Since it is Valentine's Day, I will admit that here at GamePolitics we heart Randy Stude (uh, that's in a manly, want-him-on-our-side-in-team-deathmatch sort of way).
The president of the PC Gaming Alliance invariably talks sense and pulls no punches as an unabashed advocate for the computer gaming crowd. Plus, he's a great interview, as we found out in December (see: PlayStation 4 Might Live Inside Your PC and Other Wisdom from PCGA's Randy Stude).
Big Download is the latest beneficiary of Randy's insights. The site has posted a fascinating interview in which the PCGA head talks about the issue of piracy and PC games.
Most notably, Randy points out that, back in the day, piracy actually helped grow the PC industry:
I don't think that [those who protested Spore's DRM scheme] is anti-DRM as much as they are anti-Spore's approach to DRM. Their protest has been echoed many times on many gaming forums and the PCGA is listening...
If you ask [Valve and Stardock] about the rate of piracy for their games you may find that one has rampant piracy and the other has almost none. The PC Gaming Industry's history is littered with examples of startups (including Stardock and Valve) that actually benefitted from wide spread piracy to grow a market for their future titles.
Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating piracy... However, how would Quake, Doom, Starcraft, Counter-Strike, or Half-Life have been able to grow widespread brand recognition without a widespread network of gamers openly sharing these games. These titles (and many more) defined the industry. Personally, my first experience with a first person shooter was with Doom (back in the day) and I did not pay for it. Id Software turned the corner and has a very successful business built on the back of the early free/open source exchange of their games...