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Thread: Does piracy INCREASE or DECREASE physical game prices?

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  1. #1
    Apple (Level 5)
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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.
    "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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    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 They're basically an outdated, obsolete format (as much as I still love them myself), even if they were never replaced with a newer physical format for music.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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    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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