De omnibus dubitandum
31 Jan 2008
There’s a lively debate in the comments section of a Tweakers.net commentary (Dutch) about how PC games are losing ground to console games. Piracy is pinpointed as the primary cause of this, and I’m sure it has a lot to do with it, but the ever increasing prices of games in general must take some of the blame as well.
€50 or more for a videogame is an awful lot of money, especially when many games coming out these days tend to be quite short. While in the past you could lose yourself entirely in a game for weeks, nowadays a singleplayer experience of 10 hours or less is the norm.
The article on Tweakers was prompted by some comments an Infinity Ward employee made in a blog post about the vast amount of pirated CoD4 copies out there. I understand the guy’s frustration, but this is the result of a vicious circle the game industry helped start:
Pirated games -> less games sold -> prices go up to cover for reduced sales -> less people want to buy games at higher price -> more pirated games
There are some ways to break this downward spiral and perhaps save the PC as a gaming platform. One approach is to switch to online distribution channels exclusively (Steam comes to mind) and channel the reduced cost of distribution directly to the customer in the form of lower prices.
Many gamers, myself included, would be much more inclined to buy good PC games if we can do it easily at lower prices, rather than go through the hassle of getting a pirated copy with all the involved risks.