Seems quite a few feathers got ruffled yesterday. Funny how quick people jump to defend something when called out, and how far they will go to rationalize their behavior. I’ll restate my main point from yesterday right up front, so you can read the rest of the entry with it firmly in your mind:
If your method of acquiring a game does not include paying the developers, you are a parasite rather than a fan of gaming.
Now you can bring up how times are tough, how you have thirteen kids to feed, what economic theory you believe in, how many times you visit the library, what car you drive, whatever. I don’t care. If what you do to acquire a game does not meet the condition above, you are not helping to create better games, you are not rewarding the effort of the people who entertain you, and you are, in my mind, a problem for gaming.
Thankfully it’s a problem that will soon no longer exist (or at least be minimized), as developers now have more and more tools at their disposable to eliminate this behavior. Steam is one of the better examples, as it’s a quick and easy method of cutting out places like GameStop or eBay, and we are seeing more and more games (especially the ‘little guys’) go exclusively in this direction, be it Steam itself or something similar. The other major benefit of something like Steam is that the developers have more control over their product, so they make the decision on when its time to have a sale, when its time to drop the price, or when to create a bundle deal. But unlike the used-games market, a Steam sale or bundle still rewards the developers, and still sends a ‘more of this please’ message to all of gaming.
One topic somewhat related to this is the notion that a pirated or stolen copy of a game is or is not a lost sale. Obviously to drum up drama and exaggerate the cause the games industry is going to say that every stolen copy is a lost sale, while the pirates and thieves will counter with the fact that if they can’t steal a game, they would not have played/bought it. Often the thieves will include “but if I liked the (stolen) original, I might buy the sequel/expansion” justification. What a joke. Why, if you are willing to steal the original, would you then opt-in to pay for part two? Is anyone really buying that the scum who stole the first part are now going to get in line with everyone else and pay up if the option to steal again exists?
What is often overlooked however is this: if the option to steal did not exist AT ALL, would the parasites still stay away? My guess here is no. Let’s say you have 20 hours a week to game, if you can’t fill that time with stolen games, I doubt you will step away from gaming all together and, say, hit up that library to read a book instead. You might be ‘forced’ to buy older/cheaper titles or wait for Steam sales if indeed you to have those thirteen kids to feed, rather than playing a new title the first week, but you WOULD be paying the developers who entertain you. It’s this angle that is the biggest loss in terms of piracy or theft, and more so because when forced to pay up, most consumers, and especially those truly on a tight budget, would put more thought and effort into their buying decision, and one would hope that would allow quality titles to float to the top. With rampant piracy, a title might sell better not because it’s a better game, but because it has more intrusive copy protection and so more people are ‘forced’ to buy it. That’s the exact opposite message most of us want to be sending.
Chuck-o-the-day: When running out of ammo, Chuck Norris stood in the line of fire, took three shots to the chest, and used them to reload.