David Perry, the man for Earthworm Jim and MDK games, has said adopting free game releases where gamers are charged for in-game luxuries will help beat piracy.
The idea isn't entirely alien to us Westerners with a number of titles being released and supported by in-game ads and micro-transactions. So, pirates best beware?
"The next big thing will be free games," proclaims Perry, clutching his new honorary doctorate from Queen's University in Belfast.
"Asia had so much piracy that they decided to stop charging for the games. Instead, there'll be a charge for things you might want to use in the game," he continued.
"Your character might have a plain white T-shirt. If you wanted a nicer one you could have it for a dollar. Or perhaps you could buy a magic sword for a knight for a dollar."
While it may take a while for gamers here in Europe and North America to get used to purchasing in-game stuff with real monies, and not shiny gold coins picked up off the floor, some publishers are already trialling the idea.
EA is releasing Battlefield Heroes as a free-to-play game and id are releasing Quake Live, to be supported by in-game advertisements.
"It's going to turn our industry on its head," he said. "I want to see the same thing happening in the USA and Europe."
Would the novelty of buying in-game stuff stick or wear off though with the more demanding western gamers market? We know what we like after all, and aren't shy about expressing it.
Asia-style free games will defeat piracy for Europe and US markets
09 July 2008 | By Simon Priest