Piracy is something that is often talked about and the majority of gamers have an opinion on the matter one way or the other. The question I want to ask is; is it really harming our industry? I mean, certain developers even encourage it.
An example of developers who believe in piracy are Team Meat, the duo who we can thank for the two great indie titles Super Meat Boy and The Binding Of Isaac. According to them, “If the game gets pirated heavily, if it’s a good game that people really like, they’re going to either buy it eventually or they’re going to tell other people about it. Either way it’s just going to come back to a sale.” Pirating games that are good enough to warrant a purchase can result in people actually purchasing the game, more often than not the piracy of a game acts as an extended demo rather than a cheap shot at developers who don’t approve of piracy.
So if some developers are fine with it, why does Digital Rights Management even exist or rather, should it even exist? It causes issues for people who have actually purchased the game, making things inconvenient and overall just an unnecessary hassle. The error 37 fiasco is a primary example of how inconvenient and broken the DRM system is. Diablo 3 requires you to constantly stay online regardless of whether or not you are playing single player, this has lead to a lot of complaints.
DRM has proved to be a waste of money. CD projekt RED; developer behind the hit RPG title The Witcher 2 are against the DRM system, stating that DRM is useless. “First of all let me dispel the myth about DRM protecting anything. The truth is it does not work. It’s as simple as that. The technology which is supposed to protect games against illegal copying is cracked within hours of the release of every single game. So, that’s wasted money and development just to implement it.”
Other methods that have been put into place to try and prevent piracy include the online pass system which has been adopted by EA. Content is locked on disk and is unlocked by entering the access key given to you in the case upon purchasing the game new. But do people care about 6 extra missions on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning enough to pay an extra £20? The answer is no.
Piracy obviously doesn’t always result in good though; a lot of developers from overseas (like Japan) are reluctant to release content over in the west due to the rise in piracy. Xenoblade chronicles, a title developed by Monolith and published by Nintendo, hands down best game on the Wii in my opinion was on the brink of not being released in the west as a result of the piracy risk and to be honest, I don’t think they should have released the title overseas.
900,000 copies of Xenoblade chronicles were pirated; this will result in Monolith being even more reluctant to release titles outside of Japan. Monolith were originally sceptical of the western audience and weren’t going to release the game here. Operation Rainfall was formed and people petitioned in order to bring Xenoblade along with other Nintendo exclusive titles to the West. The fact that so many copies of Xenoblade were pirated will most likely result in these petitions meaning nothing to developers anymore, once a developer decides on not releasing something here it’s not coming here.
Piracy also affects the production of original IPs which are something gamers are constantly complaining about. Iron Lore entertainment released a title called Titan Quest in 2006, this title was quickly cracked two days before release. The cracked version of the game would crash constantly gaining the game a bad reputation which further resulted in the title not being bought and the developer being shuttered.
Former THQ creative director Michael Fitch blamed the shutter of Iron Lore on piracy, “If even a tiny fraction of the people who pirated the game had actually spent some f****** money for their 40+ hours of entertainment, things could have been very different today. You can ***** all you want about how piracy is your god-given right, and none of it matters anyway because you can’t change how people behave… whatever. Some really good people made a seriously good game, and they might still be in business if piracy weren’t so rampant on the PC. That’s a fact.”
So what do you think of piracy? Is it harming or aiding our industry? Let me know in the comments section bellow.
Features are the opinion of the writer and not that of Rival Tide.
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