PC Piracy and DRM Analysis

An article on Eurogamer speaks with a few figures from the game industry seeking to answer the question "How Bad is PC Piracy Really?" The general consensus is that it is impossible to definitively determine what percentage of PC games are pirated, or how many legitimate sales are actually lost as a result, but that doesn't stop some of the people they spoke with from taking guesses: Reinhard Blaukovitsch from SecuROM vendor Sony DADC says "between 40 and 80 per cent of total copies of a game being played are pirated," and: "The commercial value of global software piracy is growing by 14 percent annually." Analyst Michael Pachter tells them: "Ubisoft told me that their PC game sales are down 90 per cent without a corresponding lift in console sales," and that he guesses "40 to 50 per cent of PC games played are not purchased." Capcom's and PCGA's Christian Svensson says he thinks it ranges from 50/50 at the low end and: "At the higher end you can see 90 per cent illegitimate usage to 10 per cent legitimate."

They also discuss solutions: "[There's] no public data to suggest that DRM works," says Pachter. "But the fact that more companies are imposing it strongly suggests that they believe it works." They also have a separate article about Pachter's comments. "Yes, piracy is ruining PC gameplay, and yes, it is forcing PC games online," the analyst says. "This happened in China 15 years ago, and in Korea in the last decade, and it's happening in the West now." One thing all their respondents seem to agree on is that it's a problem when DRM punishes legitimate users and encourages piracy. Here's a chunk with a few takes on that concept:
"Consumers are right to complain about DRM, since it impacts both legitimate and illegitimate users," reckons Pachter. "The problem is that the companies think it limits piracy, and an industrious and determined hacker can work around DRM, while a normal, legitimate user must deal with a hassle. I'm not sure where to come down on this, as I respect the companies' right to protect their intellectual property, while acknowledging the legitimate consumer's complaint about the problems created with DRM."

"The challenge nowadays is to reward loyal users," GOG.com's managing director Guillaume Rambourg believes. "If you make the whole gaming experience more complicated and more frustrating for people who buy the game; if it's easier to play a game that is pirated because they removed all the technical restraints, then I think there is a big issue on the plate now. It should be easier to play a game that you bought legally than play a game that you pirated."

"Through the use of DRM, a publisher can meaningfully improve profitability on a project." Christian Svensson, PCGA and Capcom "There's good DRM and what we call bad DRM," explains Svensson. "There's a huge breadth of parameters and technologies available, and no one technology is bad - it's the implementation that can be bad, the communication around the implementation that can be bad. What we try and do - and we haven't always been successful in this - is never hurt the legitimate user. If the legitimate user is ever going to have a more negative experience than a pirate, you've done something wrong.
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Re: PC Piracy and DRM Analysis
Oct 1, 2011, 12:18
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Re: PC Piracy and DRM Analysis Oct 1, 2011, 12:18
Oct 1, 2011, 12:18
 
Jerykk wrote on Oct 1, 2011, 04:03:
Except many millions more would play if there were no subscription fee at all. With that many players, the likelihood of people spending more than $10 a month on cosmetic items, XP boosts and unlockables rises exponentially. There's nothing really "supposed" about the subscription model being phased out. More and more formerly subscription-based games are going F2P and more and more upcoming games are being designed with F2P in mind.

Most of what you wrote didn't really address my core point, which is that I don't see massive success statements from F2P shooters yet. The biggest multiplayer shooters are CoD, Battlefield, Gears, Halo, Uncharted, etc... none of them are F2P except TF2. On the flipside a ton of MMOs and MOBA games are F2P and successful.

I am sure stuff like Battlefield Heroes makes money or else it would have been shut down, but is it really a lot of money? Is it really the kind of money that will entice them to replace the traditional model anytime soon? I don't see it yet.
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