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PC Games (Games) The Almighty Buck Hardware

id CEO Claims PC Hardware Manufacturers Love Piracy 676

Posted by Soulskill
from the arrrrdware dept.
arcticstoat sends a link to an interview with the CEO of id Software, Todd Hollenshead, in which he suggests that hardware manufacturers count on piracy to help drive profits, rather than doing something to prevent it. Quoting: "...I think that there's been this dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers, which is that the perception of free content — even if you're supposed to pay for it on PCs — is some sort hidden benefit that you get when you buy a PC, like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games. ...And I think that just based on their actions...what they say is one thing, but what they do is another. When it comes into debates about whether peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that by-and-large have the vast majority, I'm talking 99 per cent of the content is illicitly trading copyrighted property, they'll come out on the side of the 1 per cent of the user doing it for legitimate benefit."
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id CEO Claims PC Hardware Manufacturers Love Piracy

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  • What a secret! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MahJongKong (883108) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:33PM (#24720659)
    That's business as usual, not a "dirty little secret".
    • Re:What a secret! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:36PM (#24720685)

      Precisely, that's been the case for decades. Back 20 years ago, it was pretty much assumed that when you got a computer people would come over with disks of commercial software that would be installed.

      It makes it hard for me to take piracy complaints seriously since, the actual rates are probably only a fraction of what they used to be. Sure that means more piracy in terms of numbers, but a much smaller amount in terms of actual percentage of users.

      • Re:What a secret! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:02PM (#24720963) Journal
        Exactly. Years ago, when I lived at home, if I bought a computer and it didn't come with software, it was unheard of...

        These days, if my parents buy a computer from anywhere that isn't a big box store, they expect it to come pre-loaded with software - even though they havn't paid for it. Otherwise, the computer doesn't "work", and they've asked them to fix it. That is the price for their customer loyalty (and money).

        If I buy a computer with no software, it isn't a problem. I'm plenty capable of installing thousands of dollars of pirated software on it - by my self.
        • Re:What a secret! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday August 23, 2008 @07:24PM (#24722469) Homepage Journal

          These days, if my parents buy a computer from anywhere that isn't a big box store, they expect it to come pre-loaded with software - even though they havn't paid for it.

          You may not have noticed, but a computer does not "work" without software. That's why it's perfectly reasonable for consumers to expect software to come loaded on their new computer. When you buy a cellular phone, do you expect it to come with empty memory so you have to install the communications software on it before you can make a call?

          Nobody is forcing Dell or HP or Sony to load tons of junk on their computers when they leave the factory.

          Now, speaking to the issue at hand, the idea that computer hardware manufacturers are "in favor of" piracy just because some of them don't want to include DRM in the hardware or firmware is just a bunch of crap. You have a bunch of crybabies saying that "it's their fault" instead of looking at themselves in the mirror.

          For example, many people have found that it's just simpler to pay for computer games when they are sold and delivered in a sensible, reasonably-priced manner, such as Steam, instead of downloading them from TPB. So a group of vendors actually thought of a solution instead of trying to turn users into terrorists, and now they're making money and consumers are happy.

          A casual home user who needs a word processor shouldn't be expected to lay out $500 for some overblown suite. And thanks to, google docs, etc, we are learning we don't have to. There are even quite a few professionals who find that Open Office works just fine, thank you. There was a time when anyone who wanted to use a computer had to budget in a thousand bucks just to do some basic tasks.

          The question isn't whether corporations should make money. It's whether they need a steady stream of ever-increasing record-breaking profits. Pigs do get slaughtered, you know.

      • Software piracy drove sales of the Amiga. Every single Amiga owner I knew, including myself, pirated software. Though most did do the decent thing and buy the good titles. (Anything from Sensible, a lot of Microprose stuff etc...) The fact is being able to get free stuff was a MASSIVE selling point for the hardware.

        A lot of people claim that piracy is what ultimately killed the Amiga. That was completely untrue in my experience. What really killed the Amiga was id Software releasing "Doom".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          What really killed the Amiga was id Software releasing "Doom".

          What really killed the Amiga was "mismanagement".

      • by markdowling (448297) <> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:58PM (#24721467)

        Back when PCs came preloaded, there wasn't Lotus Symphony, Paint.NET, GIMP, Thunderbird etc. There was Lotus 1-2-3, Photoship, WinFax and Eudora - all pay-to-use, and later on crippled versions for "free". If you couldn't pay, the only alternative was piracy.

        Open Source gives the freedom NOT to use pirated material.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And yet, by and large, people still aren't choosing that freedom.

          For everyone who's running Open Office, I bet there's a dozen pirated copies of Office.

    • by Adambomb (118938)

      True, that does seem to be almost a given. PC Hardware manufacturers sales are usually betting on people needing their current line to run the latest and greatest of games. A wider base of PC owners who can access these games at 0 cost adds a nice incentive for these owners to then legitimately upgrade their PC's. That is entirely aside from the fact that being ABLE to pirate is seen by many consumers as a primary function of PCs to begin with.

      Heck, this isn't even new. I know more than one person who had p

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050)

        The thing is...

        Most people have limited budgets...

        You can't get up to date hardware for free.

        So you have a choice...

        A slower computer and a small set of paid software
        A faster computer and a large set of pirated or free software

        There's really no comparison is there.

    • If the claim in TFA were true, wouldn't we see lots of manufacturers pushing Linux? If they see pirated software as having a significant effect on demand for their product, they should see free software as having the same effect?

      I suspect that they are just indifferent.

      • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:03PM (#24720977)

        That doesn't even begin to make sense, I'm afraid.

        One: Linux is basically unknown. Yes, we as Slashdotters know about it, and it runs on eight bajillion items, but the end user still remains basically ignorant.

        Two: Linux doesn't require upgrades (in fact, it could really be argued that upgrading to the latest and greatest is a really bad thing for a Linux user, what with driver issues and all).

        Three: Most of that pirated software won't run on Linux (or requires a bunch of screwing around to get working, hello WINE), so using Linux isn't a plus for people who want to avail themselves of that pirated content.

        Open source software isn't the same as getting commercial software for free. As much as some of the gnulots around here would like you to believe, most of the time commercial software is still better--for an end user, although not always (or even often) from a technical perspective. (Just look at Windows versus any of the major Linux DEs. It's pretty obvious that Microsoft has UI experts and programmers who are paid to work with them, as opposed to "scratch your own itch" open source programmers. Nobody can, or should try to, force open source programmers to work on them, but there is a corresponding failure of usability inherent in such.)

        • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:56PM (#24721455)
          I would argue that another reason hardware makers shy away from Linux is that a typical Linux system can remain functional and operating on a single computer far longer than a Windows system. I have a system from 2002 running the latest CentOS right now, no problems at all. I've had my laptop for three years, and see no reason to upgrade my hardware, even though I am running the latest Fedora and KDE. Compare with Vista, where I would have required an upgrade just to use some of the features.

          Why would a hardware maker of any sort want to back a platform that decreases the incentive to upgrade and buy more hardware?
          • by tmossman (901205) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @06:33PM (#24722189)
            Agreed. My backup laptop is a Thinkpad 600X that's been frankenstein-ed together from a series of donor machines bought "as-is" on the cheap. It runs Ubuntu no problems at all, on a 450MHz P3 and 192MB RAM. With a wifi card attached, it does anything you'd reasonably want from a laptop, and can be kept alive nearly indefinitely given the amount of spare parts I've amassed.

            Built like an M1 Abrams, it is a hardware manufacturer's worst nightmare. Lesser, more "modern" laptops with their shiny metallic cases and accelerometer-protected hard drives would shit their boot sectors at the merest mention of the horrors this computational Sisyphus has endured. It is a laptop for the End of Days; I've faster gear, and I've better looking gear, but when the zombie apocalypse finally jumps off, I know which laptop will be strapped to my back while I grind my way through fields of the undead with shotgun and machete. It weighs somewhere around 12 lbs fully loaded, sports a crudely spray-painted camouflage paint job and, in a pinch, can be used as a bludgeoning weapon.
        • by shaitand (626655) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @07:51PM (#24722607) Journal

          I shouldn't feed such a blatant troll but what the hell.

          'One: Linux is basically unknown. Yes, we as Slashdotters know about it, and it runs on eight bajillion items, but the end user still remains basically ignorant.'

          That would depend on the crowd, most of the people I talk to now have heard of linux even if they don't know what it is. However, most of them don't know what windows is either.

          'Two: Linux doesn't require upgrades (in fact, it could really be argued that upgrading to the latest and greatest is a really bad thing for a Linux user, what with driver issues and all).'

          What driver issues? My last two new system builds loaded without the need for additional drivers. Firmware needed to be downloaded to run my wireless adapter properly but Ubuntu helpfully does that for me.

          'Open source software isn't the same as getting commercial software for' free.

          your right, for the most part I've found the popular open source software better than commercial offerings.

          '(Just look at Windows versus any of the major Linux DEs. It's pretty obvious that Microsoft has UI experts and programmers who are paid to work with them'

          Yes, the programmers obviously didn't care about what they were doing and the UI is horrible. It actually gets worse with age. The MacOS UI is better but still fails to measure up to Gnome or KDE.

          • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @08:53PM (#24723039)

            I shouldn't feed such a blatant troll but what the hell.

            Not a troll. I'm an open-source developer. I just don't drink the kool-aid and I'm willing to admit that we still have work to do.

            That would depend on the crowd, most of the people I talk to now have heard of linux even if they don't know what it is. However, most of them don't know what windows is either.

            Meaningless statement.

            What driver issues? My last two new system builds loaded without the need for additional drivers. Firmware needed to be downloaded to run my wireless adapter properly but Ubuntu helpfully does that for me.

            As said so frequently on Linux Hater's Blog [], WorksForMe(tm) is not an acceptable answer.

            your right, for the most part I've found the popular open source software better than commercial offerings.

            Perhaps for you it's easier. For most people, it seems like the popular open source software is vastly inferior. People would rather pay for MS Office than use OpenOffice. People would rather pay for Visio than use Dia. People would rather pay for Photoshop than use The GIMP. If they were inferior, why would this be so?

            Yes, the programmers obviously didn't care about what they were doing and the UI is horrible. It actually gets worse with age. The MacOS UI is better but still fails to measure up to Gnome or KDE.

            Telling the GNOME and KDE developers feel-good lies like this doesn't help. Echo chambers are bad.

            • by shaitand (626655)

              'As said so frequently on Linux Hater's Blog []'

              Clearly, I should run everything by Linux Hater's Blog from now on.

              'WorksForMe(tm) is not an acceptable answer.'

              If you say so. Working for an IT consulting firm I install hundreds of Linux and thousands of windows systems each week. While your chances of picking random cheap hardware off the shelf and having it be made to work are better on windows there is broad Linux support now. With windows there generally 4 or 5 drivers to be installed after y

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:34PM (#24720667)

    years ago Piracy give windows and office a big boost to where they are now.

  • by aztektum (170569) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:36PM (#24720687)

    Ditch perpetual copyrights. I say give corps 3-5 years to turn a profit and then it becomes public domain. For individuals a bit longer, but if you still can't make money, well, time to go back to plumber school I guess.

    What's next? We keep paying doctors every few years for prior services rendered? Or how about the contractor that built your house you continue to live in?

    • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:03PM (#24720975) Homepage

      Care to elaborate how this would stop piracy? Obviously after that date nobody can pirate those products anymore but the vast majority of piracy (at least the piracy that really bothers software developers and movie makers) occurs in the first 6 months of release.

      Are you suggesting that people knowing that the copyright will expire sooner will cause them to wait 5 years until things are available legally for free? I honestly don't think that's true, so unless you've got something to back that up I think we can discount that as a valid argument - especially given that 90% of games are available for a fiver in the bargain bin within 18 months of release.

      I'm no fan of DRM, Trusted Computing, or any other anti-piracy measure currently employed by major software publishers, but I don't see how copyright law has any tangible relationship to this subject.

      • by aztektum (170569) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:55PM (#24721905)

        You're right it wouldn't END piracy, it would certainly reduce the scope of what is piracy.

        I've lost or had discs become damaged to no fault of my own. I have gone out and downloaded new copies, but under current terms, I'd be a pirate, despite having paid for the game (in many cases full retail price as opposed to waiting for it to be in the fiver bin.).

        You reduce the scope of piracy and then can focus better on the actual problem (people downloading something they haven't paid for.). Much of the time this crying about piracy is just a blanket term used to go after anyone downloading anything.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bert64 (520050)

          Reduce the scope, leaving more resources to pursue that reduced scope.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Are you suggesting that people knowing that the copyright will expire sooner will cause them to wait 5 years until things are available legally for free?

        Only if you form a "copyright police" to go around and rough up everyone who doesn't conform... At which point we start extending copyright again.

        There's no obvious solution to the problem of copyright. Frankly, there must be a basic moral issue at question here someplace; perhaps it's over whether the creator of a work has a right to reassign ownership, or perhaps it's over whether it's right for a corporation (which has no "soul" whatever that means to you and can in theory live eternally) to receive that

    • People pay for artists' prints, which while a tangible item are but copies. So we're going to gank them too, right?

      What about books? Authors earn royalties off those for years! How DARE they?! (Never mind that a five-year copyright would essentially make most books thoroughly unprofitable--good job killing off what remains of the American market for books!)

      Oh, wait. Sorry, I forgot. You do want software you don't have to pay for. The side effects of your desires don't matter, because you don't have to pay f

      • Oh. Almost forgot. "For individuals a bit longer"--well, that still screws over most authors. And corporations will just assign the copyright to the corporation's owner or something similar, and you get the same benefits as an individual. Smooth!

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:38PM (#24721279) Journal
        I take it you didn't read the Gowers Report. Most books would still be profitable with a five-year copyright, because sales of most books drop of dramatically after this period. The ones that are still selling well after this period are almost invariably the same ones that sold so many in the first five years that there is no doubt as to whether they made a profit large enough to justify the cost of publishing them.

        For the record, my publisher is based in the USA, and regards 3,000 sales as the minimum needed to make a profit. This works out to less than two sales per day over five years. Any book that can't do that well probably shouldn't be published anyway.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I did read the Gowers Report; I disagree with some of the claims made in it (chiefly among them the failure to take into account the likelihood of people just not buying titles because they know that they'll be free not that far down the line), but more importantly I also wasn't clear enough in my post. Yes, a publisher is profitable off a small number of books. In your publisher's case, three thousand sales is the minimum for the publisher to make a profit. When I talk about books being unprofitable, I'm s

          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:02PM (#24721509) Journal
            Speaking as a full time writer, I disagree, because your assertions counter my direct experience. I think you over estimate the patience of the consumer a lot. Five years is still a long time to wait for a book or film that everyone else has read / watched. Most of the people who would wait will either pirate or just borrow the work now.

            With regards to "The ones that are still selling well after this period..." -- well, why the hell should they be prevented from continuing to profit?

            Why should they be allowed to? Copyright exists for one purpose - to encourage people to create. Once they have made enough profit that it was worth creating it in the first place, then copyright has already served its purpose. If shortening the copyright term encourages people to write more then that's even better, although most of the people still making a significant profit after five years already made enough that they never need to write again.

            You claim to be speaking on behalf of writers, but most of us don't want you to. You'd be surprised how few authors support copyright terms longer than 5-10 years. They don't benefit us, they don't benefit society, and they make people less willing to respect copyright in general.

    • Lame logic (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hackingbear (988354) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @07:05PM (#24722353)
      Lame logic:
      • Traditional software is a product, not a service. (In the new software-as-service model, it is subscription which you pay continuously as you use.) You are like asking Toyota to release all its design and manufacturing process of Camry to public domain after 5 years of selling that model, or even asking them to allow anyone go into the production plant and make a car for himself, freely.
      • Once you acquired a software product, nobody asks you to buy new upgrade versions. It is the consumer who wants the latest and greatest. You are like asking the car maker to send you a new car each model year after you buy one at particular year.

      The only real difference between a software product and a hardware product like a car is that the "manufacturing plant" for software product usually costs about $1000 operable by a single person, whereas the one for car costs $1,000,000,000 and must be operated by a team of people.

      I'm always amused by the level of altruism of people in the software field -- to the point of idiotic -- no professionals in other fields are so eager to eliminate their competitive barriers.

  • ISPs too... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:36PM (#24720691)

    ISPs are not much better with blatant advertising.

    "Download movies at top speed!"

  • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:36PM (#24720695) Homepage

    Q: It's the barrier-for-entry thing isn't it? It's really easy to pirate PC games whereas console games are much harder to pirate so the returns are better. What can PC hardware manufacturers do to make it harder for pirates?

    Todd Hollenshead: There's lots of things that they could do but [...]

    The next question should have been:
    Such as what? What exactly are you proposing hardware manufacturers do about software piracy and peer-to-peer networking? You've said there's lots they can do but provided no examples. Give some.

    • I suspect it would be something like a TPM chip, or better support for making sure you're talking to an optical drive (and not Daemontools)...

      You know, the kind of thing that most people wouldn't notice, would cause serious headaches for some of us (and potentially lock Linux out -- again)...

      And, of course, do absolutely nothing to stop piracy.

      The PC isn't a console. That's the fucking point. If I wanted a console, I would have one already -- they're cheap. Probably will get one anyway -- but I'll still pla

      • Exactly..Why would anyone buy a computer with a TPM (that can't be removed?)

        But.. when you can buy a PC for the same price as a console AND get all your games for free - why buy a console?
  • Really why should they be punished in any way?
    I am not pro piracy at all but the simple answer is to bust the pirates or better yet offer the stuff on line for a reasonable price DRM free.
    I for one think $.99 is a bit high for one track but I would pay that one TV show for sure.
    Hack you could even leave in the ads if it was for free.
    As far as software. I actually don't pirate video games. I know that is odd but that is just the way I am. Now I will download cracks for the games I buy just so I don't have to

  • by Perseid (660451) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:36PM (#24720703)
    Since when is it the hardware manufacturer's duty to prevent piracy? Who exactly? Is AMD supposed to stop pirated code from running? Is NVidia supposed to stop the graphics from rendering on a pirated game? My hard drive? My RAM?
    • by hellwig (1325869)
      I assume he was referring to something like HDMI or BluRay, where the content is encrypted and only licensed hardware can decode it. I suppose if you banded together with AMD and Intel, you could create something similar for video game content. HOWEVER, there is currently NOTHING in place that would allow your current computer hardware to prevent pirating.

      I think the particular CEO that stated hardware manufacturers should be responsible would like to see a reversal of all the progress we've seen in the
  • Confused CEO (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EmperorKagato (689705) <> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:39PM (#24720755) Homepage Journal
    When was the last time your company released quality software?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      Id has released some first rate game engines over the last few years. Unfortunately, they keep releasing technology demos based on them and trying to pretend that they are games.
      • I duno about that (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @08:11PM (#24722723)

        The Doom 3 engine, which is what everything since then has been based on, really fails to impress me. Several problems:

        1) It doesn't look as good as it should for the hardware requirements. I remember when Doom 3 came out, my PC struggled with it despite being decent. Had to run it at 800x600. No big deal... Except that it really didn't back that up with beauty. For example if you got close to a surface, you started to see pixelization of textures, even with it set on ultra detail. The game just used pretty low rez textures, and had nothing like the detail textures that the Unreal Engine uses to deal with close up viewing.

        2) It was too concerned about being "realistic" not enough about looking good. The lighting model is a great example. They wanted 100% dynamic lighting, meaning there was no magic global lights, all lights had a source. Great... Except their lights didn't reflect or refract. Light would hit a surface and bounce only once. If it went to the camera, ok you saw it. Anywhere else, it went away. This lead to the hard shadows and the extremely dark corners. You could have a corner with two bright lights right by it, but if neither shined directly back in there, the corner would be pitch black because there isn't any reflected light. While that may be more "correct" than models used by some games, I don't care, it doesn't look as good and that's what matters.

        3) The games had little replay value. Doom 3 in particular was all about shock value. I've gotta say, it was a scary game to play the first time through. However, it lost all that after the first run. When you know the imp is standing behind the door to ambush you, it's not so scary anymore. With the scare factor gone, it was really a fairly mediocre shooter in my opinion.

        4) Poor backward scaling. While the Doom 3 engine now runs on what is quite old hardware, when it came out it was very much a Crysis. It needed first flight hardware to run. It wasn't just that you had to have it to look good, you needed it to run at all. DX8 or better hardware was mandatory. All the peopel with DX7 hardware were SOL. Well, many other games scaled much better. They had to give up shiny features on older hardware, but they still ran.

        Over all I think iD has really dropped the ball recently and I think it shows in engine sales. Unreal Engine has been vastly outselling the iD Tech engine. Their problems with sales don't come from piracy, but from lack of quality. Their games, as you said, are not great. I gave Quake 4 a pass, and same for Enemy Territory. Decided to get Unreal Tournament 3 instead. Their engine is also getting almost no licenses. People are buying the Unreal Engine instead. No surprise there either. UE 3 looks fantastic, and scales quite well. It may not be as technologically "correct" as Id's engine in terms of lighting and such, but who care? Ultimately it looks awesome and that is what you are paying for.

        I get tired of companies that release poor quality products blaming poor sales on piracy. This is especially true for companies that release shit that requires the highest end, most badass computer. Crytek was whining about that with Crysis. "Oh we only sold a million copies, those evil pirates are killing us!" Hmmm, you think maybe instead the reason you only sold a million copies is because you need, as Yahtzee put it, a hypothetical future computer from space to play it well? I gave Crysis a miss because looking at benchmarks, it wouldn't have run well on my system. When I came out, I had an 8800 GTS, not the top of the line, but damn near it in terms of video cards. Reason I had it is I have a large LCD. I want games to run nice and fast on that large LCD. They do to. However the Crysis benchmarks showed it didn't. Maybe if I had 2 8800 GTXes it would have, but my lowly GTS (a $400 card I might add) wasn't enough. Ok, well I didn't need that, so I passed on it.

        Well same shit with Doom 3. I did actually pick that one up but it really ran pathetic. I wasn't rocking top of the line graphics hardware, but

  • by QX-Mat (460729) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:42PM (#24720783)

    old school id, 3d realms and apogee folk must be cringing at this kind of comment for it was the shareware "revolution" that created the major games industries we see today. if TH starts anti-piracy trolling, someone might have to remind him of his roots: episodic gaming is just the connect equivalent.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:45PM (#24720809) Homepage Journal

    Really? No kidding.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:51PM (#24720873) Homepage

    It is complete and utter nonsense that hardware makers should be somehow held accountable for the dissatisfaction of software makers.

    Software was free to begin with. The idea that software is a product is the notion that doesn't quite work. Hardware makers follow industry standard specs for the most part and add benefits here and there and ultimately strive to lower costs. It's a classical capitalistic market. Supply and demand rules fit neatly here.

    Software, on the other hand, does not. The supply is LIMITLESS and the demand is limited. Software-as-a-product people are attempting to create a market where none naturally exists. But this is generally the case of all products that have a limitless capacity for production.

    One fact is known by all players -- lower costs bring more buyers. Software people know this too. Unfortunately, they believe their "product" is worth more than is actually is. The "demand" side of the equation demonstrates that demand levels at the prices they set does not always yield the sale numbers that suppliers would like to see.

    In some extreme cases, software people seem to believe that the use of software should determine its value. Ultimately, software people are intending to leverage their software to get a piece of your labor pie. Just look at the cost of CAD or other design and engineering software. The prices are utterly ridiculous! Their expectation is that people who use this software will probably make a lot of money and as such, they want a lot of the users' money. Could you imagine what would happen to the price of other tools simply because they might be used to create some very expensive product or end result? My god, those would be some expensive hammers and nails! It is unrealistic for software makers to demand such exorbitant prices.

    Meanwhile, real product makers will go on doing what they do -- give the consumer what they want for the lowest price they can so that consumers will buy more of it.

    • You're pretty ironic there buddy.
    • The supply is LIMITLESS and the demand is limited.

      Well... not exactly. What happens when people stop producing software?

    • by kestasjk (933987)

      Just look at the cost of CAD or other design and engineering software. The prices are utterly ridiculous! Their expectation is that people who use this software will probably make a lot of money and as such, they want a lot of the users' money.

      CAD tools have to be rich and well designed; engineering companies are happy to pay for software which saves 5% of an engineer's time, because an engineer's time is so much more expensive than any CAD tool.

      If you think the prices are ridiculous then don't pay, but don't use that as justification for piracy. You say the supply is limitless, but you seem to be conveniently forgetting that the software has to be developed in the first place.

      Meanwhile, real product makers will go on doing what they do -- give the consumer what they want for the lowest price they can so that consumers will buy more of it.

      And ironically most of these "real product makers" will be using CA

    • by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:31PM (#24721721) Journal

      Perhaps, but the big, big problem is that software has almost zero marginal cost, and huge capital cost. In the example of CAD and engineering software, the market is really quite niche, but good tools are extremely valuable to that market: if an engineer's time is worth $140k in salary and benefits, a tool that improves his productivity threefold is easily worth $5k a license.

      The expectation is not only that people make a lot of money using the tools, but that there are not many of them. If Pro/E had an user base as large as Word, they could afford to charge the same price, even though their product is vastly more complicated and fault sensitive.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dcollins (135727) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:52PM (#24720877) Homepage

    "Please give us a hardware-based lockdown solution for software authorization."

    • by kestasjk (933987)
      Why not?
      • Re:Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rahvin112 (446269) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @09:01PM (#24723077)

        Computers are tools and tools should do what their owners want. If I want to use a wrench as a hammer there is nothing stopping me. Would you want a wrench that if you tried to use it as a hammer it would shock you or better yet report back to some authority that you are misusing your tool?

        The owner of the computer should have ultimate control over the hardware and software. Hardware that disobeys the owners wishes won't sell well. Look at Vista, it's sales have no doubt been hurt by it's inbuilt copy protection system. A system that prevents the computers owner from doing what they want to do in some cases.

  • Not their job (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rinisari (521266) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:54PM (#24720909) Homepage Journal

    It's not the hardware manufacturers' job to police for pirated software. Most of them--Apple being the notable exception--couldn't care less about the software running their hardware. The drivers and whatnot are a means to an end, a necessary bother in order to actually make their hardware usable.

    In some cases, they don't even have to do anything to get their hardware working in certain operating systems--the users do it for them!

    To say that hardware manufacturers love piracy is a misstatement. Hollenshead's point is moot. Hardware folks just want to sell hardware, just like ISPs just want to sell bandwidth: they don't care what you do with it once you purchase it because they don't need to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      More to the point, it's not that manufacturers don't care what you do with your computer, it's that they want you to be able to do anything with your computer. Computer's are not game consoles, they are designed to be programmed flexibly to perform many and varied tasks, and to switch back and forth between those tasks. That makes computers useful and therefore valuable- we'll pay for that capability. If we lock down hardware, then they'll be the equivalent of set-top boxes we rent from the cable companies
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dwedit (232252)

      ISPs DON'T want to sell bandwidth, they want people to buy their flat-rate service, then use as little bandwidth as possible. ISPs throttle or kick off the bandwidth hogs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Apple couldn't care less what software you run on their hardware either. They DO care what hardware you run their software on.

  • by burris (122191) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:57PM (#24720931)

    Accordingly, the sale of copying equipment, like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. Indeed, it need merely be capable of substantial noninfringing uses.

    Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984) [] (emphasis added)

  • Here's an idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @03:58PM (#24720935) Homepage

    Create games that run perfectly on 3 year old computers and people won't spend money on new hardware, and instead (maybe) spend it on software.

  • The simpler explanation is that the hardware manufacturers don't want to increase the complexity and cost of their product in such a way that would decrease their product's usability and their customer's satisfaction with the product. Crippled hardware and unhappy customers would likely lead to lower market share, which would equal lower profits. And the hardware manufacturers are in business to make money, not to protect the failures of other company's business models.
  • by La Gris (531858) <(ten.eduarion) (ta) (sirg.ael)> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:04PM (#24720983) Homepage

    ID CEO claims may carry some truths, but, for the least, it is as unbalanced as only enlightining the bright side of file sharing.

    As a loyal ID Software customer, having baught every one of their games I play, all I can reply to them, is: Please dear brillant market aware ID CEO. Your wording hurt customers like me. Why do you spend time and money dealing with your non-customers, having such twisted juvenile words thrown as FUD in the wild?

    It is sad I will have these awkward words in mind , the next time I plan on buying one of your upcomming games.

  • Numbers and Guilt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sniper511 (1350103) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:05PM (#24720993)
    1) I would LOVE to see where he's getting that "99% of peer-to-peer is piracy" number. Sounds like something he came up with off the top of his head that we're just supposed to accept as common knowledge.

    2) Even if that were true (and I doubt it... I'll give him that most peer-to-peer is probably illegal, but 99%...? Really?), is it still fair to punish the 1% of us that use Bittorrent for Linux ISO's, free software, or the odd WoW patch?

    3) Even if ISPs did do away with / block bittorrent or other P2P traffic, you really think the geek thinktank that is the Internet wouldn't come up with something else? Hell, you really want to stop piracy, we oughtta do away with this "Interweb" thingy!

    Give it up, gang. No matter what you do, somebody's gonna find a way to steal your crap. Deal with it, and move on. Quit punishing the rest of us for it.
  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:12PM (#24721061)
    Why should they care? If a dedicated gamer pirates $200 worth of FPS games, that's $200 that they can put toward buying the latest video card instead.

    And again, why should they care? Piracy is not their problem, and it's not worth their R&D time to bolt 'trusted computing' modules onto their products. Suggesting that they have an obligation to act is like suggesting that firearm manufacturers have an obligation to prevent gun-related crimes.

  • Or maybe... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:13PM (#24721067)

    HW manufacturers don't understand why they should cripple their products and lose a buck so Mr. Hollenshead can make a buck.

  • by jonsmirl (114798) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:17PM (#24721101) Homepage

    If he really believes what he says then he should simply stop releasing PC games and go console only. Of course there's a another whole set of problems when you go that route. Sounds to me more like a big case of WOW envy.

    DRM in the hands for the consumer will always be cracked. It is pointless to try and chase it.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:32PM (#24721241) Homepage
    U.S. law is based on the fact that it is better that ten guilty men go free than one goe to jail for a crime that he didn't commit. Clearly, the government loves murderers!

    (caveat: in theory; in practice District Attorneys, and other prosecutors, are more than happy to convict people of crimes they know damn well the defendant didn't commit to further their own agenda(s). In theory, theory always works. In practice it often doesn't.)
  • Open Platform (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blackhalo (572408) <> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:02PM (#24721499)
    PC's are by and large, open platform general purpose machines. They were not even initially designed to play games. id can just release their titles on the console but they probably would not be able to run thier latest stuff and id would have to share the profits with Sony/MS/and Nintendo since those are closed platforms.

    Kind of stupid to bitch about the very traits of a platform that makes your content viable. Hardware vendors should not be the software police.
  • by Britz (170620) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:08PM (#24721557)

    Game companies create new games all the time that demand new hardware and the hardware industry then promotes them. Even if those games could run on older hardware and look almost if not just as nice. So Quake was never given away with new graphic hardware? And how about that "the way it's meant to be played"?

  • Of course... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slashdo[ ]i ... m ['t.f' in gap]> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @06:04PM (#24721977) Homepage

    The hardware companies are greedy companies who are perfectly content to screw anyone or look the other way so long as it will improve profits...
    Software companies are just the same...

    The difference is that hardware companies have more competitors, and much smaller margins, while copyright infringement is much easier than duplicating hardware.

    Do you really think that if it was possible to download hardware for free, the software companies wouldn't be doing exactly the same thing trying to get more sales?

  • How easy one forgets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrShaggy (683273) <chris DOT anderson AT hush DOT com> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @07:04PM (#24722351) Journal
    When Doom 2, and Quake was released John Carmach was happy that everyone was pirating the game. He felt joy in the fact that EVERYONE wanted to play HIS game. Not to mention the mad cash that they made after the fact. A lot of people would pay after trying it out. Not to mention some chip manufactures might have tried to include some form of DRM. I think that utimatly if that happened every one would just simply move to something else.
  • by solios (53048) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @07:24PM (#24722463) Homepage

    I'm sure more than a few /.ers remember the old PC role playing games, with their code wheels and the occasional prompting for "word 4 of paragraph 3 of page 8 of the manual." and whatnot. They were the cheap equivalent of a hardware dongle and while slightly more difficult to duplicate than the 3.5 disks (or CDs) the games came on, in my opinion they gave a great "value added" feel to the experience. Hell, even Metal Gear Solid had something like this - one of the access codes you needed to proceed with the game was printed on the back of the game case. Bugger if you were playing a burned copy!

    These methods are ultimately better than a CD check or similar, as they actually engage the player and give them a reason to keep the game packaging around. Unfortunately these days, game packaging is disgustingly minimal - the days of the latest Square RPG coming with giant fold-out maps and equally large fold-outs of bestiary stats and item lists (anyone remember the original Final Fantasy NES packaging? That bigass poster Dragon Warrior came with?) are long gone... ultimately leaving the gamer with "less hassle" as the only reason to buy the game or software instead of downloading it.

    I'm not into multiplayer online gaming or mods, custom models, etceteras (probably due to my roots as a console gamer) - I don't want forty multiplayer modes as the "value added" bit for a few hours of single player - I want a keychain fob or a tchotchkey for my tower or something I can hang on my wall. In the box, not available from the company's online store for even more money, thank you.

    As long as bits have to be read, piracy will always be an issue. I say stop whinging about it and put in a little extra effort to reward the people that want to give you their money!

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. -- Edmund Burke