Free-to-play and supplemental content lead decline in PC piracy

Piracy hits PC worse than any other system and has been around nearly as long as the format itself. According to the PC Gaming Alliance though, developers could well be making some ground in the constant struggle against it.

Gamasutra spoke to PCGA president Matt Ployhar about the issue. “What’s happening is game design is shifting and as a result of shifting game design, piracy, at least on the PC side, is actually declining as a result,” he said. “There are stats that do corroborate that.”

“There are free to play games. You can’t really pirate free to play. You can but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Not all PC games can go free-to-play though. “I’m not saying that piracy is going to go away,” Ployhar added. “It’s fascinating to watch. For example, you get a game like Crysis that got hit hard by piracy. Now what you’re seeing to combat that or reduce the chances of piracy are developers implementing achievements, in-game pets, all of these things that are tracked and stored in the cloud.”

But what’s taking the hit instead? Identity-theft, says Ployhar: “These retail games, your brick and mortars, are declining, and some of that forcing function was piracy. What’s picking up the slack are your Steam accounts, your Wild Tangents, your Orbs, your EA Downloader, your Battle.net.”

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