When you can have a PolyStation?
Believe it or not, it doesn’t actually take CD’s. It’s actually a cartridge system. I saw this fine bit of trademark infringement while checking out a local game stand in Brazil, which is rife with piracy. Tons of PS2 and PC games were available for about $5 each, on CD’s burnt and labeled by hand. I couldn’t actually find Civ4 in the big pile of PC games and was unsure whether to feel good or bad about that. There is only a fledgling retail games business in Brazil – Sony won’t even sell legitimate PS2’s there – so it’s hard to fault gamers too much for relying on these shops. Nonetheless, the piracy is absolutely crippling the chances of Brazilian game developers to bootstrap themselves up by selling within their native market. The developers and students I talked to at the conference were jealous of the copyright protection we enjoy in the U.S. Most of them are turning to either mobile or online games as it is their only chance.
The SBGames Conference was a great experience. Many universities around the country are building game development programs, and the students have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Brazilian developers have significant challenges to face, but I wish them the best of luck. It was a wonderful country to visit, with friendly people and great food. Brazilians sure do love soccer. Here is a picture from the baggage claim in Sao Paulo Airport.
Normally, the TV over the baggage claim shows the number of the flight and the origin city. Not in Brazil, though – they’d rather watch a local soccer match!