What's Wrong with Sharing? or Do We Deserve Free Stuff? or Stealing... Is it the new.. Not Stealing?

I've gotten back into again gaming lately. I'm not exactly swimming in cash due to the good ol' economic downturn so I'm mainly buying cheap as chips pre-owned games at the moment.

This got me thinking about what game developers might think about people not buying their game from new. Do they mind this? There seems to be a flourishing 2nd hand game market everywhere these days from Game, to Tesco, to Amazon and there doesn't seem to be much resistance from games companies. When a new game is now upwards £40, how can publishers not mind losing this many times over when someone like me comes along and grabs an older A rated title for a fiver somewhere.
I guess it all has to do with marketing etc, but I wonder if there is an element there that games companies on the whole are staffed by 'normal' people as apposed to your regular 'suit'. So, the company may feel like coming down hard on the 2nd hand market but knows full well the cost of pissing of the 'geek chic' community. Microsoft experienced this recently with their disastrous Xbox One preview as you probably are aware. Back peddle ahoy Mr Gates!

On one hand, its great for me to be able to buy decent games cheap if  I'm willing to wait a few weeks, but on the other hand, I can appreciate the makers frustration that their pride and joy project, including blood sweat and tears, is being given away virtually free of charge.

Anyway, thinking about this then kind of led me to the 'sharing' question and what to do about it. It is of course an age old problem. 'Piracy is Theft', the Videos used to tell us. Back then though, I wouldn't dream of watching a pirate video. Not because of any moral implication. I just wanted to actually see and hear the film.
Now, it is a different kettle of fish entirely. We can download brand new films, for free, in 1080p (if you know where to look). And many people do, all the time.
People have their own reasons and justifications for doing this. When I've downloaded stuff I shouldn't in the past I would tell myself that I'm always paying over the odds for everything in general, and this is my small way of getting some of that back. Of course it was never the film studios involved that were ripping me off in the first place but, it worked for me.

From what I can see there is a joint responsibility here, and the time has now come for both 'sides' to see exactly what that is.

Companies of all kinds need to realise not that sharing is not going away. Torrent sites are more popular than ever, and with the advent of 3D printing, it is now theoretically possible to 'pirate' anything from a Dogs chew toy to a speed boat. The time is coming where we will not be just talking about sharing media.
Bosses need to start thinking about this and how they are going to manage it.

My advice to them would be that there should be two tiers of product if you like. To use a crude example, I could go into a Supermarket right now and buy the ingredients for 6 beef burgers, and fairly nice ones, for about three to four pounds. I could make then real easy and they would taste bloody great (not being big headed or anything). Yet I and a lot of other people are still more than happy to go to Mcdonalds regularly for a Big Mac meal, which I'll taste once (if i'm lucky) and it'll cost me around £5 or £6.  And why would I go there instead of doing the cheaper (and arguably more tasty) option? A few reasons in truth, but mainly one. The special sauce. Nothing tastes quite like a Big Mac, and that's because of that damn sauce.

...And this is how companies should see their products. They need to add a 'special sauce' that will make people want to buy their product rather than look for a cheaper, or free alternative. To use films as an example, perhaps film makers could get into the habit of shooting bonus scenes that are only available at the cinema. Make a seperate '2nd hand' version available for file sharers for little or no money. Simplistic? Yes, but its the simple ideas that last longest in my experience.

Which brings me to the other side of the coin. The pirates and downloaders.
There is an equal responsibility here guys. For a start, just because we are able to get these things for free doesn't mean we are entitled to them. Whats wrong with the world at the moment is the chronic sense of entitlement that we all have.
Groups like Anonymous, and sites like The Pirate Bay can bang on about the people rising above the oppressive authorities, the new world order, the establishment etc, but lets get real now. A lot of that is nothing more than internet bullshit that we use to justify being a bit of an arsehole. I'm not saying all of it, but a lot is.
At the end of the day, someone has made that film, or album, or book, has spent a lot of time and money doing so, and it isn't really cool to take it for free. The more we go on about how its just society leveling out, the more deluded we are. You don't take things from other people. You learn that at school, and if you do it, it makes you a bit of a prat. If you're not the sort of person that will steal an old ladies handbag at a bus stop, then you shouldn't really be the sort of person that downloads the entire Muse back catalogue and does copies for your girlfriend. There is not a lot of difference in the two morally now is there?
It is exactly the same as going into a shop, stealing something and then selling it on at a car boot sale. (flea market for the Americans).
Same as if you work in the military, you are NOT SUPPOSED to nick their secrets and put them online. The justification is irrelevant. Even you hipsters need to have a bit of social responsibility if we are truly going to make the world better. Yes there are rules, and many are there for a reason. If we protest every rule, the ones that actually need protesting go unnoticed to Joe Public. Get a brain and realise this please. Don't just turn up at a protest if all you are there to do is look alternative. Fight the fights that you feel strongly about, and fight them to the (metaphorical) death. And any coppers out there, try not to push anyone over.

So yes, companies do need to get with the times, and the consumers need to play fair. Above all, its time that we don't see the two groups as apposing forces, but part of the same thing. The supplier should meet the demander half way, with both parties smiling. At the risk of sounding like a stupid hippy, let's not be labeled as this or that. Lets just all be human.

Right thats 30 minutes I've been writing. Man of Steel should be finished now. Catch you later.


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