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PC Games (Games) Businesses The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Free Games As a Solution To Game Piracy 806

Posted by timothy
from the please-suggest-concise-replacments dept.
christ, jesus H writes "PC gaming may not be dying, but it is in a state of flux. We're seeing developers and publishers blaming piracy for all the ills of PC gaming, but attempts to rein in pirates with the help of DRM only annoys and mobilizes the legitimate customers of your games. The solution? According to David Perry of Shiny Games, PC games are going to be free." (And if anyone has a favorite replacement term for "piracy," in the context of electronic copyright violation, please suggest it below.)
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Free Games As a Solution To Game Piracy

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  • by Millennium (2451) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:56PM (#24137555) Homepage

    I prefer the term "stealing games" myself. It fits well, does away with the positive connotations that the term "piracy" has gained in some circles, and -perhaps most important- it really makes the pirates mad.

  • Bootlegging (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geof (153857) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:00PM (#24137673) Homepage

    Bootlegging [merriam-webster.com]: to produce, reproduce, or distribute illicitly or without authorization

    This helps to distinguish private copying from for-profit counterfeiting by organized crime.

  • TAANSTAFL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mesa MIke (1193721) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:00PM (#24137677) Homepage

    They'll be encumbered with ad- and mal- ware.

  • Problems... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:03PM (#24137753)
    Sure, free games may solve game "piracy", but it doesn't address what is killing PC gaming. Which are A) Windows, B) Insane hardware requirements and C) Consoles. When all PC games become cross platform (Linux, Windows and Mac), require the average hardware and will run decently on low-end hardware (for example, now it would need to run on 512 MB of RAM and a cheap Intel graphics card), and be better than the games on consoles. Once they solve all those problems PC gaming may be mainstream, but right now they confine themselves to a small niche.
  • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:04PM (#24137779) Journal

    I would still be willing to BUY games (I don't pirate them, I just haven't found much to interest me, console OR desktop alike).

    Again, I would still be willing to BUY games if they would stop rehashing half witted half finished games. So few companies really release good games, and everyone expects insane growth. Always "growth". Perhaps some retards somewhere forgot that you can only grow so much before your body either collapses under its own weight or you evolve into something else. Otherwise, no luck.

    Blizzard always releases late. People understand them. Why? Because Blizzard, ID, Ravensoft and no others I can think of, have managed to release a bug free or complete product. Most of their fixes, in my memory, have been playbalancing, rare bugs on rare configs, etc. But their games WORK. Other people's games... often hit and run.

    Why is it that so FEW companies actually put out workable, GOOD products? Perhaps if more of them did, and if shoddy products were to be refunded in FULL, then perhaps better products would "revitalize" the market.

    Games don't need to be free. Shitty ones and incomplete ones should be. The "no return if opened" policy is bullshit. It just allows a company to sell a shitty game and get away with it. It allows a store to carry a non tested product and get away with it. But hell, if pharmaceutical companies and electronics and even car companies can get away with shoddy products, why not the software industry? If the customers keep waiting for governments to step in and save them, they ought to realize that it is MUCH easier to buy off bureaucrats and politicians than ten thousand pissed off freemen customers, some of whom might be willing and able to use their rights (from the vocal to the physical) when other means fail to extract remedy for shoddy product and vaporware sold as an actual, complete product. Fraud of this sort should be held accountable by the victims, the customers. Until the customers demand quality, and stand by that remark... and demand refunds on shitty products, until that occurs... well, nothing's gonna change.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:05PM (#24137813) Journal

    It's not stealing as copying does not deprive the original owner of anything. Copyright is an artificial monopoly provided by the government as an incentive to create and release creative works.

    Am I stealing from you if I choose not to buy from you, but from someone else? No? Yet I am depriving you of revenue, isn't that stealing? No? Then depriving you of revenue by copying your product isn't stealing either.

    It is copyright violation, which is wrong, but not stealing. It is wrong because it violates the social contract you agree to by continuing to live in our society.

    That is important: you wouldn't even have a moral claim against a person who renounced society and all its benefits who then violated copyright. They would not be a party to the social contract, and would have no moral reason not to copy.

  • by flaming error (1041742) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:07PM (#24137869) Journal

    > favorite replacment term for "piracy,"

    market correction

  • by Jellybob (597204) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:12PM (#24138015) Journal

    Just make them good. I have no problem with paying for my games (I do so for every game I have a copy of), but I'm not going to go out and buy a crap game if I can help it.

    Of course the industry needs to stop crying wolf as well. While sales from brick and morter stores are going down like a brick, a lot of that is being picked up by services like Steam, because Valve seems to have realised that attempting to screw your customers just doesn't work.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:14PM (#24138065)
    Ummm... Quantity != Quality. Just look at games for the Wii, sure there are some good ones, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Super Mario Galaxy to name just two, but if you go into any major store you find that about 75% of Wii games are crappy mini-game collections with virtually no purpose that involve shaking around the Wii remote to try to do something.

    Even if you look back to the NES where we only had a few major developers there was a lot of quality games made, games that pushed the hardware to the limit. In the SNES/Genesis era things stayed the same. But once we got to the PS1/N64 era, we got flooded with a ton of really crappy games. Think about it, once Disney games were good, at least decent, and worth playing, then midway into the '90s something started to go terribly, terribly wrong. Every movie had some lame video game tie-in, games started to all be the same, originality seemed to be confined to first-party developers. We are still there, you only need to take a look at the Wii.
  • by PrimalChrome (186162) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:19PM (#24138177)

    You are both depriving the producer of revenue AND making use of their product without paying for ownership. It's much like 'stealing' wifi access from your neighbor. The only physical aspect of the theft involves electrons/impulses/etc...

    "the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny."

    Copyright (whether you approve or not) denotes ownership...making it intellectual property. The wrongful taking of makes it theft.

    Funny how the slashdot crowd considers it theft if Microsoft includes GPL'ed code, but if it involves a person stealing music/movies/software, it is a right in the pursuit of happiness.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#24138287) Journal

    No, the slashdot crowd considers it copyright violation is Microsoft includes GPL'ed code, and we consider it copyright violation if someone copies music, movies or software. See how that works? It's a different word, denoting a different action, with different consequences, but it is still wrong.

    Using someone else's wifi is stealing, as you are depriving them of a limited resource: their bandwidth. You can make unlimited copies of a digital work without depriving the owner of anything.

    You can argue the point all you like, but the law sees it differently than you do. Jaywalking also isn't littering, in case you were confused about that, too.

  • by Zarhan (415465) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:25PM (#24138309)

    Valve has a nice vision:

    http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=160866 [eurogamer.net]

    Have to say I agree with them.

    I recently bought a new, up-to-date PC with dual cores and all the bells and whistles. After playing nothing but WoW, Civ and other less-powerhungry games on my trusty old 1,2 GHz Celeron and Win'98, I could finally check out all the games I missed.

    So far: Half-Life 2, Orange Box (consisting of EP1&EP2 too, and Portal). Love it. Also love Steam. It works.
    Another case: Galactic Civilizations 2. Stardock's Stardock Central (and the parallel, Impulse), rock.

    NO Copy protection. No DVD in drive bullshit. No running through the hoops. Before, when I bought a game it was always running via gamecopyworld.com to get the crack. Another game that I got was Crysis. Fine, gamecopyworld has cracks - except there isn't one for the 64-bit 1.21 version. So I was stuck with the DVD in drive..

    Then, as an old Baldur's Gate&Torment&Kotor fan, I heard that Bioware had done a new RPG - Mass Effect. To avoid hassle, I googled for what copy protection it's using - and read about the whole phone-home-schema. I can run Steam in offline mode. Stardock Central doesn't phone home. But these guys seriously thought that spyware in your PC is ok?!

    I was already firing up my torrent client, but then I read http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/09/2318229 [slashdot.org] about EA loosening the DRM and actually bought the game instead.

    Gotta love Valve. And Blizzard.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:29PM (#24138417)

    "Actually, no, because the copy wasn't obtained by lawful means. You are depriving its rightful owner of a product it could sell or otherwise dispose of as it saw fit."

    Hate to break it to you, but no he isn't. You haven't in any way taken a physical item from them, or prevented them from making more. Your logic sucks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:30PM (#24138455)

    The "no return if opened" policy is bullshit.

    This is actually a very good point. I didn't pirate things anywhere near as much as I do not before that policy. Back when Egghead or wherever would accept returns, I bought a game and, if it was horribly buggy or just plain sucked, I returned it. When they changed that policy, that is when I started looking on pirate BBSes, etc.

    The natural extension of that is the Internet and technologies like BitTorrent.

    The same kind of thing applies for the ridiculous anti-piracy measures that publishers take (e.g., SecureROM). If you make it a pain in the fucking ass for me to use your product, don''t be surprised if I shoot you the finger and, in so doing, get the product from somewhere else.

    The solution is to increase product quality, while reducing the negative impact on consumers such as "The correct CD is not in the drive."

  • Re:Bootlegging (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:36PM (#24138569)

    No, doesn't work. Appropriating and taking imply that the original owner is deprived of their property.

  • by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:45PM (#24138731) Journal

    I prefer the term "raping children" myself. It fits well, does away with the positive connotations that the term "piracy" has gained in some circles, and -perhaps most important- it really makes the pirates mad.

    See the problem?

  • by SomeJoel (1061138) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:49PM (#24138845)
    That would be a hint to not buy the full game.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:55PM (#24138999) Homepage
    Which is why i think game developers like consoles so much more than PCs. It's much easier to ensure everyone has a good experience when everybody is running the exact same hardware.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:57PM (#24139061) Journal

    I prefer the term "stealing games" myself.

    If you go into a store and take a game without paying for it you're stealing. If you download it, even illegally, you're not.

    If you steal a game the store owner is out the cost of the game he bought from the publisher. If you download a game illegally nobody has lost anything, particularly if it is a game you would not have otherwise paid for (too poor, just want to check out a new genre etc) and most especially if, like some do, you want to see if you actually like the game and then buy it if you do. There are a lot of people who have been ripped off buying shitty games and are fighting back.

    If you steal a game and get caught you will be charged with a misdemeanor and pay a few hundred dollars fine. If you infringe copyright you can be hit with a civil suit for thousands of dollars.

    So "stealing" just doesn't work.

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:11PM (#24139369) Journal

    Copyright (whether you approve or not) denotes ownership

    No, it doesn't, not in the US according to our Constitution. The public OWN the work, the work's creator is given a limited time monopoly.

    If you rent a house you have a limited time monopoly to the house, but it is NOT your property. If you OWN the house it is yours to pass to your decendants forever (or until it burns or someone steals it).

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:21PM (#24139567)

    Most Pirates I have heard about download it becasue they aren't sure about it

    Yeah, that's what they all say. They somehow think if they convince people they're only "trying" it out then somehow they aren't scumbags.

    The truth of the matter, of course: they "try" it right till the end, or whatever point they don't feel like playing it anymore. It's just as much bullshit as the "backups" euphemism.

  • by propanol (1223344) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:29PM (#24139713)

    ... is because they're based on the 'technology first, everything else second' formula that's been the defacto standard for PC game development since the late nineties, which was the point where the costs were starting to rise and publishers losing interest in being innovative, instead opting for easy tried-and-true-but-with-more-powerful-technology cash-ins. This worked as long as people were interested in upgrading their hardware not only for games but also to improve their overall computer usage experience, but since the advent of Windows XP (plus service packs) and the P4/Athlon XP generation of CPUs many users have found themselves able to carry out their computer-related activities well enough not to need further upgrades.

    The PC gaming market is effectively destroying itself by sticking to this paradigm, because the amount of people who own top-end hardware isn't going to increase - someone who plays games and is looking to buy a PC today isn't going to opt for one with a fancy GPU from Nvidia or ATI that's able to run top-end PC games because even if a particular game isn't available for anything but the PC you can for most part find console games with comparable technology and playability. The PC doesn't have the technological advantage it used to have over consoles or at least it doesn't play as much of a role anymore because even if Crysis looks nicer than, say, Gears of War, for most people the latter is going to be good enough. Graphics in games have advanced to the point where they have become a commodity, and when people will no longer latch on to your game because it's technologically superior because your competitors offer something that might be somewhat inferior but still good enough you have get to them by other means. So far the gaming industry's reacted kind of similar to the music industry (where the music is a commodity as it's all seemingly factory produced) in the face of this - more focus on branding and controlling news- and retail outlets (hence the increase lately in reports of "professional reviewers" being restricted in terms of what they're allowed to print in reviews).

    What most of PC game developers or former PC game developers refuse to admit to is that there's a huge market beyond the one that finds your technology the most appealing aspect of your game. The Sims and subsequent sequels proved it existed. People who shuffle The Sims, WoW etc. into their own categories as phenomenon that cannot be repeated simply don't understand that these games were and continue to be successful because they appeal to people by having good gameplay, which is far more universal than having cutting edge technology. And contrary to what these people think, their success can be repeated - but in order to do so you need innovative and creative gameplay and creating such takes talent; something the video game industry as a whole is surprisingly devoid of.

  • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@NoSPaM.pitabred.dyndns.org> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:32PM (#24139751) Homepage

    Meh. I (and a lot of my friends) own full copies of many games, but still get the cracks and pirated versions. It's just a hell of a lot easier to play, I can keep the disc images on my machine (or not even need them), rather than trying to cart around a bunch of CD's or trying to keep them in pristine condition going in and out of the drive all the time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:32PM (#24139775)

    You don't have to demo a Blizzard game to know it's worth the money, either. Crap, that was your point.... anyway...

    I think part of the point is that the business model for the industry is broken. Paying 50 bucks to find out a game sucks really ... sucks. And currently, demos only seem to work from companies that are consistently good producers anyway. That could change.

    Yeah, I think some publishers are going to have to look at different business models for releasing and profiting from games. However, I think shareware may be a better model than ad support.

  • by replicant108 (690832) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:35PM (#24139855) Journal

    If I steal your product, that implies that I want it. Do I want it badly enough that I would pay for it if there was no possible way to steal it? Maybe, maybe not, but the product clearly has some value to me, since I was willing to go through the trouble and risk of stealing it.

    Yes, but we are not talking about stealing, unless you can prove otherwise. We are talking about copyright infringement.

    That was kind of the point.

    However, if I'm buying someone else's product instead, that implies that your game has no value to me.

    No, it implies that the other person's product has more value.

    What was your point again?

  • by jlf278 (1022347) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:38PM (#24139929)
    It's ridiculous to believe that people only illegally download content they would normally have purchased. I.E. - spore creature creator looked fun, so I DL the trial, but was annoyed by at the few parts. So I looked for a bootleg, but soon gave up. I DIDN'T then go buy it for $10, because I didn't really care. If I had found a bootleg, obviously that would not have deprived anyone of $$$. In fact, it might have led me to buy the full version when released.

    In a perfect world everything's free and people are so honest and civil-minded that they donate their money to content provider's as appropriate. blah blah blah. Personally, the system we have seems just fine. Pirating is heavily skewed towards the younger and less affluent anyway.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:40PM (#24139965) Homepage
    Is there any rule for the 360 stating that the game experience has to be the same for all versions of the console? No reason why they couldn't precache if the hard drive is available, and make the people who don't have one suffer. Anyway, I think the whole idea of different versions of a console are completely negating the purpose of the console. The purpose of the console is to give everyone the same system, so that everything works the same for everybody, and people don't have to think and choose about which model to buy. The whole idea of multiple models of consoles just confuses the consumers.
  • Re:Problems... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tikkun (992269) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:42PM (#24140021) Homepage

    - Worldwide PC Gaming 2007 - $8.3 billion +14%
    - Worldwide PC Gaming 2008 - $9.6 billion +16% (forecast)

    I think about 2 billion of that is WoW... ;)

  • by penguin_dance (536599) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:50PM (#24140153)

    Let me throw this wrench in the works. What if I buy a used (game/book/music) at Half Price Books [halfpricebooks.com]? What if I borrowed it from a library and returned it? This still deprives the producer of revenue beyond the first user. I am paying for ownership in the first case, but that's only going to the store has the game, not the intellectual owner. And that, in essnce, has been their argument--it doesn't matter if Joe Blow bought the game, the minute he started sharing it with others, that's suddenly illegal.

    What it really comes to is not about sharing. That argument cannot be legitimately made unless they go after used book/music/game stores and libraries. It's about the item can now be shared with thousands all at once.

    If they really want to term it otherwise, it might be closer termed as counterfieting as you are making an unoffical copy of the software, movie, etc., much a one would make counterfit money.

    For the record I buy very few games these day--not because of piracy--but because they mostly suck. I don't buy music at all--they don't make much for my generation any more. The music they put out are for the same people who are more likely to download than purchase. However even with piracy, if you make a great game you're still going to make money. I'm looking forward to SPORE coming out. Yes, the pirate will serve that one up too, but it will still make money if it's as good as it looks. Another Wil game, The Sims--look how many that's sold or the And that's the main point: What a lot of publishers want to blame on priacy is really more due to putting out a poor product.

  • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:52PM (#24140191) Homepage

    Which is why i think game developers like consoles so much more than PCs. It's much easier to ensure everyone has a good experience when everybody is running the exact same hardware.

    Forget DEVELOPERS... it's why _I_ like consoles more than PCs for gaming. I stopped gaming on my PC back in 2002 and I couldn't be happier with the decision. Last time I upgraded my PC in 2003 and I'm still happy with the performance for everything else I use it for which includes audio and photo editing with the occasional CAD work on top of other day-to-day tasks...

    I know most /. gamers have some sort of distaste for console gamers but hey when I get home from the cube farm I can crash on the couch and start playing that new game I picked up from the store as soon as I put the disc in the console... no configuration garbage to play with, no headaches of installing or downloading all of the patches, or worrying if it's going to crash on level 2.

  • by dave420 (699308) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:00PM (#24140351)
    Graphical equivalent of the Wii on the PC? It only outputs video at 480i, and only has 24MB of memory for its graphics adaptor. You can buy a card to do that for well under $100. The PC games industry is currently booming. All this "PC games are dead" is complete bullshit.
  • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:07PM (#24140491)

    And when you can prove that one person "stealing" the game makes it impossible for somebody else to buy it, you might have a point. Until then you really ought to actually spend some time learning about the subject.

    Realistically, piracy has always been rampant, and despite the FUD to the otherwise, there's still a game industry. It's just that back in the late 80s and early to mid 90s the vast majority of game companies didn't waste money or effort fighting it.

    I personally won't buy games which have copy protection any more because it gets in the way of me enjoying the purchase I made.

  • by sxmjmae (809464) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:12PM (#24140625)
    I have returned lots of opened software. I return it and claim I disagree with the Licensing agreement (which typical states that if you disagree with it you are to return it). If push comes to shove I ask them to read the Licensing prior to opening the box and of course you can NOT use my copy to do that. I have had 100% success rate in returning opened software packages.
  • by kidgenius (704962) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:19PM (#24140781)
    Here's what I think they really need to do. Release free games, but charge for additional content, like outfits, guns, different characters, etc. It's the razors and blades model. You give away one thing, the game (razor), and charge a lot for the blades (add-ons). So you want your guy to have a certain camouflage or costume? It'll cost you $7.99. Want a different gun that is slightly more powerful? That'll be $3.99 please. The more popular/downloaded your game is, the more people that will probably want to spend a couple of bucks to customize it, and you'll make money. Plus, you won't have to worry about all those costs like packaging, shipping, making CDs, etc. Hell, charge people $10 if they want a physical version of the CD, and let everyone else download it. For $10, a bunch of people won't want to deal with the hassle of downloading.
  • by atraintocry (1183485) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:39PM (#24141233)
    The NES saw the release of something like 700 games. I think most were Mega Man titles, actually. A lot were high-quality, but most were complete crap, even worse than South Park for N64. I guess they were lovable, though. Of the games I had/have, some are now called classics, depsite the fact that they're basically unplayable, or terrible adaptations of movies/shows (it didn't start with 3D consoles...check out Friday the 13th). Something that controlled like Ironsword would be laughed at these days. But at least it had cool songs and artwork, not many of them even had that.

    Now it's the FPS you can't escape from. Back then you had your platformers, beat-em-up platformers, action platformers, and the occasional top-down game. You'd think some of the third-party software makers could have come up with a decent platform engine, but they didn't. For every playable game like Mega Man or Shatterhand, there was Wrestlemania or Rollergames, where "winning" meant not developing childhood arthritis. Don't get me wrong, I loved those games, but I don't think quality has gone downhill overall from the 80s. Up, if anything. There'll always be the ones you love to remember and the ones you would like to forget.
  • by MooseMuffin (799896) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:51PM (#24141473)
    bnetd? The reverse engineered version of their free online service, minus the check for a legitimate copy of the game?

    How exactly can they justify not shutting that down?
  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @04:03PM (#24141731) Journal

    The physicality of the item, or the lack thereof, is not important.

    Wrong. The "physicality" is fundamental to the issue.

    Your bank account scam analogy is fatally flawed. You said "shaved". As in, people's bank accounts are being reduced. That is theft. A whole lot of people lost a little money out of their accounts. That does not happen with copying.

    Even the immaterialness of your bank account example is flawed. Money is a convenient representation of all scarce resources, and as such must itself be scarce. Easily done by using some sort of material representation such as coinage. But if it's done electronically, then it must be kept scarce by other means. Otherwise the economy would have to go back to barter. Creating more money, which is what copying money would do, is another crime known as counterfeiting. Unlike money, information is not scarce. And information does not need to be kept scarce to be valuable, just the opposite in most cases.

    when you pirate software, you have deprived the copyright holder of something which belongs to them: the copy you made.

    No. Information is not a good, and cannot be owned. It isn't material. Now, information can be "fixed" in a medium, and that material item can indeed be owned. But the author has a copyright, not a property deed. Copyrights can be owned, media can be owned, but information cannot be owned. We often say of people who have paid for a medium containing a copy of something that they "own a copy of" or even just "own" some album, book, movie, or whatever, but what is meant is that they own the medium, not the information on it. There are many things they can legally do with the medium such as sell it, that they can't do with the information. Fixing a copy of some copyrighted info to a medium does not somehow assign the ownership of that medium to the copyright holder, that's not how the law works.

    We can't have a good argument on these issues until we can agree on the terms. Your logic is founded on redefining the basic terms to mean things they do not mean. There's nothing more to say until you stop equating copying with theft. Copying is NOT theft. It's not even similar to theft. Copying isn't always a crime, theft is always a crime. Copyright infringement is always a violation of the law, but not all copying is copyright infringement. Murder, speeding, perjury, vandalism, fraud, and counterfeiting are always violations of the law. But none of those are theft. There are many, many crimes that are not theft. Copyright infringement is not theft. Copyright infringement is not theft. One more time: Copyright infringement is not theft.

  • by eepok (545733) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @04:10PM (#24141845) Homepage

    There is inherent difference between an item in my house and an item elsewhere. Mainly, that one item is in my house and the other is elsewhere.

    Deprive someone of physical property for the sake of your own use and you have committed theft.

    Deprive someone of physical property for the sake of resale, and you've both committed theft and entered the black market.

    Copy the property or recipe for the property, you have violated copyright violation because you have an unlicensed copy.

    Copy the property or recipe for the property for the sake of sale, and you've both created unlicensed copies and you're bootlegging.

    Theft/black market deprives people of ownership/possession, use, and potential profits.

    Creating unlicensed copies and/or bootlegging only deprives people of potential profits.

  • by Targon (17348) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @04:37PM (#24142477)

    This is a very common misconception about the costs for playing games on a PC. I have seen your argument over and over again, so I hope you see my response/correction.

    A computer that is used for work or general "home" stuff does not come with good graphics in most cases. These machines are 100 percent focused on non-games related tasks, so as a result, you should not put those functions into the "cost for the games portion of the computer". You can also look at this from another point of view, where if you ONLY buy a computer to play games and NOTHING else, then the cost of a gaming computer is much more expensive than a console, but if you plan to buy a computer for other things as well as playing games, you can now split the costs up.

    HP Pavilion desktop computer with AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+, 3GB RAM(DDR2), 360GB hard drive, integrated NVIDIA graphics and onboard sound will cost you $530 from Best Buy. Add a 19 inch screen, and you are looking at under $700 for the complete machine. Notice that there is nothing here that is focused on playing games.

    So, what would turn the above computer into a decent gaming computer? The video card, which will run between $200 and $300 for a card that is probably more powerful than what you would see in an Xbox 360 or PS3. That is the only price you are really paying to play games here.

    What many people do not think about is how many people use a flat panel TV to play their game console on. If you don't watch TV on that big flat panel screen, you should now add the price of the screen to your game console. That will be upwards of $800. Suddenly, the cost of a game console is quite a bit higher than the computer. In the same way I write off the non-gamer components from a computer, you can theoretically write down the cost of that flat panel TV if you watch TV on it.

    So, what platform costs more to operate now? Do you connect your PS3 to a regular TV?

  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:14PM (#24143245)

    > Blizzard always releases late. People understand them. Why?

    Having shipped & worked on a few titles the answer is simple:

    Because no one remembers if a bad game ships on time, but if a good game is late, no one will really care _too_ much. In order to do this, you need:

    1. Money, to "buy" you the time to polish.
    2. Faith in your good team to produce a great product.

    Most game studios are short on both.

    Blizzard is not innovative -- they just copy what _works. BUT, they DO put a ton of work into UI and balancing. Wow would not be anyway popular as it is without the mods. (They implemented this lesson perfectly from the FPS scene: Quake, Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, etc.)

    > Why is it that so FEW companies actually put out workable, GOOD products?

    For a few reasons...

    - Because of the percieved ROI, and short-term cost. Management & Publishers freak out if you tell them "You want to extend a game's development schedule by another year?! We can't afford that!" Partly they are right. Someday they will realize "Can you afford _not to_!"

    - Good Design is _hard_. Even popular games, such as the wow designers, don't have a fucking clue about something as basic as 'dead time.' (They are getting MUCH better about this Thx God.) The rule is simple: If the player is _bored_, you, the game maker fucked up, but Coders, Designers, and Management don't understand this or over-rule this. Most Game Developers are at the whim of the publisher, and publishers don't want to pay r&d to find "a solution", when the existing system "is good enough."

    - Herd mentality. Easier to produce something that everyone is familiar with, then to approach things in a different way. To their defense, just because you know what you shouldn't do, doesn't imply that you know what you _should_ do. To do things "right" takes time and money, something in short supply in this biz.

    - The most innovative games are not rewarded financially. The consumers continue to buy this year's crap that has prettier graphics. Ico should of sold millions, instead everyone is raving about yet {insert game of this year.} i.e. Halo, CoD, GTA4. (Not saying those are bad games. They are half-decent games. Everyone focuses on the latest sequelitis because really _good_ games are out in the _fringe_ of people's comfort zone.)

    - People don't want to pay for "Quality", because they don't value it. This problem, effects all industries. Some would call it the "Wal-Mart syndrome"

    Cheers

  • by descil (119554) <teraten.hotmail@com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:17PM (#24143303)
    He's put a nail in his coffin if he thinks he can rely on this. It's an insecure solution that will only turn people off more.

    Micropay for items ingame is slightly harder to patch than disabling serial protection, if properly implemented. But not by very much, and we're really good at it, thanks, pretty much the computer does all the hard work now.

    People don't want to whip out their credit card in midgame and use it to buy a +3 sword of shiny metal bits. At least I don't.

    Try donations instead. You might be surprised, if your content is any good. If it's not, you may as well piss of your users with DRM (as if that worked), because they're not going to like the game once they start playing anyway.

    Keep selling games. Stop whining about people sharing with each other. Or, if you like whining so much, maybe do some polls and find out what the REAL reason people don't want to give you money for your work is.

    You like watching David Perry? Oh. You watched him make Earthworm Jim, then, I guess? That was pretty impressive, that character really entered society. Let's see what he did after that... OH! It was all derivative crud. Maybe you should stop following game developers around and thinking their shit smells good, and get a clue.
  • by Machtyn (759119) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:26PM (#24143495) Homepage Journal
    You know, that's interesting. I downloaded the completely free Radiohead album that came out recently. I didn't like it, I deleted it.

    Ditto on games. I will try them and buy it if I like it.

    CD cracks are a completely different issue. I do NOT want to be bothered to search my huge collection of CDs, then find out the blasted thing is scratched. Not only that, I've only got so many 5.25" slots for CD drives. I have two slots, but I could, in a given week, play about 7 different games. Currently, I'm working through Oblivion, Civilization IV (with some friends), Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (with some friends), Diablo II (III's coming out "soon", I hope), TrackMania Nations, Need for Speed: Underground 2. I need to finish Neverwinter Nights (I got the expansion recently), I may reload Fallout at some point. And all of this does not even touch my Valve Software collection. Five of the seven games I just mentioned required the game CD when they were first released. Diablo II, I think, no longer needs it and Fallout is old and the company released a no CD patch themselves. GRAW2 was legally purchased from a website and downloaded. I burned the install files to a disk for archiving purposes, although that was not necessarily the intent of the download.

    Interestingly, Civ IV failed to work for one of my friend's legally purchased copy because of the CD checks. I pointed him to a place to acquire the no CD crack. His game works perfectly now. I use a certain set of software to create an image of the disk that will circumvent the disk check and allow ISO reads. So Civ IV, Morrowind, Oblivion, NFS:U2, and NWN all have their image stored somewhere on my hard drive.

    I really like Valve Software's model. They don't care how often I reformat my computer or even what computer I'm on. If they can validate my account, I have access to the game.
  • by cliffski (65094) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:30PM (#24144531) Homepage

    "You're doing something that doesn't harm anyone in any way"

    Let me guess, you don't rely on selling games for a living do you?

    You are talking shit. long winded shit to justify stealing games, just don't embarrass yourself by this rationalizing to people who actually lose sales to piracy...

    If I make a game, and you want to play it, and you refuse to pay me for my work, you are a thief. you can type pages of bullshit to try and weasel out of it, I'll always call a thief a thief, a leech a leech and a scumbag with a sense of entitlement a scumbag with a sense of entitlement.

  • by merreborn (853723) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @07:00PM (#24144945) Journal

    If you download (steal/copy whatever the fuck makes you sleep at night) the game, then clearly you were in the target market and wanted it. But you just shrunk that potential target market by 1.

    False assumption. Some, if not most, people who download illegal copies of software have no interest in purchasing the software in the first place. They were never potential buyers.

    You might as well claim, "Hey, slashdot should start charging for pageviews! They're serving a million pages a day for free! If they started charging $1/page, they'd make a million dollars a day!"

    As you raise the price of an item, (from $0 to the actual MSRP) the number of people willing to buy at that price decreases. Basic economics.

    I understand that you want to get paid for you work. So do I. But copyright violation is not theft, and you can't assume that every copyright violation is a lost sale.

  • by Emperor Zombie (1082033) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @07:59PM (#24145629)
    The distinction between theft and copyright infringement is not meaningless at all. Yes, they are both crimes, and yes, they both deprive people of revenue; however, they are not the same crime and should not be treated as such.
    Let's revisit your example, but in this case somebody starts murdering anyone who bought the game. After a couple news reports, people might stop purchasing the game for fear of being murdered. Obviously the murderer is depriving the developers of sales revenue, so by your logic we should charge him with theft, right? Not murder?
  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @08:21PM (#24145829) Journal

    This talk about meanings is not meaningless. Quite the contrary. It is fundamental to whether the grievances against "piracy" are righteous.

    Your hypothetical independent game developer-- does this person even exist, or is he a figment of your imagination? Do you have any idea of the organization needed to produce a hit game these days? Anyway, he needs a different business model. Yes, there are different business models. You write as if it's copyright or nothing. Not true!

    you will not be able to recoup your costs for development or make a profit.

    Bull. WoW, Everquest, 2nd Life, and all those seem to be doing quite well.

    The incentive to develop games commercially is lost.

    Bull again. See above list of games.

    there is something fundamentally unfair about enjoying the labor of one person without compensating them fairly.

    Yes indeed, just like corporations do to software developers today! Work for hire, you know. There is something fundamentally unfair about 3rd parties being able to squeeze money out of consumers forever for something that took perhaps a year to produce. A lifetime of income for a year of someone else's work? As an employee, I have written software. They used my software long after my departure. And I didn't get paid any portion of whatever income the company may have made off of my work. I got my pathetic salary and not a penny more. Copyright isn't doing the little guy any favors, not in that kind of environment.

  • by CycoChuck (102607) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:10PM (#24146337) Journal

    It's just as much bullshit as the "backups" euphemism.

    I legibly backup my discs be it games, software, or DVDs and am glad I do it. I had a house fire a few years back and would of lost thousands if it wasn't for my off-site backups. Sure you could so that insurance would replace it, but have you ever added up what it would cost to replace everything in your house and then looked at the cost of the policy needed to replace all that stuff?

    Most Pirates I have heard about download it becasue they aren't sure about it

    Yeah, that's what they all say. They somehow think if they convince people they're only "trying" it out then somehow they aren't scumbags.

    True, there are a lot of people out there that say this and are bold face lying. But there are also a lot of people that pirate to actually see the game and if it would work for them. Demos have a way to show only the best in the game, just as the game boxes only show great scenes (if any) from the game. And you know you can't trust game reviewers because they are bought and paid for by game companies.

    The best analogy that I can come up for why a lot pirate is this: You read about a car in a magazine and decide you would like to check it out. You go to the dealer and find a red one that you really like and want to test drive but the dealer will only let you test drive the blue one. The test drive goes great and they sell you the red one. You get the red one home and the engine falls out. You try to take the red one back but the dealer tells you no returns on cars driven off the lot.

    In car buying, you have some protection under the law from this happening to you, with software you are at the mercy of the company that made it and the store that sold it.

  • by brkello (642429) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:43PM (#24146639)
    All you are doing is justifying your illegal actions (as is popular on this site). Don't get me wrong, I have pirated in the past so it isn't like I am sitting on some moral high horse. So feel free to pirate all you want, just don't come on here and tell me it is good for the game companies. It isn't. It is the people like you and the people that pirate everything that makes DRM exist.

    If you don't want to get stuck with a bad game, find a reviewer that has similar tastes and stick with what they recommend. Demos aren't always as bad as you say. Word of mouth and watching posts on Slashdot isn't bad either. There are plenty of alternatives to pirating now. So pirate all you want, but don't try to make it seem like you are doing a good thing.
  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:03AM (#24148401)

    On the Internet they have these things called "game reviews."

    Except writing a bad game review gets you fired [slashdot.org] so they're not at all accurate and doesn't give you any idea how it will play on your computer, xbox or TV screen.

    The history of game reviews is littered with bribery and it's still the case. Reviews are complete bullshit.

  • by nahdude812 (88157) * on Friday July 11, 2008 @08:22AM (#24150739) Homepage

    I feel like I've stepped into a Twilight Zone thread, where you say one thing, and people respond as if you said something completely different.

    The original point (now GGGGGGGP or something) was that it's not uncommon for a game's demo to be heavily tested and bug fixed so that it is not representative of the quality and stability of the retail version of the game. You try the demo, exercise as much due diligence as you are able to with it, and you are satisfied with the game's quality. But then when you load up the retail version of the game, you're not able to play it, or the content that wasn't in the demo is buggy and unstable.

    This is not that uncommon, it happens for several reasons:
    1) The demo content is tested substantially more aggressively than the rest of the content for release, because the demo directly affects sales while the rest of it only indirectly.
    2) The demo lacks copy protection, while the retail version has it tightly packed in. Copy protection is the number one thing which is likely to interfere with my ability to play a game, and you can't test that in the demo.

    So the original point was: maybe the demo is great and the retail version sucks. Nobody is claiming that the demo sucked and you bought the retail version anyway, they're only saying that just because the demo doesn't suck doesn't mean the retail version doesn't either.

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