Video Game Editorial: Note to Bioware, EA – You Can’t Stop Piracy. Ever.

As you might know, owners of Dragon Age: Origins have been unable to access any of their purchased downloadable content because of server side problems from Electronic Arts and Bioware. There’s nothing the gamer can do, except one of three things: play a barebones game, not play at all, or use a pirated copy.

There’s a scene in Casino detailing how the fall of organized crime in Las Vegas came from mob bosses being angry at counters skimming money off the top; the skimmers were skimming the skim, essentially. Ace Rothstein in the film commented that it was expected by wiser heads, and viewed as a tax, rather than stealing. However, the heads came down on them, and one thing led to another, and there were mass arrests because the bosses just couldn’t let it go. There’s a lesson in their for Electronic Arts.

You can’t stop piracy. Ever. Ubisoft found this out too late, after their (admittedly worse, but not much) solution of requiring the game always be online or shut down failed miserably. You never will, just as you’ll never stop robbery, car theft, kidnapping or murder. It’s a crime. No one has ever stopped crime without punishing the law-abiding. You’d think EA would have learned after the entire Spore fiasco.

Only extreme means have ever succeeded in wiping out crime, and it always involved removing the rights of innocent people. The same is true of software piracy, except the extreme means has never stopped piracy, either. All it has done is punish the people who actually paid you for your product. That’s it. The best you can do is stifle casual piracy, and the most gentle of DRM will do that, like Steam or Live for Windows.

However, if you don’t want piracy at all, it’s very simple: don’t release any more games. It’s too hard on your psyche and your manhood. Make games that’ll only play on your home computer. Or just release MMO after MMO.

In short: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you want to make games, account for the piracy tax and remember the number one rule of business: the customer comes first.

Jonah Falcon is a blogger for TMRzoo and and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Jonah provides his readers with reviews, previews and up to date gaming industry news and rumors.

Game Stooge Footer