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During an E3 interview with GameSpot, StarCraft II production director Chris Sigaty talks about all things StarCraft but he also talks about why the game doesn't have LAN and why LAN won't be added to Heart of the Swarm and it's all because of...piracy?!
The interview starts off surrounding the new "resume replay" feature where you can hop back into a game easily if you were disconnected or if you want to pick up a game at a specific point during a replay. Eventually the questioning comes around to why StarCraft 2 doesn't offer local area network play...a feature that has helped define PC gaming over the years and allows for players to locally play a game on multiple PCs within a home, dorm, apartment, wherever. LAN play is totally awesome where it's supported, but Sigaty -- speaking on behalf of Blizzard -- thinks that piracy negates a reason to have fun with LAN, saying...
"We feel like we want a connected experience. We don't want the isolated experiences; it's one of the primary directives. And the other side of it is piracy. Honestly, WarCraft III, was and still is, one of the most popular games in the world as far as DotA [Defense of the Ancients] goes, and it was basically played sight unseen across all that. We basically stood around and waved at it. So yeah, piracy plays a factor and that is a reality.
So basically, after selling more than 4 million copies of StarCraft II Blizzard is effectively using piracy as an excuse? Really? How many games even manage to sell that many in their lifetime on a single platform that isn't Call of Duty, Halo, Gran Turismo, Uncharted or Forza Motorsport?
According to an approximation by VGChartz, the game shifted close to three-quarters of a million copies digitally on day one, and according to Joystiq, Blizzard confirmed that StarCraft II managed close to 1.5 million copies sold within 48 hours of release. Piracy for StarCraft is a non-issue...Blizzard profited from the game in the first day and has been profiting ever since.
Why then are legitimate consumers being punished for not getting a feature when piracy isn't even hurting the profits for the game? That's about as idiotic as if Crytek said they're removing single-player from Crysis 3 because Crysis 2 was the most pirated game of 2011. How does punishing consumers by removing features stop pirates? Of anything, you're just blocking out potential sales.
And what's with the remark about DotA? That helped bring a lot of gamers into the fold and LAN play was a huge part of the tournament scene. Sigaty's comments come across as daft and out of touch.
It's funny because CD Projekt's CEO, Marcin Iwinski, recently said the complete opposite: that you add more value to your content to get consumers to buy your product over pirating it. That makes sense.
Then again, Blizzard is the same group that refused to make an offline option for Diablo III, and everything they said the always-on was supposed to stop did nothing to stop it from happening (including people pirating the game by exploiting Blizzard's EU digital marketplace, which prompted them to force all consumers to wait up to three days before a digital purchase of Diablo III could be verified.)
Keep that anti-consumerism coming, Blizzard, it suits you well.
You can check out the rest of the interview over at GameSpot.