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Study Claims $41.5 Billion In Portable Game Piracy Losses Over Five Years

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the fair-and-balanced dept.

Piracy 316

Gamasutra reports that Japan's Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association conducted a study to estimate the total amount of money lost to piracy on portable game consoles. The figure they arrived at? $41.5 billion from 2004 to 2009. Quoting: "CESA checked the download counts for the top 20 Japanese games at what it considers the top 114 piracy sites, recording those figures from 2004 to 2009. After calculating the total for handheld piracy in Japan with that method, the groups multiplied that number by four to reach the worldwide amount, presuming that Japan makes up 25 percent of the world's software market. CESA and Baba Lab did not take into account other popular distribution methods for pirated games like peer-to-peer sharing, so the groups admit that the actual figures for DS and PSP software piracy could be much higher than the ¥3.816 trillion amount the study found."

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316 comments

Losses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493240)

Seriously? How can they call this losses... it's not-earnings...

Re:Losses? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493312)

Indeed, I'd call it $41.5 billion in free advertising for your games.

Re:Losses? (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493392)

Free advertising to whom? Advertising to people who think of games as something you download to a flashcard isn't going to help at all.

Re:Losses? (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493458)

The thought occurs:

who in their right mind would buy any game for the PSP anyways? I can count on one hand the number of good titles for it, and none released in the last 3 years qualify...

Re:Losses? (5, Insightful)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493528)

According to Wikipedia there's 129M DS units sold, and 60M PSP units sold.. that's $220 worth of pirated games for every handheld in the world. Keeping in mind that a lot of people bought multiple revisions of the DS, replacement units, units that aren't in use, and so on, it's probably more like $300-400 per handheld owner.

Sorry, but that number is completely ridiculous and not credible in any way whatsoever to anyone owning a calculator.

Re:Losses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493642)

it's right in the summary, it is based on a 1:1 conversion rate between pirated and not bought, that's why it doesn't make sense

$45 BILLION?!? (5, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493242)

Yeah, that must be accurate, because I'm sure they factored in things like:

1) People downloading way more than they could ever afford to buy
2) Multiple downloads by one person
3) Downloads of games that were already legitimately purchased by the individual but unusable for some reason

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493264)

I used to download games, never played many of them, just had to have the newest stuff.

Also, these studies fail to take into account the fact that many sites require a certain amount of traffic from it's users, therefore some of these downloads are pure "pass along" downloads.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493284)

While I also find fault with that figure, I think the 3rd one was probably not a significant contributing factor there given the scale.

I'd argue that the vast majority was 1 with a little of 4: faulty methods for calculating the amount.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493330)

Also, consider the third one from the opposite perspective - people who use downloads as a means of determining if the game is worth purchasing. Maybe neither of these are a significant contributing factor (I don't know enough about Japanese culture to definitively say), but considering their method of calculating the world total is to multipl the Japanese total by 4, I'd say there are some pretty big holes in their figures anyway, unless there are studies to show that piracy levels are the same worldwide.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493682)

Yeah, that must be accurate, because I'm sure they factored in things like:

1) People downloading way more than they could ever afford to buy
2) Multiple downloads by one person
3) Downloads of games that were already legitimately purchased by the individual but unusable for some reason

Also, consider the third one from the opposite perspective - people who use downloads as a means of determining if the game is worth purchasing. Maybe neither of these are a significant contributing factor (I don't know enough about Japanese culture to definitively say), but considering their method of calculating the world total is to multipl the Japanese total by 4, I'd say there are some pretty big holes in their figures anyway, unless there are studies to show that piracy levels are the same worldwide.

What a remarkable series of insights from people who haven't even read the damn report.

All the money in the world. (5, Informative)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493776)

Consider the fourth option where these numbers are just freaking made up by people who don't care to use statistics correctly.

If, for perspective of scale, you consider that this the entire national debit of the US went up from 9 to 12 trillion USD, or 3,000 billion USD, and this claim is covers 45 billion USD, that would mean that the loss claimed by this study is 1.5% of the increase of the US national debit. And this isn't for all "content", nor all software, nor all video games, but just the _portable_ video games. And not the hardware either. Just the software part. So if we say that for every person who just has to have a DS there are 10 who had to have a PS/3, and for every one who had a PS/3, there were 10 who wanted to watch movies or use software in general, then the entire unadjusted dollar increase in the US national debit would be overshadowed by "content".

Yea, that's a "straw man" if I were going to attack it, but lets just skip that. The above was for perspective on the magnitude of the bald-face claim.

Now, when you consider everything that people can and must spend money on, "entertainment" is nothing compared to food and shelter and food and medicine and food and education and food and insurance so on. (did I mention food?) In 2007 there were 116,011,000 "households" in the us. If the US were to shoulder the burden of paying for all these "lost sales" each household would have to pony up 50 thousand ($50,000) above whatever they already spent on, well everything, including "portable games" they actually bought. That's a full working adult making a very reasonable, or even "nice" living added to each household in the US _just_ to pay for the portable game software.

Heck, there are six billion people on the planet. To recover the sales these people "lost", e.g. 45 billion just in portable gaming software, and we spread that out to every single person uniformly, regardless of their ability to own or use a portable gaming device, everybody has to go by an $8 bargain-bin super mario cartridge.

And they each have to do it while still spending 100% of the money they are already spending to live and do something other than play dominoes with their cartridge (surely there are not 6 billion used DS units available so these people can actually run the content...).

Redirecting that kind of money into the phantom sales scenario needed to back up these numbers literally flies in the face of economic reason. Food would have to come free from space aliens every day for the rest of the economy to support this pipe dream "lost sales" figure.

That is, in the same sense that "if pigs could fly, bacon would be super expensive" it may well be true that if everything these people dream of happened, and each possible download represented a lost full price sale, well then sure, with those "ifs", these numbers work. But without those preposterous ifs, the results are ridiculous.

Insupportable, criminally ridiculous claims should be met with thrown stones and brandished pitchforks. Until that happy day when people really think about what these numbers would _require_ as a founding assumption, we will be sucking swill from the teat of political fantasy.

There exists no mathematical world where the portable gaming industry could have "lost $45 billion 2010-valued-USD to piracy".

Its like asking what would happen if _you_ had all the money in the world. (hint: whatever it was you had, it would be useless). You can model and dream about the scenario all you want, but it has no foundation in possible reality.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493472)

Well, I for one have copies of several of the games I own so I don't need to carry the cartridges around when I'm out

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (4, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493476)

Considering that an original PSP gets a 33% battery life boost from running a game off of the SD card rather than the craptacular UMD drive? Or the fact that you can carry all 3 of the decent games for the console on one card, and never have to worry about swapping/scratching/losing the UMD's then?

I think you're underestimating #3.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493374)

3) Downloads of games that were already legitimately purchased by the individual but unusable for some reason

I'm kind of a subset of category 3 or maybe my own category entirely. I have a flash cart for my DS, but I've never pirated anything for it. Every game on my cart is one that I've bought and paid for legally. However, I still download the ROMs since it's far easier to do so than to dump my own cart (which AFAIK requires some kind of slot 2 device that I have no interest in buying). Really, I'm just format shifting as I find it far easier to carry around the system with one cartridge that holds my entire collection on a 2 gig microSD card than to carry around an extra bag to lug around my 40+ games. In my case, a download is most definitely not a lost sale, just a way to play my games on my terms until Nintendo can get their act together and make a no-nonsense digital distribution service.

I say no-nonsense because Sony has PSN for the PSP, but their prices are completely out of touch with reality as in most cases new copies of the same games can be bought in UMD format for less than the price of the digital download. Because of this, I suspect (hope?) that a large number of the people downloading PSP games are doing the same thing I'm doing with my DS and getting the advantages of a digital copy (lower battery usage and easier to carry around a large collection) without the brain-dead pricing model Sony has for its legit digital marketplace.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (1)

rakslice (90330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493382)

To put the first two points into concrete terms: Even scrupulous non-pirates will sometimes try a game, by renting it or borrowing it from a friend, and then decide not to buy it. And before even trying a game they'll usually first read some in depth reviews to decide which games are worth it. With portable systems' games' small sizes, and big cheap flash memories, will the pirates pick and choose too, or will they just download every game?

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493388)

Yeah, that must be accurate, because I'm sure they factored in things like: 1) People downloading way more than they could ever afford to buy

This is probably the biggest of the bunch...personally, and I know a few similar like-minded people, if I could snag half the games I wanted at no cost, I'd have more games than I would know what to do with. Real world, though, I'll go and buy the best of the ones I want, based on what others tell me of them, and either ignore the rest or wait until they're on some sort of clearance/resale rack at low cost (where the game manufacturers are realising no to low profit on it).

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (0)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493434)

Is it me...maybe my math is off being that it's 4:30am, I just got in from a 4x12 shift and the whole calculator thing isn't working for my mind right now. But are they saying that every person on the planet would be spending 600k on games each? I mean if that's right, hell even if it's 60k, that's a hell of a lot of money. Considering in the US and Canada the media wages are between 38-50k/yr.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (1)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493478)

More like six bucks, actually. 41.5 billion divided by a population of 7 billion (extremely rough estimate).

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493592)

Let's forget developing countries for a moment:

USA's population: 300 000 000
Canada's population: 34 000 000
EU's population: 500 000 000
Russia's population: 142 000 000
China's population (I know China is still sort of a developing country, but piracy is a way of life over there): 1 338 000 000

Add those together, it's 2 314 000 000 people. Let's say every fourth person is a pirate. 578 500 000 pirates. 41.5 bn $ / 578 500 000 = 71.73 $ (60 €) lost per pirate, or the price of Modern Warfare 2.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493894)

However, since only two days ago, Sony announced they have sold a total of 50 million PSPs, that's the real population we should be looking at.

Let's assume that every PSP has been modded. And that nobody has bought two (which, given I'm the only person I know who didn't replace a 1st-gen with a smaller, better one, is obviously wrong). That's nearly a grand's worth of piracy each.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493444)

4) DS games tend to come in packs of hundreds. I bet they counted a download of "scene dumps 1200-1300" as 100 games downloaded. Lots of people just like leeching every single game released, as they're not too large and they come in huge batches.

Re:$45 BILLION?!? (3, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493732)

These studies never count sales that never happened because casual gamers won't spend the money for a console (or portable) if the cost of games is prohibitive. I never bought any X Box or Playstation games simply because of the cost of the console and a dozen games.

Way back in DOS days I bought a PC because stuff could be copied and thus affordable to experiment with the large world of software. I had tons of shareware, etc. If all software was locked down at over $40/title, my PC purchase would have been delayed for years. There is only just not that much interest in playing with DOS for DOS sake.

Games are always priced for the maximum profit (free market) by artificial scaracity. Only the more hard core gamers buy them. Many potential game buyers play freecell and minesweeper along with free online services such as Farmville, neopets, etc., and are content. Seriousely, if Farmville required a pre-play purchase of $40, do you think it would have any traction? Many games that are pirated enjoy this same publicity that the game is good. Some games locked down, don't get much exposure because it is reviewed as broken, slow, hard to make work.

I doubt that game manufactures are interested in attracting the Farmville players to a play platform at prices they would buy a good game. Wii has done a fair job at attracting players that normally won't buy a console.

Why, oh why do they do these studies (5, Insightful)

Engeekneer (1564917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493250)

This is once again one of those numbers that will be thrown around by IP holders to get attention from the politicians. And yet the study does the same idiotic assumption as all the other ones.

Saying one download is one lost sale is idiotic. It has never been true and never will be. It's probably off by at least a factor of 10. And haven't many studies already shown (well, at least with music) that the people who pirate are also the people who buy the most?

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (2, Funny)

w00tsauce (1482311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493274)

Margin of error: 1337... This "study" is about as credible as the study on how fast the star wars kid swings his lightsaber done by the bob goatse institute for pwning.

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493452)

This is once again one of those numbers that will be thrown around by IP holders to get attention from the politicians. And yet the study does the same idiotic assumption as all the other ones.

Saying one download is one lost sale is idiotic. It has never been true and never will be. It's probably off by at least a factor of 10.

On a wide scope, I can wholly agree with this statement; when you look at piracy on the whole, a good part of it (and probably most appreciably with music) is people wanting to sample before they plop down some cash on the real deal.

In a single incident, however, I can see the legitimacy of the IP holders' argument; if person A downloads item X, and subsequently persons B through F snatch that item from person A, its not an unreasonable conclusion to say that person A potentially caused five lost sales to the company. Using this reasoning, however, to obtain insane settlements as in the Tenenbaum or Masset cases, is inexcusable, and why the apparent lack of needing to prove actual damages to guide any additional award (treble damages and the like) given by the DMCA is fundamentally broken.

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (3, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493516)

There's something about the whole concept of "damage" to theoretical profit that I find extremely disturbing. We're getting into some pretty shaky moral and logical ground here.

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493540)

You answered your own question.

A study is just a variant on the good old fashioned scientific experiment where you start with a hypothesis, devise some method to determine whether or not your hypothesis is correct, carry out this method and draw conclusions based on the results. The only difference is that many of these studies are operated backwards - you decide what you wish to conclude, invent results which support these conclusions and devise a method which could reasonably produce such results.

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493692)

Yes, the Slashdot method is much more scientific: we declare that it's unpossible to quantify anything that we don't want to believe, and so therefore cannot be proved wrong.

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493736)

It may be possible to quantify piracy but I'm quite sure the numbers being banded around right now are complete garbage, if only because if you believe them you also have to believe that the GDP of the planet would double overnight if you were to eliminate it.

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (2, Insightful)

chewthreetimes (1740020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493880)

Either that or that many people lacking sufficient disposable income, if forced somehow to buy legit copies of all media, would shift the money they spend on food and housing toward that. Dream on, IP holders.

Re:Why, oh why do they do these studies (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493786)

This is once again one of those numbers that will be thrown around by IP holders to get attention from the politicians. And yet the study does the same idiotic assumption as all the other ones.

Saying one download is one lost sale is idiotic. It has never been true and never will be. It's probably off by at least a factor of 10. And haven't many studies already shown (well, at least with music) that the people who pirate are also the people who buy the most?

Compare it to free newspapers.
Taking a train or bus, I sometimes get up to 3 free newspapers. Does that mean that the newspapers lose out 3 sales each day? NO.

The same goes for all the streaming stuff I watch on the internet (some series and perhaps a movie). Would I buy the whole lot if it wasn't available for free? NO.

The same again for the mp3's I deny to have. No way that I will pay up to 1 euro for 1 song. With the amount of music I deny to have, that would be absolutely unaffordable. If there was not other way than paying for it, I wouldn't have this much... and radio would be a lot more popular again.

And the same would go for games, if I would be playing them. But I don't play many games anymore.

--- Sunlight is lost revenue for the electricity company.

A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493254)

I don't care what the publishers say, a pirated game is not necessarily a lost sale, quite the contrary, I've found most pirates to be lazy bastards who wont pay for anything if they can help it. When one of those types pirates it's just a copy in circulation that shouldn't exist.

On the other hand, there is a type of piracy that is a lost sale. I still love the Gameboy Advanced system, and of course they no longer make games for it, so I turn to eBay and the like. More than once I've gotten outright pirated cartridges off of eBay. I always make sure the sellers have some history to prevent that, but occasionally one slips through. Some of the pirated games I've gotten off of there were really high quality, I spotted the fakes, but I don't think most people would have. On more than one occasion the seller disappeared while my game was in transit, when they don't disappear I tattle to eBay. I then have a moral dillema of what to do with said pirated copy. I paid for it, I didn't know it was pirated until it got here, but it is pirated... Hurricane Ike settled that for me on my older cartridges, but I actually did get a pirate cart off of Amazon since then.

I'm of the opinion the MPAA and the RIAA need to police flea markets and sellers like the above, go after file sharers, but leave downloaders alone. The video game guys need to do the same thing. The big difference between the movie and music people and the video game people is when a new format comes out movies and music usually transition to it. Not until recently have classics been commonly re-released on newer systems and they still don't re-release all of them legally.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (3, Insightful)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493362)

On the other hand, there is a type of piracy that is a lost sale. I still love the Gameboy Advanced system, and of course they no longer make games for it, so I turn to eBay and the like. More than once I've gotten outright pirated cartridges off of eBay.

Buying (legit) GBA cartridges second-hand on eBay doesn't put any money into Nintendo's hands, so where does the "lost sale" argument come from? Yes, I understand that you would have otherwise gotten a legit copy, but the whole smarmy justification for attacking piracy is that the game companies and such lose money from it. If they wouldn't have gained a cent even if you'd bought a legit copy, the situation doesn't apply.

Of course, I also believe that if a copyrighted work is not being made commercially available, there should be no penalty for distributing it.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (1)

spathi-wa (575009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493432)

The GP is talking about actual piracy of GBA games, i.e. bootleg cartridges manufactured by unauthorized/unlicensed agencies, sold at rates lower than retail, of which the copyright owners get nothing. This is the real piracy which anyone would support laws against. Unlicensed distribution that involves no gains to the distributor i.e. most p2p and 'warez', are copyright infringement, not piracy.

Both are illegal but they are not the same thing. It may be said that actual piracy could have a direct correlation to lost sales without the logical fallacies of equating illegal uploads/downloads with lost sales.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (1)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493464)

The GP is talking about actual piracy of GBA games, i.e. bootleg cartridges manufactured by unauthorized/unlicensed agencies, sold at rates lower than retail, of which the copyright owners get nothing.

If the copyright owner is not selling his work in the first place, there is no lost sale. Game Boy Advance games are not being sold by Nintendo anymore; therefore, buying an unauthorized copy of a GBA game does not translate to any sort of loss on Nintendo's part because he couldn't have bought a legit copy otherwise.

I agree that commercial piracy sucks, but let's be sane here.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493502)

Yeah, on one occasion one of the sellers was listed as being in New England, and the game was new in box, sometimes retailers have leftovers or one turns up. I get a package from Hong Kong a week later with a never been popped out flat box and a cart that looks legit, but on further examination wasn't. In this case it would have been a new sale, even though it would have been old stock.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493372)

Agreed - the people selling copies of games are the real pirates who are stealing sales and money from the industry. Most serial downloaders are either people who are already spending a large portion of their income on games and couldn't afford to spend more, or their people who never had any intention of buying even if they couldn't get it for free. There's also a not-insignificant subset of those people who are just serial hoarders, I've known people who have literally thousands of downloaded games or music or movies and haven't "consumed" even 5% of them, they just like to be able to boast or take pride in the completeness of their collection. They'd have to take out a mortgage to afford to actually buy all those things, it's ridiculous to assume they're all lost sales, and these people must make up a hefty chunk of the "piracy" figures.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493754)

Agreed - the people selling copies of games are the real pirates who are stealing sales and money from the industry. Most serial downloaders are either people who are already spending a large portion of their income on games and couldn't afford to spend more, or their people who never had any intention of buying even if they couldn't get it for free. There's also a not-insignificant subset of those people who are just serial hoarders, I've known people who have literally thousands of downloaded games or music or movies and haven't "consumed" even 5% of them, they just like to be able to boast or take pride in the completeness of their collection. They'd have to take out a mortgage to afford to actually buy all those things, it's ridiculous to assume they're all lost sales, and these people must make up a hefty chunk of the "piracy" figures.

Yup that's true but you can't make the opposite argument either, that everything on the internet is supposed to be free and that piracy does not represent ANY lost sales. I know people who are serial hoarders, but I also know plenty of people who can easily afford their relatively moderate consumption of TV, shows, music, movies and software. When somebody is pirating, say, iPhone games that cost $1.99 to buy or shareware programs that cost less than a couple of Big Mac meals and use them regularly we are not talking about hoarding, curiosity or usage you couldn't otherwise afford. We're talking about a pathetic cheapskate.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (1)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493404)

I agree with many aspects of what you say. I too have been the unwitting recipient of pirated items from ebay and even once from amazon too. Unfortunately.

Also, you have to consider the fact that many countries actually ALLOW for a copy to be made (but not sold) of the stuff you buy. Many artists, and IP holders recignize that fact, and I even remember a couple of musicians getting pissed that their fans got sued for piracy, when in fact they felt that it was the people profiting from the piracy that should be punished, not the ones who ended up with the copies. In fact many DVDs and music today even comes with a "free digital copy". So times they are a changing.

As for the lazy bastards; I can say that in many places in europe we now have a (nearly) free, legal streaming service for music. For a very low price (about the cost of a single CD pr month) you can listen to and stream as much music as you like, the larger ISPs even include the subscription when you buy internet access (!). Negotiations are on the way for TV, movies and games too. Sorta like the online equivalent of movie rentals. Given everyones legal access to media, there's no need for expensive copy protection, or enforcement. And customers have access to all the media they want without having to resort to alternate methods to obtain it. So I think that "classic" piracy is a thing of the past pretty soon. It's just a matter of the IP holders moving their income stream from the storefront to the subscriptions or distribution services, and ensuring that everyone has access. But I'm sure someone will get pissed about their cut being too small (as usual).

My major concern is that everyone (today) seems to focus squarely on "lost revenues", or "piracy" without considering the fact that modern media needs to be available in modern formats. I'm fairly certain that the guys selling taped music or vinyl isn't wondering what happened to their market any longer. People posting reports like the one mentioned in the article are just showing that they live in the past, IMO. A LOT of people I know haven't bothered to buy a Blu-ray player, because currently more and more movies become available online. Owning your personal copy may be a thing of the past soon enough. I'm certain theis trend will eventually transcend all types of media and entertainment.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493524)

Then you have people like me who use tons of pirate utils but stay legal. I rip every PSX and UMD game I own and put them on my MS Pro-Duo cards in my hacked PSP. Not one of the PSX or PSP games is pirated. I buy CDs and rip them, it's actually cheaper than buying downloads for .99 each, especially if you go the still legal used route. I even rip my own kids DVDs to put them on her netbook. Really, you don't want kids handling optical media if you can avoid it. I consider "Digital Copy" a joke. All DVD's are their own "Digital Copy". If they didn't make those things expire I might take them seriously.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493480)

Exactly. People buy games for their Linux, Mac, Windows, "other" devices because they feel like they are getting value, long term or short.
See the download segment as externally hosted demos or a brand building exercise.
Over time they may buy, until then focus on the people who matter and real marketing.

Re:A pirated game is not always a lost sale. (1)

pandronic (1275276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493556)

Well, I never buy games, software or music, I'm one of those "lazy pirate bastards" you speak of and I can testify that I'd rather not play games and not listen to music than buy them at the current prices. It's just the way things are, I don't have any moral dilemmas about it, I actually feel a little entitled to it and no matter how hard I try, I really, really can't understand people who pay for this stuff. Maybe if new games were 4-5$ and music was 0,05$/track and 0,5-1$/album I'd think about it, but that will never happen.

I'm not trying to troll, just to provide a little insight in the mind of a so called pirate.

Here's how they made the figure for real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493280)

"First they take a really big scary number. Then they multiplied it by a lot. Then took the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin and added that. then took some pseudoscientific sounding word and 'factored' them in by multiplying by another big scary number."

I've lost several trillion dollars due to greed! (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493298)

I wanted people to give me a trillion dollars last year, but they didn't. They're so greedy and unthoughtful!

Well, I got it (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493674)

Well, that is because they gave it me.

With kind regards,

The banking and automotive industry.

Just for comparison (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493300)

Just for comparison, Nintendo has been making around $2billion a year total profit over that period. So either these game companies would have been a lot richer, or these numbers are off.

Re:Just for comparison (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493554)

If you were to believe all the numbers bandied around about piracy, then you would have to believe that if it were to be eliminated the GDP of the planet would double overnight.

... study also confirms end of civilization (1)

genericcitizen (1480425) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493316)

Wow, that is an amount of money they have lost in fantasy world...

It's a zero sum game. (5, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493320)

No money is lost to the economy due to copyright infringement as some MAFIA groups try to argue. It is just not given to publishers for those movies/songs/games that are pirated. But it is spent on other products. This is the broken window fallacy, that a child who throws a rock through a window is stimulating the economy.

I download movies and tv shows because I don't like watching broadcast TV. Any that deserve a repeat viewing get bought on DVD (which is probably about 80%). If they shutdown illegal downloads they wouldn't get more money from me because I have little to spare, they are more likely to get less as I would just shift to other forms of entertainment or free to access media (I have started watching local legal tv streaming sites, which has dropped the amount I illegally download and later purchase).

This isn't the 1990's where the big publishers had little competition. There is so much free or cheap content out there that I don't buy before I try.

Re:It's a zero sum game. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493526)

I don't think it's a broken window fallacy, because they aren't suggesting that we break anything. I think the idea is that they invested money in creating these things, but people didn't buy them, so they won't be able to invest as much in creating future products. If anything, they're arguing for a centrally-planned economy, where the big boys decide what we should be buying, create it, then demand that we buy it or else.

"Losses" by some definition... (5, Informative)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493322)

Considering the ESA claims the whole industry was worth $11.7 billion [theesa.com] in 2008, and that was 22.9% growth form the year before, this does not seem to be a very plausible number, since it nearly amounts to the sum of the value of the whole industry over the five years of this "study".

Re:"Losses" by some definition... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493454)

Also, I'd like to know why they are "presuming that Japan makes up 25 percent of the world's software market"? To me that seems rather ludicrous.

Re:"Losses" by some definition... (1)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493518)

Particularly for handheld games - They are immensely popular in Japan largely due to the excess of mass transit and lack of personal-owned cars, and while they SEEM to be decently popular around here, I wouldn't be surprised if the total sales in Japan actually exceed those of US titles on handheld consoles, despite the massive different in population.

Re:"Losses" by some definition... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493568)

For handheld consoles I can see it being true, but just saying "software market" is too ambiguous even in an article about game piracy.

I didn't know that Japan had twice the population of the UK (where I am) until right now, that is interesting and makes the 25% figure seem somewhat less ludicrous when just talking about the handheld games market.

Re:"Losses" by some definition... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493670)

Uh, according to food suppliers, the actual population of the UK (3 years ago) was closer to 80 million than the 67 million official figure [independent.co.uk] .

That does rather explain why house prices keep on rising far beyond wages, even in a recession.

Re:"Losses" by some definition... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493710)

I dunno, there's plenty of fat bastards around here.

Re:"Losses" by some definition... (2, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493916)

Particularly for handheld games - They are immensely popular in Japan largely due to the excess of mass transit and lack of personal-owned cars,

I think you mean "dominance" of mass-transit (in many urban areas); there's clearly not an excess of it, since it's often very crowded.

About studying losses... (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493324)

How much did the industry lose in paying for these studies?

Re:About studying losses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493370)

41.5 Billion.... coincidence?

Re:About studying losses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493394)

You miss the point.

These studies exist to allow their captive political puppets to spout "independent analysis" in the very rare cases the legislation they're trying to ram through government is questioned. They're very good value, actually.

"I am sorry, Ms. Reporter, but an independent study has concluded that game piracy costs the country a thousand million billion quadtrillion dollars every 10 seconds, and so introducing summary execution for anyone Nintendo accuses of piracy is COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED."

Contrary to popular belief, the politicians are quite aware the studies are bogus. They just don't care because they confuse their personal interests with the public. Indeed, after a while in the political reality distortion field, they lose the ability to recognize the difference.

Re:About studying losses... (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493456)

Calling your bluff. Which major gaming companies or politicians have stated that they are or were aware that such studies are bogus, and yet have used said studies to justify their claims previously?

Re:About studying losses... (3, Funny)

EdgeyEdgey (1172665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493490)

I would have charged them $50bn, so by not employing me they have made a saving already!
But now I'm going to have to write off $50bn of losses :-(

Let's study losses from second hand sales! (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493346)

By the same argument, I'm almost 100% sure the industry lose a lot more potential profit from second hand sales and/or rentals, since without them, technically people would have bought the games first-hand... right?

Second hand sales hurt publishers MORE than piracy (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493538)

You can't prove that a pirate was willing to buy a game so you can't prove you actually lost anything, but Gamestop flaunts their second hand sales to their stockholders, so you know exactly how much people were willing to pay. But now instead of the publishers getting money and making more games, it goes to Gamestop so they can make more...money.

Re:Second hand sales hurt publishers MORE than pir (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493576)

Interestingly, it also shows the price point people are willing to buy games. I don't know what is the usual price second-hand sales are usually sold at (being in one of those countries which does NOT have a significant second hand sale market), but I'd think publishers would have a lot more profit selling goods at 2nd hand prices.

Of cause there's the point of packaging, but that's what online distribution is for.

Re:Second hand sales hurt publishers MORE than pir (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493650)

Gamestop sells 'em at 5$/€ below the regular retail price. I think people who accept that discount will always buy used, no matter how low the regular price goes (since GS will always undercut it).

Re:Let's study losses from second hand sales! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493612)

I believe in Japan the law already prevents that from having much impact.

Re:Let's study losses from second hand sales! (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493626)

Even if it does, Japan is but one market. One has to take the other markets into consideration.

Open bar (4, Insightful)

An anonymous Frank (559486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493352)

Notice how *some* people will get utterly smashed when attending an event with an open bar? They're quite eager to consume far more than they might usually have...

I still don't see how that could possibly represent a tangible "market" with any credibility. However many servings were had (for free) has no relevance to sales you could've had on a normal night.

Re:Open bar (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493414)

Notice how *some* people will get utterly smashed when attending an event with an open bar? They're quite eager to consume far more than they might usually have...

Exactly, and the same concepts should be applied to this 'study'. When you have to pay for something, your not as likely to get everything you want. But when its free, hey why not? Not like you paid for it. Like free samples in a store, everyone want one because they are free, not because of what they are.

For the last bloody time... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493360)

For the last bloody time, a download does not equal a lost.... you know what. Fuck it. Fuck them. I hope the CESA paid a lot of money for this study.

Not again... (1)

Lavene (1025400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493378)

Don't they ever get tired of throwing these numbers around? And do anyone believe them?

If those numbers were even close to be real they would have managed to stop piracy long ago. I mean, who in their right mind will sit and idly watching billion after billion trickling out of their wallet and all they manage to come up with is some bizarre DRM schemes that never works. One would think that with such amount of money involved investing more in stopping piracy should be well worth it. Say a billion dollars or so.

It's all BS. We know it and they know it.

Since Steam, I have pirated ... (2, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493390)

From my teens through my 20's I was a profligate game pirate and I still have stacks of burnt CDs of late 90's and early 00's titles that I dig through every once in awhile. It is nice to be able to play Master of Orion or the original Fable for a sense of nostalgia but now in my early 30's I've begun thinking longer term storage and instead of trying to roll my own I'm going to trust Steam so I can play the few new games I play each year in the old folks home. Until I can get a nice Raid + backup solution for 10-20 terrabytes of games and growing, Steam or something like it seems the way to go.

Re:Since Steam, I have pirated ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493846)

Steam or something like it seems the way to go.

Indeed, renting games at full price is the way to go.

Easy way of bankrupting Sony and Nintendo? (1)

tao (10867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493396)

So, to bankrupt Sony and Nintendo I can simply write a script that downloads one game from each company over and over again... After all, if downloads equals loss, enough downloads would bring both companies to their knees. In fact, I'm sure that the entire entertainment industry could be brought to their knees with wget...

Re:Easy way of bankrupting Sony and Nintendo? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493514)

Exactly! You could increase your tax losses (and thus writeoffs) by connecting to a torrent tracker an infinite number of times. Pure genius!

In other news, all gamers are billionaires. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493398)

In other news, since all gamers are obviously billionaires, why are they pirating so much? I love the flawed logic of these polls. Do these people have no interest in accurately mapping piracy?

They might as well claim eleventy gazillion (4, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493450)

It's just made up numbers and made up words, told by the princelings of lies and falsehoods.

Create! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493462)

Smith: Fourty-two Hugillions lost to pirates...

Miller: But... but there isn't that much money in the whole world!

Smith: Yes, that's right. We... Create!

Why so much disagreement with the figure? (0)

black3d (1648913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493496)

It's actually on the low side. From reading the article, I don't think they're even claiming that if there had been 0 downloads, then they'd have an extra $45 billion. Rather, they're looking at the retail value of those downloads when compared to a sale. And based on their methodology, this figure is about three times lower than it should be, as it's pretty much just looking at torrents. Emule, rapidshare (and other sharing sites), FTPs in eastern countries, bulletin board distribution, and wholesale mass-produced sanctioned piracy in many ex-soviet and asian countries, are all going very strong. In the scope of the study, the figure's low. Winny - the most popular file sharing program in Japan, even more popular than torrents there, is not included. It was actually a study into the value of pirated software. The biased game sites referring the article are the ones who've spun it into "CESA believes downloaders COST game companies this much..". Slashdot doesn't help.

Maybe some people are in denial about how rampant piracy is. Of my 10 or so close geek friends who I've grown up with (I'm now 28), I'm the only one who no longer pirates anything - cashflow helps that. One other pirates games which are "too expensive". The other 8 approx pirate everything. OS, games, apps, everything they run except.. of course, World of Warcraft. :P I think most slashdotters are in complete denial about how massive it is. For every cash register sale EB Games in Australia made of Call of Duty MW2, 390 downloads were picked up reaching Australian IP addresses.

Re:Why so much disagreement with the figure? (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493506)

Addendum: That figure is based on PBay trackers alone. It could be higher with other trackers, but also could be lower considering some ADSL users here don't use static IPs and switch around, but meh. It's just illustrative purposes only and to be taken with a spoonful of salt.

Re:Why so much disagreement with the figure? (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493570)

I think most slashdotters are in complete denial about how massive it is. ... or not. I don't pirate stuff, nor to I know anyone who does. I used to pirate stuff when I wass much younger, and I knew people who pirated stuff when they were students. Now I and the people I spend much of my time with are older none of us pirate any more.

Re:Why so much disagreement with the figure? (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493876)

And you folks have adequately proved my point. I say "All the people I know pirate", and even explain the basis of that, and nothing. Servi merely says "Well, the people I know don't", and he's marked +3 insightful. Now, I'm not complaining about the moderation system at all - I've had my share of + and - mods, but you can't deny that there's the general mood of the replies to this article are completely biased.

Nobody's even read the article. They've read a biased summary, taken from another gaming site, borrowed from a third gaming site, which links to the article without translation and says "This is what we think it means". And by the time it hits Slashdotters, you're all foaming at the mouth to disagree with anything anyone suggests that "Hey, you know, you downloaders are actually doing something wrong y'know..".

I don't have to tell you how many times I see folks around here pull out the "It's not physical so it's not stealing" english-semantics argument as if it makes any difference. :p

Re:Why so much disagreement with the figure? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493938)

Sony claim to have sold about 60 million PSPs over the lifespan of the machine. Assuming that a third of them were either sold to people with another machine (I know plenty who got the thinner, lighter update to replace the big heavy version, or just broke one) that's about $1000 per person. At $40 a game list, that's 25 lost sales per owner. I can't even think of 25 PSP games worth getting for nothing...

This puts me off buying games at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493510)

With the DRM, the criminalization of their customers, and the big fat lies like this one, I don't see why I would want to give these people money at all.

I'd rather play the old games I already and actually own (not rent), than feed this devolution of the business.

Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493530)

Let them starve.

Yeah, again. (1)

euyis (1521257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493586)

Another study claims money that wasn't made yet can be lost. Better stop downloading pirated games and don't buy them either. Surely the game companies will be grateful because the nonexistent losses are now gone!

Re:Yeah, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493924)

This is kind of what I did. My last two game purchases - Unreal Tournament 3 and Supreme Commander 2 - left me with so much distaste, especially in comparison to their excellent predecessors, that I decided to stop getting new games. (UT3 dynamics feels like running in molasses, and SupCom2 axed the economic angle and concentrated on fighting. If I wanted to fight all the time I could play one of the zillion console oriented RTSes for 12-year-olds with ADHD.)

I'm pretty happy with the stuff I already have (all of which was, as a matter of fact, bought new in a brick&mortar store). I don't see enough improvement in the existing games to even bother pirating, much less buying.

In other news, Foxconn employees get 113e/month (3, Interesting)

master_p (608214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493596)

I was shocked this morning to read that Foxconn employees are paid 113 euros per month.

It might seem irrelevant to this discussion, but it is not: the global elite is pushing for bigger profits, either through studies that claim loss from piracy or from other means.

I hope /. readers don't get the bait that the global elite ix losing any money. They don't; they are filthy rich as a result of exploiting people in 3rd world countries. Don't make them a favor and think that piracy hurts them; it does not. It simply doesn't make their wallets extra-ultra-humongously fat.

This puts me off buying games at all (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493622)

With the DRM, the criminalization of their customers, and the big fat lies like this one, I don't see why I would want to give these people money at all.

I'd rather play my old games that I actually own than feed this devolution of the business.

(NB: dupe comment because I posted the previous one "Anonymously", and it's apparently invisible without a parent)

Then there are people like me that buy hardware (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493680)

I wouldn't have bought four Nintendo DS's if I hadn't been able to get a device that let me run anything I wanted on the things.
I also feel no remorse at all in showing small children how to circumvent copyright on those devices.

A study by a business group? (1)

soporific16 (1166495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493694)

WTF people, a business group releases a study and we all get to waste our time shooting down a ridiculously absurd figure regarding piracy for what, sport? It seems anyone can release a study these days and it will get examined by every nerd on the planet! Obviously not all studies, only ones that support the existence of an economic system that is splintering under the weight of its internal contradictions, viz the attempt to turn digital content into private property. Will you all PLEASE all get an anti-capitalist consciousness from somewhere, anywhere! -- this FOG you all seem to live in is driving me nuts!

Re:A study by a business group? (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493794)

Come on, it's fun! It's like trolling, except no one complains!

let us sue the Gaming Industry (2, Interesting)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493702)

for lost time, productivity loss, loss in morale, etc...

These numbers are clearly bogus (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493718)

Because if they were true, then ipso facto, we be wrong. Since that's unpossible, the figures must be a filthy lie. So-called facts must not be allowed to interfere with our principled objection to rewarding creators for their work. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Here's how it's calculated... (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493756)

I wrote a really good version of Hello World 2.0, it was so great in fact that i tried to market it as really fucking expensive enterprise version of hello world; I put the price at $80 billion billion.
Despite the excellent software quality no one bought it, but as my sister pirated it to see what i was raving about i've suffered losses of more than the entire earth GDP of the last 20 milennia or so. And you dare to say software piracy is okay!

Mmmm. B S (1)

morbingoodkid (562128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493764)

There is a few comments on here about free advertising and I can honestly say that of the games that I have bought none of them would have been bought if it was not for the fact that I played them before either on a friends computer or a demo version (I can not publicly admit that I actually downloaded games illegally :-) ) But the fact is that downloads grow the games market. I'm actually very interested in seeing what the excuse is going to be in a couple of years for bad sales ... Cutting of your nose to spite your face is not a good policy. If you are a smart games publisher you keep your mouth shut and allow the games industry to spend millions copy righting and preventing copying. Once they have done that you publish games with open copyright similar to the freedoms we have today and simply kill the competitions. Ssshhh..

I'm a pirate, here is why: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493812)

I'm a poor university student.

DRM, DRM, DRM, DRM i will NEVER buy a DRM protected game. Will they work in 10 years? 20, 30, 40?
Constant internet connection is required to play Ubisoft games, c'mon... Will their servers be up and running forever?

Windows... Microsoft breaks your games every few years by releasing a new version of winbl0wz which does not include the library runtimes required to run old games.

Signup required to play the game.
I do have a few retail games.
Half-life 2 is an good example, i bougt the game when it came out a few years back, i'm unable to play it today... why? Because in order to play the game (in singleplayer) you must install STEAM and assign the game to your steam profile, right? Install steam, choose user\pass and check the remember me box. Now 6 years later I have a new email account and i forgot my steam user\pass. I contacted STEAM and they are unwilling to help me. THEY stole MY game.
I've also forgot my password for Red Alert 3, so i cannot play it online.
A few weeks ago when i wanted to play half-life 2 i had to DOWNLOAD A PIRATE COPY in order to workaround my forgotten user\pass problem.

It's more easy to install and play pirated games.

It's more easy to watch pirated movies, no IF YOU STEAL YOU GOTO JAIL warnings followed by 10 minutes of trailers.

I dispute the acurracy of this study (2, Insightful)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493824)

If the spent so much time and effort doing this study they could have surely come up with a more accurate figure than 25% for japan. $41.5 billion is little more than a large random guess.
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