It appears that PC piracy rates are dropping thanks to a shift in overall game design, according to PC Gaming Alliance president Matt Ployhar. Since many PC games are changing design modules, adopting free-to-play schemes instead of your usual brick-and-mortar retail model, piracy rates have been dropping as a result.
"What's happening is game design is shifting and as a result of shifting game design, piracy, at least on the PC side, is actually declining as a result," Ployhar told Gamasutra. "There are stats that do corroborate that."
"There are free to play games. You can't really pirate free to play. You can but it doesn't make a lot of sense.
"I'm not saying that piracy is going to go away. It's fascinating to watch. For example, you get a game like Crysis that got hit hard by piracy. Now what you're seeing to combat that or reduce the chances of piracy are developers implementing achievements, in-game pets, all of these things that are tracked and stored in the cloud.
"So even if you pirate the game you're still not getting the bragging rights. You've got all these additional mechanisms where the value proposition of the game, where if you pirate it, it's just not going to be as fun."
However, it seems as piracy rates drop, something else is filling the void. There has been increased cases of identity theft as a knee-jerk reaction to the industry's shift towards free-to-play content.
"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," Ployhar added. "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."