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Piracy Portables (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

Study Claims $41.5 Billion In Portable Game Piracy Losses Over Five Years 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the fair-and-balanced dept.
Gamasutra reports that Japan's Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association conducted a study to estimate the total amount of money lost to piracy on portable game consoles. The figure they arrived at? $41.5 billion from 2004 to 2009. Quoting: "CESA checked the download counts for the top 20 Japanese games at what it considers the top 114 piracy sites, recording those figures from 2004 to 2009. After calculating the total for handheld piracy in Japan with that method, the groups multiplied that number by four to reach the worldwide amount, presuming that Japan makes up 25 percent of the world's software market. CESA and Baba Lab did not take into account other popular distribution methods for pirated games like peer-to-peer sharing, so the groups admit that the actual figures for DS and PSP software piracy could be much higher than the ¥3.816 trillion amount the study found."
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Study Claims $41.5 Billion In Portable Game Piracy Losses Over Five Years

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  • Re:$45 BILLION?!? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @03:58AM (#32493264)

    I used to download games, never played many of them, just had to have the newest stuff.

    Also, these studies fail to take into account the fact that many sites require a certain amount of traffic from it's users, therefore some of these downloads are pure "pass along" downloads.

  • by MadKeithV (102058) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:11AM (#32493322)
    Considering the ESA claims the whole industry was worth $11.7 billion [theesa.com] in 2008, and that was 22.9% growth form the year before, this does not seem to be a very plausible number, since it nearly amounts to the sum of the value of the whole industry over the five years of this "study".
  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:45AM (#32493776) Homepage Journal

    Consider the fourth option where these numbers are just freaking made up by people who don't care to use statistics correctly.

    If, for perspective of scale, you consider that this the entire national debit of the US went up from 9 to 12 trillion USD, or 3,000 billion USD, and this claim is covers 45 billion USD, that would mean that the loss claimed by this study is 1.5% of the increase of the US national debit. And this isn't for all "content", nor all software, nor all video games, but just the _portable_ video games. And not the hardware either. Just the software part. So if we say that for every person who just has to have a DS there are 10 who had to have a PS/3, and for every one who had a PS/3, there were 10 who wanted to watch movies or use software in general, then the entire unadjusted dollar increase in the US national debit would be overshadowed by "content".

    Yea, that's a "straw man" if I were going to attack it, but lets just skip that. The above was for perspective on the magnitude of the bald-face claim.

    Now, when you consider everything that people can and must spend money on, "entertainment" is nothing compared to food and shelter and food and medicine and food and education and food and insurance so on. (did I mention food?) In 2007 there were 116,011,000 "households" in the us. If the US were to shoulder the burden of paying for all these "lost sales" each household would have to pony up 50 thousand ($50,000) above whatever they already spent on, well everything, including "portable games" they actually bought. That's a full working adult making a very reasonable, or even "nice" living added to each household in the US _just_ to pay for the portable game software.

    Heck, there are six billion people on the planet. To recover the sales these people "lost", e.g. 45 billion just in portable gaming software, and we spread that out to every single person uniformly, regardless of their ability to own or use a portable gaming device, everybody has to go by an $8 bargain-bin super mario cartridge.

    And they each have to do it while still spending 100% of the money they are already spending to live and do something other than play dominoes with their cartridge (surely there are not 6 billion used DS units available so these people can actually run the content...).

    Redirecting that kind of money into the phantom sales scenario needed to back up these numbers literally flies in the face of economic reason. Food would have to come free from space aliens every day for the rest of the economy to support this pipe dream "lost sales" figure.

    That is, in the same sense that "if pigs could fly, bacon would be super expensive" it may well be true that if everything these people dream of happened, and each possible download represented a lost full price sale, well then sure, with those "ifs", these numbers work. But without those preposterous ifs, the results are ridiculous.

    Insupportable, criminally ridiculous claims should be met with thrown stones and brandished pitchforks. Until that happy day when people really think about what these numbers would _require_ as a founding assumption, we will be sucking swill from the teat of political fantasy.

    There exists no mathematical world where the portable gaming industry could have "lost $45 billion 2010-valued-USD to piracy".

    Its like asking what would happen if _you_ had all the money in the world. (hint: whatever it was you had, it would be useless). You can model and dream about the scenario all you want, but it has no foundation in possible reality.

  • Re:$45 BILLION?!? (Score:2, Informative)

    by iainl (136759) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:13AM (#32493894)

    However, since only two days ago, Sony announced they have sold a total of 50 million PSPs, that's the real population we should be looking at.

    Let's assume that every PSP has been modded. And that nobody has bought two (which, given I'm the only person I know who didn't replace a 1st-gen with a smaller, better one, is obviously wrong). That's nearly a grand's worth of piracy each.

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:49AM (#32494036) Homepage Journal

    Based on your use of commas where Americans would use periods and your trailing instead of leading dollar sign I'm assuming you're European. Since you say you feel entitled I strongly suspect so. I really don't like the entitlement mindset. If we want these people to keep making games, movies, and music we need to make sure they profited some how. I've had people argue that I'm just as bad as a pirate because I buy used, but I disagree, I'm paying attention to the first sale doctrine. The license follows the media. The content creator profited somewhere on my copy. If everyone had an entitlement mindset nothing would get done. The proof is in what happens with areas with large amounts of people who have entitlement mindsets, no work gets done, but lots people bitch about what they don't have. I'm looking at both France and New Orleans here.

  • by dylan_- (1661) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:00AM (#32494746) Homepage

    Another fallacy of logic. Actually, it PROVES the law of demand

    No, just you didn't understand my post. Their figures are based on the presumption that everyone who "bought" a copy at $0 would also have bought a copy at $60 (or whatever they charge). This denies the law of demand. Therefore you are plainly wrong.

    No doubt about it - pirates are stealing. Pirates are thieves.

    No, they're not.

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