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Piracy making it's mark on the PC industry

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In an interview with Next-Gen Crytek Engine Business Manager Harald Seeley has confirmed that Crytek will be keeping the new Crysis content, “Warhead” a PC exclusive but will no longer be creating PC exclusive games thereafter.

Piracy became a major concern for Crytek when sales of their triple-A title Crysis suffered severely, with torrent downloads of the game going through the roof.

I don’t blame Crytek one bit for this move as it is a huge knock on their company to have so much time and effort go to waste when their big release title for the year suffers from low sales even though reviews were high and the game was incredibly popular. There have been many debates on the internet about how PC gaming is dying and with problems like this affecting companies like Crytek, it’s no wonder that the PC gaming industry might find itself in a bit of a pickle.

[Thanks UnsafestCorpse for the tip]

Games like World of Warcraft, that require a signed in account with monthly charges seem to be the only secure format for PC game developers to ensure that they aren’t hurt by piracy. For developers of other games however, no full-proof security system has been completely successful in protecting the software from cracks or key generators.

The other issue that PC gamers are experiencing, which is one that I have had problems with myself in the past, is the issue that copy protection causes a serious inconvenience to those who have spent money on the game and now have to deal with online activations, serial key checks and disc validation before every game session. I will never forget how let down I was when I finally got my hands on Half Life 2 the day it was released and then had to sit and wait for hours so that the game could download various information and do an online registration with Steam.

Seeley has thankfully commented on the inconveniences caused by this sort of thing and led us to believe that they are thinking of better ways to approach it, saying “While we are certainly very concerned about piracy and copy protection, we are also concerned about the potential opposite problem, that of inconveniencing legitimate buyers with newer measures that interfere too greatly with their enjoyment of the product. So we are carefully considering all possible options here, however we are not yet at a stage where we have made a final decision.“

Seeley has also gone on to say that their current plan will be to offer something unique to each platform, making each one special in it’s own right.

While piracy also affects console gaming, the console pirate is usually required to fork out money to have their hardware altered or modified, whereas with PC’s, it usually requires nothing more than access to the internet. With game prices soaring, it’s no wonder so many people have turned to piracy, but high prices shouldn’t be an excuse for it either. It would, on the other hand, be great if the gaming industry in its totality realised that more affordable games will lead to better sales and an improvement in the industry overall. Would you rather sell 30% of your stock at 100% mark-up, or 80% at 70% mark-up?

I personally feel that the PC gaming industry is still going to enjoy a very long and prosperous future, however, until something is done about piracy and all of the copy protection hassles that come along with it, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Crytek Exclusivity Article: Destructoid

Last Updated: June 9, 2008

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