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Piracy in the Philippines: A Retrospective

Video game piracy has been a long-standing issue in the Philippines, with counterfeit DVDs, CDs, and game cartridges readily available in various locations across the country. From Quiapo's bustling marketplaces to the stairways of the Metro Rail Transit, piracy seems to be omnipresent. In this retrospective article, we delve into the history of video game piracy in the Philippines and explore its impact on the gaming industry and consumers.

Understanding the Early Days

Back in the era of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Family Computer (Famicom), obtaining game cartridges was a challenge in the Philippines. NES cartridges imported from the United States were expensive compared to their Japanese counterparts, the Famicom. This led many gamers to resort to purchasing cartridge converters, enabling them to play Famicom games on their NES consoles. 

However, the lack of reliable sources and information made it difficult to determine the authenticity of the cartridges.

The Rise of Super Famicom and the Challenge of Authenticity

As the Super Famicom (Japanese version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System) gained popularity, Filipino gamers faced new challenges in identifying genuine cartridges. My father often took me to Hot Shots GameCenter in Raon, Astrovision in SM City North EDSA - Annex, and Video City in SM City North EDSA when we were looking for video games. 

The market was flooded with both legitimate and pirated copies, making it challenging for consumers to distinguish between the two. It wasn't until individuals experienced the difference firsthand, such as purchasing original games from Japan, that they began to learn how to identify genuine copies through packaging details and cartridge compatibility.

PlayStation Era and the Emergence of Modchips

With the arrival of the PlayStation, modchips started to replace physical converters. These modchips not only allowed gamers to play imported games but also facilitated the use of backup and pirated copies of games. 

This era witnessed the proliferation of pirated games for Dreamcast, PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, available at remarkably low prices in various locations, including mall stalls. The lack of stringent regulations and law enforcement contributed to the rampant sale of counterfeit games.

Pervasive Nature of Piracy

Piracy in the Philippines extends beyond video games and encompasses various other counterfeit products. 

From fake electronics like iPods and controllers, DVD and VCD movies, to replicated fashion items, TV shows, and even medicines, the market for counterfeit goods appears to be thriving. 

Interestingly, the Philippines is not the sole source of piracy; merchants in Quiapo revealed that they often source their products from China and Malaysia.

Factors Contributing to Rampant Piracy

The prevalence of piracy in the Philippines can be attributed to a combination of factors. The high cost of legitimate games makes them unaffordable for the average consumer, leading them to seek cheaper alternatives. Additionally, the lack of effective legislation and law enforcement allows piracy to thrive, with pirate vendors often operating in close proximity to police precincts without consequence.

Video game piracy has had a profound impact on the gaming industry and consumers in the Philippines. While the accessibility of pirated games and the affordability they offer may seem enticing, it is important to acknowledge the negative consequences, including the loss of revenue for developers and the potential for inferior quality or malware-infected copies. 

As the world grapples with the challenges posed by piracy, it is crucial for authorities to address the root causes and implement effective measures to protect intellectual property and foster a legitimate gaming ecosystem in the Philippines.


1 comment:

  1. Yes above sharing the game shops located news are very effort. Define the some model and prices list being watch for really quit. I love for game article.


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