Peter Moore, EA Executive and former Microsoft veep has publicly warned against suing your consumers, even if they are pirates. Turning the other cheek, Moore points out that the tactic didn’t work so well for the RIAA, and it won’t work now. It’s like beating up a kid for his lunch money after he threw a spitball at you. You may hurt him in the short term, but overall you only increase his lust for slimy revenge.
Moore’s solution to the problem is, “build game experiences that make it more difficult for there to be any value in pirating games.” Of course, that’s easy for him to say. He currently heads up the EA Sports division, a gaming genre that is definitively multiplayer. Since online multiplayer is tracked by remote servers, the only pirates it doesn’t foil are the ones who can steal or spoof other user accounts. It’s like online activation DRM, but your consumer base wants to use it. Pity single-player gaming developers don’t have something like that.
Or do they? Games are moving online, even single-player games. From achievements to leaderboards to simple chat interfaces, developers can shoehorn an online component into just about anything. If they standardize that component, it’ll hardly take any development resources at all. Humans are social animals–we (usually) like others to know what we’re doing and to share our experiences. Maybe Moore is right, and gaming can leverage that fact to cut down on piracy.