Posted on August 21, 2008,

id: PC Piracy a "Dirty Little Secret Among Hardware Manufacturers"

Gaming Today

There’s no denying that piracy is a significant problem for PC game developers. While some overplay or downplay its significance, it is no doubt an issue. But consider the effect of piracy on PC hardware manufacturers. Without a top-of-the-line graphics card and processor, it doesn’t matter how many copies of Crysis you can pirate, you’re not going to do much without the hardware to run it.

In an interview with, id Software vice president Tom Bramwell floated an interesting theory that PC hardware manufacturers might not be the biggest opponent of the piracy scene.

“There’s lots of things that they could do but typically just they just line up on the wrong side of the argument in my opinion,” Hollenshead claimed. “They have lots of reasons as to why they do that, but I think that there’s been this dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers, which is that the perception of free content – even if you’re supposed to pay for it on PCs – is some sort hidden benefit that you get when you buy a PC, like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games.”

Asked if he thinks the manufacturers are secretly happy about the the situation, Hollenshead replied, “Yeah I think they are. I think that if you went in and could see what’s going on in their minds, though they may never say that stuff and I’m not saying there’s some conspiracy or something like that – but I think the thing is they realise that trading content, copyrighted or not, is an expected benefit of owning a computer.

“And I think that just based on their actions…what they say is one thing, but what they do is another. When it comes into debates about whether peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that by-and-large have the vast majority, I’m talking 99 per cent of the content is illicitly trading copyrighted property, they’ll come out on the side of the 1 per cent of the user doing it for legitimate benefit. You can make philosophical arguments that are difficult to debate, but at the same time you’re just sort of ignoring the enormity of the problem.”

He certainly raises a good point. You can’t come right out and say this is true without some evidence, but it seems to make too much sense to be untrue. Either way, Hollenshead probably shouldn’t count on getting any Christmas cards from Intel, AMD and Nvidia this year.

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12 Comments on id: PC Piracy a "Dirty Little Secret Among Hardware Manufacturers"

Buddy "The Truth" Love

On August 21, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Your article doesn’t make sense. First you mention some Tom Bramwell, then switch to some Hollenshead guy that isn’t mentioned before that.

The Twin

On August 21, 2008 at 8:06 pm

I simply don’t find this true: I’m a core PC gamer, and I never pirate. I also never upgrade my equipment for a shiny new game, I just get it for 360. Also, what about laptops? Who upgrades laptops? Practically no one. My point.


On August 21, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Sounds like more bull being spouted from Id Software. Frankly I have lost a LOT of respect for these guys. They claim they will NEVER leave the pc scene YET they seem to always bash something in the pc game\hardware industry. if they are THAT irritated at what’s going on then maybe they should go to console after all. Id this aint the right way to keep friends at all.


On August 21, 2008 at 11:12 pm

The writer makes a great point in that hardware manufacturers aren’t being hurt by piracy, but other than that snidbit, kinda a shallow article. Great single point though.


On August 22, 2008 at 12:23 am



On August 22, 2008 at 2:09 am

Agreed Al. I personally know of several people who have damn good gaming rigs and play pirated copies of Assassins Creed, Crysis, Oblivion, and several others. The hardware manufacturers are making money off of them, but the developers and publishers of these games aren’t getting a penny from these guys.

@Killmur – That’s because there IS a lot of problems with PC gaming. Personally I think they’ve raised valid points. And I don’t see how this comes off as complaining at all. It’s a simple statement saying that hardware manufacturers are not being affected by piracy while those who actually make the games get screwed left and right. It’s essentially stating the obvious. Besides, be careful of what you wish for. Just look what happened with Epic.


On August 22, 2008 at 7:36 am

This whole argument is irrelevant. Why would hardware manufacturers give a crap about piracy? Piracy is a software issue, not a hardware issue.

You never see people making illegal copies of a great video card or processor. Except maybe in China, but they don’t get sold here for the most part and certainly not for free.

Piracy is easy, that is why thieves do it. Thieves are lazy.

Go Marlins!!!!


On August 22, 2008 at 7:57 am

If people keep pirating so much developers cant afford to make big budget games with the latest graphics anymore. Meaning less people buying the latest graphics hardware.


On August 22, 2008 at 4:23 pm

i agree with Al, lacks something newsworthy … something like… biggest russian warez crew uses intel processor and nvida videocard in their servers, riaa wants to sue ! :mrgreen:


On August 23, 2008 at 5:40 am

This article was crap =|. Just because your PC can’t run Crysis doesn’t mean you cant pirate the out of every other game on the market. ID is on the road to failville.


On August 24, 2008 at 10:34 pm

As always I think the problem is being blow out of proportion. The internet didn’t create deadbeats and penniless college students, it simply gives them access to things they once would’ve had to pay for–for free. These people assume everyone who downloads something for free off the internet would’ve otherwise paid for it if that wasn’t an option; this assumption is quite plainly FALSE.

PC gaming is simply getting increasingly left in the dust compared to consoles because: A) PC games are not nearly as high-profile or as abundant as console titles in stores–less availability = lower sales. B) The constant pushing of hardware limits continues to (and always has, really) kept the cutting-edge PC gaming market limited to those people who want to constantly upgrade their computers in order to run new titles.

Conclusion: PC gaming is pushing on with the same inflated budgets as consoles but has FAR less of a potential market base to turn a profit off of. THIS, I wager is much more to fault for poor performance of the PC gaming market than piracy. The internet (and all the piracy which comes with it) existed in tandem with the -rise- of PC (and gaming in general) many years ago. So while it may be easier to pirate things now it is, to me, utterly ludicrous to lay the folly of the industry at the pirates’ doorstep–you’re giving them too much credit.


On October 9, 2008 at 9:09 am

if the music industry hasnt died yet as a result of piracy, then neither will pc gaming.