We keep hearing how piracy is the greatest threat to gaming especially PC gaming. Why don’t console games get PC ports? “Piracy,” publishers answer. Why are PC games loaded with DRM? “Piracy,” publishers say.
And when it comes to Blizzard, we ask why Starcraft 2 has multiplayer only through Blizzard’s servers. “Piracy,” Blizzard says. So when Dustin Browder said that “Blizzard is looking into Free To Play…” I began scratching my head. If Blizzard games weren’t DRM based post-WoW, then perhaps Free to Play would never be necessary. Warcraft 2 and Starcraft had ‘Free to Play’ in the spawning. And I know Blizzard developers crediting greater awareness of games like Warcraft and Starcraft because of piracy. People pirated the game, found out they loved it, and then went to buy it. Buying the game meant access to Battle.net, cool manuals with artwork and story, and Warcraft 2 doubled as a soundtrack. There was GREATER VALUE in buying the game than in pirating it.
Does DRM change how I enjoy the game no matter how ‘gentle and kind’ or invisible it is? I believe it does. I’m curious if Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 were not so heavily DRM based whether or not they’d be more popular now. It is just not fun not owning your game. Both Starcraft 1 and Diablo 2 had many, many problems before their expansion packs came out. Yet, there was no backlash. Why does Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 have the backlash? Could it be the DRM? Does the presence of DRM change the value equation? I’d say it does.
I still remember in 2004 when World of Warcraft came out and took over people’s lives. One of the last remaining members of Origin, a developer for Ultima Online, predicted that World of Warcraft would destroy Blizzard. It was a great quote and one I tucked away for a later date. You never want to believe one of your favorite game companies is being ‘destroyed’, but time makes more converts than reason.
What World of Warcraft did was change Blizzard’s relationship to consumers. If consumers cannot own World of Warcraft, then why should they own any Blizzard game? Blizzard was very upset at Warcraft 3 being played in online multiplayer on Garuda or Starcraft 1′s E-Sports being controlled by KESPA.
What is the difference between Free to Play and piracy? It is both people playing the game for free. So someone tell me why piracy is ‘the great evil’ while free to play is ‘unicorns and rainbows’. Either they are both bad or they are both good.
“But free to play is to monetize with hats and other things. Piracy doesn’t have monetization.” Pirates do tend to buy games they like and sequels to games they like. It’s easier to monetize pirates than it is to monetize free-loaders. But apparently free-loaders are good but pirates are bad? This does not compute.
The only difference between a pirate and the free-loader is that the pirate is intelligent. It takes intelligence to crack DRM. It takes intelligence to reprogram a game. The free-loader is just a moron who thinks time is cheaper than money (I can go to a bank and get a loan for more money, I cannot get a loan for more time).
Have you noticed that there is a shift with game companies to recreate their customer bases to be an idiot install base? Gamers have traditionally been the most savvy entertainment consumers on Earth. Instead of meeting their traditional and high expectations, what if game companies are finding it easier to replace them with idiots?
And here we sit being lectured that piracy is ‘destroying pc gaming’ but also lectured that ‘free to play is the future for pc gaming’. What type of idiots do they think we are?