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Posts with tag piracy

PSP Brite may lead Sony's fight against piracy, homebrew

While many argue that the homebrew community offers PSP owners a wealth of content that doesn't hurt games developers, Sony would disagree. The staggering amount of piracy on the system has created a situation where even cheap, high-profile games like Patapon are downloaded illegally far more than actually purchased. In spite of terrific hardware sales, software simply hasn't performed well, especially outside of Japan. With developers and publishers reluctant to create new content on a system that never breaks NPD's software top 10 charts, Sony had to change something ... and fast.

Kris Erickson of PSP World postulates that the speed in which Sony has upgraded its PSP hardware from the popular PSP-2000 series may be indicative of a new plan to combat piracy and homebrew. While the brighter screen is appreciated, it seems like too little to warrant yet another reboot of the hardware -- that is, unless something internal has changed. The new PSP-Brite system may have better hardware measures against piracy -- a direction foretold by SCEE boss David Reeves not too long ago.

However, the incredibly dedicated homebrew community -- whether or not they understand their responsibility in creating the current drought of PSP games -- will undeniably continue to hack the new PSP to find new exploits. Unfortunately for Sony, backwards compatability with old PSP firmware and software will continue to work as a Trojan horse against the company.

Sony CEO blames piracy for low software sales

Jack Tretton spoke with us at a blogger's roundtable earlier today. When questioned about why software sales are so sluggish in comparison to the stellar hardware sales, Tretton noted that there were three big reasons: 1 - The multimedia features of the PSP may encourage users to play less games, watch more movies and listen to music. 2 - Gamers don't want water-downed PS2 ports; they want original games. 3 - Piracy.

Tretton told us that "we have been able to track with releases like God of War that hundreds of thousands of units in potential sales are walking out the door through piracy on day one. We knew exactly that only a few months ago. Unforutnately, there isn't much to do for pirates that are already getting their way. Millions of systems are already out there .. but there are "remedies" coming down the line. Perhaps a growing library of DRM-enabled downloadable titles will help Sony's cause. But for now, the situation looks rather bleak.

Sony Europe boss promises new ways of fighting piracy on PSP

SCEE's David Reeves spoke at the DevStation developer conference last week, admitting to MCV that "there is a piracy problem on PSP." According to MCV, Reeves admits that piracy has fueled hardware sales, and of course "we are not happy about it." He told developers at the conference that Sony will "unveil new ways to combat piracy soon." But exactly how? We're not sure.

This is quite possibly the first time a Sony exec has directly addressed the issue of piracy on the platform. Perhaps this is the signal of a more aggressive Sony attempting to reclaim the platform.

Ridiculous PSP piracy numbers

Piracy is ruining the PSP. Although quality titles continue to come out on the handheld, many have been wondering: where are the software sales? Hardware has done incredibly well since the release of the redesigned PSP-2000, but PSP software still fails to make it to the top of the charts. What's to blame? It's easy to blame pirates, who take advantage of the easily circumventable security of the system. Rlan from NeoGAF took a look at just one torrent site and found the number of downloads of PSP games to be absolutely disgusting.

God of War: Chains of Olympus - 94,154
Patapon - 112,183
Ratchet & Clank - Size Matters - 197,113
Crush - 48,959
LOCO ROCO - 163,904
Wipeout Pulse - 116,965
Castlevania X Chronicles - 102,354
Metal Gear Solid - Portable Ops (Not Including Plus) - 231,054
Burnout Dominator - 269,486

A game like Patapon shouldn't be pirated -- that only costs $20 at retail! God of War has managed to get nearly 100k downloads since its release. That's absolutely shameful. Downloading a torrented game is stealing -- just because it's easy doesn't make it right.

Experimental emulator brings PSP games to Windows

We've been tricked by this tomfoolery before, and we're remaining cautious. DCEmu is reporting on a supposed experimental emulator that allows PSP games to be played in the Windows environment. "Potemkin" as the emulator is called is no longer being worked on by Ector due to "time constraints." Therefore, he's provided the source code for those interested to try and finish his project. (This does not mean that an end-user can effectively run a working program on their machine.) If this project comes to full fruition, Sony will certainly have a lot more to worry about: the piracy scene could potentially explode with a functional release of such an emulator. We'll have to stay tuned.

"Rampant piracy" makes PSP the perfect gift in China

The Chinese video game market is a difficult one for manufacturers to deal with, simply because piracy is totally out of control in that region. Many publishers and console manufacturers avoid the market altogether. However, the Chinese market loves to play video games, and a blog called Shanghaiist is recommending the PSP for holiday gift givers this year:
"Our buying decision this holiday season has every bit to do with the PSP being a nifty gadget as it does some of the extra "resources" available to us as residents of Shanghai, or China for that matter ... rampant piracy of games. The PSP is no different. Machines for sale here are from either Europe or Japan, but with firmware downgraded/modified so that they can handle "backup" (read "pirated") games."
While I'm all for sales of the PSP increasing, I'm appalled at this recommendation. Telling people to buy a system because you can easily pirate games on it is really uncool. Of course, it seems like many people on the Internet also seem to think the PSP is all about homebrew and piracy as well. What have you experienced on the web?

Even GameSpot plays pirated games

A keen observer at the GameSpot forums noticed a small detail in one of GameSpot's recent PS3 features. They show how to download a movie file to the PSP's Memory Stick, and as you can see in the screenshot above, you'll see the typical PSP folders: PHOTO, MUSIC, PSP, MP_ROOT. However, you'll also see a folder called ISO, which is the file format ripped games are usually saved as.

While there are a ton of other explanations for this (like publishers sending them ISO files to review), it's funny to think that maybe PSP piracy may be in use, even by people at a large site like GameSpot.

Pirating Gangs of London supports gang violence

As evidenced by the numerous YouTube videos of people playing "complete" versions of the upcoming Gangs of London, a leaked ISO of the game has been making the rounds on the internet. Stealing is wrong, and Sony spokesperson David Wilson wants you to remember that:

"We are wholly opposed to game piracy. Even if people have no sympathy for games developers losing money (though in the end that damages our industry and hurts gamers) - there are proven links that exist between counterfeiting and organised crime and that has some serious consequences (and victims) that people should give due consideration."

There you have it. Downloading an illegal copy of Gangs of London may, in fact, help criminals. But, if Senator Lieberman is right, playing games like Gangs of London will turn you into a criminal anyways.

[Thanks, steve; via]

Interview with a homebrewer

Homebrew is a huge part of the hardcore PSP scene. But, it's pretty obvious why Sony's trying to battle it as hard as they can. Sony would be in an even greater world of legal hurt if it allowed easy access to pirated material. Also, what kind of confidence would publishers have in the PSP platform if people don't actually buy games for it? While many can see the reasoning behind Sony's efforts, what's the inspiration behind the incredible dedication of the PSP homebrew community? DCEmu recently interviewed a coder that goes by the name of ZX-81, who is considered one of the most prolific coders of PSP homebrew. Some of the interesting points in the interview:
  • ZX-81 started coding for the PSP when his friend showed him other homebrew applications running on the system.
  • He believes the PSP scene is "fantastic," with an active, helpful international community.
  • He has only bought one PSP game: Grand Theft Auto, in order to run homebrew.
While the interview is interesting, it's also distressing to a gamer like myself. I didn't buy a PSP to illegally emulate games... I bought it for some high-quality portable gaming. If PSP gamers like ZX-81 don't buy games, do you think homebrew is helping... or hurting the PSP?

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