Codemasters CEO: We Can Beat Piracy by Selling Unfinished Games

Nathan Grayson

Pirates are nearly as tricky as they are sticky fingered, so maybe it’s time for the gaming industry to get tricky right back. After all, just take a look at the scoreboard. Pirates: one million. DRM: negative three. Desperate times call for desperate measures, though, and Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens has a pretty big trick up his sleeve.

"My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games -- and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience. That would create an offering that is affordable at retail -- but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games," he told CVG .

"If these games are pirated, those who get their hands on them won't be able to complete the experience. There will be technology, coding aspects, that will come to bear that will unlock some aspects. Some people will want them and some won't. When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue - rather than respond the other way round and risk damaging that experience for the user."

Does that sound a bit insane to you? Because it’s really not. Free-to-play MMOs like Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online more or less fit that model to a tee, minus the initial fee for the main game. And that’s working out pretty well for them, from the sound of things – that sound, of course, primarily being “ ka-ching .”  So applying that model to something that’s not an MMO seems like a no-brainer to us – as opposed to current DRM-based models, which had to have been conceived by someone who literally lacked a brain.

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