Spirited Debate On Game Piracy

Vrikk wrote:

If I can't find the game for less than what it went for at its original release then I'm going to pirate, especially if the developers aren't going to see a dime of my money.

That makes no sense..

TheGameguru wrote:
Vrikk wrote:

If I can't find the game for less than what it went for at its original release then I'm going to pirate, especially if the developers aren't going to see a dime of my money.

That makes no sense..

Used market, where stuff like FreeSpace2 goes for up to and over $100.. but Volition gets FA?

TheGameguru wrote:
Vrikk wrote:

If I can't find the game for less than what it went for at its original release then I'm going to pirate, especially if the developers aren't going to see a dime of my money.

That makes no sense..

I added to the post. It should make sense.

I always buy new games if they're available to me so the hard-working people that created the fine products can eat. Once all the profit goes to a retail store or some guy in Michigan I could not care less unless I really, really want the game in my small collection.

I make exceptions for friends on this site though

MoonDragon wrote:

How many of you think that Microsoft would have 90% of the market today, had people not been able to liberally copy OS and MSWord disks? How many of you think that people would willingly tie themselves to a propriatery document format and a crappy OS if they could not just bring it home from work and share it with their friends? I am personally convinced that the number one reason for MS's dominance in the market to day was the freedom with which people could disseminate their products 10 years ago.

Nah. MS won because of marketing. I mean, who could possibly resist buying Windows after watching this commercial?

farley3k wrote:
SwampYankee wrote:

If you listen to the developers at 1C (IL Stormovik, Pacific Fighters), they are almost out of business because of piracy. Some of the best in depth flight sims ever made, and they almost can't survive because of thieves. What else needs to be said?

The fact that copy protection is a burden to legit consumers, that should be blamed on the thieves. I'm sure it stops casual thieving, and if that helps the bottom line of a struggling developer, then I guess that has to be acceptable.

So in paragraph 1 you point out how small developers are failing, then in paragraph 2 say if copy protection helps small developers it is acceptable...sorry doesn't paragraph 1 show that copy protection doesn't help small developers?

If copy protection worked then small places like 1C wouldn't be almost out of business. So why inconvenience legit users when it doesn't actually help developers?

Whoa there, Twistie!

1c's anti-piracy - whatever they have, is not near as robust as some. My point was that PIRACY hurts. You draw some odd conclusions from my statements.

To accept your take on my statements you would have to agree that stopping some "casual" theft doesn't at least help a small developer. I don't agree with that.

If you are implying that if CP can't stop all theft, then it isn't worth it, well I can't agree with that either. Locks don't stop all burglars, neither do alarms, so people needn't bother with the hassle of keys and codes?

SwampYankee wrote:

To accept your take on my statements you would have to agree that stopping some "casual" theft doesn't at least help a small developer. I don't agree with that.

If you are implying that if CP can't stop all theft, then it isn't worth it, well I can't agree with that either. Locks don't stop all burglars, neither do alarms, so people needn't bother with the hassle of keys and codes?

I'm not sure if this analogy holds water in the digital world. In the case of piracy, do "locks" stop any piracy at all? Why would lil' Timmy even bother trying to copy a friend's game that he wants to play when it's so much easier just to torrent it?

Azure Chicken wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:
Vrikk wrote:

If I can't find the game for less than what it went for at its original release then I'm going to pirate, especially if the developers aren't going to see a dime of my money.

That makes no sense..

Used market, where stuff like FreeSpace2 goes for up to and over $100.. but Volition gets FA?

In what universe does Freespace 2 sell for $100? I gave that game away for free (I loved it, but I'm cutting back on my computer clutter and I thought a friend of mine would enjoy it.)

TheGameguru wrote:
Vrikk wrote:

If I can't find the game for less than what it went for at its original release then I'm going to pirate, especially if the developers aren't going to see a dime of my money.

That makes no sense..

I tihnk he means cases like the first Dragon Ball Z PSone game that regularly sold for over $100 on Ebay (IIRC it was more like $160), they "rereleased" it for $15 a while later which killed off the ebay market, FFT was similiar until the rerelease.

Nosferatu wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:
Vrikk wrote:

If I can't find the game for less than what it went for at its original release then I'm going to pirate, especially if the developers aren't going to see a dime of my money.

That makes no sense..

I tihnk he means cases like the first Dragon Ball Z PSone game that regularly sold for over $100 on Ebay (IIRC it was more like $160), they "rereleased" it for $15 a while later which killed off the ebay market, FFT was similiar until the rerelease.

Oh, that makes more sense. I'm almost embarrassed at how much I spent acquiring some of the top-shelf Saturn games past their prime. And Panzer Dragoon Saga was always too far out of my reach.

But how many people who complain about the developers getting money actually follow through? If that's your reasoning, then why not cut a check for $10 to the company every time you steal their game?

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

I'm not sure if this analogy holds water in the digital world. In the case of piracy, do "locks" stop any piracy at all? Why would lil' Timmy even bother trying to copy a friend's game that he wants to play when it's so much easier just to torrent it?

Well, keep in mind how many people have no idea how to torrent, p2p, newsgroup, etc. It's frightening, but there are tons of people out there who don't have that know-how. Copy protection exists at least in part to make casual piracy difficult. For instance, my 45 year-old friend could easily borrow a copy of, say, The Sims and install it on her computer, and afterwards return it to a friend. If it at LEAST requires the CD in the drive, then she can't. If it further does some stuff with CD keys, etc., then it becomes even harder. Whereas someone more handy would just go download a cracked version or whatnot.

That said, I hate copy protection that's a pain in the butt for legit users.

Like I said before I played the singleplayer story of NWN2 with a pirated version. I ended up liking the game enough that I bought it to do multiplayer. Maybe more games should hold the multiplayer aspects of the game ransom. Cause that is probably the best part of most games.

I find the whole p2p pirate thing interesting because I remember making copies of my cassettes, and recording songs off the radio well before burnable cds, and dvds arrived. Same thing for movies with vhs tapes off the tv. I also can go to any book store and if I have the time choose to read a whole book or magazine if I want to. Not to mention letting my friends borrow tapes, games, cd, movies, books, and magazines. Regardless of all that I still buy all that stuff anyway. Why? I don't know really.

Maybe in this day and age more game should start having an online presence in some way much like mmo's. Would it suck for people without internet, yeah of course, and it might also mean that any singleplayer part of the game would be a glorified tutorial, or just tacked on.

I'm usually of the mind that piracy hurts the purchasing public far more than the pirates, however the example of Maddox games holds true. For large AAA titles such as Oblivion, Dark Crusade, Company of Heroes, and Supreme Commander (all games which have either had their CD protection removed or none to begin with) they make tons of sales due to the mainstream nature of their product. The flight sim market is definitely a niche and there's no doubt that a HUGE amount of Sturmovik players are playing a pirated version. This could have been avoided if they followed the route many others took: limited number CD keys on multiplayer. Because this doesn't exist even the latest Sturmovik version (1946) is easily accessable via Torrent sites and fully capable of online play.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: Copy protection bad, CD keys good.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:
SwampYankee wrote:

To accept your take on my statements you would have to agree that stopping some "casual" theft doesn't at least help a small developer. I don't agree with that.

If you are implying that if CP can't stop all theft, then it isn't worth it, well I can't agree with that either. Locks don't stop all burglars, neither do alarms, so people needn't bother with the hassle of keys and codes?

I'm not sure if this analogy holds water in the digital world. In the case of piracy, do "locks" stop any piracy at all? Why would lil' Timmy even bother trying to copy a friend's game that he wants to play when it's so much easier just to torrent it?

Your point is well taken, but BT or no, CP still prevents some theft, and that is better than preventing no theft. And I will not get angry at a developer or publisher for using it unless it is busted and actually effects the game running. I have seen only a few (Unisoft's on Splinter Cell is the only one that comes to mind) that are that bad. And regardless, blaming the developers instead of the thieves seems shotsited to me.

BTW, Why do most people insist on calling them pirates instead of thieves? "pirate" lends them some air of legitimacy or coolness that they don't deserve.

Stylez, aren't CD keys a form of copy protection, or am I missing something?

Stylez, aren't CD keys a form of copy protection, or am I missing something?

Copy protection in my mind is software that protects against the copying of the disc, or otherwise requires the disc to be in use. CD keys are independent and usually used in conjunction with copy protection.

I remember that 90% of my Apple IIe game collection was pirated. I played pirated Doom2.

I remember using some famous copy-protection cracking program. Forget the name, but it was legal to own it.

My cousins too fed us pirated pcgames for the old 386s or around that era.

I guess piracy now is easier because of the 'net. IT's dam easy to get a no-cd crack. And with secondary outlets such as Ebay it's easy to dump used pcgames. But I had more pirated games back in the day. I think it was a function of having more connections to the hacker-types and now having less time to monkey around with it all and to play games and more money than when I was a youngin'.

SwampYankee wrote:

1c's anti-piracy - whatever they have, is not near as robust as some. My point was that PIRACY hurts. You draw some odd conclusions from my statements.

Older versions of the IL-2 products used StarForce in some territories that couldn't be cracked so I'm not at all convinced piracy was the only reason they didn't sell well. Lock On also uses StarForce and has no crack that I'm aware of and it didnt' do well either. Understand that I own all the IL-2 products and think they are amazing games but they are an incredibly niche market. They are not accessible and require huge amounts of time to get good at and because of that, they have a very small audience. I'm sure Maddox and 1C are aware of this but much like Todd Hollenshead, I think they are perhaps looking at piracy a bit too much as the cause of all their problems. If you develop a product tailored for specific people, you can't expect everyone out of that demographic to be interested in it.

My first post in the Blue's News thread I linked to also talked about three titles from last year that used no copy protection whatsoever and yet were among the best-selling PC games of the year: Company of Heroes, Galactic Civilizations II and Oblivion. Oblivion did require the DVD in the drive but it was a simple file check and a 1:1 copy of the DVD worked fine. A couple of people in the Blue's thread claimed that Company of Heroes was THQ's most pirated game ever (of course offering no source to back that up) but I know from NPD reports that it was also one of their best-selling PC games of all-time. Oblivion was I think the top-selling PC game of last year. I used this example to make the point that people will buy games they think are worth buying and that the presence of copy protection does not improve sales at all.

Most non-hardcore gamers (or hardcore gamers with limited budgets) can't afford to buy everything they'd like and they go for the titles they think most appealing. Copy protection only hurts legitimate customers who bought the games and as has been stated, those who pirate are very unlikely to turn into paying customers. It costs lots of money to license SafeDisc, SecuROM, StarForce et al., money the publishers could be saving at the expense of nothing else. I think they might want to look inward to find out why their games aren't selling, rather than like the RIAA, blaming piracy instead of perhaps admitting that their content isn't seen by many as worth paying for anymore.

The fact is that piracy is a cost of doing business that can't be stopped. If they can't accept that, then they should be in another business. I don't pirate and don't believe piracy is right but I also know that people who can afford games will generally buy the games they feel are worth it. Beyond that, there is nothing they can do and blaming piracy for the state of the game industry is just a cop-out.

Azure Chicken wrote:

It seems to me like the entire sales model is causing the problem, and piracy is getting the blame - From what I've read, the entire sales process seems that they aim for the first few weeks to actually sell the game in, and after that it's just dropped. Why? You'd think they would WANT and STRIVE for a long lifespan on the game, not the first 30 days before word has spread that a game is complete crap, which happens faster and faster as we get more connected.

Because the market is flooded with games, most with mediocre qualtiy at release. Also the attention span of the average buyer is not much longer than 30 days on average for a given product, without a continouus flow of new advertisement, as the perceived main resource for gaming information, game magazines, are released monthly. There is just no publisher around that is willing to sink that much money into advertisement, when at the same time the money could be used for hyping the next title that is already in the pipeline.

It is not just the sales model that is complete crap. The problem is that game development as a process so far is seen comparable to the process of creating a movie or a CD: Assemble a team, take 1-3 years to produce the game and release it on the store shelves.
But, and that is the kicker, both forms of entertainment can rely on a very different form of distribution and even more important on several streams of revenue:

CDs or rather music - the possibilities to market a new CD are incredible. For once, no other medium has the advantage of being streamed to almost any household, car and mall in the first world, completely free and unavoidable for the customer. If you need to market a new cd, you let the radio stations pay you for playing you song on the channels many times over.
Afterwards you sell the customer the same CD for years, for almost the same price it was released. Music does not have the disadvantage of being perceived as an medium that is losing quality over time, so you do not have to worry that you won't be able to sell your CDs for years to come.

DVDs or rather movies - the production costs are more than ten to fifty times higher than the costs for producing a cd. But the movie studios get a rental payment from the movie theatres and a share of the sold tickets.
After some time you release the film on DVD and the same customers that already paid you for watching the movie, will pay again to possess the DVD if they liked the film.
Then you sell your movie to TV stations which pay good money to have a film that stands up against the schedule of their contestants.
Plus you can always recycle you back-catalogue for roughly the same price you sell a DVD these days (around 10 bucks). There will still be enough customers around who buy your title for the nostalgia value. And the movie will still look the same it did 20 years ago, which for many people is good enough.

Games have neither a distribution channel like radio stations that will display the game over and over again. Nor have they got an alternative to cinemas with all its mass exposure and attention.
At best a new console release will make it to the news, or once in a while a radio station has game reviews up as their filler between the next two big songs from madonna and the scissor sisters.
What is left is the niche TV channels that nobody is watching and the game magazines where you can buy your review score and seek attention by cluttering the magazine with ads. So you buckle up the money to buy as many ads as possible on as many mags as possible for the month you release you game and hope that enough mags will feature you with previews or give you a nice review.
Thus you will have enough exposure for the next 30 days to get the customer's attention and he will hopefully buy your product.
The problem is that this is it. Afterwards you may try to re-release the game as a budget title, but compete against yourself if the retailer still has not sold out the stock he had of your game. Plus there hardly is much money left to be made if we are talking about a console game, because the console manufacturer wants to see his share as well.

So in the end you have a business model where you sink roughly 10 million dollars into an AAA title plus roughly the same amount (low estimate) to market the game upon release. Then you have 30 days to make you money back, because the next blockbuster is underway already. And we did not even touch issues like buying shelf space on the stores, because you want maximum exposure of your title in the store itself.
Or the fact that you cannot sell a title that is like 10 years old as a standalone title for 10 bucks in a store like the movie studios can. Because your title is looking dated, or worse might not even work on todays PCs because as opposed to movies and CDs there is no unified platform to play a game. And there isn't one in sight either with Vista well underway.

So the options of the publisher are quite limited when it comes to copy protection: The option is to put it the disc and hope that it will last at least the first week, so the tech savvy people buy your game because they cannot get it otherwise. Also the CP keeps people that don't know much more about technology than clicking copy on their burning app, from creating copies for their friends, or from making a copy from that game they just rented for a day.

In the end the game industry is selling a product at a premium price ( 40-70 USD in comparison to 20 bucks for a movie or 10 bucks for a CD ), that will not sink below a certain price level (around 20 bucks) and that is rapidly aging and looking dated real quick. On top of that the product has the stigma of not working right out of the box and seeing poor support once it is sold.

The industry can be lucky to be alive and kicking because it is losing money fast, yet it has not much options when it comes to copy protections. What the industry needs is a drastic shift in its business models and even more important in its processes, because currently it is just a giant money pit that is held up by very few big publishers that flourish by selling sequels and sports games to the masses. Digital distributions are one of those changes, others, well, rather start a different thread for that discussion

Brizahd wrote:

I find the whole p2p pirate thing interesting because I remember making copies of my cassettes, and recording songs off the radio well before burnable cds, and dvds arrived. Same thing for movies with vhs tapes off the tv.

But that is not the same. The station that aired the song/film already paid a license knowing very well that people will record this even today. That is why these licenses are more expensive than the regular movie/cd.

I also can go to any book store and if I have the time choose to read a whole book or magazine if I want to.

Of course you could, but honestly who would do that? Standing in front of the shelf or sitting on some uncomfortable desk on a crappy chair in the bookstore. It just doesn't make sense. You can get better chairs and desks at a library for what 20 bucks a year?

SwampYankee wrote:

...CP still prevents some theft, and that is better than preventing no theft.

Wouldn't that depend on what you define as 'better'? If you define 'better' as less people being able to illegally copy your game, then the statement is true. But if you define 'better' as selling more copies of the game, then it is not necessarily true. How many sales did publishers that use Starforce lose, based on the fact that they used Starforce? And how many sales did they gain from people not being able to copy the discs from their friends, because of Starforce? At first it may not have seemed as much. But when the whole anti-Starforce movement gathered steam, they surely noticed it. Big time. Because for many titles they even ate costs of re-releasing it without Starforce. How much did Sony lose from the whole rootkit fiasco, vs. how much they gained in sales because of non-copying?

MY TAKE FROM UPON MY COMFY HIGH HORSE

It's bullsh*t to say that software piracy doesn't make an appreciable effect on developers' bottom lines. One only has to look at examples like the discontinuation of the Eastside Hockey Manager franchise to see it writ large. Arguments about "eh, they wouldn't have really bought the game anyway" are asinine. People are playing these pirated games. They have the temerity to frequent the forums if they have problems or complaints. It was a successful franchise. But in the presence of "free as in beer" even (apparently) supposedly stalwart supporters found it easier and -- golly, you think? -- cheaper to simply pirate it.

Copy protection will never work long-term. Unfortunately, apparently having no copy protection doesn't work either. The only thing that'll stop this type of piracy is a conscience. Ergo, it's all doomed.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
SwampYankee wrote:

1c's anti-piracy - whatever they have, is not near as robust as some. My point was that PIRACY hurts. You draw some odd conclusions from my statements.

My first post in the Blue's News thread I linked to also talked about three titles from last year that used no copy protection whatsoever and yet were among the best-selling PC games of the year: Company of Heroes, Galactic Civilizations II and Oblivion. Oblivion did require the DVD in the drive but it was a simple file check and a 1:1 copy of the DVD worked fine. A couple of people in the Blue's thread claimed that Company of Heroes was THQ's most pirated game ever (of course offering no source to back that up) but I know from NPD reports that it was also one of their best-selling PC games of all-time. Oblivion was I think the top-selling PC game of last year. I used this example to make the point that people will buy games they think are worth buying and that the presence of copy protection does not improve sales at all.

You are making a mistake here. These titles did not sell well because they had no copy protection. They sold well, because they had the needed exposure, GalCiv 2 due to word of mouth, the other two due to good marketing, that was needed to push the sales numbers in the region you mentioned.

Most non-hardcore gamers (or hardcore gamers with limited budgets) can't afford to buy everything they'd like and they go for the titles they think most appealing. Copy protection only hurts legitimate customers who bought the games and as has been stated, those who pirate are very unlikely to turn into paying customers. It costs lots of money to license SafeDisc, SecuROM, StarForce et al., money the publishers could be saving at the expense of nothing else. I think they might want to look inward to find out why their games aren't selling, rather than like the RIAA, blaming piracy instead of perhaps admitting that their content isn't seen by many as worth paying for anymore.

Let's put the quality of the titles aside for a moment. The reason CP is on a disc is to prevent people that are not tech savvy from making a copy. Nothing more, nothing less. And yes Starforce hurt the industry, that is why they are not seeing much games using their protection these days. The industry learned very quickly that they made a mistake by taking such drastic measures. Still, titles need a copy protection with the current business model in place.

chrisg wrote:

You are making a mistake here. These titles did not sell well because they had no copy protection. They sold well, because they had the needed exposure, GalCiv 2 due to word of mouth, the other two due to good marketing, that was needed to push the sales numbers in the region you mentioned.

I think the mistake is yours, friend, in that he never stated or implied that their sales were helped by lack of copy protection.

chrisg wrote:

Let's put the quality of the titles aside for a moment. The reason CP is on a disc is to prevent people that are not tech savvy from making a copy. Nothing more, nothing less. And yes Starforce hurt the industry, that is why they are not seeing much games using their protection these days. The industry learned very quickly that they made a mistake by taking such drastic measures. Still, titles need a copy protection with the current business model in place.

Copy files to hard drive. Download crack from something like $widely_known_game_crack_site that comes up very high in a google search. Done. What tech savvy does this actually require? Better yet, how many people who would be copying a game for a friend -wouldn't- know about $widely_known_game_crack_site? Or be able to find it incredibly quickly with a "foo copy" search? And given how much the pirate community loves to break CP, even if there's not a crack, there's a modified ISO and exact instructions on how to mount it so the game will play.

There is absolutely no difficulty involved for anyone to pirate.

Also, I'd say discounting quality as a major factor is doing a disservice; we tend to do things based on the opinions of others, and we are very, very, very connected right now. I can browse the web on my cell. I can text a friend and ask if a game is any good while I'm standing in the store, and I can find out NOW that it's crap. The same phenomenon is visible in theatre releases - if it sucked, everyone knows about it after the first show, because all the cells come out and word spreads fast. I saw this effect at the pre-release screening of Miami Vice (it sucked. I told everyone.)

I've read that Doom3 got distributed a few days before it became available at retail. Most people thought the game was pretty poor, if we're any measure. The word spread, and sales weren't anywhere near what was expected, 1.5 million for a highly anticipated title.

Honestly, I'm getting a vibe of "Stronger CP so the publishers can fool more people for a little longer, instead of actually make better games that people -want- to buy." But, I am probably strawmanning here, and didn't notice it.

Most tech savy people (my brothers friends) don't even know that Azure Chicken. Trust me, they try and I laugh at them.

Edwin wrote:

Most tech savy people (my brothers friends) don't even know that Azure Chicken. Trust me, they try and I laugh at them.

Well, I'm kinda geeky but I'm too lazy to do that, those pages always have pop ups and spyware and crap... That's why I prefer stuff like steam or downloadable games, there's no crack to be found or discs to lose. The downside is having to be online to authenticate your game.

Azure, can't they just wait for a review instead of stealing it to "try it out?" Really, I think that the argument that people steal games because companies might fool them into buying a stinker hold no water. You could make the same argument for any commodity, a meal, music, etc. The way to defend yourself against getting taken by a company is to research the product before buying it, not stealing it then deciding if you wanted to pay for it.

SwampYankee wrote:

Azure, can't they just wait for a review instead of stealing it to "try it out?" Really, I think that the argument that people steal games because companies might fool them into buying a stinker hold no water. You could make the same argument for any commodity, a meal, music, etc. The way to defend yourself against getting taken by a company is to research the product before buying it, not stealing it then deciding if you wanted to pay for it.

I didn't say the mindset made sense or holds water, I was pointing out that chrisg's arguments are ignoring quality and market appeal and their effects on game sales in the presence of a strong piracy environment.

Ideally, a demo would be truly representative of the final product. I was taken in by Jedi Outcast's great demo, when the retail game was, honestly, a complete pile of dung.

Ideally, I'd also be able to borrow a title from a friend who happened to buy it, as I can do with, say, DVDs or CDs or books or most other artistic media; I am not stopped from appreciating it before I buy it. It's significantly more difficult to do that with a modern PC game. Have they already installed it and registered it? Will I be able to connect online if they have?

SwampYankee wrote:

Azure, can't they just wait for a review instead of stealing it to "try it out?" Really, I think that the argument that people steal games because companies might fool them into buying a stinker hold no water. You could make the same argument for any commodity, a meal, music, etc. The way to defend yourself against getting taken by a company is to research the product before buying it, not stealing it then deciding if you wanted to pay for it.

I also don't agree with the philosophy of "I want to try it before I buy it." When there's a game I am interested in and no demo is made available, I check many reviews and look for community opinion on forums (which you can find in adundance for any game.) I don't tend to put much stock in mainstream game reviews because they have no appreciation for anything new but I will look at a number of reviews, particularly those from smaller sites. When I base my purchasing decision on those two factors, I've never bought a title that ended up sucking. I don't think downloading the whole product in advance to try it out is valid because in about 1/15 the time it takes to wait for the torrent to download, you can find out all you'd ever want to know about the title.

Now, what I will also say is that in this new generation of consoles, I am renting most of the games I play for them whereas I almost never rented anything for years. I probably own at least 25 titles for all the last-gen consoles. Why this sudden shift to rental? Because I don't believe in paying $10 more than last-gen for games that are about 15%-20% shorter on average. I'm not a graphics whore and don't place much value on how much better a game looks now than it did before. I regret buying Crackdown because though it was a great game, I beat it in under 8 hours and that wasn't worth the price they were asking (Halo 3 beta doesn't count because I don't believe in paying to test a product.) I bought Gears of War however because I have and continue to put hours upon hours into the multiplayer. Many developers also believe that renting games is a form of piracy because one purchased copy of the game is being palyed by a large number of people without any additional sales revenue going to the publisher or developer. But I don't feel bad at all about renting more often when the price of games is going up while by and large, the length of the games and the quality of their content is going down. Calling someone a pirate because they won't buy whatever you put in front of them, even with declining quality isn't fair. Developers need to earn my money.

Obviously you can't rent PC games (at least I can't around here) and piracy is easier to accomplish on PCs than on consoles (though these developers must be blidn if they think console piracy isn't rampant as well.) Nonetheless, I think these guys need to learn that when you put out good games, people will buy them. And yes, most of the people who pirate games wouldn't go out and buy said games if it were made impossible to pirate them. They would either switch hobbies or simply buy the games they could afford while ignoring the ones they couldn't. I'm not saying that piracy isn't a problem but the developers and publishers need to relize that it's an unfortunate cost of doing business and that they can't do anything to stop it.

SwampYankee wrote:

Azure, can't they just wait for a review instead of stealing it to "try it out?" Really, I think that the argument that people steal games because companies might fool them into buying a stinker hold no water. You could make the same argument for any commodity, a meal, music, etc. The way to defend yourself against getting taken by a company is to research the product before buying it, not stealing it then deciding if you wanted to pay for it.

In most cases I agree with you, the exception being that game publishers have very little interest in putting realistic system requirements on their boxes, and nothing compels them to do so. The minimum requirements are almost always a joke, and often even the recommended requirements are inaccurate. If a publisher isn't going to issue a demo and a game is said to be a system hog, I think there's a fair rationale for "trying it out". Given that almost no game stores will take back an open box, unless publishers are going to get serious about giving accurate systems requirements, it doesn't seem immoral to me. Unethical perhaps, but no more so than the publishers and game stores selling a product with unrealistic systems requirements and then refusing a refund.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I think the mistake is yours, friend, in that he never stated or implied that their sales were helped by lack of copy protection. :wink:

My understanding of the argument in this thread so far was, that having no copy protection actually helps the game, which I is not a correct assumption from my point of view. I attributed your mentioning to the same argument, sorry :).

Azure Chicken wrote:

Copy files to hard drive. Download crack from something like $widely_known_game_crack_site that comes up very high in a google search. Done. What tech savvy does this actually require? Better yet, how many people who would be copying a game for a friend -wouldn't- know about $widely_known_game_crack_site? Or be able to find it incredibly quickly with a "foo copy" search? And given how much the pirate community loves to break CP, even if there's not a crack, there's a modified ISO and exact instructions on how to mount it so the game will play.

Yep, you have a point for ISOs, given the steady rise in high bandwidth internet access. But from my experience with usability tests, granted for applicatons not games, I think there are way more people getting lost on these websites than you might think. The case "Let's copy game x you have for me, because I'd like to play it at home" is what the copy protection is for, because many people still do not manage to even follow the steps you mentioned.

Also, I'd say discounting quality as a major factor is doing a disservice

No, you may not discount quality at all, I was dropping it, because on the industry side the quality argument is not even on the radar. The industry likes copy protection to prevent ad-hoc copies from not tech-savvy people. They know very well they cannot stop the people in the know.

we tend to do things based on the opinions of others, and we are very, very, very connected right now. I can browse the web on my cell. I can text a friend and ask if a game is any good while I'm standing in the store, and I can find out NOW that it's crap. The same phenomenon is visible in theatre releases - if it sucked, everyone knows about it after the first show, because all the cells come out and word spreads fast. I saw this effect at the pre-release screening of Miami Vice (it sucked. I told everyone.)

But the majority of people does not do as much research. Most people are satisfied by a review in official console x magazine and attracted by a decent ad campaign and if you are in a mall, how often do you see people phoning a friend to look up if a game is crap? If the majority of people were as informed as you are, retailers would hardly stock games anymore, because it is a well known fact to us that mail-order is way cheaper than buying a game in a store. Yet many people do not shop only at all. The reason is they are not informed about the alternatives.

I've read that Doom3 got distributed a few days before it became available at retail. Most people thought the game was pretty poor, if we're any measure. The word spread, and sales weren't anywhere near what was expected, 1.5 million for a highly anticipated title.

1.5 Million is a success in the PC market. Yet of course expectations were higher. ID searched for a scapegoat and yes piracy is the best available scapegoat at the moment, because it goes very well with PR. How do you spin a PR message in a positive way saying that you want to bother about quality in your future titles :).

Honestly, I'm getting a vibe of "Stronger CP so the publishers can fool more people for a little longer, instead of actually make better games that people -want- to buy." But, I am probably strawmanning here, and didn't notice it. :)

Making better games is what many strive to do, but fail due to budget constraints and because the industry still has not found a well developed process for creating games -> high bug rate. Your argument is not a strawmen, it's exactly how the customers feel at this point.

SwampYankee wrote:

Azure, can't they just wait for a review instead of stealing it to "try it out?" Really, I think that the argument that people steal games because companies might fool them into buying a stinker hold no water. You could make the same argument for any commodity, a meal, music, etc. The way to defend yourself against getting taken by a company is to research the product before buying it, not stealing it then deciding if you wanted to pay for it.

Someone already brought up the issue of reading magazines/books in your local bookstore before buying them. Is that not a form of stealing? God knows I've perused many a magazine on the shelves before I finally settled on one, once a blue moon. Technically, I stole the content from all the others I did not buy. The thing is, I did not buy them because the content they had was crap and not worth my money.

Same goes for CDs in most major media outlets. These days you can walk into a store, pick up a CD, scan it, and a database will play it for you. In full. Not just little 10s demo clips. In a way that is stealing the content of that CD as well. In my mind, it is analogous to downloading a game, installing it, playing it for a day and then uninstalling it. After that, decide if the game/CD is worth your money or not. Unfortunately there is no legal analogous way of trying out game software. All that is available to us are loaded demos and sold-out reviewers.