Excuses on the High Seas

Shamus Young

New member
Jul 7, 2008
3,247
0
0
Excuses on the High Seas

There are plenty of reasons that people pirate games -- and they're pretty much all a crock.

Permalink
 

Duck Sandwich

New member
Dec 13, 2007
1,750
0
0
Interesting article, especially considering all the piracy threads that have been made recently. Well done.


(Regarding people who pirate games that aren't available in their country)
In any case, if you're from a country where major publishers choose not to do business, then you're not part of the "sales lost to pirates" problem that publishers keep wailing about. You're actually part of a completely different problem.
Just for clarification, what would that problem be?
 

joystickjunki3

New member
Nov 2, 2008
1,887
0
0
Great article. I personally don't like pirating unless the developer specifically says that they don't mind as long as their game is enjoyed and reaches as large an audience as possible. But then it's not exactly pirating. Nor is abandonware apparently.
 

Odjin

New member
Nov 14, 2007
188
0
0
Nice article. Some points though.

I won't pay for games, because, "Information wants to be free!"
This is incorrect. FOSS people are not about making any software free as in "free beer" but free as in "freedom". This means access to the source code NOT to the art assets. Games compose of 3 components: code, assets and service.

The code is what makes up the game. Access to code helps in the case something fails to work or not well enough. This is called "modding" in the end and is one of the reasons why certain games ( HL for example ) still sit on shelves.

The assets are all images, models, sounds... just everything artwork in the game. No need for sources there especially since sources for art assets are often up to one full CD for one asset ( a high polygon sculpt of a game character with all textures and sounds uncompressed for editing for example ). FOSS does not request free access to those assets.

Service covers everything relied with support, updates, multiplayer servers and so on. For these FOSS also does not request source code or alike. After all software is about service. The game fulfills the service of entertaining you for example. So you charge for the service mainly and you should not charge for the code.

So in the end nothing wrong with this point. Code has to be free. Assets and Service not and usually are charged for.

I just want to try it out, and if I like the game I pay for it.
Counter-Question. If the publisher refuses to give out a demo and therefore strips you from any chance to judge if a game (1) runs or (2) is fun, is it still incorrect to shoot back by stripping them from any chance to get your money? I know it's a gray area but I remember times where demos of games had been the defacto standard. Nowadays publishers seem to think customers are pricks that can be milked by serving products they can't be held reliable for. Nearly all games ( except some due to recommendation from friends or having played it there ) I bought so far has been because the demo convinced me.

Abandonware
That's quite a gray-gray area you mentioned there. Honestly I don't know exactly how the legal situation works out there. Can rights on a game run out over time? Can it run out if the company producing the game doesn't exist anymore? What if the game can no more be bought anymore? There exists an association in the states trying to deny any use of games after their date ran out but what use is a game you can no more obtain unless from an abandonware site?
 

Ronwue

New member
Oct 22, 2008
607
0
0
The only thing that prevents any human from doing any bad thing is his conscience. The other things like fines, laws, police etc come later when conscience fails. Hence first trying then buying suddenly makes a bit more sense, at least to me. For example, I would have never bought that Avencast : Rise of the mage game, because it sucked so hard. On the other hand, I have Morrowind, Neverwinter nights, Starcraft, Gothic 2 and others, because I loved the games and wished to show the creators my support.
 

Skrapt

New member
May 6, 2008
289
0
0
I've only ever pirated games that are no longer available/need to be pirate copies to work with todays OS's, and TV shows that aren't available where I live. If I don't like the DRM/whatever included in a game I simply don't buy it, that way the publisher can't scapegoat piracy and only has their own ineptitude to blame (although they seem to blame the pirates anyway).

I think a recent news story sums the entire situation up pretty well, content providers forcing the creators of Boxee to remove Hulu support from their software because it was being watched on the wrong screen. Now there are 2 major problems with this strategy:
1 - the content providers just lost all the ad revenue from those people
2 - those people are now going to pirate those TV shows and stream them to their TV via Boxee

Piracy is here to stay (something content creators publicly admit but seem unwilling to actually change their business model around this fact), and now it has entered mainstream (thanks to the aforementioned content creators making such a big deal of it) culture so much that to try and stop it through litigation is insanity, in the end piracy may be wrong but it's so popular now and so widespread and easy that all content creators can do is evolve their business models around these facts to pull in some profit (I.E. Ad-supported free games, Steam, Hulu, 4OD, BBC iPlayer, etc.).
 

dochmbi

New member
Sep 15, 2008
753
0
0
I'd like to see piracy suddenly become exponentially more popular and so common that it would crash the entire entertainment industry and all production of games, movies, tv-shows and music would grind to a halt. Then, by the power of immense unsatisfied demand, a new media made for the people by the people would emerge. People would only pay if they want to, there would be donator unions forming which seek to get 10$ from a million people so a new game can be developed, there would be more low budget, fresh and innovative titles, though less high profile high graphics games.
 

Doug

New member
Apr 23, 2008
5,205
0
0
Duck Sandwich said:
Interesting article, especially considering all the piracy threads that have been made recently. Well done.


(Regarding people who pirate games that aren't available in their country)
In any case, if you're from a country where major publishers choose not to do business, then you're not part of the "sales lost to pirates" problem that publishers keep wailing about. You're actually part of a completely different problem.
Just for clarification, what would that problem be?
...?

Where in the article is that? And even if it is, on a side note, Nintendo never sold Mario RPG over here in the UK. On the SNES. So... just saying.

EDIT: Ignore. Stupid me for not looking right. My bad.
 

karmapolizei

New member
Sep 26, 2008
244
0
0
I actually bought a copy of Mass Effect after my first playthrough with the pirated version. I myself never believed I'd do such a thing, but it seems this time I got around to it. But only because I could import it for cheap from the UK.
Nevertheless, sometimes this actually works - even for lazy people like me.
(Which brings me directly to your last paragraph - nothing could persuade me to delete the crack!)
 

Doug

New member
Apr 23, 2008
5,205
0
0
Odjin said:
I just want to try it out, and if I like the game I pay for it.
Counter-Question. If the publisher refuses to give out a demo and therefore strips you from any chance to judge if a game (1) runs or (2) is fun, is it still incorrect to shoot back by stripping them from any chance to get your money? I know it's a gray area but I remember times where demos of games had been the defacto standard. Nowadays publishers seem to think customers are pricks that can be milked by serving products they can't be held reliable for. Nearly all games ( except some due to recommendation from friends or having played it there ) I bought so far has been because the demo convinced me.
True! Publishers need to release REAL demo's of games before release. But its still illegal. Sadly. God damn EA.

Odjin said:
Abandonware
That's quite a gray-gray area you mentioned there. Honestly I don't know exactly how the legal situation works out there. Can rights on a game run out over time? Can it run out if the company producing the game doesn't exist anymore? What if the game can no more be bought anymore? There exists an association in the states trying to deny any use of games after their date ran out but what use is a game you can no more obtain unless from an abandonware site?
Illegal. Officially. Copyright works for up to 50 years, I believe. That said, if no one cares/knows they have the copyright's, its not illegal per say, as it is a civil matter, not a criminal one, so requires the owner to sue.
 

Doug

New member
Apr 23, 2008
5,205
0
0
I do have to wonder if, suddenly, all the publishers (cough EA cough cough) where to clear up their various acts, would it cut piracy?

Or would the bitterness against them that has built up over the last few years keep piracy going for awhile?
 

sleeperhit79

New member
Feb 6, 2009
74
0
0
i have to agree with the article, and SKRAPT on these points, A) the reason piracy exists is because as of right now consecuences are pretty much non existant and people's consciences are the only thing keeping them from doing it(and let's face it, most people are not that good conscience wise and need to be constantly policed). and B) piracy is here to stay for the aforementioned reasons. One thing I do disagree with though is that whole "the industry will have to adapt to piracy thing." We forget that the video game industry is a business and piracy is a very real drain on their income, games are expensive to make and if the profitability is not there then that's good news for wii fans because that's where the industry might end up, making games that are cheap to make, in a lot of cases uninspired and that honestly look pretty bad, or we could end up with no video games at all.
 

Shamus Young

New member
Jul 7, 2008
3,247
0
0
Are all you guys at The Escapist getting handouts for this rabidly corporate stance or is it just a happy coincidence?
 

SatansBestBuddy

New member
Sep 7, 2007
189
0
0
Shamus Young said:
Publishers claim they do this to protect themselves from piracy. They seem to be afraid that a pirate would drive to the store, buy a game, go home, install the game, install a crack so it doesn't need the disk, and then drive back to the store and return the game for a refund. What kind of pirate would go to this much hassle when a copy of the game is just a download away?
Here's a question: where do you think those downloads come from?

Unless it's an inside job, more often than not somebody actually had to buy the game, crack it, and turn it into a torrent for other people to download, and there's rarely only one "somebody," sometimes they're made up of whole groups.

Oh, and so you know, yes, some people will go to all this hassle cause 1) it's safer, they know the game isn't gonna be full of viruses, and 2) it's quicker, sometimes torrents aren't all that fast, ya know.
 

Skrapt

New member
May 6, 2008
289
0
0
sleeperhit79 said:
One thing I do disagree with though is that whole "the industry will have to adapt to piracy thing." We forget that the video game industry is a business and piracy is a very real drain on their income, games are expensive to make and if the profitability is not there then that's good news for wii fans because that's where the industry might end up, making games that are cheap to make, in a lot of cases uninspired and that honestly look pretty bad, or we could end up with no video games at all.
The industry must adapt to the market it's in or fail, piracy may be a drain, but it is an inevitable drain that can't be gotten rid of (although it's drain status is a little ambiguous as 'lost profits' figures are pulled out of the industries behind at best) and if the industry is to survive - must be worked around or with. And some companies have seen fit to do this, like Battlefield heroes or Quake Live with the idea of ad-supported free games where piracy would increase revenue, the industry bigwigs may not see it yet but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that:

Great/desirable game + free download on all torrent/download services + ad revenue = profit, now individual game sales are considered absolutely fantastic if they reach the 4-5 million mark, sites like TPB have 22 million+ users on the lookout for anything free that may interest them.
 

Doug

New member
Apr 23, 2008
5,205
0
0
SatansBestBuddy said:
Shamus Young said:
Publishers claim they do this to protect themselves from piracy. They seem to be afraid that a pirate would drive to the store, buy a game, go home, install the game, install a crack so it doesn't need the disk, and then drive back to the store and return the game for a refund. What kind of pirate would go to this much hassle when a copy of the game is just a download away?
Here's a question: where do you think those downloads come from?

Unless it's an inside job, more often than not somebody actually had to buy the game, crack it, and turn it into a torrent for other people to download, and there's rarely only one "somebody," sometimes they're made up of whole groups.

Oh, and so you know, yes, some people will go to all this hassle cause 1) it's safer, they know the game isn't gonna be full of viruses, and 2) it's quicker, sometimes torrents aren't all that fast, ya know.
Ok, but it still does not excuse the failure of the product to be fit for produce. Under UK law at least, they are legally required to refund a faulty product. Its a little thing called "The Trade Descriptions Act" from 1968. I'd be absolutely amazed if the American and Japanese markets at the very least didn't have equalivents.

Frankly, I'm amazed no-one has taken a game publisher/developer to court over it.
 

shMerker

New member
Oct 24, 2007
263
0
0
Some of the comments I saw on demos reminded me of this.

http://www.unigamesity.com/debate-are-game-demos-game-killers/

It seems that often a demo is more than enough of a game for a gamer to decide that he's done with the final product, and as a result a demo can actually hurt sales of a game. I can understand this. Most $50-60 games simply don't have $50-60 worth of gameplay to me. If I can get my hands on the demo the answer to the question "do I want more" is often a resounding no. This is even sometimes true with a game that I don't consider bad. Just not good enough to warrant spending that much on. If a game has no demo though it may be that the only way to really find out is through a purchase.

There are other effects too. A demo requires a production investment from the developer and publisher that doesn't enhance the game itself. If they don't make a demo that translates into a larger budget, lower retail price, or larger profit margin, depending on how they decide to allocate the savings of not making the demo.

Part of the solution to this problem is to not make sucky games and to price them reasonably, but it's not a complete solution because the same number of games end competing for the same amount of money. Having more demos available isn't going to encourage anyone to buy more games, only to buy in a more informed manner.

I think what Valve are doing with guest passes in particular is pretty smart. This way demos come with a recommendation from a trusted source and are sort of self-targeted at people who would be likely to purchase, given a little more of a nudge.

Overall it looks like a tough problem, one that isn't helped at all by pirates.
 

Shamus Young

New member
Jul 7, 2008
3,247
0
0
harhol said:
Are all you guys at The Escapist getting handouts for this rabidly corporate stance or is it just a happy coincidence?
It's the topic of this issue: Piracy. Also: "Rabidly corporate"?

* I took the time to point out that piracy is not theft. Publishers do all they can to blur this distinction.
* I pointed out the evils of DRM.
* I accused them of stealing from paying customers by not refunding faulty products.
* I linked to several of my comics where I excoriated EA for anti-consumer policies. By comparing them to pedophiles and murderers.

But no, you got me all figured out. I'm totally "rabidly corporate".
 

Anton P. Nym

New member
Sep 18, 2007
2,611
0
0
dochmbi said:
I'd like to see piracy suddenly become exponentially more popular and so common that it would crash the entire entertainment industry and all production of games, movies, tv-shows and music would grind to a halt. Then, by the power of immense unsatisfied demand, a new media made for the people by the people would emerge. People would only pay if they want to, there would be donator unions forming which seek to get 10$ from a million people so a new game can be developed, there would be more low budget, fresh and innovative titles, though less high profile high graphics games.
The problem with this glorious vision is that media "made for the people by the people" turns out like America's Funniest Videos or YouTube. I hate to shatter myths, but it's vastly harder to create an entertainment than many believe. You do see some wonderful projects out there, games created by community members that rival the industry's games. But for each one of them you see, you don't see the thousands of others that crash-and-burn in the early stages or just plain stink; because nobody picks the failures up or talks about them. You might see a big upsurge in low-budget games, but the vast majority are going to be "more of the same" simply because very few people can actually think in fresh and innovative ways. [sup]*[/sup]

Also, people are cheap. Just look at street-corner buskers; what proportion of people walking by actually chip into the hat? If I had to place a bet, I'd say that a guy playing a violin at the subway station would be lucky to have 10% of folks give him anything and that he'd be delighted to have "only" 90% of the audience free-loading. Maybe you can get by on that rate when busking, which doesn't have that much overhead, but creating a game costs vastly more than busking.

I think if this happened you'd actually see the total number of games shrink, dramatically, and that they'd skew heavily towards browser games where the lower costs and coding requirements would make the barrier to finishing the game less intimidating. And I think each would have ads splashed all over it just so the volunteer development team could pay back their friends and parents the money the borrowed (or all the rent they skipped on and groceries they had to mooch).

-- Steve

[sup]*[/sup]I found this out when I was actually writing for pay; people would talk to me about "splitting" an idea for a story or game (he/she gives me his/her idea, I do the "easy" part of writing it) and invariably it'd be (entirely unconsciously) a retread of a popular movie or novel or song or folk story that'd been done to death already. It's kinda crushing to find that out, really.