Posted on February 3rd, 2007 by Gareth Powell
This is being written in Bangkok. Within a mile of where I am staying in Soi 22, Sukhumvit, there is every software program on offer for about a tenth of the original price.
Windows Vista? How many would you like?
[left]Windows Office for Vista? The same. [/left]
[left]When it comes to television shows and movies most of the best sellers are here with the most popular movies being ones where an SUV is driven by an Arnold Schwarznegger clone through a wall every few minutes. The movies are not high on intellectual content.[/left]
It would be very easy to call the center of this activity, Pan Thip Plaza, the piratesâ€™ haven of Asia. Yet there is another side to this question. A Constant Reader wrote:
[left][i]I was given a PC game. I popped it in my Dell laptop (with my legal/registered installation of Windows XP Pro) and installed it. When I tried to play it, it refused to launch. This was because I was also running disk emulation software.[/i] [/left]
I uninstalled the disk emulation software.
The fact that I had at one time dared to run disk emulation had been noted and, short of a reformat/reinstall, it would not run.
A game that was legally purchased, on a laptop that was legally purchased with an operating system that was legally purchased, running software that was also legally purchased. So I took it back to the shop, with the receipt and explained my troubles.
Iâ€™m sure you can guess how successful that was.
I downloaded a pirate/cracked version, installed it, played it for about twenty minutes, got fed up with the whole thing, then went out into the woods to play paintball with my nephews, my brothers in law and some assorted others. Which was much more fun.
I donâ€™t believe Iâ€™ll be buying any more PC games.
That is not untypical.
For attitudes to change two things need to happen.
First software companies need an immediate Reality Check on their pricing policies. How can there be so many prices for the same object?
If I buy a pair of Saucony running shoes I know roughly what it will cost and I am willing to bear the price for the quality.
With software, what is the price? If I buy a computer it is very probable that I will get it free. If I am a major company I will pay very low prices. If I am a university I will pay a different price. As an individual it is what-can-we-screw-from-this-mug-punter time.
Second, it must run first time, every time. Apple manages it. On PCs. to add insult to injury, quite often, as seen above, the software will not run on a perfectly standard machine. It cannot be rocket science for a software company to take care of that.
Who we ask, are the real pirates?