id: PC Manufacturers See Piracy as 'Hidden Benefit'

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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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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 21, 2008 8:13 AM

    I'm put the word hardware in the headline... PC makers isn't clear that it's not the developers.

    • reply
      August 21, 2008 8:35 AM

      Yeah, my brain inserted "game" into that phrase every time I saw it before I wondered WTF was going on and re-read more carefully.

      I presume Hollenshead was making an off-the-cuff remark about this stuff and didn't just organise a speech on the topic, in which case this seems like a mountain out of a mole-hill. Obviously the hardware makers benefit -- and know they benefit -- from piracy, since people still need their hardware to play games and you can't pirate hardware, but I don't know what Hollenshead expects them to do about that and he doesn't seem to suggest they should do anything. So it strikes me as something true but unimportant that he said in passing. Maybe I'm wrong.

    • reply
      August 21, 2008 8:36 AM

      Definitely. I wasn't sure what was meant by the headline, but my assumption was correct.