BBC reported that rampant piracy is threatening the future of the PC games industry. Todd Hollenshead, head of Doom 3 creator Id software was quoted for that statement. The comments and reasons for piracy were quite typical (that were have seen also before). It’s fun to see the “games would need to be cheaper” arguments (and then imaging how these people download those 2 gigabyte games over and over using their 100 megabit cables and drinking wine ;).
I admit piracy can be a problem, but I doubt it will threaten PC games in the nearly future. One example is the Windows Vista & Xbox Live. They are basically merging Xbox and PC gamers to play together. Does that look like Microsoft is forgetting PC? I don’t think so.
Almost anywhere I look I see “piracy is a problem”. The business mantra I’ve heard over and over says exactly the opposite: there are no problems, only opportunities. What would happen if we’d say “piracy is an opportunity”?
As I start thinking about it, I come to see several opportunities. One opportunity is for copyright protection software developers: the one who makes such protection that keeps pirates away is going to get rich. Secondly there might be room for people to set up a “pirate hunting” group and start taking down pirate sites – money sponsored from developers. One opportunity for developers could be to use the piracy to help promoting their game: instead of fighting against pirates, they could distribute free software and use in-game ads, pay-per-item or other models to fund the development. I would also believe that if big players leave, it basically gives more room for indie and casual games. All of these opportunities might not be viable, but when one starts to look for opportunities – he starts to seem them.
The 10th GameProducer.net challenge: What opportunities you see in piracy? Feel free to post your comment on this.