Piracy remains a big problem for game and software developers, but Microsoft is trying a new approach to counter the impact – offering steep discounts to turn illegal downloaders into legitimate users.
Rather than seeking punishment for users with pirated versions of Microsoft Office, the publisher is serving up offers of 50 per cent off legitimate subscriptions to Office 365, it’s full-featured office suite that includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more. However, the offer does seem to be restricted to the online software, rather than any discounts for the offline Office 2021 – the software pirates are most often stealing.
While this effort (as spotted by PC Gamer, via GHacks) doesn’t seem to be global yet – some screenshots seem to have the Indian Rupee as the currency being discounted, but PC Gamer reports no such offer in Australia, for instance – it is an interesting attempt by Microsoft to stem the tide of piracy, particularly for its business software arm. Given there are numerous legitimate and free office suites to choose from, including Google Docs and Open Office, this may also be an attempt to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive office software environment.
There’s also no sign of Microsoft taking similar measures to combat video game piracy in a similar fashion – although perhaps Xbox Game Pass has helped address that, with a low price and high quantity of games to choose from making it easier than pirating for many.
In related news, Microsoft has admitted that its handling of Lionhead Studios was “a mistake”, with Shannon Loftis – Microsoft’s general manager of global games publishing – saying in the Power On: The Story of Xbox documentary series that how the company treated the Fable developer was “one of the biggest missteps that we learned from” and that efforts to force motion-sensing Kinect features into later games “just never really took”.