THQ CEO Blames Piracy For Close of Titan Quest Developer
THQ CEO Michael Fitch released a rant on the close of developer Iron Lore, claiming that piracy was to blame. As emotional as his post is, it looks at an uncomfortable truth that is effecting the PC gaming industry.
One, there are other costs to piracy than just lost sales. For example, with TQ, the game was pirated and released on the nets before it hit stores. A lot of people are talking about how it crashes right when you come out of the first cave. There was a security check there.
So, before the game even comes out, we’ve got people bad-mouthing it because their pirated copies crash, even though a legitimate copy won’t. How many people decided to pick up the pirated version because it had this reputation and they didn’t want to risk buying something that didn’t work? Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecy.
Let’s dig a little deeper there. So, if 90% of your audience is stealing your game, even if you got a little bit more, say 10% of that audience to change their ways and pony up, what’s the difference in income? Just about double.
If even a tiny fraction of the people who pirated the game had actually spent some god-damn money for their 40+ hours of entertainment, things could have been very different today. Some really good people made a seriously good game, and they might still be in business if piracy weren’t so rampant on the PC. That’s a fact.
Fitch also lambastes hardware vendors for releasing components that are mislabeled or misrepresented and for providing little if any support. He also sites neglect of PC owners to update drivers, clean adware and spyware from their systems, defrag their hard drives as a huge problem. He also points out running programs like IM and peer-to-peer software in the background eats memory.
PC folks want to have the freedom to do whatever the hell they want with their machines, and god help them they will do it; more power to them, really. But god forbid something that they’ve done – or failed to do – creates a problem with your game. There are few better examples of the “it can’t possibly be my fault” culture in the west than gaming forums.
Reviewers aren’t spared either. One reviewer knocked the game because he didn’t read the manual and ingored the tutorial and so was unaware that he could teleport back to town instead of schelping his junk all the way back. Another turned in a poor review because of a bug in the beta that was corrected in the release version.
The rant is well written and gives a no holds barred account of often painful truths. Check the full entry out on Quarter to Three.