The following are some of what I've witnessed first hand over the past 3 years in my travels through China and Thailand. Below is what Gears of War 2 looks like in Thailand....costs $5 (150 Baht) On sale about two weeks early!
China is the bootleg capital of the world. Everything is made in China, so it makes perfect sense that if anything is to be leaked or ripped off it'd happen hear first. I've heard from bootleg game sellers that some game are shipped from the south, Guangdong Province. I've heard Shenzhen mentioned when I inquired about GTA 4. That game was released about a week before the street date in the States. China gets first dibs on games before everyone, because if a game is released in Japan or Europe before America, or the other way around, then China has it first, too. The first games that come to mind are Battle Fantasia and Guilty Gear 2:Overture...both were out several months in China before America because they were the Japanese language versions.
360 Games cost about 85 cents US
....right now a regular can get games for 7 CNY. That's in a bigger city, it's 5 or 6 CNY in smaller cities. Games are sold 7 CNY per disc, so an RPG will cost a couple bucks more. Wii games cost 2 CNY less since they're not DL-DVDs.
The discs in China are factory printed, very professional looking. They also give you a DVD case Insert, though it's printed cheap on A4 paper and is often fades and crappy looking. The face of the disc is often different than the actual game disc, it'll have the name in Chinese on it somewhere as well as the logo of whatever bootleg company printed it. Some of them look cool, other's not so cool, a low-rez screen shot with the Xbox 360 logo in the wrong place.
Ive seen bootleg dealers selling games in bulk to shops....they dress casual and keep the games in a backpack. The shop keeper looks through what he has and buys bulk. If there's a Chinese version of the game (Originally from say, Singapore) they buy the Chinese version of the game and sometimes the Japanese, otherwise they buy the English version. A friend of mine bought Halo 3 in China and the game's menus and text are in English but the cinema's audio is in Chinese...pretty hilarious to watch :)
Consoles cost around the same price as in America, maybe a little less, no more than $50, and it depends on how good you are at bartering. Also if you buy extra controllers or other accessories they come down in price. You usually get something like 10 free games of your choice. Xbox 360s come modded to play the bootlegs , as well as the Wii. There's no mod yet for the PS3, which is why it isn't so popular in China and SE Asia! Accessories such as controllers usually cost around $45 for the wireless 360 controller. I think other controllers for other consoles are the same as in America.
Games in Thailand a year and a half ago were personally burnt onto blank DL-DVDs by shop owners, not factory printed like in China or like they are in Thailand today. They cost 200 Baht in Bangkok, so about $6 US, or 150 Baht in North Thailand. The disc looks like crap, just a burnt DVD with the name of the game (one of mine was misspelled, "gear of war' instead of "Gears of War") written on with a sharpie. The DVD case insert is high quality printing, though...thicker than normal paper and glossy and nice, like the real thing but not
rounded off on the edges like an official games insert.
Pirates, What goes around Comes around
I bought my console in Thailand a couple years ago. I was going to school in Thailand and finally broke down and bought a 360 after Gears of War came out and my friends were telling me how awesome it was. I paid close to $500 for a premium console, it was modded already, and they let me pick 3 games. I didn't buy it because it was modded, and I guess to my defense modded ones were all that are available.
My consoles Video out (yellow plug) stopped working after two weeks...only it wasn't the cable but the console itself. The only way I could play it is if I had a tv with component (red, blue and green inputs) but I didn't. So, for the first 5 months I couldn't play my 360. I'd paid for a year of LIVE which was being eaten up while I couldn't play...and even if I could I found out in the two weeks my box worked that my DSL speed in Bangkok wasn't enough to connect with any friends in America. After I moved to China later that year, I was able to play with friends on Live for a good month or so before I was banned from Live for having a Modded box.
What goes around I guess. I'm not gonna try and justify my purchase, my only defense is that a modded console was all that was available to me, but no one forced me to play the bootlegs, which got me banned. I don't encourage stealing or piracy in any way