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Sony PlayStation (Games)

Why Card Copying May Not Ruin Eye of Judgment 96

Posted by Zonk
from the vigilant-eye-always-watching dept.
Last week it was revealed that the cards used in Sony's interesting new CCG/Videogame hybrid Eye of Judgement can easily be copied and reused. The large symbols on the cards that register with the game also make them prime candidates for counterfeiting. It may sound dire, but weizur writes with a link to a post on the Zen and Games site that theorizes this may not be the end of the world for the game. "Ultimately the rules of the game change. No longer is it a game about collecting and skill begins to play a much larger role in the game in the long run since personal wealth and ability to acquire cards becomes a non-factor. What Magic has taught us though is that this isn't really a bad thing and much fun can still be had when the game becomes a game of skill and less a game of chance, this is of course in theory as Eye of Judgment probably doesn't have the depth and finesse that Magic has and ultimately the game design of Eye of Judgment and it's ability to be a fun game will be the ultimate test."
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Why Card Copying May Not Ruin Eye of Judgment

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  • To me the game just seems a gimmick, I can't possibly see people wanting to buy a game then hundreds of cards just for the fun of it. Surely once you buy the game that's all you should need, instead this way you have to keep buying every few months or your cards are too weak and useless in such a cutthroat place like online gaming.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Millions of Magic players (and the various anime-based TCG games, for the younger set) seem to be just fine with the idea. It just happens that the camera setup lets you play online (you can play just fine in person with real cards only)
    • by apparently (756613) on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:13PM (#21157917)
      I can't possibly see people wanting to buy a game then hundreds of cards just for the fun of it. Surely once you buy the game that's all you should need, instead this way you have to keep buying every few months or your cards are too weak and useless in such a cutthroat place like online gaming.

      That's the CCG model, just updated for online-play. Having to buy the latest cards hasn't made M:TG die.

      Having cards actually be rare is a good thing, if they could pull it off. Games get boring when everyone has access to the same spells and same powerdecks. Sure, the even-playing field means that there's now a skill-requirement (a good thing, as well), but only at the expense of variety. Too bad R&D didn't give the idea more than 2 seconds of thought.

      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:31PM (#21158115)
        even Magic "rare" cards aren't really that rare when the print run is millions. Magic R&D stopped designing sets for "rare" collectors a while ago. Now they design sets and rarity per "box" so that sealed pack play is balanced... the competition circuit will get whatever they want because they're willing to pay 100x cost to get it.

        The better plan for an online game might be to use skill or exclusivity as short term ways of varying the game. Doll out exclusive cards by mail and balance them by zip code, it would take a few weeks before they spread to common play. If you used them for tournaments or such the time (to being copied) would be long enough to work. Or go to a WoW type thing where you have to play a "character" and build skill points online before you can use certain cards.... and like WoW as you gain specialization, you limit options to be "all powerful". Find ways to make play fun right NOW, and then release to collectors later after letting the cool factor of the players run it's course.
        • by harl (84412)
          Alternately you could use game design skills and create a game that is fun and balanced even if you have access to unlimited rares.

          Or in other words. If rare staking matters more than skill then the game is broken.
          • by bateleur (814657)
            If rare staking matters more than skill then the game is broken.

            Yes, assuming what we're talking about is victory percentages. But one of the properties one might want in a CCG is diversity of gameplay. If everyone has access to the same cards then the "everyone's deck is different" aspect is lost.

            Magic the Gathering players often play "Limited" games to get around this problem in which each player may use cards only from a small number of (freshly opened) card packs or take turns to choose cards from
            • by harl (84412)

              Yes, assuming what we're talking about is victory percentages. But one of the properties one might want in a CCG is diversity of gameplay. If everyone has access to the same cards then the "everyone's deck is different" aspect is lost.

              This is exactly the problem I'm talking about. Magic has thousands of cards, maybe even tens of thousands. If everyone has access to this large volume and you don't see variety in decks then that means there are only a handful of possible winning combos. With such a large volume of cards there should be many ways to win thus you should many different decks even with access to any card you want.

              If people have to resort to random distribution of cards to achieve variety in decks then the game design is br

              • by bateleur (814657)
                No, not necessarily.

                This is a difficult discussion to pursue, because Magic itself is quite broken in this respect. However, the problem will occur in some form in any game of this type.

                Consider any pair of decks. Played only against each other, one of them is better in the sense that it wins over half of all matches played between the two. Therefore all that any CCG can ever achieve is a situation where a "metagame" arises in which the deck you choose depends upon which deck you think your opponent has
                • by harl (84412)
                  As you describe it card selection is more important than player skill. Any monkey can download a deck manifest, build the deck, and do well. You've just described a completely broken game design.

      • Having cards actually be rare is a good thing, if they could pull it off. Games get boring when everyone has access to the same spells and same powerdecks.
        You mean like Poker, a card game where the players get cards from the same deck? What about IROC [wikipedia.org], an automotive competition where every driver gets an identical car?
        • Re:Poker? IROC? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by fistfullast33l (819270) on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:46PM (#21158269) Homepage Journal
          You mean like Poker, a card game where the players get cards from the same deck?

          While I'm not an expert in CCG, I think I would argue that randomness plays a larger part in Poker then in a game like Magic. How random is this game when you can choose the cards you wish to put in your deck before the game begins? That's like stacking a deck in Poker so you always get a flush...
          • It's not quite like that...It's more like stacking your deck so you're more likely to get a flush, and less likely to get 3 of a kind.

            Ideally card games should be balanced to the point where there is no single card that's so powerful that possessing it is a game winner. WOTC has made a fortune, however, by making sure that people buy tons of cards, on the off chance one of those game winners shows up, and a lot of other card makers have followed suit.

            I think the only good thing about this as far as EoJ is c
          • by nuzak (959558)
            The only way I like to play Magic is with a big communal deck, originally built up from all the decks me and my friends bought and never turned into "power decks" (and now built up from pretty much all our cards). It takes a lot of extra "house rules" to compensate for the lack of coherence, but usually just allowing a bigger hand does it. In fact, every round tends to change the house rules around somewhat. As with most games, it's just so much more fun when it's not taken so seriously.

            Well, I should qu
        • There are many classes where cars are as close to identical as possible. It is called Spec racing. It all comes down to skill and not money. The sad thing is that Nascar is getting to the point of being spec racing:( Back in the day the car makers would produce cars just so they could race them in Nascar. Cars like the Dodge Daytona Charger, Plymouth Superbird, and the Ford Talladega. Spec racing makes for some very exciting racing but doesn't really help advance the state of the art. Doesn't really come i
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rev_dru (618154)
        The rarity of cards has never stopped anyone from net-decking. It has just forced them to choose between spending money and losing. Typically, when you build a magic deck, you don't look at what cards you have, but what cards are legal in the current format. When you're done, you go out and get the cards that you are missing. Theoretically, if every player had access to every card in the game, they would probably still play the exact same decks.

        In online games, casual players are mixed in with more s
      • by tilandal (1004811)
        The strategy in a game should come from choosing your cards correctly, not from buying tons of cards looking for a game winner. I will never play these "collector" games because they are only a gimmick to get you to shell out tons of money. Any good game is balanced so that when two people play together the game itself isn't biased towards one or the other. There are many hundreds of games like this and many have been played for hundreds of years. I see no reason to buy a game that is intentionally flawed i
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by rkanodia (211354)
          The strategy in a game should come from choosing your cards correctly, not from buying tons of cards looking for a game winner.

          I used to play Magic, and this exact criticism is why I don't anymore. I have no problem with the idea of deck construction, but making 'rare' cards more powerful just allows the creators of the game to cash in on an artificial scarcity of their own design. The whole thing about 'rarity is designed for Limited play, where players don't bring their own decks' is a canard, because L
          • by dosboot (973832)
            $40 for a big box of cards for constructed would be nice. It's never going to happen sadly. I'd also like to see limited-esque play where you don't have to buy the damn boosters, i.e. you just don't get to keep the cards afterwards or some such. There are lots of people who obviously want a CCG without that the first 'C'. In fact, I'd wager 90% of people who quit CCGs do so because of the terrible cost. The market is there, but no one is bothering to target it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by morari (1080535)

        Having to buy the latest cards hasn't made M:TG die.

        No, but constantly banning cards in order to FORCE you to upgrade your entire collection sure has turned away more than enough people that I know who were once into it. That is Wizards of the Coast though. They have an almost painful reputation of such underhanded tactics across a slew of gaming lines. It's really too bad that the Call of Cthulhu CCG changed to a non-collectible format, as it is the best I've ever played (even nudging past Netrunner by an inch or two).

    • That's because you're looking at it from the point of view of someone who's into computer/video games. From the point of view of a trading card gamer, this is the first step in the ultimate dream of having the creatures on your cards actually come to life and do your bidding.
    • by Pluvius (734915)
      This post would've made sense if it had been made fifteen years ago.

      For the record, I agree with your reasoning, but obviously a lot of people don't.

      Rob
    • by therufus (677843)
      I've got one acronym for you:

      WOW.

      There are many sad individuals who enjoy getting ripped off in this world.
  • by physicsboy500 (645835) on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:05PM (#21157809)
    but quite frankly, the eye scares the crap out of me. [penny-arcade.com]
  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:05PM (#21157813) Journal
    When did Magic become a game of skill instead of personal wealth?
    • by toleraen (831634) on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:19PM (#21157953)
      Probably around 1998, for me at least. The group of friends I played with tended to use proxies for the more expensive cards. It was a lot cheaper, and more fun, to try out new deck ideas that way. No point in spending lots of cash on the real cards just to test out a deck theme, only to find that the idea didn't work as well as you wanted.
      • Wasn't that shortly after they spewed "Mirage" at us? Go figure... that's when I quit.

        Wonder if my cards are worth anything these days...
        • by MBGMorden (803437)
          I think I quit slightly before that (I know that Homelands was the latest expansion when I quit). There were only about 5 people at school that I played the game with, and one of the parents heard on some evangelical radio broadcast that the game was Satanic (if you'd ever looked at it you'd no it wasn't close to any such thing, but far be it for an adult to trust the word of a 14 year old over that of the radio preacher . . .). The parents all called each other and forced us all to quit. Luckily I got t
    • by steveo777 (183629)
      Well, there's always this guy [wizards.com] (on the left in the first picture. Old high school friend. Biggest nerd I've ever known (in a non-tech sense). Nice guy, but don't expect him to speak about anything but MtG. His wife works at Wal-Mart, last I heard, and he's in a factory. Never had a lot of money, just a lot of time, and but in the MtG circles and what not he's a family name. Does very well. I don't know if he's been tournamenting lately. We get him out on the paint ball field once or twice a year and,
    • by daenris (892027)
      well, as one reply mentions you can always use proxy cards instead of the real cards. Alternatively there are several programs designed to allow you to play online for free... Magic Workstation and Apprentice are the two that come to mind.
    • by curunir (98273) *
      I don't know if anything has changed since I quit (1996), but back there was still a lot of skill back then.

      Both type 2 tourneys and games/tourneys using a single starter pack and a few boosters were all about skill. My most successful type 2 deck (easily won 80-90 percent of the time) did not contain a single rare card.

      I found type 1 boring, it didn't even take that much personal wealth to give yourself a chance of drawing the right hand for the first or second turn kill. I had all the cards I needed (my f
    • by vertinox (846076)
      When did Magic become a game of skill instead of personal wealth?

      Sad as it is, I like Yu-Gi-Oh better for online play. There are no uber cards (well there are banned cards) but they generally try to balance the gameplay to focus on deck themes rather than winning cards.
    • by crossmr (957846)
      I think its the other way around. I think it became about personal wealth when they started pumping out expansions biweekly. When I quit there were like 14, now its like 50 or something. Type 2 feeds the wealth (its only the most recent X expansions), and unless you have a good group of friends you're going to meet dicks who won't let you use proxy, etc.

      Generally speaking since people started talking about "power decks" thats when it went downhill. I blame Inquest. There would always be one person in the gr
      • Pretty much drains the fun out of it doesn't it! And I stopped M:TG 2-4 years ago and the cards nowadays are even at common level overpowering some of the more uncommon cards of the old. I mean old cards are just..flushed out!
      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        Wizard DBZ'd Magic a long time ago, with each expansion massively overpowering existing cards rather than integrating into one cohesive game.

        check out "the spoils" for a new and unique game that feels quite a bit like magic did back before it sucked.
  • I used to play Magic a lot, and this is certainly great for players on a budget. With my friends I used to play with proxy decks (i.e. cards with labels instead of the cards themselves) because I couldn't afford the hundreds of dollars I'd have to spend to get the right cards (either through getting rares out of packs and trading them or just buying the specific card I needed). However, this absolutely sucks for Sony, who is now only going to make money through the sale of the Eye and the game itself. Un
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AuraSeer (409950)
      However, this absolutely sucks for Sony, who is now only going to make money through the sale of the Eye and the game itself.

      Oh, how will they ever survive? No video game company has ever made a profit just by selling video games!
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      I couldn't afford the hundreds of dollars I'd have to spend to get the right cards

      Wait, we're talking about a game played with actual, physical cards? Not cards on a screen, but rectangles of laminated paper? That would mean you'd have to be in the same time and space as your opponents! Yuck. You'd be able to smell them and talk to them and you'd have to wear clothes.

      Wow, the kids these days... What will they think of next?

      Wait, do these "cards" have arphid chips in them or something? Or UPC codes tha

      • by Joshwaa (1103819)
        They're physical cards, and there are symbols on them that are recognized by the playstation 3 camera. The point of TFA is that the camera also recognizes printouts of the cards, so people don't have to spend money on buying the physical cards, they can just print them out.
        • What's keeping you from copying with any other card game? The players, copyrights, etc.
          It's hard to believe WOTC or Sony hadn't thought of copying, and didn't balance the game mechanics appropriately. Very, very, very... hard.

          All I see this really affecting are online tournaments. There probably wont be any. Big whoop, hold tournaments in meatspace like any other CG.
          • What's keeping you from copying with any other card game? The players, copyrights, etc

            Takes a bit more skill to make copy of a card that needs to be physically identical (card stock, colors, etc). Try playing with an imperfect copy, and your opponent will very likely notice. But in the case of this story, you don't even need it to be a good copy for it to work in the game. Big difference there.

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

              Try playing with an imperfect copy, and your opponent will very likely notice.
              And he's going to say what? "By golly, you're playing with bogus cards. That means you automatically forfeit and must relinquish your Eternal Eye of the Cthulu Grand Master membership certificate, which quite clearly is also phony. I say, how dare you, sir? "

              Why would you play a game with someone with that big a stick up his ass?
  • UID (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gunslinger47 (654093) on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:23PM (#21158013)

    Would it have been too expensive to print unique IDs on every card? Card copying is only an issue for online play, after all. Make the UID a hash that gets sent back to the servers, then you could have stopped all casual piracy.

    To further reduce the problem, simply track hash failures and duplicate UIDs, then wait a bit for the cheaters to get confident before banning all rampant cheaters for a month, sending angry messages to all moderate cheaters and deleting all offending cards from the database.

    Combined technical hurdles and fear tactics would wipe out practically all significant cheating, leaving only the soldering gun / hex editor crowd who you're not going to stop anyway. For them, as TFA says, there's only so far a hacked deck can take you.

    • by chaboud (231590)
      That could certainly work, but there's a trade-off between how many bits you can encode onto the card and how much range you have for the camera to read the card (unless you have some validation steps that the user has to go through).

      You also have to consider that people might share cards to play with (legitimately), and any sort of banning might catch legitimate users out.

      I think you'd do better with something that's hard to copy with printing (e.g. near-IR ink and a near-IR LED on the camera to do quick v
      • by Yosho (135835)
        there's a trade-off between how many bits you can encode onto the card and how much range you have for the camera to read the card

        The trade-off isn't really significant. A UPC barcode, which is the type printed on every single item at the store, is small, very easy to read, and can represent 12 digits -- about 1 trillion possible different values. If we space things out so that only one in every 2000 values is actually valid, that's still half a billion different values, which is probably far more cards th
        • by chaboud (231590)
          Take a look at the cards used in this type of application (lots of Siggraph history). The cards need orientation and recognition markers, and the code needs to be readable from very odd angles well outside of optimal focus. 2D bar-codes are definitely capable of carrying a lot of data, but these cards have more work to do with (generally) cheaper cameras.

          They just don't have the space/bits for per-card UIDs.

          Even worse than that, the cost of producing each card would go up for individual IDs.
  • Another reason (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bieeanda (961632) on Monday October 29, 2007 @12:24PM (#21158025)
    The guys at Penny-Arcade noted that there's a limited number of each card you can stack in your deck, anyway-- three for most, and some others are even more limited, so it's not like you're going to run up against a guy with a deck that's full of Fruitfucker Behemoths.

    Given that Sony seems to be selling the camera separately (or at least making plans to do so), and retailers don't know what to make of it in the first place, the game is probably already doomed to being an odd little gimmick. If they really wanted to go with a collectible game, they would have been better served by something that was wholly online and digital-- the chance of counterfeits goes down substantially there, and the players are only a step away from the card store whenever they turn the console on.

    • I think you're overlooking something. Card games are more fun to play in person, with friends. To me, that's the entire point of a console game that uses a physical medium like cards... to play with other people in the same room. If you don't want to do that, then yup, the whole thing could have been cold and digital.

      It wouldn't be all that difficult for Sony to run a two way video feed of the two boards to verify obvious fakes, that is what the camera is used for outside the game. Is that necessary tho
      • They could certainly do this server-side if they wanted to. 2-way is a bad idea, tho; I wouldn't like to see the other person flipping me off every other move, however. And that's the least stomach churning thing I can think of that a 2-way feed would enable during a bad beatdown.
  • Is the game still going to be playable? Of course it is. As mentioned, all the various rules and restriction keep it from becoming too unbalanced.

    But Sony's market for buyers of expansions has now gone into the toilet. If you'd hoped this would be a game with lots of new and interesting cards coming out in the future, that's gone. The market just won't be there when piracy is so much easier.

    The only chance for long-term expansion of the game is if Sony patches it to include some sort of unique identifier on
  • by Tim C (15259)
    If the game is good, it'll be ok, otherwise it won't?

    Or am I misreading the summary?
  • For people who actually play the game it may or may not be the end, but for the people who sell the cards it's a disaster. Depending on how many cards were printed, there could end up being a huge unsold stock for ages.

    While a good many gamers might care less about the problems of retailers, this also means that a game using the same sort of mechanics as Eye of Judgment is unlikely to be made in the future as it would be very difficult to sell the idea to retailers after getting burned. Especially if th
    • You obviously haven't tried to buy a booster pack this week. Retailers already dropped the ball by not recognizing that someone is trying to figure out how to tie card-crack to a console and failing to have theme decks and boosters in the store next to the game. They won't be hurt by honest players; they will make money off of those people, and lots of folks want to play with real cards against their friends. The real winner is the consumer, however, because if this DOES dry up and lose support of Sony/WotC
      • by Fulminata (999320)
        I'm not talking about the video game retailers, I'm talking about the retailers that normally sell CCGs and other games. Those are the stores that stocked the cards, and are also the stores that are dropping them as fast as they can after learning how easy it is to trick the game into reading the same card multiple times.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Actually, if it sells the materials need to play the game(camera, lights, eye of newt, whatever, you will see games like this and the entire deck will just be available via download.

      I wonder when the new home brewed games will start to show up?
  • Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast will likely disagree with your definition of of "ruins the game." To be more specific, their definition will be "anything that prevents people from buying piles of our cards that we invested lots of money into at Sony's word that it'd be a good move." I'm not saying that people printing copies for use in the game is a bad thing for the reasons stated in the post, but Sony's business model was poorly planned if they didn't take this into account. It hasn't been ruined for the p
    • by WNight (23683) *
      Quake is a viable game even though everyone gets to use the same maps and weapons.

      It's just a fact that anyone who plays CCG type games where the point is to have stuff the other people don't have, is a total prick.

      The game would be more fun if they dropped this stupid expensive card shit and simply let people build decks out of everything that existed. What, they can't be money grubbing assholes that way? Well, damn. Breaks my heart.
  • I've been playing this game all weekend. I'm pretty sure I've only encountered one copied deck. At this moment, you can be pretty sure it's copied if every card has an interlocking mechanic. The guy I fought had a ton of mana steal/spring cards, and I'm pretty sure it's a net-listed deck. The guy didn't play a single card from the starter deck, which is a pretty big sign to me since the booster supplies have been constrained nearly everywhere. Yes, he won, but it wasn't an easy game, and in the end, he won

    • Is it possible to re-use a single card in multiple decks registered online?

      Is there any mechanism online for managing your collection?

      Is there any mechanism online for trading?

      If you trade a card to someone else, can they register it?

      Do you both then have the card registered online?

      Could you just share your cards with your friends and all have the same cards registered? I ask because of my kids and if they could have their own accounts with the same cards.

      How many cards do you actually get in the box

      • Great questions, man. I'm glad to answer them.

        Is it possible to re-use a single card in multiple decks registered online?
        Yes. Your deck is just an electronic list of cards you can show the camera. You can even start your next new deck by copying an existing one. This is what you do to put your first booster pack into your starter deck.

        Is there any mechanism online for managing your collection?
        Well, not online, that I know of. In game, off-line, you can look at your decks. I don't think there's an

      • by Jearil (154455)

        Is it possible to re-use a single card in multiple decks registered online?

        1) Yes

        Is there any mechanism online for managing your collection?

        2) Yes, you can manage your decks in a deck constructor area of the game. You can register a deck by just throwing cards in front of the eye (multiples have to be registered at the same time). I think you can also create decks out of any cards you've unlocked by showing them to the eye in the deck construction area.

        Is there any mechanism online for trading?

        3) No

        If you

      • by greyfeld (521548)
        Thanks to everyone that clarified my questions. As a long-time Magic and Magic Online player, it surprises me that they have not brought Magic Online to the PS3 or 360. They could certainly use the same program they already have and you could buy virtual cards just like you do now. I would really love to play Magic Online on my 50" plasma. Guess I'll just have to hook my computer up to it one of these days. Personally, this sounds too gimicky to last.

        One last question. Do you need a starter deck to p

        • by Gravatron (716477)
          The whole idea of eye of judgement was to create a card game where you had physical cards, which triggered onscreen animations and attacks, as well as kept track of all the numbers and such. It's not really a gimick, just a more physcial, tactile version of something like magic online.
        • The game can be played without a PS3. I doubt it's anywhere as fun, but you can certainly play it standalone. You don't need a starter deck, just enough boosters to make a 30 card deck (4 will do it, but it won't be a very versatile deck most likely).
  • Reminds me of the Barcode Battler [wikipedia.org], where shops in Japan would report sudden shortages of less popular items simply because they created characters with unusually strong attributes.

    Looking back, I wonder why nobody bothered trying to print out their own barcodes.

  • If you think back to the beginning of Magic: The Gathering, the card balance was horrible and similarly lacked finesse. WotC handled this by banning cards and creating structured competitive environments.

    Eventually, any collectable game can become popular enough that the 'top tier' collectors are not limited by availability. If you want to encourage them to continue playing, you have to develope the game into one that rewards tactics and/or strategy.
  • I wouldnt cheat in the first place, and I have been enjoying this game immensely vs others online over the past weekend. But honestly? Id rather have the real cards because i am too lazy to download, print copies. I dont think and i hope that the majority of gamers will go the route of copying. As others have pointed out its not really the cheating that will hurt the game, its the lack of card sales that would hurt it. Maybe there will be some resolution in a future patch, although how it could be resol
  • It's not "cheating" to copy the cards. It doesn't give you any sort of advantage- it just levels the playing field. Now, everyone's got access to every card regardless of how much money they've spent, and gameplay comes down entirely to skill (and the luck of deck randomization). This is a good thing.

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