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Piracy "an impossible battle to win" - Perry

New business models, not higher prices, the best way to combat content theft, says Acclaim exec

Acclaim exec and former game designer David Perry has said that the media industries are reluctant to adopt new business models which could help battle the problem of piracy.

Last week the founding members of torrent site The Pirate Bay were found guilty of copyright theft and sentenced to a year in prison, but Perry believes the ruling won't have any long-term affect on the wider problem.

"This decision will slow down the 'overt' sharing but it's an impossible battle to win," wrote Perry on his blog.

"It's like Sony when they release new firmware updates for the PSP handheld because hackers keep breaking the previous one. After countless firmware updates, at some point you accept that this battle is going to go on forever.

"Jail-broken iPhones being another example. It's actually impressive to last a full 24 hours before the next crack happens," he added.

Perry believes he's already involved in two projects that combat or bypass piracy – Acclaim's free-to-play games model, and new cloud gaming venture Gaikai.

The problem, said Perry, is that media companies – videogame publishers included – would rather rise prices than bring them down to levels that are more convenient than pirating content.

"I don't expect media companies to consider this option, they will keep charging more and more and more and more (just like the videogame industry is doing), the prices will continue to rise, and piracy will be fuelled.

"I call it the 'money wall' and we just keep making it higher, making the barrier-to-entry worse and worse. It doesn't require an MBA to see that's not a good strategy."

He added: "Our industry has very smart people too, and so if anyone can get this right, our industry can. But the solution isn't to fight in courts, or to play 'revision ping pong' with hackers, it's to move forward and design convenience, quality and access at a mass market price.

"That's what will get people to pay, even if there's an inferior pirate version available on some dodgy website."

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