PCGA President: 'Let's Monetize Those Pirates'

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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  • reply
    October 20, 2008 12:44 PM

    How come every time someone is like "Lets stop piracy!", you never hear anything else about it and nothing happens. Piracy is always going to be around and it can't be stopped. I'm not saying don't try to stop piracy but doing what this guy is trying to do just isn't going to work.

    • reply
      October 20, 2008 12:53 PM

      If they want to stop piracy, they should do these things:

      Make better games.
      Make their sticker price comparable to their ACTUAL value.
      Make better games.
      If the games have any sort of on-line component, build the game to take into account the future shutting down of said on-line component, so people don't feel the need to pay nothing for a game that is going to be worthless one day.
      Make better games.


      • reply
        October 20, 2008 1:12 PM

        making better games has nothing to do with piracy. Shitty games are pirated, great games are pirated more. If a punk doesn't want to pay for a game do you think they are gonna think
        A:"well this one got great reviews, im gonna pay for it!" or
        B: "hells yeah this game is on torrent, im gonna get it right now for free".

        your other 2 points are very solid.

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          October 20, 2008 1:22 PM

          If a game is good, some pirates will say "I want to own this" (be it out of, whoa, responsability, for online play, or whatever).

          Shitty games are pirated, great games are pirated more. Yeah, but also consider that shitty games don't sell much, while great games sell a lot more. And the reason is not piracy, it's quality.

          Of course, Cevat Yerli, Mark Rein, and the rest of shitty developers want you to believe that they didn't sell because their game was pirated. That's pure BS. Piracy has always been the same, and for anyone who knows how (which nowadays is almost everybody), pirating is real easy. As it was 10 years ago. And 20. And you know, the industry is still there.

          Some pirates pay for some of their games. Some don't and never will. But certainly making a good game helps. And not putting over-the-top DRM on it (where over-the-top is anything past a serial for online play).

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          October 20, 2008 1:29 PM

          The more shitty games are out there the more people pirate because they tryst the developers less with their $$. DUH OF THE DAY

        • reply
          October 20, 2008 1:41 PM

          I'd be willing to bet it'd come down to percentages. I'll bet the same percentage of a shitty game's sales are comparative to a commercial hit game's sales.

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        October 20, 2008 1:25 PM

        This is a terrible argument. People pirate really good games and really bad games. The quality of the game itself is not why people pirate... they pirate because they can. They see something for free and they take it. The whole line of reasoning that centers around "Well if they made better games maybe I'd actually pay for them" is a weak, shallow rationalization.

        So is the "Make their sticker price comparable to their actual value" argument. Computer games have stayed pretty much the same price for a really long time, even as development budgets have skyrocketed (and yes, I'm aware the industry has grown). If you feel the game is not worth the price they're asking, then don't buy it. There are plenty of reviews out there that give you a good idea of length, difficulty, gameplay, graphics, bugs, etc... the value of the game is pretty easy to determine.

        And of course the consumer will likely value the game less than the developer/publisher... we would get away with paying nothing for everything, if we could, just as the publishers would get away with charging way more. But the market works because a lot of people DO think the sticker price is comparable to the actual value. If they didn't, we'd either have way cheaper games or none at all.

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        October 20, 2008 1:39 PM

        I never understood the "make better games" as an argument explaining piracy. If a game isn't good, then why play it at all?

        • reply
          October 20, 2008 1:54 PM

          Generally, good games sell more copies.

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          October 20, 2008 2:16 PM

          Because after you get burned by 3 or 4 terrible buggy games in a row, thats $200+ you're out for garbage. I'd be more inclined to not buy them and 'try them out' with a torrent first.

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