Apps & Games

Good Piracy?

Movie and music piracy – It’s time to bust another video game myth
Study suggests copyright infringement has benefits

It’s time to bust another video game myth. Actually, it’s a myth that has been promulgated by the movie, music and video game industries. Today’s target? The harm of digital piracy.

A London School of Economics study suggests that the movie, music and video game industries have been exaggerating the impact that file sharing has had on their bottom line. The study found that for some creative industries, copyright infringement might help boost revenues.

“Contrary to the industry claims, the music industry is not in terminal decline but still holding ground and showing healthy profits,” study author Bart Cammaerts, senior lecturer in the LSE Department of Media and Communications, said in a press release. “Revenues from digital sales, subscription services, streaming and live performances compensate for the decline in revenues from the sale of CDs or records.”

Researchers found a similar pattern with the movie industry, reported. While sales and rentals of DVDs have declined by about 10 percent between 2001 to 2010, global revenues have increased by 5 percent in that same period. The U.S. film industry was worth $93.7 billion in 2012, researchers said.

“The digital gaming industry is also thriving and introducing innovative ways of generating revenue. It is working with the online participatory culture, rather than against it,” the report reads. “The gaming industry has been generating new income streams very successfully by developing combinations of free advertising models, in-apps buying and micro pricing. It is projected to grow at 6.5 percent, with estimated total revenues of $87 billion in 2017, up from $63 billion in 2012.”

Finally, the research suggests that file-sharing – both legal and illegal – can boost awareness of a product and boost sales that can often offset the losses in revenue from illegal sharing of content.


Bits & Pieces

  • Cornell University engineers have created a smartphone-based plug-in accessory that can detect the herpes virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, a skin cancer linked to HIV and AIDS. The smartphone app can also detect E. Coli, hepatitis, malaria and other infections. They hope to develop a product for distribution by 2015.
  • Some game news from Nintendo: Kirby is coming to the 3DS in 2014, “Super Mario 3D World” will launch Nov. 29 and “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” will launch Nov. 22.
  • MIT’s Technology Review reports that mobile security startup Kaprica Security is developing a smartphone charger that also is an external malware scanner. The company plans to start selling the Skorpion charger late this year or early next year to enterprise customers for about $65, with a monthly subscription fee of $3 or $4 for features like updates and alerts.
  • Author Tom Clancy died last week at age 66, but he also was a big name in video games. He co-founded Red Storm Entertainment in 1996, which was eventually purchased by Ubisoft, and influenced the creation of about 40 video games.
  • Smartphone apps are helping to save whales. Last week, marine biologists were testing “Whale Spotter,” an iPhone-only app that locates individual whales and whole pods near California, then plots them on a digital map so boat captains can avoid hitting them.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross, which oversees the Geneva Conventions, is calling for video game makers to incorporate the rules of war in military shooters.
  • A new app from Nokia for its Lumia Windows-based smartphones lets users point their phones at a building and see what internships are available there. The app uses augmented reality, a technology that overlays information on a real-world display, to show listings. Users can also browse for opportunities on a map.
  • Ubisoft Entertainment SA, which is based in Europe and is best-known for “Assassin’s Creed,” plans to create 500 high-tech jobs in Montreal with a new online infrastructure and video gaming hub in the city. Start getting your resume together.


Maria Welych, who was technology editor at The Post-Standard for five years, is director of marketing and public relations at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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