Intel and Eurogamer discuss videogame piracy: listen

Subject: Editorial | October 5, 2011 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: used sales, piracy, Intel

Matt Ployhar of Intel recently wrote in their blog their thoughts about Eurogamer’s piracy and secondary sales editorial. Piracy and Secondary Sales are hot-button issues with publishers these days as many publishers are looking for ways to maximize revenue; we will discuss that in just a second. Talking to many people of the general public over the last few years it seems as though there are two dominant camps of ideology: piracy is alright because I am not hurting anyone; and people are getting screwed and pirates should not be allowed to enjoy the content. Humorously enough, plotting that sample space statistically would yield an overlapping Venn diagram. Personally, I believe that both sides are wrong.

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I’d sing “Stuck in the Middle with You” but… copyrights; also, this is a text-only article. And I’m not.

Piracy and Secondary Sales are difficult concepts to fully grasp as information transactions have sharp analogues to material value without actually having any. The most obvious application of this concept is that theft is impossible: a copy is a copy and not a move. Publishers make the analogy to physical goods which can be stolen and this fight perpetuates ad-infinitum. Secondary sales are where these arguments break down, however: publishers actually desire for their products to be consumable. The entire entertainment industry is constructed around the concept of consumable entertainment. This leads into the true issue with information content revenue: control.

There is an intuitive link between control and revenue: if you increase your control over your market than you will increase your revenue. That is a dangerous untruth. Assume that you add a DRM that limits your customer’s ability to pirate your product as stated in Intel Blog and Eurogamer: did you make the pirated product more appealing than the official one? Have you cut off potential buyers? Did you increase development and maintenance costs for yourself? How will future product sales be affected? Assume that you remove the ability for your market to purchase second-hand: how are you distribution partners affected? How will future product sales be affected? Would those people ultimately learn how to pirate your content if they do not entirely ignore it?

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Warning: Anti-Piracy methods may lead to loss in revenue beyond $250,000

The danger in this untruth is that intuition often takes over and these failures are attributed to a lack of control rather than a superabundance of it. This arms race quickly escalates the non-issue to government legislation which is not even remotely focused on the fundamental problem. Perhaps try a little of what Monty Python and Steve Lieber already have? Intelligently release some control and let your market reward you. Conversely, a customer who cannot pay for your services for one reason or another -- will not -- at a fault of none other than your personal business practices.

Source: Intel Blog
October 6, 2011 | 06:07 AM - Posted by Eric (not verified)

They're on two different pages of the Eurogamer article, but I think side by side these two quotes become more interesting:

Quote: ""It's impossible to know how bad piracy is," agrees Michael Pachter, Wedbush Morgan analyst, "but it's pretty bad. Ubisoft told me that their PC game sales are down 90 per cent without a corresponding lift in console sales."

Related quote? Quote: "One company that has antagonised the PC community more than most is Ubisoft, for requiring an always on internet connection."

What's to blame they say? Why, piracy for sure. I agree with the quote later on in the article by GOG.com's director: 'It should be easier to play a game that you bought legally than play a game that you pirated.'

October 6, 2011 | 06:33 AM - Posted by Cannyone

Ubisoft? You mean they haven't gone out of business yet? Seriously I don't play their games, and I encourage others not to play their games. So while I don't pirate their games. I refuse to support them in any way.

Oh, and when I speak to someone at a retail store about their games. I bring up the true story of a friend who bought Silent Hunter 5 only to discover that he couldn't play the game because it required an Internet connection. Prior to that they used "Starforce" software and tried to claim that it did nothing to our ROM drives.

That company and their egregious copy protection policies have essentially "hoisted themselves on their own Petard". So it doesn't surprise me that no one will even buy their console games. The industry will be better off when some of these companies decide to close their doors.

October 6, 2011 | 12:45 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Agreed with the other posters, piracy is just a publisher cop out/excuse.

October 6, 2011 | 02:09 PM - Posted by mickey21

I buy every game I enjoy. Full truth. I do not buy every game I play. Take that how you want. Pirating is not the problem, it is the short term solution to an industry that is ignoring its customers.

Customers will buy the games, give them a reason to buy them. Not continuous reasons not to. I too have pirated games I already own just to get around DRM or limiting features like no LAN play or the need for a continuous internet connection.

"Control" will not win you more customers, it will alienate them, eventually completely. Poor Ubisoft, die already. You brought it on yourself. Will never buy a single game you produce ever again.

October 10, 2011 | 11:54 PM - Posted by Eric (not verified)

I know this is an old article but this is a perfect example: http://www.next-gen.biz/features/valve-are-games-too-expensive

I can't tell you how many times I've bought games that were single player only for $15-20 on steam that ordinarily I would never buy, I just don't get enough replay from them, at $50-60 these products are too expensive, AAA titles like Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare's, Skyrim and other blockbuster titles get my attention at full price but these other companies should learn a thing or two. They are pricing themselves out of sales and I would gladly open my wallet up to these companies if they were to reduce their prices based on how much content they are putting out there.

Another concept I'm really into is the multi-player vs. single player war... there has been alot of talk over the years of separating the two products for sales, how many people would go out and buy battlefield 3 for the single player campaign @ $25 but would never go and pay $50 because they have absolutely no interest in the multi player experience, how about those that wont pay $50 because they don't even play the single player and they feel cheated... food for thought really because it's something that is untested and... needs to be!

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