The recent IA9 report on the interactive entertainment industry in Australia suggested that 17 percent of the household respondents admitted to having pirated content in their collection. 10 percent of these having 20 or more illegal copies. Overall it looks as if 4 percent of games being played are in some way pirated versions.
The four percent figure is tempered with the reports opening statement of “It is difficult to ask survey participants to confess to acting illegally. Given the degree to which Internet traffic is associated with peer-to-peer file sharing (many reports put P2P traffic at 60% of the total), the likelihood that local retailers and game developers are being undercut by piracy is very high indeed “
In fact all indications are that the 4 percent figure is closer to 10 percent, in correlation with overseas data.
Let me back up the report findings with my own cross-demographic observations.
Back in the day, it was nothing for a tech orientated individual, to copy the odd floppy disk based game, then photocopy the manual, or hack the correct file with a hex-editor to bypass the game protection. Then it was ‘Monkey Island’ magic, here we come.
But it was a bit of a pain, not like today where broadband peer to peer networks abound, retailers opening advertise the ‘chipping’ of game consoles and all the information is just a ‘google’ away. Sure there is some risk of downloading harmful files, as well as the voiding of any hardware warrantee you may have, but the plain fact is, that getting a free (or virtually free) copy of the latest game is pretty easy today, if you are so inclined.
Because of this ease, a growing understanding of technology in the community and the widening demographic of ‘game players’, this is an issue what won’t go away soon. Family friendly Nintendo look to be the most popular target.
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