[PCGH exclusive] Topware CEO: PC threatened with Extinction by Software Piracy
Is the PC as a gaming platform threatened with extinction? This question has been spooking around the internet world for months now. PCGH talked to Dirk P. Hassinger, CEO of Topware ("Two Worlds"). His statements are very interesting for all gamers.
Is the PC gaming world facing a crisis? Depending on whom you ask this question you get a clear yes or no. Fact is: A PC Gaming Alliance is not necessary if the PC market is running well. And: The amount of pure PC games is clearly declining; multi platform games have actually become standard.
As working for Topware/Zuxxez Dirk P. Hassinger is a gaming industry insider and every now and then he speaks out inconvenient truths that nobody else wants to say. PCGH talked to him about the topic "PC as gaming platform”.
PCGH: Dirk, is the PC as a gaming platform "threatened with extinction”?
Dirk P. Hassinger: Yes, though less because of the consoles but rather because of pirate copies on PCs. During the first sales week of "Two Worlds" 25,000 games were sold in Germany. That meant top position in the charts and was therefore a great success for us.
The problem was a quite different one: In the same period of time we had to discover 2.9 million illegal downloads from more than 65,000 sources in peer to peer networks. You could say that those people would not have bought "Two Worlds” anyway - which is partly true. But despite continuously growing "installed base” the PC gaming sales are strongly declining.
In 1998 more than 400,000 copies of "Realms of Arkania - Shadows over Riva" were sold - the latest part "The Dark Eye - Drakensang” will have difficulties to reach the 100,000 threshold. And this game is definitely much better and much more expensive development-wise than Part 3. The only way to really protect a PC game is possibly a permanent online connection with which you have to download game relevant components. And that adds up to the fact that honest PC gamers are once more maltreated by additional conditions only because there are too many software pirates.
Therefore we refrain from this method - currently. We also do not think much of alternative sources of revenue like in-game ads. At the moment, as Topware is concerned, I can only say that the US console market subsidizes the German PC market. Furthermore we hope that software piracy decreases as soon as possible. Otherwise the PC market will definitely die.
PCGH: Thank you for the interview.
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