In the Philippines, video game piracy isn’t the exception. It’s the norm. If you go to most of the smaller shopping centers in the country, you’ll see bootlegged games prominently displayed out there for everyone to see. Every gamer that I know is pretty sophisticated in pirating games in their own right. They know the ins and outs of where to download the latest games and how to circumvent DRM.
Personally, as much as possible, I don’t pirate any software or video games. When I started working and I got a Playstation 2, I never bothered to get it “modified” so that it could play pirated games. I would set aside some money each month so I could buy games legitimately from DataBlitz, probably the only store at its time that was selling original software.
When I told people that I was saving a part of my salary to buy the latest Metal Gear Solid game for the Playstation 2, they looked at me weird and said that I should get my PS2 modded so I can buy a pirated copy at a much cheaper price. I explained to them that I’d rather get an original copy since at least the money I’m paying for is going to the people who made the game. They then said that it was pretty dumb of me since I would be paying P2,000 pesos (around $50) for an original game while pirated games only costs P100 pesos (around $2). This is when I realized that this was the mindset of the gaming community in the country.
I totally understand the argument here. Gaming is an extremely expensive hobby to maintain. Not only do you have to pay for the games, you also have to get the latest gaming consoles and super powered PCs just to play these games. It has become so costly that people have to resort to buying pirated games. But is it really too expensive?
Here’s my reason why I buy original games: I have no excuse not to buy original. Currently, I have a new desktop computer, which cost me around P25,000 (roughly $625). I also have a PS3, which I got 4 years ago and spent another P21,000 (around $525). Were they expensive? Heck yeah! But I saved up to buy them, which meant that I have the means to buy the games.
I know people who have spent more than P50,000 on their super hi-tech gaming PC. Yet they give the excuse that they cannot buy original games since they’re “too poor” to buy original. For me, the “I’m too poor” reason doesn’t work for them. The mere fact that you can spend that much money on a luxury item, it means that you can definitely save up some money to buy an original game.
I’m not saying that I don’t pirate games. What kind of self-respecting gamer would I be if I didn’t? But the only games I do download would be the games that I have no way of getting anymore. There’s no way I’ll be able to buy classic games like Phantasie anymore. I don’t think I’d be able to play it even if I do get an original copy as it used floppy diskettes.
Look, I’m not trying to attack people who buy pirated games. What I don’t like is being called “dumb” for buying original games.
If you have any comments or arguments about buying pirated games, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.