Let’s be honest, PSP and piracy have been hand in hand, sadly, for years now. With a so-called custom firmware (CFW) it’s apparently relatively easy to find, download and install PSP retail titles and play them from memory sticks. Naturally, CFW users will argue that there are other, legitimate reasons for using heavily modified versions of the PSP’s system software although in the States at least, the DMCA means that installing such firmware that circumvents copy protection is illegal in itself.
So, from a little snooping around I’ve learnt that the reason PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe got into the hands of the pirates was because certain versions of the game came out on UMD, despite the game primarily being a PlayStation Store title. Had the releases been kept to pure digital downloads this situation wouldn’t have happened – last time I checked the protection on PSN games hasn’t been cracked and regardless of what CFW you use, you still need to actually buy the games from the PlayStation Store to play them.
Some developers and publishers might argue, of course, that it’s easier for early, preview copies of games like Deluxe to go out to reviewers on disk, and although I got my review version as a digital download this could well have happened here, and perhaps such a preview copy is the source of the leak in this instance. I don’t know, though, and I’m not prepared to go fishing around torrent sites for anymore information on this matter because I’d rather leave it open to this Lunchtime Discussion.
I will say, though, that Monsters Deluxe was poorly marketed, in my opinion, on both the PlayStation Blogs and the Store itself, and should have featured more heavily in the PSPgo’s launch line-up listings. It’s a brilliant, addictive and long lasting game, but also one that’s based primarily on the PS3 version, which runs at 1080p and goes for around half the price of the PSP version, which could very well have put off some of the game’s potential buyers. I thus don’t necessarily wholly agree with the way piracy is immediately blamed in the comments from Dylan this morning.
I don’t know how many copies were sold and how many were ‘downloaded’ – and perhaps we’ll never know for sure – but hopefully this won’t discourage other publishers and developers from working on the PSP. The PSPgo might well be uncrackable (at least in terms of games) but when Sony are still asking publishers to produce UMD versions, the cat and mouse of firmware updates and hackers will surely continue unabated and the war, in terms of indie developers, will be considered rather pyrrhic.
Over to you.