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Default A Novel Take on Piracy

June 5th, 2008, 13:13
While it might be true BN, how long does it take for the information that a certain game might be flawed due to its DRM to spread on various sites and message boards to spread? Couple of days at the most!
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June 5th, 2008, 14:18
DRM gets a lot of bad press even prior to release, tho', whether it breaks the game or not.
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June 5th, 2008, 16:09
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
In a way that's done here in Oz. The ISP's monitor both downloads and uploads and you are only allowed so much COMBINED for your monthly fee. Let's say $60 gets you 12 GB. That's your combined limit before they cut your speed to dial-up or below!!
*nods* We have similar for cheaper accounts, but I'm suggesting a mandatory charge per gb for uploading only - it needn't be too expensive so that the average user doesn't even notice it, but it'd hit people who upload a LOT of content without getting any funding for it (ie commercial and free projects with funding should still be fine) the aim would be to hit people pirating more than others - even if pirate sites started demanding a small charge for downloading I think it'd have a beneficial effect over all, if like me you believe a significant factor in piracy is sheer ease of getting hold of it.

Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
DRM gets a lot of bad press even prior to release, tho', whether it breaks the game or not.
Who gives it the bad press though? On message boards that I have anything to do with there's usually a correlation between the most ardent DRM haters and those who have admitted pirating software at some point. Of course, there are legitimate users who have problems with it as well, but they don't tend to make so much noise unless it's actually affecting them post release. Even post-release the majority of complaints come from people who haven't bought the game and who somehow think they have a right to moan about the problems they have running an illegitimate copy
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June 5th, 2008, 17:11
A few days ago I had a rather weird thought:

What if a game is SO MUCH specialized that it is dorected towards an extremely small group of lovers of this very specialized genre who are willing to buy it just out of some sort of pride that a game "for them" was made at all ?

I don't know whether I could make clear what I meant.
It's basically that very, very specialized groups (of lovers of a very special gaming genre) might perhaps live some sort of pride for their games so that they'll definitively BUY it, not pirate it, just because the developer is or might be the ONLY one supporting it …

Pirating is imho done by the masses. I mean by people with the taste of masses. I don't uite think that pirates would put so much effort into cracking a game that's so extremely specialized that let's say only 100 gamers would play it. As an example.

So, in this weird concept / thought I had, a game would sell the more, the rather it is specialized.

Because pirates wouldn't be interested in it, in this thought-concept.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 5th, 2008, 17:41
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Who gives it the bad press though? On message boards that I have anything to do with there's usually a correlation between the most ardent DRM haters and those who have admitted pirating software at some point. Of course, there are legitimate users who have problems with it as well, but they don't tend to make so much noise unless it's actually affecting them post release. Even post-release the majority of complaints come from people who haven't bought the game and who somehow think they have a right to moan about the problems they have running an illegitimate copy
I think that's unfair stereotyping you're doing there, I doubt Shamus is a pirate, but even so: it doesn't matter who gives it bad press. Bad word of mouth is bad word of mouth.

Originally Posted by alrik
What if a game is SO MUCH specialized that it is dorected towards an extremely small group of lovers of this very specialized genre who are willing to buy it just out of some sort of pride that a game "for them" was made at all ?
That's part of the success of indies and the likes of Stardock - an attractiveness as a company/design philosophy on top of just offering a product.

At least I think that's what you mean
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June 5th, 2008, 17:58
I think Stardock put it rather intelligently — they look for the biggest market of paying players, and simply ignore pirates. IOW, they don't make games for oversexed teenagers with very little pocket money and a fuck-you attitude to society, but to intelligent, thoughtful, and responsible adults who work day jobs. Sounds like a pretty good strategy to me (and makes the Crysis guys sound like whiners).
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June 5th, 2008, 20:49
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
It's interesting that you chose to complain about stardock though. Unlike that X-Box game you bought, stardock will allow you to re-download it as much as you want and even send you the serial information if you lost it. You're perfectly capable of selling the game used- you just have to configure the account for the new user.
1. It's interesting that you think I'm complaining about Stardock, when in fact I'm just relating that indie copy protection schemes can be as much of a hassle, even for a relatively savy PC user, as the maligned big company DRM devices that are the subject of this whole teacup tsunami. I'm happy to put up with some hassle to play a Stardock game, and I'm happy to put up with some hassle to play any good game. It's not that big a deal, just like I don't complain about airlines making me go through metal detectors DESPITE the fact that I paid for my ticket. The nerve.

2. Here's what Stardock has to say in response to your take on their used game policy. My copy was new, so it's not my problem, but here's a heads up anyway:

A few people have been running into problems where they've purchased a used copy of GalCiv II, or one off eBay, and they're told that their serial number's already been used. It is against Stardock's license terms to sell used copies of the game, and as such, they will not be supported.
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June 5th, 2008, 21:30
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I think Stardock put it rather intelligently — they look for the biggest market of paying players, and simply ignore pirates. IOW, they don't make games for oversexed teenagers with very little pocket money and a fuck-you attitude to society, but to intelligent, thoughtful, and responsible adults who work day jobs. Sounds like a pretty good strategy to me (and makes the Crysis guys sound like whiners).
There's no doubting the wisdom of this but there are, of course, complications.

1. Most publishers aren't interested in making niche games - the potential returns are too small to interest them. This forces devs off the PC.

2. Are we happy to cede entire genres to the pirates as no-go zones? I'm not much into shooters but I quite like the occasional story-driven action game. It's not a healthy market if entire genres are excluded purely (or largely) because of pirates.

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June 5th, 2008, 22:45
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
I think that's unfair stereotyping you're doing there, I doubt Shamus is a pirate, but even so: it doesn't matter who gives it bad press. Bad word of mouth is bad word of mouth.
Sorry, I really mean forums where I have some kind of administrative role. I wasn't saying everyone who complains about DRM pre-release was a pirate, just that there's a much stronger correlation between the complainers and pirates than between complainers and non-pirates. I'm not sure how visible that data is to the general public because most of the forums actively remove anything associated with illegal activities. The number of people who come and complain on even the publishers forums about the game they've just pirated is quite amazing too

But yeah, any bad word of mouth is bad, especially in an internet era where it takes only a few seeds to build up momentum. I know of people who are quite deliberate in the seeding of bad words simply because they weren't able to easily pirate a game, or even because they've been banned from a forum for their activities - you can control it on your own boards but it's frustrating when they take it to others.
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June 7th, 2008, 10:53
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
just that there's a much stronger correlation between the complainers and pirates than between complainers and non-pirates.
Politely put this way I think it is right.

I'm no pirate at all; I don't even need to, I see no sense in it, consiodering the low prices of games I find in "budget zones" and in second-hand shops and flea markets.

I don't need to pirate, because the prices of budget versions are fairly low. All I need is patience.

But what bugs me is that I must alkways have a CD in the drive while playing. Or a DVD. Which means that I would have to have 10+ drives in my PC considering the amount of games I have currently installed.

But I can only play one at a time, because I have only ONE CD-ROM drive and since the beginning of this month ONE DVD drive.

So, I feel kind of limited.

But I think I'll take the code-wheel out of my Ankh box and play it without the CD, then. Plus, NWN1 with the latest patch doesn't need the CD either.

*sigh* Those where the times when I couzld play Commander Keen freely … I still have it installed … But even then, pirating was an issue …

I sttill have a disquette of an Blues Brothers Jump & Run game somewhere which also had a copy protection. You couldn't play the game without the disj in the drive.

Some things never change.


Oh, and I just had an inspiration: Maybe DRM is a bit like the key you need in order to drive your car ?

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 7th, 2008, 11:28
Just fopr the record: I don't know how it is elsewhere, but here in Germany PC gaming magazines almost every month have an older PC game on their magazine-disk.

This is also a very cheap way to get games here.

So, I don't see any need to pirate games at all - from the price point.
All needed is patience.

(Which could on the other hand mean that pirates have a notorious lack of patience.)

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 7th, 2008, 13:08
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
But what bugs me is that I must alkways have a CD in the drive while playing. Or a DVD. Which means that I would have to have 10+ drives in my PC considering the amount of games I have currently installed.

But I can only play one at a time, because I have only ONE CD-ROM drive and since the beginning of this month ONE DVD drive.

So, I feel kind of limited.
So are you happy now that you can just buy a digital version of a game and not need the CD in the drive anymore? It seems to me we're in quite a good position now because we can get the digital version if we don't want to worry about keeping CDs in the drive/loosing media etc, or if we don't have an internet connection we can go with the CD version.
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June 7th, 2008, 13:35
Well, the point is - yes, digital versions of games allow the player to play a game without the need for a CD or a DVd in any drive …

… On the other hand I have the problem that a digital version of a game is far two insecure for me, in two points :

- If the harddisk crashes, then the game is gone. Am I allowed to make a copy of it ? Most certainly not.

In general, I fear that downloaded games are more easily lost than non-downloaded versions. I prefer something physical - disks.

- I don't buy online, because I don't use credit cards or other online payment methods. Too insecure for my taste.

You might call this paranoia, I don't care. Maybe I've read too many security reports in the last years.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 7th, 2008, 18:14
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Well, the point is - yes, digital versions of games allow the player to play a game without the need for a CD or a DVd in any drive …

… On the other hand I have the problem that a digital version of a game is far two insecure for me, in two points :

- If the harddisk crashes, then the game is gone. Am I allowed to make a copy of it ? Most certainly not.

In general, I fear that downloaded games are more easily lost than non-downloaded versions. I prefer something physical - disks.

- I don't buy online, because I don't use credit cards or other online payment methods. Too insecure for my taste.

You might call this paranoia, I don't care. Maybe I've read too many security reports in the last years.
Well, if you purchase via Steam, the worst that could happen is that you would have to download your games again. Meaning, that your portfolio of games are registered at Steam to your Steam account so even if your hard drive dies, you still have access to your games once you have installed the steam client on your new disk and logged in to Steam.

I understand the need to have a physical item at hand when doing a purchase, but I'm a bit weird that way since I'm a collector.

However, if an alternative to a physical disk (and the hassle of needing the disk in the drive in order to start the game) is available to you yet you choose not to take advantage of said alternative then I think it a bit unfair to blame the publishers for whatever CP schemes they choose to put on the physical disks.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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June 7th, 2008, 22:45
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
… On the other hand I have the problem that a digital version of a game is far two insecure for me, in two points :

- If the harddisk crashes, then the game is gone. Am I allowed to make a copy of it ? Most certainly not.
I don't know of any digital download scheme that doesn't allow backups. Steam, Metaboli etc. all allow backups. Which is not usually the case for physical media versions.

In general, I fear that downloaded games are more easily lost than non-downloaded versions. I prefer something physical - disks.
I'm getting confused now You want something physical.. but you don't want to ever use that physical thing in your computer?

- I don't buy online, because I don't use credit cards or other online payment methods. Too insecure for my taste.

You might call this paranoia, I don't care. Maybe I've read too many security reports in the last years.
*shrugs* I'd urge you to petition your government representative to suggest some better protections for you then. Fraud does happen, but if your country has the right protections it won't cost you, the consumer, a penny.
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June 8th, 2008, 19:36
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
I'm getting confused now You want something physical.. but you don't want to ever use that physical thing in your computer?
Maybe your picture of how I think becomes a little bit clearer when you read this thread ? http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2602

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 9th, 2008, 12:23
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Maybe your picture of how I think becomes a little bit clearer when you read this thread ? http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2602
Nope (Unless it was the comment about having too much coffee )

While I'm a big fan of Ultima I don't really get how it applies to a discussion about physical game media as an optional means of copyright protection. As we said before, if you don't want to use physical media then you get the digital download version. If you have to have physical media (just to look at? I don't know) then buy both versions.

PS some of the statements about publishers in that thread make me very angry with their inaccuracy, but I guess that's their own fault for not employing people to spin out the correct information to 'passionate' gamers. Not that they can afford that, but hey.
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June 11th, 2008, 20:43
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Just fopr the record: I don't know how it is elsewhere, but here in Germany PC gaming magazines almost every month have an older PC game on their magazine-disk.

This is also a very cheap way to get games here.

So, I don't see any need to pirate games at all - from the price point.
All needed is patience.

(Which could on the other hand mean that pirates have a notorious lack of patience.)
Believe me, money DOES play a role. There is a lot of empirical evidence which proves that there is a direct correlation between income inequality and piracy rate. Of course you a right: people simply could wait, but then there are other aspects which influence people's behavior. What is quite interesting is that there are several studies that came to the conculsion that software piracy is a middle class crime.
I can recommend "Music Piracy and Crime Theory" by Sameer Hinduja. The book deals indepth with the reasons that motivate people in pirating stuff. There is a lot of psychology involved, things which you would not necessarily, especially not as someone who does not pirate.

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