Publishers that don't protect their games from being stolen throughout all stages of production only have themselves to blame when they are pirated, the president of the PC Gaming Alliance has said.
Speaking to VideoGamer.com in an interview to be published next week, Randy Stude, president of the PCGA, a US-based non-profit organisation formed to defend PC gaming from accusations from some quarters that it is a dying industry, said that while "there will always be people who will pirate" publishers should do more to prevent "some guy" at the duplicator house from stealing code.
He said: "If your product is not protected all of the way through production, you're going to be faced with the scenario where some guy sitting at the duplicator house, this is where all the piracy starts, back doors the code to a buddy or flat out sells it to make money off a torrent rip of the game. That's where the problem is."
PC game piracy is currently one of the hottest issues in gaming. Recently Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux told VideoGamer.com that the PC gamer market was "in tatters". LucasArts explained to us in an interview from earlier in the year that it wasn't doing a PC version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed because of the vast differences in power of PCs in people's homes and the lack of scalability of the game.
And only last week Ubisoft Shanghai creative director Michael de Plater has told VG247 that a PC version of EndWar would most likely be shipping alongside the console SKUs if it wasn't for rampant PC piracy, and that copyright theft is essentially destroying the PC games market.
Stude added: "Any publisher today who's making any game that's going out on any platform and isn't thinking about the potential of piracy with the widespread availability of broadband and the patience that people have to kick off a download that may take a day or more, then they're going to have challenges and they're going to act like it's a big surprise.
"It's like anything else in business. If you're not aware of the guy who's trying to steal your product then it's going to get stolen. You don't see the guards of banks walk around with money sacks on the street without proper precaution, right? Those days have been gone since the 1700s. If people are getting attacked in the streets and getting their money stolen from them you should probably not take your $20m-$50m investment in any game and leave it to chance."
While Stude admitted that the PCGA cannot currently offer a solution to this problem, and that "there will always be people who will pirate", he called on publishers to "be smart" about the way they deal with their own intellectual property and protect it "all the way through the production pipeline".
What's your view on PC game piracy? Do publishers only have themselves to blame? Let us know in the comments section below.