PC piracy ‘is declining’

Piracy in the PC games sector is in decline, according to the president of the PC Gaming Alliance.

The shift to free-to-play models and supplemental content via download has lessened the value of pirated games copies, Matt Ployhar claims.

"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 told Gamasutra. "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.

"I’m not saying that piracy is going to go away. 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.

"So even if you pirate the game you’re still not getting the bragging rights. You’ve got all these additional mechanisms where the value proposition of the game, where if you pirate it, it’s just not going to be as fun."

One consequence of this, however, is an increase in identity theft associated with obtaining free access to in-game content.

"The game design is now shifting to combat piracy, but because the value propositions are altering and changing, now you’re getting more of increase in the identity theft space," Ployhar added.

"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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