Anatomy of a Pirated Video Games Purchase in Malaysia

I spent RM 160 on video games last night. I was at Mutiara Complex over at Jalan Ipoh where I purchased the first of two games. While there were a whole bunch of depressing (not to mention ancient) stores on the ground floor, there was a half decent video games shop on the lower ground floor that actually sold some current gen consoles.

The thing that these stores have in common  is that all of them sold pirated games. Being curious, I inquired on whether Red Alert 3 (for the PC) was on sale. The shopkeeper said he was selling each at game at RM 12 per DVD. RA3 comes in 3 DVDs, bringing the price tag to RM 36 (~USD 10).

He mentioned that the media used, “gold-coloured” DVDs, are more expensive than the blue-coloured DVDs normally used in the creation of pirated DVDs. He claimed that the use of gold-coloured DVDs eliminates the installation and disc readability issues normally associated with the latter media.

Deciding that it was not really worth it (especially when it was just a survey on my part), I told the shopkeeper that it was too expensive and I started to walk away. He then offered RM 10 per DVD, effectively bringing down the price of the game to RM 30.

Interesting. I went with the offer; the pirated copy of RA3 will tide me over until I get the original copy next month, preferably used and with a big discount compared to retail (so don’t bring out the knives..yet). Typing the initial draft of this experience made me realize that hey, this is basically how the pirated video games industry works in Malaysia.

A couple of years back, it was not uncommon to see foreign tourists (Americans and Europeans in particular) buying piles of pirated video games/software and movies from one of the premier I.T centres right smack in the middle of KL (national capital of Malaysia).  But the pirated software vendors are on the wane now in such I.T centres, with government enforcement gaining from strength to strength every year.

However, these vendors are thriving in fringe shopping malls, like the one I’ve been to last night. This is probably because these are not tourist attractions and the government doesn’t see them as an embarassment to international watchdogs like the Business Software Alliance.

So, did I spend RM 160 on pirated games last night? No, the second game I bought was Burnout Paradise (for the PS3) at the Gardens’ Sony Centre for RM 129. Quite a bargain I would say. This brings the total amount of original games purchased this month to FOUR: Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3), Soul Calibur (PS3), Burnout Paradise (PS3) and New International Track & Field (NDS).

Powered by

Previous Post UMD Movies for USD 9.90 a Pop!

Next Post Of Crashing Cars and Soviet Tanks



Track comments via RSS 2.0 feed. Feel free to post the comment, or trackback from your web site.