The battle against piracy is sinking the legitimate gamer according to gaming site Kotaku, which says new efforts by the likes of Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo to protect their games puts all gamers, legit or not, in the same boat.
Kotaku says the gaming companies all seem to have clumped together to clamp down on having their games cracked and spread around the internet for all to download, though the firms themselves claim their respective actions are all independent of each other and that the timing was “coincidental.”
Looking at the various measures, it certainly does seem to be a case of pick-your-poison, with Ubisoft forcing gamers to stay online while they play, Sony charging an additional $20 to play online and Nintendo suing Aussies for millions for nefarious distribution.
Actually, despite the fact that James Burt, the 24 year old from Queensland, was ordered to cough up $1.5 million to Nintendo by a federal court for uploading Super Mario Bros Wii ahead of launch (subsequently illegally downloaded 50,000 times) a settlement ensured he would pay a "significant lesser amount."
A spokesperson for Nintendo also said that it was not "Nintendo's policy to go after individuals.”
Still, a fine like that is enough to scare the Bejesus out of anyone.
Ubisoft used a different stick to beat its gamers with, announcing back in January that it would dump its unpopular third-party digital rights management system for an even more unpopular one of its own.
The new system demanded that gamers be online to play, which is all well and good if you have a decent Internet connection, but if your connection fails, kiss goodbye to your game and game progress.
Meanwhile Sony decided to cover its piracy losses with cold hard cash from legitimate users. The firm has begun issuing printed vouchers with new games for “online entitlement.” If you bought the game used, or borrowed it from a friend or even rented it, sorry, but you’ll need to pay Sony an additional $20 please.
Harsh, but Sony’s director of hardware marketing, John Koller, reckons the system wasn’t dreamed up to prevent game rental or second hand game sales, but was designed strictly with piracy in mind.
Maybe, but it still kills two birds with one stone for Sony.
At the end of the day, it’s true what Kotaku says, and it will be the legitimate gamers who will pay the price, while pirates will always find other waters to fish in.