PCGA President: 'Let's Monetize Those Pirates'

By Blake Ellison, Oct 20, 2008 12:38pm PDT PC Gaming Alliance president Randy Stude has decided to turn his industry consortium's attention toward piracy after months of DRM controversy and PC release delays getting attributed to gamers getting their fix by way of a digital five-finger discount.

"At some point next year, we expect to be able to quantify the potential impact of piracy on the industry," promised Stude to Gamasutra, echoing detractors in the piracy debate who warn that most piracy-related statistics available today are inaccurate.

Stude was pushed into the issue by his constituency--a collection of hardware makers, PC vendors and game publishers including Microsoft, Dell, Activision, and Epic Games. "There's a far more urgent imperative [game companies] want to see discussion and debate going on around, which is piracy," he said.

The Alliance president reiterated the most frequently mentioned solutions to the piracy problem, such as digital distribution and taking games online, but he also had a novel idea for what to do before the day that markets go entirely digital.

"Let's monetize every one of those pirates, and let's advertise the hell out of them," Stude asserted. "Serving, for example, six times the number of in-game ads on unauthenticated game versions would be a piracy deterrent that also provides revenues to the developer," wrote Gamasutra of Stude's idea.

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29 Threads | 88 Comments*

  • So the in-game ads would obviously be tied to the authentication system.

    Pirates remove the authentication system. Ads don't show up.

    Although I admit these fools are finally thinking in the right direction, whether legal or not pirates are releasing their games better than they are.

    Adding interesting features that pirated copies can't get to the legitimate version is the way to deter from piracy.

    Here's a gem of a quote from the Steam forums regarding region restriction:

    "So much fuss about lost sales due to piracy... Can't be that bad if they can afford to deny online sales to half the globe?"

    This speak volumes really, consider the fact that piracy is almost entirely online, through torrent. This is digital distribution, and it's to the entire world!

    Yet Ubisoft, Atari and others continue to restrict their games to the US only on Steam and other services.

    They don't lose sales from piracy, these idiots lose sales from incompetence at basic marketing in the digital age.

  • "There's a far more urgent imperative [game companies] want to see discussion and debate going on around, which is piracy,"
    Far more urgent than what? What other imperatives are they backseating to talk about...advertising to pirates?
    Far more urgent than "DRM controversy" and "PC release delays"? I don't think that's true.
    "DRM" and "PC Delays" are losing you PAYING CUSTOMERS. I think that's where your focus should be. Of course, you figure the PC Delay is getting you console sales. Fine, stop complaining about low PC sales 6 months later.
    I, for instance, do not own a current gen console. By the time you release the PC versions of these games, whoopdee-do...I don't care anymore. You get no purchase from me at all.