Mumbai’s Lamington Road is once again overrun with pirated games

Grand Theft Auto 5 is still months away from making it to PC, but take a walk down Lamington Road in Mumbai and you can get a copy today.

pirated-games-2014-001

I stopped at three stores and asked each if they had the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 5, and each time I got an instant, emphatic ‘yes’.

Lamington Road is Mumbai’s IT shopping haven, where computer hardware and software stores line both sides of the street, and pavement vendors offer all manner of gadgetry and mobile accessories (usually the cheaper Chinese variety).

Over the last few years, pirated software had become a rare sight at these roadside stores, but today, every second store is selling pirated computer software, movies, and mostly games.

I stopped at three stores and asked each if they had the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 5, and each time I got an instant, emphatic ‘yes’.

While one of them was honest enough to tell me that what he was selling was not the actual game but a ‘patched’ game, the other two were more than happy to take advantage of my perceived ignorance.

pirated-games-2014-002Yes, that’s Grand Theft Auto 4 for PS2. Also available – Black: Bangkok Platinum Edition

These stores are literally a stone’s throw away from a police station, yet they operate without fear, and they’re able to charge over Rs 100 because PC game prices have skyrocketed in India.

All three stores were asking Rs 200 for GTAV – at least four times more than a pirated game should cost. I assumed they’d try to strike a bargain as I walked away, but one of them instead tried to justify the price by saying GTA5 was a premium game and a new release.

The reduction in pirated software sales – at least openly in pubic – had been achieved thanks to concerted efforts by the Mumbai Police to crack down on piracy a few years ago.

Around the same time, game publishers and local distributors were also attempting to grow the PC games market in India. Even premium AAA games were available officially for Rs 999 or less. That made piracy a less attractive option.

Today, the efforts of both law enforcement and game companies appear to have lost steam. Many of these stores are literally a stone’s throw away from a police station, yet they operate without fear, and they’re able to charge upwards of Rs 100 for games because PC game prices have now exceeded Rs 999 and now go as high as Rs 3,499.

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