Piracy and the underground economy
In all the hubbub over Piracy and its effects on the game industry, little has been said about the underground economy that it supports. I’m a blogger and have no use for hard facts, so let’s replace it with supposition. Suppose there are 50 malls and commercial centers in Manila. And lets say that there are 20 pirate stalls in each of those malls, a rather conservative estimate. Let’s suppose that there are 2 people manning each of those stalls, and do some math. 50 malls times 20 stalls times 2 people equals 2000 people whose livelihood depends on piracy. That number is miniscule, but I’m sure the actual numbers are far greater, and shed light on a problem that, for all of their bravado and claims that they’re defending people’s rights to earn money, have never touched on.
I’m not saying it’s right, but the fact of the matter is that if you do manage to completely stymie pirates, you’ll be leaving thousands of people without jobs, and not giving them alternative ways to earn a living. Just think about it. The numbers start to get even larger when you factor in all the countries in which piracy like this is practiced. What will you do with a jobless populace around the world? Aside from that, the money these people earn is used to buy very legal and even necessary things, like food, water, and shelter, thereby making them just as necessary as any citizen in a healthy economy.
The solution I offer is to simply lower the prices of games, and make them more easily accessible to small shops and stall owners. Perhaps the best way to defeat piracy is to beat them at their own game. Make the prices so low that it would almost be silly to buy a pirated game over an original one. This way you effectively defeat piracy but sustain the underground economy that it’s engendered.