PC piracy is a "huge concern", Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 producer David Silverman has warned.
Speaking to VideoGamer.com in an interview to be published later this week, Silverman, who also works as a presenter for C&C TV, said that a "different approach" that includes digital distribution and micro-transactions will help tackle piracy on the PC in the future.
He said: "In all honesty piracy is a huge concern. Luckily people haven't figured out an easy way to pirate on consoles, otherwise you'd be telling me, 'oh, the console market's dying!'. It's a big problem and it's hard because you've got people like Greg (Black, lead balance designer) and a lot of guys on the development team who have been spending countless hours and someone just goes to download on a torrent site and they get the game. It's an unfortunate likelihood and it's one of the penalties that broadband came out. But unlike the music industry which went about it in an interesting way, we're trying some new things and I think we'll be productive in the years to come."
PC piracy is one of the industry's current hot topics. Recently Lionhead boss 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 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.
Silverman, however, believes that the PC gaming industry can tackle the problem of piracy by taking a different approach.
He said: "Things like digital distribution, things like doing micro-transactions, things like that really find a way to get people involved and then also keep them interested. It's also a challenging thing on our end to make the game more engaging to people. If you give people a reason to buy the game they'll buy it. It's what happens. I use the music analogy again. If I'm an artist and I have an album with 14 songs and only two of them are good, then my album is probably getting stolen, but if every one of the 14 songs is awesome and you keep releasing maybe a new song or what not for people who bought it, I guarantee people will be buying my album. So it's just a different approach and a different way in how we have to look at it in the future."
Also speaking to VideoGamer.com, C&C: RA3 lead balance designer Greg Black suggested online play, which requires authentication, as a primary weapon in the war against PC piracy.
"I think one of the best ways to fight piracy is to have a compelling online experience," said Black. "Because you have to authenticate your copy to get online, and that's something we've tried to do with (Red Alert 3's) cooperative campaign. If you really want to fully experience Red Alert 3, you want to jump online and play the campaign with a friend, and you're going to need a legit copy of the game to do that. So I feel on the creative side that the future for PC gaming is online and that's how we're going deal with the piracy problem."
While the PC version of RTS Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 was released on last Friday, the Xbox 360 version won't be out until November 14. A PS3 version is currently in the works but without a release date.