Recently Renegade Kid co-founder Jools Watsham sparked off a conversation about piracy on the 3DS. In a blog post he stated that if piracy was to get bad on the handheld he would have no choice but to pull support for the system.
In a second blog post on the topic, Watsham has clarified his comments saying how he has "always been a huge supporter of Nintendo":
What saddens me is that some people have taken my comments as an attack on Nintendo, the 3DS, and the players. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I wrote this: “If piracy gets bad on the 3DS, we will have no choice but to stop supporting the platform with new games.”
This does not mean I am taking a stand against piracy. This does not mean I am taking my business elsewhere in an action of protest. What this means is if we cannot make money from developing games we can no longer develop games. That is what can happen if piracy gets bad. If enough people choose to illegally obtain copies of my games for free instead of paying for them, it directly affects my business and my home.
In his previous post Watsham looked into how the DS was affected by piracy, speculating that Dementium II could well have sold less copies than its predecessor because of people downloading the game illegally. Hugo Smits, game designer at Goodbye Galaxy Games, wrote his own blog on the subject claiming piracy is often used as a scapegoat when games don't sell, and that there are several other reasons why they struggle at retail including availability, price and quality.
In his latest blog post Watsham explains how he understands that piracy will always exist, but markets need to adapt to combat the threat of illegal downloads:
I don't think there is a solution to piracy. It will always exist in some form. We just need to make sure the price of games is affordable. We need to make it easy to buy and own games. The availability and access players have to their games needs to be at least as easy and convenient as the ROM sites make it to illegally download a game file. Ideally, it should be better. If the player's only question is, "buy or not buy?", and not dealing with issues such as, "how do I transfer ownership of this game to my new system?" then we'll have minimized the appeal of piracy.
So there you have it, Renegade Kid isn't planning to pull its support for 3DS any time soon, so long as the system fends off piracy well enough — something it seems capable of doing considering the amount of system updates.
What are your thoughts on this? Should the games industry be doing more to combat piracy by making games easier to get hold of and afford? Fire-off in the comments section below.