There is no excuse for piracy: it’s illegal, it’s immoral and it’s destroying creative industries as we know them.
Witness to the wrecking-ball that trashed the music industry beginning with Napster and ending with The Pirate Bay, the games industry is rightfully wary and desperate to claw-back money in any way that they can think of: IAPs, DLC, DRM – you name it, they’re willing to try it.
And what does all of this do? Piss gamers off is what. No-one really likes any of these mechanisms, despite what marketing executives will spin you about “added value” and “extending the core game’s experience” or about us “enjoying and embracing that way of the business”.
In fact, this week’s news that EA plan to crowbar micro-transactions into all of their future titles is simply another nail in the coffin that’s about to be lowered into the grave that we’ve all gladly (and somewhat arrogantly) dug for ourselves.
News flash # 1: AAA games cost a shit-load of money to make. News flash # 2: the games industry is, like all industries, driven by profit and answerable to shareholders. Get over it. News flash # 3: people that work in the games industry have wives, children and commitments to meet just like anyone else.
So if the first thing that you do once their craft ships is to steal it: you’re a bit of a dick. And the same goes for any music, films or television that you stake-claim to without paying for it.
Consider your day-job: if at the end of the month someone stole your pay-check and justified it with some half-baked argument about the silent slavery of citizens in capitalist nations and of how we’d all be better living-off the land and being self-sufficient, you’d be out for blood. And rightly so: if you want to take the moral high-ground against the apparent evils of world, you don’t do it whilst profiting personally from its more vulgar facets.
What we’re talking about when we try and justify piracy (and I’ve yet to hear one single concrete argument) is basically a complete lack of empathy driven by a self-serving, self-righteous sense of entitlement. To clutch at straws and wave a finger at the ‘evil’ multinationals is delightfully rich seeing that pirates themselves are largely a product of capitalist values and cultures and equally greedy in their own outlook. They bemoan corporations for acting arrogantly and without fear of reprise and yet behave in the self-same manner.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?” Luke 6: 42.
You know things are bad when even the agnostics are quoting the Bible to you.
Call me old-fashioned but if you want something, pay for it. If you’re not happy with the price, shop around or wait for it to be discounted. Heck, you could even borrow it from a friend or chip-in with others to make shared purchases. Basically: show a bit of patience and maturity. And I don’t give a shit about when you were born: just because piracy is ‘the norm’ for your generation doesn’t make it right or justifiable. It’s ‘the norm’ to do many detestable things in other cultures but that doesn’t make them right.
We’re on a hamster-wheel: piracy and immorality are rampant yet people are either unwilling or unable to show the self-restraint required to halt the motion. In response, companies feel compelled to implement actions that risk damaging the wheel irreparably. Both sides preach about their actions but neither can produce an argument that sounds anything less than hollow and deeply cynical.
We may have opened-up Pandora’s Box but the truth is that there was never only one: be careful what you wish for.
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Husband. Parent. Gamer. Go figure.