Pirates Leaked New Fire Emblem Game Week Before Release

Today, the newest Fire Emblem game is available for sale and playable online everywhere in the world. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia retails at $59.99 USD. A remake of a much older, more difficult title, it has been hailed by hardcore fans as a return to form and a refutation of the waifu-heavy Fire Emblem Fates.

But the grueling difficulty isn’t Intelligent System’s biggest challenge. It’s pirates.

On one pirate forum, nearly 20,000 copies have been downloaded, after the first copy leaked last week. Doubtless, thousands more will be acquired via Freeshop - the open-source pirate tool eshop alternative -and at 60 USD a pop, that’s already over 1.2 Million dollars of game downloaded.

In other news, Fire Emblem Heroes is a great free-to-play game and you should all give it a try.


$60 for a game still sounds way too rich to me. Which may or may not have to do with the pirating levels.


It’s egregious in all countries that are not USA, Germany, UK, Netherlands, and France. In Mexico, 60 USD is almost a full month’s wages (at minimum wage). When I went to Chile in 2013, new games were priced at 80 USD. No wonder why South America has a strong pirate culture.


I have real issues with the whole “one download = $60” equation.

If I pick up a copy of a newspaper while I’m waiting to see my dentist and flick through it, does that mean the publisher has lost the value of the sale, even though I had no intention to purchase a copy before I found a free version? What if I then buy a copy tomorrow, having liked what I saw?

People have been giving out free samples since the dawn of advertising. Pretending that the initial free sample (that might inspire future sales) is lost revenue feels pretty disingenuous to me.



A more realistic formula takes into account the amount of people who would otherwise purchase the product if a pirate copy wasn’t available, the amount of people who will purchase the product after playing the pirate copy, the amount of people who purchase the game based on the review of the pirates, etc.

Something like 1 in 4 surveyed pirates would have otherwise purchased the game if a pirate copy was not available. From personal experience, about 1 in 5 pirates will purchase after playing a pirate copy. Pirates are not hugely influential, but there has been shown a correlation between positive pirate reviews and good sales (and a correlation which shows a huge sales tank when pirates hate a game).

I’m not really active on pirate forums and in the scene, though I keep my eye on it.


I am not confessing to anything, but I can state with authority that the **AA unicorns that they will swear to you are sheer myth… I know they exist.

The unicorns who pirate a copy of something to try it out (or because it’s not currently regionally available, or because of a shortage of immediate funds) and then will turn around and pay full price for an official version. Not to mention that a pirate version is more easily shared as a sample to get other people hooked who may then spend money on the product. Even a minority group of unicorns negates the “each pirate copy is a lost sale” theory.

Hell, some properties have become MORE successful than expected, because the pirated copies helped create a buzz that didn’t otherwise exist.


Yup. And that effect is true not just for games, but for films and music too (not sure about books).

So anti-piracy measures are often targeting a given title’s biggest word-of-mouth promoters.


I would never pirate a piece of intellectual property and I think it’s utterly despicable that people do. Ptooie.

That said, I don’t really see the difference between getting the first episode of a Telltale game for free and liking a pirated copy of Half Life Episode 1 enough to pay for Episode 2. As the makers of Game of Thrones said (before HBO bullied them into a retraction), “what does it matter if people who would never have seen our show pirate it and tell their friends how great it is? It’s all publicity.”


In Canada at least, watching pirate rips hosted on a streaming portal is legal. So I’ve caught a number of films in cam copy versions before picking one to see at our bi-weekly cinema night.

Ghost Beach was the subject of a study where they tried to map out the effects of free downloads on sales, using the artist-hosted music as a stand-in for pirate copies. I don’t remember the results (and the site hosting the music is no longer online) but I did get a few decent tunes out of them.


I remember during the last writer’s strike when Joss Whedon released Dr. Horrible and some reporter asked him if he was scared of pirates (as it was an Internet release), and he said something along the lines of how some people would pirate it, some would watch the official stream on Hulu, some would buy the official DVD and other assorted materials, and that a lot of those are all the same people.

He, and John Rogers who is also well aware of how fandom functions, aren’t always the most popular people in Hollywood when they point these things out (both were hated for a while in the community when they opposed SOPA/PIPA which industry lobbied heavily for).

Which, with your GoT anecdote says to me that change is inevitable, no matter how much the old guard rails against it.


That depends on the definition of the word “pirate”. There have been moves (Microsoft considered this) to charge people extra if a lot of people are watching the same TV at the same time. Think about how that would have affected the cultural landscape in 1969, when people got together for “moon landing parties” and other similar mass TV watching. The guests didn’t necessarily not have their own sets – it was just nicer to watch as a group and have a house party at the same time.

Or my friend who let me listen to one of her albums about 10 visits in a row before suggesting maybe I should get my own copy.

Or the whole culture around lent books, or the commonplace book where one copies favourite passages from other books to make one’s own compendium.

There’s a whole culture around copying which is getting squashed and destroyed in the name of anti-piracy.


Yeh, I may have um, “digitally borrowed” a copy of Primer the first time I saw it. I never would have spent the asking price of a DVD on a movie I had never heard about by an unknown director (if I could have found a copy at all).

I’ve since bought copies for myself and several people that I knew would enjoy it. According to the industry though, my first viewing was illegal and represented lost revenue…


side note: this is the sort of thing that makes great front page content. not just a link, but context and commentary too. thanks for the great post!