The Nation



Online game operator Ini3 Digital calls for crackdown on piracy

Ini3 Digital calls for a continued focus on unfair competition and protection of gaming and software licences.

"There is unfair competition from participants in the gaming industry that violate our licence agreements to distribute games in Thailand. These entities violate the licences we have paid for and then undercut us with prices that only violating the law makes possible," said Pattera Apithanakoon, managing director of the online game operator.

"These pirates do not pay taxes or create legitimate jobs. We need the police and Department of Intellectual Property to continue pressuring anyone that violates licences. For development of a home-grown gaming industry, Thailand needs to protect innovators from piracy," she said.

The 17 million registered Thai users playing games on the platform created by Ini3 Digital benefit from the company's commitment to using only genuine software and having a fully licensed offering of online games, she said.

Not all participants in the Bt4-billion gaming industry play by the same rules, as there is widespread violation of gaming licences and use of pirated software within the gaming industry's back-office operations, particularly high-value server software. Ini3 estimates annual industry losses of up to Bt100 million as a result of piracy.

This year, Ini3 Digital is urging authorities to increase investigations into gaming piracy and to protect the rights of developers and companies that invest in gaming licences.

It is estimated that a single game such as the best-selling Boomz requires thousands of hours of programming before it becomes marketable. In many cases, individuals are illegally exploiting the licence acquired by Ini3 Digital.

Unfair-competition laws have been applied for use of illegal information technology in some US states in various industries to ensure a level playing field. Thailand's domestic gaming industry should also play by a set of fair and legal rules, Pattera said.

"Thailand's gaming industry faces real challenges due to piracy of games and server software. Intellectual-property protection is critical to our business. The gaming industry should adopt genuine server software because counterfeit server software directly harms users' security. Anyone using pirated server software or pirated games is putting Thai consumers at financial risk," she said.

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