The man behind the hugely successful Football Manager series reckons game prices would be reduced if a cure for piracy were ever discovered.
Speaking to VideoGamer.com in an interview to be published tomorrow, Miles Jacobson, studio director at Sports Interactive, said that there won't be a "proper cure" for piracy without a "change in society".
Video game piracy was one of the hot topics in 2008. The year saw a number of developers suggest the PC game market was in poor health, and a number of high-profile PC titles come under fire from gamers for including restrictive copy protection measures.
Football Manager 2009 itself suffered complaints after players struggled to authenticate the game when it was released in November last year. According to Jacobson, there currently isn't a legitimate cracked version of the game available and, "apart from the people who bought the game on day one, 98 per cent of people since authenticated first time without any problems whatsoever".
He said: "I don't know whether there is a proper cure for piracy without a change in society, to be honest. There needs to be some kind of copy protection in your product otherwise retail aren't going to stock your product, so we do have to take some measures. We will investigate all avenues open to us once again for next year to see what the best solution is. What we believed we had this year was something that was going to be better for the consumer compared to the system where you had to keep the disc in the drive, which you don't have to do with our system, and be completely unobtrusive.
"I don't think it will ever be fixed and it is a shame because the price of games would go down if the issue was fixed and we'd be able to have more people working on the titles."
When asked about the 90 per cent piracy rate that Beautiful Game Studios has confirmed rival product Championship Manager suffers, Jacobson replied: "It sounds about right to me. To put it into perspective, there was a key code that was leaked on a Russian piracy site, as being a key code that they claimed would work with any version of the game. It doesn't work at all. It's been attempted by 338,000 unique people. So, that's just one key code. That's not including people who are playing cracked versions. So 90 per cent could actually be quite low.
"But I don't know what the figures are because we've got no way of tracking it. We don't believe there is a way to track fully exactly how many downloads we have. What we do know is there are countries out there where there are 30,000 members signed up and active on a local language forum and we sell 2,000 copies in that country to date. So, that 90 per cent level could be a low figure. I could pick a figure out of my arse but it wouldn't really do anyone any good. But piracy is incredibly bad!"
What do you think about Jacobson's comments on piracy? Do you agree that game prices would go down if it were 'fixed'? Let us know in the comments section below.