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Thread: Does piracy INCREASE or DECREASE physical game prices?

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    Default Does piracy INCREASE or DECREASE physical game prices?

    I am inclined to believe that the prices go down if the ability to get something for free exists.

    I hate to use this as an example but they did a study on the price of various sex acts performed during the 1800s compared to today and they found that because of societal changes regarding promiscuity, the price for acts once considered taboo has dropped dramatically.

    A more family friendly example would be the impact thay Spotify and Pandora has had on CD prices. Itunes just closed down because obviously theres no need to buy digital music anymore but Im not sure if it did anything to sales of CDs. Vinyl of course is a collectors item and would be a good thing to compare considering they are the equivalent of old video game cartridges in my opinion.

    In 2019, I dont know how many people are buying physical carts to play games when you have myriad options either on streaming, compilation discs, piracy, etc. I buy them because I am a luddite but I have to imagine im in the minority
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    I really don't think it affects it at all (should have had that option in the poll). The overwhelming majority of people who buy old hardware do so for two reasons. Either to relive their experience with the system authentically, or to collect.
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    <Checks eBays completed listings>

    Nope.

    I think there's a lot of truth in the saying that people who pirate games weren't likely to pay for it in the first place.
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    I think CDs could just as well be compared to retro games. They're basically an outdated, obsolete format (as much as I still love them myself), even if they were never replaced with a newer physical format for music. It's just that vinyl has that retro-cool factor than CDs still don't. So if vinyl is like collecting NES or SNES games, CDs are like collecting PS2 or PS3 games.

    Anyway, if we're talking retro games that are pricey to begin with, I agree with jb143. I think the average person pirating them wouldn't buy even if piracy weren't an option. They'd simply move on to something else they could get for free or cheap. Now, when it comes to currently available official rereleases of retro games, where the games can be as cheap as a few bucks and actually profit the publisher and/or developer, I think piracy absolutely hurts sales. A lot of people think "If I've already downloaded and played the ROM, why would I bother paying for a download?" For example, Square Enix just announced they're localizing Romancing SaGa 3 for the first time ever, and they also just released the Mana collection for Switch in English, which is the first time Seiken Densetsu 3 has ever been officially localized. But how many people have already downloaded ROMs of Romancing SaGa 3 and Seiken Densetsu 3 and played through them with fan patches? How many of those people are going to buy the official English releases now that that option exists? How many will just be like "I already played the games in English and don't care to do so again, so why bother buying them?"
    Last edited by Aussie2B; 06-13-2019 at 08:04 AM.

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    I agree with Aussie about it possibly affecting digital sales of some titles. It probably will affect the sales of the newly localized Square titles to a point. I would likely only buy those games mentioned above if they release a physical copy. I have also not played any version of those games yet, and would definitely choose buying on the switch vs. a patched ROM.

    Another example: I personally have a PSP loaded with TG-16 games, and have had it for many years. I have been actively collecting and playing TG-16 games for about the past year and almost never touch the PSP. Which is why I also think JB143's point holds weight as well.

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    Collection of Mana is coming out physically in August. I'm guessing Romancing SaGa 3 is going to be digital-only, just like the localization of Romancing SaGa 2.

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    Also, the thing about how pirates wouldn't pay for the game in the first place; I've mostly heard that from game developers... of non-physical release games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    Collection of Mana is coming out physically in August. I'm guessing Romancing SaGa 3 is going to be digital-only, just like the localization of Romancing SaGa 2.
    I did see that after typing my response, and I will likely be pre-ordering a physical copy soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    Anyway, if we're talking retro games that are pricey to begin with, I agree with jb143. I think the average person pirating them wouldn't buy even if piracy weren't an option. They'd simply move on to something else they could get for free or cheap. Now, when it comes to currently available official rereleases of retro games, where the games can be as cheap as a few bucks and actually profit the publisher and/or developer, I think piracy absolutely hurts sales. A lot of people think "If I've already downloaded and played the ROM, why would I bother paying for a download?" For example, Square Enix just announced they're localizing Romancing SaGa 3 for the first time ever, and they also just released the Mana collection for Switch in English, which is the first time Seiken Densetsu 3 has ever been officially localized. But how many people have already downloaded ROMs of Romancing SaGa 3 and Seiken Densetsu 3 and played through them with fan patches? How many of those people are going to buy the official English releases now that that option exists? How many will just be like "I already played the games in English and don't care to do so again, so why bother buying them?"
    It all depends on whether or not these new games are getting physical releases or just download only. Plenty of people will be ok with buying legit physical versions of games they already played, as long as they liked the game. If something is just download only, there's no point to paying for it. It's the same with movies, there are plenty I'll want to buy even if I already saw them previously, from youtube or on TV or elsewhere.

    If say Nintendo started manufacturing actual NES, SNES, or Gameboy cartridges again in the same quality as the originals and they would all work on the original hardware, of course people would buy them. I just wouldn't bother paying anything for download only versions of those same old games.

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    Some people won't buy a game if it's not available physically, but that isn't justification to then steal it in a digital form. You have no scruples if your mentality is "I won't pay for a digital game, but, oh, sure, I'll steal a digital version and play that". We've gone over this kind of thing before. The "point" in paying for a game you've already pirated and enjoyed via a fan patch once it's officially available in English is to show that you'll actually put your money where your mouth is and compensate the people who worked hard to provide that product once you're actually given an opportunity to buy it.
    Last edited by Aussie2B; 06-14-2019 at 09:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    If something is just download only, there's no point to paying for it.
    And we thank you very much for your contribution to the world of DRM, IAP, micro-transactions, loot boxes, and ad-supported games!
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    For what its worth I know a guy who pirates hundreds of new games and when I point out that hes hurting the industry, he says no because he wouldnt buy them anyways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    Some people won't buy a game if it's not available physically, but that isn't justification to then steal it in a digital form. You have no scruples if your mentality is "I won't pay for a digital game, but, oh, sure, I'll steal a digital version and play that". We've gone over this kind of thing before. The "point" in paying for a game you've already pirated and enjoyed via a fan patch once it's officially available in English is to show that you'll actually put your money where your mouth is and compensate the people who worked hard to provide that product once you're actually given an opportunity to buy it.
    I just explained the mentality of their potential customers. Few people will consider buying a new official release of a classic game they already played through years ago if it's just download only. The people interested in these releases want a legit physical release, like a legit archival version for preservation. A download only game stored on a console could eventually die within a few years if the console breaks so why bother buying it if you've already played through the game. These companies need to give customers what they want, that's how sales work. Even for Star Fox 2 while I would have preferred a physical cart for the SNES being produced, at least the SNES mini is a physical release. I haven't bought it for a few reasons but mostly because it just has an HDMI connection and I would want to play it on my old CRT through composite.

    Plus if it's a game that originally was fan translated for the NES or SNES, I'm not going to buy a new Switch just to play it through their online store. I would want to play it on the original hardware it was designed for, meaning using a flash cart or a new cartridge. I don't currently own any reproductions or flash carts for classic home consoles but I can understand those who do and why they would prefer using them. Also, while plenty of companies release cheap budget compilation discs of classic games Nintendo chooses to sell their old games individually through their online services for far more money. I don't agree with this. If Nintendo or Sony started manufacturing new games for their old consoles again I would be very interested in buying them, say a legit copy of Sweet Home or Earthbound Zero for NES, or a legit copy of Policenauts for PS1. With music new vinyl releases and additional re-releases of old albums are happening so manufacturing in old formats is always possible.

    With buying games just to support publishers, I used to do that with DVD releases buying new releases at launch for various TV shows. Only they still stopped short of releasing all volumes so I was still short of a complete series, and I slowly saw the sets I bought get marked down from $35 to $10. Eventually one of two things happened, either no further releases ever came out, or a new "complete series" box set would get released which would force me to rebuy episodes I already paid for to get the remaining ones I needed. I've learned from that and will only buy a series once it's been fully released to completion, I've been burned enough in the past. Plus with Hey Arnold the series was originally released as a MOD release through Amazon, I refuse to buy burned discs so I passed on it. Eventually Shout Factory re-released the complete series in a proper box set with factory pressed discs, this I bought new in store. I no longer go out of my way to support companies in good faith, they need to produce something I deem of value for me to pay for it.

    As for blaming piracy hurting sales, the only reason old games are marketable today to the point of getting new localizations is because pirates have been making them easily available and producing fan translations for the last 15-20 years or so. Nobody would even remember these old games if this didn't happen thanks to fans, as these new releases are of games that never came out in North America and thus nobody would have nostalgia of playing them.

    I haven't used emulators in years, I mostly used them to try out games to figure out which ones I would want to buy actual legit copies of. Or sometimes just for convenience if I didn't want to look for my physical cart stored in a box somewhere and just wanted a quick play on my PC. Earlier in high school I mostly emulated Colecovision games to play them during my lunch hour, nobody else even knew what the Colecovision was in my school. It was mostly a novelty at the time just seeing what was possible in playing old games on a computer with emulation, back when companies abandoned these old games as "worthless" and the only way to legit play them was to track down old cartridges long out of production. And GOG only exists today because Home of the Underdogs existed first.

    I believe in holding companies to certain standards and I don't want to reward them for taking things in certain directions I don't support. I don't want to support digital only releases because I want games to remain physically available in the future, so I'm not planning to buy digital only games. A Phoenix Wright game came out on the 3DS system years back as a download only title but I haven't bought it and I haven't played it either. I don't have any online accounts tied to any payment options and I don't have any interest in changing that anytime soon. If I can't sell or trade in an old copy of a game then to me it has no monetary value, it's not worth buying when I already have enough games to play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    I've never played any of the Grandia games, so this rerelease had my interest, but the "remaster" is looking pretty blegh: https://twitter.com/vontheodore/stat...93870954106880
    Just want to point out, if you really wanted to support the games industry you should be willing to buy this release no matter the quality of it. Sure they're cutting corners and being lazy to just blur everything for modern TVs but it's still a release. Or do you have standards they need to reach before you give them money? Like actually putting proper effort into the release? Or do they just deserve the money automatically because they made it exist?


    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    And we thank you very much for your contribution to the world of DRM, IAP, micro-transactions, loot boxes, and ad-supported games!
    While this topic is mostly about piracy, I just commented on not buying the games. I don't pirate modern games and don't own any current console. I find most modern games to be trash anyway. Game companies aren't automatically entitled to my money.

    Interestingly, with the way modern games have micro-transactions and loot boxes, someone made a detailed video arguing that modern games shouldn't cost $60 anymore. They should be free.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcebekI9F7g

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    You do realize most digital games are tied to accounts, not to hardware, right? You don't lose the game if the hardware breaks, any more than I would lose my copy of Super Mario World if my SNES breaks. I'd need another SNES to play my Super Mario World cart, just as I'd need another computer, Vita, PS4, etc. to play my Steam games and PSN games if my hardware breaks. And in the Super Mario World/SNES example, my cart could possibly break too. Or it could get stolen, destroyed in a fire or natural disaster, etc., whereas my digital games can't "break". Unless it's fully removed from the storefronts (not just for new buyers but for everyone), I can redownload again and again. Both digital and physical have their pros and cons.

    Anyway, everything you say is perfectly reasonable justification for passing on buying a digital-only game. It is not justification for pirating that game. You're not entitled to play any game for free (unless it's legally offered for free). Your Grandia example makes no sense. I have never pirated Grandia, thus I have no moral imperative to buy the remaster. If I had pirated, played, and enjoyed Grandia, without ever spending a cent on it, yes, I would feel it's the right thing to do to buy the remaster. That doesn't mean I'd be forced to play and like the remaster. At that point, somebody could just as well continue playing the PS1 ISO for all I care. You've compensated the publisher for their work, so you're good.
    Last edited by Aussie2B; 06-29-2019 at 11:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    You do realize most digital games are tied to accounts, not to hardware, right?......Unless it's fully removed from the storefronts (not just for new buyers but for everyone), I can redownload again and again.
    I'm just going to quote something from Nintendo's own site related to their Wiiware games. It doesn't sound like all games already purchased will be available to redownload far into the future for the Wii console.

    "It is no longer possible to purchase new content from the Wii Shop. However, for the time being you may continue to re-download content you have purchased or transfer that content from a Wii system to a Wii U system. Be aware that these features will eventually end at a future date."

    "Users were able to add Wii Points until March 26, 2018, and were able to purchase content on the Wii Shop Channel until January 30, 2019. In the future we will close all services related to the Wii Shop Channel, including the ability to redownload WiiWare and Virtual Console games, as well as the Wii System Transfer Tool, which transfers data from Wii to the Wii U system. We will announce specific details as that time approaches."


    There are plenty of other games on other platforms that aren't available for redownloading either like PT, I could start looking up more examples if I needed to. Basically I just don't want to trust access to my game collection to a 3rd party that could just shut down at any time. Telltale is out of business, are games still available to download through their own site? I remember them selling games directly long before Steam became popular. Also if you don't trust your physical copies, you could back them up yourself to archive them. Personally I trust my physical copies to last longer than any download server from any company, the hard drives in modern consoles not so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    Anyway, everything you say is perfectly reasonable justification for passing on buying a digital-only game. It is not justification for pirating that game. You're not entitled to play any game for free (unless it's legally offered for free). Your Grandia example makes no sense. I have never pirated Grandia, thus I have no moral imperative to buy the remaster. If I had pirated, played, and enjoyed Grandia, without ever spending a cent on it, yes, I would feel it's the right thing to do to buy the remaster. That doesn't mean I'd be forced to play and like the remaster. At that point, somebody could just as well continue playing the PS1 ISO for all I care. You've compensated the publisher for their work, so you're good.
    As mentioned I don't bother pirating modern games, I tend to pass on digital-only games because I don't want to support the idea of abandoning physical copies for wide distribution. While I don't pirate games, I don't exactly condemn other people who do pirate so I do have a different opinion of the issue. I even consider fan translations to be different than straight piracy because it's more grey market, an official version isn't available for sale at the time someone "pirates" it. How can you be depriving a company of money for something they aren't even selling? If they weren't willing to make and sell a translated version at that time(the time I care about playing it) then they basically already wrote me off as a potential customer and don't care about taking my money for that specific game.

    If I wanted to support the people who made the game available to me in English, I would be supporting the fan translators who did all the work without pay. For a lot of these translations for disc based consoles, you were expected to pay for a copy of the Japanese release and patch the thing yourself before burning it to disc. Any translated copy of the game played would have already been paid for by buying the import version, assuming it wasn't just pirated completely. If I wanted to feel like a version I played is legit, that's the route I would go. Owning a legit version of the original release.

    As for Grandia, that was just an example of blindly supporting the industry. If people spend time working on something, they automatically deserve to be compensated regardless of the quality of the finished product. It doesn't matter if you're personally not interested in it, just support it anyway by buying it. That was my point with that. I see it the same as automatically needing to support a translated release possibly a decade or more after I've already played it, regardless as to whether or not I'm even interested in that game anymore, or even if the new translation is good or not, or if there any bugs or significant changes in the new version of the game or not. Any new release would need to be reviewed first, I won't just automatically buy anything because it simply now exists. You also might as well start complaining about people playing import games instead of sticking to their own region, buying imports just hurts sales for other regions or however that argument goes.

    Again, I could see someone wanting to buy the new translations if they really liked the games. I just don't see it as morally necessary if someone simply played and enjoyed the games decades ago. You're talking about someone needing to buy a Switch just to additionally buy Romancing SaGa 3 and Seiken Densetsu 3 which are almost 25 year old Super Nintendo games. Personally I've never played Romancing SaGa 3 or Seiken Densetsu 3 but those are the examples already being used so I went with them. There's really very few fan translated games I've played over the years, I mostly just stick to playing legit copies of official releases.

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