(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjCxdDJuU8o (/ embed)
Mark Darrah spent nearly a quarter of a century at BioWare in a career that saw him move from a programmer at Baldur & s Gate to the executive producer of the Dragon Age series. He left the studio in late 2020, shortly after launching his own YouTube channel, where he shares videos on everything from old games to console certification processes and business models.
In her latest video, Darrah addresses the timeless issue of video game piracy. Instead of arguing for (or against) a particular perspective, he suggests that we have all been wrong to some extent. Publishers claiming massive losses to justify their DRM efforts assume that every pirated copy of a game is a lost full-price sale, but it's not, Darrah argues: comparing it to police reports of street value of the drugs confiscated in the raids, he says the calculations used to determine the lost sales figures "exaggerate and expand the number far beyond what is realistic."
But hackers who claim their activities have no real impact on the business "also come from a completely ridiculous place," Darrah continues. Games cost money, and while not all pirated copies of games represent lost sales, some do so for good, and while some pirates want to claim that they do so to "boycott" certain games, what they see is publishers in high piracy rates are not a protest, but sales that could have been made if they had only been able to prevent piracy, presumably by imposing more effective DRM measures.
"If you're sitting down right now and you say, 'Well, it's okay that I hacked this game because I never would have bought it,' why not ask yourself this question: important to hack him? ”Darrah asks. "Why did you have to play it?"
The situation is more complicated in countries where games are not available. Imports can be impractical, especially for PC games, which often do not receive a physical version. Piracy may seem like the only option in these cases, but Darrah warned that in the long run it can be a "double-edged sword": publishers can ignore potentially large markets like Russia, because piracy is so rampant. which only helps make the problem of piracy worse, further alienating publishers.
The only time Darrah considers piracy to be a legitimate option is when a game is no longer available anywhere: "It's hard for me to argue against that. Don't really take money out of your hands. of someone because they were no longer deciding to match sell it to you ".
Darrah concludes, not surprisingly, that the issue of piracy and its impact on the industry is not black and white, but various shades of gray. “I know you have a justification as to why your piracy is okay,” Darrah concludes. "I ask you to stop for a moment, make sure this is not just an excuse and that your real motive for piracy is nothing else."
There is no judgment here, but it is worth noting that the moral and commercial aspects of piracy are not the only dangers of illegal downloading of games: security investigators said earlier this month that the Pirate games helped spread an infecting Trojan more than three million computers and stole 1.2 terabytes of personal information.
Darrah’s video came on the same day that Casey Hudson announced her new company, Humanoid Studios, which naturally made me wonder if she was involved: she confirmed separately that she wasn’t.