The PC Gaming Alliance president says that game design is reducing piracy, while also increasing the instances of online identity theft.
New PC Gaming Alliance president Matt Ployhar recently spoke to Gamasutra about the current state of the PC gaming industry. He says that while the levels of pirated PC games are actually on the decline thanks to new developments in design, that same design is responsible for new forms of online crime.
Ployhar points out that MMOs and free-to-play games are much harder to pirate than single-player titles. Many games also offer bonuses that only legitimate owners can acquire. The increase in these kinds of titles and bonuses is actually decreasing PC piracy, Ployhar believes.
"So what's happening is game design is shifting and as a result of shifting game design, piracy, at least on the PC side, is actually declining as a result," he says. "There are stats that do corroborate that ... Now what you're seeing to combat that or reduce the chances of piracy are developers implementing achievements, in-game pets, all of these things that are tracked and stored in the cloud. So even if you pirate the game you're still not getting the bragging rights."
He admits that piracy will never go away, but indicates that publishers can use more than strict DRM schemes to reduce instances of it. However, now that videogames are making it big in the digital space with Steam and download-only titles, this "anti-piracy" movement has a new disadvantage.
"The game design is now shifting to combat piracy, but because the value propositions are altering and changing, now you're getting more of an increase in the identity theft space," Ployhar added. While developers can design out reasons to pirate a game, consumers are put at a bigger risk of having their Steam or MMO accounts hacked now that more of them available. I'm not sure if it costs more to deal with piracy or account hacking, but they both seem like a pain in the butt.