Piracy of games and software in Russia

Piracy of media content and software in Russia appeared a long time ago. Not yesterday and not the day before. Back in the 80s, an 8-bit Nintendo console, the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), came to our market. But since the purchasing power of the population was low, sales were, to put it mildly, weak. And so it was until the NES clone Dendy was brought from China.

It was much cheaper and more affordable. Many teenagers of that time had access to digital entertainment. NES cartridges were also sold unlicensed. And if the originals contained one game, and in some cases two, then the pirated clones boasted 100 to 1 or 999 to 1.

Yes, there were really only a few games there, but with minor changes. It could be the difficulty of the game or starting from a different level. The same thing happened later with SEGA. When the 16-bit SEGA Megadrive came out.

In addition to set-top boxes, Sinclair ZX-Spectrum clones were sold in Russia, with its 8-bit Zilog-80 (Z80) processor. A memory of 64KB (kilobyte!) was enough for games and simple programs. True, there is one caveat, part of the 48KB of RAM, or rather 6912 bytes, were reserved as video memory. The ROM was 16KB.

Games were loaded from a cassette recorder and there could be up to 40-50 pieces on one cassette. From two sides. Cassettes were copied at home, which can be conditionally attributed to piracy. But with each subsequent iteration, the quality fell, and errors naturally accumulated, which led to failures in loading and the need to start the process again.

It’s the same story with cinema. Video cassettes, Video-CD, DVD and Blue Ray, for all formats, you could buy devices or a CD / DVD burner that allowed you to make duplicates. There was no talk of licensed sales, from the word at all. Translations of games were made by Russian companies without formal agreements with the copyright holders. Pirated discs were openly sold in stores. Without this, we would not have known what War Craft, DOOM or Heroes 3 is.

However, all this made it possible already in the 90s to have modern games and software. In addition, getting used to certain content development packages, programming or operating system, users for many years were “tied” to a certain developer or company. At that time, users were not accustomed to paying for software. Everything was rewritten or at best downloaded from the network. In addition to the Internet, there were also citywide networks. However, this is due not only to the unavailability of games or software officially, but to a greater extent with the inability to pay the high cost of a license.

Indirectly, large companies benefit from piracy in a certain percentage of users. “Having sat down” on a certain product, the user will subsequently buy a license with a high degree of probability. This process is not fast and can take 5-10 years or more. For example, Microsoft. The company, with the help of piracy and accessibility, has become the default operating system. And in conjunction with the architecture of x86 processors, it squeezed out almost all serious competitors from the market (for example, OS2 / from IBM). The same applies to 3DS MAX, MAYA, AutoCAD and others. Piracy is a kind of tool for large companies to spread their influence on the market.

Development does not stand still. Gradually, large Western companies began to come to Russia and open representative offices. Providing technical support for software and defending their interests at the legislative level. Over time, people got used to buying licensed software. Naturally, not all. But the culture of use and consumption has changed. Gradually, users are switching to licensed programs in Russia. This process is extremely lengthy. It is difficult to change the stable habit of getting games and professional software for free.

For game developers, namely indie studios or small companies employing a couple of dozen people, piracy directly causes a loss by reducing sales. If for the giants of the industry the losses are covered by the PR of their brand or a specific title, then for independent studios, this is a blow to the budget. To a high degree, this affects the already poor Russian gamedev. Therefore, I definitely advise you to pay for games from indie studios and support Russian developers. In addition, the price, as a rule, is quite small compared to AAA projects.

As for 3D software, in the past few years, the same Autodesk has begun offering its products under indie licenses and subscriptions. Other major developers have followed the same path. Prices are becoming more affordable. And if a novice specialist cannot afford to buy the official version, then with the development and growth of income, it makes sense to switch to licensed software. In addition, even for remote employees, large companies often provide licensed software.

Answering the question: “Why do people use pirated games and software?”. There is only one conclusion. In 90% of cases, this is a banal lack of money.

To use software without a license or not, everyone decides for himself.

Channel on Yandex.Zen: Notes 3D-shnik

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