The lights are on
This morning’s story on the developers over at Greenheart Games and their unusual approach to punishing pirates got us thinking about the practice of pirating games and its prevalence, as well as the changing attitudes towards the practice. We're curious about the experiences of the Game Informer community, and their attitudes towards the practice.
Growing up in the 1980s, I can recall that many friends at the time considered it common and acceptable practice to pass around floppy disks that contained the latest Apple and PC games without a second thought. As a result, many higher-end computer games of the time had aggressive and unusual methods to maintain copy protection, such as looking up lines of text in the instruction manual, or using strange code wheels to answer a question as the game booted up. Looking back, it seems awful that such rampant piracy was so accepted among rank and file gamers. Today, the game piracy questions has remained a major issue – though floppy disks have been replaced by torrent sites and other online sharing tools.
Have you ever engaged in game piracy to get a game without paying for it? Presuming you no longer do it, what made you stop? If you still pirate games, why do you still do it? Do you feel like it’s wrong, or is it not a big deal? While we’re at it, do you include game emulation of older games in the same category as pirating modern-day games, and do you ever use emulators?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, and remember that we’re all here for a discussion, not recriminations about how different people feel or act on this issue.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
I tend to pirate portable games, but if it's a game I think is good, I'll buy it to have a real copy. I just like having all my games on one cart instead of carrying around 30 different ones. Also I pirate games that aren't available anymore. If they were, I would gladly pay for *cough Grim Fandango *cough *cough :P
I pirated games when I was back in middle/high school. I think it was because I did not have the means to buy a few of the games I wanted, combined with the peer pressure of my friends giving me crap for not having that game by now.
I no longer do now (recently college grad) because I have the means of buying more of the games that I want, and I don't have that peer pressure anymore. I get more "bang for my buck" through swapping games with my brother, or buying some used games. Neither of us care much about most of the online aspect of games, so those codes don't really matter much for us. If it's a game that I REALLY love, such as Tomb Raider, or the Rocksteady Batman's, I will still buy those new, so that the devs/publishers do get some of that money.
For NES, Genesis, N64, and SNES emulators, so yes. I haven't done anything recently but games like Blast Corps or Banjo Kazooie were easy to access since I didn't have an n64 at the time. You know, games that will never see release on a Nintendo console. Games like Earthbound I played many times but thats because it was never released again until now or it was way too expensive.
As far as emulators and roms are concerned, of course I used to. I liked how there were emulators for pretty much every older console available, and it felt like a no-brainer to download some roms and give it a go.
However, as time went on I discovered how much of a pain in the neck it was to proceed forth with it. There was unnecessary lag at times, I hated playing these games with a keyboard (at the time, I didn't have a USB controller), and a lot of the times I despised the quality of each rom. Then a couple years later I got a Wii, was introduced to the wonderful legal emulation that Virtual Console had to offer, and never looked back. Plus, I had money to afford some of these classics I had been playing.
As far as more modern games are concerned, no. Never pirated a single game like that. No PC I ever owned was strong enough to run newer games, and even if they were I don't think I'd have the heart to be part of the piracy problem. I feel that true gamers should support the developer, no matter what the cost.
I have. I just pirated Doom I five minutes ago. The game is twenty years old though.
I have never pirated a game, but I know people who have and it kills me to see the developers hard work just go to waste.
Yea. On pc a few times. I download them to see if I liked them and if my computer can handle them (I don't have a gaming quality pc). If everything is fine I buy them. But I've only done it maybe 3-4 times since I rarely play pc. Also I have a chipped PS2 that I used for Japan only games that were pirated. Haven't done it in a long time though pc or otherwise.
I don't believe I have. If I have, maybe just a couple. Games are like movies to me in this aspect, the more money the public spends on them, the more movies and games they'll make.
I've only downloaded Pokemon. Everything else I buy. Quit downloading stuff, not only because I know it's wrong, but because I'm too lazy to look for one that works.
I have never pirated a video game and I never will. The developers put so much hard work and time to make something they are proud of and they deserve the money for their time and effort and for providing entertainment to us gamers.
When I was in high school there was a group of us that would get together in one of the computer labs at the local university to play Starcraft. There was a cracked install file that was passed around the lab so that we could install the game, but we all had our own paid copies anyway. I'm not really sure if that falls under Fair Use or not. It was before the days of the DMCA, so cracking the game was not itself a crime.
I tend to view emulation as a different category. Particularly because there is no legitimate way of purchasing those titles anymore anyway. If there is no way for the developer or publisher to benefit from me acquiring a game, I see no harm in downloading the ROM. The only person that is potentially being harmed is the second-hand retailer who paid someone for their old NES (or other outdated system) collection. That having been said, I haven't actually downloaded a ROM in years.
I have bought pirated JRPG's and printed of the english translations so i can buy games they didn't send us.
That and the paper rock scissors game for the PS2!
I pirate all the games that I WON'T buy, or all the games that I CAN'T buy because there are not on my country. However, since Steam arrived, that second category pretty much dissapeared, thanks Gabe for that.
However, I don't see why pirated games have such a bad press, videogame company's still have profit from games, and the people that pirated, in a major % are the ones that doesn't have either the money or the will to buy it.
For instance, I wouldn't pay 10 usd for a game like Minecraft, that's a lot of money in my country for java game, in fact, I didn't even cared for minecraft in my whole life, reading a minecraft news was like reading a zelda article, I COULDN'T CARE LESS...However, friends insisted, and I tried it, I loved it, still think 10 bucks it's a lot for the game, but if there ever is a steam offer, or, if they announce a more developed minecraft 2, Im certain im going to buy it. That means that eventually, the will have 1 sale more, perhaps 2 (both 1 and 2) from me, wich would have never existed if I didn't tried the game first. So yes, I've pirated games, and I think we all have at some point, but they were always the "mmm, im not sure about this game" minority and most of the time ended up me buying the legal game later because I loved it. Oblivion for instance, wasn't available on my country, so I played it on an illegal copy, however, once steam came out, i instantly buyed it and played it again, because I loved that game and the company deserved the money.
So, summing up, I think pirating games that you love it's wrong, but only if you have a chance to buy it (money+available on location or online store). I also think that pirated games actually return some of the money in the long term. Sometimes you play a game that you wouldn't buy or that you can't buy at the moment, but liked it so much that you will eventually buy it. It's kind of like having a free ride, if you ride a car that you don't like, you're not going to buy it, but if the car it's awesome and you have the money, you're definitely going to buy it.
Never have and never will. No regrets.
I was 8 when Internet first went public and was probably past 10 before I had regular access to it. I was downloading music from napster and downloading Gameboy games as soon as I found out emulators existed without thinking any more of it than reading a website or borrowing a friends cd. Honestly at that age I would have never even had been able to buy that stuff even though I may have really wanted it. I don't regret that history at all and see it as no different than driving underage on your grandparents property after receiving the keys. Now I don't know how the game is played on the developers side, but I think it's kind of ridiculous that people have to feel so ashamed of themselves for taking a bite of the forbidden fruit once in a while. Petty much all practicing pirates I've met only pirate games they're not familiar with. Want to know why? Cause games are too expensive to buy on impulse. There are a few really good games and a ton of really mediocre and crappy ones, and no ones got enough money to find new ones they like. I see people here saying that they've pirated in the past, but really regret it now, and I ask why? Was somebody hurt? Did somebody have to starve? This whole moral debate just seems so out of proportion it gives me a headache. Honestly many artists just want their work to be loved and it's the publishers and investors that want us to believe this moral crap. Media is too expensive for its quantity and big business won't change that even if they entirely get their way. In my opinion the free exchange of information is our biggest bargaining chip to let them know they need to compromise and rethink their pricing and delivery strategies. As for myself, I haven't pirated anything for about 4 years, the last thing being a Wii game I didn't even want. Since then I've graduated college and got a job that allows me to buy and own a few of the things i enjoy -if it even counts as "owning" these days. What I'm sharing now is just my perspective on the scenario, and I wonder if anyone out there sees it the way I do.
I think that some fine compromises are netflix-like subscription gaming services for families and full game trials.
I don't, i don't want to cheat the developers out of their hard earned money, even if microsoft or sony or nintendo make 90% of the profit.
I have pirated PC games along with an N64 emulator. Once i started to hear more about kick starter and found out that a band ive listened to for over 6 years hasn't made any money from their 3 albums due to costs to their record lable and of course piracy. I considered the same thing would start happening to more companies along the road so i stopped. About a month later i had gotten my PC stolen right out of my house. Karma's a biotch eh?