We hear a lot about the impact of online piracy on music and movies, but what about games? Over the years, I've heard that the industry loses as much to $3 billion annually to bootlegged games. PC games are more vulnerable than console titles, especially now with more and more software being delivered over the Net. Companies such as Valve, which has its popular Steam distribution system, have managed to build a formidable business despite the threats. This week, Ubisoft's chief, Yves Guillemot, tells Kotaku that his company is developing its own plan. "Altogether on console, the piracy is low," he said. "On the PC the piracy is quite a lot. We are working on a tool that would allow us to decrease that on the PC starting next year and probably one game this year."
It'd be interesting to finally hear a bit more about what these companies are doing to protect themselves - and how effective they're being. Game companies often lead the way for technical innovation, so it follows that they'd have some compelling answers for the piracy problem too. Maybe one day we'll learn what they are.
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.