Keeping pirates at bay

It’s now conventional wisdom in the games industry that illegal ROM downloads and cards they can be played on are damaging the device’s software sales, making investment in smaller titles impossible.

You can just log on to the web, order an R4 card from some sites and then start downloading games from others. It really is that easy.

So it’s interesting to see Nintendo's reaction is to hire a specific anti-piracy expert for Europe in a move to step up its activity.

Neil Boyd hails from the music industry – a sector that knows all too well the disruptive nature that piracy can have.

Hopefully the real issue around piracy he can help Nintendo address – and by extension the rest of the games industry – is consumer awareness. It became cheap and easy to steal music off the web because the perceived value of it was always in a massive state of flux. Taping the Top 40 off Radio 1 was always technically illegal, but we all did it.

What the games industry needs to do is find a way not just to stop mechanisms for piracy, but address the issues around why people want to pirate games. The answers might not be pleasant (and will probably involve the price of games and release dates), but the industry has to face up to them if it wants to take the issue seriously.

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