News

Asia-style free games will defeat piracy for Europe and US markets
Posted: 09.07.2008 12:57 by Simon Priest Comments: 5
David Perry, the man for Earthworm Jim and MDK games, has said adopting free game releases where gamers are charged for in-game luxuries will help beat piracy.

The idea isn't entirely alien to us Westerners with a number of titles being released and supported by in-game ads and micro-transactions. So, pirates best beware?

"The next big thing will be free games," proclaims Perry, clutching his new honorary doctorate from Queen's University in Belfast.

"Asia had so much piracy that they decided to stop charging for the games. Instead, there'll be a charge for things you might want to use in the game," he continued.

"Your character might have a plain white T-shirt. If you wanted a nicer one you could have it for a dollar. Or perhaps you could buy a magic sword for a knight for a dollar."

While it may take a while for gamers here in Europe and North America to get used to purchasing in-game stuff with real monies, and not shiny gold coins picked up off the floor, some publishers are already trialling the idea.

EA is releasing Battlefield Heroes as a free-to-play game and id are releasing Quake Live, to be supported by in-game advertisements.

"It's going to turn our industry on its head," he said. "I want to see the same thing happening in the USA and Europe."

Would the novelty of buying in-game stuff stick or wear off though with the more demanding western gamers market? We know what we like after all, and aren't shy about expressing it.

Will micro-transactions and in-game adverts crush piracy?


Source: CVG
Game advertisements by <a href="http://www.game-advertising-online.com" target="_blank">Game Advertising Online</a> require iframes.

Comments

By Kres (SI Elite) on Jul 09, 2008
Kres
In game adverts can&#039;t really cover the expenses that buying a game for aroundish $40 would. Let&#039;s say that advertisers could pay $1 per 1000 views. You would need to open the game 40,000 times to pay for it. Now perhaps it would cost more then $1, and ads would perhaps auto change while in game (intrusive).

Also, perhaps, they could offer people a fee to remove the ads. But wouldn&#039;t all of this be crackable?
By Orv (SI Core) on Jul 09, 2008
Orv
I thought most of the game pirating was being done to play games offline in singleplayer mode.
How do they expect micro-transactions to solve that?
And, as Kres points out, advertisements can be cracked out.
While I can see the concept sported here as helping some game publishers, I doubt that western publishers will find the idea of much use for the majority of their games.
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Jul 09, 2008
Wowerine
Advertising is starting to rule in the gaming world. Even in some older games like Need for Speed: Underground, EA started making money on advertising with brands like AXE, McDonald&#039;s, etc. And, yes, it is a great way to cover piracy on the PC platform, but since most of the high-budget game titles are multiplatformers, that might also cause loosing balance, just like before. Still, it might be a great solution for PC-only games.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 09, 2008
herodotus
Nice attempt at legitimising in-game advertising, but as Orv pointed out Piracy dominates the SP, off-line gaming market. Everyone knows why Publishers are pushing for this sort of development, but as Hellgate:London proved so well, people who don&#039;t like it won&#039;t play it. It&#039;s a poor concept, with pathetic reasoning behind it.
By madpuppy (SI Member) on Jul 09, 2008
madpuppy
I have no problem with in-game advertising...as long as it fits in with the environment of the game, a billboard or a building representing a real store. that would just add more realism to allot of modern-setting games. now, how to do in game advertising in a game that takes place in the distant past? how would you implement them? on the load screen?