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November 2010

Defeating Piracy by making it irrelevant

The first problem with the current model is that it only works through artificial scarcity. You buy a copy of a game for $60, not because each digital copy is worth $60, but because that’s the price that the publisher can charge and expect to return a decent profit in the face of production costs and loss (through piracy, physical theft, sales and giveaways). This artificial scarcity is what makes piracy so attractive to some people. If you know that the system is broken and you know that the system is gamed to expect a level of piracy, being a pirate is just being part of a business ecosystem. DRM, price increases and crippled user experiences are driving piracy which, in turn, is driving up prices even more and driving development away from computers and onto consoles where control over the system is easier and piracy is tougher (depending on the console, of course).

So, we have to lose the per-user pricing and instead turn to a per-project price model.