Game Piracy, is it sending the industry broke ?
And should the developers be doing all they can to stop it ?
©2008 Grant Smythe:
Personally I think they should look at every avenue possible. Assassin’s Creed copped a flogging on the PC due to piracy when it was released middle of this year. Ubisoft have sued North Carolina-based company called Optical Experts Manufacturing (OEM), a disc replication company for allowing leaked copies to get on the net, when it was part of their NDA and Working Terms & Conditions. It was stated that NO personnel were allowed to take stock home prior to release and Ubisoft called it: “an extraordinary breach of trust and gross negligence” on the part of OEM.
Now 5 major publishing houses – which consist of Atari, Codemasters, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump, and Techland intend to serve notices on 2500 accused pirates. The Publishers have banded together and enrolled the talents of major Commercial Law firm Davenport Lyons to represent them in filing charges against the suspected 2500 people who have been found to have either downloaded or distributed illegal copies of video games published by their respective companies.
The accused will be given a chance to opt for an out-of-court settlement fee of $US563 or alternatively, be taken to the courts and face much higher chargers if found guilty, and they will be found guilty, there is no way around that. The firm does plan on following through with at least 500 of those 2500 cases.
Each year developers lose hundred of millions of $US’s on piracy. Money that could well be spent on R&D and future development on new IP’s. The stupid thing is, gamers shoot themselves in the foot with every game they ‘steal’ as they basically are stealing money from their own future.
There’s no getting around it, if you download a game without paying for it in anyway off the net that is not via Steam or it equivalent, then you’re stealing it.
Many think that all game publishers and developers (they are two different entities remember) make bucket loads of cash and make huge profits every year, they run around in Ferrari’s and Porsche’s etc and have massive homes. Many might well have those things, and best of luck for them, but many don’t, and even huge companies like EA, Atari, etc record huge loses each year, NOT profits.
They rely on the steady flow of income from regular games that sell high volume to feed their future investment in new IP and ongoing franchises. Gamers scream that they want new games, demand that they get photorealisim in every corner of the screen. They don’t just want 200 – 300 or even 400 cars perfectly modeled inside and out, they want 1000 plus, each with a picture perfect cockpit view and every gauge working with wipers and lights, not to mention the weather and full day-night cycles. You get the idea.
Then they flip straight over to a bit-torrent site and download the latest pirated copy of a blockbuster game that someone has smuggled out of said development house . . . Like the 700,000 copies of Assassins Creed which were downloaded in the first few days of it appearing on the net.
However, when the game went on sale in the shops in June, the sales for the entire month were only 40,000 copies. Does that stop gamers from demanding Ubisoft create bigger, better and more bad ass games with all the bells and whistles, wanting more IP’s and bigger worlds to explore . . . . No, it doesn’t.
Did the Publishers see one red cent of those 700,000 copies – nope, did they make the money back for the development of the game for the PC, nope. Do you think they might do it again (produce another PC title), probably not. Scratch another publisher developing on the PC.
Gamers of a “certain standing or caliber” just keep stealing and asking for more, however, things MIGHT just be about to change big time.
So don’t think you’re safe – because you’re not.
If you think they won’t just pick on you if you’re just a mum or small gamer, then think again. The law firm Davenport Lyons, who are now representing the five publisher mentioned above, won a $US30,000 judgment against an unemployed mother of two “this week” for illegally downloading Topware’s Dream Pinball 3D through a file-sharing site, Source: The Times Online.
However, Ex MS Xbox-DIv big boy Peter Moore and now EA Sports CEO has other thoughts on the matter, stating that this is not the way to get around the issue. He commented that “I’m not a huge fan of trying to punish your consumer,” further commenting . . . “Albeit these people have clearly stolen intellectual property, I think there are better ways of resolving this within our power as developers and publishers.”
Personally I’m against the extent of the fine for the unemployed mum, but at the same time, I can understand the companies position. Slap someone on the wrist telling they were naughty boys-n-girls, and they walk away saying, yeah yeah “what-evveeer”, I’ll just go home and do it again.
Make it painful enough to have them think seriously about doing it again, or ensuring their kids/family do not do it again, then the chances of it happening again are slim. Sure, you will never stamp it out, but heavy handed approaches like this never worked in the music industry, and I doubt it will work here either.
There are other ways around it, and it seems Peter Moore is an advocate of finding a better way other than fining everyone and anyone and putting your every day gamer off side. This comment from the above interview sort of sums it all up really.
“Yes, we’ve got to find solutions,” Moore continued. “We absolutely should crack down on piracy. People put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their content and deserve to get paid for it. It’s absolutely wrong, it is stealing.
“But at the same time I think there are better solutions than chasing people for money. I’m not sure what they are, other than to build game experiences that make it more difficult for there to be any value in pirating games.”
They do need to address the situation, and do so very quickly, it’s costing us (gamers) a few potential blockbuster games every year. But they need to do it in a way that stings, but doesn’t cripple the average joe, yet hits the major pirate hard and strong. Take a different approach to those that may well have done it blindly or even had it done on their computer unknowingly.