Was Piracy NON-existing thingy in 80s Japan???

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Por MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

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03-01-2005, 23:54

Smile Happy New MSX Year Everybody! Big smile

I am wondering this... as we know that Konami left Europe because of pirated copies of their cartridges... I have never ever read even single few words long article about that Konami or ANY asian company had difficulties with piracy in Japan...

Were their game sellings so BIG even with pirated copies around in their home country aka Japan that they could forget japanese piracy or were japanese REALLY so law-abiding that piracy was non-existing thingy there???

Could someone kindly ask this from japanese users/gurus, please?

wishes MäSäXi.

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Por snout

Ascended (15187)

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04-01-2005, 00:00

Dunno any actual data on this. I think there's piracy all over the world, but the Dutch have a bad name in it. I once read an article that stated that for every 25 copies of software sold in the US, one illegal copy was made. At the same time in the Netherlands, for every original copie sold in the NL, 25 copies were made. Dunno where those stats came from, but I'm afraid there is a bit of truth in it Wink

Looking at Japan, the games are not as expensive to the Japanese as they are to us and I think there's a more general feeling of 'copy=crime' (most people don't think they are doing anything wrong/illegal when copying something). So I think that even to date, there is relatively little piracy in Japan... I might be terribly wrong, though :Tongue

btw, Dennis Hemmings of Konami Uk was recently interviewed and more or less stated that piracy alone had little to do with Konami leaving the UK MSX market. Low sales were. Of course, picary somehow always effects sales, so it still remains kind of a chicken/egg thingy to me Wink

Por wolf_

Ambassador_ (9971)

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04-01-2005, 00:30

Well, there's also the price issue, which isn't much different compared to today. If we take Konami for an example, many of their MSX1 games were targeted at kids.. kids don't have a money-tree orso .. they can buy 1 cart in a while orso.. and the rest they copy .. not that it justifies copying, but otherwise ppl couldn't play games at all..

Konami carts were always expensive..

So: playing a copy (because you couldn't buy the original anyway) doesn't automatically mean a lost-sale ..

Por Grauw

Ascended (10604)

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04-01-2005, 01:40

Yeah, Dennis said piracy was not an issue, didn't you read the interview? Smile

The pirates they care about are bootleggers, not amateur-scale copying.

Por mth

Champion (507)

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04-01-2005, 01:52

Well, the best disk copy protection I've seen was made by Micro Cabin, used on Japanese-only titles. So either one of their programmers way over-engineered it, or there was illegal copying going on in Japan.

Por snout

Ascended (15187)

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04-01-2005, 01:57

-- in response to that: in the early 1990's a Dutch group approached Microcabin. Microcabin were interested in doing English versions of their games, as long as a minimum of 100 or 200 games were sold... due to piracy reasons, the Dutch group could only conclude the risk was too big.

Grauw: Dennis stating piracy was not an issue does have some value, but perhaps other people from within Konami think completely different about that, let alone other software houses. I don't believe Dennis was even remotely responsible for Konami's decision to leave the European MSX scene behind... Just look at the way different record companies respond to piracy nowadays. Some see how they can make more profit out of it, others lose more money by the hour. (and yes: to some record companies look pretty darn bad these days and to say that piracy has completely nothing to do with it is quite ignorant).

Por Ivan

Ascended (9305)

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04-01-2005, 02:01

As far as I know piracy was low in Japan but also existed. Haven't you seen the "NO COPY" logo in a lot of Japanese MSX disk games? There are also rumours that one of the objectives of the SCC chip from Konami was to prevent a dump to disk with sound of their cartridges (I personally think that they only wanted to improve the sound, though).

In Europe one of the key factors that contributed to piracy of Japanese MSX SW, specially in the early nineties, was the unavailability of that SW in the European market. Just for your curiosity, I got my first list of pirated Japanese SW in 1993 (quite late because MSX died commercially in Spain in 1991-1992). Here the piracy was mainly that of users copying tapes with dual deck cassette players. There was also a problem with the pirated Japanese SW: the system requirements were high as in Spain most people owned MSX1 and a lot of dumped ROMs required at least an MSX2 with more than 128/256Kb of RAM.

Por BiFi

Enlighted (4348)

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04-01-2005, 07:56

Most of the time hackers manage to work their way around 'copy protections' like SCC.

mth: Micro Cabin had a very good copy protection. Unfortunately they didn't do a full protection check. The Sunrise copy protection is 99.9% similar and does a full protection check.

Por MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

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04-01-2005, 09:53

Looking at Japan, the games are not as expensive to the Japanese as they are to us

I don´t too much facts about 80s game pricing in japan, but I still don´t exactly agree with you snout.

In the later years of the 1980s, I compared finnish cartridge prices to prices from The Games Machine magazine and japanese cartridge boxes.

Konami´s and Ascii´s boxes said 4.800 yens, and back then it was about 160 finnish marks and that was the same price cartridges costed in Finland back then. My The Goonies was priced 169 FIM on example. (about 28,5 euros)
I can´t check UK prices right now, because all my The Games Machines are on other place than here, but I remember that last MSX(-1) Konami cartridges ever brought to europe (or at least rewieved in The Games Machine) costed 20 GBP and that was the same price as above mentioned prices.

Por snout

Ascended (15187)

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04-01-2005, 09:55

Which is exactly why the games are not as expensive to the Japanese as they are to us. Just look at the average income of the Japanese, and you know why ^_^

Por MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

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04-01-2005, 10:00

Oh. Didn´t thought that.

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