The phenomenon of piracy in the game industry (Topic)

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The phenomenon of piracy in the game industry


According to analysts from Sandvine global internet phenomena, the level of piracy, including in the gaming industry, has grown from 26% to 32%.

Today, the problem of the spread of the pirate convention is not as acute as, for example, 5-10 years, when developers in the fight against unlicensed copying put a spoke in the wheels of honest players.

By the way, we already wrote about this in detail earlier, and if you missed it, we advise you to read more about game piracy.

The same Ubisoft, trying to protect their Assassins's Creed II, invented such a sophisticated defense system that blocked the gameplay for those who played the license. As you might guess, the game still floated to the network.

Taking this opportunity, we can take a look at why piracy exists in the gaming industry, how it was once fought, and how to deal with it now.

When you don't have a buried treasure chest


If we classify pirates, we get four categories. The first two are ignorant and principled people.

Ignorant people are casual players who do not understand the importance of buying a video game due to their ignorance. They rarely play games, and if they start, then they play a certain game just for informational purposes, and often do not understand that they have to pay for such a product.

The second type is the principled people who believe that for some reason they should get everything for free.

The next two types are more important for us in this context, and it is in them that you can see the main problem of game piracy. These are those who cannot buy games, and gamers who simply do not have enough money for it.

The third group includes the "victims" of the age rating. For example, any gamer who is 14 wants to play The Witcher, but he faces two problems. First, the game has a rating of M - that is, 17+, and he cannot buy it from the seller, with all his wishes, without the permission of his parents. And secondly, he simply may not have money, since earning at 14 is difficult. Exit - download. And 37% of underage gamers do just that.


The last type - people willing to buy a license, but they simply do not have the money for it. It is important to understand here that video games are entertainment and are not at the forefront of human needs. However, they are sold at the same prices in countries with completely different economies, where for someone to pay 50 euros per game is nothing to do, and for others it is a weekly budget for food. For example, the average salary in Bulgaria in 2016 was 340 levs, and the average cost of a good game was 120 levs. It would be like if in America the price of an AAA project was not $ 60, but $ 400.

Today, the lack of money is one of the main reasons for piracy in the gaming industry.

How publishers fought corsairs

According to the German Pirate Party (its members are sitting in the European Parliament), which advocates free content for the development of social responsibility, publishing houses are a business model that is afraid of innovation and is ready to defend its right to profit of any value. So Ubisoft has always been a leader in this paranoia, claiming that 95% of their audience is pirates.


Such loud statements several years ago led to the creation of protection systems and "punitive" mechanics. Here are some examples:

  • In the pirate Mirror's Ege, the player could not accelerate to full speed.
  • In GTA 4, those who did not “buy” a ticket to Liberty City were constantly suffering from camera shakes.
  • In the pirate Serious Sam 3, on the first level there was a scorpion, which was impossible to kill and continue the game.
  • The Witcher - before CDPR was fixed, they hired a team of lawyers who sent all those who downloaded the first part of the game letters threatening that either they were paying $ 750 in fines, or the court. The problem is that letters came to those who bought the game and even to those who had never heard of it ...
  • The DMR protection system is a classic today. If it is present in the game, there are two scenarios: after a year or half a year it is hacked, or it is not hacked, and the game is simply not played.

Given that the root of piracy is a lack of money, attempts by publishers and developers to punish players or prevent access to the product leads to only one thing - such people simply will not play and buy their games. Bans will not force someone with poor finances to buy a game. The effect will be the same as if these people did not want to pay in principle.

What is there today?

Oh poor Rockstar! After adding 256 million in GTA 5, they made only 1 billion in the first three days of the sale ... Ah, poor Ubisoft! Due to the fact that 95% of their audience are pirates, they consistently release us an AAA project of the Assassin's Creed series every year ...


Fortunately, today both gamers and developers understand that piracy in the gaming industry will not destroy it, and the arguments against - sound as stupid as the French statements about 95% of the pirates. Today, many large studios are changing their policies just in the direction of what the Pirate Party of Germany is promoting. We can see how this works in the following two studios.

It was not for nothing that we said that CDPR corrected itself, because they understood the mistake. So, the studio refused to put protection on the third Witcher DMR, saying that they are not afraid of piracy. After all, we are sure that they made a high-quality product, and when the pirate plays The Witcher, he will definitely buy it in the future.


The creators of Hotline Miami from Dennaton Games went further and put the game on torrents themselves. And their project was also a hit.

As one also "reformed" developer of the Serious Sam 3 series said, people will always pay for a quality project. And if you accuse them that your "cool" game is not for sale because they are greedy and pirates - I have bad news for you.

The Topic of Article: The phenomenon of piracy in the game industry.
Author: Jake Pinkman