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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General Non-RPG » Piracy part 2 - Spotify and other possible solutions

Default Piracy part 2 - Spotify and other possible solutions

March 6th, 2010, 11:24
Before starting, this thread is meant to tackle piracy from another angle than the other thread (which has turned into a discussion on wether piracy acually hurts the industry or not). This thread is meant to focus more on how we can improve on the current situation, so I figured it warranted a thread on it's own. Especially since I've been meant to start it for quite a while.

Though if you disagree, feel free to merge it with the other thread.

Anyway, to start out the actual thread, Spotify is a program that (given that you have an account) lets you listen to music for free. You can listen to any track or artist you'd like to listen to (provided that the artist is avaliable - there is almost no Beatles up, for instance), you can make your own play lists, there's almost no delay. Spotify have made a deal with the record companies so the service is perfectly legal. The artists gets payed when you listen to their tracks, and it's payed for by commercials or premium accounts.

A while ago a guy who I was working with in a class said that there is no point pirating music anymore - with Spotify you can already get all of it for free. And you can get it in a way that supports the artists (even if it isn't as much as a bought record), which must be seen as an improvement over pure piracy.

This got me thinking: would it be possible to do something similiar for games? Would it be desirable?

Possible? Probably. I'd figure some steam-like program where developers add functionality into the loading screens so that they can also show comercials (with some commercials promoting the ethicality of paying for the full game even though you can get it for free). If this increases the load time - nothing but more incentive to actually buy the game. You could also add them poster slots in the game that are updated from time to time with real commercials (which would go away if you bought the game as well).

Would it be desirable? That's more tricky. I think it would, because we could get pepole who would otherwise never contribue financially to the gaming industry to acually contribue a little. If they did this the whole excuse for pirating would go away. What I can see as a problem is that pepole might feel it to be "enough" to merely use this service, even though it would be better to buy the whole thing.

Any thoughts?

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March 6th, 2010, 12:10
An interesting thought.

Assumed that there once was something like that "Spotify" (never heard of it, I still buy music CDs, guess I'm too concservative for that ) for the games market, then there would be one thing I'd wonder upon :

How would "Games-Spotify" get the costs balanced ?

The only method I could think of right now would be some kind of procuration fee. ( I just don't have the right word for that in my memory. )

Another problem would arise out of the fct that the whole publishing inustry would feel itself being run over. They would feel like some kind of neglected, and they would fight to get their share of the money as well.

Because ANY direct connection dev -> customer would define the whole publishing industry as unneccessary, and I'm almost too sure that there are big fat heads in there who just coulödn't stand the idea of giving up might and power and money.

They would even try to declade this directly selling dev -> customer as illegal, as long as it would hlp them to still receive their money.

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March 8th, 2010, 00:18
It sounds like a system where games are free, but with commercials in load screens. And people can pay to get the commercials removed? If its offline people will still come up with cracks to eliminate loading screen commercials and what not

I think the easiest response would be for companies to add online content. Make people play on their servers to enjoy the game, where they can make sure its legal copies playing.
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March 8th, 2010, 08:56
Spotify is not going to work out. It is a great program though and I always use it.

But the artist earns close to nothing. There was a swedish artist who earned $0.1 from it for example, so he wanted all his music removed. So to make long version short. No not going to work for games, you cannot spend $20 million to make a game and earn $5…..
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March 8th, 2010, 11:50
My first internet connection was a free service that came with an advertisement displaying bar at the bottom , two weeks later a program that killed the bar and maintained the connection was out

I don't know about music , everyone can convert youtube like site video clips into high quality mp3 or mp4 so why buying ?
On games , if you can pirate the whole thing why getting into the hassle of connecting into an account and watch silly ads ?

This doesn't answer why not to pirate a game .
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March 8th, 2010, 11:51
Originally Posted by Center View Post
It sounds like a system where games are free, but with commercials in load screens. And people can pay to get the commercials removed? If its offline people will still come up with cracks to eliminate loading screen commercials and what not
Because of that it wouldn't be fully offline. There would probably be some kind of "log in online" thing where you have to be logged in (and where you don't get logged off the instance you lose your internet). Pepole would put up with this since it's a free service, I think. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" and all that.

Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Spotify is not going to work out. It is a great program though and I always use it.

But the artist earns close to nothing. There was a swedish artist who earned $0.1 from it for example, so he wanted all his music removed. So to make long version short. No not going to work for games, you cannot spend $20 million to make a game and earn $5…..
Spotify won't work as the main income for artists, but it's not supposed to be that. Pepole need to buy music, Spotify or no Spotify. The idea is to complement the buying with something that still contributes to the artists.

The same is my idea for GameSpotify, it's not something that's supposed to replace buying games, it's something that's going to get pirates, who currently pay nothing, to instead pay $5.

The risk is that while it might be possible to get pirates to do this (because I suspect that they could put up with a slightly more complicated route if they know said route is legal) it would risk that more pepole stop buying games and make due with this system so the overall revenue goes down anyway. That would definently be bad, because (like I said) this isn't supposed to replace buying games, it's supposed to complement it.

Basically, it's biggest flaw is that it's counting on pepole doing the right thing… That's why I put forward the idea of promoting the buying of games with commercials though. If we, through this medium, educate pepole why companies need you to buy their games then it might work.

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March 8th, 2010, 22:19
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
Because of that it wouldn't be fully offline. There would probably be some kind of "log in online" thing where you have to be logged in (and where you don't get logged off the instance you lose your internet). Pepole would put up with this since it's a free service, I think. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" and all that.
Ive seen all sorts of patches and cracks to deal with smaller issues people find annoying, I doubt it would take more than a few days for someone to come up with a way to tell the game its connected to the net when it really isnt and dodge the commercials

Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
The risk is that while it might be possible to get pirates to do this (because I suspect that they could put up with a slightly more complicated route if they know said route is legal) it would risk that more pepole stop buying games and make due with this system so the overall revenue goes down anyway. That would definently be bad, because (like I said) this isn't supposed to replace buying games, it's supposed to complement it.
This would essentially legitimize piracy, and if you work off the assumption that piracy hurts the industry, this is going to be bad long term, they would lose the ability to punish people for pirating
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
Basically, it's biggest flaw is that it's counting on pepole doing the right thing… That's why I put forward the idea of promoting the buying of games with commercials though. If we, through this medium, educate pepole why companies need you to buy their games then it might work.

Übereil
Thats the same problem they have right now :-)
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March 11th, 2010, 04:42
The same is my idea for GameSpotify, it's not something that's supposed to replace buying games, it's something that's going to get pirates, who currently pay nothing, to instead pay $5.
Sorry, but it won't work. The only way you get them to pay for a game *at all* is to force them. That's why every publisher and his uncle want to make MMO games. Pirating them is pointless, the money is made off the account fees!

How about this model…. you never get the game. Instead, your game gets put on beefy Windows servers with huge network capacity. You connect to the server and play your game on their computer. You pay about $15/month plus, oh, maybe $35 per game. You never need to by another video card. Welcome to OnLive.

In order to crack a game you have to have the game. If a publisher decides to release their game exclusively on services like OnLive, that game never gets into public hands. Even if an insider leaks the code, the list of suspects will be mighty small and the lawsuit would put leave that person in the poor house for life. So now there is no crack, no pirates, and no way to play the game except by paying for it.

Will this happen? I don't know. The publishers are certainly going to be interested in getting it to work, though. Cutting the pirates out of the equation is worth billions to them.
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March 12th, 2010, 09:29
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
Will this happen? I don't know. The publishers are certainly going to be interested in getting it to work, though. Cutting the pirates out of the equation is worth billions to them.
I'd very much like to know if it really is or if they just think so.

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March 12th, 2010, 10:32
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
I'd very much like to know if it really is or if they just think so.

Übereil
Of course it is. Zloth's suggestion was not about reducing piracy but totally eliminating it. A large group of the "I pirate whatever is available for free" pirates will find another area to focus on but a sizable portion of game pirates today are actually gamers like you and I who mainly pirate because then they don't have to pay for their games. Take away the possibility to pirate and they WILL start buying games (though likely not ass many as they used to pirate).

Even if only a small fraction of the pirates start buying games it will still lead to sizable increase in sold units and added together to cover all games by publishers like EA or UbiSoft there is no doubt that the final tally will be a HUGE number.

"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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March 12th, 2010, 17:32
Which imples that they just want more ,oney. The publishers, I mean.

I wonder how much the fraction of that is that goes irectly to the developers ?

In the case of games developed by EA themselves, there would be just regular wages, nothing more.

The thing is : The higher the proits, the bigger the revenue to shareholders.
And to the top postions as well.

The earnings of top positions are often losely bound to the amount of profit - plus, the members of these top positions often buy shares of the same company.
So, their incomes are douled :

1. from the wages of the company
2. from the shareholder revenues

So, managers and others at top positions might try to "twist" a company so that they will get the most of the money with the least amount of costs.

Which on the other hand implies that THEIR amount of greed must be quite high.

In some cases, managers even destroy companies by wrong decisions only to profit from the sales of the wreckage of the company, because the are connected with companies that buy these wreckage rests. A recent example of this is apparingly the German "Karstadt" chain of department stores.

“ 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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March 12th, 2010, 23:28
Originally Posted by Ubereil View Post
I'd very much like to know if it really is or if they just think so.

Übereil

didnt you start this thread to get away from talking about this?

Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
Of course it is. Zloth's suggestion was not about reducing piracy but totally eliminating it. A large group of the "I pirate whatever is available for free" pirates will find another area to focus on but a sizable portion of game pirates today are actually gamers like you and I who mainly pirate because then they don't have to pay for their games. Take away the possibility to pirate and they WILL start buying games (though likely not ass many as they used to pirate).

Even if only a small fraction of the pirates start buying games it will still lead to sizable increase in sold units and added together to cover all games by publishers like EA or UbiSoft there is no doubt that the final tally will be a HUGE number.
So as to avoid getting this thread off track, I wont post a response here, but if you're interested in further discussing it, please post it in the other piracy thread and I will strive to explain the flaws
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Default Piracy part 2 - Spotify and other possible sollutions

March 13th, 2010, 09:40
Another idea to fight piracy (or at least make more money) prehaps?

(And I don't know how to change the title of the whole thread - maybe a mod can help out?)

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March 13th, 2010, 17:32
Edit : Please be careful while reading this reply: I have been drinking far too much coffee on an empty stomach … Too much coffee on an empty stomach makes me kind of aggressive …





Quoted from the link from above :

The basic theory is the more you sell, even with a lesser profit for each game, you’ll end up making more money.
Of course this is so !


There are in fact TWO ways of gaining money :

- sell in small quantities with high prices (Rolls Royce)
- sell in high quantities with low prices (a can of worms)

In principle, both will generate exactly the same revenue.

There is only one "obstacle" in the first way : There are actually fewer people able to py these prices.

Lemme explain this with an example :

A Rolls car is a high-class luxury item, generating a really LOT of money. Of profits. Of revenue.

BUT - there only a SMALL percentage of customers available, wo are also VERY selective with giving out their millions or even billions.

In some cases, their amount of greed is so high that they even PREFER to let their money "work" - through banksters, err, bankers - than to spend it for high-class luxury items.

This is why I call money of what I call "top positions" (managers and the like, top earning people, so to say) as "dead money". It doesn't go into a country's internal market. It is "drained" by high-class luxury items. And by speculators in banks.

This money doesn't help anyone - only a very, very, very, very, very small fragment of the overall population: Those peopl who actually WORK FOR these luxury-item manufacturing companies. And they are never a lot.

So, coming back to the ways of generating money, most managers rather tend to use the second way : A small number of items with very high prices. It always has been so.

Only in the last very few years a completely different model has reached the financial world: The so-called "micro-credits". This model shows that with a lot of items for very small prices there is actually a WAY to generate money - and profits.

Asian MMOs work this way. Through selling items.

I have witnessed a speech at the last Games Convention in Cologne. About that. I was astonished by the HUGE amount of money that is ACTUALLY generated by this business model !

But there are still groups who cannot let "the other way" (read: small items with high prices) go.

The record industry, for example. Or everything dealing ith copyrighted mterial anyway.

Just take a look at how many weapons the record industry has been bringing to bear down on the casual user by - for example - cndemning and accusing of stealing their - THEIR ! - as if the copyrighted material didn't belong to the original artists anymore ! - material.
The record industry was very, very, very … "inventive" with developing ways of finding a new culprit, suspect, "wrong-doer" (as my dictionary says) - in hort: a group of people they can accuse with damaging their sales. Meanwhile their prices ALWAYS went up, never down, within the last 20 years. ALWAYS.

And they just decided to be blind towards the possible reasons why people might not buy their copyrighted material FOR HIGH PRICES. Instead, they jut decided that everyone MUST buy the prices they DICTATE. Which in result means that they decided that THE PUBLIC was the wrong-does, not they themselves. They, who DEMAND that everyone pays their ever-increasing prices, meanwhile declaring everyone as an enemy who simply doesn't want to.

So, these groups are imho too conservative to realize that one is actually able to generare revenues with smll prices.

And some inhabitants of these groups are so conservative they will fight this "new belief" to their end, cynically put.

“ 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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March 13th, 2010, 19:33
I almost posted this as a newsbit, but since you guys are having this discussion already here, apparently Ubisoft's new draconian must-be-online-to-play DRM has already run into problems:
http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/53…c-Over-Weekend
Saddest part is this link they give to slashdot
DRM Cracked in One Day

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March 13th, 2010, 20:48
Serves them right. I have no sympathy for developers and publishers that resort to similar methods in their fight agaist piracy.

If I were in developer shoes I'd try to make my paying customers feel that they are kings not thieves. I'd offer extra content to registered customers, give them discount for the possible sequel/dlc content if they bought my game at full price. Above all I'd patch my games properly. I'd promote modding scene in the official game site etc.

The fact is that you cannot kill piracy. You'll have to accept that its part of the business risk. I'm willing to accept basic copy protection softwares that require keeping the disc in drive while playing, I'm happy to register my game online once, I don't my typing cd-keys. However I will never accept that I need to be online constantly when playing a singleplayer game. I don't accept intruisive copy protection programs which can mess up my whole system and cause conflicts with third party software.
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March 15th, 2010, 06:58
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Saddest part is this link they give to slashdot
DRM Cracked in One Day
I think this is hilarious not sad.

Did you read the comments in here ?
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March 17th, 2010, 23:28
I don't think Music and Video games can be put in parallel nowadays. There's already an attempt of game Spotifying made by WildTangent, during a short time they had games you could play for a free session if you accept get a publicity before the launch of the game. The system disappeared rather quickly after its release, I didn't saw any comment about this, and didn't check if it came back or not.

For sure WildTangent games aren't the best model to compare with some hypothetical system from stuff like EA.

Alrik suggestion seems interesting, but then games will have no interest for me, they'll all be targeted for multiplay, no mod tools, gameplay based on collecting stuff and more worse stuff MMO can generate.
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March 17th, 2010, 23:59
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
There are in fact TWO ways of gaining money :

- sell in small quantities with high prices (Rolls Royce)
- sell in high quantities with low prices (a can of worms)
Yeah, this is great on paper but is infinitely more complex in reality.

Some points to consider. High volume means increased costs. For physical products (and you won't buy online, remember) that means more people to manufacture the product, more packaging, more distribution logistics, more transport, more work for retailers opening more boxes and refilling more shelves.

Without doubt, this can work for many products but it isn't a universal panacea. For many products, there is optimal point at which demand and price are both maximised. You may not shift as many units as a lower price but you maintain better margins and lower costs.

Coming back to this discussion, free will always trump cheap and even free-with-ads. Why buy a game for $10 if I can pirate it for free? Why put up with ads when I can get it without ads for free?

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March 18th, 2010, 09:51
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Coming back to this discussion, free will always trump cheap and even free-with-ads. Why buy a game for $10 if I can pirate it for free? Why put up with ads when I can get it without ads for free?
It's sad that you even have to ask.

If most pepole would do it is questionable. But I've gotten the impression that at least most pepole in this forum buys their games even though they could very well pirate them without risking any negative consequences.

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