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Default RPG News - Piracy & PC Viability

March 10th, 2007, 10:24
Yes, it's "end of the world" time again. A GDC panel on the PC's viability as a AAA gaming platform (featuring Chris Avellone) and another on Piracy have covered some common ground.
First, here's a snip from Extremetech's coverage:
Capps, who has worked on Unreal Tournament titles as well as Gears of War, was bleak: "PC Gaming is really falling apart. It killed us to make Unreal Tournament 3 cross-platform, but Epic had to do it to [recap its investment in the production costs]."
Part of the problem is piracy. Big titles get stolen by cyber thieves, and it hurts revenue. "The market," said Capps, "that would buy a $600 video card knows how Bittorrent works."
…and a bit from Next-Gen:
The effects of piracy are staggering, Hollenshead said during his GDC speech titled “The Videogame Piracy Problem: Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest.” In 2004, the industry’s economic loss from piracy was estimated at $3 billion—and Hollenshead said that figure does not include piracy that takes place on the Internet.
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March 10th, 2007, 10:24
I know this has been debated countless times over and over again, but this particular comment couldn't let me rest:

"The market," said Capps, "that would buy a $600 video card knows how Bittorrent works."
This is utter bull. If developers weren't so lazy and made their games compatible with old hardware AND produced quality games (unlike the crap that makes up about 95% of today's titles), then people would spend their money not on hi-tech but on quality titles. So, in a way, devs have brought this upon themselves, actually.

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March 10th, 2007, 10:56
Not really. The main reason people pirate, is economic. Sure some do it just because they can, but I think that number is small. The other reason could be 'delay'. Nothing annoys me more than having to wait several months after N/A release or even European release for something to be released here (if at all)!! I can afford to order overseas and pay the shipping, many can't.
The only things I BT are TV shows which won't be seen here for at least 6 months after airing elsewhere. That annoys me!! I don't support pirating, it damages the industry, but when you have to wait 3-6 months for a game to be released here after it's released elsewhere, and it costs $90-100, I can understand why some people do it!!!!

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March 10th, 2007, 12:42
It's as always, the industry says one thing, and does the other. On the one hand they are telling us that PC gaming is dead, and on the other hand they try to develop gaming consoles that have the functions of a PC. Do they really believe that there will be less piracy on gaming consoles that can access the internet and burn DVDs? I seriously doubt that.
I mean it is like Capps says - pc gamers seem to have better knowledge about software in general (guess a great deal of people do not use their pc just for gaming) - They know how torrents work, they know where to find the games on the internet, where to find the necessary cracked .exe file, and they have the knowledge to burn isos, etc. But consoles are on their way to actually become PCs. They are already using technology that is very similar to that of PCs. It is illusory to believe that future console gamers will only use the online capability of their consoles to patch their games (which will undoubtly become as crappy as PC games when it comes to bugs, etc. once patching on consoles will be a common thing).

When it comes to piracy the gaming industry is just not honest. I firmly believe that there is a pc gaming market. And I'm not only talking about WoW, Everquest, etc. I'm also talking about single player games. But look at the PC gaming sector - it's a mess.
Corwin mentioned one thing. Why isn't it possible to release a game worldwide at the same time? You would think that this can't be much of a problem nowadays. Look at how underdeveloped the digital download sector is. It's slowly getting better, but I still cannot get every game on the day of release via digital download - why is the gaming industry not working on it?
Look at the quality of games. There is a tremendous difference between console games and PC games when it comes to technical quality. Console games are fairly bug free (because hard to patch), PC games are often one big patch orgy. And, no, I do not mean bugs that are technology-based, I mean bugs, that are solely based on shoddy programming (like broken quests, etc.). But there are also technology-based problems. No doubt, programming for consoles is easier, since every player has the same type of console, so no big problems here. But consoles also limit the possibilities, which isn't a bad thing in itself, because programmers usually have work with a certain efficiency. You know, we have that kind of "men's club" going on every now and then. Just us men meet up at a friend, no girl friends or wives allowed. We watch a movie or something, and then we play a bit of playstation. I do not own a playstation 2 myself, but I'm always surprised what you can do on such an old console - despite of its age. Now, I don't want to judge the type of games that seems to be predominant on consoles, but the games are usually well programmed. On the PC on the other hand there seems to be an inclination to programm very inefficiently. Requirements for games are often so high that it makes no fun to play them on a somewhat older PC. Even though it should be obvious that great GFX alone make no great game. Instead of programming for an elite with superior PCs, game companies should concentrate more on the mass of players that have an average PC.

That's at least my 2 cents…

PS: I'm not an expert on the gaming industry, but these are at least my impressions
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March 10th, 2007, 14:55
When shitbox users starts to be able to pirate, this moneytrain will hit the dirt. Meaby then we can get some devs. that actually care about gaming quality and not just mainstreaming everything into nobrain kiddie mode. Screw "big" titles, they are pure junk anyway, im happy to support indie devs though, out of the 12 games i bought last year, the only ones really used are the "small" titles.
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March 10th, 2007, 15:19
I see the anti-piracy guys are still pulling numbers out of their backsides, that's all that 3 billion is. The industry doesn't even have a clue of how many units are pirated let alone how much lost revenue that equates to (lost revenue is significantly lower that the value of units pirated).

If I got to the pirate shop down the road more than 50% of the pirate games are for PS2 and XBOX even….

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March 10th, 2007, 17:52
I really should invest in a tin hat, what with the regularity with which I'm told the sky is falling.

I like how the industry continues to focus on piracy on the PC, because of its crazy internets. "Oh, can't bother with the PC because piracy! Lost revenue!".
Meanwhile, betting on a company's console that's sold at a huge loss, paying a big ol' licence to the company for the privilege of developing on it; plus the same prospect of pirated games anyway.
For example, isn't eBay a no-go for GameBoy Advance/DS games now, because there's a 90% chance you're buying a fake/pirated game from Hong Kong or somesuch?

I'm touched, really I am, that Capps thinks of we PC users as highly intelligent consumers who can seek out pirate stuff if we want. I think the reality though, is he's just doing his new console customers a disservice. Some of them are certainly smart enough to buy a console game for £5, on a blank DVD from a car boot sale. There won't be any download logs or statistics to prove it, and unless there's a copper watching in the bushes, no-one will ever know.

But no, the PC is pirate city. No-one has ever cracked a PS2 disc, nor will anyone crack the security of the mighty Blu-Ray/HD-DVD. Mmm, uh-huh.

And as Corwin said, this coming from an industry that still can't be bothered to serve its customers in a timely manner. Why the hell are we still waiting on proper global release dates? You don't serve your customers in good time, some of them are going to realise "hey, I could get this NOW, for nothing".

I'm not defending piracy of course. If I see a game that's worthy of my interest, then it's worthy of my hard-earned; but I can see practices from the industry that don't exactly help the problem or foster affection from the customer.
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March 10th, 2007, 18:52
I'd have to say the consolidation of major development companies has allowed the big boys to think a little too highly of themselves. Like the US automakers of the 80's, these developers will sell us what they want, when they want, in whatever condition they want. It's not too hard to see how well that attitude worked for the big 3. I wouldn't be surprised to see similar erosion in the gaming industry (particularly if consoles get buggy like several here have predicted). And that's all assuming the do-gooders in Washington don't come up with some hair-brained idea to protect us from ourselves in the name of national health.

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March 10th, 2007, 20:09
the arguments about global distribution are pure folly. a developer, who is the creative force and puts the most amount of time and passion into a game, has the least control over getting it to their audience, especially on a global scale. the publishers are the ones who have all of the control, etc. pirating a game because its 'easier' than waiting may take away profits from the publisher who didn't care about getting it to you timely but where do you think their 'business model' dictates they recoup the costs from—the developers. if developers held more power the market would be a different and far better place. digital distribution may become more evolved but i almost always want a hard copy which i usually pay less for anyhow than a digital version.

virtues are hold to uphold in a world with so many 'grander' problems so the justifications people use for stealing games, aren't really any different than other commercial markets, and why these actions can be understandable they to me still aren't acceptable.
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March 10th, 2007, 20:39
So PC Gaming is doomed…again. This time it's piracy, but the logic escapes me. It's a strange argument that uses popularity to account for the downfall of a product.

If the pc is such a dead platform, why would anyone want to steal games for it?

I guess the luxury car market is doomed, then, since that's all that car theives steal. Art, jewelry—forget that—and you better get rid of your identity, too, before someone steals it.

If -and it's the usual Very Big If—pc gaming is doomed, it's much more likely that the cause lies in the product rather than the supposed dishonesty of the consumer.

And I agree with bjon045. Those numbers remind me of the math tables used for the so-called 'street value" of drugs. As Mark Twain said, There's lies, damn lies, and then there's statistics."

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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March 10th, 2007, 21:47
One point they are not making out is that people that pirate games do this for 2 reasons mainly - not being able to buy the game in the first place (either for economical or distribution reasons) or do so in order to see the game before buying. So those estimated 3 billion in losses are not losses as there would not have occured in the first place.

What I don't agree is that piracy on consoles is non-existant - there are mod chips, isos of console games, etc. It's not as easy as PC piracy, but it exists. On the other hand, with all the "next gen" consoles and the Wii with their online connectivity, I expect that buggy releases to start hitting them very soon, if that has not happened already.
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March 10th, 2007, 22:36
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Nothing annoys me more than having to wait several months after N/A release or even European release for something to be released here (if at all)!!
Europeans have similar problems, don't worry.
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March 11th, 2007, 00:25
IMO, there would be a lot less software piracy if the companies producing it made better products. I honestly feel that software is the lowest-quality product sold in America today.

The software business has always been disingenuous. In the early days of mainframe computing, IBM had a firm policy not to reveal or discuss anything with its customers "further than six months out." Think about that. That was Big Blue, and those products cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those customers were being kept in the dark "for their own good."

Today even the most reputable software companies routinely sell garbage products. For instance, I bought Norton AntiVirus a few years ago for my backup computer, running Windows 98. It wasn't working, so I checked the Symantec Web site. Among their top-5 issues was this one: "NAV won't open after being installed under Windows 98." In other words, one of their top issues was their product not working at all.

That's so unethical that it's actually against the law where I live, in California. But good luck getting that law enforced when it comes to software. It's just too complex. So software companies have their own brand of ethics.

I'm not at all surprised that its customers have become increasingly unethical.
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March 11th, 2007, 00:46
The fines here for doing something like that, means that you'd get a full refund with no questions asked!! At least from the reputable suppliers!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 11th, 2007, 01:26
PC gaming is, indeed, in a very serious state of decline, and nowadays I don't see it recovering soon at all. Most developers have pretty much abandoned the platform for anything except mediocre ports. I count count on one hand the games that are actually worth buying Vista for. Actually I can count that one one finger — Crysis. "Games for Windows" is a joke. For being such a great technical leap forward, DirectX10 is the biggest flop ever. Developers are almost completely ignoring it.

Don't agree with me? If not, then somebody name for me an upcoming game other than Conan and Crysis that's actually a DirectX 10 game. I'm not talking about a game that is merely compatible with DirectX 10. I'm talking about a game that actually takes advantage of it so that you need it to enjoy the game fully.

When Microsoft decided to produce a gaming PC in a box as a console, they effectively doomed PC gaming as a separate platform. They probably didn't know this at the time, and, sadly, they still don't seem to have figured it out. It really is a shame that such a fantastic hobby is on life support but it is. The library of first person shooters on the PS3 right now is more impressive than what has come out for on the PC in the past year and a half. If that doesn't show you how sorry PC gaming is nowadays, I don't know what will. While the hobby will never completely die off, it will more likely limp along in a feeble state like a perpetually bedridden cancer patient. It might already be there.

I don't buy the piracy argument though. Not only because people can pirate console games, but also because piracy has been around forever, so talking about it like it's some recent phenomenon is just wrong. That $3 billion per year number probably just assumes that every single game on bit torrent is a loss of $50 and that's not true. That's bordering on outright dishonesty. Probably most people who pirate games wouldn't be buying them anyways.
Last edited by doctor_kaz; March 11th, 2007 at 01:51.
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March 11th, 2007, 03:12
Regardless of all the negativity towards PC gaming in these comments, I still play my games almost exclusively on my PC.

I have a PS2, XBox, GameCube and a Wii, and they are lucky if they get 2% of my gaming time to share between them. PC games are in a league of their own, even today when everyone is touting the quality of console games, I still just don't get it.

I've played most of these AAA games for consoles that everyone harps about, and I just get bored instantly. I'll stick with Gothic 3, X3, Company of Heroes, STALKER, BioShock etc etc.

I know I am in a minority, but consoles just don't do much for me. The only reason I even have consoles is for Platform games and Eastern style RPG's, since that's about the only games that they do better than PC.

If developers want to abandon the PC as a gaming platform, that's fine. Just don't expect me to buy their games for consoles. I'll just find something else to do with my PC to keep myself entertained.

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March 11th, 2007, 05:26
Even if they did abandon the PC platform completely at least we would have emulators for all the various consoles

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March 11th, 2007, 07:36
DX10!! Remember development cycles!! Most current games began their cycle before DX10 was available. Wait for games that are just at the start of their cycle now before judging the worth of DX 10. PC games will never die; it's just that consoles in general make more money right now. This too is a cycle!!

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March 11th, 2007, 08:28
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
For being such a great technical leap forward, DirectX10 is the biggest flop ever. Developers are almost completely ignoring it.
Who says that DirectX 10 is a "great technical leap forward" (other than Microsoft's PR department when they are trying to impress uninformed consumers or financial analysts )?
Everyone knows that DirectX 10 is not really bringing anything new to gaming other than optimizations. Microsoft could have and would have added a lot more to DirectX 10 if they would have really wanted to but they had to keep the backwards compatibility with DirectX 9 in mind from the moment they decided to make DirectX 10 Vista-exclusive. That's why DirectX 10 ended up being just a slightly pimped version of DirectX 9.
Microsoft knows that, developers and publishers know that and every semi-informed consumer should also know that by now. No one other than MS' marketing department is claiming that it is a "great technical leap forward".

Don't agree with me? If not, then somebody name for me an upcoming game other than Conan and Crysis that's actually a DirectX 10 game. I'm not talking about a game that is merely compatible with DirectX 10. I'm talking about a game that actually takes advantage of it so that you need it to enjoy the game fully.
Regarding Crysis, I see absolutely no reason (yet) why anyone would want to buy Vista for Crysis. Crysis is not a DirectX 10 exclusive. It will supposedly be "optimized" for DirectX 10 but we will have to wait and see whatever that means. Maybe you'll get 3fps more than when playing it on an XP rig. Wow.

No one really knows for sure right now which games will take advantage of DirectX 10 to an extent that the visual enjoyment of the game is going to surpass DirectX 9 significantly. We'll have to wait for Crysis to actually get released first and then we need to compare the features and performance between Vista and XP or DirectX 9 and 10. Same goes for all the other "optimized for DirectX 10" games.
On paper, there's no real reason why a DirectX 10 game should be looking much better than a DirectX 9 game since DirectX 10 doesn't introduce any significant new features. It's just about optimization. Same goes for shader model 4.0. It's just making things easier for developers but it doesn't introduce any fancy new stuff.

We might see indirect visual improvements though, i.e. maybe developers will be able to push more graphical data with DirectX 10 without the performance hit that would occur with DirectX 9 but it remains to be seen how any such indirect advantages will be utilized.
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March 11th, 2007, 09:18
None of my friends buy consoles before they can chip them. Im not sure they have bought any original games to them at all.

The primary reason PC is a lesser gaming platform today, is:
1. Microsoft. Their push on the XBox platform instead of their Windows platform have heavily managed to ruin the interest of producing games for the windows platform and also ruined the interest in Vista. Games always pushed the PC market before XBox.
2. Superexpensive graphic boards, not everyone can afford to spend $600-1200 on graphicboards alone
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