Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is Online Piracy Destroying Game Studios?

I surfed Yahoo! today and I got surprised by what the music industry came up to decrease the rate of online piracy: cut off ISP services to the perpetrators. That's kind of extreme but it's true. See the article HERE.

This radical solution and the severity of the problem it's trying to solve reminds me of what happened to Iron Lore Entertainment. The studio, which was co-founded by the co-founder of the Age of Empire series, made the impressive Titan Quest RPG. Despite Titan Quest's 7.6 rating in Gamespot, the studio folded due to insufficient finances.

Was the studio a victim of rampant online piracy?

While news of Iron Lore's demise got mixed reactions, there was a good chance they still should have been sailing on if not for rampant Internet piracy. This is just my opinion though as there are sources that say that despite the industry booming, a lot of gaming studios still close down. Nonetheless, everywhere I look it's discouraging; people are buying pirated stuff, selling them even.

Friends may argue that what I'm doing is ridiculous, extravagant, and that I can do nothing to stop the trend but let's face it, one way or the other, offline and online piracy WILL hurt game studios and the people working for them.

Koroush Ghazi, a person I dislike for forums-related reasons, has published a lengthy but very sound article on online piracy. (I may not like him, but what he stands for and the fact that he is one of the shining beacons of PC knowledge, I salute and respect deeply.)

Some excerpts to entice you to read his "PC Game Piracy Examined" article:

"So if you enjoy single player games for example, then you're faced with the very real possibility that fewer and fewer developers will risk investing large sums of money into this type of game. If they do, then instead of a lengthy and high quality gameplay experience, you may be looking at shorter, less challenging games which may be less than satisfying. Or you may wind up with more poor quality console ports." --- Koroush Ghazi;

Do you really want the above to happen?

"Alternatively if you enjoy multiplayer games, then you may find that if the number of unofficial pirated servers for such games continues to grow, and the tools to find and join such servers become more popular, that this will tip the scale towards more and more multiplayer games being created in the Battlefield Heroes mold: cheaply developed, free to play, low-spec quality, designed for the lowest common denominator of online gamer, with little focus on actual skill and more on simply making the game as attractive as possible to anyone who can operate a PC keyboard." --- Koroush Ghazi;

Again, you can read the article in its entirety HERE.

The last excerpt hit me hard as I've been playing those kinds of games lately while all the while bemoaning their quality. (Freemium MMOFPS do attract more players but yes, I see the blatant dip in quality from games such as Tribes: Vengeance or FEAR Combat.)

Are games like this doomed?

Why legit games when you can have games for free? That's for another article.


Gaming Website said...

I agree with Piracy basically killing almost everything which includes Music. I was with Metallica when they sued Napster because of copyright theft. Too bad many music enthusiasts revolted against them. Misguided bunch, I must say tch!

I therefore conclude that Piracy can kill >_>