No Excuse for Piracy

Even though I despise DRM, I don’t consider it a good excuse to pirate games.

First there are the ethical considerations. Pirating a game is stealing. If you want to play a game then you should pay for it. If you think it is too expensive, if you don’t like the DRM it comes with, then just don’t play it. I can see using pirated games as demos, but that’s really the only exception to the rule.

Beyond the ethics, there are very good practical reasons not to pirate.

First, you you never know what you’re getting when you download a cracked copy of a game. Key loggers, viruses, root kits, who knows what kind of malware has been dropped into that unlocked copy of Whatever 5. Sure you can limit where you get stuff from and use anti-virus and anti-malware, but that’s no guarantee. Oh, and yeah, I know some people consider certain DRM programs to be viruses or malware, at that point see the ethical responses above.

Second, if you buy a DRMed game and then download a utility to strip it out then the publisher and developer don’t see any impact to their sales. Which means they won’t understand their mistakes. They’ll continue to add DRM layers to their games. One exception to this is Spore, but there’s very few games that will garner that kind of publicity.

3 Comments

  1. Jaxom92No Gravatar says:

    How can a publisher determine the loss of sales due to people ethically not purchasing their games (due to their distaste over DRM) or the loss of sales due to pirating? Dwindling PC sales of games has been blamed either on pirating or the dominance of console gaming. I see no mention of “oh, maybe we shouldn’t put DRM on because we’re not getting the sales we want.”

  2. BrianNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t see much of that from the major publishers, but Stardock has done quite a bit with DRM-free games and Valve has DRM that’s about as friendly as I’ve seen. I’m betting publishers have much better numbers on sales and piracy than they publicly admit to, not to mention the impact of executive-level politics shareholder pressure. Piracy is an easy scapegoat to blame for poor sales of games that are just subpar or miss their audience because they weren’t marketed correctly. DRM is an easy way for companies to claim they’re addressing it.

    There’s enough data out there that companies like EA and 2k Games seem to have started to figure things out, I’m not sure why Ubisoft thinks they’ll have any better luck.

  3. xXJayeDuBXxNo Gravatar says:

    We have DRM because of pirates and we have people pirating because of DRM, it’s a vicious circle. I used to be one of those guys that pirated PC games, and I did it just to save money, nothing more. Eventually I got to the point where I realized that I had more games than I ever would play, and what I did want I can afford to buy, so I stopped.

    People who pirate games because of DRM are liars, that’s what I believe.