In North America, many have raised several issues about our society’s capitalistic system. Large companies will often use unethical methods to decide and justify which video games are allowed to exist in the market. However, their presence is still effectively beneficial in the video game marketing for two reasons; notably, their ability to control counterfeits games and to stop piracy.
Brice expresses clearly how wealthy companies exert influences on their independent counterparts, which are often much smaller. Large firms will use unethical methods to decide and justify what video games are considered valuable. According to her, indie game developers are minorities and depend on large companies to succeed financially. Brice used Flappy Bird as a solid example to explain how the wealthy can decide whether a video game should be removed from the market. She suggests that the removal of the game was due to a violation of Nintendo’s copyrights about the green pipes. This situation demonstrates how economically dominant companies can unethically decide which production is valuable and allowed to exist within the business market. Even though, wealthy industries exert powerful influences on indie developers, their presence is still beneficial in the video game marketing.
However, without the control of those wealthy companies, the counterfeits will pose a serious problem in Europe and North America. Such a problem is already rampant in Asia. For example, in China and Vietnam, many game stores are selling bootleg versions of Pokemon Emerald on the Game Boy Advance. The lack of copyright enforcement means these companies can operate with impunity. The gameplay and graphics are often inferior and the save file are prone to become corrupted after few hours of play. As shown in Figure 1, the in-game text often contain grammatically incorrect sentences. Fortunately, the strict copyright laws in North America protect consumers from accidentally purchasing these inferior products. Moreover, this is an advantage to having large companies as they can serve as market regulators. Therefore, wealthy companies’ presence is definitely beneficial in the video game marketing.
Figure 1. An example of the difference of in-game text between the bootleg (picture on the left) and the original version (picture on the Right) of Pokemon Emerald.
While Brice is right in arguing that employees and small indie developers can be underpaid, the funds are invested in critical departments that fend off piracy. For example, the R4 SDHC Revolution is a flash cartridge for the Nintendo DS and it allows users to play pirated games or fan-made games from a MicroSD. Ashcroft suggests that many countries such as UK and Japan have banned the R4 because Nintendo successfully sued the R4 merchants and outlawed it. These lawsuits are expensive and are justified because video game developers put significant efforts and passion into their creations. When using an R4 to play DS games without paying or supporting the game developers, Nintendo will not be able to make sufficient profit and may terminate many of their employees to maintain balance in their financial management. Moreover, these employees will not be rewarded for their work, maintain their job position and have to find another job. When Nintendo is not able to pay their employees for their work, the company’s productions and games’ quality will decrease. Although large companies can mistreat their workers as they try to maintain their profit, they also struggle against piracy to reward their employees’ works. Therefore, this shows how the influence of large companies on indie developers is beneficial in the video games marketing.
In conclusion, the wealthy often use unethical methods to justify and decide which video game is allowed to exist within market. However, their presence is definitely helpful in video game marketing as they have the ability to control counterfeit games and stop piracy to reward their hard working employees.
Ashcroft, Brian. “R4 Piracy Devices Banned in the UK” Kotaku. 28 July 2010. http://kotaku.com/5598447/r4-piracy-devices-banned-in-the-uk
Brice, Mattie. “Our Flappy Dystopia.” Alternative Ending. 10 February 2014. http://www.mattiebrice.com/our-flappy-dystopia/
Flappy Bird (Nguyen Hà Đông [Dong Nguyen] 2013)
Pokemon Emerald Version (Nintendo 2005)