Monday, May 24, 2010

Piracy Causes Everything

Many software publishers and developers like to blame piracy for everything, from less-than-expected sales to the reason for DRM, but this is a new one. Sony America's Senior VP of Public Relations Rob Dyer gave an interview to Gamasutra recently. In the interview, Gamasutra brought up the lagging sales of the PSP handheld consoles. Dyer's response:

… And we also believe that there's a way that you will be able to, not stop, but slow down the piracy in the first 30 to 60 days from a tech perspective. There's some code that you can embed that we've been helping developers implement in order to get people at least to see a 60-day shelf life before it gets hacked and it shows up on BitTorrent.

That's been the biggest problem, no question about it. It's become a very difficult proposition to be profitable, given the piracy right now. And the fact that the category shrunk inside of retail.

It's true; you can't hit any torrent tracker site without seeing thousands of download links for a Sony PSP.

Wait, no.

Last time I checked, you can't download hardware. And if pirates are actively seeking out games to download and play, it stands to reason they'd need a piece of hardware to play them on. So, rampant piracy of games, if anything, should have an increase of hardware sales, no? Heck, I'd be more inclined to buy a PSP if I knew I could easily hack it and get a bunch of free games for it (if I did that sort of thing).

Piracy may have an impact on the revenue the entire division brings in, when you combine hardware and software; but until we can hook up a replicator to BitTorrent, you'll have a hard time convincing me that the failure to move hardware is a fault of piracy.


Chris said...

Not to mention the incorrect assumption that every pirated copy is a lost sale. I'd like to see a study of people that regularly pirate games and how many of them would have actually bought the game if it wasn't available for "free." I bet the number is very very low.

bookladydavina said...

I rather agree.. I know with the current prices of everything, but especially with games, having the chance to play it a bit and see if it is something I'd actually like appeals... if it is, I would have no problem paying for it, but I really don't want to blow $50 or more on a game and then find out that I hate it.
Is part of why we buy very few games.. don't download them either, which pretty much means we just don't play a whole lot.. and most of the games we do buy we get second hand if possible, so even there, they're not seeing much of a profit from me..
Maybe they should consider offering free downloadable trial versions and see if that helps their sales :)

Yakko Warner said...

It's about as bad as the MPAA/RIAA, that uses the same incorrect and inflated logic to complain about movie/music piracy. In fact, there have been a lot of stories about music groups insisting that places pay up for "performance licenses" if they happen to have music where more than a couple people can hear it (this happens more overseas than here in the US, so far).

What's troublesome is some of the language that videogame publishers are using is starting to mirror that (like EA complaining that a used game buyer is using online services they haven't paid for, even though the service for that copy of the game was in fact paid for by the previous owner of that copy).