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Hacking collective Anonymous alleges attack on Sony

Group claims electronic warfare in support of Geohot and PlayStation 3 piracy

A group of hackers known simply as Anonymous has claimed to be planning and perpetrating a series of hacking attacks on Sony in support of two of the hackers implicated in the PS3 jalibreaking furore.

Action, the group says, will be taken in response to the company's continued legal pursuit of George 'Geohot' Hotz and Alexander Egorenkov, or Graf_Chokolo.

Anonymous is a collection of hackers with an anti-corporate agenda and a track-record of successfully disruptive tactics. Previously, the group has claimed responsibility for denial of service (DOS) attacks on Mastercard and Amazon for their compliance with US government demands to stop doing business with Wikileaks.

You have victimised your customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target every person who seeks this information.

Anonymous

The group also claims to have brought down the website of the right wing fundamentalist Christian group the Westboro Baptist Church and infiltrated the email system of security firm HBGary.

A statement issued as a press release on the group's website announces the group's intentions to make Sony the next target.

"Congratulations, Sony," reads the announcement. "You have now received the undivided attention of Anonymous. Your recent legal action against our fellow hackers, GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo, has not only alarmed us, it has been deemed wholly unforgivable.

"You have abused the judicial system in an attempt to censor information on how your products work. You have victimised your customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target every person who seeks this information.

"In doing so, you have violated the privacy of thousands. This is the information they were willing to teach to the world for free. The very same information which you wish to suppress for the sake of corporate greed and the complete control of users."

As damning as the group's statement is, there also appears to be some unrest in its ranks in respect to the correct course of action. Last month, a splinter group claiming to be made up of former Anonymous members contacted Forbes and Gawker, calling themselves Backtrace Security.

That group claims that the current members of Anonymous have lost sight of the original mission statement for the group, being sidelined into 'hactivism' instead of playful mischief. As a result, Backtrace Security has threatened to release the details of several anonymous members.

The group also handed over logs from a private IRC channel known as #HQ which belongs to Anonymous, showing the group's plans to infiltrate HBGary as well as other evidence of criminal activities, information certain to be of interest to US authorities.

"The bastards are becoming arrogant sociopaths," Backtrace Security member A5h3r4 told Gawker. "Acting first, not thinking of the consequences. They're recruiting children. I am a pretty far left person - I believe in privacy and free expression, but Anonymous is a vigilante group now. A mob without conscience. And I worry they will radicalise even more. In short, I believe they're on their way to becoming a genuine threat."

Whether the group's efforts will have any bearing on the Sony case remains to be seen, but the platform holder is already heavily invested in the case, which Hotz is contesting. No public evidence of a successful attack on Sony has yet to come to light.

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Latest comments (50)

Robert Kelly5 years ago
I am really looking forward to seeing what they are going to do to Sony. Maybe hack the playstation network?...
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Private Industry 5 years ago
Looks like not all is good in hacker land. The backtrace guys seem to be a lot smarter than other hackers.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
So, is messing with Sony going to be the yardstick for proving your digital peen in the next few years?
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Show all comments (50)
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
And the war takes another step up...
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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology5 years ago
this should be good!

i wonder what bits of sony they will attack..
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gi biz ;,pgc.eu 5 years ago
"I am a pretty far left person - I believe in privacy and free expression"
Am I the only one to see a contradiction here? Maybe it depends on the country, but I don't believe that being left means democracy, privacy, free expression or anything. Probably this guy is just confused and his accusations are worthless.
Personally, I wouldn't mind a Robin Hood setting some limits to big companies. If not with force, how can anyone impose something to Sony? Even the stop they had, enforced by the law, on importing consoles in Europe couldn't stop them from doing so. They're pretty untouchable by the law and yet they take advantage of the law to suit two persons. I'd be quite happy to see Sony forced to retire all of their accusations because of heavy attacks.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by gi biz on 4th April 2011 11:16am

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Ontopic:
@Robert: I'm wondering aswell, but they won't gain much support if it affects every player on PSN at that time, hacking and cracking something is one thing...sharing it with the world and opening the floodgates to piracy is another, in my opinion Sony is doing the right thing...costly but correct.


"The bastards are becoming arrogant sociopaths," Backtrace Security member A5h3r4 told Gawker. "Acting first, not thinking of the consequences. They're recruiting children. I am a pretty far left person - I believe in privacy and free expression, but Anonymous is a vigilante group now. A mob without conscience. And I worry they will radicalise even more. In short, I believe they're on their way to becoming a genuine threat."

Offtopic:
For some reason, reading that, it sounded like a piece out of Metal Gear Solid...I'm playing peace walker right now...oh well...Militaires Sans Frontičres!! :P

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joffrie Diependaele on 4th April 2011 11:19am

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Private Industry 5 years ago
This should be good? Looking forward to what the hackers do? I dont get all the sony hate.
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@Werner: Neither do I m8
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
@ Michele

Well, if all these hackers (and Hotz specifically) claim that this all started from the desire to create homebrew, I think Sony should bring back Net Yaroze! I remember playing some cracking little games that came included on the Official PlayStation Magazine demo discs, and with the nature of 'bedroom coders' in a strong state I think it could result in some good output nowadays.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
Just a side not, the PS3 hacking originally started because Sony did not provide 3D acceleration in PS3 Linux. There is a fair bit of technical information available on how to trick the Ps3 supervisor to allow you to execute code which gives you direct access to the hardware (RSX) and there was considerable effort to reverse engineer the RSX (and Nvidia chips) to be able to provide opensource 3D acceleration.
This group is not that sort of hacker. If i would be Sony, probably would be more beneficial to hire Geohot. It is very difficult to find talented people who can think out of the box. What he did is nothing sort of astonishing, if you ignore his rants...
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
I think if Sony are going to hire anyone, Backtrace Security are by far the most sensible and professional-sounding group mentioned here or in any other hacking story I've read recently. I think there's already too much history between Sony and Hotz for them to seriously offer him employment.
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Christopher Bowen Owner, Gaming Bus 5 years ago
This just in: a bunch of antisocial children are acting like antisocial children. Film at 11.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 5 years ago
Tom,
Geohot is very smart and tallented, no doubt but he is also a risk.
He has shown he is a lose cannon and thinks that he has the right to do what he wants.
Maybe when he matures a little but I honestly dont see him changing any time soon.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 5 years ago
"The group also claims to have brought down the website of the right wing fundamentalist Christian group the Westboro Baptist Church"

No, the group claims that was a publicity scam by the Westboro Baptist Church, who are now getting seriously desperate trying to drum up attention after losing half their congregation during the burn the Koran fiasco.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
@John,

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer". I know a number of people not unlike him. Focus, goals, and acknowledgment. But thats not my point - if he does not work for you, he might work against you.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
@Terence,

But they did not reverse engineer PS3 security system. Their skills are not that unique.
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Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert5 years ago
@Terence
Yeah, the Yarooze console was a nice opportunity for homebrew software.

Even if I donīt hate sony as much as others, Iīm still angry for killing lik-sang*! Sony showed that they donīt like games getting imported from china and other countries.
It was a big kick in the n*** at that time for every "gamingfreak". Especially gamer from germany, -the country most games are cut (not to count australia), haveī been punished.

Seeing "hackers" attack sony will be intresting. Iīm not saying itīs the right thing to do but itīll be definetly interesting.

At least sony made a little apology with the ps3 by making the games codefree.

*(with the indirect support of nintendo)

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Joe Winkler on 4th April 2011 2:20pm

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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University5 years ago
Why does sony not give them some kind of tool kit like they did with xbox..
That keep them happy for a bit....
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
@ Tom - "But they did not reverse engineer PS3 security system. Their skills are not that unique."

Maybe not, but it sounds like their aims are less serious and disruptive than breaking the core security for a multi-billion dollar piece of hardware; i.e. 'playful mischief'. Whether their hacking skills come close to Hotz or fail0verflow I couldn't say (I know nothing about the hacking scene or notable hackers), but they seem more mature and sensible in their responses.
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Anthony A Studying Msc Management, Lancaster University5 years ago
As much as I'm against intellectual property rights (and I am a pretty hardcore libertarian, not a leftie, and therefore supportive of Anonymous's vids against the Fed), what is going after Sony - a leisure goods manufacturer - going to accomplish? I mean of all possible targets right now, how bloody frivolous.

"Am I the only one to see a contradiction here? Maybe it depends on the country, but I don't believe that being left means democracy, privacy, free expression or anything. Probably this guy is just confused and his accusations are worthless. "

Leftists in general are. They like paying lip service to those ideas. I refer to the modern left. The original left (mostly classical liberals against monarchical privilege) is a different story.

"That group claims that the current members of Anonymous have lost sight of the original mission statement for the group, being sidelined into 'hactivism' instead of playful mischief. As a result, Backtrace Security has threatened to release the details of several anonymous members. "

I can see why they say this.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Anthony A on 4th April 2011 2:49pm

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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 5 years ago
What a joke... "They're recruiting children"... Please people, on what evidences could we think that those "Anonymous" are threats to the community? On the talk of an alleged ex member of them? Come on, give us real facts and not just comments which manipulate people's reputation
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Kevin Selles5 years ago
So far they have managed to take down eu.playstation.com (still down at the time of writing) and also PlayStation Network for a brief moment. Many times I wonder if DDoS attacks are the only thing these so-called Anonymous hackers know how to do.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
You know, its hard to not want to hack sony's system simply because there features I wish it had but it doesnt. However I am totally against Piracy, simply because i feel the game developers need the money to make more great games. Besides, if you know how to shop, games can be pretty cheap. This weekend I bought 3 games, brand NEW: Enslaved for 19.99$, Sega Genesis collection 14.99$ and Borderlands GOTY for 19.99. Less than 60$ for 3 great games. And two weeks ago I picked up Tatsunoko vs Capcom for 29.99$.

Seriously, if game pricess came down it would make the business better. And Im more likely to choose a new game rather then used or get a free cheap buggy pirated copy that needs loads a mods to make work.

On the features I wish sony had, is the ability to copy, move and use game saves between differant playstations and accounts. Its a pain to be tied up to a single playstation. And id like to go to a friends house with my game saves to continue the game save their and back. And it would be cool to store them on an SD card or flash drive. Another feature I would like is the ability to save installers on external media, such as flash drives and hard drives. And another would be to be able to hook up any hard drive to the playstation for use. Mine is full and its a pain everytime to manage your data, when you want to install a new game, or download a game everytime you wanna play it. The PSN account can act as a key to authorize those games to be played on a console. And it would only need to be coneccted to internet only to install and comfirm its a legal copy. Once installed you dont need a constant internet connection. I prefer to have all downloaded software as a hard copy elseware as back up.

I know sony incorperated a feature in the PSN Plus service were you pay a fee, that allows you to transport game saves, but it still sucks because not all my friends have internet connection. Cause then when i leave my friends house I have to save the updated save back to the internet and redownload it back at home. Its a pain, a hastle, aggrivating. It would be nice to just slip em in an SD card and go anyware.

And as far as the hacker group claiming rights to privacy and stuff, I agree, but in this country, people like to brag about their rights, such as prvacy and free speach, which is fine. But whatever happen to your responsibility as a citizen. And i think piracy is wrong, simply because as an artist it really hurts you. I dont mind the system being hacked if its to add new features or personal use, but most people will hack the system to use pirated software. I do think game prices are too hi and I cant blame people for resorting to piracy or used game sales. And I find myself more compelled to buy new games if they are cheaper. Cause at 60$ a piece its too much.
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David Bachowski VP Business Development, Babaroga5 years ago
I don't look forward to this "war" at all. It sets a dangerous precedent and actually makes me feel slightly sick inside. I only hope sony comes out on top with this one.
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Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd5 years ago
Really Anonymous, from attacking fraudulent cults (Scientology), to protecting freedom of speech (Wikileaks), to this bullshit?
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Eliot Lloyd Studying Computer Games Design and Production, Northumbria University5 years ago
Well. This is pathetic. Some people just don't deserve to own technology.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
@David Bachowski,

In the short 50 years of computing history, no one won a battle like this. Banks also usually hire those who manage their systems (offering them a job vs immediately reporting them to the police was a common practice in the 80s and 90s), as it is very difficult to find someone who understands their system from the security point, and that persons already know too much.
Sony will probably win the lawsuit. Nintendo had a superficially similar issue. Ever heard of 10NES and Rabbit chip? Although it seemed an obvious win, Nintendo rather settled it out of court.
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Justin Titus Writer 5 years ago
Sad thing is everything they do will effect the end user more then Sony, way to fight for the people guys.
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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts5 years ago
"That group claims that the current members of Anonymous have lost sight of the original mission statement for the group, being sidelined into 'hactivism' instead of playful mischief."

Like infiltrating Habbo Hotel and closing down the pool due to AIDS? It was hilarious, yeah, but when various individuals and groups try to censor free speech on the internet who else is better qualified to stand up against them? Regardless of how you feel about Anonymous, they're the only group willing to do something about those people we all know and hate. Does anyone feel sorry for the DDoS against Westboro? Or the complete and utter annihilation of Hal Turner? Don't you all wish something could be done about the insanity that is Scientology or the incompetence of companies like HBGary?

These Backtrace guys may be sad that their group of trolls has evolved into something bigger and scarier, but Anonymous provides a service to everyone that is tired of watching evil people get away with evil acts because our current system doesn't adequately protect the individual. Their attacks, while ultimately irrelevant, are more than anyone else has done against the infringement of personal rights that has been perpetuated for far too long.
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David Hernandez QA Tester, Animation Avidity5 years ago
That makes sense. Attack a Japanese company helping people deal with the Japan-based earthquake/tsunami disasters while their citizens are still trying to return to their normal lives. It seems like we have our next wave of terrorists.

PS
Students who have no real world experience should refrain from foolish comments.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Hernandez on 4th April 2011 5:30pm

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Sebastian Moss Editor -in- Chief, PlayStation LifeStyle5 years ago
Sony.com + PlayStation.com are currently down, looking at their IRC, more are to follow.
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Paul Trowe President / CEO, Pulse Interactive5 years ago
Hahahahahaha!!!!
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
I still think it would be more beneficial for everyone involved to sit down and discuss what can be done to resolve this issue.

* Geohot wants to be able to run his own code on a PS3.
* Sony and others (e.g. developers) want to minimise piracy.
* Users do not want to compromised security - the next step is going to be worms, viruses.
* Pirates need not to be aware that there is an easy way to pirate BEFORE a fix is available

How is this lawsuit is going to help anyone involved?
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
David Hernandez - "Students who have no real world experience should refrain from foolish comments."

That's a bit presumptuous isn't it? How do you know those people are not mature students, or going to night school while they work in a 9-5 job?!
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 5 years ago
These 'hackers' have nothing to do with the PS3 hacking scene and really have no relation to Hotz or Graf.

Anonymous is nothing but a bunch of spoiled brats only to make a name for themselves.. They are just some vandalists, nothing more, nothing less..
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
@Andrew Jakobs,

Well said.
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Robert Kelly5 years ago
@Werner. I'm not anti Sony at all, in fact I'm all for getting the jailbreak rid of as some are jailbreaking just to cause grievance online. I'm simply curious to see what they're going to do to Sony.
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Private Industry 5 years ago
I don`t really want to see what crap they are going to pull since whatever it is it`s not going to be a good thing. All that can come from those can only be destructive in nature fighting the hacker version of the Jihad with pretending to have certain reasons when plenty of hackers don`t agree with what they are doing.

I hope Sony gets their names, because this kind of hacking is clearly illegal. They are not some sort of rebels that try to fight a bad system they just want to cause damage.
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Chris Bryan McGuyver, 3d artist and prop builder 5 years ago
These kids need a better babysitter.
And geomoron wants to run his own code on a PS3? Easy make yourself a PS3. The one Sony makes is not for that purpose. Deal with it!
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
This has gone beyond idiotic, but hey, that's what goes for "normal" when you confuse freedom of speech with freedom from responsibility, I guess...
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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology5 years ago
@ andrew C - I agree,the world needs more groups like annoymous becuase as much as these big corprations do good things but they also have rule over what people can do and cant do (which can and cant be fair).

simple fact is that sony should welcome these people as they know how the system of the PS3 works and its better to have these types of people on your side then againist you.

As for piracy,the fact is it alive and well and can not be stopped untill games are cheaper and made better then it will most likely go down and sales increase,but it will never stop.

i buy most of my games when on sale as they are too much at $70-$100+ each game and some are censored or banned (in australia)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jamie Watson on 5th April 2011 12:58am

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
@Chris Brian

For a coder this is somethink akin to an artist not being able to draw on a surface without the permission of a notebook manufacturer. Self expression - some people write code for calculators. To do things that no one did before, or better. Just take a look at one of the 64k or 4k demos. Or .kkrieger for a game.
While its easy to blame him fir the resulting situation, it was well known he is working on this, especially after Sony removed otherOs.
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Well, PSN went down and so went the official websites as far as I heard.

Was playing online the other day and got disconnected had to wait a bit to get back online and play with my friends.

Sorry, but however you want to color it this is wrong, it affected the users more then it did Sony probably, I came back from a long day and wanted to enjoy some gaming time just to be countered by this crap, so yeh, way to make your point to the people anonymous...not only that, they hit Sony when the people in Japan are just restoring from a major earthquake, people are getting back to their normal lifes, they couldn't have picked a better time right?

For all the people backing them up, I said it before, Jailbreaking and buying and cracking your own hardware is one thing, encountering someone who hacked thanks to the jailbreak which makes an online game impossible is another...

When you buy a PC, you buy the hardware and a license to use Windows, you don't OWN Windows, if you buy a Playstation you own the hardware, not the OS running on it, if you change any of it...yeh :)

how very childish this is...

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Joffrie Diependaele on 5th April 2011 8:50am

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Alan Pierce Programmer, Digital Delight5 years ago
@Chris Bryan

Of course the PS3 is made to have code run on it. What a daft thing to say.
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Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert5 years ago
What will you do if you "crack" or "reverse engineer" (or whatever) a system known for itīs unbreakable protection? You would be proud as hell, wouldnīt you?

If a major company like sony is sueing an individual thereīs no big chance to win in court, is there? I would have done the same if I hacked the "gibson" and needed help to get protectet. What the meassures are is a diffrent kind of thing.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
@Jamie Watson
Re"As for piracy,the fact is it alive and well and can not be stopped untill games are cheaper and made better then it will most likely go down and sales increase,but it will never stop. "
Again price and quality? Price sure, cheaper games may make people less likely to pirate, but Ģ5 games still get torrented, heck 59p iPhone games get pirated. But quality? Come on, this is a deeply flawed argument, good games get pirated far more than crap games. Only the chronically curious or someone with a particular type of OCD would bother pirating something they thought was going to be crap before they played it. Most people who are going to pirate are going to first go for the games that they think they are going to enjoy most.
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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology5 years ago
that is true but then how many of these games which people pirate get brought later on? a fair amount i would say.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
I don't reckon the number is that high. Some people try before they buy, some people get cracked versions of games they already own, but most pirates just prefer free games to ones you pay for, and once the have a free copy have no reason to pay for another. You can argue that if people like it they will feel compelled to pay for it, but that's an idealised view of human nature from la la land. Once most people have taken the step of taking something for free, it stays that way. Even people who come to a decision to stop pirating usually won't get rid of albums they downloaded in the past, and don't decide to buy a new version.
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Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster5 years ago
It's different for the PC platform. In the days when I had reliable broadband but no access to a debit card (too young) I remember pirating half-life 1 n 2, and ep1. Hell, you could only get it through steam, despite that, I bought them back 2 years ago.

On the PC its so easy to pirate you feel sorry for the devs after a while and start to buy things you really like.
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