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Software Piracy.. Minecraft creator Markus Persson said: “Piracy is not a theft”.

Markus Persson said this Week on the GDC 2011 “Piracy is not a theft” reported by Edge Online.

He said: “If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world.” and “There is no such thing as a lost sale. Is a bad review a lost sale? What about a missed ship date?”

Persson’s advice is to “make a game last longer than a week” and to “treat game development as a service”. I think it is true if we take World of Warcraft or any other MMO as an example.

“You can’t pirate an online account,” he truth. I think this is not complete true.. There are already tons Pirare Servers for World of Warcraft and other MMO´s available.. in fact you could download a ripped copy of World of Warcraft and join one of the illegal Servers. But it wouldnt be a real Account from Blizzard Servers and thats why Markus Persson is true with this argument. And..

If Game-Companys offer constant content updates, Quality and a good service.. and if you need an online Account to enjoy this service… the Topic of Software Piracy gets irrelevant. You wont get those great content updates on a pirate software and if, then these updates will be very late. So if you want quality you will join the real Servers of Blizzard and pay for the service. And thats why legal Servers are more popular then illegal ones.

So the question is true… Is Software Piracy still a topic for those companys? I dont think so. For companys who offer games which arent account-tied, software piracy might be still a big deal. So “make a game last longer than a week”, “treat game development as a service” and “You can’t pirate an online account,” is a good advice. But I think most Companys learned it already.

6 responses

  1. Mistletoe

    I think, in response to the original “Piracy is not theft” statement: bullshit. Artists, designers, musicians, developers– all make their living on the things that they create. If someone takes that music, design, or app, and sends it out into the world for free, or charges money themselves for it, that causes the creator to lose part of their living.

    I’ve heard a dozen rationalizations, from “Well this person’s rich already anyway, so it’s not like it’s hurting them” to “REAL artists don’t do it for money” to “They should be happy at the extra exposure they’re getting!” The “an original still exists, so nothing was stolen” one is a new one on me, and it’s just as false. It’s called COPYright law for a reason.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:11 am

  2. I agree to you that his first statement is complete bullshit.

    But some of his statements are correct.. “make a game last longer than a week” is pretty importend and some developers did learn it already and others sill have to learn this kind of business.

    I am pretty sure that you can convert a theft to a customer when you offer this person permanent new content in good quality and an account where those peoples can get archivements, make friends and what ever. The plus is that you as a dev-company can also earn more money with this person then. One example is World of Warcraft.. the main game is out for years now but they released several addons with huge new content..

    The players had now new stuff to enjoy.. and the company earned more money.
    You get constant service but you have to pay monthly. You cant get this service when you play it illegal. And that is the idea behind i think.

    So yea.. I agree.. his first statement is pretty stupid and bullshit. But some statements are corrent but since most companys use already this kind of business modells.. his statements arent up to date.

    Monthly subscriptions or micropayment modells and constand account tied content updates arent that new today. He should know.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:42 am

  3. Pero

    That statement is not bullshit. If someone gets pirate copy of your work (game, music or whatewer), he would probably not buy it anyway. So it is not money lost, bit you get exposure from that person to other people that might buy it.

    March 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

  4. I agree some pirates probably wouldn´t buy anyway.. some others do because they might use the pirate software as a demo and if they like, they purchase later to enjoy the multiplayer and so.

    But it is still a theft anyhow.

    If someone filch a software in a shop inthe city it would be called a theft as well. The only difference here is the “shop theft” and the “download theft”. What else should it be?

    So i stil think his first statement is not complete right.

    But I agree to you that you get exposure from these persons too. They tell friends “Hey did you see this awesome game?” and some friends maybe purchase instead of copy the game.

    So its a kind of advertising in some cases too. It can be like viral marketing. It can.

    March 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm

  5. Mistletoe

    I reiterate what I said before:

    ‘I’ve heard a dozen rationalizations, from…[snip]… to “They should be happy at the extra exposure they’re getting!” ‘

    “Exposure” does a fat lot of good when tier comes due.

    If the only person to own a pirated copy were in fact the pirate him/her self, then it might be a non-issue.

    But it’s not.

    Take, for example, all the freebie warehouses in SL that give away free copies of skins, clothing, etc. Most of what’s given away for free is (I like to hope anyway) legitimately made and given for free. But lots of it isn’t. Hell someone once slipped me a folder of dance animations that I– and he– didn’t know were stolen. I had my suspicions so I didn’t end up using them. Sure enough, a month later, I got a note from LL saying that said animations were deleted from my inventory, because they were in fact stolen.

    If just the pirate gets a free copy and nobody else, then it may or may not be one single lost sale. But that pirate then takes that copy and puts it in a box saying “FREE FOR THE TAKING!” Most consumers, given a choice between an item for 100L and the exact same item for 0L, aren’t going to do the detective work to see if it’s stolen or not; they’re going to take the freebie. And give it to their friends. And they give it to their friends. That’s not one lost sale. That’s hundreds, possibly thousands, of lost sales. Then you get people going to the store and seeing the 100L item and saying, “Oh, hell, I thought this was a freebie! What a jerk, trying to sell freebies!”

    Yeah, nice “exposure”.

    March 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm

  6. Very well said. Yea it has an effect like an computer virus then..

    I agree.. its not one lost sale.. in fact you cant even count all the lost sales because to many peoples use that stealed stuff.. nevermind if SL content or software.. You´re right.. the comparison is a bit similar.

    But in case of software piracy “it can be” still exposure because one reason.. most games today have multiplayer online content which you anyway only can enjoy, if you are owner of a purchased game.. in fact you need an online-ID.. an account today for many games. Otherwise you wouldn´t be able to login for multiplayer.

    So I know a friend who ripped a game first to check it out like a demo version.. he tested the singleplayer part..later then he told me that he defenetly want to play this game online but he cant.. as he thought this game is just great.. He bought it so that he can register it online and play it.

    Then he made videos with xfire and did show us the multiplayer part of the game. It did end there that 4 more friends, me inclouded bought the original game just because he showed us and told us about that game.

    As you can see in this example.. the pirate software did convert one person to a real customer and later this pirate did attract 4 more peoples to buy this original game to enjoy it together in multiplayer.

    I think this is a kind of exposure… But agree that it isnt good to put lipstick on the pig as this is just one single case and the truth shows that many peoples stay on ripped software instead of purchasing it original.

    So yea.. there are in fact financial heavy losses.

    In Second Life it is much more worse because the content is not software where you can provide a save mechanism like an online account in a game.

    So your last paragraph takes effect and is sadly very very true. The customer in SL wont make out if its stolen.. as you said.. they´re just happy that that found a cool freebie.. They dont know and dont proof it that its in fact stolen.

    I think that is still a real problem in SL.

    In the case of your animation it shows that LL try to do something again copybotting as they deleted the items.

    However.. i think its not completly clear who will win this war. The past did show us that the copybotting topic wont end. 😦

    March 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm

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