When deciding to acquire a new stereo, you may try and think about the best way to go about getting one. On one hand, you could break into that family’s front room, rip it out of the wall, and run down the street laughing at your ill gotten gain. On the other hand, you could go to the shop, pay for the stereo, get the box thrown in for free along with some form of guarantee and a smiling shop keeper (as long as you didn’t go to Maplin).
A similar business model, in my mind, could be applied to games in an effort to fight piracy. Not giving away free guarantees and beaming, forced smiles though, but rather to add more incentive to buying games rather than pirating them.
This can come in the way of after market downloadable content that developers can offer for free. This is already working so well for games like Team Fortress 2, Army of Two and soon, Left 4 Dead that I am hoping that it may catch on in a big way.
If developers just make the system so that it will authenticate your copy of a game before the download can begin, this will simply deny the pirates the free upgrade, whilst the paying customer can get rewarded for supporting the company.
This is opposed to the fun crippling DRM devices that companies such as EA are slapping on games that give paying customers a hard install limit, basically giving you a set period of enjoyment before it stops working in a hissy fit of hard drive chugging agony.
Of course, as is life, the pirates will still manage to circum navigate this minor obstacle, sail through without a care in the world, casually exposing themselves to every publisher they come across. This is however definitely a move in the right direction that attempts to reward a paying customer, rather than set bear traps everywhere and put everyone at risk.
Such a system is not necessarily perfect however, as some companies might start releasing games that seem half finished (or more of them anyway), only releasing the next part as DLC a bit later down the line. This means that to obtain the full game after initially buying it, you may need to wait for quite a while.
At any rate, it is not a perfect solution, but it is definitely a start, as quite frankly I am enjoying Red Alert 3 too much to think that if I upgrade my rig too much more, it will stop working for me.
Seriously. It has parachuting bears and time travel!