Is Piracy a necessary evil?

Broken at launch, awful English dubs, censored content, Chinese spyware.

Obviously I’m going to start this by saying that I and no one at Escape Zero are advocating for the pirating of content. This is merely a look at how piracy is used for more understandable reasons than simply “I don’t want to buy this.” Please do not cite this article as a reason to pirate games and please support your favorite developers by purchasing the release copy of their game.

Moving on, there are definitely no shortage of things in modern gaming that can absolutely help make the case for pirating.

In 2019 it is very much a common occurrence for a game to be buggy, have broken matchmaking, or not even let you connect to the loading screen itself. A big example being Japanese games, many ported games are being released in the U.S. with censored content or removed features, leaving the game in a state that is dissimilar to the artists original work. And lets not even mention DRM, if you’re a PC player you already know the drill. But does a game being broken, or a port being incomplete, make piracy a more reasonable action?

Yo ho ho.

Spoiler alert, the answer is a bit more complicated than a yes or no. Frankly, aside from the legal answer of no, it comes down more to the person. It’s perfectly understandable to not want to pay full price for a game that’s borderline early access level at launch (looking at you, Fallout 76). It’s also a perfectly reasonable excuse to not want to pay for a game that isn’t the version you were looking forward to because of the censorship (looking at you, Crunchyroll version of Danmachi: Memoria Freese). There are of course the less noble reasons as well such as testing it out before you purchase it for real, or pirating it because you can’t wait until you get paid to buy. I’m not pretending there are ONLY good reasons to pirate. But with the state of modern gaming allowing for these situations to happen somewhat commonly, piracy becomes a much more favorable alternative for some.

The conundrum is whether or not piracy is necessary? Is the ability to play a game fully before purchasing it something that is beneficial to the industry? Well I’m sorry but this is an opinionated analysis and not a case study so take what I say with a grain of salt. This is bringing up the question, not answering it. At the end of the day it’s up to you to decide whether or not you should pirate something and for what reason you do so. But looking at the state of gaming, even if just AAA gaming, there is definitely evidence to support the existence of piracy. Some people will obviously make the claim that “If developers took more time to make their games better, we wouldn’t need to pirate them.” There’s certainly a hint of truth to that, but to say that would fix piracy is a bit facetious honestly. Piracy will always exist, but the circumstances surrounding its legitimacy will constantly change. Do you think it’s necessary? Do you think not? Leave a comment below.