This article originated at 3dNews.net. I felt there was, and will always be a debate on the morals and ethics of piracy. In one form or another, it is part of our lives. Regardless of weather it is in the form of software, music or movies.
In it's basic, non-diluted form, it is like walking into your grandmothers house, sticking her porcelin doll under your coat, and walking out the door. Right? No, of course not. The doll, is obviously, a solid object. At one point, money was exchanged, and a product was purchased. You have taken someones legitimate, owned product. Same thing with at a store. You would be taking a solid, temporarily owned product. If you take it, profit is gone, shipping and handling to move the product is gone, and everyone from the beginning of the cycle to the end of the cycle has lost their investment.
In case you havent seen it, PC Gamer has a little thing about buying a game, and who gets the money. While I think in pieces, the article is problematic and vague. But the idea and concept are interesting, and further my point. Starting at a $50 game, $10 goes to the store and distribution. Fine, they deserve it. $15 goes to the developers, which, I think we can all agree, they deserve it. That is the original $25 that would be more acceptable price to spend for a game. The catch is, the other $25 is going twords the publisher/marketing/advertising. While the publisher should probly take his share, the advertising of the product is of little use, or concern to me. I would purchase Alice based on being a good demo, freely distributed across the net. Not buy Tomb Raider from some $250,000 party Eidos threw last year. If they want to stick a display up in every Compusa, fine, but don't make ME pay for it. (Nor do I need to see McDonalds commercials 10 times a day to stop there while I drive by... I'm going out of my way to Duchess, because they cook it when i order it, making for a good meal. That is what is going to draw me in, not that damn clown.)
While there are the usual arguements like noone gets hurt or demos either take too long to come out or aren't examples of the full game. But I think a better one would be not to overcharge for the product, just because you can. As an example: American Mcgee's Alice is $40, and I don't care about this title. At $30 I'll wait for X-mas, and if I dont get it, who cares. At $20 Ill buy it today myself. At $10 Ill leave right now to get it. Now, to the company, why sell a product for $20 when you can sell for $40, and let 1/2 your target audience steal the product? Think about it, double the cost, means 1/2 the sales, but also 1/2 the material and shipping cost. So, the breakdown is, if they sell 2 at $20, they make, say $4 profit. If they sell 1 at $40, they make $5 profit (the $4 profit, plus 1$ material and shipping cost savings). So it's the same $40, just different profit margin, that's how Adobe can sell Photoshop for $500 each to a company, and let everyone in the company steal a copy for home use. At $50 a copy, NOW how many do they have to sell to break even? Think about it, that's why they honestly don't care about piracy. They will be spending more money and energy to ship out the 9 extra copies. So, in effect, they would rather price-gouge.
If you think, a 2+ year schedule to make a product, there is an awful lot of time and money invested, so they need to make thier money back. But it seems that the only company with a head on its shoulders is HeadGames (ya know, those crap-assed Extreme games) that have like a 3 month development schedule, get 1's and 5's from PC Gamer Magazine (out of 100) BUT are sold by the truckloads at Walmart. They are the ones who make the money, not Ion Storm on Diakatana, even if it WAS the best game ever made, they STILL couldn't make their money back on that crap. Same with DNF, too long. I just read PC Gamer that Warcraft 2 took 11 months to make, and Starcraft took 2+ years... funny, I thought Warcraft 2 was better.
How about the arguement of consoles? If piracy on the PC were a problem, and stealing software causes the cost to rise, then why the HELL are console games $60+ bucks a pop for N64 Cartridges that obviously noone is pirating. Why? because they CAN. They might say that they lose money on the console itself. Truth is, Nintendo made back ther $50 per console.... now drop the damn price. No excuse to charge $60 for a game, just because you can.
How about this: if we seem to be able to trade mp3 from site to site for personal use via napster, wouldn't software fall under the exact same legal loophole? I suppose that makes chat rooms and DCC forms of trading legal then, doesn't it? Moral is another issue, but legally.... What if you place Wolfenstein on your web site for personal use and personal download (say, if you went to a friends house, and now need to download it) then you can't be responsible if someone comes along and steals it from YOU now are you? With that thought in mind, ISO sites could be deemed completely legal if you just say the site is for your personal use only, and all software kept locally is for your own personal use. people just happen to be comming along, finding it, and downloading it.
Ok, after reading this article, it seems obvious how morally and legally wrong pirating is. Piracy should be stopped right now. All of you out there with 56k modems, when you want to try one of thier 50-150 meg demos, run out and buy it, try it, return it, then make the store and the distributor eat the loss for the open package, that they now have to re-seal and resell at a discounted price. Because, quite frankly the time to download is rediculous.This way, you can legally try out the software, but do keep in mind, most stores HATE returned software, despite the fact that 95% of the titles out there are garbage. If you do, then you are morally in the clear, and THEY get to take $2-3 loss... BUT again, your clear.
Let's recap, shall we? The pirate benefits because he gets to evaluate the title without limitations (because most pirates agree that if they plan to use the software extensively, they don't mind buying it. The store makes out because they dont have to deal with every dissatisfied customer. The distributor doesn't have to deal with the lost revenue and the publisher isn't left with piles of useless cd's and boxes. The developer, sad at the failure of thier product, sadder that all thier work wasn't even worth stealing. I say it this way, because if a title is worth buying like Unreal Tournament, they WILL sell, no doubt, and even the pirates will buy a copy for themselves.