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Is gaming piracy finally dead?


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Ignoring emulation, the last system I did any piracy for was the Nintendo DS, and I’d still bought quite a few games for it. 
 

Before that, it was on the Amiga where XCopy ruled. One thing I never did though, was buying copies. 
Avoiding paying is one thing, but making a profit always felt unacceptable. 
 

Every other console I’ve had, I’ve bought everything. I’m happy to give the creators my money, can’t be bothered with the faff, and I like having a physical possession. Time is definitely the limiting factor rather than money for my gaming. 

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1 hour ago, Vespa Alex said:

One thing I never did though, was buying copies. Avoiding paying is one thing, but making a profit always felt unacceptable.

 

What about making a profit from grassing?

 

Kyk4L.jpg

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I never really pirated games much. I think my experience was mainly restricted to downloading a couple of emulators of long out of date machines (Game Boy and SNES I believe) and briefly having a go on old favourites where I still actually had the original consoles and carts in the back of the wardrobe. 
The one then-current game I ever pirated was The Sims, which I’d actually already bought but it stopped working for some reason.

 

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6 minutes ago, MrPogo said:

I never really pirated games much. I think my experience was mainly restricted to downloading a couple of emulators of long out of date machines (Game Boy and SNES I believe) and briefly having a go on old favourites where I still actually had the original consoles and carts in the back of the wardrobe. 
The one then-current game I ever pirated was The Sims, which I’d actually already bought but it stopped working for some reason.

 

My Mrs complained so much about the Sims 4 (which she has purchased on origin along with loads of DLC) that I got her a pirate copy which seemed to have fewer bugs and less annoyance thanks to the lack of origin. EA can fuck right off, frankly. 

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From what I understand from the gaming industry it's the massive companies that aren't paying people for the work so they can buy that second swimming pool.

 

(Not saying that justifies Yarring games or anything)

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32 minutes ago, Isaac said:

Yeah fuck paying people for their work, right?

 

Pirating now we are all adults with jobs is frankly embarassing unless you are destitute.

 

If so, then more power to you.

Lol, you mistake me for someone who gives a shit what you think, I guess. 

 

(I'd personally be more ashamed that I spelt embarrassing incorrectly tbf) 

 

I do find it amusing that you can often get a better gaming experience on PC when you pirate things though. 

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8 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:

There is a beautiful irony in piracy only really being practical for people who can afford £1500+ gaming PCs. 

 

I think that's always been the case. Back when I was a kid with my C64 with tape drive I was always buying my games while my richer pals copied reams of games using dual tape decks or dual disk drives.

 

They had all the games.

 

I don't think they played any of them as much as I would a single budget tape.

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24 minutes ago, robdood said:

Lol, you mistake me for someone who gives a shit what you think, I guess. 

 

(I'd personally be more ashamed that I spelt embarrassing incorrectly tbf) 

 

I do find it amusing that you can often get a better gaming experience on PC when you pirate things though. 

 

This almost drove me to piracy years ago. The release state of Bioshock 2 on the PC (pre moving to digital) was such a state that I could barely get it to run. And even then it would fall over and lose my save. Meanwhile pirates were having a seamless experience.

 

Eventually my solution was to buy a cheap copy on the 360 which worked a lot better than the PC version I'd paid top dollar for. (Back when I bought it PC piracy was so rife that stores had a strict (if illegal) no refund policy on PC games.)

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28 minutes ago, robdood said:

 

I do find it amusing that you can often get a better gaming experience on PC when you pirate things though. 

 

A hopelessly out of date take, bar a few weird exceptions.

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Remember copying Amstrad cassettes in the late 80s. Can’t recall the train of thought though. I’d have been 8 or 9 so probably didn’t think anything of it.

 

Had a rom device for my DS. Felt a pang of guilt with that. Perhaps that’s why I barely used the thing. Having access to so many games was more overwhelming than enjoyable, so only ever really dabbled.

 

Did the Raspberry Pi thing. Due to a family rift left it at a place I’m unlikely to visit any time soon. Tempted to order another as quite like the idea of having childhood memories all in one unit. But with a PS5, plus an X with almost three years Gamepass left to run I’m hardly going to be able to play all the games I legally have access to.

 

That being said, did find my Vita the other day. I’m tempted to look up the hacking options for that as it’s just collecting dust. Start commuting again next week and as it’s a four hour round trip on a couple of trains and the tube twice a week, having a decent handheld is appealing.

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I passionately jailbreak and mod consoles as soon as it becomes viable, load them up with homebrew apps and ROMs and backups and the moment everything is set up and running I completely lose interest, factory reset it and trade it in.

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2 hours ago, Rex Grossman said:

I think people really need to separate downloading ROMs for abandoned systems and pirating new (either new now or new at the time) games here. Totally different.

Yeah. Nobody who gets the money from the (ridiculous and astronomically inflated prices) has anything to do with the games industry, so not giving them $2 million for their copy of Super Mario Bros is perfectly fine. (I appreciate that's a particularly extreme and likely illegal example)

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With Gamepass and the amount of free games being given away, I’m never stuck for something to play - more stuck for time, as an adult.

 

Only thing I’ve pirated in [not so] recent history was iPhone games when jailbreaking and all that was so popular. And emulating everything on my Series X, but after spending literally hours organising my ROMs, we only ever play fucking Adiboo and the Energy Thieves on the PS2.

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11 hours ago, robdood said:

Lol, you mistake me for someone who gives a shit what you think, I guess. 

 

(I'd personally be more ashamed that I spelt embarrassing incorrectly tbf) 

 

 

I don’t think I’d care what others think either. I’d be more concerned with what it says about me as a person if I stole when I knew I could get away with it and/or convinced myself that it was harmless. 

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4 hours ago, Rex Grossman said:

I think people really need to separate downloading ROMs for abandoned systems and pirating new (either new now or new at the time) games here. Totally different.


Not always totally different as some of those old ROMs are still sold on modern platforms. 

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2 minutes ago, Camel said:


Not always totally different as some of those old ROMs are still sold on modern platforms. 


True, but I think someone downloading a full MAME rom set for example is still the sort of person to buy Capcom Arcade Stadium for its features.

 

Downloading old roms is a piece of piss but it’s not stopping publishers from rereleasing old games (often in a shoddy way).

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I just genuinely am a bit baffled about pirating games on PC.

 

There is so much given away literally for free that unless you are desperate to play every new release the day it comes out there is no need.

 

Its totally different from the 90s or early 00s.

 

@robdood, why do you still pirate PC games?

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43 minutes ago, bradigor said:

Mega corps should never be selling old ROMs 

 

Nonsense.

 

In the interest of not being pithy, my thoughts are here, and in particular:

 

Quote

In the end, a port and an emulation are just two different ways of getting the right pixels in the right place at the right time. If the game's doing that in a way that I don't feel is compromised in some way, I don't care as a player what's going on under the hood.

 

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54 minutes ago, Isaac said:

I just genuinely am a bit baffled about pirating games on PC.

 

There is so much given away literally for free that unless you are desperate to play every new release the day it comes out there is no need.

 

Its totally different from the 90s or early 00s.

 

@robdood, why do you still pirate PC games?

I'm guessing it's as simple as just because he can. 

 

One of the higher ups at Crytek did an interview over a decade ago at this point talking about how in the first year after Crysis came out that the ratio for sales:pirated copies was somewhere in the region of 1:20. He made the point that if you thought you had a PC capable of running Crysis then the price of the game wasn't a barrier as it needed a €1500+ PC in order to run it. 

Some people will pirate a game simply because the option is there. 

 

To robdoods credit he is being upfront about that. Theres not many things more irritating than someone who pirates content regularly trying to concoct some story about how its actually extremely ethical for them to pirate stuff because the CFO is actually a warlock, blah de blah blah. 

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Without wishing to make this thread about robdood, I don't think there's any credit in saying you pirate just because you can. Yes, lots of people will try and come up with mental gymnastics to absolve themselves, but that doesn't make them any worse than just offering no reason.

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I have some self published books on Amazon and if I make them free for a week "sales" go through the roof, but I don't get any new reviews.  When I sell them, I get maybe one new review for every 10 sales.  I think this ties in with the piracy discussion.  People see the thing for free and download it.  But then they're not actually reading it. Like a hoarder mentality - look! There! A free thing! Grab it!  

 

I've always been sceptical of the idea that piracy equals lost sales.  The true pirate never buys anything anyway.  The pirate doesn't represent a lost sale because they are a pirate.  

 

I'm quite intrigued if there's any data about lost sales of movie tickets at the moment.  It's quite extraordinary to see digital 1080p HD 5.1 rips of movies while they are still on at the cinema.  I've always been a cinema fan but the pandemic seems to have led to rips being available sooner than ever and I bet the covid-conscious prefer to stay home.  I went to see Old at the cinema and asked if I could get a seat allocation away from the crowds due to covid. The staff member chuckled and sold me the only ticket, and I had the whole cinema to myself.

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8 minutes ago, Camel said:

Nah, when I’ve pirated games in the past (eg Spectrum/C64/DC) I’ve always also spent a large portion of my disposable income on games at the same time. 


Bur would you have bought the games you pirated? If not, was it ever a potential sale that has been lost?

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2 hours ago, Rex Grossman said:


Bur would you have bought the games you pirated? If not, was it ever a potential sale that has been lost?


Hmm I don’t think I would have had the capacity to buy more games but perhaps in some cases, if I hadn’t been able to pirate game x I might have bought game x instead of game y. But really my post was a reply to the assertion that “the true pirate never buys anything anyway”.

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3 hours ago, Rex Grossman said:


Bur would you have bought the games you pirated? If not, was it ever a potential sale that has been lost?

 

Back in the C64 days and to an extent the Amiga days there were potential sales that would have been lost but that was mainly down to two things.

 

-Poor distribution.

Some games wouldn't be released here or only be released in certain cities. And the cities where I am can be spaced out by 800 kilometres.

 

-Short shelf life.

Find out about a great game two months after it was released? Good luck finding it! I got my C64 in 1987, too late to find an original copy of Impossible Mission by then!

 

And that's not even taking into account the scalping that used to occur. (In the late 90's/early 2000's some individuals would clean out discounts day one or buy certain games before or when they hit the shelves. Want any Nippon Ichi titles if you're Australian in the early 2000's?  You need to be living in Melbourne AND get in there before the stock has sold out day one.)

 

All of these have been solved by digital distribution.

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12 hours ago, Rex Grossman said:


True, but I think someone downloading a full MAME rom set for example is still the sort of person to buy Capcom Arcade Stadium for its features.

 

Downloading old roms is a piece of piss but it’s not stopping publishers from rereleasing old games (often in a shoddy way).

 

This is an excellent example. Capcom Arcade Stadium has the advantages of achievements, rewind, challenges and global leaderboards which is more than playing it on MAME can offer. There's added value there.

 

The SNK collection was historical documents and timelines and alters some of the games for home use. They've changed Ikari Warriors for example so that it can be played like a twin stick shooter which changes the game but makes it playable for those who haven't made their own rotational joysticks that have been off the market for decades.

 

Unlike say the Data East titles on Steam where it's bare bones all the way.

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