The Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc Fallacy Meets The Video Game Industry
from the that-makes-sense,-wait,-no-it-doesn't dept
As anyone who has studied debate or logic knows, it's easy to present reasonable sounding, causal arguments that are total nonsense. For example, a student might say "I never studied for tests, yet I still got A's, therefore it would be a mistake for me to study". Or, as another example, someone might say, "There's been a lot of innovation in the video game industry, and this industry enjoys strong IP protection, therefore strong IP protection is necessary to induce innovation." That happens to be the argument that Adam Thierer makes, as he calls out intellectual property skeptics for not attacking the video game industry. On its face, the argument isn't necessarily wrong, but Thierer does little to prove it's right. He states that the first-mover advantage wouldn't be enough to return profits to game makers, given the high expense of developing a game. But even in the absence of simple piracy, game makers copy each other all the time. There are plenty of derivative, first-person shooters getting made all the time. That hasn't stopped the good ones from being profitable, even though they're being copied. Almost any popular game has imitators, though people still feel they get value by paying up for the good ones. And then there's the fact that the game industry has emerged to have tightly-controlled platforms that aren't interoperable. It's just not as easy to copy and share an XBOX game as it is a CD, rendering plain vanilla piracy less of an issue. So if this strong IP argument is to be made, one needs to explain why other aspects of the video game industry don't explain its success before concluding that it necessarily needs IP to innovate.