It's 11'o'clock at night. A young man sits in front of his dimly-lit computer monitor, staring at endless amounts of web pages. He is finished with his normal routine of lollygagging on the internet and proceeds to go to a website called “The Pirate Bay”. He will then find some torrents of his interest, and begin to download them. One of them is a video game he has been wanting since it first was announced. He sits in his chair, giddy with excitement, knowing he'll be able to play it on launch day.
Piracy in the gaming industry has largely been frowned upon. Publishers feel like they are being fed upon by packs of rats, who don't give anything back in return; rats only gorging on eyes that were obviously (and in their mind, rightfully) theirs. Some developers see their hard work being unappreciated, and begin to feel sad and/or angry that people are playing the hard work without paying for it. But what if they're is something the both are not seeing? What if those developers' works are being appreciated? What if those eyes those rats are stealing are stolen for reasons that could help publishers see something differently for the long run?
Media is increasing in price, and consumers are straggling to keep up to the rapid pace that development is taking. Game development budgets are reaching an all-time high, expectations of sales are becoming outrageous, and prices of video games are steadily going up as well. The limited budgets of a gamer is causing bad situations for the consumer and the supplier. Publishers seem to be afraid of risks, yet all they do is keep pouring in money to something they “think” is going to do well. Why?
Money is being overspent and spent in the wrong places. Publishers invest all their money into surefire hits, only to be in need of major financial support after a project flops. Spending money on DRM is futile when in this day and age, it's only to get patched within a few days, sometimes on the same day of release. With technology advancing at such a rapid speed and publishers' mindsets staying the same, prices are only going to go even further up. And this is going to really hurt them in the long run.
With all these prices going up, it's going to make it increasingly hard for the consumer to keep up as well. And if they can't keep up, they'll either stop spending or turn to piracy. A lot of times, people who pirate things want to pay for them. They just don't have the means to do so. The digital market has created something great. It gets rid of physical constraints, and when priced right, outsells physical copies. If you want piracy to go down, you lower the prices to digital copies, plain and simple. Those who prefer physical media will continue to do so (and could possibly give them a real value again, thick manuals ahoy!) and you have better odds of more people buying a copy of the game then they would before because of the lower digital price point.
We don't need insane amounts of money to make a good game. We don't need the best, cutting-edge graphics out there to make a good game. We don't need all these technological advancements as long as the gameplay innovation is there. We need money to be spent better. We need everyone to treat the forefront of graphics as a niche thing and get back to what makes a good game again. Gamers should want a future where we are a generation back from the technology currently out. It would cause things to be cheaper for them in the long run and make the gate bigger for those who want to play games. A lower price sets a lower entry bar, and that can only hold good things as long as a game isn't undervalued.
Let's go back to the young man I told you about in the beginning. Let's say that he doesn't have a lot of money to throw around. He tries to save up for the titles he really wants, but he can't always afford them. The cost of video game media has made video games a luxury for him and some of the people around him. And because of his plight, he's found out some ironic things. Like how got a cracked version of Spore without DRM, but the ones around him who bought it had DRM. Or the time he pirated a copy of L.A. Noire and the developers received the same amount of money from him as those who went out and bought the game.
But he's also found that there is a world of games that he's never even imagined before. Old DOS titles and unearthed PC games have found new life. He will tell his friends about them, and news will spread. He'll find Japanese imports that would have never been released in America but have fan-patches so he can enjoy them all the same. He'll tell his friends about these games too, and news will spread again. Later he finds out that PC series he played has been rebooted for a whole new generation of gamers. And that Japanese game? The sequel is getting localized and due to be released in a few months.
Piracy is getting games played. Piracy is breathing life into franchises, old and new. And Piracy should be giving publishers a new set of eyes, not making them use the same ones when the problem persists. Piracy is a thing that is helping out publishers and developers. They just got to find the right mindset to see it. And if they do that? Well, we'll all be better off for it.
It's 11'o'clock at night. A young man sits in front of his dimly-lit computer monitor, staring at endless amounts of web pages. He is finished with his normal routine of lollygagging on the internet and proceeds to go to a website called “The Pirate Bay”. He will then find some torrents of his interest, and begin to download them. One of them is a video game he has been wanting since it first was announced. He sits in his chair, giddy with excitement, knowing he'll be able to play it on launch day. What he doesn't know is that millions of other people just like him are changing the industry as we know it. All it's got to take is a new set of eyes on an old problem.