Piracy has been rampant on PC for more than a decade now (Or let’s be honest, it’s been around forever), and over the past few years, some measures have been taken up to prevent the PC game sales from becoming insignificant. PC Master Race may have just been a term in a sarcastic comment, based on the way PC elitists behaved a few years ago, but this term gave birth to a community of dedicated PC gamers and piracy has been a big shovel throwing dirt over the name of PC Master Race (Or whatever you wanna call the dedicated PC gamers).
Many people think that piracy doesn’t hurt sales and also claim that when multi-million dollar companies are already earning so much, they don’t need to pay the company. Some people take advantage of PC gaming simply because of the fact that piracy will help them get all games for free, they buy fancy rigs for 500-600$ and then can’t buy a game for 20-40$. But what they don’t understand till now is that PC has almost lost everything that made PC gaming different and I’m not just talking about big budget exclusives, here are some examples:
- Bad Ports: PC gamers have suffered some very big disasters, the most prominent in recent memory being Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight. It was so bad that it was taken off the stores and was re-released in October 2015, which was yet far away from what it should have been. This happened because Rocksteady outsourced the PC port for cutting costs, because they knew that the game will get pirated and will result in loss of sales. There is Assassin’s Creed Unity as well, which had millions of problems, but people cared much more about Batman than Assassin’s Creed and some other games. Yes maybe pre-orders are a reason that developers give unfinsihed games, but piracy is a much bigger concern than getting the money pre-release for the developers. These days, making PC ports has become a hindsight for many developers due to piracy. Most recently Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, another game that started out as a PC title.
- Delayed Ports/Games Exclusive To Consoles: A very good amount of games have shown a delay in coming to the PC platform- Dragon’s Dogma, Enslaved: Odyssey To the West, GTA IV and most notable of all GTA V which came a whole 1 and a half year later. The reason for this is to maximize profit on the consoles, because piracy can actually hurt the sales of the game. Yes I know that GTA V is performing well on PCs, but no one can deny that it was delayed for that very reason. Rockstar had no other reason to delay the PC port of a game that started out on the PCs. It is simply because they can’t make profit out of PC games if piracy is going to eat away at their sales. And we can see games like Vanquish coming to PC now that they have completed their sales target (Yes I know that Sega has the license to the IP, but if piracy wasn’t prevalent Sega would have released it on PCs as well, because this game was not an Xbox or PS exclusive and could have very well made it to the PCs). So PC has sort of become the back burners for developers. Due to piracy many developers don’t bring their games to PC as well, just make profit out of the console sales.
- Loss of Exclusives: Don’t get me wrong, PC has a lot many exclusives, but how long has it been since we have gotten a game like Crysis or Witcher 2. Heck both of these games went multiplats due to piracy and Crysis got dumbed down for the console crowd. Also piracy was a big factor in driving Witcher 3 to the consoles. Reportedly, if CDPR hadn’t released Witcher 2 on Xbox 360, they wouldn’t have gotten the funding for making Witcher 3. Supposedly the Witcher 2 had been pirated more than two times over it’s sales on PC (Which will approximately be 4.5 mn pirated units of Witcher 2) and don’t tell me that all those who bought the game, first played it on a pirated version, it’s ridiculous. And there went Witcher 3. Had it not been for piracy it could have been the best PC exclusive and the best game ever and we might not have gotten that controversial graphics downgrade.
- Sherlock Observations: Now this might be a bit of a stretch to some people, but when I see most games running in full flow, it is difficult to notice the difference between console and PC versions of the game (visually) even if they are running on ultra settings. Unlike the days of Crysis 3 and Witcher 2 where the differences were blatantly glaring at us, these days I have to look at a game observantly to realize that it more detailed on the PC than on consoles, except for the technologies which are made for the extremely high end PCs. Of course this is divided into some proportion, some games still look better on PC by a margin even on moderate settings, but the percentage of such games is 50-50.
Piracy may have some advantages, but it’s disadvantages and misuse by far outweigh the positives. Yes, it’s true that consoles make more money with less effort required, since they have to optimize for a particular set of hardware, but if PC gamers start buying the games, the sheer number of units sold (There are about 125mn Steam users) will be more profitable even though the games are cheaper(In some regions) than their console counter-parts and developers would consider making PC Exclusive games more often which utilize the hardware of the PCs to the full extent. Do you agree with the article? If not let us know why in the comments below.