My Own Experience With Video Game Piracy

Video Game piracy was huge, and to some extent it still is, in the Middle East. Growing up, everyone used to pirate games. It was the norm and essentially everyone just accepted it. There were several reasons as to why that happened. Prime among them were limited availability in legitimate retail copies & completely absurd pricing for the titles available.

If you were lucky enough to find a retail copy of a game you wanted to buy, then its usually ridiculously overpriced. Sometimes triple the original price it's supposed to be sold at. That discouraged most people from picking up legitimate retail copies of games.

In recent years however, especially since the launch of the Playstation 3, piracy decreased dramatically. Shops around the region started selling games at their proper prices and that slowly pushed more people away from piracy. Add to that how essential Online play has become, and you've got a move that shifted the Video Game completely within the region.

Since I was born and raised in the tiny Middle Eastern country of Bahrain, I wanted to share my own experience with Video Game Piracy.So I put up a video talking about why Piracy was so prevalent in the region, how Piracy negatively affected us, and what happened since that led to a move away from Video Game Piracy.

What has your experience been like with piracy?

7 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by Hyunickel

Video Game piracy was huge, and to some extent it still is, in the Middle East. Growing up, everyone used to pirate games. It was the norm and essentially everyone just accepted it. There were several reasons as to why that happened. Prime among them were limited availability in legitimate retail copies & completely absurd pricing for the titles available.

If you were lucky enough to find a retail copy of a game you wanted to buy, then its usually ridiculously overpriced. Sometimes triple the original price it's supposed to be sold at. That discouraged most people from picking up legitimate retail copies of games.

In recent years however, especially since the launch of the Playstation 3, piracy decreased dramatically. Shops around the region started selling games at their proper prices and that slowly pushed more people away from piracy. Add to that how essential Online play has become, and you've got a move that shifted the Video Game completely within the region.

Since I was born and raised in the tiny Middle Eastern country of Bahrain, I wanted to share my own experience with Video Game Piracy.So I put up a video talking about why Piracy was so prevalent in the region, how Piracy negatively affected us, and what happened since that led to a move away from Video Game Piracy.

What has your experience been like with piracy?

Posted by MURDERSMASH

I've always been of the opinion that, since piracy is illegal, just don't play the games if you can't afford them. No one is entitled to the games, regardless of income. Games are a luxury, and like any luxury, they aren't required to live, so I see no way to justify piracy. There's plenty of completely free, free to play, or super cheap games for PC, so why not just play those instead?

I empathize with you on the inflated pricing, though. Overcharging doesn't help the matter any.

Posted by Hyunickel

@MURDERSMASH: I'm clearly not a supporter of piracy. I'm just sharing my own experience growing up living in a place where everyone around you finds it to be the norm. This has clearly shifted over the past several years, and with it came a slew of positive changes.

Just look at what moving away from piracy did to the industry within the region. Tons of support from publishers and console manufacturers alike. Games such as FIFA 13 get complete localization support for those who want it, and there are quite a lot of gaming events starting to pop up everywhere.

Posted by Canteu

@Hyunickel: I had never heard of Bahrain until now, even though it is a member of the UN and has a great history. Sorry for being OT, but your country is interesting to me.

Posted by MikeGosot

Here in Brazil, it's kind of the same situation, except that piracy's still pretty huge. As a matter of fact, i used to buy "pirate" games for my PS2 all the time. It just sucks. Weirdly enough, some of them were better quality, with subtitles from my language, and all that jazz. Pricing can really screw us, and seeing that Hotline Miami's designer was actually willing to help pirates was purrrty cool. So yeah, piracy sucks, but i understand the awful situation.

Posted by MURDERSMASH

@Hyunickel said:

@MURDERSMASH: I'm clearly not a supporter of piracy. I'm just sharing my own experience growing up living in a place where everyone around you finds it to be the norm. This has clearly shifted over the past several years, and with it came a slew of positive changes.

Just look at what moving away from piracy did to the industry within the region. Tons of support from publishers and console manufacturers alike. Games such as FIFA 13 get complete localization support for those who want it, and there are quite a lot of gaming events starting to pop up everywhere.

Heh, sorry, probably should say that I wasn't specifically directing what I said at you, rather the pirates in general. :)

Posted by Sinusoidal

I live in South Korea: piracy central. Nintendo sold more DS systems here than games, and you can still to this day buy R4 cartridges online from major Korean retailers. I know places where you can go buy a Wii that comes with an external hard drive with hundreds of games on it. Most video game stores still have a few binders lying about with every PS2 game imaginable listed in them. Just tell the guy which games you want, come back in a bit and they'll have burned them for you. There are pay websites where once you sign up, you can download just about any movie or computer game.

And you know what? I can't blame them. Support for Korean ports is abysmal at best with the vast majority of console games that make it here having translated manuals only and completely English or Japanese games. Region locked Korean consoles (namely the Wii) are just begging for their games to be pirated and their systems hacked since only a fraction of the games available in larger markets actually make it here. On top of that, import costs are ridiculous due to the government taxing the shite out of anything that comes from overseas (protectionist economy, even Samsung electronics are MORE expensive in the country they come from than anywhere else.)

In the end, Korea pirates everything because it doesn't get the things it wants because it pirates everything. It's a vicious circle.

The PS3 and Xbox360 are relatively successful here largely because they are not region locked, and thus it's easier for publishers to release their games here. More and more games are available and more and more are being properly translated. The WiiU - I have recently discovered - is region locked (much of the reason for this huge rant) and thus has more or less assured its death in the Korean market unless it proves to be as easily hacked as the Wii...