The effects of piracy in the gaming industry.

As news of an impending softmod* backup loader for the Wii emerges and promises to bring the ultimate in easy access piracy to 'the masses', the issue of gaming piracy and its effects have once again resurfaced.

Some point to the long running piracy in PC gaming, which is still ticking along nicely. It's even widely suggested that the PSP homebrew and piracy scene have significantly helped increase the systems sales and userbase.

Others argue it simply kills developer motivation and can damage a systems library, lifeline and innovation -- the Dreamcast being commonly refered to.

Do you lean either way in the debate? Without getting into the ethics of piracy, how big an impact and influence do you feel piracy has in the gaming industry?

What about the big gaming companies themselves -- do they do enough to protect their system and developers? Is fool proof security even possible here?


* For those not familiar - a softmod means it's based on code that modifies your system, eliminating the need to purchase modchips (or anything you likely don't already own) as well the need to tamper with the inside of your console. When it becomes this simple, it obviously invites a whole new audience in.
Last edited:


Certified Shitlord
Gaming is a much different form of piracy than the music industry. I know for a fact that most PSP users I have met bought it so they can pirate stuff on it (like older game systems and such). However, the gaming industry continues to boom and I don't think many gamers are resorting to piracy as people are with music.

I never really liked piracy and I always try and buy the music and games I can especially if I liked them.


Registered Member
I don't think software piracy has been a big deal since they found ways to prevent it in the late 90's. When it comes to consoles it's pretty rare to my understandings, I remember the hardware mod for the Xbox a few years back where you could just rent/borrow a game and save it to the hard drive but that would lead to early system failures.

I can understand how a softmod might make more of an effect due to the convenient change through a download I would assume. But in this day and age I think a console piracy issue is the fault of the systems company themselves not taking the right precautions. The technology is there to prevent it but how are things like that going to effect the average gamer spending the cash to buy lagit games?

If it does create a large issue then they might have to fall back on a Steam styled software system where they have the power to moniter the code the system is running on. Pretty interesting topic but theres no telling how it will affect the industry untill it becomes more of a problem for them.
I wonder how the actual companies see it themselves, too. They do put some effort into locking the system down but there's many issues that work against them too. The inclusion of external media slots, which might be a necessary standard these days, is almost inviting people in. Combined with all the collaboration on the internet and the fact that they're all including universal (PC friendly) media, you wonder if it's always just a matter of time now though. Any calling home or general requirements barely seem a challenge for these people to overcome.

I certainly agree they could put more effort in though. Which makes you wonder the original point, how much do they really care? Are the numbers so insignificant to them or do they just lack an airtight method? I couldn't argue with you on the music vs gaming numbers though Const. Especially for consoles, but I'd love to know how much money it actually does sink from the industry's pockets. I imagine game developers must be frustrated to some degree.

Should have included this in the OP. [edits]
Last edited:


Endangered Species
I've worked on a few games and everyone of them has been cracked and gets distributed illegally within hours of going to beta. On occasion we have even had people enquire at customer service in relation to problems with illegal copies, once it is explained that they have in simple terms walked up and stolen the $RRP of game, some have apologized and bought legit copies. Okay this is not on the mainstream super-titles, but the money invested into a project in relation to the profit from sales is equal.

I know other instances where people have bought a 2nd Xbox360(that does not go live) so they never have to buy single-player games again. Download 5 games and the console is already cost effective.

There is no fool proof system, someone will always find a way to cheat the system, how well known or productive that cheat is varies considerably. People will goto a lot of effort and risk just to get something for free.


Everything goes.
First things first...NICE avatar! *oookay, now that the ass-kissing is done*

I don't think software piracy has been a big deal since they found ways to prevent it in the late 90's. When it comes to consoles it's pretty rare to my understandings...
Through personal experience, I know for a fact that you are unfortunately misinformed. I was in the Middle East for years, and now I'm in Italy.
Ready for this:
In Kuwait, copies of games for the 360, PS3 & PSP were being sold for the equivalent of $3.26 + 0 tax! [at the time 1K.D.= $3.26]. No joke. Obviously they meddled with the systems first, and that's where they violated your wallets. But it's to this very day and there are actually complexes built with 100's of stores doing this!
Italy: about $7...right now.

In answer to your question Syn, I believe the industry's dynamics and business approach has changed drastically since the days of the Dreamcast. There have been numerous 'Gaming Police' members [ let's refer to them as the GP] looking around and shutting down stores that partake in these illegal activities. Conveniently, these very stories open up a month later. Today, the GP are actually members in the Advertising Depts. for the gaming developers' companies! I know of at least 2 in Washington when I was game testing.

What has happened is that the illegal activity is providing exposure and coaxing sales to customers who would normally not purchase the game in the first place. Then follows the word-of-mouth effect, since there also no rental services here like in the U.S. Also, we take into consideration consoles like the Wii that have numerous accessories, which in turn will sell more due to the games that would not have originally been bought. A perfect example of this would be the 'shooter gun' for FPS. Overall, I think it has become a matter of revenue vs. profit for the gaming industry. More attention will be paid towards developing better games, and ultimately more opportunities to produce accessories and add-ons which will not have a mark-down.

I don't know to what degree, but I honestly believe that piracy when it comes to games, is impacting the industry in a somewhat positive way.

I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity. Nothing would have been possible without Him. And my family, who has supported me all the way to this moment. The industry, Mr.Gates, thank you for....ah f'it!