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It's more like a value-add strategy.
MP: Exactly. I think you're just going to see more and more of that take place. Even a Facebook game -- I'll use FarmVille as an example. Here's a game that most people access off their PCs. I use it on my PC and my iPhone. What's interesting is it's a simple, free to play game. They've done a genius job of taking my money, in terms of using the microtransaction.
It's really stupidly simple to do a microtransaction on FarmVille. What's funny is that someone won't pirate the game. What you're seeing is a shift more towards what I would call identity theft. That's what I would say is the next big thing to combat.
The game design is now shifting to combat piracy, but because the value propositions are altering and changing, now you're getting more of increase in the identity theft space.
These retail games, your brick and mortars, are declining, and some of that forcing function was piracy. What's picking up the slack are your Steam accounts, your Wild Tangents, your Orbs, your EA Downloader, your Battle.net.
Even GameStops are now offering digital downloads of a lot of these games. ... It's interesting. I don't think retail goes away. But it's going to continue to diminish in a while now at some point in the future. Piracy has been that forcing function.
What's your stance on DRM, since that's something that PC gamers are very vocal about?
MP: Very vocal, yeah. I actually out got Slashdotted recently for something I said in some other article, it's funny. We've got [DRM providers] Sony [DADC] and Arxan that are part of the PCGA. DRM, I don't know what its future is.
...I don't have, honestly, a great answer for all my fellow gamers out there in the world to "what is DRM's role in the future?" But you have to take a low level approach [to protecting IP] that's not invasive or going to detract from the gaming experience. Again, there's no instant fix. We can't snap our fingers and wave our wands, so instantaneously that problem goes away, because you're always going to have retail to some level.
And to expand on the DRM thing, there is an interesting thing going on where I've heard of people -- I won't mention names -- who one of the first things that they'll do is they'll go crack the retail copy that they bought and load it onto a drive. And that way they can take it to any other PC that they've bought.
And the driving factor there is, that they want the extra level of flexibility that comes along with that, when you don't need that disc spinning in your optical drive. ... But they still legitimately bought the game, right?
But then, they're downloading this hack, which is going to light up in some of these forums, "Oh, there are 50,000 downloads of XYZ crack." And I'm like, "Well, yeah, but some percentage of those are from people who legitimately bought the retail box for that, they just want the extra flexibility that you would get, almost as if it was digitally downloaded." It's a weird perspective, but it happens.
One thing that, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have over the PC is that they have the family room TV. And obviously I can and I do hook up my PC to my big screen TV.
MP: Yeah, I do too.
But most people don't, and a lot of people don't have the capability or knowledge to do that. What else can the PC gaming industry do to make PC gaming friendlier for TVs?
MP: It's interesting that you bring that up for two reasons. Reason one is, with my PCGA hat on here, the living room strategy is something which several of our partners and founders have always wanted. And now that I'm on board I'm going to be looking at this very seriously. Because there is no reason why you can't use PC gaming in the living room. You hit the nail on the head. It's an awareness thing.
It used to be more difficult to configure. I was on the Windows 7 planning team, and I think Microsoft has done a better job over the last however many years it's been since Vista and Windows 7 of getting to that plug and play experience of, "OK. I've got my laptop, my Alienware or my Dell here sitting in front of me, I have my HDMI cable, a modern, high-definition TV that has an HDMI input."
If you're playing WoW or StarCraft II ... I use a thing called a "lappy." It sits in my lap as a laptop. You could do it where you've got your mouse and keyboard there as your inputs. And my HDMI cable strings up behind my back to my 82" projector.
It comes back to an ease of use thing. [The challenge is] just how to get the message out there. That'll be something that I start doing inside the PCGA -- to build that additional consumer awareness for that living room scenario.
Again, we have no instant fixes, but I've got some really cool things that we're going to be announcing and bringing into play, to really start giving us a lot more traction. So I'm excited.