PC Game Piracy: The PC Gaming Alliance Interview, Part Five

PC gaming's dying, PC gaming's alive and well. If you're a PC gamer, you're probably sick of hearing either. Recent punditry pegs PC gaming as an industry in decline, but the reverse is in fact true according to the PC Gaming Alliance, a group of key industry publishers doing their best to bring absent perspective to widely published but decontextualized retail sales figures.

Intel Director of Gaming Randy Stude is the PCGA's standing president. We caught up with him to clarify the PCGA's initiatives and see if we could debunk any ongoing myths.

(This is Part Five. Parts One, Two, Three, and Four.)

Game On: Turning to piracy, the Business Software Alliance estimates North American software piracy rates overall, including games, at around 21 percent. That clashes with occasional anecdotal claims from developers — the most recent from THQ — that PC game piracy rates in the U.S. are upwards of 80 percent. Of course no one's got clear data on this, leading to lots of half-baked punditry and speculative echo-chambering. What's your research saying?

Randy Stude: PC game piracy is bad. That said, it's not 80 percent. We don't know exactly where it's at yet. We've formed a committee to get in and try and provide some better estimates about how deep an issue piracy is on the PC.

I can appreciate someone from THQ who understands how many sales of a particular product he made, and how many requests he gets for the patches, and whether those outstrip the number of sold units by that wide of a margin, then there's some significance to their position on that. But I've looked at their titles and they're not in that deep, at least judging from the utility that we've been able to subscribe to. We have a tool that's showing us some information about installed games and the effective piracy rates of those games. It's not something that's necessarily scientific, it's just a utility that's giving us some insight on version numbers of games that are running on PCs throughout the world.

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