View from the Road: When I Was a Pirate

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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View from the Road: When I Was a Pirate

There?s an entirely different side to piracy that most of us never think about.

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Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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Ahh...The R4.

My aunt bought one for her son. I'm tempted to steal it and then break it everytime I see it.
 

NeutralMunchHotel

New member
Jun 14, 2009
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The R4. I owned one and used one regularly before I paid little interest to how the gaming (or, I suppose, any) industry worked. I realised that I should probably start paying for games, keep going, or stop playing.

I stopped.

Also, my worst experience ever with pirated games was me thinking I had a nice early copy of Leaf Green. Yeah, it turned Chinese half way through.
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
5,630
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Rainboq said:
Ah yes, China, 'tis a odd country...
not just odd but one which seems, despite it's oppression, keen to break all the rules. Better or for worse
 

Plazmatic

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May 4, 2009
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How was this guy a real pirate? didn't he just buy a R4 (what ever that is, you guys may know but he fails to explain it)

He also bashes Pirates acting like they are some evil force in developed countries, they aren't I guarantee you, you will never find a pirate who pirates because he is greedy for games (only applies in developed countries) Look my uncle and his friend pirated all the time, they knew how to hack and everything, but they still bought the games they could easily hack if they wanted too, and almost never played the ones that they did, and if they did, it was usually to test it out to see if it actually worked. The reason they hack, they pirate, is because they can, so they can see their own capabilities. They do it so they can test their selves, hone their abilities, boast about their talent! Video game designers will NEVER EVER Get rid of pirates, because even with all the DRM in the world, the pirates will still attempt to get past it, and they will always succeed, then become better, so when the designers throw the next curve ball, they are that much more ready for it. Video game Designers perpetuate pirating with DRM and ways to stop them from getting the games, there would be no pirates if their was nothing stopping them from getting the game illegally.
 

Radeonx

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Apr 26, 2009
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Interestingly enough, I came across one of those yesterday while walking down the streets of Beijing. There was nothing worth my while, but I know what you mean when you talk about the stores like that.
 

Dramus

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Jul 12, 2008
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Good article. It's a new perspective I hadn't really considered before. As a publisher, it definitely makes sense to not translate your big new AAA title for a country so in the grip of pirates. However, I wonder what the state of a developer like, say, Popcap would be in those countries. They already sell their games for cheap in affluent nations ($3 for Plants Vs. Zombies on iPhone, and $20 for a physical CD version), so it probably wouldn't be a big leap for them to slash costs for poorer nations. Maybe publishers should look at a tiered model, where they produce cheap, easily ported games for all areas (preferably with an MMO component for extra $) as well as the $20 million extravaganzas for Japan, US, and Europe. Maybe that's why casual games are all the rage; besides ease of playability, they're much more easily made competitive against pirates.
 

Setsuhen

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Apr 14, 2009
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Strangely enough, I live in a tiny island (Malta, but you've probably never heard of it) and it's not an underdeveloped country, yet piracy is the thing around here. ALL the people I know have at least pirated ONE thing in their life, be it music, video games, films, etc. But no one ever thinks about how piracy is bad or what not. It's actually a way of life for us. I myself have stopped pirating, but everone else still does, and acts shocked whenver I tell them I'm going to buy game and not just buy it (unless it's for mulitplayer reasons).
 

G-Mang

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May 11, 2009
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It's easy to act like economic issues don't apply to first-world countries, but there are large portions of the population that simply can't afford games, especially at launch price. The whole "pirates are largely jerks who know they're being unethical" paradigm strikes me as unrealistic at best and obnoxiously privileged at worst.

As a college student basically living on federal aid/loans (and ramen, literally foregoing coupon-affected sales at Dominoes as "too expensive"), there's simply no way I can pay for more than a couple games a quarter, and I've really pirated less and less each quarter, and you know what? I haven't been buying more games; I've been buying less games. Much less. I got into a game competitively (cause if I'm not playing new games, I'd rather get better at the games I have) and basically shut myself out of the usual "follow gaming scene and try innovative titles" cycle.

Until that point, piracy was the only thing keeping me even marginally in the loop. I might pirate a few games, and of the ones I liked, buy one or two and make the most of them. But I literally haven't purchased a game since L4D1's second $25 sale, and I haven't pirated anything since around that time either.

And it's not like I'm not interested in gaming anymore--I play the games I own all the time and follow sites like Escapist and Gamasutra--I just never get a chance to actually play new games and so never have the confidence to spend what little money I have on a new one.

To act like I--or any of the other countless people in similar situations to me--are inherently unethical jerks just because we don't live in a developing nation is excessively deontological (at the cost of any shred of utilitarianism).
 

edthehyena

New member
Oct 26, 2009
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Plazmatic said:
How was this guy a real pirate? didn't he just buy a R4 (what ever that is, you guys may know but he fails to explain it)

He also bashes Pirates acting like they are some evil force in developed countries, they aren't I guarantee you, you will never find a pirate who pirates because he is greedy for games (only applies in developed countries) Look my uncle and his friend pirated all the time, they knew how to hack and everything, but they still bought the games they could easily hack if they wanted too, and almost never played the ones that they did, and if they did, it was usually to test it out to see if it actually worked. The reason they hack, they pirate, is because they can, so they can see their own capabilities. They do it so they can test their selves, hone their abilities, boast about their talent! Video game designers will NEVER EVER Get rid of pirates, because even with all the DRM in the world, the pirates will still attempt to get past it, and they will always succeed, then become better, so when the designers throw the next curve ball, they are that much more ready for it. Video game Designers perpetuate pirating with DRM and ways to stop them from getting the games, there would be no pirates if their was nothing stopping them from getting the game illegally.
These pirates are in the minority to the point where publishers can't possibly care about them. Most pirates (who aren't real pirates -- I'd save that title for people like your uncle) just download a pre-cracked game via torrents. They are mostly inexcusably immoral thieves who should stop.

OT: I think developers need to make a choice -- either they care about localizing the games in these countries and start to horn out the piracy, or they just (continue to) let the market go. It's a lot easier to ignore it, probably. Also, these types of things really need to be taken into account on all those reports of really high piracy rates. It's technically piracy, but in a market the publishers clearly don't care to have.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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Plazmatic said:
I guarantee you, you will never find a pirate who pirates because he is greedy for games (only applies in developed countries)
If you will pardon my french:

Bull. Shit.

That is the reason that 99% of pirates pirate.

G-Mang said:
It's easy to act like economic issues don't apply to first-world countries, but there are large portions of the population that simply can't afford games, especially at launch price. The whole "pirates are largely jerks who know they're being unethical" paradigm strikes me as unrealistic at best and obnoxiously privileged at worst.

As a college student basically living on federal aid/loans (and ramen, literally foregoing coupon-affected sales at Dominoes as "too expensive"), there's simply no way I can pay for more than a couple games a quarter, and I've really pirated less and less each quarter, and you know what? I haven't been buying more games; I've been buying less games. Much less. I got into a game competitively (cause if I'm not playing new games, I'd rather get better at the games I have) and basically shut myself out of the usual "follow gaming scene and try innovative titles" cycle.

Until that point, piracy was the only thing keeping me even marginally in the loop. I might pirate a few games, and of the ones I liked, buy one or two and make the most of them. But I literally haven't purchased a game since L4D1's second $25 sale, and I haven't pirated anything since around that time either.

And it's not like I'm not interested in gaming anymore--I play the games I own all the time and follow sites like Escapist and Gamasutra--I just never get a chance to actually play new games and so never have the confidence to spend what little money I have on a new one.

To act like I--or any of the other countless people in similar situations to me--are inherently unethical jerks just because we don't live in a developing nation is excessively deontological (at the cost of any shred of utilitarianism).
I was a college student once too. Even now, my disposable income is pretty limited. We all have to make sacrifices. Rent games? Buy bargain-bin games? Borrow them from friends?

Why do you get to have things for free? You don't. You either save up for them, find another way, or go without. You aren't entitled to get something for free just because you want to.
 

RMcD94

New member
Nov 25, 2009
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You aren't entitled to get something for free just because you want to.
If it isn't to the detriment of anyone else then why not?

I am of course assuming they wouldn't buy the game in the first place. I know no one who would have bought it but pirates it instead.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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RMcD94 said:
You aren't entitled to get something for free just because you want to.
If it isn't to the detriment of anyone else then why not?

I am of course assuming they wouldn't buy the game in the first place. I know no one who would have bought it but pirates it instead.
Because it is. You are taking something that someone spent time and money on, for free, when they have the right to receive money for their hard work.

That's a bullshit excuse that people use because they feel entitled to get things that cost money for free.
 

edthehyena

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Oct 26, 2009
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John Funk said:
G-Mang said:
I was a college student once too. Even now, my disposable income is pretty limited. We all have to make sacrifices. Rent games? Buy bargain-bin games? Borrow them from friends?

Why do you get to have things for free? You don't. You either save up for them, find another way, or go without. You aren't entitled to get something for free just because you want to.
For some reason, many gamers feel that they have to play every awesome new game, or supposedly awesome AAA title. This is just another pathetic attempt for pirates to rationalize their immoral actions.

Also, it's called Steam. They have awesome sales all the time, if you just wait a few months after release.
 

G-Mang

New member
May 11, 2009
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John Funk said:
I was a college student once too. Even now, my disposable income is pretty limited. We all have to make sacrifices. Rent games? Buy bargain-bin games? Borrow them from friends?

Why do you get to have things for free? You don't. You either save up for them, find another way, or go without. You aren't entitled to get something for free just because you want to.
Did you even read my post? I did save up for games. But when I switched to just playing my own games competitively and not trying new games through piracy, I basically stopped buying games altogether. My piracy was not costing anyone money, nor was it done simply because I wanted to grab up as many games as I could. My whole point was that it was the only thing keeping me buying them.

Can't rent PC games, as far as I know (I don't own any consoles). Sometimes I do borrow things from friends, though I'm sure game producers don't like that much more than piracy. Me pirating a game vs. me borrowing a game basically amounted to the same thing: the developer not getting any money unless I was impressed enough with the "trial" to buy it myself. I don't know why you find one so unethical and the other so just.

You're right in that I'm not entitled to anything. But that wasn't the point. I wasn't saying I deserved those games, I was saying that realistically, as a busy and poor student, the only way I could keep up with games and get interested enough to buy them was downloading them first. I did not find it unethical at the time, and I still don't. You don't have to worry about me pirating things anymore; I haven't done it for at least 6 months. But at the same time, I also haven't purchased a game or payed a monthly fee in that time. In the eyes of some content owners, and people like you, what I'm doing now is more ethical and better for the industry than what I was doing before.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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edthehyena said:
John Funk said:
G-Mang said:
I was a college student once too. Even now, my disposable income is pretty limited. We all have to make sacrifices. Rent games? Buy bargain-bin games? Borrow them from friends?

Why do you get to have things for free? You don't. You either save up for them, find another way, or go without. You aren't entitled to get something for free just because you want to.
For some reason, many gamers feel that they have to play every awesome new game, or supposedly awesome AAA title. This is just another pathetic attempt for pirates to rationalize their immoral actions.

Also, it's called Steam. They have awesome sales all the time, if you just wait a few months after release.
Exactly.

You don't get everything you want because WAAHHHH I WANT IT NOW. For Christ's sake, people went without for the whole of human civilization. Kids with noses pressed up against the windows of stores looking at the thing they want and saving their allowance. They don't get a Red Ryder BB Gun away because they think they're entitled to it.

It's a rationalization, and it's total bunk.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
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G-Mang said:
John Funk said:
I was a college student once too. Even now, my disposable income is pretty limited. We all have to make sacrifices. Rent games? Buy bargain-bin games? Borrow them from friends?

Why do you get to have things for free? You don't. You either save up for them, find another way, or go without. You aren't entitled to get something for free just because you want to.
Did you even read my post? I did save up for games. But when I switched to just playing my own games competitively and not trying new games through piracy, I basically stopped buying games altogether. My piracy was not costing anyone money, nor was it done simply because I wanted to grab up as many games as I could. My whole point was that it was the only thing keeping me buying them.

Can't rent PC games, as far as I know (I don't own any consoles). Sometimes I do borrow things from friends, though I'm sure game producers don't like that much more than piracy. Me pirating a game vs. me borrowing a game basically amounted to the same thing: the developer not getting any money unless I was impressed enough with the "trial" to buy it myself. I don't know why you find one so unethical and the other so just.

You're right in that I'm not entitled to anything. But that wasn't the point. I wasn't saying I deserved those games, I was saying that realistically, as a busy and poor student, the only way I could keep up with games and get interested enough to buy them was downloading them first. I did not find it unethical at the time, and I still don't. You don't have to worry about me pirating things anymore; I haven't done it for at least 6 months. But at the same time, I also haven't purchased a game or payed a monthly fee in that time. In the eyes of some content owners, and people like you, what I'm doing now is more ethical and better for the industry than what I was doing before.
Yes, it is more ethical. People have the right to not buy something, as they have for the whole of human civilization. If you don't want to give someone your money, you don't have to (or if you can't).

But that doesn't mean you get their half of the economic transaction anyway.

And the difference between lending and pirating is that with lending, your friend is not playing the game. He just temporarily transferred ownership to you. Until you transfer it back, he can't play it. That makes all the difference in the world.
 

The Great Zegrool

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Jul 29, 2009
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It's a cultural thing in the USA as well. I get surprised looks from people who 'stick it to the man' when I say I'm going to buy something.

So it's ingrained everywhere.
 

BehattedWanderer

Fell off the Alligator.
Jun 24, 2009
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I used to pirate some games--It was honestly about 50-50 for buying/pirating, though too be fair I never bought all that much, maybe one or two a month. I rather grew out of it (possibly because the PS3 has no pirate option, forcing me to look to different avenues), preferring instead to play through it legally, opting for the renting option. Services like Gamefly are absolutely amazing to this end, as you can rent it for as long as you need/want, pay a small, easily managed fee a month, and play as many games as you can get in and out, plus or minus a day or so of there-and-back for the mail.

That said, I do think there's a limit of time for pirating games--pirating new stuff, where the game can still easily be found on shelves is theft. Running a ROM on an emulator of something the company doesn't sell anymore, and therefore earns no profit for anymore, is more akin to browsing a library. I'm uncertain of where I put very obscure titles in that system, because it feels like one of those things where the thought would be to say "if you can find it on a shelf, then get it that way, otherwise, browse the library".