id: PC Manufacturers See Piracy as 'Hidden Benefit'

By Chris Faylor, Aug 21, 2008 8:08am PDT While acclaimed studios such as Doom creator id, Unreal Tournament developer Epic and Crysis veterans Crytek have cited widespread piracy of PC games as the impetus to pursue console development, id CEO Todd Hollenshead has accused PC makers of viewing piracy as a "hidden benefit" for consumers.

"I think they are [secretly happy about PC piracy]," he explained to GamesIndustry. "The size of the [PC game] pirate market actually is larger than the legitimate-goods market in many cases."

"I think that there's been this dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers, which is that the perception of free content--even if you're supposed to pay for it on PCs--is some sort hidden benefit that you get when you buy a PC, like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games."

Though Hollenshead was confident that there is no conspiracy among PC makers, he expressed his belief that "trading content, copyrighted or not, is an expected benefit of owning a computer."

An executive from graphics hardware maker Nvidia spoke out against piracy earlier this year, claiming there was no reason "anyone could ever possibly justify pirating a game."

"What they say is one thing, but what they do is another," Hollenshead said of the larger PC hardware market. "When it comes into debates about whether peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that by-and-large have the vast majority--I'm talking 99% of the content is illicitly trading copyrighted property--they'll come out on the side of the 1% of the user doing it for legitimate benefit."

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  • The PC itself has been designed in a time before region code locking, TCPA, hardware dongles or online activation and call-home applications. Thus it just was not made with thought to keep content providers happy and this is a good thing imo. Of course some people are abusing that, but this is not the fault of the PC industry but of the users abusing it.

    Personally for example I am very happy to have disabled the region code on my DVD player for example, elsewise I would have 400 € worth of DVDs I am not able to watch just because I wanted the english or original japanes version and not a badly translated and belated version that is cut and without bonus features (directors commentary etc.).

  • Of course. Why do you think ipods sell so much? High speed internet? You don't actually think that 95% of their users are legally paying for content do you? Apple is more than glad people steal songs, whatever sells more ipods the better. Itunes is there for those who are honest, but the itunes downloads don't even BEGIN to approach the amount of ipods owners.

    Same with highspeed internet. "I can download songs in seconds!" the commercials say. Oh really? Is this through itunes? I somehow doubt it. "I can download movies in no time!" from where? Is this streamed? No, you dirty thief - it's from bittorrent. Yet no one cares, because it's not the ISP's business. As long as you sign up.