So, the pirate ship took a maneuver and evaded from the horrible fate of getting sunk. I was checking some discussion that was surrounding this topic, and couple of particular comments caught my eye.
One on the ‘pirate side’ said that:
If you make quality content, people will pay for it.
I have mixed feelings about this. I’ll tell more after you see the following:
People are sick of paying too much to view or listen to what is ‘a pile of crap’ half the time.
Personally i wouldn’t pay to see half the stuff i download. If i didn’t have the option to download i wouldn’t buy it, therefore no money is lost as i wouldn’t buy ‘item X’ in the first place.
“Personally I wouldn’t pay to see half the stuff I download”? I suppose this means that the other half of the stuff he has downloaded, he is willing to pay for?
The problem with this approach is that I’ve actually seen only like one or two incidents when person (1) first pirated a copy of software and then (2) purchased the real product.
Both of those times it was me doing it, and I haven’t been using pirated software in years now.
When I’ve asked some of my friends about this, they have reported similar incidents – but they also give the “I wouldn’t pay for the crap” excuse. The thing is: if they purchase 1 product out of 10 000, enjoy 50% of the products and say “I wouldn’t pay to see half the stuff I download” then something is not matching.
If they don’t like 50%, but like 50% of the stuff – why they are only purchasing much less than 1% of the stuff? If their excuse is “I wanna test first see if I enjoy it before I buy it”, then logically if they enjoy the pirated copy, they will also buy it? Right?
That’s the reason why ‘if you make quality content, people will pay’ won’t work always… but I do think it’s the key issue to concentrate: developers should have their focus on making quality content, not on ‘how to fight pirates’.
After all, the more we focus on piratism, the more it expands. The more we focus on quality & our paying customers – the more that expands.
The old busines smodel doesn’t work in today’s world
One another comment came from a pirate:
It doesn’t mean an end at all, it’s just the old business model doesn’t work in todays world.
I agree to some extent, and I got 3 visions where this could lead:
#1 – More console games, less PC games I don’t think this will happen, but I think there’s slight chance that at some point PC developers start abandoning the platform when they see that console sales are doing better. This has been said for the last couple of decades, so I don’t really think that this will happen. I just mention this as one not so likely, but possible way. (Naturally they will get back the moment people start to share pirated console games… technology won’t save anything – pirates are always one step ahead)
#2 – More ads in games: Other option could be that there will be more ads in games. The natural response (of course) from pirates is that they will create ripped versions where these ads aren’t shown. This model might die before it’s born. Maybe.
#3 – Focus on online gaming: At some point it might happen that our games are played solely on servers, where you only purchase a client for the game (Think year 2019 rather than year 2009). If you want to player a game of Tetris, you’ll contact to a server which will give you information how the game goes. World of Warcraft is already doing this (and it’s kind of the only game type you cannot pirate, since you need a server) and we might see more of this type of games. I know there’s already pirate-servers for some online MMOs where you can play using a pirated client, so… who knows.
So, how will it end?
I think some of the pirates are giving legitimate reasons why they are pirating their products. Blocking, banning, DRM won’t be the way to fight against the pirates. Fighting pirates most likely just backfires: you end up alienating your own customers.
One good example comes to my mind: I had this DVD that I bought. In the intro text there’s “pirating is illegal, blah bla blah, don’t pirate”. The legally purchased copy I have has this 30 sec intro which I always need to watch when I play the movie. Do you know what the pirated copy has done better? It has removed this part (surprise, surprise!). So, now the pirates can watch the movie right away (without seeing “don’t pirate” messages), but I (who bought the darn thing) am stuck watching the darn intro every single time I play the movie.
Piratism will be here to stay, and it shows us that we need to adapt in the situation. Old business models are getting less useful, so we gotta find a way to use new ways. It could mean more advertising, paid content, monetizing using special collector editions, or even having servers like in massively multiplayer online games where pirating gets much more difficult.
Whatever it will be, fighting won’t be the way to win.
Just like in real life.