Infinity Ward Amazed by Rampant PC Piracy

By Chris Faylor, Jan 15, 2008 11:18am PST Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC, PS3, X360) developer Infinity Ward was shocked to discover an unexpectedly high level of piracy in regards to the PC versions of its acclaimed FPS.

After using his blog to reveal that the developer is quite happy with the recent number of PC owners playing the game online, the studio's community relations manager fourzerotwo expressed amazement at how many of those players were running a pirated copy of the game.

"What wasn't fantastic was the percentage of those numbers who were playing on stolen copies of the game on stolen / cracked CD keys of pirated copies (and that was only people playing online)," he posted under the heading "They Wonder Why People Don't Make PC Games Any More."

Renowned development houses id Software and Epic Games chimed in on the matter last year, with both noting that they were pursuing multiplatform development due to piracy of their PC titles. Two of last year's biggest PC titles--Epic's Unreal Tournament III and Crytek's Crysis--both made low retail sales debuts, though the effect of piracy on those numbers is unclear.

"I've seen studios close as the result of it, I've seen people lose their homes.," former Ritual QA manager Mike Russell told Shacknews when discussing the effects of piracy. "I guess I'm more vocal than a lot of people because I've seen the personal side of it, and it's just sad that we have so many people looking for a way of justifying it.

Irrational Games' 2K Boston and 2K Australia's attempts to protect the PC edition BioShock from piracy, meanwhile, caused a very vocal community outcry when the game was released last August.

Exact figures regarding the piracy of Cod4 were not disclosed, though fourzerotwo promises to provide them if able. "It blows me away at the amount of people willing to steal games (or anything) simply because it's not physical or it's on the safety of the internet to do," he concluded.

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68 Threads* | 479 Comments

  • I think it honestly has to do with people playing it because they can, and otherwise wouldn't buy it. I know this doesn't jive with a lot of people but I really think it's a huge chunk. When I used to go around fixing computers for people, 99% of the time the computer was hosed because of their pirating child. A boy who is usually too young to get a job but old enough to know how to use limewire or whatever venue for free software and viruses is the most popular that year. Certainly no lost sale there, his parents won't buy it for him, and he can't afford it, so the internet saves the day once again.

    Now I know consoles sell a ton more, and that might be a good argument for switching to them, but is that really a reflection of piracy or the fact that many more people own consoles than those that own top of the line pc's. Add to that all the places which buy them with the sole intent of renting them, such as Blockbuster, Gamefly, local mom and pop video store in Any Town USA.

    I guess what I am getting at is that yes, compared to consoles, PC's sales are lackluster, but to blame piracy, I believe, is a mistake. Does piracy account for some lost sales? Sure, but does it account for a game not being profitable, no, that can be found elsewhere. (/opinion)

  • The developer needs to take the necessary steps to prevent piracy of these games. Especially the online component of it. Valve is very successful with this. I have always bought the games I liked. I bought the PC version of COD4 over steam, I was under the impression a CD key was required for online play and that there couldn't be cracked versions of the game online. This is infinity ward's fault for allowing this to happen. The online gameplay experience of FPS games is alot better than the console. All of us PC FPS fans should realize this and support the developers, even if they make it easy for us to pirate.