Indie PC studio Bohemia Interactive claims that 97 per cent of its games are not purchased legitimately.
“Our statistics from multiplayer show that for every three legitimate buyers playing their game in multiplayer, there are 100 attempts to play with a pirated version,” the Czech studio’s CEO Marek Spanel said.
“This indicates that piracy is an extremely widespread problem on PC, and it’s also really worrying for us as a mid-sized, independent, PC-oriented developer.”
In an interview with PC Gamer, Spanel (pictured) said there was no way of detecting pirated copies if they are not connected online – suggesting that the 97 per cent piracy rate is in fact even worse.
Bohemia Interactive uses a unique anti-piracy technology called Degrade – a code hidden within pirated copies that gradually renders them unplayable.
Spanel, whose company makes the Arma military warfare games, said the Degrade system is designed to deliberately annoy those who play pirated copies.
“Some of the symptoms are funny, usually annoying. In the Arma series, players with pirated copies have lower accuracy with automatic weapons in both single player and multiplayer, and occasionally turn into a bird with the words “good birds do not fly away from this game, you have only yourself to blame’,” he said.
“While we know we will never stop piracy, we use this as a way to make our stand that piracy is not right, that it has a serious negative impact on PC games developers.”
Spanel’s made his general stance on illicit file-sharing clear: “Companies and teams invest a lot into game development, and with such widespread piracy, it’s extremely tough to get the investment back.”
Earlier this month, it was claimed that games piracy has climbed 20 per cent in the UK since 2006.
Developers speak their mind – further Develop coverage on PC piracy: