Todd Hollenshead: PC Makers Like Piracy. Secretly.

By Kieron Gillen on August 27th, 2008 at 12:02 pm.

He looks just Dave Mustaine here, or so I think right now.

Browsing Quarter-to-three, I discover that Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell’s interview with John Carmack and Todd Hollenshead has caused a little internet drama, picked up by 1UP. To paraphrase, Hollenshead argued that PC manufacturers secretly like that there’s piracy on the PCs, as it’s something which makes people buy PCs. After all, unlike console manufacturers, they don’t make any more profit if people actually buy games or not.

Which left Jim and I a little bewildered on a couple of points.

The first one is… well, yeah. Thinking back to school, when people were buying Amigas there was a knowledge that one of the advantages of the format was that while it may cost more, owning one meant your money on games went further. You bought what you could and pirated the rest. This is an obvious boon to the consumer. Equally clearly, since PC manufacturers aren’t stupid, they’re aware of the reasons people buy a gaming PC, so they’re aware of this. If you did a cold analysis of the numbers, I suspect the optimum level of profit for PC manufacturers would be one where there was just enough piracy to still count as an attractive thing, but insufficient to make the market unsustainable.

The second one is… well, why? As in, why are you saying this, Mr Hollenshead? For example: “I think that if you went in and could see what’s going on in their minds, though they may never say that stuff and I’m not saying there’s some conspiracy or something like that – but I think the thing is they realise that trading content, copyrighted or not, is an expected benefit of owning a computer.” If he’s aware of the fact they’d never actually say it, why is he? How does it profit him to state something that’s clearly true when all that stating that truth will do is get on the PC manufacturers back? As Jim puts it, what does he actually want them to do? “Please Download Responsibly” stickers on every new PC? About the only answer which makes sense is that as a long-term PC developer he’s just being really pissed off – which, to be fair, I suspect happens to almost every PC-developer given time.

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125 Comments »

  1. Al3xand3r says:

    @Sam:
    It’s still basically a demo, or a trial, which you have to buy to unlock the full thing, which you call “extra content” here. It’s a small treat to try and compel you to buy it, much like a ny demo of any form, whether it offers little content and comes on a disc or more content and comes as a trial or whatever. It has nothing to do with legalising or liking piracy or anything like that. You can call most any protection “minimal” these days, anything gets cracked within hours.

  2. Mindtrap says:

    The topic of every day: piracy

    I think the developers are asking the wrong question here…they are asking “how do we stop piracy?”
    instead they should ask: why do all those M”&!#$!”# pirate our games?
    The point is…most of the people pirate to try out the game, and to avoid ridiculous protections on the originals (look at bioshock)
    For example, i will never buy Alone in the dark 5. Why? Because everyone says it’s a bad game but i would love to try it by myself…and i can’t, there’s not a demo out, not a trial version, nothing… so i wont buy something that i might not like.. games are expensive, and that i$ the other problem.

  3. cliffski says:

    “Programmers of pc-games do bad engine-programming on purpose, ”

    Total and utter bullshit.
    A pc game programmer.

  4. cullnean says:

    @Azradesh
    never being adversly affected by anti-piracy mesures makes me an idiot how?

    @Download-plz
    “Granted I suppose if you never investigate the other side of the fence you’ll never know whether the grass is greener or not.”

    and by that you mean what? that i should download some cracked games? please clarify

  5. Downloads_Plz says:

    @Mindtrap

    I would love to see some type of chart showing the correlation of pirated games with a demo vs pirated games without a demo. I know personally the lack of a demo has caused me to pirate games as a way of testing them out in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

  6. Sam says:

    @cullnean: I think what the combative Mr Azradesh means is that you’re an idiot for assuming that anti-piracy measures don’t adversely affect non-pirates, not for not being affected by them yourself.

    @Al3xand3r: Yes, but historically (not Now), a lot of shareware didn’t have any protection on the content you bought with your money. I assume, therefore, that it was copied all over the place – pretty much all shareware programmers in the 80s were aware that the money they got represented a small fraction of the total copies even of the full game. Yet, as the argument goes, id software managed to make a lot of money from Doom (and, indeed, many other software houses at the time made a reasonable amount, although not in id’s league), despite the total lack of any attempts to stop piracy.
    (And, indeed, there was quite a lot of shareware where you didn’t get anything for paying for it – the ability to give money for what you already had was simply a matter of your personal rating of the value you assigned to the product. Even those games made some money – although the vast profits that id made on Doom were almost certainly due to the “free demo” approach, I admit.)

  7. cullnean says:

    this testing out stuff is a load of crap, are we supposed to belive that after testing if you like a game you will by it?

    ok heres a new question put your hands up if you condone piracy?

  8. cliffski says:

    Not true. there was not bit-torrent and broadband when id started. You could not trivially leech the latest games on release day from people you never met. The situation regarding piracy now compared with twenty years ago is totally and utterly game-changingly different.

  9. Sam says:

    @cullnean: As someone who has downloaded music before, and then bought the back-catalogue of the artist involved… yes?

  10. Sam says:

    @cliffski: Yes, I admit that. However, pretty much everyone I knew as a child in the 80s had pirate copies of games, which they must have gotten from somewhere – it may have been harder, but it was still the case, and increasingly so in the early/mid 90s when id made their money from the shareware thing.
    I accept that today’s market is a differently, and more widely enabled, thing – but hasn’t the market itself also grown, with the increased use of computers?

  11. Sam says:

    @cullean ‘s edited question: I believe that there is some evidence that, in at least some markets (the book industry, possibly the music industry) the existence of free copies of a product can have beneficial, as well as harmful, effects on the paid market for that product, yes.
    However, that’s not the same as “condoning piracy” in the sense that you’re trying to spin it.

  12. cullnean says:

    @sam: you did well in avoiding that question.

    edit= also im a server tech not a politician im not trying to “spin” anything and good answer about the music as i have no way of disproving your statement or you proving it

  13. sinister agent says:

    Oh come off it, it was clearly a loaded question, and Sam gave a reasonable answer that avoided the false dichotomy you were presenting.

  14. perilisk says:

    How exactly does a hardware fix stop piracy anyway? Surely pirates will be able to upload a modified version that doesn’t attempt to apply the protections in TPM.

    @cullnean: While I don’t pirate, I have little concern for any industry that attempts to protect its “property” (ie, legally sanctioned monopoly) by violating the property rights of others. Even if you ignore Securom, Starforce, rootkits, lockin, the DMCA and all the anti-competitive, anti-hardware-owner, and anti-consumer laws and technologies, there’s still the question of copyright extensions (not so much for software as for music and movies).

    Imagine the relentless barrage of wailing and bitching if the government arbitrarily cut existing copyrights back by 20 years, and ask yourself why transferring copyright from creator IP portfolios to the public IP portfolio is tantamount to theft, but the same transfer in the opposite direction is just a slight change in incentive structure. Whining about theft while hoarding giant piles of stolen goods isn’t likely to inspire sympathy in me.

  15. JonFitt says:

    “Programmers of pc-games do bad engine-programming on purpose”

    Gwuh??

    How about this:

    On the PC the programmers have a sliding scale they can work on: at one end they add all the bells and whistles (rendering passes, pixel shaders whatever) that modern technology allows but few will own rigs to play it, on the other they have the simpler graphics of last gen and a huge potential audience.

    So some guy has to look into his crystal ball and predicts what the limits of the scale will be 2 years in the future, and then decides where to pitch it to get the best return on their effort.

    On a console there is no improvement in the platform so instead somebody just has to trade complexity/content vs. graphical quality. Just look at the lack of anti-aliasing in a lot of console games, and poor draw distance (GTA4) , and occasionally sparse environments and you’ll see places where trade-offs have been made.

    As for the optimising, it’s not only consoles which get more efficient as they go, PC games do too, but because they’re continuing to break new ground you may not notice it because something else may have been added to take advantage of the extra headroom the optimisation allowed them.

    Also, some engines are bad because some programmers aren’t that hot. Sorry, but they’re human beings and not every programmer is a John Carmack, some are just ok.

  16. Max Cairnduff says:

    Cullnean,

    I don’t support piracy.

    That cleared up, as a legitimate purchaser of PC games this is an issue for me because some DRM techniques impair my ability to play games I have actually paid for. Worse yet, Starforce (and I think there have been others) has been shown to cause problems with the running of the PCs it is installed onto, which effectively makes it close to malware.

    As such, I have a strong desire to see the industry avoid DRM techniques which punish the legitimate purchaser and which remain ineffective against pirates.

    If you disagree, that’s your right. But it is perfectly possible to be a legitimate purchaser of these games and still be adversely affected by DRM issues.

    As an aside, this is a really old and massively familiar topic, with most people having heard all the arguments many times, which I suspect you may not be aware of (I’ve done the same myself on other topics actually, posted without realising how wearisomely familiar it might be to the forum I posted to), which may be why some responses are a touch hostile.

    Hope all that helps.

  17. cullnean says:

    @sinister agent: sorry im just not that clever

    its a simple question with a yes/no answer

  18. rocketman71 says:

    PC Gamers hate Hollenshead. Openly. And with reason.

    While he’s asking hardware manufacturers to give a hand in stopping piracy, he could also ask to borrow some programmers to, you know, make id’s games GOOD again.

    Because that’s what it takes to sell well. You idiot.

  19. Azradesh says:

    @cullnean
    No, saying that anyone that cares about anti-piracy measures is a pirate and anyone that isn’t a pirate would never have a reason to care, is what makes you an idiot.

  20. subedii says:

    Cullnean: Simple question with a yes/no answer:

    Should companies implement measures that prevent paying customers from playing their purchased product?

    I assure you I am simple minded and that this is not a loaded question.

  21. cullnean says:

    @azradesh: Eh? less rambling more clarity please

    honestly in all the time i have been reading rps i never knew the Piracy thread were so much fun

  22. cullnean says:

    Should companies implement measures that prevent paying customers from playing their purchased product?

    no they should not

    now ask me why they do.
    (ill set up an ask cullnean site, this shit is fun)

  23. Max Cairnduff says:

    Hurrah! I’m despamfiltered.

    Cullnean, I answered you pretty clearly upthread.

  24. Ian says:

    An argument about piracy on RPS? I never thought I’d see the day.

  25. subedii says:

    Good, then we’re agreed that the majority of, if not ALL DRM is immoral and should not be implemented. I’m glad we had this conversation.

  26. sinister agent says:

    So, Fallout 3 then, eh? I bet that’ll be pirated.

  27. Azradesh says:

    @cullnean
    If that’s not clear enough for you then you are merely proving my previous statment about you complete lack of intellect.

    Either that or you are merely a good troll. If so, well done you got me :P

  28. Azhrarn says:

    @cullnean: Well, why do they? :)
    Mainly to delude themselves into thinking that their rather bad game sells badly because the pirates were better than the DRM they bought and which prevented 50% of their fanbase form even playing the bloody game?

  29. cyrenic says:

    These piracy threads were long enough already without readers trolling and inflating the post count even more.

  30. sbs says:

    Hnnnh. Couldn’t you say the same thing about… alot of people?
    like this:
    ISP’s who offer flatrates like piracy. Secretly.
    Blank CD/DVD manufacturers like piracy. Secretly.
    That’s retarded.

    I mean it’s certainly a part of it, but it is it substantial enough to call them out on it like that? I doubt that.

  31. Champagne O'Leary says:

    Surgeons like drunk drivers. Secretly

    Oh, and James G
    One of the main reasons I’m a PC gamer is due to the lack of content control…[and the rest of your post]

    Are you for real? Fair enough if you are, but really, you’re a PC gamer because of that? What? It seems every time a piracy debate comes up, a million people come out of the woodwork with “Well I downloaded a game once but I’d bought it 4 times before and my house burned down and my CD drive was broken and it had been declared illegal to buy games that week”.

    If you’re genuine, then sorry.

    P.S. Why say you’re a “sap” for buying the R4?

  32. Azhrarn says:

    sbs: here in the netherlands there is a tax on all empty recordable CDs and DVDs aswell as on all MP3 players to compensate the dutch equivalent of the RIAA for supposedly lost royalty revenue.

  33. Newblade says:

    @Azhrarn: In Spain you must pay a tax on every storage device, from hard drives to usb sticks.

  34. James G says:

    By content control I wasn’t referring to restrictions on pirated software, but rather on the editorial control console manufacturers are able to exersise. Some of the propose piracy restrictions would all but prevent the running of unsigned code, potentially disrupting no only the mods scene but also a lot of indie development. (My appologies if you got this, but I hadn’t expected my comment to seem quite so surprising, so wondered if you missunderstood.) One of my favourite games at the moment is Dwarf Fortress, and there is no way that would get past MS screening process for XBOX Live Arcade, even if it did come with a free mouse and keyboard.

    And I referred to myself as a sap with respect to the R4 card as the popular perception on places like Kotaku is that no one could possibly be buying an R4 card for anything but piracy, and that homebrew is just a convenient excuse. Sap was a deliberately self mocking word selected to reflect this attitude, as though I was the only person in the world who had even brought an R4 for legitimate uses, thereby keeping an argument afloat.

  35. Tom says:

    @whoever asked me about this – I don’t really know, this is all just guess work…

    Maybe it could be use like this:
    Someone buys a game. Through TPM DRM the game is limited to 2 installs (if multiplayer, just the once).
    Install game -> During install a unique identifier based on the hardware of the PC is created and sent server side -> This is registered server side and associated to a decryption key -> decryption key is sent back and installed on to the TPM -> installed game data can now decrypt and be used.

    Repeat install on 2nd PC et all -> game dials home, notices it’s already been installed once -> 2nd decryption key is associated to 2nd PC ID server side and sent back -> etc

    Try again on 3rd PC -> no go because the devs or publishers server already has two decryption keys associated to two PCs.

    Common sense would suggest the ability to release encryption keys from the TPM enabling installs onto as many PCs as you want, but at no one time can the game be installed on more than two PCs (or one if multiplayer, or if the devs are assholes).

    My ethernet address is 001*92b*d3ee, and my disk volume serial number is 36*5*6ca – this is data being pulled from my PCs hardware, but it’s only being used at a software level so it’s easy to create a work around (something I take advantage of every time I use a lovely fellows immoral software to crack a certain 3D animation package (… did I say that out loud?!)).
    However cracking said 3D software past the version 2008 is considerable more difficult because the devs implemented dialling home. This hasn’t stamped out piracy altogether, it’s greatly reduced it, but not stamped it out.
    So how much more difficult will reverse engineering DRM be if the DRM itself could access data from your PC at a hardware level. Obviously not impossible, nothing is, but many, many times more difficult. Cracking would surely have to involve virtualised hardware? You’re no longer creating replacement exe’s that fool the software in to thinking it’s kosha or has the relevant CD or DVD in a disk drive. Or reverse engineering the algorithm a developer uses to generate viable serial numbers, there’s interaction at a hardware level. I dunno. But from what I understand the reason all software protection eventually fails is because it’s a software implementation, so much easier to fool. You can add dialling home which greatly helps, but introduce a hardware level to it and it’s a whole different ball game.

    That’s my vague understanding of it anyways. I’m probably wrong on many points.

  36. Pidesco says:

    The first thing that came to mind after reading Hollenshead comments was a big “WELL, DUH!”

    The whole computer industry has grown based almost solely on piracy. Among the general public, who the fuck needs 500Gb hard drives, or CD/DVD recorders, or 6Mbit internet connections? Pirates, of course.

  37. subedii says:

    The heck?

    I’ve got a 250 GB drive, I’m already nearing the limit on that. CD / DVD writers? The amount of stuff I’ve burned on them (Gasp, non infringing) makes them well worthwhile (Unless you’re suggesting we go back to good ol’ floppies?). As for a 6Mbit internet connection, I guess watching streaming movies over the internet is out, as is downloading demo’s, software packages or playing hi-speed internet games.

    Oh wait, you couched it in the term “the general public” so that you can say it doesn’t apply to anyone here, since you know, we’re not members of the general public. Nobody ever does those things except nerds and other technophiles and things right?

    You know, I don’t even really have an issue with your stance, but your example sucks. Technologies improve. As they do we find more and better uses to put them to. Who needs 6Mbit internet? Then who needs broadband at all, just stick to that 56K, you’re only reading e-mails anyway right? Well, we were at one point. Expectations are a little bit higher these days, and as we get bigger and better pipes we’ll put them to even more uses, yes even “The General Public”.

    I hate the attitude that being at home with advancing technologies makes you a frigging pirate now. Fifteen Years ago “The General Public” didn’t even have an e-mail address. Who needs an internet connection? Pirates of course!

  38. Sam says:

    Indeed. I’ve not pirated anything since I was about 14. I’m now happily using about 100Gb of harddisk, and a 2Mb broadband connection, for entirely free purposes. Yes,I have several gig of music, but it’s all either free or I paid for it.
    I don’t even run Windows (but, of course, I bet someone’s going to suggest that only Pirates don’t run Windows ;) ), so I didn’t pay for anything much but the games on this computer…

  39. Pidesco says:

    What do you have stored in your 250GB drive?

    Also, it isn’t just about about improving technology, it’s also about decreasing costs of said technology. a 1TB hard drive costs close to 100€. The point is that before, say, a DVD recorder reached a low enough price to be a feasible purchase for the general public, there had to be a significant percentage of the population buying the DVD recorders at a premium until economies of scale kicked in and allowed for production costs to plummet. That growth would have been a lot slower without piracy.

  40. subedii says:

    Sam I know for a FACT that you didn’t pay anyone for that copy of Ubuntu. You think it’s honest to just download that kind of software as you please?

  41. subedii says:

    @Pidesco: Plenty of games. Plenty of compiler software and programming environments, software for embedded systems, level design tools, that sort of stuff. I like to tinker in my spare time. Plenty of windows stuff too (the core OS and things like Office probably take up the bulk of my HDD space).

    And there’s also such a thing as an “early adopter”, without which, no technologies would ever flourish. People like to talk about the “Wii success story” at hitting the mainstream, but often forget it was that first wave of hardcore techies and geeks that really pushed it through that first few months.

    If you’ve got stats to back up why hard drives and dvd burners should be so much more expensive, I’d like to see them. The tech becomes available, people adopt it, it goes down in price. The tech becomes better and more efficient, people get newer and better versions and put it to bigger and more expansive uses.

    I’m not saying piracy isn’t a contributing factor to things like price drops. Your post essentially said that people in the general public only have the high end stuff because they’re pirates. There’s no way that I can agree with that.

  42. neoanderthal says:

    some people will pirate just about anything, regardless of cost or the hoops that one must jump through in order to do so. copy protection and all of that annoying BS doesn’t stop these people from pirating stuff, but it does make me wary of buying materials with undue burden put upon me (the legitimate purchaser of said material). An example – I picked up ‘Loki’ from Cyanide Studios not too long ago. The game play is ok – it’s not amazing, but the game’s all right. But the hoops you must go through to play this game! Install the software, use the key, install the copy protection driver, reboot (after installing a game, for christ’s sake), connect to the internet so it can verify that you’re a legitimate user, and make sure you leave the disc in the drive as the game frequently (every few days) checks it to make sure you’re not running a copied version.

    This is utter BS. I am back to playing the Dawn of War series – there’s no BS there. I install the software, put in a key, and that’s it. No disc in drive, no untoward hassle.

    Quality issues aside for Loki (and there are some rough edges that, after 3 patches or so should no longer be present), this nonsense with the “copy protection” ensures that I won’t play it again.

    You know, if these game studios just want to feed off of the teat of the console industry, why not just admit they’d make more money off of it and stop looking for excuses as to why they don’t want to develop any more PC games? If they don’t want to make more PC games, fine – I am sick of hearing how people’s unlawful acts with the PC are driving them to the holy land of the console. Given that (as mentioned above by others) game quality isn’t so great on some games, I’m not keen on purchasing their product anyhow.

  43. Pidesco says:

    “Plenty of compiler software and programming environments, software for embedded systems, level design tools, that sort of stuff.”

    General public? C’mon. The general public are the people who use the internet for youtube, e-mail, porn and messenger. Their crap PCs are used, for MSOffice, internet, solitaire and, maybe, the occasional mainstream game.

  44. subedii says:

    You know, if these game studios just want to feed off of the teat of the console industry, why not just admit they’d make more money off of it and stop looking for excuses as to why they don’t want to develop any more PC games? If they don’t want to make more PC games, fine – I am sick of hearing how people’s unlawful acts with the PC are driving them to the holy land of the console.

    Whilst I was initially nodding along there, and thought to agree with you on that, in the end I can’t.

    PC games developers don’t want to head off on to being console exclusive devs. Ultimately, the games industry needs a healthy and vibrant PC games industry. The PC games indutry is where all the real advances in graphical processing occur, where the physics technology and theories are allowed to be created and developed. Gaming hardware for the consoles isn’t developed in a black box, all those theories and designs have been designed, tested and advanced in the PC market first. It’s the PC that any would-be games developer is going to start working on first, be it modder, indie developer, or just someone messing around changing texture colours. Any future talent HAS to pass through that filter first, there’s no escaping it.

    Leaving the industry and financial stuff to the side, these are people who fundamentally grew up gaming on, working on, and programming for, PC’s. There’s a strong connection there.

    I don’t think devs want to leave the industry. Those that wanted to have pretty much done so by now. Other companies like Valve, Stardock and Blizzard have found their own, self-created places in the industry. In between, you’ve got the average software developer looking at the PC industry, wanting to create for this amazingly open and freeform platform, and they see a problem in the form of piracy. They see that people are pirating their games, they see that whilst they want to develop for the platform, it may not BE viable to do so.

    From that point, you get this discussion.

  45. Pidesco says:

    I’d just like to add that I’m not saying that people are evil(or good , for that matter) because they are pirates. Or that the computer industry is run by Machiavellian magnates.

    What I’m saying is that piracy is a reflection of a change in the way the public perceives intellectual property and in the way technology affects the availability of cultural products which traditionally have always been luxury items. And this is a good thing.

    What this means is that piracy shouldn’t be stamped out (because it’s a pointless, impossible effort), but instead should be analyzed, learned from, and used to develop alternatives to it.

  46. subedii says:

    General public? C’mon. The general public are the people who use the internet for youtube, e-mail, porn and messenger. Their crap PCs are used, for MSOffice, internet, solitaire and, maybe, the occasional mainstream game.

    Technically a home user could probably get by on a dumb terminal with net access. Expectations rise as more people adopt. What I use for games, another person will use for home movies, to store their record collection. Crap, I have a friend that’s a hobby photographer, he’s got gigs and gigs of images in .raw format. I don’t know how many DVD’s he’s had to burn to back them all up, and loads more just to pass the photos on to friends, but it’s a lot.

    You’re right in that I’m probably a more technically minded adopter than most people. But ultimately, what the early adopters start off using eventually becomes the mainstream norm. And as it becomes the norm people WILL put it to use. Like I said, back in 1993, nobody would have had ANY use for an e-mail address. Now it’s an indispensable part of living for pretty much anyone in a developed nation today. It got adopted, it grew, it became the norm, and now it’s standard.

  47. caesarbear says:

    Wow, a sober and forgone argument sure does stir up a lot of internet rage. Why are so many of you becoming hostile to these comments?

    All I usually hear from the more casual PC gamers is how difficult life is between PC hardware and software. “OMGWTFBBQ! You mean I have to patch?!? What do you mean these dozen or so resident memory programs are conflicting with my game??” If PC gaming wants to attract more of these people, the evident way to do this is through standardization. People want Steam-like providers, they want Microsoft to create a useful system of standards, they want to know how it works before they buy. How do you accomplish this without some modicum of cooperation with hardware makers?

    Here’s Hollenshead implying that hardware probably won’t help, and you guys say it’s developer whining?

  48. neoanderthal says:

    @subedii – you make some interesting and valid points, but I don’t believe that as many games developers look to the PC as their first platform of choice as was in times past. I think (and I admit, I could be wrong here) that there are a significant number of studios who now see the consoles as easier to develop for, with more immediate return on their investment. I don’t point fingers – who could blame anyone for wanting to make more money with less effort? In the case of Valve, Blizzard, and Stardock, it seems to me that these companies release software for the PC because they seem to think it is in their best interests to support the platform, for whatever reason (flexibility, more freedom to innovate, etc.). I think some studios, however, are acting as if piracy on the PC is something new, and that it is something that needs to be addressed to bring the platform more in line with consoles. I’d be surprised (and possibly wrong, I admit) if piracy were significantly worse now than it was say, 10 years ago. I’d agree that games probably cost more to develop and distribute now than they did then, and it’s a lot easier to get ripped materials via Torrent than it was to pull stuff from some Warez BBS, but piracy is hardly new. Mentioning Blizzard brings up a good point – I think it’s safe to say that in their heyday, games such as Diablo II and StarCraft were stolen at a significant rate, and yet Blizzard managed somehow to stay afloat, and even release new material afterward such as Warcraft III and WoW. What about Relic, or (though they’ve now moved to the horrendous copy protection schemes like Loki’s) Bioware? They still seem to be making money – enough that they can sell games like Jade Empire or Neverwinter Nights or any of the Dawn of War series at a significantly reduced rate.
    I think that some developers are simply using the piracy argument as an excuse as to why they didn’t make money on their games. It’s not, of course, because consoles are cutting into PC sales for the kind of gamer who feels that a control pad is as acceptable as a keyboard and mouse or joystick, or because their game doesn’t get such great reviews because of technical flaws resulting from pushed release dates or horrible gameplay or anything along those lines. It’s because of piracy! Crysis didn’t do as well as intended, so it must be piracy. It’s most certainly not because there are people like me who will not pay the $50 US that it still costs to give it a go, but would pay $30. I think a lot of the ‘flagging sales’ has more to do with a misunderstanding about pricing on the PC platform. I mean, we have a choice as to whether we want to buy Crysis or Gears of War or whatever, or make do with something cheaper until the price comes down. Console gamers don’t. They can’t really load up Planescape:Torment or another of their old favorites from 199x and play it until whatever game they’re really wanting comes down in price. I’m kind of rambling, and this isn’t particularly coherent, so hopefully you can see my point in all of this.

  49. Muzman says:

    I would try and join in on this debate about Tom Hollenshead and hardware, but I’m too mesmerised by that picture up there of Henry Rollins trying to impersonate Michael Bolton.

  50. James T says:

    For my money, I don’t know if it gets any better than when he sings “Burned Beyond Recognition”.

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