Gamasutra Takes a Close Look at Software Piracy

Piracy continues to be one of the top concerns in the PC gaming industry, but steps to address the issue are being taken by a number of leaders within the gaming space. Leigh Alexander, in a two-part feature for Gamasutra, picked the brains of both the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) for insight into the way software piracy has affected and will continue to affect PC gaming.

The first half of the piece, found here, focuses primarily on the current piracy landscape, from online IP protection to anti-plagiarism education. The second half is chiefly concerned with countermeasures like DRM, about which Christian Svensson, PCGA member and senior director of strategic planning and research at Capcom, had this to say:

We don’t make money by making your lives difficult. If we didn’t feel it was absolutely, positively imperative that we have this for our business, we wouldn’t do it.

While the PCGA, ESA and many others are working towards finding an ideal solution, everyone wholeheartedly agrees on the challenges of the current situation. Maggie Greene of Kotaku sums it up quite nicely: “[PC gaming companies] don’t like DRM any more than you do.”

Of course, these companies and organizations won’t make much progress without the support of gamers. Articles like these help to impress upon consumers everywhere the negative impact they could potentially have on developers and publishers each time they’re tempted to find a torrent instead of buying a legitimate copy. Dedicated developers like 2DBoy deserve better than a 90% piracy rate in return for their years of hard work, else labors of love like World of Goo may become a thing of the past.

The PC Gaming Alliance Addresses Software Piracy

In recent interviews with Gamasutra and Ars Technica, PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) president Randy Stude has firmly established his stance on software piracy. Talking to Ben Kuchera of Ars Technica, Stude remarked:

We are the guardians of the PC as a platform for gaming. We need to make sure there is an environment where publishers are not afraid to invest tens of millions of dollars in developing great gaming experiences…

He even went so far as to suggest a possible solution to the problem in speaking with Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra:

Let’s monetize every one of those pirates, and let’s advertise the hell out of them… Don’t throw [pirates] off [of the server], but show an ad every time a new level loads. The [paying customer] gets a billboard, a passive, less-aggressive ad than [pirates] are going to get.

These comments have prompted a number of discussions across the web, from message boards to major news blogs. Nate Ralph of had this to say:

The PCGA also proposes tracking piracy, and the relative effectiveness of anti-piracy measures to get an idea of what the best approach is… The solution isn’t to slap on more draconian measures, but to figure out how best to turn software pirates into paying customers.

If this discussion becomes more pervasive and real effort is made to better understand the issue,  we definitely think there’s a chance that the combined efforts of the PCGA and increasingly savvy PC gaming consumers will make software piracy a thing of the past.