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Industry set to beat piracy by offering games for free?

by Steven Williamson on 7 July 2008, 09:42

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On receiving an honorary doctorate from Queen's University Belfast last week for his services to computer gaming, the Northern Irish video game developer, David Perry, whose creations include Earthworm Jim, MDK, Messiah , Wild 9 and Enter the Matrix, believes that the Western games industry will eventually combat piracy problem by offering games for free.

Perry believes that the western world will soon follow the same business model that has worked well in Asia, where software is offered as a free download and revenue is made from micro-payments for extras such as new characters and weapons.

Speaking in Belfast after his award, Perry said:

"They had so much piracy that they decided to stop charging for the games. Instead, there'll be a charge for things you might want to use in the game."

"Your character might have a plain white T-shirt. If you wanted a nicer one you could have it for a dollar. Or perhaps you could buy a magic sword for a knight for a dollar."

Though the idea may sound far-fetched, EA has already paved the way for the invasion of free games into the Western world by launching its 'Play 4 Free' business model and its first free game, Battlefield Heroes, due for release this summer.

It remains to be seen whether others will follow, but with an estimated £2bn lost every year due to piracy, developers may not have much of an option.

Source :: BBC

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