It seems like many developers in recent months (with a few notable exceptions
) have been trying to take an honest appraisal of the declines in sales PC game makers have seen across the board over the last half-decade. Piracy is the old boogeyman which, while it is still a serious plague on the industry, is far from being the lone culprit. A few weeks ago, Brad Wardell of Stardock, the publisher behind the spectacular Sins of the Solar Empire
, posted a rant on his blog here he points to the fact that his company's game has risen to #1 on the PC sales charts despite having no piracy protection; proof positive that piracy isn't the lone factor in PC gaming's stagnation
Wardell offers a number of other explanations. For one, other developers are still too focused on the "cool factor" instead of profitability. A lot of times, it seems games are developed to garner magazine covers and not to make money. Many developers also develop games that are likely to be snapped up in China, where piracy usually cannibalizes most of their market share. (Thankfully, this is a factor MMOs are more resilient to, given the way they are monetized
.) The other factor playing to the industry's disadvantage, he says, is that they're only just now realizing that developing games for hardware that next to nobody owns means that next to nobody will buy your game. (We're looking at you here, Age of Conan.
) Some pretty interesting opinions from a guy succeeding just outside the mainstream.