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 Today, the game piracy questions has remained a major issue – though floppy disks have been replaced by torrent sites and other online sharing tools.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 don't pirate games. I think it is important to support developers. But I will admit to having used emulators to play games from the SNES era. Also, I did pirate newer game before, but that was only because it was only ever released in Japan.
Preface: The industry is getting it right in a lot of ways now, Steam sales, PS+, etc. all give cheap legitimate ways to own the titles you want without breaking the piggy bank; and cheap re-releases of old classics do much to give old games new love. However, its all a matter giving the customer what he wants. Napster dies when iTunes started selling individual tracks for $1, Game of Thrones will stop being the #1 pirated thing on the internet once HBO opens up HBO Go for people without cable. Game piracy will drop when publishers stop treating their consumers like criminals, release demos, and simple ways to play older games (Lookin at YOU PS4, lack of backwards compatibility on EVERYTHING is bad news.)
Tirade: I admit, I pirate, though not nearly as much as I once did; for the most part I've completely stopped and that's mostly because I now have the means to afford the games that I want. Services like Steam and PS+ and the sales/discounts they offer have gone a long way for me in that regard. I did/do it mostly as a means of demo-ing a game that didn't already have one (which sadly, is most)to see if it was really something I wanted. Most of the time I would put the standard demo 30min. of time into it and delete it because it wasn't for me; but a fair amount I played to completion and have since purchased most of those titles on Steam. There are some though, like Force Unleashed II that make me cringe and wonder why I bothered. I'm not especially proud of it, but when you want to know if the sequel is as good as the first and not blindly reward developers with your wallet for a garbage game, what else can you do? Reviews, even video reviews, can't tell you what a game is really like; only gameplay can do that.
As far as emulators go, yes I use them too. It's not logistically feasible to have that many consoles and software, that work, in an easy to access way. What's the point of having a collection like that if you end up having to store it in a crate and forget to even go back to them at any point because you either forgot about them or decide it's too much of a hassle to set everything up for what'll probably be a 20min nostalgia session. Plus, things like save-states and in-built hex editors go a long way towards giving some of those old games a new lease on life. PSOne re-releases are fine and all, I even own a few, but why should I have to give up the use of Gameshark for that? I own it for my original, how tough would implementing a hex editor or save-state mechanic to the console emulator really be?
For the two people who actually read this rant: I am so sorry for being so long-winded. Please forgive me.
I will admit i do download older games. But just so you know, i already bought them once. The ones i download are usually cracked or modded so you can play them on newer machines. Like Duke Nukem 3d. or Diablo 2. Already purchased them once, I have the disks.. actually in the case of D2... one disk is scratched :S.
I do download roms though. I love playing super nintendo and nintendo. Again the issue with compatibility for my system. My cord is F*cked. plus no blowing needed! :D
Nope. Pirating is illegal, and I'd rather just save my money and wait till I can buy the game rather than stealing $ from devs.
Never once in my life have I pirated a game currently for sale. I have used nes and snes emulators, and while I owned most of the games I download roms for, a very few I never had a chance to purchase when I was younger.
The whole "you rent our games with your $60 purchase, we can shut off the servers any time, and by the way really you're just paying us to beta test it" style of pc game development is seriously making me reconsider my moral high ground.
not games, I like um to much.
yes, I did a blog on this.
I emulate games for consoles I don't have occasionally. Metal Gear Solid for example. I would pirate more often but I'm a little worried about viruses.
Also...Suikoden II retails for $120+. Yeah...
I will fully admit that in a former life (teenager) yes I did pirate a few games. back then I did not have a lot of money and my folks would not let me purchase many of the games that I obtained. I did not like to do it but a teenager is young and at times stupid. Like I said I only did it for a couple of titles and that was it. Yes I did do ROMs as well. But they were mostly NES and a few SNES games. Once I started working I was then able to purchase what I wanted when I wanted and so I stopped pirating all together. Do I regret what I had done, NO. I was young and yes it was stupid and wrong, but the way I see it the games that I pirated have been paid for time and again now, all because I found my niche in gaming by doing what is considered wrong.
One other note that I would like to bring up for those of us who grew up in the 80s'. Do any of us remember mixed tapes?
Yes. I am a Pirate. But! I will always pay for a game I enjoy, and I will never Pirate an online game. Just interested in SP.
The closest thing I ever did was borrow friends games as a kid because I had no money (that is not exaggeration either). Ever since I had employment at 15 I have bought every game I owned. Some were used, but 95% were new. I care about this industry and want it to survive so I set aside hundreds of dollars a year to support it.
All piracy does is lessen the experience for me because have to put up with arcane DRM practices, some of which like always online deny me the ability to play a game.
*Insert Rusty Shackleford face and voice here* Maybe... O.o
i do it just to try games before i buy them if they do not offer a demo for them.
You know, where I live game stores SELL the illegal copies. So I don't even know what category is that >< I have bought those as a child, not even knowing what piracy was and I've downloaded most of games I have for two reasons: one, they are EXTREMELY expensive here. Two, even when I did try to buy them there was no way to find anything that wasn't PES or FIFA. Since I got into Steam I started buying much more, but mainly the indies, not the AAA