id Software talks piracy (again) at GDC 2007

Written by Brett Thomas

March 13, 2007 | 13:44

Tags: #doom-3 #id #piracy #romero #todd-hollenshead

The GDC conference is always an interesting one to follow, even if some people think otherwise. It is one of those shows that is run by developers, presumably for developers, and doesn't always come off cleanly to the public. We imagine that must be the case for why the CEO of id Software talked about piracy - again.

It seems like just last year that Hollenshead stood in a panel of industry members to discuss piracy. Oh, wait, that's because it was. At E3, Todd and others from the industry went on to say how rampant piracy costs the industry billions, and game developers would stop producing games. A cautionary note was sung about developers moving to consoles, where piracy is nowhere near as rampant.

In fact, the same tune was sung in 2005 in an interview with Forbes. During that interview, Hollenshead blamed publishers for turning a blind eye, leaving developers to pay the price. Of course, it's very rare that a developer studio is paid based solely on units sold - but the RIAA has proved time and time again that there is little place for fact in a discussion on piracy.

The story at GDC 2007 held a new twist, though... oh, wait, no it didn't. Hollenshead blames piracy for the decline of PC gaming and western civilization, explaining that the software thieves were the primary reason for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars being forced to be developed as a multi-platform title. The moral of the story? "Casual gamers" don't understand how piracy hurts the industry, and devs are running to consoles.

There's no doubting the fact that piracy is an issue on the PC and Hollenshead did make some good points in his keynote. However, he seemed to put the blame for his company's decision entirely on the piracy problem. We think there's more to it than that though, as around 41 percent of homes have at least one current-gen console. This generation of consoles is an emerging market and emerging markets are always a great place to make a buck or two.

Of course, there might be something to his logic - just look at Doom 3. Had many of us not played it before a trip to the store, we may have actually bought it thinking it was any good. Maybe piracy does hurt sales, in that respect...

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