Thursday, February 25, 2010

Piracy

Freddie is one of my favorite bloggers. His posts always, at the very least, get you thinking about the issues, which is what good writing is supposed to do. I've linked to him several times before, and it's time to do that again. He recently wrote about piracy, and how it is destroying our media. His argument is basically that piracy = loss of profits = no more music, movies, or video games. I find this to be a little simplistic.

First, Freddie talks about all media like it's all the same. But the nature of each specific medium means that how each one adapts to piracy will be different, so I'm going to take them all on individually.

Music is probably more pirated than anything else. It's just easier than anything else to pirate. But that doesn't mean that professional music created by professional musicians will disappear anytime soon. What Freddie doesn't seem to get is that there are other ways musicians can make money other than just selling their music directly to consumers. There's concert tickets, to name an obvious example, but there's also merchandising, and licensing the songs to be used in movies, video games, and commercials. Yes, the loss of revenue from selling CD's does mean that musicians probably won't make the obscene gobs of money they have made in the past, but there are many other ways to make money off music, and the best musicians will still do just fine.

It's a similar case with movies. Pirating movies does not mean that they will stop making movies. Freddie doesn't mention box office revenue at all in his post, which is still the biggest money maker for the studios. Sure, maybe piracy means that fewer DVDs will be sold, but so what? Good movies will still make a lot of money in the theater.

Now, what will piracy do to video games? I think we'll just slowly see developers stop making PC games. Piracy is just too much of a problem for anything besides MMOs to survive on computers. Everything else will just go to the consoles, which are much more difficult to pirate. Rampant piracy does not mean the video game industry will whither to nothing, as Freddie claims, it just means PC games won't be as common as they once were. And that would be just fine with me.

1 comment:

Freddie said...

You're right, it's a simplistic post. I think that that simplicity doesn't mean it lacks a certain thrust of truth, but it is indeed flawed.

My central thought: but I like PC games!