Okay, the horse is almost dead but I think the coverage of the issue of PC game piracy has tended to be a bit one-sided.
The PC software market is comprised more than just PC games. And piracy is certainly not exclusive to PC gaming. But people don’t say that the PC software market is “d0med” every other week. Why is that?
In my opinion, it is because the PC game market (both developers and the enthusiast press) focus on making and covering things that are considered “cool” rather than on what the market is actually interested in buying.
I have seen (without naming names) 2 page spreads in PC game publications for game hardware from vendors who I know sell less than 10,000 machines annually (not just of the model being reviewed, but their entire product line). I see coverage for PC games for genres that historically don’t get great sales.
In terms of development resources for games, I see a huge percentage of PC game releases targeting relatively small markets. It is as if the games being made are focusing on the people who buy those mega gaming PCs that sell so few units.
My applications don’t require me to keep a CD in the drive or force me to go through obnoxious DRM to use. And yet they suffer piracy but are still very profitable.
When games come out that have hardware requirements that only a tiny % of users can make use of in genres with relatively small potential buyers we keep hearing that piracy is the cause.
Piracy is a serious problem on the PC. But not just for games. All PC software has to deal with it. But the general PC software industry deals with it by focusing on making software for people who buy stuff.
By contrast, the PC game industry continues to focus on making games that only a small % of PC gamers can actually play in genres that have amongst the lowest percentages of people who actually buy stuff.
I’ve written a lenghty (even lengthier than this) outline of this with more detail on the subject here:
My point is that while piracy is a significant issue for PC gaming, it is hardly the primary cause of PC games selling lower than they “should”.
The PC game industry has generally made the choice of glory versus profit. And that is certainly their choice. As a nerdy kind of guy, I’d like to be a “gaming rockstar” too so I can appreciate the desire to make the “coolest stuff”. But there are economic consequences to that choice.
Anyway, just my 2 cents on the matter. Cheers.