on Aug 20, 2008
This link is long overdue. I intended to put it up last week, got distracted, and it slipped off my radar.
Cliff Harris is an indie game developer. A while back he asked on his blog for pirates to let him know why they pirate games. Now, we’ve had that conversation here many times, but this is the first time a game developer has begun such a dialog, and the results were pretty interesting. After being Slashdotted and linked all over the place, he had quite a stack of replies.
Harris then wrote this response. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the subject, as he outlines a lot of the reasoning and then goes on to talk about what he’ll be doing differently in the future based on this feedback.
I agree with Jay Barnson, in that you have to take a lot of the responses with a grain of salt. The most flagrant pirates aren’t going to openly admit, “I pirate software because it’s cheaper and I can.” Those people will either cultivate more nuanced justifications, or they will probably avoid taking part in the discussion.
But even allowing for that, it’s an interesting read. It also gives me hope that no matter how badly EA and 2kGames salt their own fields with DRM, indie developers will be there to provide for our gaming needs.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.