"Rampant piracy is no longer the catch-all excuse it's often employed as," rebuts Penumbra (PC) game writer Tom Jubert in a blog for Edge.
Cevat Yerli, CEO of Crysis developer Crytek (PC), recently intensified the spotlight on the issue by claiming there were 20 pirated copies of Crysis for every one legitimate player.
The actual ratio, Jubert argues, is no worse than 1:5 in the Western world. To back up this claim, Jubert cites figures from GameShadow Metrics--a online service that automatically patches games and can detect altered .exe files--which show 1 pirated copy of Crysis for every 5 legitimate copies in the US and a 3:7 ratio in the UK.
"Of course, that's not to say that Yerli is wrong," concedes Jubert, "[it's] only that 1:15 is a potentially misleading statistic." He adds that it's difficult to measure the actual number of high-end gaming PCs in use, so claims like "consoles sell factors of 4-5 more" are equally unfounded.
Despite the inflammatory headline, it's not overblown. It's just that conventional methods won't work in the face of piracy, and developers, publishers, and distributors need to take that into account when considering the bottom line.
Most will probably go console, as the barrier of entry is sort of slight inconvenience. Most people are opportunists and are not willing to go through the inconvenience to get free shit. But the real lesson is that digital distribution is the way of the future, DRM is here to stay (just please don't fucking abuse it), and EA is kicking themselves because they didn't think of steam first. No surprise since they were a graveyard for new ideas until only a year or so ago.
I think everyone wants to be where Steam's at, not just EA.