Holy Crap! Counterfeit Video Games & The Growing Problem!
Counterfeit Video Games are steadily making their way into homes more & more frequently. As, the used video game market has been a wildly profitable industry ever since the home-console boom of the 1980s. And over the decades, the home video-game market has only continued to grow.
However, the same advanced technology that allows manufacturers and designers to produce ever more impressive consoles and games also allows for the counterfeiting of these products.
It’s a very large and profitable black market
—one that can net its mendacious purveyors a tidy sum. So how did we end up at a place where those who buy video games online run the real risk of being duped by a fake games? Here’s a look at the recent past and where we currently stand with counterfeit games.
Law and order
Companies and publishers take this problem seriously. Look at Nintendo: they’ve set up their own anti-piracy webpage page with comprehensive information related to the subject, including how to report the nogoodniks responsible for manufacturing and disseminating counterfeit games. And these aren’t toothless resources; they have the law on their side.
In 2010, for example
An Ohio man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for selling well over 30,000 fake games. He sold the games online under his own name (not smart) as well as various pseudonyms (slightly smarter).
These games he sold represented titles from about 60 different publishers with a retail value of around $700,000. Even selling each title for as low as $9.99 meant he raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars. It would have been a grand scheme had the U.S. Postal Inspectors and FBI cybercrime unit not gotten hip to his racket. Another example occurred in 2012 when a British man whose middle name is “Success” was charged with selling thousands of counterfeit games. He was sentenced to 32 months—not the definition of “success.”
Just recently, there have been numerous people arrested and jailed for selling fake Pokémon Cards. So why are people landing in jail for this, you ask? Simple copyright infringement or violation of trademark laws. Here is a good article about the topic from a lawyer's perspective.
Counterfeit Games in the age of retro gaming
So with these real-world examples (on both sides of the pond) of harsh penalties being handed down by Johnny Law to shady bootleggers, why are bootleg games more popular than ever? The answer is the rise of the retro-gaming market. Actually, “rise” isn’t a sufficient description—meteoric ascension is more like it.
People’s nostalgia for the video games of their youth has manifested itself in a marketplace that generates billions of dollars a year. Because not only are used games all the rage, but the retro market has become ground zero for collectors as well, with some paying thousands of dollars for hard-to-find games.
Therefore, it seems that counterfeiters
Have surveyed the landscape and decided that being able to reap thousands of dollars at the expense of nothing more than the costs of CD/cartridge printing is worth the legal risk. So in the absence of any real deterrent to erase the dollar signs in their eyes, they charge right ahead. The other problem is that these folks still need a place to peddle their fraudulent goods, and, sadly, there are plenty of online sites out there that allow anyone, anywhere, to sell whatever, whenever.
It’s up to us
Despite the mass amounts of fraud taking place in the world of retro-game-selling on eBay, the online auction giant isn’t doing anything to solve the problem. To be fair, they don’t have the infrastructure or oversight capabilities to scrutinize every video-game seller on their site; all they can do is take action if and when fraud has been reported.
So in the absence of the owners of bidding sites solving the issue, it’s up to buyers to be more diligent than ever in determining whether what they’re buying is counterfeit or not. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially as modern printing technology makes it even easier to produce near flawless replicas.
Below are a few Tips - On how to Avoid Buying Bootleg Video Games
There are few ways to look at this nowadays. Either you’re a retro video game fan who enjoys playing with emulators. Or you’re a retro video game fan that enjoys playing with the original software.
Both approaches are just fine, and many people today do one or the other, or sometimes both. So, what exactly do you need to know about buying retro video games online?
Reproduction Carts Are Everywhere
If you like buying and playing with the original software, you’ve got to watch out. Nowadays, everybody is trying to make a dollar off retro video games. The market is so over-saturated with reproduction games that look like the real thing. So if buying an authentic vide game means a lot to you, then you’ve got to educate yourself.
What I mean is you just got to know how to spot a reproduction cartridge, we have a couple of great articles that can help. Here is an article on spotting Fake Pokémon Games & a good article about spotting Fake SNES Games.
For some gamers buying reproduction, games are just fine. Sure, I get it, paying over $80 for Final Fantasy III is a lot when you can buy a reproduction for $10 on eBay.
They are unlicensed games from a person or individual that is made to look and play like the real thing. So, what’s the harm, you ask? Really, I have no problem if you want to buy a reproduction game, for yourself to play.
My problem is when people are trying to sell retro games as the real thing. Just last week, someone tried to sell me a box of counterfeit Pokémon DS games.
Or when you are shopping online and people are not dis-closing that the game is a reproduction, that's the problem right there.
A Great Photo is Key
I don’t know how many times I wanted to buy a video game and the photo of the game was a stock photo. Sure, taking photos takes time, but if I’m a buyer I need a photo. With everything I mentioned Reproduction games, having a nice clear photo means the world today.
This may sound redundant to some, but make sure where you buy video games is a reputable place. Check out reviews about the website or company, it’s easy to do a quick Google search. If you have any questions send the site and email, I get lots of emails daily and respond quickly as I can.
Just don’t be naive when you go shopping online for your favorite retro video game. Shopping for retro video games isn’t hard if you just know what you’re looking for, and how to spot what you’re not looking for. And if the price seems too good to be true, it just might be.
You know, you're article doesn't really explain WHY this is a problem for the average gamer. The only issue I see is one of quality and the possibility of being outright scammed. But if a high-quality bootleg works identical to the "real thing" at a fraction of the cost, for a game Nintendo isn't directly profiting off of anymore anyway... why exactly should I care? I mean the sale of legitimate used games hurts Nintendo just as much, the only difference is that it's legal.
Also, while I love Nintendo and it's products, at the end of the day, they're a company, not a paragon of morality I should go out of my way to protect.
If you are going out of your way to play on original hardware instead of emulating then you probably care about authenticity, and even for a casual gamer if you buy a cartridge you should want it to be real, real cartridges hold their value way more than fakes.
Plus I got a fake pokemon red game once and it did not work well at all, it would mess up save data and have weird hiccups that made it unplayable.