purpose hall

                You've made a lot of comments on this page today that really dont paint you in a positive light (note the comment below about us 'mob' 'stoning you to death' - thats pretty offensive there) - perhaps you should step back and calm down before posting any more comments. No-one is out to get you, even if you want us to

                Last edited 09/07/15 3:30 pm

                  My apologies dans, hard to make out tone in writing, my fault for taking it the wrong way.

                  Edit: Felt I should elaborate; I am genuinely sorry for taking your comments in the wrong way, some of the previous replies got me frustrated when people assumed everyone who pirates has the exact same set of circumstances when this article tries to highlight the exact opposite. However I shouldn't have painted you in the same light and replied rudely.

                  Last edited 09/07/15 3:41 pm


                  I feel bad that you felt like you've had to defend your actions so strongly today buddy, no one is a saint and a bulk of us have pirated materials before. It doesnt make you a bad person

                  Your apology is well and truly accepted - I know you meant no malice and that you were passionate. And you understood I wasnt being rude, if it came across that way it was never my intention so I feel bad for putting you in that position

                  You're alright mate!

                  PS Couldnt reply to you directly so I hope you see this

                  Civilized discourse and genuine apologies on the internet? What is wrong with you people?

                China is most definitely not a third world country, they are specifically second world, having been allied with the Soviet bloc during the cold war. I dont know why everyone thinks the whole first second third world thing has anything to do with wealth.

                And as for piracy, I dont understand why the content creators have to rage so hard at not getting every last cent. No one has the numbers on how much they really lose to piracy, but I doubt its anywhere one loss equals one sale. Its like a painter demanding money from anyone that even glimpsed one of their paintings for a second. Im not saying they dont deserve some remuneration for their efforts, but better to act like CDProjektRed, put out a quality product, dont worry about piracy, and trust your customers to see you through. Unfortunately though, worrying about every last imaginary cent over all other things is just typical behaviour in this day and age.

                  China is still largely agrarian. Despite their attempts to transition into a service based economy, they're failing quite horribly.

          Some 20+ year old games are impossible to find in retail/buy for me

            I think most people would agree that abandonware is a different situation.

          "why not make the effort and actually do something about it?"

          Most of us have tried and companies just don't see the point in releasing it to our country.

          I stream Supernatural online on release because Australia gets to view it 1 year after release hard to be in a community of fans when your a year behind.

          Honestly piracy for me has always been about not being able to legally get something.

          I use crunchyroll for most of the anime i watch for example but what i can't get on that or other services i stream.

          Money is not the issue for me the issue is availability and if your going to keep something from a country then you should expect them to pirate or stream said thing.

          Just my beliefs on the matter.

          If i could pay to watch all the shows i have to pirate i would pay even if it does cost me $100 a month or even $200 a month (even though i only make $500 a fortnight).

          I would pay for that as Entertainment is very important to me as it's my only release of stress without it well...last time i broke down and nearly attacked someone it wasn't pretty lets say the least x.x

          "Theft, copyright, whatever you want to call it, comes down to a person not paying a developer to play their game or not paying a film studio to watch their film. It's just wrong and trying to justify it is ridiculous."

          And thus secondhand game sales makes all of us pirates on consoles and pc?
          nice job mate.

        Hang on, this argument represents no loss of revenue. If they don't have money to purchase the game, then stealing it gives exactly the same amount of revenue to the developer as not stealing it - $0.

        Devil's advocate - in fact the developer may get a new fan, which could in future turn into a paying customer. Limiting piracy limits exposure.

          I didn't want to make this argument but since coming to AUS I've purchased just about every game I used to play as a kid, with a steam library of over 200 games and 3 archive boxes filled with PS3, X360, PC and PS4 games.

          That said I'm sure I'd be stoned to death by this mob here either way.

            You're making a lot of assumptions about a lot of people pretty quickly. It's not about whether it's right or not, if you pirate you pirate. That's just a definition.

            Now WHY you did it is a totally different thing. I spent a couple of years in Vanuatu as a kid and all the local video shops had pirated videos. So naturally everyone hired them. I mean that's how I was introduced to Biker Mice from Mars!!!! (where's @decoy when you need him?) Now that I have a solid income, plenty of loves from the past and a desire to give the developers back money because I think they deserve it I don't pirate stuff. Pretty much the same boat as you really.

            I see the definition as black and white, but the reasons as to why is an incredibly mixed bag of totally unreasonable to completely understandable reasons for pirating content.

              I know; I just get worked up when people paint social issues as black and white answers. It's never that simple and gaming and piracy holds a close place in my life. I wouldn't have found my love for gaming without piracy and while I don't utilize it anymore I can't help but want it available for other misguided teens in third world countries trying to find an escape from a shitty real world.

                Yup. Thanks to emulators as a teenager, and because the days of the SNES were long over, I was able to enjoy classics I would have otherwise missed. I've bought almost all the remakes I can for the GBA and loved every minute of it ^_^

            Same here.
            In my 37 years of life, I've spent over AU $100,000 on buying video games (h/w and mostly s/w), so kill me if you think I'm a pirate for downloading and playing (via emulator) a rare or obscure Japanese TurboGrafx game

          Yeah, this has always been my thinking RE: Piracy where there's absolutely no chance somebody would buy the thing...

          People who can't afford to buy music or movies or video games probably need the escape more than those who easily can, and it's really difficult to see how anybody is coming to any harm from their piracy. If you can afford to pay for your art you probably should. If you can't, well...

          Comments about 'entitlement' or 'just work hard until you CAN afford the thing' read to me as being deeply out of touch with the realities of life for people living paycheck to paycheck. Moralising about having a strong work ethic or whatever is all well and good, but at the end of the day how exactly does society benefit from people with low incomes being denied access to media? Who is being harmed if they choose to pirate that media?

        Piracy is not IP theft. IP theft would be faking a transfer of copyright ownership.

        Piracy may or may not even involve loss of revenue. You can pirate a game you have no intention of buying.

        The analogy I usually use for piracy is fare evasion. You benefit, nobody else particularly suffers, but you've still benefited from the hard work of other people without contributing. The only real difference is that you're more likely to get caught evading a fare.

      lets all be happy this editor didnt supply the username of the submitter!

      Is it entitlement? Of course it is. The question was never "Is piracy wrong". The question is why do people do it? because understanding it allows us to educate against it and fight it properly.

      So why do people do it. Well, because for some poorer young kids out there. They grow up hearing about this mythical thing called a video game that all the rich kids talk about but they've never even seen. (particularly if for pirates from 10 years back when youtube videos). I can tell you easily what its like to grow up like that. Before the age of 10, the only experience of Coca-Cola for me came from taking a sip from richer friends who "didn't feel like" finishing a can of coke. So when I first heard of "Starcraft 1" talked about for about 5 years consecutively, I finally pirated it (didn't even know it had gotten so out of date the only way to buy was the entire battle chest collection).

      Why did I pirate it? of course it was a feeling of entitlement? I didn't have a right to play the game. Even if it was 5 years old and sold for 20 bucks, I, who haven't even used the canteen at school to buy lunch, could never afford it...and never having played it meant, as a geek, not even other geeks could be bothered to talk to you.

      Did it make me pirate a lot of games? Yes. Did it make me a perpetual pirate? No. I stopped the first day I got some stable income. Then went back and bought everything I could remember I pirated (steam helped). Does that make it right? NO. Does the cost of entertainment ever justify piracy? NO. To me, the biggest question is, will you standing on mountain telling a 10-15 year old me that I'm a fucking self-entitled idiot do anything? No, My 15 year old self would have replied, "I know its a crime. I do it because I want to try it. I know I can never afford it. And most of all, I do it because its the only way to make any friends at school."

      a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.
      "he was familiar with the nuances of the local dialect"
      synonyms: fine distinction, subtle distinction/difference, shade, shading, gradation, variation, modulation, degree;

      You might also find it helpful to google 'context'.

      Good job conflating copyright infringement and grand theft auto, though to really stretch an analogy into uselessness. Maybe you'd also like to accuse some jaywalkers of murder? Because that's about the same relationship as piracy to stealing a ferrari.

      You can't compare those things. It's like saying this, "I can kill mice that spread disease, should I kill a fellow human being?" One is classified as necessity and the other is merely a want and don't tell me that emotional well being is BS because a lack of it is extremely detrimental. In the context of the text a person with no friends and a job I'd say is entitled to pirate things as it would most likely be they person's only way of reaching a certain form of happiness that others take for granted... and it is generally more frowned upon to steal a car and kill people, that alone ruins the comparison.

    The main thing this article highlights is that "pirates" are not one big, homogenous army marching in disciplined lockstep to destroy developers. They're all people and people are all different. Some of them are selfish assholes who decide they want a game and don't want to pay for it because they're greedy, no different from shoplifters. Some are genuinely unable to find the games they want legally and legitimately. Some make very good arguments about how pirated versions are BETTER than legitimate versions (the Assassin's Creed/UPlay example is a good one; seriously, FUCK Ubisoft). There's no single motivation for game piracy.

    The only simple truth is that if game developers and publishers want to stop piracy while maintaining ANY kind of moral high ground, they need to improve their services to provide answers to all the legitimate motivations until the only pirates left are the ones stealing perfectly available, well-support, reasonably priced games out of sheer greed. Then we can all sit back and watch in satisfaction as the people who DESERVE it get sued, while we all play our games happily.

    Things here are expensive. Really expensive… Sadly, this here is ole Australia where expensive is the norm, Destiny, $110, CE Mortal Kombat, $150. Piracy would be nary a blip on my radar if I was paying an average of $50-$60 a game.

    I haven't actually pirated anything in quite some time. My computer is getting a little dated and most new releases I get on the PS4 or WiiU, pirating doesn't work so well for consoles anymore. As to the PC, I play some Civ5 with friends over steam and while I could dick around with a hamachi lan or something similar, it is quite simply too much of a chore. Outside of that, I am almost exclusively using my PC for MMOs, which you can't pirate. I break out the emulators from time to time for old releases or games with fan localisations

    The only game i have ever pirated was the uncensored version of south park:stick of truth because i'm 27 years old and my government believes i can't distinguish between reality and fantasy and shouldn't be able to make my own decisions on what i watch and play.

    I always thought the reason people pirated games was simple... because they want it - but don't want to pay for it?

      That is true, everything else is just self justification and self entitlement. You can clearly see from the responses. Always the typical reason, "try it out before buying", "piracy is why you save money from broken games","uPlay", "origin" but I understand when people in brazil says they just couldn't afford the game.

      I grow up in a third world country where a single copy of original game is a month's worth of food, that is why piracy is everywhere, from movies to games. $1 ps1 games and $3 ps2 games , $1 per movie. There was no way you could buy original games except you are extremely rich. Not to mention even game shops refuse to stock them because no one would buy it.

        Not true at all.

        If i have ever pirated it is because i cannot buy x game in my country or watch x show online in my country.

        Alot of games and shows just don't come to Australia if i didn't stream anime and tv shows i would have nothing to do at all and have 99% less shows to watch i would be bored shitless.

        Let me pay for them i will gladly pay for them but i only pirate them because i NEED entertainment as it's my only way to cool down and calm my anger and stress.

        To be honest if it were not for videogames or tv shows i would be outside taking my stress out on things probably doing alot worse because i deal with stress differently then most.

        TBH without piracy i would have commited suicide a long time ago also when i was depressed all i had going to make me want to live was that next episode of supernatural or that next game release.

          And may I ask how many games have you pirated since 99% of games are released in Australia? There is less than 10 I believe for the past 5 years. I stopped pirating when I got my job and can afford the games.

          We will put tv series aside since everyone pirates that one here :P

            More than 200 in the last 4 months.

              Yeah probably 99.9% are indie game that no one cares about. Bring on the titles that you could not play because it went RC.

                Oh yeah, im with you about not playing 99% of them, but there is a real issue there. Saying things like you did, about there being only about 10 is severely understating that there is a major censorship problem for the adults of this country. And who are we to say its ok to ban things just because you and I wouldnt play them. That's not the Australia that I want to live in.

                  But the weird thing is, it costs a fortune to get classified in Australia and they can actually sell games on Steam without classification. What are those 200 games banned here? Unless those includes ios, android and windows app. In the article mentioned some games like Douchebag Beach Club and Drunk Driver. WTF are those games lol. I can't even search them at all.

                  @Letrico for some reason I can't reply to the right comment, hope you see this. Absolutley some (if not all) of those games are on the app store or play store. The thing is though, platform is irrelevant. Why are adults banned from playing games? Can we not make that decision for ourselves... as adult?

                  Also, just so you're aware, the classification board made it faster and much cheaper to classify games here recently. Of course you can go the traditional route and have them play and classify the game, that still costs a lot. Alternatively you can fill out the forms yourself and tell them what's in the game, this method being much cheaper. Depending on what you put in the forms and how you word it, they decide off of that info what rating it is or to refuse classification. There were articles about this months ago on Kotaku. It most definitley doesn't cost a fortune now, unless you go the old route.

            personally only like one or two but those were japanese 18+ games which don't get sold to Australians and the only way to get them is illegaly pretending to be japanese and buying them for which they cost $200 each either way you broke the law.

            So apart from that not many but there are a few games that were banned in Australia i have seen devs go fuck it pirate our game if your country is going to be asswipes.

              i have seen devs go fuck it pirate our game if your country is going to be asswipes.

              Just one actually. Hotline Miami 2.

              But those japanese 18+ games are cheap to import, more issue with installing the game on PC since language pack issue but other than that, I don't think australia customs actually seizes them since they were never refused classification like Mortal Kombat. Not illegal imo.

              Other than the less than 10 games people actually cared about. I seriously find no reason to pirate unless you have no income.

                i swear i have seen multiple and yeah for the most part but Australias import laws are kind of silly well actually there laws around anything 18+ and anime goes into a grey region where you can be looking at something legal and a court could send you to jail (happened before and its honestly stupid).

                I don't think any sane person who likes now and then playing an 18+ japanese game wants to risk the chance of going to jail for something that is legal and within the law because of old and grumpy officials.

                It kind of becomes do i risk going to jail for something that isn't wrong at all or do i risk getting fined.

                ^ imo the answer there is to move along or if you have the money risk a fine.

                Of course it all depends most stuff goes through import with no problem but its been shown time and time again Australia is mentally retarded towards Pornography of the cartoon kind.

                but other then that kind of situation i see no reason to pirate games.

                If you can afford it and pay up then you should and i always do because games are greatly accessible these days

                Last edited 09/07/15 7:16 pm

      Did you even read the article?

        So tell me the reason why you pirate, except tv shows that we don't get.

          I don't pirate games. But I pirate TV shows because it's the simplest, most stable way of viewing all content within cooee of the release date. Money barely even factors in to it.

    It seems like the easiest way to fix this would be law makers getting their head out of their asses. If Piracy were to be classified as intent to purchase then anyone caught pirating would simply be entitled to a legitimate copy of the game after being "Fined" the average retail price of the game/movie/whatever. However if there was no legitimate way to buy the product that was being pirated, the pirate would be entitled to it for free.

    This Market re balancing would put the onus on the companies publishing video games to meet the consumer demand while still getting paid for their products

      This is not a bad idea.

      Last edited 09/07/15 4:48 pm

        I wish. Apart from all the legal fees involved in both discovery and suing.

        Strongly suspect this is where the first few test cases in Australia will go with regard to film piracy. We're going to see the plaintiff request the court award damages for the legal costs and it's going to be astro-frickin'-nomical.

        Last edited 09/07/15 4:28 pm

    Excellent article, Ive done the naughty a few times before - and a few of these statements ring true. Australian price gouging was the argument I used to have cracked copies of Skyrim and StarCraft 2 with the purpose of testing them to see if I'd enjoy for a few weeks - I then proceeded to purchase. I was almost going to do the same with Witcher 3 (for the first time in many years) but seeing how Projekt Red actually cares about its player base I couldnt bring myself to do it, im picking it up this weekend.
    The only thing I have now thats illegitimate are my SNES roms - and the vast majority of them Ive owned before they died/disappeared.

    Last edited 09/07/15 1:21 pm

    Not too long ago, I downloaded Shadows of Mordor, simply because the guts of my PC are 6 years old (an i7 920 on a Gigabyte EX-58-DS4 motherboard for anyone interested) and I have no way of knowing if the game will run on my PC or not... Once I had established that it did, I uninstalled it, deleted the files and bought the bundlestars package that was on sale at the time.

      I do this with new games as well. My hardware is 4 years old. A lot of minimum requirements are a little below what I have, but for some reason games just don't run at an acceptable level

    I don't agree with piracy (netflix and steam are my life) but my biggest bugbear is where do you draw the line? What exactly is piracy? Sure, there's a legal definition and it's pretty rock solid but we all have our own interpretations.

    The old me would see if there was a demo available of a game I'd be interested in on steam and if there wasn't I would then grab a copy from wherever I could in order to give it a go. If it was worth it, the illegitimate version would be removed and promptly replaced with a paid version.

    Now, if there's no demo I simply pass on a title. I don't pirate at all because I just can't justify it or the effort to actually download it and then have to circumvent protection etc if a developer can't be bothered making a demo available.

    If making a demo is a bit of skin off the nose, and piracy is the much exaggerated equivalent of an arm or a leg, how does an entirely lost sale qualify simply because there is no demo?

      Good point

      Although this is no justification, I dont pirate things I see value in - so i buy all my games because I love gaming - but I dont value TV shows and movies and music. Its something about the way those industries have treated us consumers that's rubbed me the wrong way

        This is what I meant by interpretation. We all have our standards when it comes to the format itself. Some see no issue in piracy when it comes to one format over another and then pretend as if they're walking some righteous line.

        Being fair, I don't have an issue because it's very much a supply problem exacerbated by the likes of outdated systems like exclusivity contracts that prevent competition and the proponents of said systems (e.g. Foxtel and FTA TV).

        Said industries such as music have really taken steps to fix the supply issue through services like spotify but they had to be dragged kicking and screaming every step of the way. To then find it positively affected their bottom line without the manufacturing overheads must have seemed like Christmas.

        Why the movie and TV producers are now doing the same when the music industry is a classic case study is beyond me. Netflix is a step in the right direction and when the likes of HBO Now and other on demand services make their way to our shores (as is inevitable) the whole media delivery model shake up will be complete.

          I think its because each content provider sees their product worth more value than another product, and thus they dont think that what worked for others will work for them - in fact they fight tooth and nail against it and make a huge song and dance about it to the world (Foxtel - cable and satellite delivery is the best for TV, HD is simply not possible over the internet, we provide a very convenient service with the IQ - pretty much every argument destroyed in one swoop by Netflix)

          Only to watch themselves fall down spectacularly and when they rise they tout some imaginary solution they "came up" with.

          We've seen it before and we will see it again - although (biased here) I think the game industry has been better at this than any other medium (PC definitely, consoles have a lot of catching up to do)

    I stopped entertaining this debate when a certain tipping-point was reached.

    Commerce has co-opted the internet and if you weren't around before commerce came to control the net then you dont know why it's bad.

    Have fun folks :)

    since ive moved out of home and had a real job i haven't pirated any games thanks to Steam mostly. Only game ive been tempted to pirate now is the new GTA only because ive brought it on PS3 and PS4 and i dont think its worth the $103 AUD they are currently asking for it on the steam store. Australia tax on the game then USD currency conversion fee is just crazy.

    but in reality im just to lazy to pirate shit anymore, must faster to cough up the money and buy it via steam and download at my max speed, will just wait a couple more months before buying it.

    Last edited 09/07/15 1:34 pm

    Suikoden II is currently $7.55 on the PSN. That's hardly US$250..

    Personally, there's no need to pirate PC games any more with Steam sales and whatnot.

    Last edited 09/07/15 1:34 pm

    With Steam Sales, Humble Bundles, and Steam Key sites, there's barely any need to pirate. Much like it is for movies/TV, the main argument "I can't get it easily and at a decent price" is no longer a thing for games.
    That said, I still pirate the odd game to see if it's worth buying, especially if it's a new game over $50. With Steam offering refunds now though, that behaviour will probably change too.

    I really don't get this argument. "I'm too poor to buy games, but not so poor that I cant afford to own a computer that can run them". Yes, I'm paraphrasing.

    Middle of last year, I spent $1800 building an avg pc (It's already being surpassed on the recommended specs list for several pc games).

    My lack of understanding is... if you can afford a gaming pc, then how the frack can you not afford the games?

      My PC has been put together piece meal. I made my first build in 2009 with a tax return I got at the time. Since then I started studying and had to stop working full time, so I've been patching it here and there with parts handed down from friends.

      It can still run most games like Far Cry 4 and the Witcher 3 but it doesn't mean that I have a lot of disposable income for gaming.

      I don't condone never paying for it. But if you purchase it, say the first time it goes on sale or delete it after an hour if you don't enjoy it then I feel like there is less morally wrong with that situation.

      ...because I spent all my money on the computer? :p

      3 years ago I spent 1000 even and Im still above recomendex for arkham knight. You're doing it wrong.

      Last edited 09/07/15 3:40 pm

        I'm including keyboard, mouse, monitor and OS. That's $500ish on their own, so your gpu (recommended is a 760) + cpu (3770) + mobo + ram + case + hd/s + cooling + power supply all cost around the $500 mark 3 years ago? Where do you shop (cause I need to start shopping there)?

        Last edited 09/07/15 4:56 pm

      Wouldn't be surprised if this excuse/reason comes from situations where it's that the PC is the 'family' PC owned by the parents for business/entertainment/social purposes, and it's the kids who want to play games who don't have any money who do the piracy.

    I'd be happy if they brought demos back as a thing.

    To be able to try a level or two that the creators had selected out that would offer the best experience before spending $20 to $100 dollars on a game would be fantastic again. Even if it's just the one level over and over again or for open world a 15 minute or so trial.

    There are at least 20 or 30 full priced games that I downloaded and now play on quite a regular basis, but I would much rather to be able to go to Steam and demos and see some of the games I'm actually interested in playing in there.

    when I first started with computers we had computer clubs where people were encouraged to share and give other people games to play...........Oh how I use to look forward to wednesday night 6:30 to 7:30.

    I own over 600 games on steam. But I have no problems pirating if they want to charge australians double the price, put half the game behind a dlc paywall. or use painful drm like uplay.

      I've never pirate but this is the sort of thing makes me want too.......sometimes

      Yup. I'm getting up pretty close to 1000 in my library. Maybe a dozen more to my next badge. Maybe haven't played most of it. Haven't tested the theory yet, but if I ever get the urge to pirate a game, I think it'll be hard to point to as a contributor to the collapse of the industry.

    As a demo, bring back demos and I won't pirate. Also to test compatibility.

    I 've learnt to just not care what people think of pirates anymore. Half the time, non-pirater behaviour towards pirates are worse than the pirates attitude towards game devs.

    As someone whose first computer was a shitter, and as a person with no money, I pirated 95% of my PC games for years. Then I got a job, built a decent computer and started buying games. Thanks to Steam's pricing, I've now got a library of 350+ legally owned games, and my pirating is cut down to 1-2 PC games a year.

    Consoles are another story. I'm always going to pirate console games. Nintendo games especially. Why consoles? Because I'm being jewed into paying for an overpriced new release, as well as online service fees on top. When I can get the same game on PC for half of the price, what justifiable reason is there to charge such absurd amounts? Because people will pay it. Nintendo is a prime example of this. I legally own three 3DS games, and have a library of around 60 pirated games. I own three Wii U games, and when that inevitably gets exploited, you can be damn sure I'm going to pirate those games too. Charging $70AUD for games that have been out for two years or more just isn't going to fly with me. I'm looking at you, first party titles. What's that? You want to play a game that had a very small print? You better be prepared to fight collectors and pay three times the price of the title's original release price.

    Sure, a pirate's attitude is often unreasonable, but when developers, publishers and manufacturers continue to ignore the complaints and stuff even more DRM into legit games, what incentive is there to purchase games legally? Their attitude towards gamers have to stop, or expect pirates to keep plundering.

    37% of games purchased on Steam go un-played.
    Ars Technica found that on average 36.9 per cent of registered games per user remain completely unplayed. Never even loaded. And a further 17 per cent of games have been played for less than one hour. That effectively means that Steam owners don't want or can't be bothered to play over half (53.9 per cent) the games they [buy].
    That’s a pretty disturbing amount of wasted money sloshing around that hasn’t necessarily been ‘earned’.
    Nearly half the total of all the money in that system.

    …Money that could well evaporate if people felt less-inclined towards impulse purchases, or felt they didn’t have a surplus of gaming-ready money, or the freedom to purchase ‘as support’ instead of only buying what they fully intended to play to the fullest.

    Can you imagine if something caused that system to adjust? Piracy could be the least of developer/publisher concerns.

    There’s quite obviously a LOT more to this issue than ‘people getting away with something they shouldn’t’, than the inflexible ‘there is no excuse for piracy’ crowd would prefer.

    Should anything successfully be ‘done’ about curbing piracy, the results might be far, far, far from intended. I think the game industry could find itself considerably worse off than developers and publishers would expect or hope.

    Fortunately, that day will never come. Piracy isn't actually possible to beat. I half-suspect that's what inspires so much of the vitriol against it, the tired old black-and-white moralizing: Indignant impotence. "I'm powerless to stop you, so all I have left is hate."
    That, and the desperate fear that they are somehow 'missing out'. See: film industry claiming trillions of damages to piracy. Money that doesn't actually even exist: ignorantly, illogically and idiotically claimed as 'lost sales'.

    I sympathise, a little. I've had art stolen - phsyical, tangible art, that meant an ACTUAL loss to me, not just a potential loss. I've had work plagiarised. There's emotion, there, for sure. But when you zoom out to this level, on the scale of video gaming? No... no, there's really only rolling with the punches, seeing if there's something you did to cause it. Adapt. Install microtransactions, online-only 'features', a post-release DLC cycle that pirates can't be bothered to keep up with, etc, etc. Not all of it works, as we've seen.
    Wheel keeps on turnin'.

    Last edited 09/07/15 4:26 pm

      While I see your point, remember that there are probably a ton of games people own on steam that they may have played, or acquired as part of a bundle where they effectively got other games "for free" in addition to the game they actually wanted from the Bundle.

      Older games particularly fall into this category - various games from Prince of Persia, Need For Speed, Splinter Cell, Serious Sam, and a grabbag of other random titles all sit as "unplayed" on my steam catalog, even though I've finished them - I just got them as part of bundle packs for the purpose of getting other games.

      Furthermore, some games it doesn't take an hour for someone to go "nope, not my thing." It doesn't mean they're unplayed, it just means that they got them and due to steam's refund policy (or potentially lack thereof depending on when/how the game was purchased), they can't stop owning that game.

      That said, your core premise of tons of games going unplayed on steam isn't wrong, but I'd contend that the stated percentage is skewed higher for reasons that don't necessarily represent as great an imbalance as it would appear.

    There are a lot of points I have two minds about. It's weird being morally conflicted over these things.

    * Poverty stricken people should be able to play games too.
    If you think of it from a "privilege" thing, some people are born well off while other are stuck in the slums. Should someone like Gina Reinhart be more deserving to play Kool Gaemz 3: The Vidya than little orphan Timmy, just because she's got the dosh and he sleeps on dirt?
    But that probably requires a good look into capitalism and etc, and I'm not nearly smart enough for that conversation.

    *It's okay to pirate if it doesn't support the original developers.
    This is a point I'd really like to go 100% behind but there's that nagging "but". Certainly, I wouldn't want to give EA any money if I wanted to play Dungeon Keeper or C&C:RA2 because EA did not make the game and the people who did wouldn't see a cent of my money.
    But! They do own the legal rights to make the money. EA spent money to deserve to earn money on those sales.
    Additionally, if I did buy those games, I'd be showing support, and maybe they'd want to make Dungeon Keeper 3 or C&C:RA2:2 in the future. (bad example with EA, of course, because EA are awful, but you get the idea).

    *I hate (some guy) so it's okay to pirate his game.
    I kind of agree with this one, but it doesn't really work in most circumstances.
    Say I hate Randy Pitchford, because maybe I feel like he's a lying piece of shit with some disgusting ethics, like I don't know, maybe he's the kind of guy who would stare right down a camera insisting DNF is going to be a great game worth buying, or maybe he's the type of guy who would have his company have this amazing opportunity to develop an Aliens game, only to outsource almost the entirety of development to another lesser company while he has most of the money poured into Borderlands 2 instead.
    You know, a completely hypothetical example.
    Even if I hate Randy so much that I want to take money from his pocket (even though piracy doesn't work that way) by pirating Borderlands 2, by doing so I'm not just hurting Randy, but also a huge team of texture artists, programmers, sound guys, modellers, etc etc. I'd be hurting a large number of people because I don't like one guy.
    Even if they did make Tiny Tina, the worst character in video game history.
    Even the Phil Fish example doesn't work out, because some other guy helped make the game too. Phil Fish might be a human toilet, but the other guy doesn't deserve to be punished.

    *Pirating the game because I already own it
    I think this is fine, so long as you own it on the system you're pirating for. If I own a game on console and then want to steal the PC version, well, a lot of work goes into porting games to other systems, you know?
    Except for Arkham Knight.

    *Pirating old games is fine.
    If the game is not readily available for purchase not matter how hard you google search, I think this is perfectly fine. If they don't want to sell it to you, why shouldn't you be allowed to play it? The people who should be selling it probably didn't even make it anyway. Just buy it if they ever officially release it.

    Bought more games than I can play now. So it's now a matter of fact that some devs will get my money and others will not. This is just simply how it's been and how it's going to be. I could pirate, or not, it won't mean dick.
    Those are my reasons, and like this article shows; there's a spectrum of reasons dictating their actions.

    Now, piracy is just a method. Whereas for the masses of audience there's only ever going to be somebody who bought and somebody who didn't buy. They all cost the same.
    Every producer of content should be grateful that their product is being experienced, no matter how: whether it be public library, friends/family movie nights, broadcasts/streams/Lets Plays, friends/family lending, used game sales, abandonware, emulation, and even full blown piracy. Because the opposite (not experiencing it) is worthless to everyone.

    I live in a third world country (Bangladesh) where ALL the games in stores (except for the consoles that haven't been hacked and their games pirated) are pirated. So, what am I supposed to do?

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