My thoughts on piracy on the PS Vita

DISCLAIMER: All the thoughts expressed in this article (and this blog of course) are my own, and is not affiliated or endorsed by any entities whatsoever. This post is a rant and will be disorganized and biased.

So I read an article on wololo just now that confirms that piracy is now a reality on the PS Vita. After like what, 5 years?

Well, I guess I’m sad, and a tad angry too. Sure, I used to pirate all my PC games during my teenage years (now I buy them on Steam, hurray for Steam). But that doesn’t mean I like piracy.

You know what, the PS Vita is a really niche kind of a platform; to me it’s one-of-a-kind. Even though I don’t dabble much in video game communities, but this much I can see.

I belong to one of the “rare”? people who actually loves the things present in the JP PSN store, and can consume those content. And you see, I like buying my games. Why? That feel-good factor that I’m supporting the devs. But wait, not your AAA games that potentially has a huge user base, pirated or not. These are the very niche ones based off maybe an anime, or a visual novel port.

Now, the thing is, the sales figures of these appear to be such that even a few thousand copies selling is considered good.

Does piracy really need to happen here? What happens if it does? Will the games still sell well? Will the devs make enough money off it to consider making a sequel? Or their next game? Or will they drop PS Vita releases altogether?

I don’t know, honestly. And I’m not inclined to think in a positive direction. But that’s just my thinking.

Now well, here are some refutations of arguments people come up with to “justify” piracy:

  1. I don’t wanna buy the expensive memory cards!!!

This is THE biggest complaint I hear, and it makes zero sense to me. As I have ranted in a previous post, THE MEMORY CARD IS LITERALLY A ONE-TIME INVESTMENT, DAMN IT! Just how many memory cards you need? You can back up your games to your PC just fine with QCMA. What’s the problem!?

2. The users are not to blame, Sony is to blame for letting the PS Vita rot like this!

Correction: Sony is partially to blame. A game console and its ecosystem are made up by both the company, the devs AND the users. Don’t forget that.

3. This will boost sales of the Vita!!

Hmm. I don’t have much idea of how the ecosystem works so correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it like this: Many users will buy Vitas to run 3.60 FW plus their pirated stuff, so game console sales will see a (temporary) increase. What about the games? Will they sell as much? Will many people buy them?

4. I want to “try” the full game before I buy it!!

Uh, that’s what trial editions are for, and last time I checked, they don’t cost a dime. Unless by trying you mean you want to finish it first.

5. The PS Vita is dead, so piracy doesn’t matter anymore.

Well, it might be dead in your country, but not everywhere for sure. I see several people with the PS Vita on the trains here in Japan quite often.

 

Sigh, I don’t want the situation to worsen any further, and honestly, all the “claims” made by people (excluding homebrew flourishing, which is a good thing), seem just hogwash and people trying to justify themselves by saying piracy is a good thing. Nope, it never was, and it isn’t. It’s the game dev’s choice whether to use DRM or not. Not everyone can trust the gamers and take that risk. It earns them bread, y’know. It enables them to make a living.

As a commenter on the post aptly put it:

“What some of you don’t realize is that by pirating games on the Vita, you’re not stealing from Sony. Instead, you’re stealing from the developers, who typically aren’t Sony. What enabling piracy will do is just gimp the Vita’s potential library even more. Do you guys really want that?”

I want to see more games on the PS Vita, and this seems a step in the wrong direction. I just hope I’m proved wrong several months from now…

 

 

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How to use QCMA with USB without problems in Windows

So, I had two ways to back up my data from my PS Vita to PC and vice-versa: Sony’s CMA and the free and open-source QCMA.

I had at first tried QCMA, but since there was no UI option to change the language, had just uninstalled it and installed Sony’s CMA and was okay with it.

But then I thought it might be good for me to try QCMA once too. Besides, the “Backup Manager” is a really cool feature. Kudos to the dev for that!

However, while Sony’s CMA worked out of the box, QCMA gave problems, somewhere in the drivers. It would connect and then disconnect and so on. So I luckily found the proper page on the QCMA thread the /talk forums at wololo, so I read through those, and made QCMA work.

The problem lies with the drivers QCMA installs. It installs an old 2012 driver of libusb32. But that doesn’t sit well with the Vita. So here are the steps to get it up and running:

1. First up, remove Sony’s CMA if you have it installed. These two guys don’t seem to get along, from what I read.

2. Install QCMA by downloading the latest version from wololo.

3. Download zadig from here. This person makes awesome nifty software. Respect. Another of their creation I regularly use is rufus, which is pretty much the best image writer for thumb drives out there.  Be it windows or linux. I highly recommend that as well.

4. Plug in the PS Vita and then launch zadig.

5. Check if the “PS Vita Type B” is shown in the list.

6. If not, go to “Options” –> Check “List all devices”.

7. Once you see the PS Vita B, Right click on the arrow next to the big button, and select “Replace Driver”.

8. Now click “Replace Driver” aka the huge button, twiddle thumbs till it’s done.

9. Once this is done, start QCMA, and then plug the PS Vita back in.

10. It should detect the device properly and now you can copy it.

11. In case you’re on a lower firmware and the Vita asks you to update the system software, follow this guide after doing step 9.

Tips:

* If the Vita is not detected at all for some reason on the PC, it might be that something in the Vita side got stuck. So please restart the Vita and then try again. It worked for me.

Sources: This thread here, particularly this post and this post. Thanks to codestation for the help!

On another note, for the PS+ list of June, there are a few titles announced today, but the PS+ site says the next announcement is on 8th June, so I’ll hold it off until that.