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So, we're just as evil as the RIAA, now? Look, I've had every single game I've ever worked on pirated (console, PC and Mac), so I'll be amongst the first to declare that piracy is rampant, but you know what? I'm not convinced that's entirely a bad thing.
Piracy actually helped me get my first job in this industry. Piracy taught me how to read hexidecimal. More importantly, Piracy taught me damned near everything I know about general computing knowledge, today. Sure, in my day, piracy involved hooking up a modem and calling someone else's computer directly, connecting to their BBS and trading 0 day warez between people you know (even if only by reputation), but it was still piracy and it was nearly as prevalent then, as it is now.
There is no doubt that piracy costs us money, but it has its direct benefits, too. It creates the next generation of garage hackers and, because it supports its own scene and counter culture, centered around the industry's work, Piracy turns smart, casual game players into hardcore fans. Back before I was 18, I pirated all the time. I had no choice, from my point of view, I wanted games and I had no money to get them. At the same time, I had this ethic; a code of honor that demanded that I pay for a good game. As a result I scraped and saved and scrounged to buy the Ultima games, the wing commander games, the lucasarts games and even the sierra adventures (well, most of them, anyway). Do these properties sound familiar? They were the greatest hits of the late 80s and early 90s, despite being widely pirated. Pirates bought those games, just like everyone else... But they did also pirate them.
Thing is, I got my friends to buy those games -- my non-pirating friends -- by showing them my pirated copies before I bought them, myself. You see, there's a certain amount of buzz that pirates can generate about your game. The game has to be good, but surely we don't make games we know are bad, right? Right? Maybe that's the problem here and maybe that's what bothers me most about this. Everyone looks at the RIAA as representing an industry that is dying large because it was too slow to change and adapt to the new realities of the world. In other words, the RIAA is a dinosaur and the Internet - complete with P2P and bit-torrent piracy - is the meteor streaking towards earth, to kill it. Their lawsuits are a last ditch effort to preserve their way of life -- a way of life we consumers view as obsolete and unnecessary...
Frankly, I'd rather we just die out that try to thrash around like this.
Look at what this has done to the recording industry. the RIAA is the enemy. People hate them. They hate what they do and, now a days, they even hate the industry they represent. People now pirate music as much to get a hold of the music as to gut-punch the RIAA. Is that what we want? Seriously? We want to turn our fans -- the most powerful resource we have -- against us? Why? How is that smart?