Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cliff Harris on Game Piracy

This story's all over the place, but I'm gonna wade into it anyway.

If you've never head of Cliff Harris or his company, Positech Games, well, get in line. At least, I'd never heard of him. But after he went out and petitioned the pirate community to learn the different reasons why they pirate he drew quite a bit of attention for himself. While I think just going out there - wading into some pretty hostile waters, no less - is pretty cool, what's really impressed me is the post he put up at his company's website that aggregates the responses he received and his reaction to them. Some of his conclusions, whether accurate or not, are remarkably frank and incredibly open and forward thinking. If you are even a casual gamer you owe it to yourself to read what he's got to say. Just click your way over here.

Here's a snippet:

My games aren't as good as they could be. Ironically, one of the things that reduces your enthusiasm to really go the extra mile in making games is the thought that thousands of ungrateful gits will swipe the whole thing on day one for nothing. It's very demoralizing. But actually talking to the pirates has revealed a huge group of people who really appreciate genuinely good games. Some of the criticisms of my games hit home. I get the impression that if I make Kudos 2 not just lots better than the original, but hugely, overwhelmingly, massively better, well polished, designed and balanced, that a lot of would-be pirates will actually buy it. I've gone from being demoralized by pirates to actually inspired by them, and I'm working harder than ever before on making my games fun and polished.

For the record, if you steal games, you suck. I'm not gonna lie and say I've never done it, but it's been a very, very long time. And when I did it, I sucked. Just don't embarrass yourself by trying to justify it.