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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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  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @03:56AM (#32493254) Homepage Journal

    I don't care what the publishers say, a pirated game is not necessarily a lost sale, quite the contrary, I've found most pirates to be lazy bastards who wont pay for anything if they can help it. When one of those types pirates it's just a copy in circulation that shouldn't exist.

    On the other hand, there is a type of piracy that is a lost sale. I still love the Gameboy Advanced system, and of course they no longer make games for it, so I turn to eBay and the like. More than once I've gotten outright pirated cartridges off of eBay. I always make sure the sellers have some history to prevent that, but occasionally one slips through. Some of the pirated games I've gotten off of there were really high quality, I spotted the fakes, but I don't think most people would have. On more than one occasion the seller disappeared while my game was in transit, when they don't disappear I tattle to eBay. I then have a moral dillema of what to do with said pirated copy. I paid for it, I didn't know it was pirated until it got here, but it is pirated... Hurricane Ike settled that for me on my older cartridges, but I actually did get a pirate cart off of Amazon since then.

    I'm of the opinion the MPAA and the RIAA need to police flea markets and sellers like the above, go after file sharers, but leave downloaders alone. The video game guys need to do the same thing. The big difference between the movie and music people and the video game people is when a new format comes out movies and music usually transition to it. Not until recently have classics been commonly re-released on newer systems and they still don't re-release all of them legally.

  • Just for comparison (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:05AM (#32493300) Journal
    Just for comparison, Nintendo has been making around $2billion a year total profit over that period. So either these game companies would have been a lot richer, or these numbers are off.
  • Re:$45 BILLION?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:18AM (#32493374)

    3) Downloads of games that were already legitimately purchased by the individual but unusable for some reason

    I'm kind of a subset of category 3 or maybe my own category entirely. I have a flash cart for my DS, but I've never pirated anything for it. Every game on my cart is one that I've bought and paid for legally. However, I still download the ROMs since it's far easier to do so than to dump my own cart (which AFAIK requires some kind of slot 2 device that I have no interest in buying). Really, I'm just format shifting as I find it far easier to carry around the system with one cartridge that holds my entire collection on a 2 gig microSD card than to carry around an extra bag to lug around my 40+ games. In my case, a download is most definitely not a lost sale, just a way to play my games on my terms until Nintendo can get their act together and make a no-nonsense digital distribution service.

    I say no-nonsense because Sony has PSN for the PSP, but their prices are completely out of touch with reality as in most cases new copies of the same games can be bought in UMD format for less than the price of the digital download. Because of this, I suspect (hope?) that a large number of the people downloading PSP games are doing the same thing I'm doing with my DS and getting the advantages of a digital copy (lower battery usage and easier to carry around a large collection) without the brain-dead pricing model Sony has for its legit digital marketplace.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:22AM (#32493390) Homepage Journal
    From my teens through my 20's I was a profligate game pirate and I still have stacks of burnt CDs of late 90's and early 00's titles that I dig through every once in awhile. It is nice to be able to play Master of Orion or the original Fable for a sense of nostalgia but now in my early 30's I've begun thinking longer term storage and instead of trying to roll my own I'm going to trust Steam so I can play the few new games I play each year in the old folks home. Until I can get a nice Raid + backup solution for 10-20 terrabytes of games and growing, Steam or something like it seems the way to go.
  • Re:$45 BILLION?!? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:32AM (#32493444)

    4) DS games tend to come in packs of hundreds. I bet they counted a download of "scene dumps 1200-1300" as 100 games downloaded. Lots of people just like leeching every single game released, as they're not too large and they come in huge batches.

  • Re:$45 BILLION?!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:40AM (#32493476)

    Considering that an original PSP gets a 33% battery life boost from running a game off of the SD card rather than the craptacular UMD drive? Or the fact that you can carry all 3 of the decent games for the console on one card, and never have to worry about swapping/scratching/losing the UMD's then?

    I think you're underestimating #3.

  • by master_p (608214) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:07AM (#32493596)

    I was shocked this morning to read that Foxconn employees are paid 113 euros per month.

    It might seem irrelevant to this discussion, but it is not: the global elite is pushing for bigger profits, either through studies that claim loss from piracy or from other means.

    I hope /. readers don't get the bait that the global elite ix losing any money. They don't; they are filthy rich as a result of exploiting people in 3rd world countries. Don't make them a favor and think that piracy hurts them; it does not. It simply doesn't make their wallets extra-ultra-humongously fat.

  • Re:$45 BILLION?!? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:26AM (#32493682)

    Yeah, that must be accurate, because I'm sure they factored in things like:

    1) People downloading way more than they could ever afford to buy
    2) Multiple downloads by one person
    3) Downloads of games that were already legitimately purchased by the individual but unusable for some reason

    Also, consider the third one from the opposite perspective - people who use downloads as a means of determining if the game is worth purchasing. Maybe neither of these are a significant contributing factor (I don't know enough about Japanese culture to definitively say), but considering their method of calculating the world total is to multipl the Japanese total by 4, I'd say there are some pretty big holes in their figures anyway, unless there are studies to show that piracy levels are the same worldwide.

    What a remarkable series of insights from people who haven't even read the damn report.

  • by kubitus (927806) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:29AM (#32493702)
    for lost time, productivity loss, loss in morale, etc...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:51AM (#32493812)

    I'm a poor university student.

    DRM, DRM, DRM, DRM i will NEVER buy a DRM protected game. Will they work in 10 years? 20, 30, 40?
    Constant internet connection is required to play Ubisoft games, c'mon... Will their servers be up and running forever?

    Windows... Microsoft breaks your games every few years by releasing a new version of winbl0wz which does not include the library runtimes required to run old games.

    Signup required to play the game.
    I do have a few retail games.
    Half-life 2 is an good example, i bougt the game when it came out a few years back, i'm unable to play it today... why? Because in order to play the game (in singleplayer) you must install STEAM and assign the game to your steam profile, right? Install steam, choose user\pass and check the remember me box. Now 6 years later I have a new email account and i forgot my steam user\pass. I contacted STEAM and they are unwilling to help me. THEY stole MY game.
    I've also forgot my password for Red Alert 3, so i cannot play it online.
    A few weeks ago when i wanted to play half-life 2 i had to DOWNLOAD A PIRATE COPY in order to workaround my forgotten user\pass problem.

    It's more easy to install and play pirated games.

    It's more easy to watch pirated movies, no IF YOU STEAL YOU GOTO JAIL warnings followed by 10 minutes of trailers.

  • by Shihar (153932) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:02AM (#32494086)

    No money is lost to the economy due to copyright infringement as some MAFIA groups try to argue. It is just not given to publishers for those movies/songs/games that are pirated. But it is spent on other products.

    It is actually a whole lot less meaningful than that. I used to pirate... when I was 12. Did I cost someone riches whenever I did this? Hell no! A game not pirated was simply a game never owned. I just didn't have any money. No one lost anything when I pirated because I had no money for the video game (or any industry) to lose. When someone with no money to spend pirates, the economy loses exactly zero.

    Contrast this with today. I make money. I am a single engineer who living like a monk who makes more money than he can spend each month. When I want a video game, I just buy it. The few thousand dollars worth of games on my Steam account is testament to this. I don't ever pirate anything. Stuff is cheap compared to my income, my time is too valuable to waste pirating, and I get a warm fuzzy feeling giving money to people who make good games. That said, unlike when I was 12, video game companies ARE losing money to piracy from me. How? I DIDN'T buy Assassin's Creed 2. Why? I enjoyed Assassins Creed. I had more than enough money laying around... and yet I didn't buy it because in their zealot like efforts to prevent piracy, they managed to DRM the shit out of their game so badly that I didn't want to pay for it. The 12 year old kids that were never going to pay didn't pay, and the late 20 something engineer who thinks nothing of dropping $60 for a game on a whim didn't pay up either. Good job.

  • Gotta catch 'em all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by denis-The-menace (471988) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:26AM (#32495010)

    RE: "They just want to pay a reasonable price for a game,..."

    When I was a teenager I had friends that had hundreds of games for their Commodore 64.
    I ask one of them if they had played all of them.
    He told me he barely played any and that he spent most of his computer time copying the games themselves.
    That's when I realized that for some, copying games is "The Game". Collecting them, sorting them in alphabetical order, showing them off to your friends, trading with your friends and strangers, talking about the difficulty of copying some games. Nobody would pay for any of this but just "having them" was the thrill. The fact that it was "bad to copy" just adds to it.

    In the end it's like pokemon: Gotta catch 'em all.

    The companies should worry more about the guys who only copy one or 2 games and play the FSCK out of them. THOSE are the REAL lost sales.

  • Re:Losses? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nextekcarl (1402899) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:51AM (#32495306)

    But what about the losses due to pirates who talk badly about games they didn't like? How will these companies ever con unsuspecting gamers into paying them money?

Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.

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