Is pirating gaming software any different than pirating productivity applications? Can the theft of intellectual property be justified under any set of circumstances?
Guest writer Leo Kontogamopoulos, who in his Bio describes himself as “another regular guy, just out of school”, has written a provocative piece in which he sets out his thoughts on a complex issue.
I’ve been a follower and participant in the gaming community for a very long time – everything from consoles to PC gaming (which I tend to do more of now). Since the very start, piracy has been somewhat of an issue in the community, largely because it was (and still is, to an extent), so easy.
Basically, the reason why I have chosen to write this now, instead of another time is, because of the recent drama about the ‘hacking’ of the PS3. Just quickly, what has happened so far is – a small team of hackers managed to break through the security of the PS3 by cracking it’s root key, which is the verification code for all software and games – that nothing can run without.
As a result, user-made software and modifications are now available for the PS3, with one of the apparently unintended side effects of this hack being that piracy on the console is now possible for online play.
If you are interested in this story and the latest consequences of it, then please check out this article.
However, the cracking of the PS3 is not my main point for this post, although it definitely does relate to it. Now, all the news and companies that you have ever heard from about piracy make it out to be one of the worst things that you can possibly do in the gaming world, but is it really that simple for everyone?
Of course, I’m not condoning piracy of games in any way, I do know that it is illegal, but this post is simply meant to examine the reasons behind piracy. (What every hacker says, right?) Now that makes me look like a hacker. Great.
When someone pirates a game, a lot of the time it’s because they either don’t have the money to buy it, or they simply don’t want to spend that money. In the second case, where a person has the means to buy a game, I don’t think that they can justify pirating it.
On the other hand, if the person was never intending to buy the game at all instead of pirating it, then the publishers really can’t complain that much about it, since there are no real negative effects on them. It’s not like they’re losing money if the person was never going to actually buy it anyway.
In fact, increased piracy of games under these conditions could even be better for publishers in the long run, as they aren’t losing any money, but are still benefiting from the increased popularity and word-of-mouth advertising that comes from more people playing their game. In particular, the recent Crysis 2 PC leak, which released a beta version to the piracy world, is a perfect example of how piracy can lead to increased popularity, and get everyone talking about a game.
In this case, it’s more of an issue of ethics, as no one can really know whether or not someone was going to buy a game or not, so it’s up to the individual to regulate themselves. Of course, that has proven to be pretty ineffective for most people.
Following on from that, the vast majority of, if not all publishers are simply overly greedy in terms of their sales. Again, I’m not advertising piracy here, but how much could it really hurt them if around an average of 40% of their games are pirated? I mean, with many games selling millions of copies even with this level of piracy, each at a price of around $80, that’s a lot of money being made already. Do they really need (or deserve) that much more?
One of the more common, acceptable (at least in my opinion), mentalities on piracy is the “try before you buy”, in which case it is perfectly fine to do so, as long as you actually do intend on buying the game in question once you have tried it.
This has absolutely no negative impact on the developers, unless they were planning on selling games through simply appearing to be good, and not by having good gameplay, a flaw which would be discovered through this method.
Piracy, while it is not something that I condone at all, is definitely not as bad as developers and publishers make it out to be, and it’s not like the gaming industry is going to collapse anytime soon because of it. In my opinion, while it does require a level of self-control that many just don’t seem to have, piracy can be OK in some cases, when used correctly.
Bio: I’m basically just another regular guy, just out of school, who’s looking for a way to spend his free time. For me, that led to combining my interest in writing with a passion for technology, and the result is articles like the one above, as well as a brand new technology based blog, called KleoTech. There’s not that much else to know about me really, just that I really enjoy what I’m doing right now.
Blog Info: KleoTech is a brand new technology blog, focusing on technology, from hardware to software and an array of gadgets in between. The content is a mix of product reviews, guides and opinion articles, which are written and released almost daily on the most recent issues and advances in the technological world.
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