Sorry man, this article is full of extreme exaggeration
MOST of the "pirates" are 3rd World Kids who have access to cheap broadband but a shitty PC that can't even run it
--evidently there are 76 million 'next gen' console users and 80 million "capable" PCs .. not a "billion PCs"
it is just that next gen consoles are POPULAR .. and an EXCUSE for lazy devs like CryTek's CryBabies to make platform games
- they are damn easy to make compared to PC
Don't even bring up EA whose emphasis is on their "bottom line"
The author even mentions Mac .. never a gaming platform for many years .. they did not "lose" anything due to piracy
He neglects to mention how INVASIVE DRM irritates the hell out of paying customers; the makers of it are not smart like Steam DRM which has a lot of fans because of some CONVENIENCE it offers to all but 56K customers
Indeed as I write this, the new Prince of Persia game was released yesterday for PC (December 10, 2008) with absolutely no DRM protection, and a quick look at torrents shows that the cracked version is available, and on two popular torrent links alone there are over 23,000 people downloading the game within the first 24 hours.
that is a LOT of people? really? considering 20,000 of them probably don't have a PC capable of playing it
- if it only sold 40,000 copies the first day, it is a failure, i'd say
ONE thing i DO agree with; there have been a LOT of LIES spread about DRM:
some form of effective protection or DRM is an inevitability for many types of PC games, especially offline-only single-player games, and is here to stay. Steam is one solution, but I've warned that it isn't necessarily the cure-all that some people would like to believe, and still has notable drawbacks. The various DRM methods must evolve to the point where they are both more effective at reducing day-zero piracy, and also less intrusive and problematic for legitimate users. Gamers can assist in this process by making sure that only verified and truthful information regarding these systems is discussed.
even though i do not pirate .. have not pirated .. will not pirate, i believe his article is exaggerated .. Piracy is more of an "excuse" for Devs and publishers to move to the more lucrative Console platforms and less complexities than dealing with PC gaming .. Yet Piracy DOES cost .. all of us ,, his "practical conclusions" are quite good:
Instead of an unrealistic and unviable list of demands, what the piracy debate really needs are practical suggestions which both parties can accommodate. In that spirit I want to provide a basic list of the types of things which games companies and consumers can each do to reduce the negative impacts of piracy and hopefully maintain a healthy selection of games to suit all tastes on the PC in the years to come.
Developers & Publishers
# Release more demos. Demos are becoming rarer these days, and this provides an excuse for piracy. Of course Crysis had a full demo for example and was still pirated to the tune of almost 1 million copies in 2008 alone, however a demo released before the final game will help some legitimate purchasers avoid the temptation of day-zero piracy, help manage user expectations about the final game, spread valuable word of mouth legitimately, and also help identify major bugs earlier, leading to quicker patches.
# Make copy protection and DRM methods clearer on game boxes and on game websites. Also publish a link to a page detailing the hardware with which the protection is incompatible (e.g. SecuROM & known DVD drive incompatibilities). Aside from deflating claims of a cover-up, this also allows customers to make a fully informed purchase and lowers support costs.
# Publish realistic minimum and recommended specs. Too many people assume that minimum specs are sufficient to play the game at low settings, when in reality minimum specs are usually sufficient to only barely run the game in an unplayable manner. Recommended specs should be published to a standardized level across all games, e.g. 'Below is the recommended hardware to achieve an average of 30FPS at 1280x720'.
# Provide a toll-free tech support line for DRM-related issues. It's completely unreasonable for legitimate purchasers to have to pay several dollars a minute to call tech support regarding issues that are no fault of their own, such as SecuROM disc check failures and known drive incompatibilities. Emailing tech support on these issues is also a complete waste of time due to vague stock answers, so email support also needs to be shored up.
# Stop delaying releases by region. Releasing games earlier in some regions is probably the single biggest incentive for people to pirate a game and contribute to day-zero piracy. Releasing games with different protection methods in different regions also allows pirates to simply attack the weakest link to achieve a working crack. For example the TAGES system in STALKER: Clear Sky went uncracked for two weeks after release, however the Russian StarForce version of the game's executable - which was released three weeks earlier in Russia - was cracked and used as a working crack for the non-Russian versions upon their release. So release all games globally at approximately the same time, and unify the protection method if you're serious about slowing down day-zero piracy.
# Lower prices on digital distribution. Instead of making sure that digital copies match retail copies in an effort to protect retail distribution, accept the transition to digital distribution by lowering prices to realistically reflect the lower costs, potentially increasing sales due to the greater convenience at a lower price.
# Reduce piracy. This article has demonstrated the potential impacts of piracy, so while I have no doubt that most people will just ignore it and continue to pirate games anyway, if you don't want the PC to become just an MMO and casual gaming platform, try to buy most of your games if not all of them. If a game is crappy, there's a simple solution: don't buy it and don't pirate it.
# Stop making excuses for piracy. Not just your own piracy, but also the piracy which others commit and openly brag about, and which piracy sites promote through misleading propaganda. Stop helping them to justify it with made-up facts and regurgitated misinformation which you don't truly understand, such as claiming SecuROM is spyware. If you aren't fully across an issue, either research it properly before making a comment, or stay quiet. Don't blindly support piracy just because it's the popular thing to do.
# Drop the DRM hysteria. Work with developers and publishers to provide verified and rational feedback on problems you genuinely believe are related to DRM so that they can rectify the issues, either through patches or workarounds, and of course to prevent these issues in newer versions of the protection systems. If all else fails, don't buy games which have problematic DRM, but don't pirate them either - this sends an unambiguous message to the games companies that all demand for their product - both legitimate and illegitimate - is falling.
# Don't blindly support Steam. Steam is a good digital distribution platform, but at the moment Valve has an effective monopoly on digital games distribution. In the absence of a real competitor, prices will remain high and Valve will have no incentive to pressure publishers to both lower digital prices and remove redundant DRM on Steam-protected games.
# Support small innovative developers. To counter the constant run of gradually lower quality franchise games such as the Need for Speed and Sims series, reward small developers who innovate and take risks with their own money - buy their games. Everyone loves to be seen saying supportive things to small developers, but data and anecdotal evidence from the developers shows that in private people pirate the hell out of these games, especially those without any DRM. Put your money where your mouth is.