Remember when piracy in video games was the hot topic? I think in a post-Steam and new console world, we’re mostly comfortable paying for games, especially with frequent discounting and pre-order pricing. 

That said, the world’s a big place and people value money and goods differently in different locations. Yesterday, Slickdeals posted an offer for Rise of the Tomb Raider, which just dropped last week. Using Windows 10 and the Windows 10 store, change your region to Ukraine or India, and get RotTR for under $10 greenbacks. 

I’m an adult, so I understand that not all marketplaces are created equally. That said: This has to hurt the publisher and developer, right? How can the game industry insulate itself against this kind of thing while still competing in a global marketplace?

Tuesday, 1:41 pm – Albert

This is such an interesting topic. When I was younger with no money, I would try to play a game using multiple ways. The norm in Asia was through: Torrents, cracks, burned cds, etc which allowed playing with some “additional” requirements, i.e. copy/paste crack cds, emulators, daemon tools… it was quite frankly, a hassle. Now that I have a job and have more access to games in the US the common trend would be to check sites like Slickdeals, GreenManGaming, Bundledeals, etc. However, I felt pretty let down by GMG when purchasing GTA V at a discount a couple of weeks before it released on the PC which made users sign in through Rockstar Social instead of a Steam key. I want all my games on Steam and I felt misled. After the backlash of users GMG put a big announcement that they were giving out a Rockstar Social key. WHAT IS YOUR POINT ALBERT?

The point is that I share Gavin’s view. If I cannot get the game legitimately, I don’t bother. I don’t use discount sites, I don’t change my IP, I don’t download torrents… There is just no point in risking my account and/or getting a faulty/buggy/crashing product. Just wait for a Steam sale you plebs!

X-com 2 is going to ruin my life on Friday but for now i’ve been playing Darkest Dungeon now that it is finally out of Early Access. New classes, new mechanics, bug fixes, and a whole new dungeon make their debut. This game is really a rogue-like in its most literally form. I would check it out if you want a fun game that you can start/stop or binge. Warning: this is not an easy game and definitely not for casuals.

Tuesday, 10:36 am – Gavin

I saw this deal posted on RedFlagDeals.com on Sunday as well.  Someone in that thread pointed out that this trick was available for other games from the Xbox Live marketplace a few years ago for the Xbox 360, and that when Microsoft caught on and identified those who had bought the game this way, they banned their accounts permanently.  Is it worth it to save a few dollars?  Some will make the argument that it is, but I don’t believe so.  This is a little bit grey for me, in much the same way that I didn’t use an IP-blocker to access US Netflix before Netflix caught on to that.

All industries are subject to the laws wherein they operate.  Sony doesn’t charge the equivalent of $1800 USD for a Playstation 4 in Brazil simply because they can; Brazilian import duties make it such that they lose an unacceptable amount of money selling it at anything other than this price (or higher).  Developers, publishers, and manufacturers have to be content with the idea that the prices they charge are not always going to be compatible with their customers’ wallets, and to a lesser extent, ideals.  The ROTTR deal shows not necessarily that people are going to be comfortable spending X, but that they just want to spend less than Y.  If people think they’re getting a deal, they’ll run with it.

There’s a limit to what vendors can do to protect themselves – an IP blocker would be easily circumvented by something like Unblock.us, but at least it’s another step that would discourage some people.

So, bottom line, I don’t know what the answer is because if I did know, I’d be Director of International Sales at Ubisoft or EA.  I suppose we all have our thresholds and some are willing to delve into the morally grey areas while others, namely me, aren’t.  If I can’t buy it legitimately, I don’t buy it.

More Black Mesa for me over the weekend.  I’m now in Forget About Freeman, the second-to-last chapter of BM (they removed the entire final alien world section of the game, thank goodness).  They removed the security checkpoint sequence from Surface Tension, which was an interesting decision.  The “alien trampolines” are gone, as is the section where you need to protect a security guard until he can open the door to the parking garage for you (Apparently, if the guard dies, it’s a fail state in the original game.  I never had that problem when I played the original).  Again, you can’t beat the Gargantua enemy by way of conventional weaponry, so you need to run straight past it, through the tunnel, and out to the mortar strike command centre, where you can launch attacks against it from up high.

This game continues to play with my memories in strange and weird ways.  I’m left wondering how much of the game I do remember, how much I don’t, and what they’ve changed.  I have no desire to go back and play the original again so soon, but I’m a touch confused by what I’m seeing at times.  Still a good game, still glad I played it, but this sense of confusion is hampering my enjoyment a bit!

Monday, 8:51am – Ricky

Oh yeah, and XCOM 2 comes out this week.

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