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May 13th, 2008, 20:40
Bit-tech.net has an interesting editorial up by staffer Bret Thomas on the recent flap over DRM protection in such games as Spore and Mass Effect, and on the ethics of piracy:
…We're left with a chicken-and-egg scenario. If nobody stole it, would they need to protect it so carefully? But if the protection wasn't so invasive and the price so enormous, would we feel as pressing of a need for previously legitimate users to download cracks and patches that thwart it? Both sides justify their own actions by the actions taken by the other side.

Even the debate about product quality creates an inescapable paradox. Pirate-supporters say that it's ridiculous and unfair to charge full price for a game that isn't pretty well bug-free, while developers are stuck with less budget to pay people to bug-test when less people are buying the game. That amount is further decreased by the chunk that the publisher has to pay a protection company to attempt to stall the cracks by even a little.
Conclusion:
I know that EA has rescinded the draconian scheme that brought all this to light, and for that I am as thankful as you. But I think we need to pay special attention to what that really says – the battle has become so ugly that it's hard for the company to know that protection crossed one too many lines until it's almost too late. I wonder if we on the other side ever stop to think, “Did I cross a line, too? I really could have bought this…why didn't I?”

For those of you wondering what my (not-so) brilliant solution would be to this, well…I hate to disappoint you, but I don't really have one. See, it seems everyone's too busy fighting for the rights of pirates or the rights of DRM to remember that in the end we're all consumers and producers just trying to not get screwed.

So, the best that I can do is elect that we all step back and actually talk about it. Not talk the way forum users bicker and flame and troll – as consumers, we don't get anything by being at the front lines. Neither do the developers or producers (some of whom actually read this site).
More information.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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May 13th, 2008, 20:40
Thanks for including that conclusion, including this gem:
I wonder if we on the other side ever stop to think, “Did I cross a line, too? I really could have bought this…why didn't I?”
I'm glad I didn't waste my time reading the article.

I don't pirate games, but here is the question I used to ask myself:

Why do I have to go find a NOCD crack written by some haxxor to play a game I bought in a store for $60?

And here is the question I will ask myself in future:

Why do I have to have an internet connection to play a singleplayer game I bought in a store for $60?

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May 13th, 2008, 20:56
This guy's heart is in the right place, but he's confused. His example didn't even actually make sense since all traffic moves across the Internet in packets that you get only by downloading.

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May 13th, 2008, 21:23
No, the question is totally different:

It's :

Why can't I wait and have to buy it instantly when it comes out for the full price ?

I almost only buy budget versions of games, and second-hand games - my wallet just doesn't allow me otherwise.

So - I have learned to become patient and [b]not[/i] to instantly buy any any game that comes out during the first weeks of/after the release …

There were very, very few exceptions to that. Drakensang will be the very first in several years.

So, I just don't spend "60 $ " on a game. I just wait.

But still … - Even budget versions are copy protected. I wonder why. I even wonder why they don't let the customer have some fun at the end of a game's life-circle with a game that just doesn't need any CD in the drive, for example, and even no copy protection at att.

Which drives me to the point that i must think that "they" must be very desparate that they put copy protections even on budget versions of games …

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May 13th, 2008, 22:26
I would prefer a scenario where I bought a game, loaded it on, then didn't have to deal with the CD anymore, but I understand why they do it for copy protection. I'd much rather they use an online activation feature. People will still complain about it, but it's once and done. And really, unlike maybe MS Office, how many people put a game on more than one machine?

Of course, I would like to see the activation also 'expire' in the sense that I activate today on machine A, if I install tomorrow on machine B, then it doesn't activate without calling them, but if I do it in say 4 months or more, it activates no problem.

MS Office actually seems to work that way. My machine blew up in February and I went to install 2003 on the new machine. I expected to have to call to activate it, but it activated online no problem. (The first time I had activated it was 2004).

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May 13th, 2008, 22:35
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I almost only buy budget versions of games, and second-hand games - my wallet just doesn't allow me otherwise.

So - I have learned to become patient and [b]not[/i] to instantly buy any any game that comes out during the first weeks of/after the release …

There were very, very few exceptions to that. Drakensang will be the very first in several years.

So, I just don't spend "60 $ " on a game. I just wait.
Usually, when I buy a new game on release (which is also very rare in my case), it ends badly. I think the last case was Oblivion. The revenge followed swiftly. It didn't play on my computer, and when I had finally bought a new computer and ran the game, I didn't like it.

Buying a game late and let others play beta-testers and having a patch ready saves lots of headaches - and money .
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May 13th, 2008, 22:42
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I would prefer a scenario where I bought a game, loaded it on, then didn't have to deal with the CD anymore, but I understand why they do it for copy protection. I'd much rather they use an online activation feature. People will still complain about it, but it's once and done. And really, unlike maybe MS Office, how many people put a game on more than one machine?
More and more people do. Many have games on a desktop and a laptop. The thing is that I actually wouldn't mind some kind of central activation scheme, either. I would give up my right to sell a game for being able to keep my license and the right to activate the game for ever, with a guarantee that the service will never end, and that I will have (theoretically) unlimited activation attempts, as long as it's in a reasonable time frame.
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Of course, I would like to see the activation also 'expire' in the sense that I activate today on machine A, if I install tomorrow on machine B, then it doesn't activate without calling them, but if I do it in say 4 months or more, it activates no problem.
Exactly. That's the reasonable time frame I was talking about.
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
MS Office actually seems to work that way. My machine blew up in February and I went to install 2003 on the new machine. I expected to have to call to activate it, but it activated online no problem. (The first time I had activated it was 2004).
My copy of Office 2003 comes with 3 or 4 licenses (it's meant for a family). I installed it on one of my desktops and on my laptop.

Edit: I looked it up: It's 3 licenses.
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May 13th, 2008, 23:52
I think players are just shooting themselves in their collective foot. Ow, our collective foot! I accept that piracy will exist, but I've been surprised at how consistently self-righteous casual (not for profit) pirates are, and how they almost seem to have gotten acceptance as legitimate consumer advocates. There have een some crumby copy protection schemes in the past, and no one wants a legitimate game purchaser to be unable to play his game.

But that's the concern driving these better systems like online acivation. It wouldn't be a crapshoot as to whether your optical drive works with the CP software; it would just be a matter of connectnig to the internet once every 10 days. You know, the internet, that thing your computer is connected to all the time anyway?

Seriously, I understand that it could be a potential hardship fr some, but I'm sure there was some mechanism in place to allow even people without internet access the ability to play by hopping on the phone or something (like MS activation).

Why should we put up with this? Because we don't want PC gaming to go away. Or, we don't want it to go away any faster than it already has been. People who legitimately purchase games are willing to pay all that fat cash to support this delightful industry, but they aren't willing to suffer the non-inconvenience of online activation?

It's BS. Pirates don't like it because it's the first step towards an uncrackable system.

"Anything's crackable, nub. God ur dumbz!" Oh yeah? Tell it to WoW. That's the kind of model, pay to play without exception, that will keep people developing for PCs longer. And obviously, online is the only way to get that sort of protection to work.

Me, I just buy old games off of eBay, so I'm not super invested in it one way or the other. Doing that brings me all the guilt from not supporting the industry, but only half the savings.
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May 14th, 2008, 00:00
I would like to walk into the office of EA, talk with everyone, and THEN get a HANDWRITTEN license that I am allowed to play the game WITHOUT having the CD in its driuve, because EVERYONE at EA then knows me.

It's as simple as that. at least to me.

But EA is a big, big, anonymous company, so this wouldn't ever be allowed - in stark contrast to maybe a small developer who's consisting of only 10 people and would be sitting only a street away.

It's like the small food shops we used to have looong ago, before the Dark Times came, and the big, big warehouses like Walmarket took over.

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May 14th, 2008, 00:38
An interesting article, probably explaining how the minds of pirates might work:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

“ 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 14th, 2008, 19:13
Originally Posted by Turjan View Post
My copy of Office 2003 comes with 3 or 4 licenses (it's meant for a family). I installed it on one of my desktops and on my laptop.

Edit: I looked it up: It's 3 licenses.

Mine only came with one. I put it on my laptop initially, then decided I'd use it more on my desktop and had to call them to activate it.

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May 14th, 2008, 22:20
I used to work with WordPerfect, later with the Textmaker.

I just don't need more.

“ 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 15th, 2008, 04:44
The best copy protection (if there needs to be one) is one where you insstall it then it checks the dvd once then you don't need it in the drive anymore. (also the copy protections shouldn't be checking to see what programs you have on your computer and not working because of that) It also wouldn't be complicated and should work on any computer without problems.

PS. The example of WOW being uncrackable is a bad example since it has been cracked and can be played on thrid party servers without paying. I know this because I was looking for info on WOW because I was going to try it but then found out about this. (I also found out that I hate WOW)
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May 15th, 2008, 06:16
Yeah, WoW's a bad example of PC game that has virtually no problems with piracy. I feel pretty silly for having brought it up. I bet WoW wishes it had better copy protection.
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May 15th, 2008, 11:57
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
PS. The example of WOW being uncrackable is a bad example since it has been cracked and can be played on thrid party servers without paying. I know this because I was looking for info on WOW because I was going to try it but then found out about this. (I also found out that I hate WOW)
Still most people choose not to play on 3rd part servers. DRM does not need to be uncrackable - just inconvenient enough. This is the same with consoles that require modchip install that is simply too much for most players.
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May 15th, 2008, 14:07
In a recent interview/article linked by the news here someone said that the far best copy protection is - in his view - simply community.

Community can't be cracked. That's why Blizzard even now sells so many of the older action-RPGs.

Another imho important yet overlopoked point is that people use to buy these Blizzard games because they are considered some kind of "standard" -> "must-have". This is a sort of copy-protection, too - although a very special one.

“ 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 15th, 2008, 14:29
People who warez gamez do buy them too somtimes (AFAIK) but only games that they feel are special enough in som ways to deserve the money as "donation". Its never black and white but more like grey. The more reasons there are for buying the bigger the chance is that the pirate will buy it. Such reasons could be:

(1) Fan of game series i.e NHL
(2) Fan of company i.e Blizzard - the pirate "respects" the company
(3) Access to official multiplayer servers - more convenient to compete (Many possible examples i.e CS,BF)
(4) Sandbox games that have very long lifespan i.e GTA or Oblivion or Galciv2 - one can spend so many hours on them that the spent money feels justifiable
(5) Cheap price - the game is old and doesnt cost much anymore
(6) Extra money - pirate has extra money to spend on som game so he does
(7) Impulse. The pirate sees interesting game in store gets excited enough from package to actually buy it (rare with pc games nowadays)
(8) Releaseday DRM. Pirate cant wait to get the game cracked (or crack that doesnt break the game) so he gives up and buys the game
(9) Moddability & patches. With huge amount of good mods and patches the cracks cant keep up so the pirate must buy the game if he wants to use the mods and patches (morrowind or galciv2)
(10) Hype & adds & community (peer pressure)
(11) Quality of game / reviews / etc
Last edited by zakhal; May 15th, 2008 at 15:17.
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May 15th, 2008, 18:30
Although I'm no pirate, points 5 and 6 alsop apply to me.

Which teaches us that there are even more shades of grey … From dark grey to light grey …


My personal problem is that my wallet just doesn't allow me to buy full-price games other than 1-2 times a year. Or the equivalent of budget versions, which I personally prefer.

But on the other hand I'm totally against pirating - it not only isn't against the law, it is also unfair, drives the developers into ruin and much more.


Pirates seem to download even the worst crap of games - because I imagine they "just want to have a look at it". I could understand this point of view, although it is pointless for me: One isn't required to buy everything. Especially not crap.


I don't need to buy full price games that don't interest me. I don't buy magazines that don't interest me as well, as an example.

“ 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 15th, 2008, 18:52
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Pirates seem to download even the worst crap of games - because I imagine they "just want to have a look at it". I could understand this point of view, although it is pointless for me: One isn't required to buy everything. Especially not crap.
True they d/l almost anything but its understandable. Why spend all that time reading reviews or user comments if you can d/l the game in 15min and test it yourself?

Som pirates use warez as a kind of "demo". They play it like 25%-100% through and then use that as a basis to whether buy it or not (or better say "donate" money to the developers).

Ive argued with pirates who actually believe that they are not pirates because they buy the game if its "good enough" according their own standards (defined by themselves). Of course thats more like charity than anything else and only leads them to buy selected few of the games they actually play.

Best of all som of such pirates shout at developers that games are crap and use that as an excuse to warez the game because its not good enough for them. Basicly they blame developers for their own pirating. It pretty amazing.

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Although I'm no pirate, points 5 and 6 alsop apply to me.Which teaches us that there are even more shades of grey … From dark grey to light grey
I didnt mean it quite like that. What I meant was that pirates warez the game first and only after that buy it IF its cheap enough and/or there is "extra" money (plus other various reasons they might have).
Last edited by zakhal; May 15th, 2008 at 19:11.
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May 15th, 2008, 19:35
Yes, I understand what i mean. I didn't take it as an insult or whatever.

Me, I'm just the "low-end" buyer, so to say.

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