Raw Thrills Starts An Offensive Against Arcade Pirates

arcadehero May 13, 2015 9
Raw Thrills Starts An Offensive Against Arcade Pirates

Since the beginning of the video arcade industry, popular games and their creators have had to deal with the piracy dilemma. If a game sells well then someone will try and copy it exactly and resell it without any authorization to attempt to make a quick buck. Some situations have made for interesting stories or developments but it hasn’t been something we hear a lot about in modern times.

With arcade gaming becoming more global than ever and hardware used fairly common, this is a problem that can be very tough to get a handle on. Arcade games can be great to have in poor countries where most cannot afford a home game console. When I made a visit to Brazil back in 2010, I visited several arcades and found some obvious pirated games – Rock Band 2 Arcade, Guitar Hero 3 and more. There has been the occasional story such as Taito’s TypeX hardware getting cracked and and the games being distributed. With a lot of developments taking place in China, we have seen a few illegally made games, including Plants Vs. Zombies.

With Raw Thrills being a top manufacturer, their games are targeted as well. Illegal copies of titles like Super Bikes 2 or Dirty Drivin’ have been showing up in countries all over the world and after some investigation, the company has identified both manufacturers and at least one distributor of copied RT games. With that, they have taken up an initiative to fight back against the pirates in every area of the industry, from manufacturing to operation. To quote the release:

“Our program is designed to eliminate piracy of Raw Thrills™ products, protecting our customers from inferior, defective games. Make sure to purchase Raw Thrills games only from authorized distributors. Our message is clear if you manufacture, distribute or operate copies of Raw Thrills products we are going after you. We will use all criminal and civil remedies available to us” warned Struhs.

This goes to show why distributors or other warranty service companies will ask for the serial number on a product as a part of the verification process. While the releases do not mention how long they have been aware of the problem, it does mention some Chinese companies by name such as Yida Electronics and Luxing Animation Technology, in fact I was provided an official apology from Yida which I will share below.

I think it is a positive thing for a company like Raw Thrills to undertake anti-piracy efforts. It is not just their reputation that is on the line but their life blood as well. They easily spend a few million dollars per game in development, not including the costs of manufacturing a full run of machines. If everything was pirated, the company would cease to function and it wouldn’t exist to make anything in the first place. That would mean no jobs for the people that work for the company, which would in turn affect jobs in both distribution and operation. Right now their new Jurassic Park game is earning better than some top redemption titles out there; their other titles are also known to be strong money makers for locations.  At my own arcade I have several RT made games and they all make up a huge chunk of monthly earnings that keep me in business. Rampant piracy has destroyed more than one tech company before and while a small number of people get some enjoyment out of it for a time, they end up killing the goose that lays the golden eggs for everyone else.

Here are the releases provided by Raw Thrills in full including the apology letter by one of the pirate companies:

* * * * * * *

RAW THRILLS, INC. LAUNCHES WORLDWIDE ANTI-PIRACY PROGRAM

“Raw Thrills, Inc., a leader in video game technology, recently launched an international anti-piracy program to attack global violations of Raw Thrills Intellectual Property rights,” announced Mark Struhs, Raw Thrills Sales Manager.

“Raw Thrills has been alerted to the presence of inferior, defective, illegal copies of our games. We received a large increase in service calls due to premature failure of games in Asia and verified these defective units were copy games. We have conducted investigations and actions against several targets in China and Australia and our investigations are continuing,” stated Struhs. “We have acquired customer lists and will seek damages against anyone manufacturing, operating or selling these illegal games.”

“Our program is designed to eliminate piracy of Raw Thrills™ products, protecting our customers from inferior, defective games. Make sure to purchase Raw Thrills games only from authorized distributors. Our message is clear if you manufacture, distribute or operate copies of Raw Thrills products we are going after you. We will use all criminal and civil remedies available to us” warned Struhs.

Raw Thrills has retained the services of the laws firms SIPS and Baker & McKenzie, as well as Bob Fay, former FBI Agent and anti-piracy IP protection expert. A team of investigators in China have already identified and are continuing to investigate suspected game pirates. Local authorities in China are conducting raids and seizures, including SuperBikes 2™ and Dirty Drivin’™ copies.

“To date our efforts have identified three Chinese companies: Yida Electronics Factory, Luxing Animation Technology Company and a third company that cannot be named at this time. All three have signed undertakings acknowledging their illegal dealings in Raw Thrill copies, offering apologies and compensatory actions, and will cease and desist these activities. Copy games found on location have been destroyed and financial settlements have been negotiated,” added Struhs.

“We are conducting appropriate follow-up investigations in other Asian countries: Turkey, South Africa, India, Russia, the Middle East and other areas. The Raw Thrills legal team has also identified an importer and distributor of Raw Thrills copies in Australia. This company has also agreed to cooperate and has identified its Chinese supplier and Australian customers. “Our Australia legal team is taking actions based upon the information obtained,” added Struhs.

“We will also be doing take downs of advertisements for Raw Thrills copies appearing on Alibaba and other online platforms,” stated Struhs.

Raw Thrills has been coordinating its efforts with Chinese copyright enforcement authorities as well as other victim game makers. Additional investigations and actions will be taking place in coordination with these other companies

Struhs reiterated, “We will continue to pursue violations of copyrights and trademarks of our rights. Anyone manufacturing, distributing or operating counterfeit Raw Thrills products – any place in the world – should be on notice that they could face criminal charges as well as civil claims, including damages.”

For additional information contact Mark Struhs at 847 679 8373, x29 or at mstruhs@rawthrills.com

* * * * * * *

Apology to Raw Thrills, Inc.

RAW THRILLS, INC.:

We acknowledge that RAW THRILLS is engaged in the design and manufacturing of arcade games and that it designs and distributes
several famous arcade games, such as SUPER BIKE 2, DIRTY DRIVIN, TERMINATOR SALVATION, etc. RAW THRILLS enjoys relevant intellectual
property rights in its games, including 1) design patent rights; 2)
copyright in the appearance and software of the games; and 3) trademark rights in the marks used on them.

We manufactured fake SUPER BIKE 2 and DIRTY DRIVIN without authorization from RAW THRILLS, and sold them domestically and
exported them to buyers of Turkey, Russia and Israel. We also advertised the fake products on trade platforms Alibaba.com,
Sxprice.org.cn, and MakePolo.com. This behavior of manufacturing,
sale and advertising constitute infringement of RAW THRILLS’ patent
right.

We apologize for the above infringements and any losses caused to
RAW THRILLS. We promise that we will respect your intellectual property rights in the future and will never be involved in any
activities that will infringe your intellectual property rights.

Sincerely,

Guangzhou City Panyu District Yida Electronic Factory

 


9 Comments »

  1. voltz May 13, 2015 at 11:38 am - Reply

    It’s good to see that they’re taking an active stance on this. Now I’m not sure on what to say when it comes to older titles once they “disappear” from the scene, especially when I want to go back on playing something that’s no longer popular.

  2. Seth Eldridge May 16, 2015 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Good for them, however, I find it ironic for Raw Thrills to use the word “inferior” because they killed DDR stateside with “inferior” pads.

    • Blake H May 17, 2015 at 9:22 am - Reply

      I’m glad to see that people haven’t forgotten what Betson and Raw Thrills did to DDR in the US. I get so many guests at my arcade come and ask if we have Dance Dance Revolution. I’ll point them to our nice Pump It Up Infinity TX cabinet, but many DDR players just aren’t interested in 5 panel dance games. Every time this happens I just have to tell them that they don’t make DDR anymore and PIU is all there is.

      That said, I don’t want to hate on Raw Thrills too too much, as all of their other games are of fairly decent build quality/reliability. They’re totally in the right trying to defend their property.

      • arcadehero May 18, 2015 at 6:53 am - Reply

        The relationship between Betson/Raw Thrills is cozy and close but they are not the same company. The closest comparison is saying Raw Thrills is the developer, Betson the publisher. Raw Thrills did not have anything to do with DDR in any release, that was all Betson for the cabinets being talked about; Konami developed the game, Betson ‘published’ it and made the decisions on the US cabinet design. Raw Thrills’ main work with Konami was Guitar Hero Arcade.

        • Blake H May 18, 2015 at 9:41 pm -

          I was under the impression that yes, while Konami of course developed DDR X/X2 and Betson was given the distribution rights to the game stateside, Betson tasked Raw Thrills with designing and manufacturing the cabinets. This is definitely evident as those DDR cabinets shared a number of parts with GH Arcade, such as the LED-lit speakers found in many RT games.

        • arcadehero May 19, 2015 at 12:48 pm -

          Betson and Raw Thrills work with Partech for manufacturing at times and I believe Partech was where the manufacturing was done but before the claims were made on this post, I never found any evidence that RT was directly involved in the development of the cabinet.

          Either way, even if the cabinet was done exactly like Japanese style, I doubt that Konami would have ended up doing anything differently as far as DDR and arcades go outside of Japan. Without people at the helm that have a passion for this particular market then the stumbles and failures they made were inevitable.

      • Seth Eldridge May 18, 2015 at 9:11 pm - Reply

        They still do make DDR but it’s region locked because Konami thinks there’s not enough interest outside Asia. Guess they don’t mind Andamiro filling their place. Saddens me that they have no interest in Pump since it’s better than nothing.

        • Blake H May 18, 2015 at 9:50 pm -

          I actually played the Japanese 2014 version of DDR yesterday at a friend’s private arcade. While I honestly can’t say I’m a huge fan of the direction Konami has taken the series (UI, songs, announcer), it’s still such a shame the series died “officially” here the way it did.

          I think Pump’s biggest problem is simply accessibility. Navigating the menus is an EXTREMELY difficult concept to understand for people new to the games. They have nav buttons like a DDR machine on the front of the cabinet, but you can still navigate with the pads as well. This OFTEN leads to guests adding a credit, jumping up and down all over the pads because they don’t know any better, choosing an absurdly hard song, staring at the screen dumbfoundedly as a barrage of arrows shoots up the screen, and walking away from the game angry and upset, never to play again.

  3. arcades4ever May 24, 2015 at 4:28 am - Reply

    I can see why raw thrills are taking measures in protecting their property as they have invested a lot of money to make the games and most of the profit they make goes into more development f future games. like volts said however it will be a shame if we can’t play their old games anymore once they start to disappear in years time and I hope raw thrills is not against people like MAME that just want to document the games so that they are prevented from disappearing in decades time.

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