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Video Game Piracy is not a problem, its a Symptom of a Problem (LONG)

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April 29, 2008 8:39:17 PM

From the perspective of an engineer who works in related areas and a gamer from birth, people seem to forget that although the original consoles were dedicated hardware of their own design, most consoles are now really just rebranded PC hardware.

As such, its trivial to port currently in most cases, and even if piracy was rampant, you'd still gain more profit by taking the time to slap on an install-shield wizard. It's not a major problem if X amount of people steal it, because its not your sole revenue stream but just one of many. This is also brought up a lot if you watch G4TV when they do a review; they usually complain that it’s a straight port with no new Easter eggs or features.

Next there is the hardware development cycle, which since the PC platform is continually evolving, it produces incrementally better titles as time goes on, and consoles are on 5+ year cycles. As games on the PC turn to vertex, ray tracing, or other non polygon based rendering schemes, consoles will follow along with PDAs and other new media. The nature of this style of rendering is inherently much more platform independent as its less dependent on APIs and trickery to make images and just uses brute processing power to determine the location of each pixel (with Physics), instead of defining three points and just connecting the dots, or applying a texture.

There is actually an upper limit to realism, and as a well done Hollywood movie shows, it’s a limit we're already bumping up against. The vector processors in the PS3 are similar to designs from SSE and others used in Cray systems. It might sound silly at first, but there is actually a point in this technology when a level of realism is reached that after which further refinement is beyond human perception and the product development cycle will have to change to some degree. I think more robust AIs will be one of the few things which will really be able to take advantage of the types of speeds we will see from 2020 and beyond. Many Hollywood movies are already at this point for a lot of people who don’t look close, and this technology trickles down at a predictable rate. I think realistically we reach a point where we need a better man-machine interface to take advantage of this level of realism.

I'd say if anything that it’s not the PC that’s dead as a platform, it’s that there will be no difference between the two. They are already similar in more ways than they are different, they just come bundled with a D-Pad and have Hamachi pre-installed in the form of X-Box Live. It’s devolved into a silly fanboy rant at this point I think. In many ways, Media Center PCs are consoles, you can even add a D-Pad.
The PC can be turned into a console, and vice versa (Linux on the PS3 Anyone). Consoles now have browsers, and an adapter (that I love) for the PS3 that lets me use a keyboard because thats my control method of choice. I hate D-Pads. Let the flames begin.

Take a look at the progress of the Mac platform and ask yourself if it’s because it became more or less compatible with entrenched technology.

On the issue of piracy, I think this whole subject is just a media talking point because there wasn't another cute blond Caucasian girl abducted today for them to scare people over. Its basic folly to compare software spread to physical theft, because in all cases the costs are imagined. People just like big numbers, so they guesstimate that 100,000 people stole a game that retails for $50 USD then come to the conclusion that they somehow lost 50 Million dollars, even though software has no replication cost and the developer does not even pay for bandwidth.

In most cases, piracy made easier by trying to force DRM down people throats, which just entices hackers to take them out as a personal challenge, and it just makes everyone else angry. At the right price point, you would be amazed at how many people are willing to pay for games as entertainment.

The companies just want the types of cash flow they had from the 90s when the net was a lot slower and people had to pay 50 bucks to use their $3000 machines. But that times over, and it’s never coming back. And it does not need to, because with the spread of the internet, the number of potential customers has also jumped sky high. Charge 50,000 people $50 or 250,000 people $10, it’s all the same and the net allows this.

In the case of business software, like Office 2007, Microsoft WANTS people to steal it, which is why they translated it into Chinese with basically no copy protection. A defacto monopoly is easier if you give it away to people free at home and everyone uses it and becomes familiar, then charge businesses who have a financial incentive to not risk lawsuits and fines for theft. You never wondered why its harder to get a hacked steam account, for gaming, than it is to steal a WHOLE OPERATING SYSTEM like Vista, which is in a much better position to detect and thwart hacks and cracks because it has kernel level access and internet connectivity?

They want Asia to make it the standard everyone is used to, so that later on when people start a business or “go legit” they’ll already be hooked on their brand and go with what their used to, and it will be the standard, not OpenOffice. There is no lost income, because they were never going to buy it in the first place. The same goes for games, as the developers gain reputations and loyalty, and when pirates grow up, many pride themselves in paying for games from labels they used to steal from because they weren’t able to afford it. Look at Starcraft.

Also, subscription models work. There is not a lot of press about World of Warcraft being pirated, and since network connections are everywhere now, theres no reason they cant use a “Steam” or EA-Link type setup which requires a constantly on net connection, and bans pirated keys instantly and refuses to play offline, or takes it a step further by having certain points in the game retrieve content from servers in order to progress further.

Target market is also the last problem for PC-Only development. If you go out to make the L33t35t Haxx0r3d game with all the bells and whistles, the only people with the hardware to actually play that are the ones who also know how to steal it, and after paying for all that hardware they might be poor. So sure, sales are poor cause the game only runs on a water-cooled quad-sli Alienware system, who happened to be owned by script kiddies worldwide, is there a surprise here?

I am not trying to defend piracy or any type of theft. I’m not trying to make a moral point, but a realistic one that has a REAL solution that does not go along these lines: We’re legally in the right, and we’re going to make the world comply. Well first off you can’t make the world do anything, its going to go the path of least resistance no matter what. For people, that’s stealing things that are way too expensive for them personally (or taking illegal drugs because they can’t afford real professional care for whatever ails them, mentally or otherwise, because it’s so damn expensive).

For businesses, who earn a lot more, the least resistance is paying up the dough to ensure future revenue without lawsuits. The industry right now is indignant, and reacting like an angry shop-keep chasing off little kids. It’s acting in PRINCIPAL instead of INTELLIGENTLY and trying to apply physical security measures to digital content.

The best example is Brazil, with AIDS medication. It was way too expensive, and Big Pharma was sucking up donation money from the whole world to keep a few people alive. So the Government of Brazil said: Screw you. We don’t care if you invented it, we know you own it, but we aren’t willing to stand by and let people die just so some fat white American can have 5 billion instead of 4. So they setup their own drug labs and started making the same thing for like 65 cents a person, down from $580. Of course, Pharma sued, but no one was willing to do anything about it.

Its hard to have sympathy for greed vs. life even if the law is on the side of greed. Were they supposed to condemn millions to death? I realize comparing software piracy to medication piracy might sound odd at first, but it really boils down to the same reason in the end, it just has more urgency. Pharma finally decided to just sell it to them cheap, and it still makes a profit. The old business model is dead and unenforceable for non-tangible media which is why the music industry is trying to use scare tactics and go after a bunch of college kids and soccer moms rather than rollout a real solution. I think game developers know this but the old men in suits don’t.

This is a cost/effort ratio. If games were 10 bucks, it would not be worth the time to steal them and use only hacked servers, and people worldwide can afford them more easily. This is a Global connected world now, Americo-Centrism is a fatal error for tech businesses. There are more people outside of America than in it, as the Music industry is learning.

By the way it took 10 years for them to admit defeat, but they are finally selling DRM free songs from Amazon and soon iTunes. They realized it’s impossible to stop theft, but it’s also not needed. You don’t need to stop it; you need to make it less cost effective at which point it becomes a non-issue. People don’t steal trucks from the post office because they have a distinctive look, and there’s no market for them. They realized that with internet connectivity, people would rather buy a song with their phone for 99 cents, then have that new song auto-synch with their iPod, PC, Console, and MySpace page. Hell the effort of just moving all that around is not worth 99 cents to me, and I don’t think I am alone in that.

So I hope you made it this far, I tried to keep it interesting. I tried to just write a letter about how the whole PC-Console thing is just the old business model reaching out in a death grasp before the gap between PC and console disappeared forever, but as you can tell I was unable to do so. I fully expect people on both sides to bring it, and this is just my attempt to spread some education (as I see it) around. I fully expect people to stick this post in their sites and niggle over minor details and thus miss the point itself, so if you have a comment about something like that then fine, you’re so witty and I totally suck for having typed almost 2000 words and having the audacity to be imperfect or just nor care enough to read it 50 times to try and punk-proof it. But if there are any real contentions or counter-arguments of value, then flame on :) 

PS: For further inspired discourse, for better or worse, I suggest people visit http://www.ted.com

They put up the archives last year, and it’s been a real treat to listen in on the leaders themselves, and how they are working to make the world a better place. The New Technology section is really quite interesting, as the experts themselves in nearly all areas put fourth their ideas on how to make the future a better place and what they are trying to do about it.
April 29, 2008 10:15:54 PM

martin0642 said:
The best example is Brazil, with AIDS medication. It was way too expensive, and Big Pharma was sucking up donation money from the whole world to keep a few people alive. So the Government of Brazil said: Screw you. We don’t care if you invented it, we know you own it, but we aren’t willing to stand by and let people die just so some fat white American can have 5 billion instead of 4. So they setup their own drug labs and started making the same thing for like 65 cents a person, down from $580. Of course, Pharma sued, but no one was willing to do anything about it.

Its hard to have sympathy for greed vs. life even if the law is on the side of greed. Were they supposed to condemn millions to death? I realize comparing software piracy to medication piracy might sound odd at first, but it really boils down to the same reason in the end, it just has more urgency. Pharma finally decided to just sell it to them cheap, and it still makes a profit. The old business model is dead and unenforceable for non-tangible media which is why the music industry is trying to use scare tactics and go after a bunch of college kids and soccer moms rather than rollout a real solution. I think game developers know this but the old men in suits don’t.


Martin, I respect your opinion, but I take exception with your analogy above. There is a fundamental flaw in comparing software piracy with AIDS medication piracy, and it's very simple: with the latter, people's lives are at stake. With the former, we're dealing with an entertainment product and nothing more. Games aren't food or medicine. They're not critical to a person's survival. They're for fun. You're not entitled to playing games. Please, let's not lose sight of this crucial difference.

I can't stand when people who pirate games turn the argument into something akin to standing up to the man or an organized protest against corporate greed. Please. Get real. You want to play the game but you have no money, or you simply don't want to spend that much money on a game, and you've suddenly realized just how easy it is to download the content without paying for it. So you pirate the game and engage in a crime of convenience and laziness, but a crime nonetheless. If you want to take on the increasingly high prices of games, start a petition and wait for titles to hit the $20 bargain bin.
April 30, 2008 12:18:51 AM

I agree 100% that comparing famine/disease against recreation is unreasonable, but I wasn't drawing a comparison between the relative values of each, but instead of the market forces involved. Believe me I did pause for a moment to try and find an example that would be more tame, but I was unable to and had hoped I had done a good enough job so the reader would see where I was trying to make the comparison, it would seem I was less than successful and regret if anyone was offended.

So though most people feel that life and death triumphs over patents, the issue itself is the same. There is a product that is desired, it comes at a set rate. Some can afford it, and some cant. The rate of piracy will make itself evident based on a ratio of the cost vs. income of the bulk of interested parties and the ease of replication and distribution. I'm not saying its right, I'm saying that thats humans in a nut shell and its never going to change.

I agree with you totally on the second point, I also find it distasteful when people liken themselves to Che Guevara and act as if their petty theft is somehow justified because "the man" is working against us, but that wasn't what I was drilling down to. My point is practicality, not perfect world scenarios cause frankly we don't live in one and I don't think its right around the corner. I truly believe that capitalism, when applied to certain markets, works wonders. This is why we have football players making 60 million and firefighters making 50 thousand, and I think thats fine if thats how people want to spend their money.

I just think its silly when people, who already make a very comfy living, spout off about how much richer that "ought" to be based of phantom math. Sure, maybe if the magical faeries slapped the hands of every potential pirate they'd turn a few extra bucks, but barring that its just not going to happen until they change their business model to make the market work for them and not against them. The current approach is the standard model used by physical retailers for thousands of years, and for that it works great. But this is digital, not physical, and though the moral implications might be the same, the practical implications are not. The model is based on this idealistic notion of how people "should" behave in a perfect world, which we don't live in, on products which cant cheaply be replicated, but software can.

The impetus for the article actually was that I see so many people talking about it, and I really think its a non-issue. It's unpreventable on every platform, no matter what, and its never going to change because of the mathematics involved. One could wonder if the companies spend more trying to stop piracy than are really lost in true dollars, because most pirates are poor in the first place or they would not waste time stealing it in the first place.

So instead of the whining about right and wrong that I see all over the net, I thought I might I might actually give something different a go, an actual solution and discussion of the issue. The "Its wrong, dont do it" logic, which is real popular with the religious crowd, has no real value in a discussion about piracy. No one cares, because its intangible. Ideals always lose when reality drives home. Thus as before, does anyone really think that Mr. Super-Rig is going to wait till it hits the bargain bin before he buys it? No he's not, and never will, so instead of a circular argument with Socrates and Kant over the morality of it, I think its far more productive to remove the motivation to steal it in the first place.

Thus I point to Amazon, Valve, and even EA (Though Link Sucks). It seems like people are starting to get it to some degree, as if the younger people have finally gotten through to the captains of industry and hit them with the obvious stick. An interesting note however, you might notice the price still hasn't changed. I find that odd. So I download the game and play it, and its 50 bucks still. So no CD, no manual, no box, no shipping costs, no Wal-Mart royalties, and its still 50 bucks. Even Amazon has the sense to release books on the Kindle for $9.99. Hardbacks might be $25, and paperbacks $15, but they have the sense to pass on the savings to some degree and as an owner I appreciate that.

I should note that there is a category of person, I've known many as such, that pirate everything. The Kid. You know him, both parents work, yet still only have the purchasing power of a single man in 1910. Thats if he has both parents. He's smart, he likes computers, he hates school cause its boring, he's a latchkey kid with a lot of alone time and no siblings. Maybe he's in New York, and maybe he's in Africa, he has time, and maybe someday when he's making his own way, and games are reasonably priced for the global market that we already have, he'll pay 10 bucks (Or his parents, cause $10 is a long way from $50) cause its faster than cracking it and the online delivery means he never has to worry about losing it or scratching a disk or losing a key. That kid usually grows up and maintains his passion for games through life. I know games led me into software development and engineering, and boredom is a devastating blow for the mind while its developing. I see where their coming from is all, and it'll never change.

So like I said, I think that once the gaming industry takes its cue from the Music industry and Amazon and moves away from its thousand year old sales scheme and comes into the present where real business solutions and practicality reign over useless notions of unenforceable morality the industry will really take off and real profits will roll in worldwide. I think gaming is the future for everyone, as the Wii as shown for traditional non-gamers. There is much room for expansion, especially as tech develops, and it is going to a good clip. So RobWright I appreciate your candor and hope my reply is satisfactory without raising too many new issues :) 
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April 30, 2008 1:23:32 PM

Similar things have been said before by Brad Wardell and others. Though I think $10 is optimistic to the point of folly. As it is $20 is a steal.

Cutting out DRM and pricing games at $40 should be the next step. If profits maintain or increase then maybe try decreasing it by $5 for every couple of releases and stop at the most profitable point. Bereft of statistics, it is possible $50 is that sweet spot, but I have my doubts.

One thing to be aware of however, is the fact that people are stupid. People who have the money will look at something costing $40 and a similar product costing $50 and assume that the one costing $50 is better and worth more because it is more expensive. This trend is played out over and over again in stores and dealerships across the globe. Video games are slightly different because of the prehype for them and the fact that games are fundamentally different from one another in noticeably tangible ways. Speculation of intangible worth has less to do with perceived value, but until someone really starts experimenting in the market, it will be difficult to determine.
April 30, 2008 1:32:49 PM

How about a shop owner that has sooo many customers he cant keep his eye on all of them, and yet his wares are all out on the counter, within reach of each customer? Thats the new business model, and some people will reach out and take what they want, cause they know the store owner wont see them. Sure the store owner will see and catch some, but few, given the numbers. Now, hows that for trying to mix a digital with a physical scenario? heheh But it still doesnt make it right either way. I agree, they need to develope a better , wiser business model
April 30, 2008 3:14:21 PM

Quote:
Video Game Piracy is not a problem, its a Symptom of a Problem




Here we go once again......

Did this comment contribute to the thread?
May 1, 2008 6:09:38 AM

I think your right about the lack of statistics, but there are things on Steam that are in the $10 range, and though that might be optimistic now, the spread of cheap tech across the world and the rising tide of newly industrialized nations brings a lot of new consumers to the table. Take the Kindle as an example, if you look at Amazon there are books on sale for 32 cents.

Then there is this: http://milliondollarhomepage.com
$1 per pixel, cheap. He made his million, I wish I'd have thought of it first.

And finally, Sins of a Solar Empire, I found this for $34 at some discount sites and $37 at Newegg

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

According to NPD, the games was 2nd in sales in February:
http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/638/sins-of-a-sola...

This game, by Stardock, wasn't expensive to make. It didint take 10 years. It does run on most systems, and though I haven't played it, by most accounts its not bad.

When I see examples such as these, along with all the Livestrong bracelets and "Support the Troops" stickers, games on cell phones and PDAs, people using Verizon phones to identify songs playing nearby and buying them on the spot, it seems to indicate to me that broadening your target market by lowering the price and ease/speed of purchase yields much more in the way of monetary gain than simply raising the price.

Hollywood is taking notice as well, I have heard rumblings of carriers such a Comcast talking to studios about direct-to-home releases of blockbuster films that are in theaters. The rise of home theater, combined with the remote-purchase systems in digital boxes, make this easily feasible. The movie theater industry is apparently ticked at the concept, because they like selling popcorn for $10 each. I think this would also have a major calming effect on piracy of film, because it would be much easier and people will pay for ease of use.

Of course, Comcast couldn't give a hoot about Theaters, they just want the cash stream, and as such might offer a direct HDTV viewing of something in a theater for $40, which might sound expensive but I bet if I invite 3 pals over and we grab a Pony Keg, it'd still be cheaper than the theater, and the bathrooms closer, and we can eat whatever we want.

The thing that I think really holds back many companies is an unrealistic expectation of instant compensation and old business models mixed with the bloat of growing to big and grabbing CEOs from other industries who are beholden only to shareholders profits and dont care about games for the sake of the games themselves.

They keep making part 2, and 3 and 16 of tired franchises and buying out the competition and then pumping out more clones. Remember 3DFX? If they had bought NVidia out they might still be around, and it seems like EA is trying to just suck up every franchise possible to keep yanking the re-run slot machine handle.

Remember when Blizzard was putting out tons of games, mostly good? Now they have a WoW cashcow, and what have they done lately, other than close off other Blizzard divisions and make Starcraft 2? It's not because they cant afford creative projects or original work.

Everyone wants to be a millionaire, right now. Exxon cries about OPEC, gouges Americans, then posts record profits. All of the sudden we have people going around siphoning gas out of peoples tanks, because suddenly its economically worth the risk. Is it legal? No. But when a country in the middle east puts a dam on the Tigris river, then charges countries downstream and rations water to them, that is legal even though the waters been flowing naturally and free for thousands of years, but it sure does have a patina of douchebaggery about it, does it not?

It's also not right to jack the price up for no good reason which drives people to that extreme either, but its legal which is good enough for some close-minded types but I'm just not prepared to accept that legality is in any way a good basis for morality. It's supposed to be the other way around, but when special-interest groups start lobbying with big money to buy their own laws and politicians, it quickly turns into have and have-nots, and everyone but that 1% loses out.

Though the gaming industry is not quite such an oligarchy as the fuel industry, the number of independent labels is shrinking. Personally I don't want to be playing "Sims 34" unless I get to personally jack in and wreak havoc on my Sims in full Matrix-Style glory.

The US housing bubble and the credit blowup is what happens when they try to create money by allowing people to buy what they cant afford, its a short term gain and the players cut and run and leave a mess for everyone else later on. It's a good things its real hard to steal houses, or you can imagine what might occur.

Social security, health care, and the environment are also taking this route. Us richer now, problems come later, someone else can fix it, not my problem. It's all legal, and its wrong, which will be self evident in 50 years unless there are some major changes, and by then it might be too late to do anything about it because the people in the best position to enact change are in the here and now, and they don't care.

So as odd as it might seem, I think these examples point to expansion of market base by easing pricing and releasing on as many platforms as possible will bring them the most long term profit and product diversity, and maximize customer loyalty and satisfaction. You can gouge people once and make like a bandit, or milk them and live like kings (and they'll be happy too). Ibet people would subscribe to an all you can eat current-release system for new and old games, even if it was $50 bucks a month. I'd drop HBO and Cinimax for that.

I think people are basically honest, and they don't want to steal. But I also think they want to live their life, and maybe even enjoy it a little before they go, even if their financial means are limited. Issues like Piracy, Physical Theft, Chemical abuse and other issues are just barometers of their perspective markets of the ability to afford legitimate commerce verses the simplicity and risk of more underhanded methods.

I want to see the games industry flourish and really take advantage of all the extra processing power around, and I want to see them get just rewards for doing so. Thats why I'd like to see some quality $10 dollar games.

PS: More Orange Cats please, pref with cute messages taped to them.

PSS: Piracy is illegal, and BAD! Mmm-Kay? Good.
May 1, 2008 12:44:52 PM

Did not read. It's great if you don't believe the asking price for games is fair. I tried to go to a local car dealership and only wanted to pay $5,000 for a new Porsche because that's all I believe it's worth. Obviously, they refused so I assume that makes it okay for me to steal it, right?
May 1, 2008 4:49:22 PM

robwright said:
Please. Get real. You want to play the game but you have no money, or you simply don't want to spend that much money on a game

So do you object to people with no money pirating games? By your logic of piracy hurting the industry, then it should be alright for someone with no money to simply download a pirated version of a game (without sharing it to others, just downloading it for themself from say, a newsgroup) and then play it. Right? They have no money to purchase the game in the first place, so it comes down to a matter of whether they're playing the game or they're not, the company that makes the game makes $0 from them.
May 1, 2008 5:19:02 PM

Oh Snap said:
So do you object to people with no money pirating games? By your logic of piracy hurting the industry, then it should be alright for someone with no money to simply download a pirated version of a game (without sharing it to others, just downloading it for themself from say, a newsgroup) and then play it. Right? They have no money to purchase the game in the first place, so it comes down to a matter of whether they're playing the game or they're not, the company that makes the game makes $0 from them.


Yes, you're right -- people with no money should be able to get games for free. That's exactly what I wrote. After all, playing PC or video games is basically an inalienable right, and if you don't have the money to pay for them, then they should be free -- like food stamps or welfare checks.
May 1, 2008 5:20:42 PM

robwright said:
Yes, you're right -- people with no money should be able to get games for free. That's exactly what I wrote. After all, playing PC or video games is basically an inalienable right, and if you don't have the money to pay for them, then they should be free -- like food stamps or welfare checks.

Hold on now Rob, is your objection to piracy really about "hurting" the game companies?

Plus, I should point out that your analogy is flawed. Welfare checks and food stamps cost taxpayers money, the only cost associated with my example would be the pennies worth of bandwidth.
May 1, 2008 6:17:58 PM

All these long-winded explanations makes my butt itch. Really, is there a CliffsNotes version to all of this?
May 1, 2008 6:34:31 PM

exfileme said:
All these long-winded explanations makes my butt itch. Really, is there a CliffsNotes version to all of this?

- Copyright infringement != Stealing
- A digital copy of a game costs the developers nothing and if the user of the copy had never intended to buy the game from the developer, it deprives the developer of no more money than if the digital copy didn't exist.
- Most games are pretty crappy
- You can't return PC games in almost all circumstances
- People don't like to get burned by companies that release said **** games.
- Some people just prefer to not to pay $50 for 5 hours worth of entertainment

Happy?
May 1, 2008 8:01:53 PM

Oh snap! Thanks snappy-doo! ;) 
May 1, 2008 8:42:23 PM

I hate this thread, because once again, it is about moral theories and from one culture to the next, their perspectives are very different.

With regards to the piracy issues, it is a problem. It is one thing to serve the customer with the motive of "The customer is always right"... as long as they provide something in return (profit). I love how some people think they have the right to play for free because they do not have the money to buy them. Guess what, videogames are a privilege and just like vehicles, entertainment systems and computers, they have a price tag. No money, no candy. Crimes will not be tolerated simply because you have less income; it applies to everyone, the rich and the poor. Besides, if you can afford a PC for gaming, you can afford buying games. In fact, publishing companies have a right to charge a fee as they registered a product with the Intellectual Property Office.

Given that it is becoming a serious issue, videogame publishers need to adapt to the fact that piracy is ever more accessible (oh, and they know about the issue!). That being said, I do NOT believe that DRM is a good solution, but it still is a reasonable attempt to cut down on piracy. I do believe that publishers will need to think this issue and exercise good business decisions to overcome such a problem. Governments should also get involved with this matter as they may be able to contribute to a solution for this problem (see below).

Although I am not a member of the videogame industry, I respect the field. In fact, I am a gamer myself when I have free time. I am a graduate student with an MBA in E-Commerce and have bachelor in finance; so I know exactly where Amazon and iTunes come from and what it takes to manage such services. Corporations are powerful but you guys need to understand that the board of directors have a lot of pressure when it comes to implementing *new* ideas or practices to resolve piracy issues; on one hand from the consumer, and on the other hand from the shareholders.

I reside in Ottawa (capital of Canada) and needless to say that I have friends in politics. Not that I would not care otherwise but I also have friends in the videogame industry in Canada, specifically in Montreal and Vancouver. We have proposed to the Government of Canada (Department of CRTC), who regulates internet providers, to implement a new bill in the House of Common.

The bill, in a nut shell, would allow internet providers to provide various categories of internet service. It would encourage providers to set a limit on downloadable content. We believe that the average user will not need more than *40 gigs - edited* of download bandwidth for each month. Internet providers would also have other VIP or Commercial packages who would be a little more expensive, but would provide an unlimited download bandwidth or similar. This would impact the overall bandwidth, which would lower maintenance fees for the internet providers (hence, they would support that bill). It would also have an impact on the consumer where if you can afford the VIP or commercial package, then you most likely can afford the videogames (as the fees for commercial bandwidth would be more expensive than purchasing the actual game). Hence, it would create an impact on the level of piracy (at least in Canada). There is much more to this proposal but these are the highlights with regards to the Industry.

This model is nothing new and as been implemented in some countries already. I just wish the US Government would implement a similar bill. However, there are limitations to this model. This bill will not solve all piracy issues...such as music and other smaller files. It would only help with regards to pirated movies, games, and software. Another limitation to this bill is that if you were to use services like STEAM to download games legally, you would still have to purchase a descent package with higher bandwidth limit (maybe not now but soon as publishers create games that can only fit on Blue-ray disks).

Nota: This bill wasn't intended to solve piracy, but for the purpose of balancing fees for internet providers and stabilizing its infrastructure. However, it should have an impact on E-Piracy.

*Like I said, it's a proposal and will be discussed at Parliament but as not been implemented yet...and maybe never. But with regards to E-Piracy, this could be a part of the solution.*
May 2, 2008 2:33:52 AM

holy ****
that was a crap load to read

i began to think half way through this thread that this should be placed in the the OTHER category in the forums. we went from piracy to medicine to gas prices to river water to the housing situation to welfare checks

but on topic
i would absolutely love for games to cost 25 instead of 50. i have bought nearly all my games, excluding quake 3 and the matrix (received those as gifts), and spent 50 on all of them except doom 3 (spent 55).

and i disagree completely with ROB, if he is being serious, nobody should get to play games absolutely free. i dont care who the hell you are. if i have to pay 50 and you nothing thats ****

that is like saying i should get to go to a theme park for free if i couldnt pay the entrance fee.

and the WEB neutrality is becoming an issue now if what Alex the Pc gamer is saying is true. why would you limit me to 4gb? what if i like to download music or large video files? do i get an expansion in bandwidth or do i suffer with everybody else?

if you really wanted to stop pirating you make an example of a large group of people.
EXAMPLE: the government catches 500 people that have pirated games and fines them $100,000 each. that would scare a hell of a lot of people. and if the government added in some jail time too, that would scare even more people. Pirated gaming would experience exponential decay then. less and less people would pirate games.

and HEYYOU
no, it doesnt make it alright to steal the porsche

sorry for any mispellings or incorrect grammar. i really couldn't give a ****
May 2, 2008 3:08:37 AM

? wow raptorxt you are really REALLY bad at detecting sarcasm. Seriously. Both of the people you called out for their statements were clearly making hyperbole based sarcastic responses to other people. Hell Rob is probably the most anti-piracy person on these boards.

Me, personally, I do not think that anyone has anything that resembles a right to obtain any kind of entertainment media for free. However, people are going to do it. We need to just get over that fact and instead try to find constructive ways to drive sales.

The problem with the idea of the government making examples of people is that they have no jurisdiction to do so. It is not a criminal violation. It is a civil violation. That makes it entirely the responsibility of the copyright holder to prosecute and follow up on the crime. Now those people could try to do something, but it would be exceptionally difficult to prove fault in most cases and very costly to find them in the first place.

Also I think that the majority of the damage that piracy does to the industry is entirely self inflicted. When piracy was less of an issue it was just kids bootlegging software for each other. Serial codes mostly put an end to this "casual copying" that was common. Then there were the poor college students and such that found themselves with copious free time, decent new computers, cheap internet access, and very little money. This is the crowd that made up the majority of pirates for a long time and they generally bought all the games they could honestly afford to buy, but that wasn't many.

As DRM became a bigger and bigger pain in the arse these college pirates found it the path of least resistance to continue their piratey ways even after they got jobs and grew up. People who had never pirated before were being directed to pirate web sites in order to find no CD cracks in order to bypass the DRM that was making their game not work. Then there are all the misguided bastards who think that they are striking back at "the man" by stealing all his software.

Basically before DRM there was little impetus to pirate if you had the money to buy. With DRM there were increasingly compelling reasons to pirate instead of buying.

Finally software developers are starting to realize that they dug their own grave and are backing up a bit and rethinking their strategies. Hopefully they will be able to turn around this mess they made into good PR.
May 2, 2008 1:49:00 PM

infornography42 said:
People who had never pirated before were being directed to pirate web sites in order to find no CD cracks in order to bypass the DRM that was making their game not work.
That's a very good point. Who hasn't considered looking for a No-CD crack because you've installed the game on a laptop and don't want to take the disk with you. That doesn't mean you're a pirate; it means you're protecting the investment. Isn't there some kind of law that says the consumer can make a backup of said property anyway?
May 2, 2008 2:12:49 PM

The problem with piracy in general is that the only way to stop it is through an invasion of privacy that I find unacceptable.
May 2, 2008 2:28:09 PM

The problem with piracy is that at the moment it would cost more to eradicate than it does having it there. Just wait till there is a new method of stopping piracy that actually works or when piracy costs the companies more money than a solution.

If you can come up with an ingénues way stopping piracy with games you would become a very rich man, almost instantly at the expense of a load of under aged kids and tight people adults.
May 2, 2008 2:51:17 PM

cafuddled said:
The problem with piracy is that at the moment it would cost more to eradicate than it does having it there. Just wait till there is a new method of stopping piracy that actually works or when piracy costs the companies more money than a solution.

If you can come up with an ingénues way stopping piracy with games you would become a very rich man, almost instantly at the expense of a load of under aged kids and tight people adults.


The question though is, how many honest customers will you turn away in the course of eradicating piracy. There pretty much is no way to restrict piracy without restricting honest users as well. Anything that would eradicate piracy would probably be seen as overly draconian and piss off the educated customers, and might possibly be seen as just buggier than an antbed or frustratingly annoying to the uneducated customers.

The pill that most of the industry has yet to swallow is that the best answer is to add minimal protection to avoid casual copying and just accept that piracy is going to happen. As far as anyone can tell all of the millions of dollars going into anti-piracy have not only failed to stop it, but have barely even slowed it down. If anything they have simply made the problem worse by making piracy the more attractive option.

I am not excusing the behavior, but neither do I believe it is practical or even possible to eliminate the problem. And even if it were, you would probably lose more customers in the long run than you would have lost due to piracy.
May 2, 2008 3:45:56 PM

This particular subject intrigues me, and I have to give props to martin0642 - you are the reason I actually registered here on this site JUST SO I could post a comment on this forum. I should probably start by explaining my position on pirating. I "pirate" games all the time, in fact my hard-drive is filled with pirated copies of games. Sure, I'm a poor college student, but that is no real excuse for my awful, awful behavior. For me, this is how it works - I see a game that looks interesting, even if it's only the slightest bit, and I will pirate it to try it out. My money is tight right now, so this helps me weed out games that I would prefer to not pay $50 for. I'll even be totally honest...sometimes I play games all the way through, and then do not purchase them afterwards because I don't feel that they warrant the hefty price tag. Most of the time this is simply because I'll be bored and need something to do, and end up making my through a game. With that being said, I would NEVER have purchased these games I've pirated...whether or not pirating was an option. If torrent sites didn't exist, I'd simply not pay and not play. I know a lot of people claim this, and for most I would argue it is not true; however, in my case it's the real deal - in fact, one of the games I figured I'd try out for the fun of it was Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War, and it turns out the game is awesome and now I will probably go buy it so I can play it online. In my situation torrent sites work as a sort of marketing strategy for developers. The point all this is trying to make is this: I can only speak for myself and not others, but if pirating was NOT an option available to me, game companies would not make a dime more. Even in the past, illegally downloading music has led to me buy albums. I used Napster back in the day on my 56k modem to download and try out Metallica songs, and that led me to go out and purchase about 4 of their albums. Back in the day.

Now with all this having been said (man, that would be REALLY hard to translate into another language, with all the verb tenses...sorry, off-topic), and I know this might sound hypocritical of me, but I am very much against piracy when it hurts the companies. I am a business major, so most of the time I view situations from the side of the developers, not the losers who think about how "The Man" is oppressing them or whatever. I understand how these things work, and why companies hate piracy and so forth. On the other hand, I also admire people like that guy who worked to develop "The Witcher" who realize that a lot of times the numbers are bloated, and that many times when people pirate games they probably would not have purchased the game anyway. In my case, I certainly will purchase games like Starcraft 2, because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will be near-perfect, and I would like to play it online. Perhaps this is a case that argues in favor of the people who cry, "Make the game good, and people will buy it!"

Quote:
Yes, you're right -- people with no money should be able to get games for free. That's exactly what I wrote. After all, playing PC or video games is basically an inalienable right, and if you don't have the money to pay for them, then they should be free -- like food stamps or welfare checks.


On a final note, RobWright - your sense of humor is what keeps me coming back every week to watch Second Take. I thank you very much for your (and Ben's) commentary on whatever the topic may be, as I usually find it very funny and informative. However, one must admit that even your humor is not as funny as posters like Oh Snap being unable to recognize when you are being very sarcastic, as it gave me quite a laugh when he took that particular post about inalienable rights seriously.
May 2, 2008 5:00:57 PM

SnareSpectre said:
On a final note, RobWright - your sense of humor is what keeps me coming back every week to watch Second Take. I thank you very much for your (and Ben's) commentary on whatever the topic may be, as I usually find it very funny and informative. However, one must admit that even your humor is not as funny as posters like Oh Snap being unable to recognize when you are being very sarcastic, as it gave me quite a laugh when he took that particular post about inalienable rights seriously.


:D 


Quote:
Hold on now Rob, is your objection to piracy really about "hurting" the game companies?
Plus, I should point out that your analogy is flawed. Welfare checks and food stamps cost taxpayers money, the only cost associated with my example would be the pennies worth of bandwidth.


As others have pointed out, I was joking about the foodstamps bit. But yes, my objection is that piracy hurts the game companies. And I don't put much stock into argument that most pirates would never pay for the games anyway so the devs/pubs aren't losing any money. Pirates say they would never pay for these games because they DON'T have to pay for them -- they've found a very convenient way to get around that and have therefore convinced themselves that they're not really stealing. Plus, people can always convince themselves that a particular game isn't worth their money -- they'll play through 60 hours of Mass Effect and then turn around and say, oh that sucked. Really? Well...why did you play it for 60 freakin' hours? Isn't that worth something? And furthermore, should piracy only be allowed for cheap people who claim they'd never pay for game anyway? What about people with money who would pay for GTA 4?

Quote:

- Copyright infringement != Stealing
- A digital copy of a game costs the developers nothing and if the user of the copy had never intended to buy the game from the developer, it deprives the developer of no more money than if the digital copy didn't exist.
- Most games are pretty crappy
- You can't return PC games in almost all circumstances
- People don't like to get burned by companies that release said **** games.
- Some people just prefer to not to pay $50 for 5 hours worth of entertainment


- Piracy = stealing
- Many pirates convince themselves that all games suck and aren't worth the money even though they pirate tons of games and play them for hours.
- Many games are crappy, but even great games get pirated (hellow Call of Duty 4)
- Some people like to try "demos" before they buy a PC game, or perhaps rent a console game. Or -- and this is totally radical thought -- wait 6-12 months for a price drop and pickup up for $20.
- Some developers/pubs don't like to get burned by watching half their audience steal their work, hence they go with DRM and copy protection measures.
- Some people who think that games are crappy and over-priced simply decide NOT TO PLAY THE FREAKIN' GAMES if they're so bad and such a waste of time.
May 2, 2008 7:23:13 PM

"- Some people like to try "demos" before they buy a PC game, or perhaps rent a console game. Or -- and this is totally radical thought -- wait 6-12 months for a price drop and pickup up for $20. "

Wow this is optimistic. Most games that are truly good don't go down in price anywhere near that quickly. Any game that hits $20 in only 6 months is probably absolute crap. There are the few exceptions and diamonds in the rough such as Beyond Good and Evil, Psychonauts, and Tribes Vengeance, but generally the reason games get discounted that fast is because they are pure crap.

Now that brings up a different point. You could wait 6 months. Read all the reviews and play the demo and figure out from there if you want to spend the price that the game is now going for. If the game is still going for $40 to $50 then chances are really good that it is worth the money. If it is going for less then check out the reviews. Often really good games will plummet in price because they either have incompetent packaging or marketing, or they are a niche market game.

I will hem and haw for months at a time over most games that come out, and usually I just never bother with them. There are a few games that I won't wait on however and those I preorder. Things like Mass Effect, Starcraft 2, Fallout 3 and the like.

I am also living well below my means so I have the disposable income to spare on these things. I do admit that in my college years when my time was freer and my budget was tighter, I pirated a lot of games. I would generally try to buy a legit copy for the truly great titles, but I simply could not afford all the games that deserved to be purchased. My only excuse was I was young and foolish then. On the other hand, that behavior is what lead to me being a lifelong gamer. Had I not pirated through the tight college years I would probably not be a hardcore gamer now and I would be spending significantly less of my disposable income on new games.

That isn't an excuse for the behavior, but it is an indication that maybe, just maybe, a reasonable level of piracy is not a bad thing. It is out of control right now, but if the publishers would open up to the ideas of Brad Wardell and others, maybe we could get things tamed back down to a reasonable level again.
May 2, 2008 9:57:24 PM

robwright said:
- Piracy = stealing

Do I have to explain this to you again? Do you seriously not see a difference between physically TAKING a game off the shelf versus making a copy of a game on a hard drive? Stealing a game from a shelf 1) Gives you said game for free and most importantly 2) PREVENTS THE COMPANY FROM SELLING THAT SAME COPY TO SOMEONE ELSE, something that they will have to pay for to replace. Copying a game gives you the game for free, BUT you didn't just steal something from the developer.

If you use a raygun that duplicates matter on my TV set, and now you have your own TV just like mine, I'm not out a **** TV set. Holy ****, we had a whole thread about this before and you're still spewing the same ignorant equivocations as you were before.
May 2, 2008 10:10:47 PM

I refer you to:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/page-20705_9_80.html

I don't feel like reposting everything, but I think it was made pretty clear in that thread (as it should be), that piracy, although you may disagree with it on some level, is NOT the same thing as stealing. Disagree with piracy, RobWright, and continue to make your arguments against it, but at least do so with some respect to logic and reasoning.

Here we go:
OhhSnap said:
Do you seriously not understand the difference between COPYING and TAKING? Here's an example:

You have two objects in your possession: a ball and a piece of paper with the numbers "010101" written on it. I take your ball, and I also have my own piece of paper where I copy your string of numbers "010101" on it. Now, you're left without a ball, but you still have your piece of paper with numbers on it. Do you honestly not see the difference? Is it really that difficult to understand? Now, I go outside and let 1000 people copy the phrase "010101" onto their own pieces of paper. No doubt you spent a lot of time writing down that string of numbers in the first place, and you also run a service where you sell your own pieces of paper with it pre-written on them. In your eyes, I've STOLEN from you? No. It's presumptuous (and quite a hilarious indication of how a lot of game companies think so highly of their own products) that you would assume that EVERY SINGLE ONE of those people who copied that string of numbers would have purchased one of your own printed pieces of paper had it not been available. Even if this was so, your argument holds no water, no matter how large you make the tank. You're stating that the distribution of copyrighted material is stealing because it's going to a LOT of people, but you still don't understand the difference between a single person STEALING property and DUPLICATING it.

You also don't seem to understand the difference between a failing investment and stolen revenue. If I start my own business and invest a large amount of my own money, and then I don't have enough customers to make back enough to cover my initial investment, I don't get to claim that someone STOLE that initial investment. They chose not to support it, and I took a risk and lost. If a company invests $2,000,000 in a game and only makes $1,500,000 back because no one bought their game (because they simply chose not to buy it, or decided to play a pirated version), it doesn't mean that they STOLE that initial investment. The company put it forward, it didn't turn out how they wanted, and they lost.

Your analogy is also poor because you still don't understand the difference between preventing someone from purchasing the game vs. allowing someone to copy the game. If I steal a game off the shelf, not only did I not pay for it, but I also have prevented someone from buying that same copy of the game. I care so much about the correct wording because I hate seeing the industry assume that they're somehow entitled to making back their investment. They're not. Every business takes chances, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you can't just claim that someone STOLE your investment because they choose not to pay you for something.

However, you bring up the example of you posting articles on your site, and someone copying that article and posting it on their own. This isn't a great example, but essentially I could read the article on either site for "free". Say, however, that they DON'T have ads on their site and you DO. I've chosen to not deal with your ads in favor of reading the same article, ad free. However, I haven't STOLEN the article from you, I simply chose not to support your initial investment of time (spent writing the article, working on your site, getting advertisers) and money (paying for the server, designers, maintenance, etc.). If anything, by reading your copied article on ANOTHER website I've actually done you a service compared to say, using Adblock for Firefox (which I do use), because at least I'm not using your bandwidth. You're still in full possession of your own article which you worked on, and on your own website and server which you made an investment on. It didn't work out for you, tough break. However, say that person that copied your article is actually making money off of their own advertisements on their site. In that case, you are entitled to whatever they earn as a result of using your copyrighted material. That's all it means -- you're entitled to any earnings associated with your work. You aren't entitled to making back your initial investment from people who simply may not have ever considered paying for it in the first place.

Now if I went to, say, Blizzard HQ and physically copied over the game files AND THEN DELETED THEM from their system so they no longer had the game, that would be STEALING. The company paid their programmers for their work, they paid for the distribution and marking of the game to get it on the shelves, but in reality, they are still in full possession of everything they paid for, they just didn't make the profit they feel they're entitled to.

If I have a for sale sign on my car and some guy walks up to it, takes a look at it, pulls out a wand and *DING!* he's duplicated my car, gets in it and drives off, he COPIED it, he didn't STEAL it, regardless of how many hours or how much money I may have spent fixing the car up in order to sell it. When I steal something from you, I'm making something of yours mine and making it no longer yours. It's no longer in your possession. When I copy something, I'm making something of yours mine, but you still have yours too. Can you really even argue this any further? I'm simply amazed my initial point obviously didn't make it clear enough for you, especially for someone who's supposed to be so adept at reading comprehension.

And on another note, I find it quite funny that you're trying to defend the term "stealing" by justifying it with the idea of licenses. It's rather audacious to state you're selling the right to use a given product, and then turn around and say everyone using it without your permission is stealing. I'm selling the right to drive my used Ford Taurus, so that guy who used his magic wand to duplicate has surely stolen it! Wrong, he simply isn't paying me for something that didn't cost me any additional money beyond my original investment

I'm not arguing that the ability to pirate games isn't detrimental to the success of the PC gaming industry. Under their current business model and the huge investments they're making in order to produce these games, combined with how easily one can pirate a game, there's no doubt that a lot of the smaller companies are destined to fail, although the exact extent of the piracy's effect isn't known, it's only estimated. Companies have had it there way for a long time, and it's upsetting when things change and they're no longer in complete control of "licenses." Before, they could guarantee that the sale of said licenses would make up for their investments, and as time grew, so did the initial investments, assuming that the number of sales would also follow. Then, file-sharing came into the picture, and now in order to survive, they either have to fight file-sharing with more sophisticated copy prevention, or change their model in order to succeed in this new environment. What model is that? I really don't know, I'm not an expert, all I know is that the water's getting thicker so they're going to either have to swim a lot harder or find another way to keep afloat.


OhhSnap said:
Here. Let me give you a new analogy, elaborating on the one I made in another one of my posts.

Let's say I decide I'm going to make and sell cars. I open my own business, start making cars, and begin selling them to people. For a while, my business is successful, until one day I notice people start showing up to my car lot with weird looking devices in their hands. They begin walking up to the cars I've made, move the shiny metal devices over them, and then a few feet away on the street, a carbon copy of my cars appear out of thin air. These people walk over to these newly created cars, get in them, and drive off.

Let's break this down:

First off, there's no guarantee that these people who came to my lot with these magical devices would have purchased a car in the first place. They may have just been there to simply duplicate my cars, and wouldn't have shown up otherwise. So even though I'm not making money from these people, they're not TAKING money or property AWAY from me.

Second, I still own everything I've paid for. I initially paid the factory workers to produce these cars, and as such, these cars are now mine. They belong to me. However, the duplicated cars, although exactly the same as my own cars, didn't require any additional time, effort, or money for me to create. As such, even though I created the idea and design for these cars, those physical cars didn't cost me anything to make/produce.

Finally, my business might be failing now thanks to these magical car duplication devices. However, that doesn't mean that these people are stealing my cars, they're duplicating them. Some people might be using the duplication devices instead of purchasing cars from me, while others might simply be using them because they exist, and if they didn't have them, they still wouldn't end up purchasing a car. There's no way to tell for sure who would do what if these devices didn't exist. However, my failing business is a direct result of my investment failing to make returns in a market where my "tried n' true" business model simply does not hold water any longer. I chose to continue to pay my factory workers to produce cars, and I still own the cars they've produced for me. I'm entitled to nothing further.

Is it right what they're doing? According to the law, no it's not. However, there's a new word for what they're doing, since they're using my intellectual rights without my permission. It's called copyright violation, and it's vastly different from stealing. Say those people went out and then sold their duplicated versions of my cars, then I would be entitled to that money because someone is making a profit from my own idea. That's how it works, but please, please, PLEASE can we stop calling pirating software "stealing"?


I really don't know how much more clear I can be on the subject, and quite frankly I'm disappointed if you still want to be ignorant and equate two very different things.
May 2, 2008 11:22:35 PM

Okay so I joined the forum topic to try to have an intellectual debate (or discussion) about the issue because I think it's interesting, but now I find myself very irritated at what's been posted on here. For starters, Oh Snap, I feel like I can safely make the assumption that RobWright knows exactly what you meant, mean, and will mean by your long-winded blabbering. I think everyone else involved in this forum realizes what you mean, and we all understand that copyright infringement is not exactly the same thing as stealing, but you're arguing semantics of words, not the meaning of the forum. For your sake, you should replace all the verb forms of "stealing" in this forum with "infringing on the copyright of" and all the noun forms of "stealing" with "copyright infringement." Then the meaning will be exactly the same. It's like if we were all in a big, friendly political debate and someone referred to "illegal aliens" and a dissenting Oh Snap comes in and says "No, they're refugees escaping from a bad economic situation, stop being ignorant and get it right." In all reality, we're talking about the same people (i.e. "pirating" and "copyright infringement"). Ignorance only shows when someone doesn't understand that we're all actually talking about the same thing, and instead of advancing the discussion chooses to devote their posts to playground disagreements. If you want reconciliation for what you've said, I agree with you - "stealing" is not in its entirety the exact same thing as "copyright infringement," but you must also realize that several businesses, like game developers, sell information to make a profit. Say a firm is failing to turn a decent profit and they hire a consultant to help them sort out how to manage their supply chain, transport raw materials globally, etc. The consultant is paid for his/her knowledge in the field, not a physical product. It goes the same way here; "stealing" in this case does not merely refer to "the taking of a physical object."

I hope I've somewhat made it through to you, but I'm already pretty convinced that you understand all of this already and just write what you write to create a stink on a forum page and have people argue with you. Maybe if you display this reply up on all four of your gigantic monitors, you and your 8 GB RAM and your powerhouse processor can figure something out.
May 3, 2008 4:47:34 AM

I'm not trying to create an uproar here on my own forum. Really, I'm not. I only wish to have a civil, intelligent discourse with an occasional dash of sarcasm. So yeah, I'm an anti-pirate. And as much as it pains me to read about SnareSpectre's pirating, I appreciate his honesty even if I disagree with his perspective on the matter. I think this helps to have a healthy, informative discussion.

What doesn't help -- and what I don't need to read -- is any more analogies about fake ray guns and duplicating cars and then be told that I'm the one being ignorant. These points have no bearing on the real world. If you pirate a game, you're taking something that doesn't belong to you that has significant value (if it was worthless, you wouldn't download it), so call it what you will. You're also depriving the people who made the game of their hard-earned revenue. Games are expensive to make, and the developers aren't doing this for charity. PC game development is a business, and quite frankly, it's not going to survive if we all subscribed to the thinking of a typical pirate. If your last refuge in this argument is to say, hey, I wouldn't have paid for these games anyway, as SnareSpectre stated, then I issue you all a very simple challenge:

Find a new hobby. Please.

If the games really have no value for you, then it should be easy to find something free to replace them, like a library card or maybe jogging. But by pirating with reckless abandon, you're making things worse for the rest of this. And I implore you to stop.
May 3, 2008 6:38:34 AM

OK, theres this managing editor, a guy comes up and waves a shiny metal oooozz nooozzz heheh Good thread nonetheless, and I believe until people actually have something similar happen to them, theyll never truly understand. When it does, dont come running to us, or in the words of Vin Diesel Are you with us?
May 3, 2008 6:41:26 AM

you are right infornography42
i seem to be novice at deciphering sarcasm from realism

i am sorry ROB, and i agree with your anti-priacy

May 3, 2008 4:58:17 PM

robwright said:
And as much as it pains me to read about SnareSpectre's pirating, I appreciate his honesty even if I disagree with his perspective on the matter. I think this helps to have a healthy, informative discussion.


This makes me curious - I know you disagree with the way I go about doing things, but if what I claim is really true, what is your opinion then? In other words, I claimed to buy the games that I truly think are worth it, and in a sense, like several other pirates out there, claim to "try out" games by downloading them. Now I truly believe that most people claim this to justify their piracy when they really would buy the game otherwise. However, I honestly feel that that is not my case; I've downloaded GRAW, GRAW 2, Thief: Deadly Shadows, Prey, Painkiller, The Sam and Max episodes, just to name a few...I mean I do it a LOT, but I have not finished any of those games because I got pretty bored with them. I even finished the Rainbow Six Vegas 2 campaign, but that was because it was so short that I didn't feel it justified the $50 price tag. Assassin's Creed was cool for about 2 missions and then bored me to tears because it is the same thing over and over again...a little bit of fun, but not worth the $50.

On the other hand, I do own plenty of my own legal copies of PC games (F.E.A.R., Warcraft 3, Doom 3, don't want to bore with lists), and most of them came from the local used games store. I'm pretty cheap, I'll admit - and I'm very willing to play that waiting game of "6-12 months" for the price to come down. Heck, I was drooling for God of War 2 the day it came out, and then bought it about 2-3 weeks ago finally when the price tag came down to $20. I could have tried my hand at pirating it, but I knew based on my experience with the first one that it would be well worth the money, so I didn't. Same goes for Starcraft 2 - I will buy the game for its $50-60 price tag sight unseen, because I know it will be good. I have never looked forward to a game more in my entire life.

Now, if everything I just claimed is true, and I believe it is (in other words, game developers do not lose money on me through my actions, and in fact could potentially gain money because of it), what is your opinion then? Don't worry, I'm not looking for some sort of justification for what I do, but since I know you feel very strongly about this, and have discussed it several times either on forums or in your videos, what is your opinion?
May 3, 2008 5:26:34 PM

MY opinion is that you have more time than money and that makes it easier to loosen your ethics a bit.

Rob on the other hand has more money than time and therefore can easily afford a more elitist stance which he sees as justified.

I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't think it is right to stick to the try before buy philosophy, but on the other hand I recognize that demos can be misleading and software is expensive. I also recognize the fact that you obviously can't afford to buy all the games you want new.

My advice would be to spend your money as you can, but also spend that spare time you have studying and working toward making more money so you can earn more money than you have time to fill. If at that point you still persist in pirating, then my opinion of you would be very dim indeed. If at that point you stop pirating and start buying a bit more freely, then I'm cool with it.

All said, I do think piracy is a bad thing for the industry, but by the same token it is how most gamers make it through the leaner times and come out as gamers at the end.
May 3, 2008 5:50:29 PM

robwright said:
You're also depriving the people who made the game of their hard-earned revenue.

Hey, know that GTA 4 game that just came out? I've deprived Rockstar of exactly the same amount of "hard-earned" revenue by not buying it or showing any interest in it as I would have if I pirated it.

As for SnareSpectre, I think it's an important point to make that there is a very clear difference between "stealing" and "copyright infringement" when we get to the heart of the argument against piracy. Everyone, for the most part, would be against stealing in the traditional sense for the very obvious reasons. I wouldn't want someone to take one of my monitors, so damn right I'm against stealing someone else's. It's using a word that's very black and white in terms of ethics and morality in a situation where it really is shades of gray. Mislabeling something in order to drive your point home is something that should be avoided when making any kind of a sound, logical argument, so forgive my frustration when I see a potentially intellectual debate degrade into "You're wrong because you're stealing!" My stance on piracy is this: As a web designer, I do both the graphics/layout front-end as well as all the programming involved for back-end stuff. I've written a couple extensive PHP classes that basically form a framework for most of the sites I do. Now, if I was out selling this framework for other designers to use for a small fee, and I found out someone was copying it and using it without my permission and without reimbursing me, I'd be fairly upset. It certainly wouldn't be the same as someone coming into my house and stealing my monitors or computer though, and if I found out that it was actually some 12 year old kid using my framework, I'd be even less upset knowing that he probably wouldn't have paid for it anyway.

Now if someone copied it, and then started to sell it as their own, I'd be mega pissed, and my stance on piracy is identical to this. Although the developers may not like it when people pirate their games, it's not necessarily hurting their revenue (although in some cases it can be, but it really comes down to who would have paid for it in the first place). However, if someone copies a game, movie, software, or whatever else and then proceeds to SELL the copies to other people, I find that behavior to be completely objectionable. Why? Because they're not only not paying the developers, but they're also making a profit from someone else's work.

I hope this analogy was more to your liking, Rob, as you seemed to find it so objectionable that I use something as outlandish as "ray guns" while talking about video game piracy, and this analogy holds bearing in the real world.
May 3, 2008 7:31:18 PM

SnareSpectre said:
Now, if everything I just claimed is true, and I believe it is (in other words, game developers do not lose money on me through my actions, and in fact could potentially gain money because of it), what is your opinion then? Don't worry, I'm not looking for some sort of justification for what I do, but since I know you feel very strongly about this, and have discussed it several times either on forums or in your videos, what is your opinion?


Like I said at the end of my previous post: Find a new hobby. If you truly believe that you would never pay for these games to begin with because they hold little to no value for you, then stop playing them. It should be easy if you don't really think they're worth anything and are just playing them to pass the time. And if the issue is about money, then be a more selective consumer. Save your money and buy the good ones and leave the bad ones like Assassin's Creed (hopefully our reviews will be helpful in that regard). The thing that I worry about with you, SnareSpectre, is that you've gotten into a habit because you're a poor college kid but years from now when you're making more money, you may still be downloading the majority of the games you play while paying for that one special title.

Quote:
MY opinion is that you have more time than money and that makes it easier to loosen your ethics a bit.

Rob on the other hand has more money than time and therefore can easily afford a more elitist stance which he sees as justified.


Well, I prefer to think of myself as "principaled" instead of elitist. Mama always said don't take things that don't belong to you without paying for them (again, call it what you will). A common misconception here is that Tom's is showered with free games from publishers, and that I'm rolling around on waterbed throwing discs around and "making it rain," so to speak. The fact is that until recently, we barely got any review code/copies from pubs and had to pay for the games out of pocket. The easy thing would have been to download a lot of these games. Hell, Take-Two sent use two copies of GTA 4 this week (sadly, we didn't get the "exclusive" treatment that IGN got) but it would have been easier to just download a pirated copy last week and then get our review up quicker (you'd be surprised how common this practice is, btw -- or maybe you wouldn't). However, that would make me a giant hypocrite. We have a code here and we do our best to stick by it even when it's terribly inconvenient to do so.

But Info makes an interesting point regarding piracy's benevolent effect -- i.e., spreading awareness of games to kids and poor college students who have no money, which will then create real, paying customers down the road. I'm not discounting this possibility at all. But my fear is that once you learn how easy and convenient it is to pirate these games when you're younger and penniless, how difficult does it become later on, even when you have disposable income, to do the right thing and pay for the game? I just think we can always find way to convince ourselves that a game isn't worth the $50-$60 price tag and that our money is better spent on something else, especially when it's so easy to take the games for free.


May 3, 2008 7:32:27 PM

Just like anything given for free, youll end up having less regard for it. Trust me when I say youll appreciate games that youve paid for more than ones you get "free". Thats just the way it is, youve earned that game you bought, youll take more care of it. That in itself will help assure two things. Youll take more time to get your moneys worth, and youll appreciate the games more. Plus youll have the pride of being able say to yourself, Ive done this all , made some mistakes, learned from them, and am better for it. Someone who pays for their games will have a better knowledge of what they want.
May 3, 2008 7:47:14 PM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Just like anything given for free, youll end up having less regard for it. Trust me when I say youll appreciate games that youve paid for more than ones you get "free". Thats just the way it is, youve earned that game you bought, youll take more care of it. That in itself will help assure two things. Youll take more time to get your moneys worth, and youll appreciate the games more. Plus youll have the pride of being able say to yourself, Ive done this all , made some mistakes, learned from them, and am better for it. Someone who pays for their games will have a better knowledge of what they want.

So what do you folks have to say about someone like me who's been burned by other "no name" game companies before, and thus refuses to buy games from anyone but massive publishers like Blizzard? Say the only way I'd consider buying a game is if I could play a working copy first, but if I liked it and continued to play it, I bought it. If it sucked, I deleted it from my HD and never gave it another thought. Here's an example: Sins of a Solar Empire. It looks alright, maybe. I've never played any other games from Stardock. I don't feel like just throwing money at something because they have some neat looking graphics on a website. I have two options. A.) I pirate it, play it, and if it's worthwhile, I buy it. As of right now, the game is "worth" nothing to me beyond maybe 20 minutes of my time to check it out. If I play it and like it, I say it's "worth" more to me, and I purchase it. B.) I look at the site, go "hmm, neat, but I've never heard of them", and then go back to browsing the Tom's Hardware forums, and never have another thought about it.

Which one is okay? Is it seriously, in your eyes, wrong to say "hey, this is ONLY worth a few minutes of my time based on what I know and my level of trust for this company, but if it turns out it's good, I'll buy it"?

I mean, maybe this could backfire for some companies, which is why they don't want people doing it. I managed to play Age of Conan in open beta, and I can already tell you, the only way you're ever going to get me to even consider buying that game at this point is if I could play the full version for free to see if it still isn't garbage, because right now it's terrible.
May 3, 2008 8:49:29 PM

Haha I appreciate your honest reply, RobWright, just like you said earlier about what I posted. I agree completely with jaydeejohn about the games you buy being much more fun to play - that's why I pick and choose which ones to purchase carefully. As far as the pirating goes, the actual pirating is my hobby probably more than playing some of the games is. It's a lot of fun for me to mess with the innards of a game...the registry files and the executables...than it is to play a lot of them. When I look at what games I've spent the most time on recently, it amounts to resource hogs like Brood War that put a large strain on my 8800 gtx. (And yes, I have the retail copy) I'm sure I'll love computer games for the rest of my life, but when I get out of college I can't say I'll be spending much of my time playing them at all, much less taking the time to pirate them. I plan to eventually have a family to take care of, a job to work, and other stuff like that. It'd be nice if that job was a position playing and reviewing games at Tom's Hardware or something like that, but that's not realistic. Sure, I'll spend some of my free time getting pwned by South Koreans with 4 billion APM in Starcraft 2 on Battle.net (if it's out in the next 5 years), but it's not what I'll be spending most of my time doing. And I look at it this way, too - right now, $50 costs more than the time it takes me to download and replace an executable file from mininova.org or thepiratebay.com...but once the real world hits, that $50 will be worth less than that time, so it's obvious that buying the game will be much more beneficial than cracking them. Besides, I draw the line on my "hobby" (which I actually only discovered about 7-8 months ago) when it actually does affect the company that produces the game - it's not like I have a lack of ethics, and like I stated earlier I see things from a business standpoint as well.

As far as my solution to the pirating problem, I believe companies should just go after the guys (or girls) who upload pirated copies of games to begin with. The guys I see all the time are Razor1911, RELOADED, dopeman, Skullptura...they're the reasons companies lose money, in my opinion. I love to pirate games, but I would love nothing more than to see a stop to pirating because I believe it would mean better production values for games from companies who complain about their products being pirated; again I completely respect what the Witcher guy said about pirating - they made a good game, and it has sold quite a bit, despite pirating. I've seen that game up on several different torrent sites, so I know for a fact it's out there and ripe for the taking...but it still sold a lot and he realizes that a lot of people who pirated the game would not have purchased it anyway. It may seem counter-intuitive for me to pirate but want it to stop, but I say this only because I know my actions don't affect things in the big picture - one person sitting in their dorm room downloading games doesn't really even mean anything...going after the guys who distribute copyrighted material does. I would gladly give up my ability to get games for free if it meant there would be a widespread stop to piracy, but until then I'm content with using my method of determining which games to buy by first trying them out.
May 6, 2008 1:11:37 PM

Yeah that’s for sure, now that I’m doing this highflying job thing and have a girlfriend to take care of (who does not like me spending hours on the computer) I’m spending a lot less time playing games. But like a lot of people, when I was a kid I did indeed spend masses of time downloading games. In fact I believe I was one of the first to start downloading stuff. Back then you had to use other sources for getting things, it’s not always been this easy for download games and such. I mean about 10 or so years ago I was actually going out to buy some of the games because it was taking too long for them to download. But that’s where I got a load of games that later on collected dust.

Back then I had an excuse, I had £5 a week pocket money and then later on a pitiful college loan to live off. But now that I can afford to buy more than 10 new games a week and still live happy, I still don’t buy all my games. I’m still downloading most of the games that are released and only buying a hand full of the ones I like. I must say I agree with Rob that if you start doing something young you will keep on doing it. But I then again I don’t see what I am doing as hurting anyone either, it’s possible I never will.

I do agree that what I am doing is wrong however in the eyes of the law, I know it is. But then I would feel robbed if I went back to buying games and ended up throwing them in a cupboard because I did not like them again. I mean maybe this whole buying system is broken for games or is too old fashioned for the times. Maybe everything needs to change. But right now I’m still download say maybe 3 or 4 games a month and will buy say 1 or 2 games that I liked the look of before hand in that same month.

Since I have been downloading games my wasted money on them has almost disappeared. The last game I can remember wasting money on was the Half Life 2 mod SIN 2 (over Steam) that there was no demo of and I liked the look of it. I played the first level and never played it again. Now I would normally get angry with that but as it cost me only £7 for the game so I just let it slip. I don’t think I could be that careless with £40 games though, not just yet anyways.

I mean think about it, with movies you get to see them at the cinema, for £4 and later on you can rent them for £2.50. Yeah sure your only getting up to 3 hours worth of movie, but then we have to pay £40 for sometimes only 8 hours worth of game play. Yeah sure with console games you can rent them for £3 a night but with PC games you cant get them, or even in some cases have a taste of them unless you pay the full retail value of up to £40. And on top of that once you open a PC games wrapper almost all games shops wont take it back.

Is it really any wonder why the PC platform is the most pirated of them all? You cant expect to charge £40 per game £200 per Windows £320 per office instalment and not have anyone pirating your software. Something needs to happen things need to change and until it does PC software vender’s need to expect people to pirate. Or maybe they do and that’s why prices have not moved in any way but up on software for over 15 years (respectively speaking of course).
May 6, 2008 2:04:55 PM

robwright said:

But Info makes an interesting point regarding piracy's benevolent effect -- i.e., spreading awareness of games to kids and poor college students who have no money, which will then create real, paying customers down the road. I'm not discounting this possibility at all. But my fear is that once you learn how easy and convenient it is to pirate these games when you're younger and penniless, how difficult does it become later on, even when you have disposable income, to do the right thing and pay for the game? I just think we can always find way to convince ourselves that a game isn't worth the $50-$60 price tag and that our money is better spent on something else, especially when it's so easy to take the games for free.


I agree with you Rob, the "benevolent" effect is lacking at best. It goes down to human nature. The piracy market lowers the perceived value of a product to zero which reinforces future piracy behavior. The same is true for the music industry. Learning more about a game before you buy it is key. Hell, on the PC we all have an advantage, we get to download demos of most games before they're released to see if our computers can play them, or if the game is any good.

I don't think you're going to be able to wipe out piracy, but I think offering better incentives in games released is key. For example developers could adopt the Steam model. Digitally distributing your game, creating an environment that rewards the consumer with purchasing the game. If they use Steam and play the game legitimately they can get access to maps, mods, etc for a game. Or if it's a game with a heavy online play like Unreal Tournament 3 or COD4.
May 6, 2008 2:40:50 PM

FYI: If you wanted to setup a internet account in Canada with any ISP, you'll now be imposed a bandwidth limit. There was no need to implement a government bill as both major ISP have come to an agreement in Download/Upload limits. Given that other ISP use the networks of the 2 major ISP providers, they will also have to impose such a limit. The limit also includes uploading which mean that you can expect Canadian residents to barely share any data on peer-to-peer networks. In fact, I think all ISPs should at least impose a set limit for uploads which is really where you can help solve E-piracy.

Read my previous post on this thread if you're not quite following this.

Nota: If you're not happy with this, please don't send me an email (like some of you did). I'm not a complaint department. You can contact your ISP, the CRTC, or your member of parliament.
May 6, 2008 3:54:15 PM

And that bandwidth limit forces small businesses and hobby hosts to pay primo prices for their corporate class lines.

Anyone wanting to host their own webcomic for example, if that comic got any notable popularity at all, would quickly hit those limits.

Also anyone who starts a small business out of their home would run into problems hosting their company website off of any home internet connection.

Then there are companies who use bit torrent as a legitimate distribution method. Just look at WoW for example. Their patches are distributed in a bit torrent system and that would quickly eat away at that person's bandwidth limits, not to mention the game itself.

No, I don't think limiting bandwidth is the answer. It is a convenient excuse for the ISPs to not have to update their infrastructure for increasing demand. The best solution is, and will continue to be, to make purchasing the product more attractive than pirating it. Serial code registration being required to obtain patches and patches that include content updates are the best answer I have seen so far for that.
May 6, 2008 4:07:29 PM

infornography42 said:
And that bandwidth limit forces small businesses and hobby hosts to pay primo prices for their corporate class lines.

Anyone wanting to host their own webcomic for example, if that comic got any notable popularity at all, would quickly hit those limits.

Also anyone who starts a small business out of their home would run into problems hosting their company website off of any home internet connection.

Then there are companies who use bit torrent as a legitimate distribution method. Just look at WoW for example. Their patches are distributed in a bit torrent system and that would quickly eat away at that person's bandwidth limits, not to mention the game itself.

No, I don't think limiting bandwidth is the answer. It is a convenient excuse for the ISPs to not have to update their infrastructure for increasing demand. The best solution is, and will continue to be, to make purchasing the product more attractive than pirating it. Serial code registration being required to obtain patches and patches that include content updates are the best answer I have seen so far for that.


The bandwidth limit applies to residential accounts. These ISP obviously offer commercial accounts with more flexibility on webhostings and the like.

May 6, 2008 4:18:49 PM

Alex The PC Gamer said:
The bandwidth limit applies to residential accounts. These ISP obviously offer commercial accounts with more flexibility on webhostings and the like.


Obviously. And they charge an arm and a leg for it I am sure.

Generally the cheapest business class lines you can get in the states run a minimum of $150 a month and that is for far less bandwidth than can easily be had for $45 a month in residential class connections. For someone just starting a small business or hosting a webcomic that generates little to no profit, that is a LOT OF MONEY for a bunch of services and such that they don't need. A residential class DSL connection would probably be sufficient in most cases.

These limits just serve as a way of forcing those people into paying more for their service.
May 6, 2008 4:23:17 PM

@ Cafuddled, I appreciate the honesty, even though I disagree with your opinion that your pirating isn't hurting anyone. Crytek would also respectfully disagree with you. Check this out:

http://www.pcplay.hr/modules.php?r=23

Again, this goes back to my point that even good games get ripped off. And if you get used to paying nothing for something, you're still going to do it even when you have money. I know Caffudled's experience is only one anectdotal example, but I have the urge to write "I rest my case." Which I just did.
May 6, 2008 4:35:58 PM

infornography42 said:
Serial code registration being required to obtain patches and patches that include content updates are the best answer I have seen so far for that.
Yeah that one does work, just means magazines are not going to be able to put patches on there discs and that 3rd party hosts are not able to offer patches… But I guess that would not be the end of the world.

It’s just an extension from not being able to play pirated games online, that’s something that works very well. I mean that’s one of the reasons I went out and paid for Crysis.
May 6, 2008 5:42:41 PM

robwright said:
@ Cafuddled, I appreciate the honesty, even though I disagree with your opinion that your pirating isn't hurting anyone. Crytek would also respectfully disagree with you. Check this out:

http://www.pcplay.hr/modules.php?r=23

Again, this goes back to my point that even good games get ripped off. And if you get used to paying nothing for something, you're still going to do it even when you have money. I know Caffudled's experience is only one anectdotal example, but I have the urge to write "I rest my case." Which I just did.



Debating this stuff is as always, difficult due to the complete lack of concrete numbers to work with, however I have plenty of anecdotal evidence of my own to support that a beefy percentage of ex pirates will purchase all, or nearly all of their software once they have good jobs.

Perhaps a good move would be for the software publishers, instead of paying for DRM, would be to pay for ads and articles in gaming mags and such that bring awareness of the piracy problem. Perhaps a lot of pirates just never really thought about the fact that their piracy is pushing developers to publish on consoles instead of PCs. Make it a matter of personal interest without just coming out and saying all pirates are evil self serving soandsos who are destroying the industry. Be more informative than combatant and maybe we will see some change.

I do honestly believe however, that DRM is driving piracy every bit as much, if not more than piracy is driving DRM. It is a self destructive cycle that needs to end and quite frankly, only the publishers and developers have the power to end it.
May 6, 2008 6:01:34 PM

@infornogra phy42: You're in Texas. This doesn't apply to you...yet.

Commercial Accounts for small companies are about 80-100$ in Canada. Obviously, there are other types of webhosting services at higher fees but a start-up business wouldn't require such a service.
May 6, 2008 6:55:28 PM

I just think it's a sad day when a respected developer who made a game that epitomizing PC gaming comes out publicly and in no uncertain terms declares that PC gaming piracy is so bad it's destroying the platform and thus leading the developer to abandon PC game exclusives. And yes, I will take Yerli and Crytek at their word that piracy had a huge effect on Crysis. Quite frankly, I'm much more inclined to believe the developers and publishers than the people online who are breaking the law. But hey, that's just me.

Sure, I'd love to see research and actual numbers from Crytek that support its assertion about piracy. But let's be honest here: even if they did have numbers, a large number of folks are still going to engage in widespread denial and call Yerli and Crytek a bunch of liars that are blaming PC piracy for their woes.

Info, you make a good point about DRM. I actually think stuff like SecuROM and BioShock are creating a new generation of people who will download rather than buy. But here's the issue: if you ditch DRM completely, then you've left yourself defenseless and will lose a significant portion of your revenue to pirates. If you stick with DRM, then you likely will piss off your audience and even cause them to start pirating. So what do you do? Well, I guess you do what Crytek did and say "Hello Consoles!" I mean, does anyone think that Crytek is wrong here? Do we really blame them for ceasing to be a PC-only developer?
May 7, 2008 12:32:11 AM

robwright said:
:D 


Quote:
Hold on now Rob, is your objection to piracy really about "hurting" the game companies?
Plus, I should point out that your analogy is flawed. Welfare checks and food stamps cost taxpayers money, the only cost associated with my example would be the pennies worth of bandwidth.


As others have pointed out, I was joking about the foodstamps bit. But yes, my objection is that piracy hurts the game companies. And I don't put much stock into argument that most pirates would never pay for the games anyway so the devs/pubs aren't losing any money. Pirates say they would never pay for these games because they DON'T have to pay for them -- they've found a very convenient way to get around that and have therefore convinced themselves that they're not really stealing. Plus, people can always convince themselves that a particular game isn't worth their money -- they'll play through 60 hours of Mass Effect and then turn around and say, oh that sucked. Really? Well...why did you play it for 60 freakin' hours? Isn't that worth something? And furthermore, should piracy only be allowed for cheap people who claim they'd never pay for game anyway? What about people with money who would pay for GTA 4?

Quote:

- Copyright infringement != Stealing
- A digital copy of a game costs the developers nothing and if the user of the copy had never intended to buy the game from the developer, it deprives the developer of no more money than if the digital copy didn't exist.
- Most games are pretty crappy
- You can't return PC games in almost all circumstances
- People don't like to get burned by companies that release said **** games.
- Some people just prefer to not to pay $50 for 5 hours worth of entertainment


- Piracy = stealing
- Many pirates convince themselves that all games suck and aren't worth the money even though they pirate tons of games and play them for hours.
- Many games are crappy, but even great games get pirated (hellow Call of Duty 4)
- Some people like to try "demos" before they buy a PC game, or perhaps rent a console game. Or -- and this is totally radical thought -- wait 6-12 months for a price drop and pickup up for $20.
- Some developers/pubs don't like to get burned by watching half their audience steal their work, hence they go with DRM and copy protection measures.
- Some people who think that games are crappy and over-priced simply decide NOT TO PLAY THE FREAKIN' GAMES if they're so bad and such a waste of time.



how can you tell if the game sucks if you don't play it first?

(reviews ?, FEAR expansion got crappy reviews by most places but i really enjoyed the game, it was extremely good)

GTA SA got great reviews but to me the game sucked because it got boring fast


some game demos make crappy games look good,

like penumbra black plague, the demo was cool but the actual game was one of the worst games i ever played



console games are pirated hundreds of times more than pc games are, the reason why they make so much from console games are that everyone who has the console can run the game.

with a pc game, at most probably 2% of the pc owners can actually run the game so theres a much smaller group of potential sales

and if you look at some torrent sites you will see that a pc game will have like 10 thousand torrent downloads but only around 500 target file downloads, most torrent downloads never get completed. and most pirates are people who have no interest in playing the game. it is like those people who pirated crysis so they could try running it on a 400MHz pc with a good/ok agp card
May 7, 2008 6:49:50 AM

Am I the only one who doesn't really care if games are multi-platform? I'd like to see games be on both PC and consoles, so long as the PC version doesn't get the short end of the stick, a la R6 Vegas (which ran like crap on a PC) or Resident Evil 4 (self-explanatory). I'm a big fan of everybody being able to play every game; I just choose the PC as my platform because I like the controls and games, when optimized well like COD4, look much better and run more smoothly and at higher resolutions. Sure, it's cool that Crysis was a PC-exclusive and I can wave my finger in console players' faces, but aside from the graphics looking amazing when set on "very high" (regardless of it being a slide show at those settings), there's nothing innovative or truly exciting about the game. Sure, the nanosuit is cool and the action is good...but there's nothing groundbreaking about the game. I like it, and it is very well-made, but it's overrated in the gaming community in my opinion. I just hate seeing games go to ONLY console, meaning I can't play them on my PC...like Halo 3 (which wouldn't be so gay if one could play it online via mouse and keyboard without the awful auto-aim), MGS 4, and so forth.

I'm getting off-topic so I'll throw in my two cents on the direction the piracy discussion is going - people would be dumb to think that piracy does not have at least a little negative effect on gaming companies. However, I also think people would be dumb to believe that game developers don't exaggerate its effects; it's all too easy to blame companies' lack of sales on piracy. Having this mindset of putting the blame on external things keeps companies from fixing the problems they have internally. To try to better illustrate what I just said, I think of it as an analogy; Crysis is to a game like Starcraft 2, as the PS3 is to the Nintendo Wii. Crysis has the best graphics out there bar none, and Crytek should be proud of their engine...but the system requirements printed on the back of the package scare people more than the Loch Ness Monster. Starcraft is marketed towards people will all types of computers, because Blizzard wants people who aren't Bill Gates to be able to enjoy their game fully. Similarly, the PS3 is graphically superior to the Wii, but it costs an arm, a leg, and a nasal passage more - and the Wii is geared toward "group fun." I think Yerli might be exaggerating these piracy assumptions; I don't believe for a second that Crysis would sell much better without any piracy at all, simply because it is designed for a much smaller target market than a Blizzard game.

On a final note - RobWright, what kind of education do you have? I'm intrigued that you correctly use words like "anecdotal" and "implore" in a forum where most people don't even bother to punctuate or capitalize their comments properly.
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