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[GameSetWatch] Opinion: Game Developers Should Love Their Pirates

post #1 of 5
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http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2011/02/...ers_should.php

Quote:
Realize that your game content is entirely valueless. You may have spent days, months or lifetimes working on it, but what you have created has no tangible value. At all.

However, before this makes you commit suicide, consider this: Google has no tangible value. Facebook has no tangible value. Twitter has no tangible value. And yet each of them is considered to be worth many billions by investors and stock markets, and each makes billions in revenue. Google is a $200 billion corporation that has made its fortune on a product that it gives away, completely free, to everyone. The same is true of the others.
Quote:
For example, suppose you made a cool strategy game and sold it for $10. You expect it to be pirated by various sites quickly. Your choices are to install some DRM to make sure that every copy sold is legitimate, and then have a running battle with pirates who crack that DRM.

Or alternatively you can let the pirating just happen and instead build social features into the game (which could be as simple as links to your company forum) and a requirement that people who need customer service buy a legitimate license. Then you participate in your forum all the time and start telling everyone about version 2 of the game, which will be out in 6 months and cost another $10.

If your model is based on one-shot economics, the risk is that you will not make your sales requirements first time. So the second option (let pirates be pirates) is directly eating away at your bottom line. On the other hand, if your model is based on valuing relationships then it doesn't matter.

A pirate will likely pirate anyway, but instead you are focused on converting them into a customer eventually. And when the second version comes out, the process is the same. More customers, more pirates, more participants in the community, and here comes version three.
I thought that this was an interesting article from Tadhg Kelly, formerly of Lionhead Studios, about the future of the gaming industry in terms of meeting the challenge of piracy. I know a lot of people on this forum have inherently hostile feelings towards piracy but hasn't it gotten adequately widespread enough to the point where it's no longer feasible to manage it by persecuting those who pirate or through wasting money on researching new forms of DRM? Barring some dramatic shift in technology or privacy rights, it seems almost useless to approach piracy from a hostile point of view.

If this many people are refusing to pay for your product, it seems to indicate a broken business model and the need for a new one. As Kelly points out, value stems not from the factors of production but from how your business model is able to generate revenue from your product. If your business model fails to generate revenue from your product, it simply means your business model is broken. The point isn't that video games need to emulate Google and facebook in their business model but that there does need to be innovation in the business model currently used as it seems to no longer be optimal in the current business environment.
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post #2 of 5
Basically he was talking about steam in a way. There are pirated steam games but you do miss out on the integration with friends and the other perks. Long term business model as the guy described is the best way to go in my opinion.
post #3 of 5
It's sort of like the whole "Pirate this album" way of thought, in that piracy is essentially free publicity.

Chuckled at the Monkey Island picture of a pirate.
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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by dir_d View Post
Basically he was talking about steam in a way. There are pirated steam games but you do miss out on the integration with friends and the other perks. Long term business model as the guy described is the best way to go in my opinion.
I guess someone like me would be really happy because I don't go social at all with my games and only play single player and once it ends I install it and never replay any of them.
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post #5 of 5
Crytek is loving it with Crysis 2.

Finally put them back on the map after the BF3 announcement.
    
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