I am not condoning, encouraging or instructing people to pirate here. I'm sharing my point of view on it.
I'm writing this to those who grew up in an "internet" environment where piracy is considered an absolute cancer, and who have the misconception that every torrent downloaded automatically equals evil and crime.
P.S. In order not to repeat the word "piracy" 1700 times, and since I feel like an idiot when I use it, I'll occasionally use the word "fileshare."
There's "piracy", and there's actual piracy.Yes, there are tens of thousands of selfish pricks around the world who think that even though they make money or can afford the occasional game, they somehow have the right to just leech the files off some torrent guy, over and over and over, year after year, enjoying endless hours of entertainment without giving the hardworking studios that provided that entertainment, the cost for their trouble.
I agree and realize that there are huge numbers of these assholes out there. Sitting in their rooms by their PCs, laughing at people who spend their hard earned money on Steam or the PSN store or Gamestop, as they browse and surf and torrent and accumulate free games all they want.
I am in no way defending those hurtful parasites.
But there's a whole other face to fileshare that you should be aware of.
ExperimentingContent / Gameplay:
Not everybody in the world knows and has played most of the game franchises and genres out there, like a seasoned experienced video game aficionado who frequents video game forums might. Not everybody can afford buying a game because of the hype or the metascore, and then ditching it if they dislike it, like many of us do.
Some people maybe be new to gaming. Some of them might have played the same genres for years, and this is their first time trying a new game. Some of them may not be able to afford spending big cash on a game and then not playing it after they grow to dislike it, upon trying it.
The typical answer you might find on the internet to that sort of situation is "grow some balls, buy the game to try it, and if you don't like it, don't buy any more games from that franchise/studio." But that's just unrealistic. Why would I spend full price on a game when I'm not sure whether I will like the gameplay or not? Just because someone on the internet think it's the ballsy thing to do? No, I'll pass.
And so, this is the first and most important reason: These people believe that they have two choices- either to "pirate" the game to see if it's worth sixty USD, or not pirate it because it's "wrong" and thus not get the chance to try it. Miss out on the chance to become customers of that studio.
Here are some ~~examples~~ to demonstrate my point:
- I pirated The Witcher back in 2008 to try it out. I was a total RPG noob, so as you might imagine I was simply disturbed by such a game and I deleted it in 10 minutes. Earlier this year, I pirated it again to see if I had finally overcome my RPG learning disability and actually enjoy a deep thorough game.
- I used to be a Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: World at War player for several years (both purchased, as well as Modern Warfare 2, as a result of pirating Call of Duty 2 to "try it out" in 2006). I heard of Battlefield 2 in 2007. I pirated it to see if I can enjoy this big-scale teamwork-based multiplayer game that I kept hearing about from a German msn friend, and guess what? I didn't even know how to play the game, even after reading about it. I didn't know anything about anything, I found myself confused as fuck, and I deleted it. Then in late 2008, I thought what the heck, let's try that complicated game again, and pirated it. It quickly became my all-time favorite multiplayer shooter.
I am now forever a day-1 customer of these studios, all thanks to curious pirating as a teenager. Hadn't I torrented BF2 and Witcher, I probably wouldn't own any of the 2 franchises today.
- In contrast, after watching the infamous Dead Island trailer, and for being the big Lost fan that I am, and for being sick of typical survival games and then-thinking that Dead Island was gonna be unique, I actually pre-ordered it a few weeks after the trailer. Then after watching the first gameplay demo, I had second thoughts, and decided to cancel the pre-order until I'm sure I want this game. When it came out, I pirated it to test it.
How many of you have your Dead Island copies laying on the shelf, drenched in regret? Exactly.
This a very simple one. You don't know if the game runs on your machine, some people say it's optimized, others dont. Some people say the "Can You Run It?" website is dependable, other dont.
So what do you do? Download the game, run it, look at the FPS and graphical quality, BOOM you got a better answer than any technician could give you.
~~Example~~ I saved myself 60$ on Brink when it ran like shit on my PC EVEN THOUGH most people said my 8600GT would run it decently. I'm not an idiot to take someone's word on the internet and then end up dropping these amounts of money down the toilet, I work hard for my fucking money.
The bigger issue, however, is the bad PC ports. There are games, some of them are great games, GOTY contenders even, that get botched up for the PC. Am I supposed to spend full price on a game that would control like shit for me on the PC? Be badly optimized, overheat my machine and give me bad frames per second? HELL NO.
~~Example~~ Batman: Arkham City has become notorious on the PC for having a terrible DirectX 11 implementation and shitty PhysX that made monster PCs stutter.
What do you do after hearing this news?
Idiot response: I spend 60 dollars on it and thus down the shitter, and spend the rest of my life resenting that game for what has happened.
Smart answer: I "pirate" it to see if it's true.
That's what I did. Last week I pirated Arkham City to see if it's true, luckily it ran like charm on my PC, so I bought it last night on Steam. You test the port for a couple of hours on your machine, then you buy it, because it's a PORT, the chances of it being a decent product worth the price tag are NOT VERY BIG, need I say more?
The lack of PC demos contributes to this.
Temporary SolutionI didn't have any money from my last paycheck left in my account when Skyrim came out. What, should I have waited a few weeks and thus be a few weeks behind everyone else even though I know I'm gonna buy it? It's a fact, I'm buying Skyrim before the year ends, why torture myself and watch others play it for a couple of weeks and be behind on all the discussion threads and my the progress of all my Steam friends?
I came back from the bank this morning after FINALLY receiving my late paycheck, and I'm gonna buy the game tonight. It's just that I have 51 hours in the game, so while I will legitimately purchase this product, I won't be feeling like shit for being weeks behind on one of my most anticipated games this year. Behind on forums and threads. Behind on memes. Behind on videos. Behind when DLC comes out.
Ease of UseDid I mention that I purchased Arkham City last night after testing DX11 on my PC in the pirated version? I did.
I just tried launching it on Steam. The game does not launch.
I own Arkham City, It's in my Steam library, and the game won't start. The pirated copy ran like fucking charm. It's a FACT that, technically speaking, pirated games > legit games.
They have no DRM, no activation loops, no certificate shit from Steam, none of that crap. They're like a pure virgin form of the game that needs a crack and some bootleg update files to start.
So while I own the game right now, there's a big chance that I will continue playing the technically-superior pirated version. I own AND HAVE PAID FOR at least 10 games that I run the pirated versions of, because they offer me the better experience and least hassle. Very simple, very true.
Alternative SourceI own The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion on Steam. I visited a friend who has a weak gaming laptop and no internet connection (his parents don't use internet, and he was visiting).
Do you know how much it made my life easier to, instead of having to take his laptop and coming home and connecting to the internet and installing Steam and logging into my account on his PC and go through Steam guard (getting an email code to prove it's me logging in) and then waiting for Oblivion to download from the Steam servers and install and update, and then telling Steam to work in offline mode, and then driving back to his fancy villa-like house to enjoy an evening with the game, I just took my pirated Oblivion and installed it in 5 minutes.
Jesus, typing this paragraph was truly exhausting.
I do not encourage excessive or selfish/harmful piracy.I spent hundreds of dollars on games this year, 1600$ on a PC upgrade, and made a credit card to become an active Steam customer.
I'm asking you to have an open mind and not misjudge someone just because they torrented a game. As you can see, there are several cases where the act is not intended as property theft out of cheapness and selfishness.
- Notch, creator of Minecraft, the one game that should NOT be stolen (I agree wholeheartedly), admitted several times on Twitter to being a game pirate in the past.
- Team Meat, creators of Super Meat Boy, believe in the theory I presented above: Piracy leads to future purchases when you try out product. "Please pirate our game, and tell your friends."
- Gabe Newell's commendable and surprisingly wise take on piracy. [Video]. Provide a better service to win customers over.
- Tim Schafer pirated a LucasArts game, that's how he got his job.
While this is my favorite website, I have hundreds of friends in this community, and the Giant Bomb moderators repeatedly disprove my "moderators are assholes" theory with their friendliness and open minds, I realize that there's such a mass consensus here that piracy is the root of all evil, that freedom of speech on the subject, even from a personal point of view in a blog, may be forbidden.
It's clear in my disclaimer and the text itself, that I'm only commenting on the act and sharing my opinion, and not getting into piracy as a process, in any form or way. I'm only pursuing a healthy intellectual discussion of it.
So I hope freedom of speech is still free.
Looking forward to your thoughts on my argument!