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Alex St John: The PC business model is "f*cked"

Piracy is caused by inappropriate business plans - and the industry shouldn't blame the consumer, says WildTangent CEO

PC piracy is happening because the platform's business model is "f*cked" and publishers shouldn't blame consumers but change their tactics, according to Alex St John, CEO of WildTangent.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, St John commented on the recent move by five UK publishers who issued letters to 25,000 file-sharing internet users demanding a GBP 300 payment or face court action, saying that instead the publishers should be changing their business models.

"Console gamers spend more time playing PC games but they spend one third of the money on the PC," he explained. "One reason for that is that the content is free on the PC because it's easily pirated but that's another way of saying that the business model on the PC has to be different."

St John described that PC as an open platform and that publishers shouldn't try to combat that but adapt their business models to suit it, by providing ad-supported free-to-play games.

"For example: if the games were free sponsored by advertising then what would the value be to a pirate in pirating it? The business model is wrong and consumers are finding a way around it..." he said. "It tells you that you need much greater security on the PC but that would contradict the free market and openness of the PC platform, and I think that's one of the strengths of the PC, or you've got to say 'The business model doesn't work'."

"The people sending those letters are blaming the consumer for getting their media for free in an open environment rather than saying 'Hey our business model's f*cked, come up with a better one'," he added.

Alex St John's full interview with GamesIndustry.biz can be read here.

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James Lee