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Ryan Sumo on “Piracy and the Underground Economy” in The Escapist*

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My boyfriend is “controversial.” That’s so hot!

In “Piracy and the Underground Economy,” Ryan Sumo offers an honest assessment of videogame piracy in the developing world, and how developers can realistically counteract it. (Editor’s Choice)

And he’s causing a stir over at GamePolitics.com:

Artist Suggests Game Biz Should Compete with Pirates in Less-wealthy Nations

In a novel, if certainly controversial suggestion, Filipino game design artist Ryan Sumo argues that video game companies should compete with bootleg sellers in poorer countries by selling products with minimalist packaging and even allowing the pirates to burn the actual discs.

Sumo makes his argument in a guest column for The Escapist:

Piracy supports an underground economy and the livelihoods of thousands… in Asia, especially in countries where most people live below the poverty line. This underground exists primarily because its participants cannot afford the exorbitant prices charged by game publishers…

Publishers and console manufacturers like Nintendo are convinced that once they stop piracy, the money from all those lost sales will suddenly come flowing into their coffers. For whatever reason they never take into account their prospective market’s spending ability…

In the Philippines… piracy isn’t a matter of right or wrong; it’s a matter of survival. To eradicate piracy means depriving people of jobs… It means eradicating the businesses that employ them and negating the taxes funneled to the Philippine government. Developers and publishers will claim a huge victory, but they’ll soon notice that those billions of dollars in lost sales aren’t exactly showing up on their bottom line.

* The Escapist Features cover digital entertainment culture with a progressive editorial style, with articles and columns by the top writers in and outside of the digital entertainment industries. A weekly publication, the Features’ magazine-style updates offer content for a mature audience of entertainment enthusiasts, industry insiders and other “NetSet” readers.

Written by Aissa

July 15, 2008 at 9:28 pm

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