A Smarter Approach To PC Gaming Piracy

A Smarter Approach To PC Gaming Piracy

There are two ways you can tackle piracy: the way that doesn’t work (threats, control and lockdowns) and the way that does (offering a superior service to piracy).

Paradox, publishers of games like Crusader Kings II, Magicka and Cities: Skylines, are fans of the latter, and it’s refreshing to see that their approach appears to be working.

Here’s Shams Jorjani talking about Paradox’s piracy plans in the days immediately following the release of Cities: Skylines:


That last one touches on what might be the single most important factor in this: Steam. It’s Valve’s service that lets games update automatically, and it’s the Workshop built into it that lets modders enhance a game’s core experience to the point where it becomes too tempting for pirates to bother pirating (which is exactly what’s happening with the very moddable Skylines).

But still, hats off to Paradox for being one of the companies (Riot are another prominent example) who tackle the issue the “nice” way, and are seemingly happy (and are being rewarded with sales: Skylines sold 250,000 copies in two days) for their approach.

I’m one customer who can vouch for it: alongside constant DLC for their titles (which is often pretty cheap), Paradox also ensure that major updates and changes are also introduced via updates and patches. The result is that there are Paradox games — my experience being mainly with Crusader Kings II — that can become almost unrecognisable from their “vanilla” iterations by the time they have had a year or two of updates, and that gravy train of progress is more than worth what they’re charging.

(via DSOG)


  • That is definitely an evil way to tackle piracy. But if it works, more companies should learn from this and take action.

  • Now, on to the real scourge:

    Region-locking digital software so Australians are still treated like second-class citizens.

    Stuff Gaben.

    • You must not misuse the name of the LORD your Gaben. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

      • I don’t understand peoples obsession with Gabe Newall. He doesn’t care about you. Sure, He created really good gaming service. But he is not doing it because he cares, he does it because he is making a shit loads of money.

          • He cares a hell of a lot more than any other game overlord. Much, much more. And why shouldn’t we sing his praise for Steam and Valve? People less deserving have received much more.

        • It’s weird, sure, but then again, isn’t most of the PC “master-race”?

          That said, Newell, like Paradox, understands that “caring” is actually one of the most profitable ways to do business. You can see it in Apple stores too, the same principle, utilised to create life-long customers and brand ambassadors.

          And you can argue that none of these companies “care” about you, but when the end result; superior customer service, is the same, does it really even matter?

    • What annoys me even MORE than Steam’s region locking of games, is region locking AND charging Australians in US dollars as well.

      The best example of this is their pricing of Civ Beyond Earth:

      American Pricing: $49.99US = ~$65AU
      Australian Pricing: $89.99US = ~$117AU

      Honestly, wtf. They’re upping the price based on our region AND charging us in their currency as well. It’s double dipping and it’s ridiculous. >:(

    • It’s not Gaben it’s publishers that set this. It’s still sad that they didn’t make a stand and not implement the ability to do it – but i guess to many publishers ganged up to force their hand. I mean now they’re giving the publishers the ability to squash gifting as well (purchase game in US then gift to AU account).

      Worst offenders are bethesda and 2k imo. They love to fuck over teh aussies.

    • Worse… banning the game in 2 months, because the classification board listens to parents complaining when a modder adds a Brothels and Meth Labs to Cities: Skyline and Steam is forced to region lock it completely out with a R18+ rating (or worse banned outright like Hotline Maimi 2)

      • Yer honestly im a little puzzled as to why this hasn’t become a thing yet… OK not really – suits protecting existing models unwilling to move on, so much so they’d rather spend millions upon millions lobbying the government for legislation that protects a broken and outdated model rather than make changes.

        One day, when the geriatrics are no longer in control of media companies (IE someone that knows and understands how to use the internet effectively) someone will release a kodi and yatse like interface that has legit streaming/caching options (cache locally for offline viewing) and they will make many a dollar. Ohh and did i mention this genius also got rid of regional release windows with a one stop shop for all.

        One can dream eh?

        • Actually itunes is basically steam for tv shows, ala cart menu, seasons or individual eps. It’s in $aud as well.

          • It’s about 6 – 12 months behind tho right (In line with bluray releases), not that netflix is much better. It’s also limited to apple devices (correct me if im wrong). It’s a movement in the right direction but not far enough.

            I think the biggest thing that encourages piracy is that pirates have a better experience. 1080p released on the day it airs, no ads and in a highly portable format that can work with no fuss on tablet, tv or phone. We’ve seen this all before with music and mp3’s. They tried and fought so hard for DRM in their products but at the end of the day all it did was hurt consumers.

  • How not to do it? Ubisoft and their POS Uplay hindrance.
    I bought Anno 2070 from steam – still copped effing Uplay. What does that mean? Two sets of clients, crappy servers, no offline, and server outages making a single player game be unusable. Steam is in of itself a DRM service that provides many benefits. I just coughed up $25 for Space Engineers on Early Access. I then spent another 4 hours looking up the mods available through the Workshop. Constant updates. No crap slowing down the system. Developers/publishers get paid. F**king win

    • yeah Uplay lost Ubi a lot of guaranteed purchases personally (Anno 2070, Settlers, most of the UbiArt stuff etc.)… meanwhile Steam as a DRM service doesn’t even always need the DRM component! – there are plenty of smaller indie games that use Steam integration for achievements and updates, but can actually run DRM-free right out of their steam directory.

    • I haven’t bought an Ubi game on PC in years, I got a free copy of Far Cry 4 with my video card and I still feel scammed whenever I go to play it because uPlay is so awful.

      You know your service is bad when you long for Origin.

      I buy an enormous amount of games that only use steamworks though.

  • With the great pricing that is Steam Sales and Origin’s free game on the house, I fail to see the need to pirate PC titles these days.

    • and if that’s not enough there’s the Humble Store/Bundles, GreenManGaming, GOG, BundleStars, Groupees, IndieGameStand, IndieGala, IndieRoyale… – it’s easier finding a game at a 50%+ discount nowadays than it is to find a reliable torrent!

      • Oh dear. Your soul will never fully recover.

        Since both companies left the WW2 setting, I’ve always tried before purchase. Needless to say, I have not owned a CoD in quite some time.

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