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May 7th, 2008, 20:15
Other industries try just about everything they can imagine to get customers to buy their products. The software industry requires its customers to enter into a binding contract before they can even look at theirs — even after they've bought it.

Other industries try their best to retain existing customers. The software industry tells you to consider yourself lucky. You're crooks until you prove otherwise. "We don't need to be nice to you; you need to be nice to us."

Do you know why that is? It's because business is good. Whenever business is good, some people get the idea that they don't have to be nice anymore. Not to customers, anyway. Not when there's plenty to go around.

Ive seen it over and over again. It's typical. It's small. And it's temporary.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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May 7th, 2008, 20:27
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
Other industries try their best to retain existing customers. The software industry tells you to consider yourself lucky. You're crooks until you prove otherwise. "We don't need to be nice to you; you need to be nice to us."
But thats perfectly logical. Unlike in "other industries" (how many camera thiefs do you know?) in software business piracy - especially pc game piracy - is out of control. Of course they assume every customer is a pirate because most are. Its simply true.
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May 7th, 2008, 20:30
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
Of course they assume every customer is a pirate because most are. Its simply true.
No, the pirates are not customers, and the customers are not pirates. Software companies appear to be making the same mistake.
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May 7th, 2008, 20:39
Originally Posted by mogwins View Post
No, the pirates are not customers, and the customers are not pirates. Software companies appear to be making the same mistake.
Define a customer. Customer is somone who doesnt pirate games. How many such persons do you know who have never pirated a single game in their whole life? I dont know a single one. Everyone is a potential pirate so they get treated as such.
Last edited by zakhal; May 7th, 2008 at 20:59.
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May 7th, 2008, 20:43
Originally Posted by mogwins View Post
Gorath, not wanting to be unnecessarily argumentative, but I don't think you addressed why you think my points are wrong?
Maybe I was a bit too crytic because I didnīt want to write a novel.
I presume if you think point 1 is wrong than you think piracy IS killing the game industry. You have to admit, it's a very long, drawn-out death that started the moment it was conceived, and at the present it's looking very healthy.
This quote illustrates the main problem I have with your arguments. You are arguing in black & white while our world is gray.
Of course piracy is a problem. Make it however small you want, but it has a negative impact on sales. If a problem has been identified one has every right to tackle it. Whether or nor the means are adequate is a different question.
Piracy is for sure one of the reasons why the conventional retail PC business is losing ground quickly. There are certainly many others, but itīs still one of them.

When exactly is going to die, because all I see is an industry getting stronger and stronger, more and more profitable?
Really? I only see small PC-centric publishers go out of business or only survive by a hairbreadth. Examples? CDV, JoWooD (twice), DreamCatcher, Frogster, Ascaron, Atari, EIDOS, Midway, Interplay … the list is endless.
AFAIR the numbers for full price PC games are shrinking while the whole market is growing 20+%. Where are all the coregamers going? Here are a few ideas or observations:
- WoW binds millions of people. Many of them have stopped buying anything else.
- The business is increasingly hit driven. The medium products no longer sell. You either have a huge hit or hopefully calculated carefully that low numbers are enough.
- Or combined with WoW: They buy only a few premium titles in addition to WoW. No experiments. Oblivion, Need for Speed, CoD.
- Consoles have gotten better.
- Plus many attractive games come for them first.
- Online sales are not counted, so maybe the numbers are slightly incorrect.
- The new generations of gamers are no longer hardcore. For them gaming is normal. They play games like they watch movies: instant action. Consume, have fun, forget, move on.
- Coregamers are getting older, move on to other hobbies, have less time or simply an outdated PC. They leave.

As for point 2, if we're completely ignoring the main pirates and looking at only school-yard swapping, then yes, copy protection might do something. I don't have any numbers to hand, but I suspect losses such effects are VERY small. And people have always swapped games, PC or console.
Yes, very small. But Very small times how many? Game swapping is not much of a problem. Let 10 people buy one game each and then swap. Thatīs okay.
There are many ways to sell a unit if the CP works:
- Early adopters MUST have it NOW.
- Late adopters can buy it for 10 bucks. Thatīs still better than no sale.
- Peer pressure. Everybody is playing it.
- Longer exposure to marketing.
- Another chance with the demo.
- Some people have the budget, are generally willing to buy but try to copy first because itīs cost effective.
- The charts. Itīs in the top 10, I need it.
- Impulse buys.
- many more
I would say each of these filters will deliver a small, positive number of results if applied to a large number of casual pirates. Thatīs worth going for. Especially because CP is cheap.
Here is a small calculation:
Game A sells 100k. Itīs copied 1M times. If the publisher can convince only 1% of the pirates to buy the game it means 10k sales. The result is a whopping 10% (!) increase in units sold. Plus additional positive effect on the retail presence.


The copy protection we're talking about here, as adopted by Mass Effect, is an attempt to produce consumers who buy something but don't have the right to sell it on. Thus you don't purchase Mass Effect, you rent it (because if I buy a film on DVD, I have the right to sell it on, whereas if I rent it, I don't). And if that's really the stance EA wants to take, then they'd better price their product accordingly!
Oh, I sort of agree with this. EA certainly has more than one reason to use such a CP. Their system changes the equation. It makes Mass Effect less attractive for me. Maybe the masses donīt care. Thatīs my expectation.
MMO players also donīt have a reason to get angry. Their MMO authentificates itself every single time they log in.
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May 7th, 2008, 20:57
Gorath, I do see your point on a number of issues, and yes, I do reduce to black'n'white, but it's purely for illustration's sake: I know the real world is never so simple.

I think the point I was trying to make about piracy killing the PC gaming industry is this: If you look back to any point in the last 20 years you'll find plenty of developers blaming poor sales on piracy, and stating piracy is killing PC gaming market and that consoles are the only way to go. During that same period, however, you'll find an equal number of developers making huge profits in the same market. What's the difference - better copy protection systems? No, the latter is simply making games people want to buy rather than churning out the same rubbish year after year.

As for you hypothetical numbers, you're correct, extra sales software companies can claw back from pirates are a huge potential source of extra income. The key assumption you're making though, is that if those people couldn't pirate the game (e.g., because of 100% efficient protection) then they'd buy the game. I'm not sure that's the case. A good chunk of software pirates download stuff because they can, not because they want the software. Starve them of an illegal, free source of a game, and I'm betting they no longer want it. Most of them are not potential customers. Maybe your 10% is reasonable - I don't know.
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May 7th, 2008, 20:58
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
But thats perfectly logical. Unlike in "other industries" (how many camera thiefs do you know?) in software business piracy - especially pc game piracy - is out of control. Of course they assume every customer is a pirate because most are. Its simply true.
Every one of my friends and neighbors owns a computer, but I'm probably the only one who even knows the first thing about downloading pirated software. And that's only due to all my years of high-tech industry experience.

There are still plenty of PC users who "oooh and ahhh" over simple things like Alt-Tabbing between applications. They're the ones who are the most inconvenienced by this stuff, because they're the least capable of dealing with the potential headaches involved with it.

Here's the difference between piracy and camera theft. Each time a camera is stolen, someone steals a camera. But only one person has to pirate software, because it can then be copied and distributed.

When pirated software becomes available to download freely via the Internet, it's as if it's been set out on a curb where the entire world passes by, one where everyone can plainly see that it's there free for the taking.

I don't think it's asking too much for people to be honest, but the circumstances are awfully tempting. The software industry has been faced with this situation for a long time. It's fair to expect them to stop blaming everyone else and start accepting some responsibility for it.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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May 7th, 2008, 21:06
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
Every one of my friends and neighbors owns a computer, but I'm probably the only one who even knows the first thing about downloading pirated software. And that's only due to all my years of high-tech industry experience.
They have never pirated a single game? Good for them. I dont know anyone who hasnt pirated a game - hightech experience or not - somwhere along their life - alone or with the help of their friends. Everyone I know did it atleast to som extent with C64, Amiga and then PC.

As long as piracy is possible there will always be pirates. The only way to prevent that is proper DRM like the one in current console generation or one in the past (i.e nintendo 64 i doubt anyone copied those games back then).

Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
I don't think it's asking too much for people to be honest, but the circumstances are awfully tempting. The software industry has been faced with this situation for a long time. It's fair to expect them to stop blaming everyone else and start accepting some responsibility for it.
They are taking responsibility. Its just a bumby road to get there. Sooner or later though they will make breakthrough DRM for PC. Whether it will be hardware one like in consoles, or client-server based or both we will see.
Last edited by zakhal; May 7th, 2008 at 21:12.
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May 7th, 2008, 21:09
MMOs are a different subject really there is no need for a consistent server with monitoring and extensive support for a single player RPG (and I don't know of a single MMO that won't let you install after a certain amount of installs). This is just EA's decision on how they are going to publish to PC - for all their games I guess. That's fine, I made a decision not to buy games with SecuROM after the purchase of Bioshock because I do not agree with this ethos. Which is handing over the right of use of the purchased product to the publisher. You know you're doing this when you play an MMO but the trade is the on-line social experience. I think if a published date for SecuROM removal was added to games I'd have no problem with it but are there any instances of it ever happening?
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May 7th, 2008, 21:22
At the end of the day, as a consumer and paying customer I really don't care about the reasons behind the addition of this DRM. Is it to stop piracy? The resale market? I don't care. Only one thing matters for me: Is the purchase offering me what I want to buy for the price requested.

The simple answer is, for me, no it's not. I don't want something that takes control of how and when I can play the game out of my hands to such an extent. I want to buy a game and know it's mine, and barring any physical damage to the media, or the quality of the hardware I'm playing it on (both completely under my control) that game is mine to do with as I please. As soon as there are conditions placed on that transaction it becomes a far less lucrative deal. When "what if" questions crop up that may result in me being unable to play that game down the line through no fault of my own (nor any ability for me to control) then something is wrong. Seriously wrong.

Yes, something needs to be done about piracy. I hate it too - it leads to things like this ruining things for me as much as for the developers. But this is not the way to solve the problem. It's a false path. And I think Bioware will ultimately learn that the hard way.
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May 7th, 2008, 21:33
And that "breakthrough DRM" will lead them to promised land where the revenue keeps flowing.

Or maybe it will do exactly what it is expected to do, lead to a total congruence of paying customers and users. Then the industry still has the very same problem they have now - making people pay for their stuff.

When piracy is dead, customers may find other excuses not to pay, and then what?

Its kind of funny how perspectives change. In "GTA murdered 10 cops today" discussions, people complain how gaming is still socially not accepted and too far away from the mainstream. Do you think the situation would be better if all those evil schoolyard piracy kiddies spent their time playing games they actually could afford (=street soccer) instead of growing up to be gamers (with well-paid jobs)?
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May 7th, 2008, 22:16
People aren't buying enough PC games as it is, so why not at least give beating piracy a go before bowing out and ignoring the PC?
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May 7th, 2008, 22:34
Originally Posted by Holly Avenger View Post
Aha! Caught you out there - "borrow camera" indeed you filthy tea leaf
Since you asked:
http://users.jyu.fi/~jansilla/Kuva005.jpg
http://users.jyu.fi/~jansilla/kuva004nt6.jpg
Thats the shelf. I have more games in the cellar - mostly 90s ones. Also I have plenty in steam or otherways digitally purchased (i.e galciv expansions or matrix games). Many of my games have also been lost, borrowed-and-never-returned, broken or sold during the years.

Hers som of my ultima collection and other treasures:
http://users.jyu.fi/~jansilla/Kuva006.jpg

http://users.jyu.fi/~jansilla/Kuva007.jpg
Arkana trilogy & add 8 game collectors edition both still in wrappers. Also a 700 page manual for dangerous waters (who said they dont make manuals anymore?)

Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures.
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May 7th, 2008, 22:55
Whoa, that's a creaky old overloaded shelf!

And that was a joke comment before, in case you thought otherwise… can be hard to judge intent behind forum comments, but I in no way really was calling into question the veracity of your comments. I just liked the "borrow" comment when talking of proving your not a thief
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May 7th, 2008, 23:01
Originally Posted by Holly Avenger View Post
I know. Its just that Ive been planning to get som pics for long time now. But as you can see the quality is pretty bad. I need to buy a real camera. And a shelf perhaps (Im so lucky we dont have earthquakes here).
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May 8th, 2008, 00:44
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
I dont know a single one.
Me. Except for a game that's not available for *at least* 15 years. And that only recently and by chance (I had been searching for it too long …).

“ 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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May 8th, 2008, 00:58
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Me. Except for a game that's not available for *at least* 15 years. And that only recently and by chance (I had been searching for it too long …).
What game was it if I may ask? Some old ones are almost impossible to get.
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May 8th, 2008, 01:22
Originally Posted by mogwins View Post
I think the point I was trying to make about piracy killing the PC gaming industry is this: If you look back to any point in the last 20 years you'll find plenty of developers blaming poor sales on piracy, and stating piracy is killing PC gaming market and that consoles are the only way to go. During that same period, however, you'll find an equal number of developers making huge profits in the same market. What's the difference - better copy protection systems? No, the latter is simply making games people want to buy rather than churning out the same rubbish year after year.
I think you're massively off the mark. I would suggest there's as much (more?) chance that the games that are selling are "more of the same", but backed by a license, a slick marketing campaign or bleeding edge graphics while the ones that fail are just as often the innovative products.

Off the top of my head I can't think of a single major publisher that hasn't posted a loss at some point in recent years and many of the smaller ones just aren't there any more. There are many reasons for this (including, no doubt, poor product line ups that are their own fault) but because Blizzard and Valve gather headlines for their massive sales doesn't mean the industry is coasting along.

It's different now because torrents mean piracy distribution is orders of magnitude bigger than 20 years ago and because most genres can simply move to consoles.

Is the PC industry in good shape when you count WoW and Peggle and Bejeweled and Habbo Hotel? Probably. Is that really what you want to play? I don't.

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May 8th, 2008, 01:33
Originally Posted by Holly Avenger View Post
At the end of the day, as a consumer and paying customer I really don't care about the reasons behind the addition of this DRM. Is it to stop piracy? The resale market? I don't care. Only one thing matters for me: Is the purchase offering me what I want to buy for the price requested.
Just curious because I think this one point represents a significant divide in attitudes - what price do you put on your entertainment?

For me, a game represents excellent value for my entertainment dollar. If I play a game through - and enjoy it - I've experienced the $80 (local price) worth of value and I'm satisfied.

So what price is right for you in this instance? Assuming you can't gurarantee replayability beyond a couple of minor upgrades in this case (which promises, what, at least a few months or maybe a year or two?), what price do you put on the initial experience?

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May 8th, 2008, 02:40
Dhruin: Ah, the classic internet debate tactic of ignoring my main point (you know, the one in bold) and building your argument against a minor point (which types of games do/don't sell). But I agree, the innovative games are often the ones that suffer - all markets are scared by the unknown, and it takes some clever advertising (which requires major financial backing) to persuade the public otherwise.

On the main point, I think we might just have to agree to disagree. As a parting shot, however, let me try rephrase: The PC game development industry, like every industry, has some companies that flourish, some that fail. Always has, always will. The difference with the PC gaming industry is that instead of attributing failure to stiff competition, poor product, poor marketing, changes in the market or any other of the very real reasons businesses fail, a large majority of them simply cry "piracy!". Now, for a very few select companies this might actually be the case, but everytime sales don't meet expectations? No.

Finally, let me also say that if you really want to assess how the PC market is doing, you need to compare PC returns with returns from similar console publishers, not take them in isolation (also remember that all the major source of units sold don't consider on-line distribution, such as Steam, which form a large part of PC gaming sales). Many gaming companies are so new they expect some time before they post a profit. Furthermore, the US is on the brink of a recession - companies are struggling in all walks of business, and you'd be hard pushed to blame piracy there.
Last edited by mogwins; May 8th, 2008 at 03:00.
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