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DreamRift: Publisher caution an "ugly and unfortunate" result of piracy

Epic Mickey 3DS dev claims that publishers response to piracy will harm the platform

Peter Ong, co-founder of Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion developer DreamRift, believes that publishers' cautious response to piracy on the 3DS will be harmful to the platform's future.

The spectre of piracy on Nintendo's handheld was raised last week, when Dementium developer Renegade Kid indicated that it would abandon the platform if piracy reached the levels that plagued the DS.

However, Ong has now claimed that publishers are making matters worse by using piracy as a reason to back away from new and original ideas. In Ong's view, this will do as much to kill the platform as piracy.

"The publishers' fear was that, in a climate where piracy is commonplace, original games and new mechanics are far less likely to be successful than games based on previously successful mechanics, established licenses, sequels, and sports," he said in an interview with Gamasutra.

"There's a perception that the parents/grandparents/non-enthusiast/mainstream/etc. are less likely to go about pirating games. Now, I want to make this point loud and clear: Regardless of whether it's true that enthusiast/hardcore gamers are more likely to pirate than mainstream gamers, the fact that publishers believe it to be true has a very real, unfortunate and ugly impact on games."

This kind of thinking leads to not only a glut of "sports/licensed/sequel games" and a dearth of original IP, it also has a detrimental impact on innovation for all games, as releases are increasingly made for the widest possible audience. Ong sees the 3DS as one of the few platforms that can support small to mid-size teams who want to create products for a dedicated gaming device.

"I am definitely taking notice," he said, "because the day that I have no option but to make a sports game is the day that I must look for a new profession."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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