Debunking The Ridiculous Claims That Unauthorized Copies Of Handheld Games Has 'Cost' The Economy $41.6 Billion

from the reality-check dept

A bunch of folks have sent in the ridiculous claims from a study done by the Japanese Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association (CESA) suggesting that unauthorized copies of handheld games have cost the industry $41.5 billion over a five year period. Like similar bogus reports, these numbers have little, if any, connection to reality. I was considering skipping posting about it altogether, given that it's really just the same old thing, but Dark Helmet sent in a nice starter list on why this study is completely bogus:
  1. Every infringing download is counted as a lost sale
  2. CESA took the numbers for Japanese handheld game piracy and multiplied it by four to get the worldwide numbers, because CESA "believes" Japan represents 1/4 of the market
  3. Deviations in piracy levels in different world regions were not taken into account
  4. Pricing for games per unauthorized copies were ALL based on the initial release price, not taking into account pricing fluctuations of games over time
In addition, I'd point out that the study apparently picked which sites to cover somewhat at random and may not accurately portray (in any way) the number of downloads. Also, there's no attempt to look at whether or not those who get unauthorized copies of some games end up buying other games as well (i.e., do they still spend the same amount otherwise -- just on different offerings?). Basically, there's very little in this study to take seriously.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 4:49pm

    The "study" doesn't take into account that some of the infringers might have bought a used copy of the game if no pirated version was available.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 4:58pm

    minor grammar nitpick -

    since downloads are discrete and can be counted, it should be may not accurately portray (in any way) the number of downloads

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Mr Big Content, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 5:00pm

    Unfair Criticism

    I wonder why the authors of these studies don’t sue people who quote from them for copyright infringement. That would put an end to all these criticisms.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 5:05pm

    One major problem with such reports and studies is not just that they are completely bogus and, therefore, the report should be discredited, but the morons that read and believe these reports.

    Instead of just downplaying the report, we should downplay those who believe such reports, as the reports are targeted at those idiots who are in a place of political power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    John Doe, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    Easy to debunk these kind of numbers...

    If you add up all the "lost sales" that RIAA, MPAA, video game makers and every other digital product claims you wll probably find that the total exceeds the GDP of most nations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Oooh, ooh! More about Japan!

    Simply because I'm a big fan of Japanese anime (I love One Piece, hated the way 4Kids translated it, and only restarted watching it after it was picked up by Toei), lemme show how Japan wants to fight this:

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2010-06-08/multi-national-manga-anti-piracy-c oalition-formed

    "According to the coalition, the problem has reached a point where “scanlation aggregator” sites now host thousands of pirated titles, earning ad revenue and/or membership dues at creators' expense while simultaneously undermining foreign licensing opportunities and unlawfully cannibalizing legitimate sales. Worse still, this pirated material is already making its way to smartphones and other wireless devices, like the iPhone and iPad, through apps that exist solely to link to and republish the content of scanlation sites. "

    What they don't tell you is how most American titles pick up anime titles based on those numbers on sites OR those titles aren't available in the US. Let's not forget that this stuff being on the iPhone or iPad is GROSSLY inaccurate to the truth:

    Steve Jobs doesn't like mature anime - Source - http://www.analoghype.com/2010/05/apple-say-f-u-to-porn-manga/

    ----------------------

    If you read the article, you see that they want to fight the consumer rather than:

    A) Produce manga/ anime online
    B) Distribute more overseas (their entire belief is to keep it within Japanese Borders all things told, then give the US consumer a substandard product)
    C) Not understand their consumer and why they like a series that's hugely popular, but do everything that the article about handheld games is talking about... Put every last download as a lost sale, multiply it, spin around a few times, then make their bosses happy by saying it's causing Japanese consumers to lose out.

    *scratches head*

    Japan has more issues to deal with. Copyright infringement across their borders isn't the one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    Hilariously, the vast majority of pirated Japanese material is pirated because...

    ...wait for it...

    ...the authorized material is in Japanese, and the pirated content is translated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    ECA (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    Fun with math

    Fun with math..
    Lets see..

    Take Every person in the world.5,000,000,000
    "If we had sold 1 copy to Each at FULL USA retail".
    Subtract SOLD copies..
    1,000,000
    AND STATE, that ALL the rest is LOST SALES Equal to that amount.

    DONT consider ACCESS to the program(5 zones around the world)
    Dont consider that Only 1/2 the world, MIGHT have a computer.
    DONT consider that 1/2 the computers SOLD into the world are BUSINESS machines and GAMES are not allowed.
    DONT consider that there are Different types of users, that LIKE different programs and the choice is 1 in 10 they CHOSE theirs.
    DONT consider that there are FREE AVAILABLE programs that COMPETE online. Another 1 in 10.
    AND dont consider that PRICE has anything to do with WHO BOUGHT your program.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    yossi, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    used copies do not represent any profit for the game company. if they had their way there would be no used game sales

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 7:31pm

    I shouldn't have to point out the obvious but the study also doesn't take into account the fact that money not spent on video games could have been spent on other things.

    Also, is it just me or does anyone else find it troubling that people not spending money on something, especially video games, should be a big concern. If people don't want to spend their money why is that such a big deal? Why should people spend their money? So, if everyone goes on a boycott and doesn't buy video games, how is that such a tragedy? Because there are lost sales? Why is it the governments job to improve the sales of a private entity through legislation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Oooh, ooh! More about Japan!

    "B) Distribute more overseas (their entire belief is to keep it within Japanese Borders all things told, then give the US consumer a substandard product)"

    It's the battle of the bogus studies. Which country can deliver the most outrageously bogus studies showing that a country is losing ludicrous sums of money owed to it by other countries in hopes that those other countries will just start handing over cash.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 7:47pm

    cost the economy what?

    It's much safer to assume that it costs the economy exactly zero dollars. You just assume the money not spent on games is spent elsewhere.

    If they wanted to say "cost the video game industry", they should have said so. But it's been obvious to me for a while now that the Japanese will believe just about anything they see on TV or in print (and no this is not me being racist).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Oooh, ooh! More about Japan!

    China: "I've conducted a study showing that Japan owes me 100 Billion dollars in IP infringement damages. They stole from us!!!!"

    Japan Retaliates: "Oh Yeah!! Well I've conducted my own study and China owes me 200 Billion and Russia owes me 300 Billion"

    U.S. : "Well My study shows that you BOTH owe me 500 Billion!"

    Russia : "My study shows that you ALL owe me 900 Billion in infringement damages!!"

    and with each subsequent study the numbers increase.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 8:49pm

    "CESA took the numbers for Japanese handheld game piracy and multiplied it by four to get the worldwide numbers, because CESA "believes" Japan represents 1/4 of the market" - that means the numbers are low by a huge amount.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 9:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Oooh, ooh! More about Japan!

    Brazil: "Somebody owes us a Brazilian dollars!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    ECA (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 9:06pm

    Agreed

    NOT that there game was worth the money.

    If THEY would consider High speed net distribution..
    Cut costs on..
    Shipping,
    Handling,
    Storage,
    Packaging which is 1/2 the cost/price.
    To much Stock in 1 store.
    NO stock in another store.
    Over 1/2 the COST is in these PROFIT EATERS..
    If they are using NET distribution, they are GREEDY BASTISHES.. and they want 2-3 TIMES the profit margin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Oooh, ooh! More about Japan!

    If you pay me what you owe me then I'll pay you what I owe you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 12:36am

    Re:

    It also means the numbers were pulled out of a nether region on the dark side of Pluto.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 1:52am

    Re: Unfair Criticism

    I wonder why the authors of these studies don’t sue people who quote from them for copyright infringement. That would put an end to all these criticisms.

    Because that would be tantamount to admitting that these studies are works of fiction (and therefore eligible for copyright protection).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:27am

    Re: Re:

    Technically, the eighth planet from the sun would be on the light side of Pluto ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, seventh planet, my bad!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 7:01am

    Life, the Universe and Everything

    Reminds me of Douglas Adams again:

    However, the same event which saw the disastrous failure of one science in its infancy also witnessed the apotheosis of another. It was conclusively proven that more people watched the tri-d coverage of the launch than actually existed at the time, and this has now been recognized as the greatest achievement ever in the science of audience research.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Danno (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Is it just me???

    These studies that claim lost revenue really baffle me. Predicting how many copies of a piece of software, a video, a song, etc., a company is going to sell is impossible. The sales predictions are affected by too many variables to be accurate:

    a) If your product is no good, even if you believe otherwise, it's not going to sell;
    b) it might not be promoted well enough;
    c) economic issues (recession, market crash or upswing) affect people's buying power; and
    d) too many other issues to enumerate.

    All this to say that claiming you're losing money to the "pirates" is akin to my saying "I had an idea a while back but couldn't sell it, so I've lost $50 million dollars!" In other words, pure and utter bunkum!

    According to the financial columns I've read, these industries are doing just fine financially, after all, they've been gouging the public from their inception, as well as the artists who provide them the material for sale. Sooner or later, they're going to realized they are doomed though, with the availability of the web, artists, authors and any creator of media is going to be able to personally market themselves and their creations.

    It's already begun...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    O_O

    Whoa man! My mind has been blown!

    It's as if the industry can't translate it fast enough!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oooh, ooh! More about Japan!

    Microsoft: "We demand 6 times the GDP of the entire planet for all the pirated copies of Win 7, Office, Vista and anything else we can think of. And oh, we want Italy's GDP to replace the office furniture our Steve (Ballmer) tosses through glass windows!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Re:

    Why do you think they're pushing digital download games now? Not to mention the new DRM that forces those who buy a game used to have to pay for a code to play it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Anonymous, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    I Illegally downloaded Korg DS-10 for nintento DS. I also purchased 2 copies (I gave one to my dad, but still)... so we can at least subtracts ~$80 from that figure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    kevin (profile), Apr 7th, 2011 @ 12:17am

    Go for Texas Drivers License Test course, is very easy with just one computer and a internet connection. With 32 Total hours of instructions online, 8 chapters, and many more great features. wood pellet equipment

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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