Tuesday, 8 February 2011

If it can't be beaten; assimilate.

Pending my appearance on RADIO1 about Video Game Piracy, I only feel that is appropriate for me to write about my opinions on the subject.
It’s wrong. No point in beating around that bush. It’s wrong because it’s stealing. People slave away for, in some cases, years developing and researching games, I don’t think some people quite appreciate the vast amounts of effort that goes into - not only the big ‘Blockbuster’ titles - but the smaller and independent releases. For gamers to then effectively steal the final product is a downright slap in the face to these talented and enthusiastic people who give years of their lives for the honest entertainment of the masses.
Potentially, in the extreme long term, this may have the disastrous effect of chocking and starving the industry and its creativity. We would be left with the boring and repetitive proven money spinning annual series titles from the big players such as EA; and although we do occasionally bear witness to a true gem from these big developers from time to time, if we were to weigh this against the sheer volume of the flood of games we are engulfed with yearly - you’ll find the ratio is all wrong. If we were to compare EA to the music industry, it would be TMI.
I am aware that there is no hard evidence that piracy does and major damage to this already stigmatised entertainment medium, but with the estimated loss of£29 BILLION (and that’s just for the handheld market) from this fast growing branch of the entertainment tree, there is no denying that this the industry would indeed benefit if they had this sort of finance added to their annual sales. if we as gamers want to continue to see our hobby grow and become more socially acceptable; we need to give them all the help they can get. 
Things that grow quickly and live fast have an awful habit of dying quickly. Look at Lady Gaga. Or David Cameron’s political popularity. 
What the industry need to do is find a way of using piracy to its advantage, as a cheep or even free version of advertising. They could release special (maybe pre-release - such as GT5: Prologue) versions of the game for free, or small fee to the internet’s biggest and most popular torrent sites. This would effectively endorse downloading and ultimately reduce the amount of piracy seen in the industry today. 
But they have to do it properly; or face forever damaging the already fragile relationship that game developers have with their target market. 

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