You Bitch At Piracy, But What About Those Who Sell Beta Keys
You want to talk about ethics and double standards? You want to open your mouth and say that piracy is bad; it kills the industry; and it leaves companies without money? Have you ever stopped to consider that piracy isn’t the worst thing happening in the industry?
What if I told you that people who pirate games only pirate games, they aren’t actually making money off the games. They are only, for the lack of a better word, copying intellectual property. Most of the time pirates actually go out and buy the games, if they’re worth the money. Don’t believe me? Ask any self-proclaimed pirate if that’s the case — and most will tell you that they will more than happily support a developer who creates a proper game which isn’t a reiteration of last year’s product.
And that’s the thing. The games need to be fresh, new and the developers need to try. Else, why should they waste their money on games which no-one put effort into? I put effort into the money I’m using to buy the game, so, it’s only fair that what I get in return is actually worth the outrageously stupid price of wallet-rape.
But I digress.
Piracy is an issue which seems to be quite quiet amongst publishers, at the moment. The larger target is the secondhand market, which is, the actual process of recycling money into the industry to purchase new games. The price we pay for a game is essentially a third less if we sell our old copy to buy the new release. It’s actually very logical, and it’s the reason that we can actually support the crazy price range, which doesn’t seem to be set on what the game entails but rather the ‘age’ of the game.
Logically, I don’t feel that those who use the secondhand market religiously actually gain unfairly from this service. If anything, they are minimising their losses and countering a bit of casual, white-collar, seems-to-be-alright, daylight-robbery by publishers. Anyone who doesn’t use the secondhand market to stay up to date with games should seriously consider doing so, as it makes the hobby, or passion, far more accessible and affordable. And knowing that publishers are annoyed by it is actually somewhat empowering, as it sort of pokes at them for being the money-hungry dogs that they are.
And once again, that’s another issue altogether.
It has recently been found that there are further and way more unethical practices scarring the industry, and gamers, alike.
With the sudden influx of beta games, gamers seem to have found a goldmine at the publishers and passion’s expense. This, I find, is seriously unethical and horribly unfair to gamers, and publishers.
What I am talking about is gamers selling exclusive beta keys.
Valve has released a large amount of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta keys to the public. They are doing a service to the industry. They are creating games, at their very own expense, and releasing it to us for free. They make absolutely no money off the games at the moment, and they are allowing us to play without micro-purchases or limitations. We love what they have done, and are doing, and we are all very enthusiastic to help the game grow. Well, some of us are.
There’s an unethical, questionable, practice looming. Players find their way to various beta keys, some from actually hacking other’s account username and passwords to steal the spare keys, or by receiving them free of charge from Valve. Once they have the beta key, they sell it to other players — be it friends or randoms — at a cost. A cost which is around $10, or more. If you’re lucky you’ll get it for about $10. It never, however, stops at one sale. Players can make up to $200-300 dollars, depending on how they obtain keys. From my perspective, though, even making $10 is wrong.
Now, this money isn’t recycled into the game, nor does it help development. The players hacking accounts are directly harming other players who own those accounts — and their friends, as those friends can receive the game for free. Instead, players are now at a loss. Not to mention, these corporate-beta-enthusiasts who sell keys are ruining the game, as their passion to help the game’s development doesn’t go beyond “$10, please.”
What’s even worse to note is that Dota 2 has been hinted at a free release. A game which Valve might not make money off, players are making money off. That’s directly unfair to Valve, the players, and the game which is being hindered because the seller’s passion to help doesn’t go beyond their greed.
How has this not become an issue? How can this happen, and what’s the cause of it? Valve, and whatever other company is having their beta keys sold, should ban the account of every single player doing this. These players should lose every title they have purchased, legitimately, as the money from selling beta keys can be their “refund”.
Can these people call themselves gamers? How can they be proud of what they are doing? They should learn that: what’s free is free. Who are they to sell property which doesn’t belong to them, which is free, to someone who should benefit for free?
Imagine this happened with a bank, or on Wall Street. Investors taking what should be free shares for the public and selling them — do you think this would stand? This is exactly the same, albeit on a smaller level.
To the sellers: it’s for everyone, not for your bank account — you douchebags.