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Second Take: Did Piracy Kill Iron Lore?

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March 5, 2008 5:53:59 AM

The developers of Titan Quest have shut down and the Creative Director of their publisher THQ thinks piracy is to blame.
Should you?

Watch Video: http://www.tomsgames.com/us/site/flash_videos/second_take_did_piracy_kill_iron_lore_.html

Do you agree with THQ's Michael Fitch? Can anything be done to that will serve both makers and consumers? Did we go on too long with this episode?

-Ben

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March 5, 2008 8:17:36 AM

Nope. It's kinda obvious, whether a product is pirated or not, the "real" sales should also be higher, if the product is pirated a lot. Because it basically means that the product is popular. Like D2, or Warcraft 3. Even if they are quite pirated, it still made Blizzard millions.

This means Titan Quest didn't sell well, it's a part of the reason they lost some income, but not the ONLY reason. End of story.
March 5, 2008 8:27:16 AM

I think the 80-85% figure is fair. I honestly do not know anyone who buys PC games at the moment and that includes a lot of hardcore PC gamers I know.

Pretty much the only games I buy these days are ones that are played online.

Why do I not buy many games anymore? 95% of PC games give me about 5 hours of entertainment before I get bored of them. It has nothing to do with DRM or anything like that.

Having seen the total sales figures for 2007 I can easily imagine that the PC market may be composed almost exclusively of online games and console ports in the very near future.
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March 5, 2008 8:37:52 AM

You know, what MikosNZ said reminded me of something..... That's why MMORPG and/or other MMO's started appearing like crazy in Asia.... It's primarily because these games CANNOT be pirated! Primarily you can recopy the installation again and again but you cannot fool the pay scheme of such games.......

I think the only good idea to stop piracy is for companies to stop treating the people who will buy their game as criminals, it's just to be able to stop hackers who will crack their game.
March 5, 2008 8:53:35 AM

I wonder if Ben or Rob have actually even played Titan Quest or Immortal Throne? If you played it or searched the Titan Quest forums a bit you'd have a better idea of the whole story and not just some bologna that the publisher fed you.

There are probably many reasons why Iron Lore went under but the first and foremost reason that I would give would be their crappy publisher, THQ. The game was horribly underfunded in both support and marketing. Titan Quest seriously has SO MUCH potential. It is better than Diablo 2 in every way possible. Just think of Diablo + Diablo 2 with improved graphics and removing every annoying part of Diablo (like repairing items, buying scrolls of town portal, losing gear when you die until you retrieve corpse) and you get Titan Quest. Another thing worth mentioning is the powerful mod tools and art manager built into the game allowing people to create their own levels and modify skins for characters and npcs.

It doesn't surprise me that THQ would point fingers at piracy to take the focus away from themselves. Maybe if they had done a little more to support their game like actually release a patch for Immortal Throne that would fix the plethora of bugs in it then word of mouth would have influenced more people to buy the game. Maybe if they had spent some more money advertising the game or getting more copies on shelves then it would have sold better. For those who haven't played TQ, go pick up a copy of the gold edition from Wal Mart for like $25 (includes TQ and IT expansion). If you liked Diablo 2 at all then you won't be disappointed. Even with the lag bug in IT among other bugs, it is still a very fun game. I originally downloaded the game because I knew nothing about it other than that it was similar to Diablo. After playing through I decided that it was definitely worth my money, despite knowing that THQ would likely never fund further patches for the game. I've seen posts from Iron Lore developers in Titan Quest forums and I can tell you that it was THQ that stopped Iron Lore from working further on Titan Quest. Instead of continuing their gold mine of a project (Titan Quest) they abandoned it for other projects which will never see the light of day.

It really bugs me to see Rob and Ben jump on this whole bandwagon of piracy being the culprit to everything instead of actually looking into things. Sure, if those that pirated had bought the game then they would have made more money. However, there's no guarantee that people that pirate would buy the game regardless of whether they could pirate it or not. Diablo 2 was pirated more than Titan Quest by far. So why was it so successful? Because Blizzard does a kick-A job of promoting and supporting their games. Not only do they release very polished games but continually strive to make improvements to them. They STILL release patches for Diablo 2 and STILL have their servers up and running for online play.

My point is that game and software piracy is a factor for all publishers and developers. Why do some succeed while others fail? Its certainly not due to increased DRM as we saw with bioshock for PC. Make a good game that scales well on various machines, let people know about it, and continually support it. These are just some of the ingredients to a successful PC game.
March 5, 2008 10:40:17 AM

Well, I have to say that I disagree with Rob (sorry dude). I have pirated games in the past, but I ALWAYS buy the game if I like it, and this incident with Iron Lore really did make me think that, if I want to continue playing games on my PC, I really need to buy as many PC games as I can. I've even been buying up copies of older games that I downloaded. My friends who all play on consoles, however, do pirate games and they sure don't buy them after. I think people really need to face the fact that consumers these days are far more technologically proficient than the industry gives them credit for. My parents couldn't set the clock on their VCR way back when I was a young tyke. Flash forward 30 years and the tyke down the street knows how to download game after game, how to burn the dvd and how to find and install a no-cd crack. It's just easier on the pc is all. Another reason that I downloaded games when I was younger, was the fact that I could use a crack and not have to insert the cd every time. Lazy I know - I just having access to all of my games without ever getting up. So, I love Steam. I can play every game that I've bought from Valve without ever messing around with cd's. If that's the way the industry wants to go, I'm all for it!

I think The Witcher is one of the great examples of how to do a PC-only game right. They put a lot of work into making a quality product to begin with, and have been consistent in their efforts to improve the quality of the game through patches. Now they are going to add to the game through downloadable content that will still yet improve the performance of the game. That's service. Just like Valve who are constantly trying to improve their games. Honestly, if every company had the work ethic that Valve and CD Projekt have, I would never download anything. When it comes to anything from Valve, Infinity Ward, Ubisoft Montreal, and Epic, I don't think twice about buying their products because I know it'll be good.

The sad fact is that gaming is going the way of Hollywood. When I was really young I bought every game in the Sierra and Lucasarts catalogue because they were awesome and I knew that people had put their blood, sweat and tears into their production. Since going mainstream, gaming has devolved into easily accessible tripe with brainless gameplay and instant gratification. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of modern games (I've played Bioshock from start to finish at least 10 times already), but I'm starting to feel like the industry has become so focused on money that it's time to give up gaming. Sorry - this is a bit of a rant - I just don't want to see PC gaming disappear. Still the appearance of Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed for the PC make me think that there's still life in the old girl yet!
March 5, 2008 10:42:58 AM

Totally agree with winkgood. Often I see publishers of games I never heard of blaming pirates for poor sales figures. Yet no one has been able to show proper figures as too how many copies have been installed compared to the amount sold. Also taking into consideration that games may be sold on, i.e. second hand.
Second guessing estimated sale figures based on wishful thinking would never work in any other industry.
March 5, 2008 11:32:01 AM

I have never heard of Titan's Quest or Iron Lore????

Nobody is going to pirate what is not even on the radar. You can't blame piracy on the failure of this business. The graphics don't look that good either.
March 5, 2008 11:43:52 AM

BS, I think its extream that they blame the bad knockoff copys, they crashed every 4 min ... or 10 :S still crashed... awfull to play. Besides no MP in pirated v.

Edit*
Those who "stole" it was not going to buy the game anyway :S ? so... make better games numnutts
March 5, 2008 11:48:00 AM

I think The Witcher is one of the great examples of how to do a PC-only game right. They put a lot of work into making a quality product to begin with, and have been consistent in their efforts to improve the quality of the game through patches. Now they are going to add to the game through downloadable content that will still yet improve the performance of the game. That's service. Just like Valve who are constantly trying to improve their games. Honestly, if every company had the work ethic that Valve and CD Projekt have, I would never download anything. When it comes to anything from Valve, Infinity Ward, Ubisoft Montreal, and Epic, I don't think twice about buying their products because I know it'll be good. said:
I think The Witcher is one of the great examples of how to do a PC-only game right. They put a lot of work into making a quality product to begin with, and have been consistent in their efforts to improve the quality of the game through patches. Now they are going to add to the game through downloadable content that will still yet improve the performance of the game. That's service. Just like Valve who are constantly trying to improve their games. Honestly, if every company had the work ethic that Valve and CD Projekt have, I would never download anything. When it comes to anything from Valve, Infinity Ward, Ubisoft Montreal, and Epic, I don't think twice about buying their products because I know it'll be good.

Yeah gr8 games to

Still the appearance of Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed for the PC make me think that there's still life in the old girl yet! said:
Still the appearance of Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed for the PC make me think that there's still life in the old girl yet!

what ? :S who is waiting for those games :S no serius gamer anyway haha
March 5, 2008 11:53:12 AM

i think of myself as a gamer.. i play halflife2/counterstrike source etc.
i've never heard of iron lore:p 

is it really a top tier game?
March 5, 2008 1:12:27 PM

This whole discussion kind of begs the question, how many gaming companies can the market support?
March 5, 2008 1:20:19 PM

This is a bunch of crap, they had so much copy protection on there that when I went to pirate it I couldn't even play it. Arrrrrrrr the loot was cursed there matey!

Seriously, when theres enough copy protection on there to stop the pirates, everybody loses. There has to be a better way. And before anyone says anything, I pirate to try no-name games. Yes, I own CoD 4.
March 5, 2008 1:21:57 PM

One important fact that the studios ALWAYS forget to mention in the statistics: 1 download ≠ 1 lost sale

I download to try the game... If I enjoy it... I buy it.
March 5, 2008 1:45:00 PM

While one downloaded copy does not mean one lost sale, it could mean that since there is a pirated copy available there are significantly fewer people buying the game. I really don't like hearing people justify stealing games and supporting communities who think it's okay to steal games and make them available for others.

The fact remains: If we assume that 50% of the copies of Titan's Quest are pirated versions, that means that Iron Lore's profits are potentially cut in half. If even half of those people had decided to purchase the game instead, it would increase Iron Lore's profit by 50%. There is no retail business in the world that can operate in an environment where they plan to lose half their sales to theft.

On the other hand, music companies are now coping with the fact that a growing number of people don't like downloading music that contains DRM. Game companies are also getting wise, and if you can't create a business plan that deals with and manages piracy in a way that doesn't alienate potential buyers then you are going to sink.

A final thought: there are enough demo's of games out that you shouldn't be justifying the piracy of a game just so you can 'try it out'. Piracy is theft always.
March 5, 2008 2:51:21 PM

Titan Quest is an extremely repetitive game that makes it quite boring to play. I think they could have spent a little more time in development to bring a title to market that was unique...but it wasn't.

Shifting the blame on pirates...sorry, the game sucked. I am sure that contributed to losses but I played (and purchased) the first one and didn't want to play the second. Online play was horrible. The game was a good idea but it just never got off the ground.
March 5, 2008 2:55:53 PM

I agree with much of what KekaiGenkai stated.

I would like to get off my great horse and add... we as a PC Gaming community need to slap every friend of ours who pirates games, period. If they don't listen we need to wind up and slap them harder! You have to fix this issue at the source, IT IS NOT YOUR GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO PLAY GAMES!! get that through your brain.

I don't care if you want to test the game, it is illegal to download and use copywrited material, period. You have no "right" to try before you buy. It is wrong and unlawful. If you can't try it before you buy it, well then move on!

You can justify breaking the law, but in the end, your breaking the law. Sadly many people today believe they have entirely to many rights and among them the right to download and "test" any game they so desire for "free".

My prayer is that ever person who pirates software finds their PC overrun by viruses.... infact ever time I see a virus I thank pirates and porn goers... my you enjoy the wage you've worked so hard to earn.
March 5, 2008 3:10:13 PM

I don't think your video or title fit with the spirit of the post you are working from. I believe this is a link to the full post: http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?t=42663 While the section on piracy was a significant part of his post, I don't think it was an overly significant part of the spirit of his post.

I feel like after watching that video that you simply saw a large 70-85% figure on piracy and ran with it. He did say all of the things you said, but when taken in context of his whole article I don't feel like revenue "lost" through piracy was his big concern or the company's/game's big stumbling block.

It seemed like his biggest concern was people's perception of the game. The copy-protection's reaction to pre-release pirated copies left the impression of a buggy game. Reviewers giving the bug reports credence and gamers slamming them on the support forums made the impression even more negative. Obscure hardware problems and people's general lack of technical abilities added their share of negativity to the general perception.

Their copy protection issues are a by-product of piracy and do cause problems, but it seems to me that some better error messages might have helped relieve this. The real damage here came from the perception that the game wasn't ready for release.

The media making mention of the copy protection related bugs gives them credence. You are supposed to be the experts and your word goes a lot farther than the average forum poster. Much like the real culprit that killed IL will be construed as piracy based on your article, despite what the original post might have said.

To preface this next part, I'm unsure as to how THQ's financial picture on this game impacts Iron Lore's financial situation. I would assume that they are however similar.

Quote:
Titan Quest did okay. We didn't lose money on it.
The above quote leads me to believe that the reason they shut down was more a sign of the economy or other bad choices in their organization than piracy. If they simply broke even on the game, then they managed to recoup invested money as well as pay their staff.

A young company who manages to get their name out there on a reasonably good game and not lose money doesn't close their doors because of that. They've now got experience and a large title with fair market penetration under their belt. They would now be more likely to get investors as well as more likely to not make rookie mistakes. Perhaps it wasn't a huge success, but I don't think the game drove them to financial ruin.
March 5, 2008 3:18:32 PM

What killed this company IMO was that it had only one successful game, and even that one had some serious problems.

1. I played Titan Quest 2 years after it was released, using patch 1.20, and still it crashed to desktop often.
2. The time delay after using a spell was way too long, making it much less pleasant to play.
3. Major balance issue. I had no trouble at all getting all the way to Typhon in the easy difficulty, but when I got there I had no chance at all to win it. I died there hundreds of times without hurting Typhon at all. I even studied FAQs and strategies for dealing with Typhon, no luck at all.

Conclusion: on my Q6600/8800GTX setup the game looked fantastic. I totally loved the graphics, and how the game worked. I had come to Titan Quest after 5 years of playing mostly Diablo 2 and I actually thought I had found the perfect replacement. Then I met Typhon and the love affair ended. I didn't buy Immortal Throne, and I didn't recommend the game to my friends. Too bad. It would have been so easy to fix it...
Anonymous
March 5, 2008 3:24:19 PM

titan quest just wasnt a good game, it was slow and boring compared to the diablo series and until someone can make a game better they are always going to be compared to diablo. I dont want to get too deep into it but i know that i played titan quest and i was bored, thats it, 100% bored.
Anonymous
March 5, 2008 3:25:02 PM

and btw i cant stand these video reviews, they are just about as boring as titan quest.
March 5, 2008 3:28:28 PM

KekaiGenkai said:


The fact remains: If we assume that 50% of the copies of Titan's Quest are pirated versions, that means that Iron Lore's profits are potentially cut in half. If even half of those people had decided to purchase the game instead, it would increase Iron Lore's profit by 50%. There is no retail business in the world that can operate in an environment where they plan to lose half their sales to theft.



I totally agree. In fact, it's even worse than that. Cutting the sales in half, in a business where profit margins are very small as it is, does much more harm that cutting the profits in half. It turns the profits into big losses. Here's an example: if it costs me 1000 bucks to make a game, and I sell 2 copies for $510 each, I make $20 profit on my $1000, i.e. +2%. If one of the copies is pirated instead, I make $510 revenue, and my profit is in fact a loss of $490.
March 5, 2008 3:33:54 PM

aevm said:
What killed this company IMO was that it had only one successful game, and even that one had some serious problems.

1. I played Titan Quest 2 years after it was released, using patch 1.20, and still it crashed to desktop often.
2. The time delay after using a spell was way too long, making it much less pleasant to play.
3. Major balance issue. I had no trouble at all getting all the way to Typhon in the easy difficulty, but when I got there I had no chance at all to win it. I died there hundreds of times without hurting Typhon at all. I even studied FAQs and strategies for dealing with Typhon, no luck at all.

Conclusion: on my Q6600/8800GTX setup the game looked fantastic. I totally loved the graphics, and how the game worked. I had come to Titan Quest after 5 years of playing mostly Diablo 2 and I actually thought I had found the perfect replacement. Then I met Typhon and the love affair ended. I didn't buy Immortal Throne, and I didn't recommend the game to my friends. Too bad. It would have been so easy to fix it...



Yeah I agree with you on that. The game wasn't made for longevity and it lacked word of mouth promotion. I hated the AI most of all, they were horrible. No matter what they were, they just gather around you in a circle and kick the crap out of you. It reminds me of watching 8yr olds play soccer. The levels of difficulty didn't make the AI any different, they just jacked up their offense and defense settings. I felt like they cut a lot of corners when the developed the first one. The pirates just watched that one sink, I don’t think they had a hand in it.
March 5, 2008 3:50:18 PM

Im just going to use this as an example:

I downloaded both crysis and COD4.
Which game did I go out and buy? COD4.
Played through both games once, and crysis just didnt seem worth buying.
COD4 SP was marvelous, and the multiplayer is awesome.

Im very glad I didnt shell out the money for crysis...
March 5, 2008 4:28:41 PM

Piracy did not kill Titan Quest Iron-Lore, nor, is it killing the PC Game industry. Poor marketing, buggy game-play and poor aftermarket support killed it.

PC game piracy has existed as long as PC games have existed, it's not new, it's not good but it's certainly not a new phenomenom. It may have accelerated recently with the advent of BitTorrent, but then again it may not be any worse than 10 years ago when zero-day warez sites were all the rage. We don't actually know.

At the moment we have people coming along saying my game sold poorly on PC but great on the consoles (COD4 comes to mind), therefor piracy caused it. BUT we, the consumer, don't actually know how many units were sold for PC because units sold and distributed using online distribution methods, Steam, Direct2Drive etc. aren't being included in the gross tally's. Only units sold at Wall-Mart or EB Games etc. are being included.

Until we actually get correct data, it's impossible to make any sort of judgement.

Also, if Titan Quest was released a couple of days early and was full of bugs, why didn't they just release a better copy and say that the previous one was crap d/load this one? By this point the cat was well out of the bag and sales were going to suffer regardless.
March 5, 2008 4:30:42 PM

I also don't think piracy was the main cause of Iron Lore. I just bought the game very recently off steam for 20 bucks. I consider myself a hard core pc gamer, however, I never heard of Titan Quest until it was selling for 20 bucks on Steam and D2D. Among all my friends I game with, only one of them has ever even heard of the game. I'm not saying that they would have closed down anyways if there were no piracy of the game, but I'll assume it was mainly something else, whether it be THQ like some are saying or not.
March 5, 2008 4:58:53 PM

A couple things to address:

Winkgood, I have not played Titan Quest. I respect you view of the situation, and you make some excellent points about problems with Titan Quest and the game's support, or lack thereof.

Sorry to hear we are boring you, Hallubalooza. Any advice on how to make the videos more exciting? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm honestly interested in constructive criticism.

Clay12340, you are correct: Fitch goes off on a great many things regarding Iron Lore's closure in that forum post -- including some great stuff on game reviewers. But he starts off with, and spends the most time on, game piracy, so I don't think we're taking anything out of context or misrepresenting what Fitch wrote.

PsY X, are you the same person who, on the forum thread about Iron Lore's closure, wrote the following statement: "Yeah, they're dead now, I'll go get my tiny violin."? And you're here on this thread admitting you pirated Titan Quest? Are you for real?

Lastly, here are some random thoughts:

How many people here on this discussion thread have admitted to pirating games, for whatever reason? Are we really going to continue to fool ourselves about what this means for PC game developers? How long are we going to continue to penalize developers like Iron Lore that stick with the PC platform instead of jumping to consoles?

Here's something interesting: Kane & Lynch has an average score on GameRankings of about 67 percent, yet even with all the poor reviews and GameSpot-Eidos controversy, the game still sold more than 1 million copies on the consoles alone. Titan Quest was PC only and it had an average score of 80 percent, significantly better than K&L.

Now I put this simple question to the readers: if you were an independent game developer in this day and age, knowing what you know about PC game piracy, would you develop games for the PC or the consoles? Pick one or the other, and answer honestly. Then think about how many times we've all complained about how there are no good games on the PC and how every developer seems to be moving to the consoles. Are we honestly going to argue that downloading PC games illegally isn't contributing to this shift?







March 5, 2008 5:14:11 PM

Does piracy hurt to PC gaming market? Very likely. However there are ways to work around it. My favourite example is a studio called Stardock. They are an independent that created Galactic Civilizations and they beat piracy by offering something that can't be pirated, service. Their games have no DRM what so ever and you don't even need the CD or be online to play. If you buy the game you get access to their services like automatic updates and you can even download the game if you lost your CD. Also, their updates would be considered expansion packs by some. Their games are throughly tested and run on reasonable hardware. I would consider it a niche game compared to the sims, however, it appears to be doing quite well and they released a sequel. Now compare it with IL. DRM and buggy game play is like a slap in the face to a paying customer.

As a side note, I really hope that steam as it stands is not the future of PC games. I have read the EULA for steam and the way I understand it, the only way to abide by it is to not install the software in the first place. Furthermore, anything on steam inherently has less value to me because at anytime you can loose access to all your games if your account gets revoked or the client no longer supports the OS you are running, and you can't resell or loan anything you buy.
March 5, 2008 5:22:53 PM

Bravo Rob!! I was so happy to see your latest video on piracy, however I don't agree with you that there could not be a shift in peoples opinions on piracy. I think, for example, if publishers spent some marketing dollars with sites like THG, the publics perception on piracy would change, not over night, but over time. It has worked for other industries and it would work for PC gaming. I truly believe that buying a PC game rather than downloading it could be seen as the cool thing to do. Anyways, keep up the good work!

On another note, I was wondering if there was a way that I could contact you(Rob)...
March 5, 2008 5:28:15 PM

You can click "Send a private message", right after his name, in the message he posted.
March 5, 2008 6:20:19 PM

yeah, I just figured that out, but thanks anyways for pointing it out Aevm.
Anonymous
March 5, 2008 6:27:20 PM

pirating console games is just as easy. And if every developer switches to consoles then they will just lose more money to stores like gamestop that recycle all those games with no money being seen by the developer. When a game is good you want to buy it because you want all the updates and patches and addons. When the game is **** and cant keep your interest for more than a day or two whats the point. I had been on the edge about buying computer games, but i bought Hellgate and obviously got owned by flagship and that kind of just broke the camels back. I will never buy a pc game again until ive been able to demo it or play a free trial, i am so tired of spending 50 dollars just to get raped and be unable to return it.
Anonymous
March 5, 2008 6:30:27 PM

Honestly if you just had a chat transcript i could read id be happy. I like to read your site at work in my freetime and i am interested in the subjects you discuss, i just dont want to listen to it lol.
March 5, 2008 6:37:13 PM

Quote:
Honestly if you just had a chat transcript i could read id be happy. I like to read your site at work in my freetime and i am interested in the subjects you discuss, i just dont want to listen to it lol.


Fair enough. Thanks for the feedback. Chat transcripts would be hard, as we rarely write like we speak and vice versa. How about a podcast version of the show, like ESPN does with "Pardon the Interruption"? At least you wouldn't have to look at our ugly mugs.

Anonymous
March 5, 2008 6:48:59 PM

robwright said:
Fair enough. Thanks for the feedback. Chat transcripts would be hard, as we rarely write like we speak and vice versa. How about a podcast version of the show, like ESPN does with "Pardon the Interruption"? At least you wouldn't have to look at our ugly mugs.


It has nothing to do with you guys, i just would prefer to be able to read it. And im not sure what pardon the interruption is, I dont watch espn much. As far as the write the way you speak, we dont need it be exactly how you said it, anything would be better than nothing. Heres where im coming from, I have a strong opinion on the whole piracy killing the industry matter but I dont know what your views are because I dont want to sit here and watch the video. So now I can either contribute to the thread without the video or not contribute at all because theres no way im watching the video.

Also, K&L may have sold 1million copies but they also did a lot of TV commercials and completely overhyped their game. I cant remember seeing a TQ commercial anywhere and it obviously wasnt overhyped since theres a lot of people who havent even heard of it. I only know a handful of people who actually know how to pirate a game. I just cant picture 300,000 people pirating a mediocre game. In your statement you didnt say how many copies TQ sold compared to K&L.
March 5, 2008 6:52:03 PM

I got to agree with that. At work I can't watch videos, and at home I'm on dialup.
March 5, 2008 8:02:19 PM

Rob,

I won't defend piracy in any form, and I fully agree that developers are hurt by it. I buy my games and do my best to support the developers that I feel are working hard to create a quality product for my enjoyment. However, to say that piracy killed this company seems off to me. No doubt it played some role in reducing revenues, but I think the companies failures in other respects were the root cause. Straws and camels and all that though, so who's to say.

Quote:
if you were an independent game developer in this day and age, knowing what you know about PC game piracy, would you develop games for the PC or the consoles?


Console model of video games:
- Limited hardware platforms, therefore cheaper development costs
- Future support is more or less non-existant. A game at release is complete and your costs are finished.
- Huge buzz right now with anything HDTV. Free Marketing
- Brand new consoles are finally bringing current generation graphics to the consoles. More Free Marketing
- Better positioning in brick and mortar establishments. Yet again Free Marketing
- Less likely to be pirated. Less loss of revenue.
- Shorter lifespan per game. Less likely to have to compete with the classics and 5 years of character building.

PC model of video games:
- Expected audience is older. More mature content is accepted more readily.
- Lots of new venues for download sales on the way. Cheaper distribution.
- More powerful hardware. Better graphics more processing options.
- Game Longevity. Potential to sell a game over many years.
- The PC platform will be popular long into the future. Potential longevity.
- Aging consoles will become far inferior technologically to constantly improving PCs. Potential future-proofing.


So if you ask me where I'd make games right now it comes down to one of two driving reasons to make the game.

If I just want to make money quickly, then I'd slap some crappy game together and throw some kid show characters into it and drop it out on whatever console has the highest market penetration(PS2?). Development isn't going to cost much and you're almost guaranteed a certain number of sales to a customer base that more or less doesn't care about quality.

If I wanted to make games that were on the bleeding edge of technology, then I'd probably look towards the PC at the moment. Assuming a 3 year(Probably very short) timespan from start to release of a game the PS3 is going to be looking incredibly weak in processing power and isn't going to be capable of the type of processing that will be common place in that market.

Now if I rubbed my game genie and it granted me three blockbuster titles tomorrow, then I'd be releasing them on the consoles as at the moment there is simply more money being thrown out there with HDTVs and the new consoles getting so much hype and news coverage.
March 5, 2008 8:05:39 PM

Well..

Lets just start off with a take on consoles..

Consoles, while there certainly are adults that play them--because we grew up with them... are for kids and less savvy people then your typical PC gamer.

They tend to buy a game via a commercial they see on TV.. or what it reads like via the back of the store.. or even perhaps how it plays when they rent the whole game from a VIDEO store--- Did Video stores kill Video game developers?...

There will always be better sales numbers on consoles.. as there has ALWAYS been better numbers over the whole spectrum for consoles.. They are geared entirely for gaming.. they are user friendly.. and the software that comes out for it does not have to deal with requiring expensive hardware upgrades to use!! We are talking about at the minimum end of a couple of hundred to up to multiple thousands of dollars to get a rig up to speed to play a game at the resolutions!

So cry me a river about a $50 dollar piece of software that someone downloads to give a thorough testing out before deciding to buy it.. demos are usually crap.. and offer no real view as to if you would want to actually OWN something to take up space on your shelf- I do not even bother with a limited Demo--If I have a desire to check a game out I download it- Play it.. decide if it is for me over a day or two.. then either buy it or erase it... and I must say what is killing the PC gaming industry is that I tend to ERASE the software because the games are JUNK!.. Most titles are hollow.. buggy.. hyped.. repetitive...theft of the customer.

Anygame worth playing.. is a game worth paying for... and that is the fact!..

Piracy did not sink TitanQuest & IronLore.. except for the fact that it did not allow them to STEAL from whomever downloaded it .. played it .. and decided it was crap and chucked it..

IronLore sunk Ironlore.. Just as piracy did not sink one of the best game developers that ever existed.. Interplay!!!

I actually love piracy... I wish there was more piracy.. albeit ethical piracy like the kind that I perform...

Now before you goody goody gumdrops who seriously don't get it and start bantering on about law this and copyright that.. Understand that there is one thing that Piracy does..

Is level the field of play... Piracy is the eye of God.. The Judge and Jury..

And it is smaller then you or the industry like to think it is.. although its impact is greater then its actual participation... Word of mouth...

Example

Buddy 1 on TeamSpeak "Oh man I wanna go to the store today and buy Titan Quest"

Buddy 2 on team speak "No dude don't! Save your money its total crap!"

Buddy 1 "Aww man really? I was really looking forward to an expansion and improvement to the genre"

Buddy 2 "Yeah me too .. but it is a turd!"

Buddy 1 "Ok man thanks for saving me $50 bucks...I will certainly let X number of people that also were looking forward to that game to stay away from it!! lets game up some [insert any legally owned game]!"

Buddy 2 "No problem man I have already told X number of people who were also disappointed... anyhow get ready to get owned!"

And thats how it works .. 1 download of a bad game does not equal one lost sale.. it is hundreds of lost sales..

The key word is BAD GAME.

Piracy is the crucible, that any game developer worth its salt must go through...

It keeps game developers honest... It fails to allow them to make crap games like Titan Quest..

I weep no tears for the failures of a gaming developer that makes mediocre drivel then requires me to waste 50 dollars on a total crap product..

Especially in todays economy where 50 dollars is half a tank of gas!


The Paradigm is changing people.. embrace it or die!

(speaking of that.. Why all the hoops to simply post on the forum???)
Anonymous
March 5, 2008 8:14:17 PM

i like what rduke said,.
March 5, 2008 8:45:57 PM

Ethical Piracy ? there is no such thing, You can try to justify yourself all you want but you steal and regardless of the reason its ilegal and wrong. You think just because you pirate games and then buy them (which i find is often a lie) that everyone else out there pirating is going to buy the game too ? Unlikely, infact I would say they probably dont want to buy after playing the full game through, why would they ?

I have said this before but PC gamer developers are going to have to get some kind of key+ login service to stop pirating. Like Wow or the other MMO's. Yeh it will hurt the freedom of pc gaming in a sense, especially at lan parties where people can play on a lan without loging in. But when you start to complain about the extremes companies are going to have to make to stay competative, make sure you turn that finger and point at yourself.

Anonymous
March 5, 2008 9:03:07 PM

FlyinBrian said:
Ethical Piracy ? there is no such thing, You can try to justify yourself all you want but you steal and regardless of the reason its ilegal and wrong. You think just because you pirate games and then buy them (which i find is often a lie) that everyone else out there pirating is going to buy the game too ? Unlikely, infact I would say they probably dont want to buy after playing the full game through, why would they ?

I have said this before but PC gamer developers are going to have to get some kind of key+ login service to stop pirating. Like Wow or the other MMO's. Yeh it will hurt the freedom of pc gaming in a sense, especially at lan parties where people can play on a lan without loging in. But when you start to complain about the extremes companies are going to have to make to stay competative, make sure you turn that finger and point at yourself.


How ethical is it for companies to release games they know are unfinished and promise us the world and then we found out they are nothing but buggy pieces of garbage with which there is no refund. If you throw away 50-80 dollars a game for something that turns out to be **** what do you do? If companies would actually make decent games then they wouldnt have to worry about sales because they'd have a solid product people would want to buy. The fact that people download games for FREE and then erase them hours later because they are bad should be a sign that these companies arent doing a good job.

edit* The whole unethical piracy argument is really lame btw, are we supposed to just blindly give people our money and hope that ill want to play it for more than a day? Rather than actually make a good game and raise the standards for the industry they would rather blame someone else for their garbage.
March 5, 2008 9:11:05 PM

Because that company would have to either release a demo to prove their game or if they sale a terrible game not to support them in the future, its a problem that will take care of itself eventially if people stoped pirating. We have a lot of resources for game reviews from professional reviews that help finding if a game is a dud without pirating.
March 5, 2008 9:18:49 PM

Of course there is such a thing..

I do not feel guilty for "stealing"... because I am not stealing anything..

I am simply thoroughly reviewing a product that demands my interest, participation, and time invested to be useful to me..

PC game developers need to start making excellent products.. instead of the constant stream of SCAT they produce... Just like Hollywood

You are so naive.. Even Wow is pirated and there are FREE servers populated with the poor addicted huddled masses.. Yet the game is still a massive money maker.. So dont be a fool.. People that want updates.. and want to be part of the community will purchase the game..

Case in point is Galactic Civilizations 2 by Stardock.

I downloaded that game, and gave it a thorough going over.. found some depth and strategy and replay in it and purchased it. Got updates and so forth.. and at the end of the day I don't feel like I was raped by a gaming company.

Far too many gaming companies are in it to make a quick buck.. they know their product SUCKS.. so naturally they will want to protect and shield it as much as they can so word of mouth does not get out about how awful the game is.

They make these games.. they don't update them.. they stop supporting them after a year.. and they are not worth the resources they came packaged in.

The companies that make a superior product be it a Single Player, MMO, MMORPG... etc.. do a few things correct.

They fill a niche... have an innovative package...are FUN
Fix BUGS fast! and support the games with new content and expanded aspects...regularly.

If they don't... their products will be found in those big boxes in Wallmart marked two for 10 bucks..

As I said..

Any game worth playing.. is a game worth paying for.

I will agree that to download a game you really love, and play all the time .. well that is stealing.

However it is a retarded way to treat products you really enjoy!

If you really enjoy a particular product.. You will naturally want to see more of said product.. improved upon and updated and expanded...

So you put your money there...

The more we force the gaming companies to remain competitive and produce good to exceptional products .. the better it is for them and the better it is for us.

You should take a look on the Torrent sites sometime...

There are not even 100 seeders for Titan quest.. there are not even 15 people currently downloading it...

And sure you will have people that will play and play the game ..and never buy it.. however you have alot of people that do buy it.. and also download it for ease of use, like another fellow said above regarding swaping CD's and so forth.

Even on the most currently popular game right now COD4 which has probably 2,000 seeders right now.. and perhaps a total download of 10,000.. since it has come out..

Most of those people have bought or will buy that game, as the Single player is good.. but the Multiplayer is what is REALLY good about it.. and that is what holds the resale of it.. and that is why the game will be played for YEARS to come..

Piracy is better for everyone in the end.. it separates the wheat from the chaff..
Anonymous
March 5, 2008 9:34:25 PM

FlyinBrian said:
Because that company would have to either release a demo to prove their game or if they sale a terrible game not to support them in the future, its a problem that will take care of itself eventially if people stoped pirating. We have a lot of resources for game reviews from professional reviews that help finding if a game is a dud without pirating.


first off, a lot of companies WONT release demos of their games, so there's really no way of gauging whether or not its worth the money aside from downloading the torrent, for PC games you dont have the option of renting, so you're left with only a couple choices,
1) if there even is a demo, play the short and limited demo
2) read a bunch of skewed review sites where the lowest rating is a 7
3) read the box and trust whatever the company tells you (just like FROM THE MAKERS OF DIABLO on Hellgate, that always works out well) or
4) pirate it and see if it sucks **** or not

every one of those choices aside from pirating it is biased in that whoever its coming from is trying to persuade you to purchase the game. companies may release demos that are lacking features, but they promise them in the full release (which they may not deliver anyway, ex yet again: hellgate london) the review websites are sponsored a lot of the time by game companies, or they get their ad revenue from them. just look at gamespot.com, most of the time their main page has a massive background image of some **** game that recently came out and the box is just going to lie to you to get you to buy the game.

when you pirate the game, youre basically determining, without anyone else's opinion trying to sway you, whether or not the game is any good and if it's worth $50. Just imagine trying to buy a car and the dealer telling you you cant test drive it but they promise it runs great...
March 5, 2008 9:34:50 PM

FlyinBrian said:
Because that company would have to either release a demo to prove their game or if they sale a terrible game not to support them in the future, its a problem that will take care of itself eventially if people stoped pirating. We have a lot of resources for game reviews from professional reviews that help finding if a game is a dud without pirating.



LoL..

Pirating will never stop.. it is the very nature of what the internet is all about .. Free information!

The internet is more real and reflective of a genuine aspect of humanity then any economic system has ever come close to representing.

Sometimes a company puts out a really good Demo of the game.. Rome Total War was one that I can remember vividly as was Rainbow Six Raven shield.. (even had MP).. but most companies do not do that..

They give you 20 minutes.. they give you a game that feels limited.. but then you purchase it and find that the actual product is barely a notch beyond what the 'cheap' demo was... Sure there are also some really honest reviews out there.. but sometimes nothing is a substitute for a hands on experiance.

You are buying the bullcrap hype from mediocre producers of dribble that the limited aspect of pirating plays a huge role... it does not.

If a company sells a million units of a game.. are you going to tell me that a million people have downloaded it???

Put down the glue and take a breath of air.. if that many people were downloading games .. there would be a massive amount of seeders --as the more you seed.. the faster you can download! So there is a penalty for not sharing!!!.. If there were 500,000 units of Titan Quest sold.. and that is only representing 50% of the total units out there.. there would be 500,000 pirated versions out there.. if there were that many pirated versions out there (and the game was so awesome!!!) there would be at the minimum 30,000 seeders for it.. and Download speeds would be 2mbs+.. But there are not.. and why???

Cause the game is GARBAGE!

Lets also face the facts that our illusion of an economy is on the brink of collapse.... and people are forced to buy less useless stuff anyway.. you are naturally going to see shoddy producers fade off as the people decide to be more frugal with their entertainment money as their budgets keep getting tighter and tighter..

If it was not for piracy.. the whole thing might collapse even faster as there would be less standouts as there would be more waste.. so no one would prosper.





March 5, 2008 9:36:51 PM

Quote:
How ethical is it for companies to release games they know are unfinished and promise us the world and then we found out they are nothing but buggy pieces of garbage with which there is no refund. If you throw away 50-80 dollars a game for something that turns out to be **** what do you do? If companies would actually make decent games then they wouldnt have to worry about sales because they'd have a solid product people would want to buy. The fact that people download games for FREE and then erase them hours later because they are bad should be a sign that these companies arent doing a good job.

edit* The whole unethical piracy argument is really lame btw, are we supposed to just blindly give people our money and hope that ill want to play it for more than a day? Rather than actually make a good game and raise the standards for the industry they would rather blame someone else for their garbage.


How ethical is it? It's bad business if a developer/publisher releases a bad game, but do I consider, say, Ubisoft to be unethical because they release Assassin's Creed? Come on, this is a bad analogy. It's ridiculous, in fact. It sounds like the people that steal cable TV and because they say everything on TV is crap and not worth paying for. There are better and more ethical ways to exert your power as a consumer. If a developer made a bad game and you got burned on it, DON'T BUY ANOTHER ONE FROM THAT DEVELOPER. Or at the very least, don't buy it without playing the demo. And if all games are crap, then just stop playing them. So let's stop comparing a publisher releasing a bad game to a gamer illegally obtaining a product that he/she didn't pay for (also known as theft). One is illegal (at least here in the U.S.), and one is just bad business.

Also, to suggest that piracy is some sort of consumer-run quality control system for the PC game industry is outrageous. Call of Duty 4 is one of the highest rated games of 2007 and won several Game of the Year awards, yet Infinity Ward says the number of cracked copies running on mutliplayer servers is astonishing. So did Infinity Ward not do a good job? Is CoD 4 a bad game? Come on, let's stop fooling ourselves. Good games, bad games, average games -- it doesn't matter, they all get pirated.

March 5, 2008 9:44:32 PM

If I only could rent PC games then i would really be able to try them out and decide whether its worth it.

I havent pirated a game for 8 years, because there is so much crap out there now that pirating is a waste of time. I wait for somebody that has the same tastes as i do to tell me after they bought it/pirated it, whether it was worth the bucks. This alone stopped me from buying Quakes Wars, Crysis, etc and made me buy Neverwinter nights 2, Bioshock, Sins of the solar empire etc.

When i go into a local ebgames and I see what the average console user buys, i think their habit is akin to gambling....lot of crap products.

Again, open PC rental stores. And no a demo is just like a test drive for a car, the real problems happen later :p 
March 5, 2008 10:08:10 PM

Outrageous???

Infinity ward needs to run their key checks better.. And you need to stop enabling them to be lazy...(as lazy developers kill games way faster and more thoroughly then a billion pirates could)

For example.. the Game Solder of Fortune 2.. I played that game online and competitively for a few years...

At its peak there were almost 60,000+ servers and many hundreds of thousands of players..

When people's PB GUID was checked and found to be a duplicate --ie a crack.. they were banned from the game.

PB even goes so far to Hardware ban players who actively cheat on the game. Sure there are ways around it.. yet it is a giant hassle.

What Killed SOF2 besides it getting old is that Raven did not support the game past 1.03.. no new content.. very difficult game to upload maps with, etc..

And gradually the game fizzled out.. The community put up years of protest to make a new version or at the very least update it.

Finally Activsion being greedy decided to hand development to a budget producer for SOF3.. which was so horrid no one even bothered to pirate it... and now the game is totally DEAD..

So back to COD4.. sure there will be people who are playing cracked versions of the game.. however they will most likely be banned one day en masse.. IF Infinity Ward continues to develop content for the game like they should every few months or so.. it would be very easy to enable measures that would make it far to much of a hassle for anyone to bother playing such a highly rated game illegally.

And for the record.. I have not downloaded a game in about 2 years.. as there have been NONE out there that I have simply had to have.

What I find hysterical is your limited knowledge on how this stuff works, cracks will not get you onto a game.. and I have serious doubts about people running 'cracked' versions on servers.. IF people are.. it should be relatively easy to fix.. as BF2 had tons of cracks.. another highly rated game.. yet there was not a single cracked verson of it that would play online.

For that you need a VALID CD Key.. Yes there are Key Gens out there .. and YES they will let you play the game.. but no.. you had better not connect or try to connect to a multiplayer server .. or POOF you have just ruined the key, and you could very well get a hardware ban,

I personally think game companies are using the whole piracy issue as a scape goat to explain away just a simply sagging economy on all sectors....As more people are aware of it for the simple fact of how many are experienced with downloading music.. yet for games the numbers are not there for it to make an impact on a solid release, as all it will do is make more people buy the game because more people will be playing it and telling others how good it is .. etc..

Same with the bad games..

Which is why my observed educated statement stands... and your antiquated endangered species view does not.

I would wager that during the heyday of the economy when everyone was using Napster .. literally tens to hundreds of millions of people downloading everything.. even house wives.. there was virtually no peep from these companies... only whiny arse Lars Ulrich, destroying was little respect was left for Metallica and ultimately sending them to the garbage bin..

Then you have guys like Trent Reznor .. who have been around almost as long.. waking up to the concept.. and literally giving away his albums... for free or what ever you feel you want to pay for them..

That is the future for music...

As for gaming it probably will not go that far as anyone who has been playing video games like you and I have for all of our lives will tell you..

We just want quality... and we will pay for it!...

Seriously its time to awaken to the new paradigm...
March 5, 2008 10:09:44 PM

great video. It is a sad thing pc gaming falling to piracy
March 5, 2008 10:12:26 PM

sezyboy said:
If I only could rent PC games then i would really be able to try them out and decide whether its worth it.

I havent pirated a game for 8 years, because there is so much crap out there now that pirating is a waste of time. I wait for somebody that has the same tastes as i do to tell me after they bought it/pirated it, whether it was worth the bucks. This alone stopped me from buying Quakes Wars, Crysis, etc and made me buy Neverwinter nights 2, Bioshock, Sins of the solar empire etc.

When i go into a local ebgames and I see what the average console user buys, i think their habit is akin to gambling....lot of crap products.

Again, open PC rental stores. And no a demo is just like a test drive for a car, the real problems happen later :p 



Torrents are a PC rental store...

And if people are ethical in their walk of life like I am and all of the people I surround myself with..

They will download it .. evaluate and then buy it or delete it...

That simple.

If gaming companies wanted to allow people to Download the game for week trial with a special CD Key.. (yet fast speeds) for a small fee tacked onto the price of the game.. I am sure that would work too

Look at EVE Online..

Fighting this trend is like fighting the Tide..

And blaming people for pirating .. is like blaming peace protesters for the war...

!