There are petitions these days trying to get developer From Software to port Dark Souls to the PC. The petitions have garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures, but it’s still unlikely we’ll ever see Dark Souls on PC. Why? Because PC is a platform with 90% piracy rate.
The majority of PC gamers will never pay for their games, no matter how many Steam sales Valve has, no matter how much the game are marked down, no matter how easy and convenient and DRM-free it is: it’ll never be better than free. Last year, a whopping 4 million PC gamers pirated Crysis 2. When time comes for Crysis 3, which platform do you think developer Crytek will focus on? PC or consoles? Even Portal 2, which is made by Valve, a company with a God-like status among gamers, was pirated more than 3 million times on the PC.
“If you didn’t pay for it, you stole it. Doesn’t matter if its a physical copy, or a digital copy — the developer won’t get paid for their work.”Developers like Valve can afford to put out great and expensive PC titles: they have an established fan base who are going to buy the game no matter what. But when it comes to small developers, and especially first time developers, it’s a very different story, as Bohemia Interactive showed last year with the release of ArmA 2: for every 3 people who bought the game, 100 pirated it. The head of Bohemia said the statistic was “really worrying for us as a mid-sized, independent, PC-oriented developer”.
Politically correct PC gamers insist that services like Steam and lower prices are the solution to game piracy, but Steam has been around for a few years now, as have other digital distribution systems. Has PC gaming piracy gone down? Not at all. Granted, publishers share some of the blame: restrictive DRM solutions have certainly driven away some legitimate gamers. But before you start praising “non-DRM” solutions, know that there are no true “non-DRM” services. Steam is a DRM service. If you don’t believe that, try and give one of you Steam games to a friend. Try and sell the game that you bought and rightfully own — oh, you can’t. That’s because you don’t own the games in your Steam library, technically you pay for a “subscription” to them.
With those kinds of numbers, why should From Software make Dark Souls for the PC platform? If 9 out of 10 gamers will pirate the game, that’s not a good business proposition. And when multiplatform titles do get a PC release, it’s usually in the form of a bad console port. That’s where the hypocrisy lies: elitist PC gamers complain about bad ports and developers not caring enough about the PC platform. But then they pirate the game anyway. At least 9 out 10 times. The tired old excuse that “online piracy isn’t theft, because it’s just a copy” is bullshit. If you didn’t pay for it, you stole it. Doesn’t matter if its a physical copy, or a digital copy — the developer won’t get paid for their work.
“If I was a developer, would I spend my resources developing for a platform with 10% piracy rate, or 90% piracy rate?”For the record, I don’t own a console. I’m a PC gamer. And all but one (Battlefield 3) of my 40+ games were bought on Steam. But unlike many other legitimate PC gamers, I don’t complain when a developer decides not to release a PC version. Or when they decide to spend most of their resources on the console versions. Nor I don’t complain about bad PC ports that are released years later. I understand their reasons. If I was a developer, would I spend my resources developing for a platform with 10% piracy rate, or 90% piracy rate?
Face it, we PC gamers don’t deserve any more exclusive titles. We don’t deserve proper PC versions or ports. We don’t deserve a truly non-DRM system. By pirating 9 out of 10 games, we have’t earned the right to any of those things.
A PC gamer.