11 Reasons games get pirated and 11 ways to stop it

June 8, 2009 at 2:52 am (Rants) (, )

Please note, this is not me supporting, or admitting to pirating games. This is just some of the reasons the gaming industry needs to get their shit together. Pirating games might not be “stealing” to you, but the people who DO work hard for these game companies deserve to get paid. Also, I cuss a lot, be forewarned.

  1. Games that don’t live up to the hype. Too many times have we seen a game surrounded in hype released only to be mediocre at best. I’ll take Spore for example. Even Will Wright admitted to the pressure put on the game by fans. For some reason people were still going ape shit over it before it released. Outside of the crippling DRM (I’ll get to that) it was a decent enough game, but I haven’t played it since release, and probably never will.

  2. Hardware requirements. I remember picking up the 1st Matrix game (see #1 again) and glancing at the hardware requirements and thinking “No problem!”, Wrong! Many hours of tinkering and a call to tech support left me with my answer, an incompatible video card. While mine “met” the requirements, it was not supported. Many low budget gamers, like myself at the time, have felt this burn. Window Vista was supposed to change a lot of this by making itself a descent gaming OS with it’s “Games for Windows” ratings. I don’t think I’ve seen any big advancements with this.

  3. Operating System woes. There has been only a few Vista issues I haven’t been able to work around, but I shouldn’t have to. Why can’t I play my games designed for windows 98 on my Vista machine? Some of my classics are completely unplayable now. Serves me right for being so open minded about Vista…

  4. Poor development and bugs. Rushed deadlines are the #1 killer of games. I currently have a save game on Knights of the Old Republic II that I can’t advance because of a major glitch. Sure, console games have them too, but not like this. Seriously, we can wait another 6 months for your game to come out. We WANT it to be good, we’ll wait.

  5. Which brings me to after-launch support. Just because sales have slowed, doesn’t mean people still don’t have problems. PATCH YOUR FUCKING BUGS! Again, KOTOR II has forums full of bugs with unofficial workarounds which essential involve pirating the game anyway. This shouldn’t be.

  6. Why can’t I play Team Fortress 2 on my PC with my friends on their 360’s? Frankly PC games are about the BEST moderated I’ve seen, many have great 3rd party add-ins to keep the griefers out. Second thought, let the consoles keep their clusterfucks they usually have in their poorly moderated servers.

  7. Price structure. While I am no expert in the following fields; game development, gaming in general, economics or retail. I do know this, the price of gaming is godawful. Most games start at $60, then many games turn around and charge just as much for expansion packs (Which I’m sure the development cost is much less), online content or monthly access fees. The Sims, I’m looking at you. I LOVE The Sims, but I’m not dropping $20 to get IKEA furniture. Nor am I going to download your online furniture set for $20. P.S. Your expansion packs are great. I used to just wait until my friend bought the newest one, and I would just play one version behind. Eat that DRM! P.P.S. I would imagine I have spent over $200 on Sims games alone, and probably another $100 on Will Wright games, don’t feel like you didn’t get enough out of me…

  8. Poor balance between Multiplayer and Singleplayer. For FSM’s fucking sake I don’t want to play with others all the time. And if you’re going to create a multiplayer, don’t just stick us in a box and give us guns, make it GOOD!

  9. DRM. It fucking sucks. I have games sitting around that I cannot play due to two things. The terrible DRM that it uses won’t let me play the game for whatever stupid reason. Or, I’ve lost my keys. There is nothing more depressing than playing by the rules, purchasing your overpriced, poorly developed, over hyped, barely compatible game only to get home and it go all HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey” I’m sorry Dave, I can’t allow you to play that. FUCK YOU HAL!

  10. For some reason I can pop a disc into a XBOX and play right away. To do this on my computer on the other hand I have to wait forever and a fucking day in order for my game to install. And then I still have to put a disk in to play! I know you’re not using that disk for anything…

  11. Tech support. Is there any anymore? Are they ever any help? I’ve called TS numbers just to get a “go online” message many times. The one time I did get a hold of anyone, I had to reformat my computer after what they had me do :-/

What I’d like to see

  1. Games that are designed for longevity. Blizzard is still patching Starcraft, and no surprise, still selling it. Why? Because it is a good game and Blizzard knows it. They continue to keep it up to date. I will be buying Starcraft II because I feel like I owe THEM for their work.

  2. More games on Steam. Probably the single biggest factor in the reason I don’t pirate games. It’s easier to catch a good deal on a game, Download it on Steam and it (almost) always works. Many games on steam tie into #1 above and continue to update long after the hype has died down.

  3. More free updates. TF2 is awesome about this. I’ll lose interest in it, hear about a new update and get back it it. Definitely worth my money.

  4. Stop it with the crap DRM. Give me some options here. If I have to install a game, I don’t want to have to worry about keeping the disk handy. I’m sure you guys can find a better  DRM system. Either connect online to verify your account or put your disk in. Either of these are more than sufficient enough to stop people from passing their games to their friends. Anything more complicated will piss people off, and will find a way to pirate it anyway.

  5. Better multiplayer will entice gamers to pay for the game in the 1st place.

  6. Stop making terrible games. Just stop, we’ll find your crappy game before it comes out and tell everyone.

  7. Let me see some boobs every once and a while. I don’t need porno in my games, but quit worrying about the conservatives and show some tits.

  8. Peripheral options for PC are limitless, why are the consoles getting all the cool stuff? Seriously, every gaming accessory of late has been on the console first. That doesn’t even make sense.

  9. Well it kinda does… PC’s typically aren’t party consoles, you can change that. The amount of people plugging their computers to their TV’s is increasing. That’s potential.

  10. Don’t lie to us. If you know you’re never going to finish a game, don’t lead us on (I’m looking at you Duke Nukem Forever)

  11. This one is going to need the right point of view… Development studios need to set up a tip jar. Say someone pirates a game, they really like it, but don’t see the need to go out and buy it at a $60 price point. Why should they pay that much when most of the cost does not apply to them. They don’t need the material, the marketing or the markup charged by the distributor and retailer. Set up a website where pirates can go and “Pay” for their game. Charge them a reasonable rate. Let them print out a certificate saying, I such and such am free from any legal obligations or persecutions for illegally downloading this game. I cannot be prosecuted as such. Everybody’s happy, well maybe except Best Buy.

Maybe I’m making excuses, but one thing is for sure. I’ve been burned too many times. I should start a list of times I’ve been burned…

P.S. If anyone read the 1st draft of this, I apologize. I was drunk. It’s still probably not much better.



  1. english said,

    Didn’t get more than half way through your first point. Your spelling and grammar are atrocious 🙂

    • doctorsound said,

      Wow, it really is/was. Made some editing, maybe it’s a bit better. I need to stop drinking and blogging.

  2. DD said,

    The number one reason people pirate anything is because they can’t afford it. Add in all these other factors and piracy is basically the only real option for most people. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that game sales would actually go down if piracy stopped altogether.

  3. robin9585 said,

    Nice post. Question about your last point: Do you really think a tip jar would work? I wrote a novel and I give it away for free on my blog, with a tip jar and an option to buy the classy ebook version for $1.25. Thirty-some days and hundreds of visitors later and I think I’ve made about $2.50! http://www.latethursday.com

    • doctorsound said,

      Game studios have nothing to lose.

      • robin9585 said,

        Nor do I. But that doesn’t make it a smart business model for a video game, which may have cost millions to make.

        I think the best way to combat piracy is to know you can’t stop it, but to treat the customer like they are valued. My biggest gripe is that if I’m running a mid-range computer, I cannot guarantee that any particular game would work on it — particularly when you tie in junk like “video-card incompatibility”. If I buy something and it doesn’t work, I should be able to return it for a refund. How game’s retailers found themselves exempt from this boggles my mind.

        You should really check out Stardock’s “Gamer’s Bill of RIghts” for some interesting notes to that end.

  4. Gamer said,

    You make some really really good points +1 for effort and trying to get gaming companies to make DRM fuck off

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