Renegade Kid, Piracy, and the 3DS

Ramblings Nintendo News 3DS

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Renegade Kid have delivered a lot of love to the eShop for the 3DS in 2012, with the likes of Mutant Mudds, Planet Crashers, and Bomb Monkey all making a splash on the service. What could possibly stop the developer’s upward trend on the service? Well, the answer is piracy. In a recent blog post, founder Jools Watsham spoke about the subject, and how it could put an end to the developer’s support for the system.

Here is a brief snippet of the blog:

If piracy gets bad on the 3DS, we will have no choice but to stop supporting the platform with new games. Some say that piracy leads to more game sales, claiming that it enables players to try before they buy. Bullshit. The percentage of people who will spend money on a game that they already got for free is surely very small – especially with so many “free” games already in the market. The line between what should/should not be free is getting very blurry.

I know this is a controversial subject, but Mr. Watsham makes a good point. A lot of DS, Wii, and now even 3DS owners make the argument of creating homebrew with hacking, which leads to some amazing things. However, you can’t have good without the bad, and piracy is made possible with the same hacking exploits.

When you download games through illegal means, it isn’t Nintendo that suffer. It’s the little guys, like Renegade Kid, WayForward, and all of those small-time devs that can’t afford the means for a widespread release. Purchasing Mutant Mudds will ensure that Renegade Kid will be able to keep producing sequels and other great titles to the service – and that goes for every single publisher out there, big or small.

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I know this might sound a bit arrogant to that crowd that love their homebrew, but if your unit gets bricked, you got what you deserved. Sure, you just wanted to play Super Mario Bros. 3 or Donkey Kong Country on the 3DS that you paid money for, but those same exploits are being used to create rom dumps of games that a dedicated team worked hard on for months or even years at a time.

I really get tired of the “taboo” that the subject of piracy holds. If you download it and it was not obtained through legal means, you are now slapping each developer in the face, as you STOLE their creation and by doing that, you are silently informing them that their hard work is not worth your time. I don’t care if it’s a bad game, or from some greedy publisher like EA. Stealing is stealing, and those who are willing to pirate the 3DS version of The Sims are just as likely to go out and grab a rom for Code of Princess or Virtue’s Last Reward – both of which are produced by companies that print games in low numbers.

Before the comment section gets flooded with excuses for the subject, I think everyone should follow some smaller developers on Twitter. Watch them revel in excitement as their game comes out, and actively thank anybody who has feedback. They are living their dreams and trying to create pieces of entertainment that we all can enjoy, and exploits and rom dumps from cheap, plastic software (known to many as the R4) are hurting that.

I’ll leave this topic with yet another excerpt from Jools Watsham’s blog, as it needs to be read by anybody who are still archaically defending the subject of piracy:

If these hackers really want to mess with the guts of a 3DS, why not become legit developers for it and let the world enjoy their talents? Many of today’s great programmers used to be hackers back in the day. It is a great way to learn the craft. Putting ones efforts towards the creation of legit games instead of potentially crippling the market seems like a much more fulfilling path.

  • darkpower

    There are a few issues to his argument, though.

    If you look on Steam, a lot of indie devs are having their games selling. These are from smaller developers, as well, and they don’t seem to have much issue getting people to buy the products through there. In fact, it continues to be one of Steam’s biggest selling points. Though the approval process and the Greenlight thing can be criticized, thing is that this puts a bit of a dent in that argument. And look how games like Call of Duty keep selling like you wouldn’t believe (hard to have to admit, but for the sake of this argument, we must).

    Secondly, this is the same argument that we saw when the first iPhone jailbreak was introduced. “This will lead to piracy.” Yet, the courts there didn’t agree with that, and as we’ve seen, it’s only strengthened the case of people getting the iPhone. We can’t cherry pick evidence and provide heresy and say that that’s what it is. If we said that with the iPhone and it didn’t happen (I’m sure it did happen in a few pockets, but it wasn’t enough to be noticeable, obviously), then whose to say that whatever piracy did happen would be so widespread that it would warrant the punishment of everyone.

    But the biggest thing is that when you talk about piracy, you have to differentiate piracy from copyright infringement. The latter is a more complicated term and a more complicated set of circumstances in which someone has to actually think of before laying the claim of it. Piracy is more of a buzz word (look how the very uttering of it sparks up the worst of the worst on THIS site), and gets more people to agree with you without understanding it. In order for piracy to happen, a copy of something has to actually change hands without someone’s permission. With infrimgement, you need to know if what you’re downloading is readily available somewhere. This makes it much harder to prove, so they use the piracy charge because “he stole something from me” is much easier to convince people of than “he got something that I once sold but I can’t be bothered to sell anymore”. If it’s not available, then how can you say that someone took a potential sale away from the developers (because how are you supposed to buy something that’s not sold anymore)?

    And even if you could, they’ve said the same thing about used game sales and rentals. Yet, all three of these things have been going on for years and yet the industry has lasted this long. Why? These were supposed to destroy everything gaming. I think there’s more about why they blame any of those three things than what they are letting on. They probably just don’t want to find a reason why their shitty games didn’t sell (not this dev, but publishers in general). You can’t use piracy as a way to not have to say that a super hyped game you made just sucked and no one bought it.

    • discordman

      You bring up some decent points, but the 3DS is a gaming platform with the most convenient controls one could ask for. The iPhone is not really the focus of this article, nor is Steam (but I will say that World of Goo being the #1 pirated game a couple years back proves that PC titles are just as downloaded…do you think that that dev would be making a low budget barely promoted title like Little Inferno if they made all of that money?), Also, as far as I know, all the 3DS titles are pretty much readily available and can be purchased from just about any retailer, with even the smaller prints from last year still being found at Best Buy and Gamestop (Tales of the Abyss), or through the means of the eShop. Look at that blog, and you can see what piracy did to Dementium II. I bet you Jools would have been able to continue that franchise if not for the heavy amount of pirating from people who were just curious. If they would have paid, they would have found out that it was a decent game that was worth the already budget price tag, and Renegade Kid would be probably publishing a lot more titles than they are now. I’ve seen a DS R4 before, and it had 80 games loaded on it. That is roughly $1600 gone, due to one person. Now, imagine 10,000 people with those R4s. You are looking at $800,000 in the toilet. Yeah, he might not have bought all of those titles, but he sure as hell wouldn’t have got to play them without the technology.

      Rentals are also FAR away from piracy, so no comparison can be made as the rental service had to PAY for that title, and it will go in the hands of a potential buyer. Same goes for used game sales. Some one purchased that title new at one point, and the next buyer is more likely to pre-order the sequel by trying the used selection first.

      What I can not stand is the whole “just a copy” excuse (as well as the long copyright explanation that comes off even worse) , because you are playing the full game, getting the full experience, and not giving a damn about all of the same group of gamers that paid their hard earned cash for the product, or the development team that was working on that said title. Now, if it is not available anywhere, used, digitally, ect….I mean, we are talking Sweet Home/Mother 3 translation territory here, then I can see exceptions made. Piracy has not destroyed gaming yet, but it is hurting the industry.

      Every time you download a new title from a little developer, they feel it. Big publishers? Well, they feel it too – but they try to combat it by punishing us all with DRM and other measures – to which the pirates just try to use as another reason to continue their hobby on all parties. Your perspective seems to be coming from an intelligent (aside from calling Renegade shitty in a childish tone), but guilty point of view. Piracy is why companies like WayForward have to turn to Majesco to get their game published, and why we have DRM measures and region locking on nearly every modern platform. It’s a neverending cycle that can be stopped if ended by the group that are the true thieves of the gaming world. By speaking out, Jools just might break through to a couple, and over time, that number will only grow if more gamers and developers take a stand.

  • monkey

    piracy has zero impact on portables

    it had no impact on ds or psp

    • Dustin Spencer

      And you are very sadly mistaken.

  • Lord Zilo

    Companies make big bucks on stuff. then when someone “try;s out the product” by a leak or torrent ect, They have an idea of what it is like before they buy it. Stealing and trying are 2 different things

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