In interview with CVG last week, Crytek's director of creative development discussed his thoughts on piracy, used games and how next-generation consoles can deal with these issues. While surprisingly candid and honest, Rasmus Hojengaard continues a common developer attitude that's contradictory to what many gamers believe.
Crysis 2 was pirated over four million time and sold only three million copies. It's a ratio that can drive a developer mad, though the complexities behind the statistic are misunderstood and circumstantial. That won't stop developers from seeing pirated copies as lost potential revenue, however, even to a creative director.
"We obviously want to avoid that this time, but even if we can convert 25 percent of those gamers into paying customers [you have an extra million sales]."
And from that point the thought process becomes not how to improve sales, but how to convert piracy numbers into sales. This line of thought leads directly towards DRM, and consequently used games and ways to prevent both things. Asked about the Xbox 360 and PS4 having preventative measures against used games, Hojengaard had this to say:
"From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome. It's weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn't work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well."
Add Hojengaard and Crytek to a list that includes Silicon Knights and Visceral Games. We've heard Cliff Bleszinski talk about going fully digital, and more devs than can be counted saying free-to-play and "always online" is the future. Where are the outspoken developers in support of consumer rights? Where's the support for the idea that used games allow more people to play more games?
Where's the idea that creating better experiences through creativity and innovation is the secret to success and profit? Increases in piracy and used game sales are not "issues", they're symptoms. The industry that grew unbounded for the past 30 years is one built on used games and shared experiences. The future is in trusting consumers to support good games.