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Piracy is discussed often on the internet, and news sites, but it seems like the only way it's ever approached is with a stern look and a black mark on pirates. If the numbers for piracy are to be believed why aren't more people admitting to it? Certainly some of these game journalists must have snatched a piece of code at some point in their lives, before they had all their games just handed to them as review copies.


Well I'm coming out of the captain's quarters as it were; I was once a software pirate. Once, but not anymore.

So what changed? Why did I give up the life of illegally downloading software for free? Read on to find out.

My reasons for piracy seemed simple enough at the time - why pay for something when I could get it for free? It's a pretty no-brainer question, but looking back at it, and why I ultimately gave it up, piracy had a lot more going for it than a simple cost savings. At the time I was a university student, saving every penny I had for food, books or beer. Buying a $50 game on a whim just wasn't in the cards for me. If I wanted to play the latest game, the best way to get it was to download it. Keep in mind, this was between 2000 and the spring of 2004. Steam didn't exist yet and there were no digital distribution methods to speak of; you wanted a game, you had to go to the store. There-in lied the second reason I was pirating games - convenience.

Going to the local video game store was not a simple affair. I didn't own a car, and the closest mall was an hour's bus ride away. Not exactly an idea situation. Adding to this annoyance was the possibility that the game I was looking for simply wouldn't be stocked. The PC game presence in stores was somewhat better ten years ago, however, during the period in question both the Xbox and Playstation 2 were launched requiring a large retail presence that pushed PC gaming out of people's minds. If I was looking for a smaller unknown game chances are I wouldn't even find it at retail.

So what happened? Simply put, it became much more convenient to buy games then to pirate games. The same thing happened with music. I was involved in the mp3 scene with Napster was first starting up as a way to share music for free. Now I don't even know where I'd look for free music online, it's just easier and quicker for me to buy it on iTunes. The same this applies for games with Steam. I remember having to look for cracks and such things when pirating games, now I don't know how I'd go about that. Hell, if there is a game I'm only marginally interested in and there is no demo I just won't bother with it at all. Used to be that I'd pirate the game just to demo it and see if it was worth buying - now I can't even be bothered to do that anymore. Piracy was never really about cost, sure it played a part when I was an impoverished student, but it was mostly about convenience. Valve have really cracked that nut and made buying games an easy and convenient experience.

It's great to see other services pop up around Valve offering the things they're leaving behind, such as older games. For this I have Good Old Games to thank. When I first wanted to play Fallout I was upset that I couldn't find it anywhere, I thought I'd have to return to my old habits and look into piracy again, just to play this old gem. Then along comes Good Old Games with a DRM free solution to my cantankerous gaming ways.

DRM and CD checks aren't effective deterrents, pricing will always be changing and even DLC isn't enough of a carrot to stop people trying to get things for free. If you really want someone to buy what you've made make it available to them.

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piracy, steam, gog, digital distribution, confession,

Tiki-Dog Says:
February 1st 2010 @ 6:51 am EST

Just like me. Used to be a pirate as well.


It was much more serious though, I would always pirate single player games, the only reason to buy one was for the multiplayer. Simple as that.

Also the reason I have 0 single player games in my steam list.

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By RandomEngy
in They Just Don't Get It on 2010-02-01
I understand the sentiment, but I think you're understating the effects of piracy. When you go out and look at the data, such as with studies done on World of Goo or Demigod, you see an absolutely rid...

By Tiki-Dog
in Confession: I Was Once A Pirate on 2010-02-01
Just like me. Used to be a pirate as well. It was much more serious though, I would always pirate single player games, the only reason to buy one was for the multiplayer. Simple as that. Also ...

By AlabasterSlim
in VVVVVV Demo on 2010-01-20
Holy crap! He's asking $15 for this game? That's ridiculous!

By AlabasterSlim
in VVVVVV Demo on 2010-01-19
Holy crap that game is frustrating.

By AcidicPlague
in Penny Arcade TV - PATV on 2010-01-14
I love Gabe and Tycho. I've been following PA since the start, so I've literally grown up playing videogames with these guys. The things they do are just great. I've never been able to make it out ...

By Aussie_Nick
in 1C: Retail PC Gone By 2011 on 2010-01-14
But the thing is also, I prefer "owning" my games on steam. I only get the retail version if it come with cool shit. Eg: NVG's, Mouldable Lifescale Facehugger, Or say a badass Napoleon Figurine.

By Aussie_Nick
in 1C: Retail PC Gone By 2011 on 2010-01-14
I agree, It will be mostly Retail here in Australia for a long time yet. It wont go digital here untill your shitty Internets get sorted out. Retail Gaming here either Console or PC Will be here for a...

By Aussie_Nick
in Insane Collector or Steam Gamer? on 2010-01-13
Alot All the Telltale games. Most of them were cheap games $10< But yeah after my big overtime pay after christmas. I just went to town

By AlabasterSlim
in Insane Collector or Steam Gamer? on 2010-01-12
Holy crap Nick! That's a huge difference . How many packs did you buy?

By Aussie_Nick
in Insane Collector or Steam Gamer? on 2010-01-12
I suffer from this badly. Before the Christmas Sales, I had 160 games. And at the end of the Sales 291 .



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