Sunday, April 7, 2013

State of Gaming in my backyard: Bangladesh

I am from Bangladesh, for those who don't know it is a small country east of india and relatively one of the poorest developing countries of the world. Many laws and infrastructures are outdated, such that there is no law for piracy. Not only that, the shops over here sell far more pirated software than few legitimate ones.

Gaming population have increased over the years and keeps on increasing steadily. As you can imagine, the majority of the gamers are PC gamers with the platform very much easy to pirate. Although, there is a recent trend which sees console gaming increasing more and more thanks to Xbox 360's failure to stop piracy and became the go-to game system for other words...for pretty much everyone over here. Because of such demand, xbox 360 actually costs much more than the PS3 because only legitimate gamers play the PS3. Where the 360 costs about 550$ for a high end SKU, the PS3 320GB costs 320$ or so.

One very important thing to note: We don't have official support from any of the console manufacturers. Meaning, not only the consoles aren't officially launched here, but we don't get any warranty or any kind of support. So because of this, there is no control in place and retailers are free to choose from whichever region they want to bring the games and consoles. So, we end up getting games from North America, Europe and Hong Kong. Now...if you're a 360 owner you know there is a big problem here; the console is region locked so it becomes a game of chance whether the right region of a particular game ended up in the store shelf...if not then you can't buy it. This played a huge role in pushing Microsoft's console away from legitimate purposes while solidifying the PS3's foundation to stick around for legit games. So only a few years after launch, genuine xbox 360 retail games stopped coming while shipment of PS3 retail games increased.

There are still problems posed by region lock, basically involving around the PSN store. Even though the games are region free, the DLCs aren't and basically tied to the region of your account. For my case, I have a US PSN account and got the European edition of Arkham City, however I am locked out of playing the dlc for the game because my US account will only allow me to download the US edition of the DLC which is not compatible with my European game. Of course you can create a UK account and drop some money in it, but that is too much of a hassle.

So as you can see how important a region free console is in places where we live. Here is hoping the PS4 and the next Xbox are not only region free, but so are their online stores.

So, where do I fall in, well...I'm a mostly a legitimate gamer. Yes...mostly, whether its something to be proud of considering how piracy is welcome in open arms...or something to be ashamed of, knowing how much work and money go into the games for which I'm basically stealing. I game on the PS3 and sometimes on the PC. I enjoy playing legitimately on my PS3 system than pirating over at my Desktop. Reality is, as much as I want to stay 100% legit, I simply can't. As I stated earlier, I live in a very poor country and it is hard for us to pay 60$ a game all the time, also note games don't drop below 50$ no matter how old they are. So what I do, for games I am not sure whether I will like it or not, I pirate it on the PC. If I like it, I usually end up getting it on the PS3 at some point.

Thanks for reading, please do share the state of gaming in your country as well :)

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