Tapping my foot here.


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Can Hacking/Piracy Be Considered Acceptable?

So with the recent news of the Wii U's supposed hacking, I thought I would ask the question presented in the headline while providing my own thoughts on the matter.

Piracy is something I think almost any big gamer is guilty of at one point or another and whether they know it or not. Downloading a free game or perhaps playing a copy that friend made for you, for instance. The use of ROMs, ISOs and other files that infringe copyrights is pretty prevalent in today's gaming industry which has lead to a restructuring of how developers handle it.

Ubisoft took the DRM route on the PC, forcing players to be online even when playing a single player game. EA tried the same approach more recently with SimCity, ultimately ending with disastrous results.

And finally, the granddaddy of these arguments; the PSN hack attack. Needless to say, this was an attack on the company of Sony itself as oppose to anyone else. I remember after the network had been cracked, there were reports of hundreds of thousands worth of PSN games being stolen. After having filed a lawsuit against a hacker who had broken into the PS3's supposedly unbreakable infrastructure, Sony received DDoS attacks from an online group that gad broken off of their original ties with Anonymous. This resulted in the personal information of many users being stolen as well as the entire Playstation Network being shut down. Unfortunately for me, this happened the very day I had picked up my copy of Portal 2 on the system, preventing me from linking my PSN account to my Steam account and even from getting my free copy on Steam.

On a side note, much of the media pointed many fingers at Sony. I felt that too much of the blame was aimed at Sony and not nearly enough at the hackers who had perpetrated the issue. It was a mess and Sony's handling of it was obviously not perfect, but they certainly handled it much better than other corporations have; and fans received free games as a result. Doesn't fix it, but it's better than nothing.

So we have the obvious drawbacks to hacking and piracy. But what are the positives?

Like with any medium, piracy can lead to one thing in particular; notoriety. As with band demo tapes getting passed around, a game that gets widely downloaded can become more and more popular as the years go by. The Mother series is a pretty good example of this.

Hacking on the other hand can also lead to breaking region locks as well as conveniences like the Homebrew channel for the Wii. While people could use this to effectively download and steal Wii games, the channel brought upon many neat features like DVD playback and game modding communities, particularly for the Smash Bros. series.

Where I stand on it is obviously not going to turn many heads, but I think hacking/piracy is acceptable under particular circumstances. For starters, I don't approve of stealing games that are currently on the market in some way. If there is a game you want to play and you can buy it legally (whether for its console or on an emulator), then I feel that's what gamers should do. If it's a rare game that cannot be bought in a legal manner, then it's hard to say that it's a bad thing to download since there's no money being made from the title.

For another, modding can lead to some cool things. But considering where hackers took the PS3 and in some regard the Wii, it's obvious that people with the ability to crack all of these codes cannot always be trusted. I think the Homebrew channel was a plus for the console as oppose to a negative, but leading to the theft of games like on the PSN (and obviously later the hack attack) really makes the line between acceptable and unacceptable a lot thinner.

Enough gabbing out of me. What's your take?

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Valenka1631d ago

Piracy and hacking are against federal laws in my country and breaking those laws are not acceptable. There is no room for leniency or debate on that part. In my opinion, the bottom line is that the law is against it and that is the final word.

Sucitta1630d ago ShowReplies(3)
majiebeast1630d ago


Especially not if it effects developers 99%(shitty ripoff games on phones and clones) of them work very hard on their games, in crush time they work probably 14-16 hours daily to finish the game we love. So i think they deserve the money even if you pick it up from a DD sale,bargain bin or just wait till it ends up on PS+. Dont go pirating it and saying well it doesnt matter i was never gonna buy it anyway cause that is BS.

caseh1630d ago (Edited 1630d ago )

If you stand by not pirating games then you are also against pre-owned game sales right? They also take profit away from the devs yet are purchased from a legit source.

Piracy is a grey area that is often over played by the industry. Don't be fooled, its been around as far back as I can remember my brother cramming 10 games onto a tape cassette on the Spectrum and the impact it apparently has on the industry today is no different to what it has been for over 25 years.

It's an argument that swings both ways, I own a pS3 and about 80 original games and a PSP with about 100 copies. You may see me as a criminal or whatever for having those copies on the PSP but who is more profitable to Sony; The guy who has a PS3 and 80 games but copies PSP games or the guy who only has a PS3 and a handful of games?

-GametimeUK-1630d ago

Piracy is totally different to pre owned games. Stupid comparison is stupid. A gamer could buy a game and support the dev at least through DLC. By purchasing a pre owned game you are supporting a business that sells games (which has it's benefits to a dev). Piracy IS wrong in my opinion.

At the same time I don't really care if people pirate games. If you can do it and get away with it then more power to ya. I actually see the other side of the argument, too. A lot of developers are treating us consumers like trash these days so I guess a little piracy is justified (even if it is wrong).

young7yang1630d ago (Edited 1630d ago )


Just go to India, South Korea, Thailand, China, Brazil, Spain, South Africa and even Canada.

You can fight it but it will always be there. Our world is full of piracy even licensed products we use today got their ideas from someone or somewhere very little of what we do or use today is original.

Life it not fair "deal with it"

Qrphe1629d ago

Many of the people from those countries that pirate such games would have never been able to afford them anyway. In order to be considered a potential costumer for anything, you must be a customer would was willing AND able to afford such product in the first place.

If those people were to no pirate they would not buy the games regardless.

young7yang1629d ago (Edited 1629d ago )

wrong on both accounts!

take a trip to South Korea, China or Thailand one day you will see that the average person can afford to buy games but most are unwilling to pay for a game that will last them a few days.. as an example the PS3 has not been properly pirated yet it is very popular all throughout the world..

take Nobunaga's Ambition or Romance of the Three Kingdoms online for example.. these games are priced around 80-120 dollars depending on the version yet most consumers buy the originals and these games offer hundreds of hours of game play.

just go to play-asia website to see what i mean.

Qrphe1629d ago (Edited 1629d ago )

"one day you will see that the average person can afford to buy games but most are unwilling to pay for a game that will last them a few days"

You seem to agree. They're able but NOT willing to pay for such product thus they're not potential costumers.

I repeat, to be considered a lost sale as part of a specific industry, you must have been able AND willing to buy a product at some relative recent point.

HonestDragon1630d ago

I have never seen the hacking and pirating of games as a good thing. I believe that such instances of causing copyright infringement lead to companies enforcing certain practices (like DRM) on legitimate paying customers as harmful to both business and the industry. While it may be a good thing that gamers can get their hands on older, harder to find games like Chrono Trigger, the long term damage on modern hacking and pirating stings more.

It is with cases like Diablo III and Sim City that have caused gamers to go into an uproar over these practices. Companies reinforce that it is to protect their product. I don't blame someone for wanting to protect their investment, but others may not see it that way. The problem, however, is answered as to how and why the company went to this conclusion in the first place. They wanted to avoid piracy and hackers taking advantage in making money off of their games and abusing the system.

Look at the online communities of the Call of Duty games. There is a plethora of Youtube videos showing many gamers (some of them kids) using hacks online and making a profit off of it. Do they get in trouble for it? Nope. But the companies would instead enforce DRM or online passes to get by these people.

It is because of people slipping through the cracks and abusing a product that result in companies wanting more protection regardless of how it affects paying customers. So, in short, I do not think that hacking and pirating is a good thing for the industry and business in the present day, but I begrudgingly admit that it could open doors for older and hard to find games to be played. However, if that were the case, you would think that companies would release these games again on PSN, E-Shop, and the Marketplace.

matgrowcott1630d ago

Your main complaint is that because of pirating, legitimate customers have to deal with DRM.

But surely your complaint should be aimed towards the developers/publishers? There are a million better ways of dealing with piracy than DRM, but publishers have taken the attitude of each pirated game is a missed sale, and so they work to instead enforce that sale.

I don't pirate, but there are lots of reasons people pirate a game, valid reasons. If those issues were addressed rather than ignored, DRM wouldn't be necessary.

HonestDragon1630d ago

Oh, yeah, I'm right there with you. DRM can totally be handled better. When I played StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, I found out I had to be online for the single player. The original StarCraft did not, so I was a little more than taken aback at that. Maintenance and patches were very irritating to go through which I would then say, "Well, off to Team Fortress 2!" I aim to be looking at a few companies this month with their questionable business practices.

People do have valid reasons for pirating in the first place. Lack of money would be one obvious reason. Another would be sheer curiosity to try a game first. The thing that gets me, though, are the hackers and pirates who profit off of the work of developers of today. It's not even to say that they want to share an awesome game from 1996 that you can't find anymore. It's that they charge people for hacks and pirated games. Again, you can look at the Call of Duty community on Youtube and see that plain as day. You have a good point with the publishers, too.

matgrowcott1630d ago


Completely agree. The difference between trying something and paying when you can, or downloading and selling, is huge. Even then, I think there are issues that the industry has to face. If people are taking their $300 machine, paying to have it chipped/altered/having alt firmware placed on it so they can pay slightly less for games at launch, there's something wrong with the way publishers expect us to buy games.

HonestDragon1629d ago

Pretty much, yeah. Certain publishers really need to see the issues surrounding their business practices to see what people like and don't like. I think having games like Chrono Trigger available on the networks would really be a benefit for many gamers. So, it is with my last bubble that I ask, do you have any ideas on what can be considered for improving company business models?

matgrowcott1629d ago (Edited 1629d ago )

There's no easy solution. Everything would either cost the industry money to set up or would mean less money per game. That's why we're stuck with what is perhaps the worst distribution method.

If we could start everything from scratch and implement this, I think it would be the best way of solving all the current problems. As it stands now, a game is released at a high price, is undercut by the used market and comes down in price to attract sales. This doesn't work, because unlike many other products that use that model, a single purchase, or even a hundred purchases, does nothing to recover the costs.

Instead, we need to flip this whole thing on its head. Set the price low when there are thousands of physical copies and then slowly increase the price as they become more scarce. Early players are rewarded by getting a brand new game at more than half off, and it'll encourage people to buy early.

The used market would be useless, because people would be looking for the optimum time to trade in (as the value of the game goes up), and hundreds of trade-ins would cause the used value to head back down. Piracy would take a significant hit as well, at least close to launch.

We'd be looking at more people buying new at a price that was just about profitable, and then more people buying new as the price went up (maybe, in some cases, as much as are buying at full price now, plus those that bought early).

Of course, there are too many things standing in the way of such a system. Both retailer and publisher would have to take a cut from day one. There'd also need to be a system that counted sales and an algorithm to judge a price based on those sales.

This seems like a perfect solution to me, in that everybody wins (after a bigger risk up front). A game like Skyrim, which has been very long-burning, would thrive under such a model. Even things like Call of Duty would probably sell far more copies at launch, although in that case I can't say they'd make more money as a result.

More realistically, just experimenting with the price point. Square Enix have been doing this on PC for the last twelve months. Start at the regular price and then drop it very quickly. You were able to get Hitman for £5 within months of release, and Tomb Raider looks to be going the same way. Again, even doing this would require publisher and retailer to take a hit from what they're used to, so it probably won't happen.

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Sucitta1630d ago

Does anyone recall when ANTI-GREED, ANTI CONSUMER-THEFT developer Notch (Minecraft) told everyone to pirate his game if they could not afford it?

Think deeply, beyond the small cube your thought process is trapped in.

There's a teensy weensy chance you might figure it out(though I seriously doubt it).

Why would he do this? Doesn't he realize he could have 37 more houses, 18 more yachts, 12 more Ferrari's and months more of coke/whores..

Doesn't he want to be like all the other corporate heads?

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