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March 12th, 2007, 20:00
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
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!!!!
While I don't pirate games, I DO utilize the fruits of the pirating, namely the no-CD/DVD executables that allow me to a) remove the onerous copy protection and probably security holes and incompatibilities that they bring with them as well as not insignificant performance degradation caused by their utilization, b) protection of my original media(try getting replacement media and one at a reasonable cost, I gave up LONG ago), c) freedom from the inconvenience of having to maintain a pile of CD/DVDs just to play a game or use some piece of software, etc.

This whole argument goes the same way as MPAA and RIAA arguments, and there have been several arguments pointing out that losses aren't really losses as 99.9999% of those people pirating wouldn't or couldn't buy the software in the first place, ancillary pirating(if you for example, consider my common utilization of cracked executables even though I own the game as pirating which is generally implied), etc.

All of that said, I've only ever had one single game that ever was totally broken out of the box such that it wouldn't install and that was Red Alert. This game failed to install in a very poor fashion as well, as the installer would appear to start up and then do absolutely nothing, no error message, no dialog box, just a white box drawn on the screen with absolutely zero support coming from the publisher and/or developer(win2k was up-to-date at the time, so a pirated version would've likely worked if I had bothered to look for one). As it turns out in this case it was likely an installer bug with win2k as when I remembered it, and tried installing it several years later, voila the installer suddenly worked fine IF the win2k install was updated to SP4 plus fixes(never tried anything less than an original win2k release).

Every other game/app has worked unless my machine didn't meet the specs, in which case I avoided the problem by simply not purchasing the software. In other cases it's very likely that the end users machine is not updated. OTOH we have draconian copy protection software/libs that refuse to play nicely with other software, especially those which allow virtual devices, e.g. Alcohol 120% which is a perfectly legal piece of software(potentially).

Console software is eventually just as readily piratable as PC software, esp. in certain countries where legitimate fully protected media is just copied and released, along with movies, PC software, music, etc.

I just don't buy many games myself as most of them are uninteresting or in genres that I'm not enough of a fan of to bother with, e.g. FPS, strategy games, adventure games, etc. I do like SOME games from those categories, but RPGs are pretty much the only genre that I buy most of what comes out for. These other genres just have very few games which I find interesting enough to bother and most of those I find because friends, etc. have convinced me to try them out, e.g. Half Life. Add to that I generally abhor real time, so in another case, strategy games, I used to buy quite a bit of but now that most games have to be RTS I just find the compromises made to make RTS workable just have ruined the genre for me, e.g. general dumbing down, poor AI, etc.

Bottom line here is: Whining about pirates doesn't excuse crappy games and poorly marketed or buggy games that justifiably fail in the market place, which is exactly what it comes down to.

[EDIT]
Almost forgot:
This also doesn't include the fact that most games come out in almost identical form on multiple platforms, e.g. PC & Console, so in a sense by multi-platforming they are immediately cannibalizing potential PC sales.
[/EDIT]
Last edited by cutterjohn; March 12th, 2007 at 20:03. Reason: Some additional commentary
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March 12th, 2007, 20:12
I think Mo and Dhruin got it right, at least for first world countries with decent income. People pirate games "because they can". The developers are faceless and the pirates "are not stealing anything". Software is "copied" after all. The original is still there.
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March 12th, 2007, 23:36
Okay… let's hear it (indirectly) from the mouths of several pirates.

This is a true story, the names have been changed to protect the guilty (actually no names are given)

When I was in my early 20's (around 20 years ago) the world wasn't dominated by the internet (*gasp*). There were no "high speed" connections, no internet kiosks, no l33t speak (well there was, but it was in its infancy), nothing… well not quite.

If you wanted to get online with other people you used your 2400 baud modem (as time went by you got a 9600 and then a 14400 baud modem - smokin'), and you called a BBS. What is this strange thing you say… A bulletin board system. That's right, you remember (or maybe you don't if you weren't alive yet).

I used to run a fairly popular BBS in Ohio back then. There were basically two different types of BBS's… those with pirated software, and those without. Back then if you had access to a BBS where you could download cracked games (as they were called then) your status was called "elite". If you didn't have access to the illegal games you basically didn't have a status.

Well, my BBS was a legal one (I even paid the insane amount for the licensed BBS software, called CNET)… I had chat rooms, online games (absolutely nothing like what you think an online game is today), and file areas where people could share free and shareware software. However, since I ran my BBS for quite some time I had the opportunity to get to know those who ran other BBS's…

I became friends with several sysops (system operators) from several of the biggest pirate boards in Ohio. They were good guys and they became good friends. They didn't mind that I paid for all my games, and I never really thought much about how they supported piracy… but I never understood it (why they did it, that is).

The one thing I learned from hanging out with these people is the truth that several have stated already. People pirate games just for the sheer satisfaction of doing it. There were two sysops in particular that I remember. You would walk into the room where they had their computers and there were thousands of disks (yes 3.5 inch floppies) of pirated games and software. But guess what… I never saw either one of them play even one of those games. These guys never even talked about games, unless they were telling you how they just got the cracked version of the new hottest title. They were excited to get the game, but probably never spent more than 30 minutes playing it.

And even though they did it just for the satisfaction of doing it, they always had excuses for their illegal hobby (justifications)… prices were too high, nobody was getting hurt by their actions, etc.

Anyway, I learned a little about myself as a gamer then. I bought all my games (as you may know from other posts I still have them all), and I played them all. I'm excited when I get that new game, in the box, in my hand. I enjoy the box, the manual, the extras (if any), and finally the game itself. I think that buying it makes it more important to you. You actually want to play something that you've purchased. But the pirates I've known don't have that feeling. They never feel ownership of something that they've stolen, so it doesn't really interest them that much.

I don't know those guys any more… they've moved away, I've moved away, etc. But I would bet that to this day they can count on one hand the games they've played and finished, while I have fond memories of hundreds of games that I've purchased (and still cherish to this day).

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March 13th, 2007, 01:01
You know Narpet, after reading your post, I almost feel sorry for those guys. They missed out on what you and I enjoy the most; the pleasure and excitement of a 'new' game!! I fondly remember my BBS days as well. Inter-bbs games of BRE were a daily highlite and LORD was classic fun!!

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March 13th, 2007, 01:02
Originally Posted by narpet View Post
The one thing I learned from hanging out with these people is the truth that several have stated already. People pirate games just for the sheer satisfaction of doing it. There were two sysops in particular that I remember.
There's a pretty big difference in the effort of running a pirate BBS and that of visiting a torrent site. The satisfaction you get from the latter activity is proportionately less. Your friends' experience describes the rewards of being a member of -=|DEViANCE|=-, not leaving Azureus running in the background.

I really don't see the need to overcomplicate the issue by pretending that most pirates are protesting against the shoddy state of today's games, or that they don't even enjoy games, or that they have any motive beyond the obvious one: they want something, and they don't want to pay for it. Why can't that be enough?

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March 13th, 2007, 01:51
Originally Posted by narpet View Post
And even though they did it just for the satisfaction of doing it, they always had excuses for their illegal hobby (justifications)… prices were too high, nobody was getting hurt by their actions, etc.
That's a neat point of view, Narpet. You're certainly a true on-line veteran, and I enjoyed reading your post, even though I have quite a different viewpoint.

Software companies have a unique problem, because their products aren't just stolen. It goes beyond that. Thieves then offer them to everyone else as well. In a sense, their products are set out on the curb where everyone can help themselves to it.

That puts everyone in the position of having to do the right thing instead of simply avoiding doing the wrong thing. You have to ignore it, sitting there. You have to just walk on by. If it were their neighbors' stuff, sitting out on the curb, I bet most people would do the right thing. But it's the software company's stuff and that's, well….

Software is a hardball business, apparently. For instance, every year games get rushed out the door in time for Christmas that disappoint a whole bunch of kids when they don't work. That's not very nice. Remember when Microsoft assured its customers that their old games would run on Windows XP? They said they would run "even better," remember? That wasn't very nice, either. How about Oblivion? Not nice. X2 when it first shipped? Not nice. TOEE v1.0? Not nice.

I think a lot more people would be able to resist temptation and just walk on by if software companies were a little bit nicer. That's not an excuse for theft. Theft is wrong. But I honestly feel there would be less “piracy” if folks had warmer feelings about the companies being victimized.
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March 13th, 2007, 02:41
Squeek wrote:
That puts everyone in the position of having to do the right thing instead of simply avoiding doing the wrong thing…. But it's the software company's stuff and that's, well…
Yes, you've hit on a universal truth there, I think. It's not just pirating software, it's shoplifting, it's 'working the system', it's all the petty and not-so-petty dishonesties that we see every day on the news.Doing it seems to give a certain kind of person the enhanced self-esteem that normal people get from an actual accomplishment.

I'll share an eye-opening experience I had with a relative's child, about thirteen at the time, and what is usually called 'at risk'—(i.e., he'd been in a lot of trouble, and would end up in more, but that's another story)

We were driving around my neighborhood and I, being into plants and flowers, was exclaiming at various yards—"Oh, what a beautiful rose bush!" The young man promptly said "I can get it for you. Want me to get it?" I told him I didn't know what variety it was so how could he find it at the store—and he gave me a funny look as if I were totally retarded; "No, I meant now. Like dig it up."

I explained that the people who owned the rose bush had worked hard to pay for their landscape, had spent not just money but time and care on it, and that it would not be fair to steal it. I might as well have been speaking in a foreign language. The rights and feelings of others just didn't exist for him. And to impress me, a comparative stranger, he was happy to violate them.

It's a morals thing. Either you have respect and empathy for others or you don't. If a lack of empathy is coupled with a disregard of consequence, then you see no real division between what belongs to others and what could so easily belong to you.

I agree that it's hard to have empathy for huge capitol conglomerates that are often operating in the grey areas of the law themselves, and that the big holding companies that publish games today seem to feel no responsibility to provide their customers with a solid product. But if it isn't worth buying, it sure isn't worth stealing.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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March 13th, 2007, 02:51
Originally Posted by magerette View Post

It's a morals thing. Either you have respect and empathy for others or you don't. If a lack of empathy is coupled with a disregard of consequence, then you see no real division between what belongs to others and what could so easily belong to you.
Magarette - that is very well put… and I agree completely. Even my story of the BBS pirates that I used to know shows that point (I may not have stated it well, or at all, but it's what I felt at the time - they had no respect, empathy, or moral feeling toward the developers/owners of the games that they stole).

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March 13th, 2007, 03:19
Yes, narpet. Before that incident I don't think I ever really understood that about people who steal—just thought they were wrong, evil, whatever. It's a big mistake in life asuming that everybody thinks the same way or shares the same point of view.

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March 13th, 2007, 04:26
Perhaps the fact that much of modern society exists and operates in a moral vacuum has a lot to do with this, but really that should be discussed in the Rel and Pol Forum!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 13th, 2007, 10:33
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Perhaps the fact that much of modern society exists and operates in a moral vacuum has a lot to do with this, but really that should be discussed in the Rel and Pol Forum!!
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March 13th, 2007, 12:10
I bought NWN2 Collector's Edition last year (in November 2006), I think. I then
wanted to play the game, so I installed it. But it wouldn't install - for some odd reason. I then installed it on my laptop. And the game installed just fine.

The difference, you might ask ??

Well, the desktop had NERO installed, the laptop didn't. Sadly, the laptop hasn't got the power to play the game . I was then forced by NWN2 to un-install NERO, which, btw, is a totally legit software. And one that I use from time to time to take backups of my most important documents. (but NERO could maybe be used to copy NWN2).

And boy, was I mad. Really, Really Mad!!! (sorry, for the exclamation marks, but this goes to show how mad I was —- really !!!).

The thing is this: Why should NWN2's publisher (atari) decide whether or not I'm allowed to have NERO installed on my computer or not ?? Just because someone out there might try to copy NWN2. I, personally, would never do this.

I would rather play the game….

This goes to support the view that people who play the games are not the
same people that copy the games. And that the industry simply can't say
the lost xx amount of money due to yy numbers of people who copy games.
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March 13th, 2007, 12:29
I'm not quite sure if just reducing the above topic to a question of what is morally wrong or right is not a bit too easy. No doubt, software piracy is illegal - people should not do it - but they do it. But this is not a problem that is limited to the games sector, you can find it on nearly all markets nowadays (think about illicit employment for example, everyone knows it's illegal - still quite a few people are doing it). A discussion about piracy always seems to focus on the delinquents. But that approach is erroneous - on other markets people have realized that a loooong time ago. Just the software and the music industry are quite reluctant (it's getting slowly better in the music industry I guess). For the software industry the question "why people pirate their software" is fairly uninteresting (well, it does play a role, but not to a dominant extent). They question that they should ask is:"Why should people buy our products." I have the feeling that the gaming industry is still coming to the conclusion, "because copying them is illegal."
No matter what market you're looking at nowadays - most of them have problems to sell their products at some point. They all have to find ways to raise the attractiveness of their products. But obviously not the gaming industry. Games are still sold in ways they were sold 15 years ago. There are no customer rights, there are no alternative forms of distribution, there are value-added services, etc. All these things are well established in other industrial branches nowadays. The fact that a lot of gamers are online offers tremendous possibilities, but the gaming industry just ignores them (apart from a few exceptions).
Innovation is what drives markets nowdays, but the gaming industry is only innovative when it comes to their products (and even there innovation seems to have its limits), but not when it comes internal structures.
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March 13th, 2007, 14:24
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
But this is not a problem that is limited to the games sector, you can find it on nearly all markets nowadays
JUst to give an example on how wide this spans :

Chinese companies are said to have build busses abnd cars and many other items that look EXACTLY like their counterparts here in Germany and elsewhere !

They just invide German companies into an joint-venture, and seemingly copy plans. And then they build their own things - which look astonishing similar to their original designs.

To me, this is just a continuation of the piracy system into business. Not the things themselves are cipied this time, but entire plans ! It's as if I would steal the code of Baldur's Gate and sell it somewhere in South America, Asia or Africa with a completely different name (and content). But never in the country where it originates.

And this goes clearly into politics/philosophy : Is the thought-system to blame for such an behaviour ? The philosophy that everything should be available for everyone ?


From my own experience, I can say that I've learned to know "Raubkopierer" (the German term of people illegally copying software) in a similar way than Narpet did - but never in such a big scale. Some people I once knew said that they actually buy games they believe are something special, something extraordinary, good games. The waste is just copied.
And there is far too much waste, from their point of view.
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March 14th, 2007, 01:01
Aries, while I sympathise and agree with you about Nero (I have it), using exclamation marks, is MINE!!!!

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March 14th, 2007, 02:05
I have Nero on all of my machines and have never had a problem with any game not installing (NWN2 included on two PCs), so I'm not sure it's as simple as pointing to the copy protection software.

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March 14th, 2007, 13:30
It always pisses me off a little when people try to justify their piracy - because it's my hard work, my overtime, my love and passion towards a title that they are stealing! But notice that I said that it pisses me off a *little* - I can see how it can be very hard to be able to buy all games legally when they cost you 1/10 of a months salary (in comparison, where I live it's more like 1/50 of a months salary, after tax, for a full-price game which I generally find quite reasonable!)

But what pisses me off *a lot* are the reasons some people tend to come up with for why it should be justified to pirate games. The devs are lazy, the devs are incompetent (if only they would listen to me, then their games would be MUCH better, because *I* know exactly how to make a cool game, even if I never tried it, and bla, bla, bla!! PLEASE, it makes me sick!). Let me tell you guys one thing - I'm not getting very rich from making games! In fact I could easily go out and get a higher salary in another area of the IT industry. I also work long hours. I'm not complaining though, because I love what I do - but it's important for me to get rid of that ridiculous notion that all game devs are lazy bastards that just sit on their fat arses and milk a golden cash-cow. We generally love what we do, and we do our best to make the best games possible for you guys. We love it when the fans are happy about our products, and it hurts us when people are not happy and complain. I'm not saying that we do not have a responsibility to put out quality products - but when people starts complaining about products such as, for example, NWN2 then I think they have very unrealistic expectations about games. I've played NWN2 and I never encountered a bug that I notices - in my eyes NWN2 is a completely fine and well polished game (and if you took off your rose colored glasses you would notice that the old games you seems to always praise were often in a much worse state when released). Always demanding more, and even justifying theft, is just not the way to go!

Financially PC-only games are just becomming near impossible to do - and if you pirate games it is certainly not helping! Neither is your denial of the problem!

I suspect not many here will agree with this post, but this is how I see it…
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March 14th, 2007, 14:05
Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
(if only they would listen to me, then their games would be MUCH better, because *I* know exactly how to make a cool game, even if I never tried it, and bla, bla, bla!! PLEASE, it makes me sick!).
These are the calls of people who don't know a single bit of programming at all.

Originally, I'm a trained programmer, so I think I can at least imagine how hard these things might be (although I never made bigger applications so far).

So - don't listen to the kids knowing everything better than you, but don't get caught by demanding publishers who are not interested in a bug-free game either. Only money, it seems to me.

In my opionion, most of the blame goes to the publishers, not the programmers themselves. I personally believe that these are rushing development too much. But that's just my personal, subjective opinion, based on what I've learned. I wouldn't say I'm all-knowing.
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March 14th, 2007, 14:16
Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
I suspect not many here will agree with this post, but this is how I see it…
Actually this is probably the most sympathetic audience I've seen - on many game forums, piracy is seen as the delivery vehicle of a god given right. If they make too little or games cost too much, than it is equivalent to stealing a loaf of bread so their baby doesn't starve to death. Whatever …

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March 14th, 2007, 14:41
Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
It always pisses me off a little when people try to justify their piracy - because it's my hard work, my overtime, my love and passion towards a title that they are stealing! But notice that I said that it pisses me off a *little* - I can see how it can be very hard to be able to buy all games legally when they cost you 1/10 of a months salary (in comparison, where I live it's more like 1/50 of a months salary, after tax, for a full-price game which I generally find quite reasonable!)

I agree that piracy is inherently bad, and that many justifications are very self-serving. I don't pirate anymore except, strictly speaking, for some legacy games ("abandonware") that I can't get anywhere else with reasonable effort, which technically is still pirating. At the same time I do not feel overly bad for the games I pirated as a kid - as per my post above I don't feel I have defrauded the industry of any money by it, because the alternative would simply have been to not play games at all.
So while I agree that pirating is bad at an individual level, at the same time I don't think the games industry (just as the movie and music industry) is doing itself a favour by focusing on combating piracy. It's a waste of money and energy for the most part. It should instead concentrate on making it easy and attractive to buy games legally. Bring back shareware. Finally develop decent models of online distribution. Develop serial content games. Online and online-supported offline games (e.g. single player RPG's with dynamic, online content and events). Even do the god damn ad-enabled product placement thing (pay to get rid of them). Just spare us any more copy protection desasters like StarForce.
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