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How Piracy Affected the Launch of Demigod 613

Posted by Soulskill
from the might-need-more-than-three-bullets-this-time dept.
Demigod is an RTS/RPG hybrid developed by Gas Powered Games and published by Stardock, a company notable for their progressive and lenient stance on DRM. The game was set to be released on April 14th, and shipped without any form of copy protection. Unfortunately, retailer Gamestop broke the street date and released it earlier in the week. A day after pointing this out, Gas Powered Games posted some numbers about the players hitting their servers. Roughly 18,000 connections were made from legitimately purchased copies; over 100,000 were made from pirated copies. Meanwhile, the servers, which were not yet ready for that level of traffic, buckled under the strain, resulting in poor experiences for people trying to participate in multiplayer. While some reviews were positive, others criticized the game for the connectivity issues. After another day, they were able to stabilize the servers to the point they'd planned on for the original launch.
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How Piracy Affected the Launch of Demigod

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  • by Norsefire (1494323) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:17AM (#27624779) Journal
    There goes the argument that games are only pirated because companies insist on draconian DRM.
  • by the_one(2) (1117139) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:21AM (#27624797)

    Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

    PS. I'm not saying that I believe it. It will be interesting to see the stats in a month or so.

  • by Carrot007 (37198) <Carrot007@thewib b l ereport.co.uk> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:23AM (#27624807) Homepage

    And they could not have the server respond with a message built into the game.

    This would not be DRM. Just sense.

    1. Game asks server for connection.

    2. Server responds. game not released, kindly piss off. (and this could not be interfered with since they server knows the time and then closes connection with failure message)

    3. Customer goes back to doing something else for a week and returns when server is working and it mildly mad at retailer for selling game early.

  • by Carrot007 (37198) <Carrot007@thewib b l ereport.co.uk> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:25AM (#27624813) Homepage

    That was never the argument.

    it was more, piracy will happen. Don't increase the no of dodgy copies by pissing off your legitimate customers with a substandard version pushing them onto piracy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:26AM (#27624819)

    I'm about as pro-filesharing/anti-copyright as it gets, and I find this sickening. Stardock is a good company, we should support those who show the kind of courtesy to the paying customer that they do. Well, I guess that's human nature for you.

  • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:27AM (#27624825)

    100K pirated because it was not legitimately available at the time to most people. You can't draw any other conclusions from this.

    This is GameStop's fault for breaking the street date by such a large margin, and it's invalid as a measure of the effect of piracy.

  • +1 Star Trek! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:32AM (#27624847) Journal

    Forget ... the William Shatner jokes.

    Star Trek nailed it right on the money here.

    "Oh, we don't work directly for material things. The Replicators can make almost anything. So we live for other values".

    So, we have a Replicator for Books/Music/Movies/Games/Software.

    Give it 20 more years for the 3-D form printers.

    IANAE (I am not an economist) but Trek portrayed a kind of Location Meritocracy. You worked to get good, and earned the right to be on the group that could make you better. (Enterprise). All the niceities became De Minimis Fringes.

    Dr. Who aside, *physical premises* are not replicatable, so that became the new equation.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:37AM (#27624877)

    Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

    PS. I'm not saying that I believe it. It will be interesting to see the stats in a month or so.

    Use occam's razor and go with the simplest explanation: People pirate because they want free shit and it's easier in some cases than going to the store.

    If you've ever seen the breakdown of law & order (Iraq right after invasion, New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina, LA after the riots, false Craiglist ads [racetalkblog.com]), you should know a lot of people are freeloading scavengers as soon as they don't think their actions have any consequences.

    Do you think the internet, especially, which promotes the feeling of such an environment is immune from that? I don't think the explanation is complex at all.

  • Early releases (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Andtalath (1074376) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:40AM (#27624893)

    Actually, it's not that weird that people want to try a game at the earliest possible moment.
    The problem here was that the game was leaked.

    A leaked copy will naturally spread, people are interested in new games they can't get their hands on.

    The sad part is that some will se this as proof that DRM is necessary, nevermind the fact that this would've happened even if they had DRM.

  • Patriotism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:51AM (#27624941)
    This situation reminds me of the 9/11 blood donation issue. For a few months after the attack, people were extremely willing to donate blood, more than the Red Cross even needed. But after the initial passionate feelings faded away, the Red Cross found itself having severe shortage issues once again. People claim that they only pirate because of DRM, and when a company like Stardock makes a big PR splash by releasing a DRM-free game they encounter a great deal of initial success. But once the feverish anti-DRM banter dies down people return to their ever inconsiderate, selfish, and pirating ways. IIRC, when Bethesda released Oblivion, over 1/3 of the people who called customer support for help had pirated the game and thus had no registration to account for. People are greedy. Not just the rich, but the poor, the middle-class, the sick, the paraplegic, they're *all* opportunistically greedy. Life in a nutshell folks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:55AM (#27624959)

    Except that those people can't actually play online. They don't have serial numbers on their Impulse accounts that are required to play online.

    They're hammering the servers due to things like a version check on startup.

    The point is that the pirate arguments have just been proven to be all wrong. The game and publisher are very user friendly. So the pirates stole it more quickly and hammered the servers, causing paying customers to not be able to play at all.

    This entire situation is the single BEST argument for DRM on games that could possibly exist. If it took 3 days to crack the game, this wouldn't have happened, and they wouldn't now be getting so many negative reviews due entirely to pirate traffic making the servers overloaded. (Pretty well every unfavorable review has been entirely due to connection issues, they generally like the game quite a lot.)

    Sorry folks. For every pirate who says its "try before you buy" or "I'll buy it", there's 1000 others who are just cheap and want free shit.

  • by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:56AM (#27624963)
    Did you even bother to read the summary? Their servers couldn't even handle all the people who connected. The ones who legitimately purchased the game ended up with a sub-standard, laggy experience. And Stardock's game suffered rating drops in the various gaming magazines and websites because of that. Obviously that affected their bottom line.
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:05AM (#27624985) Homepage

    Even though gamestop were the evildoers here, some 18.000 customers DID buy a legal version of the game.
    Most likely most of them didn't know it was sold before the official release date.
    Would you, as the company selling this game, want to deny your customers access to the server because somebody else broke the rules?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:07AM (#27624995)

    Ugh, another one of these idiotic comments.

    It's not a made up lost sales number. It's a server connection count. It's an absolute, easy to measure metric. You're REALLY going to sit here and say that Stardock isn't capable of counting connections to their own servers, or that they made up a bunch of connection numbers randomly, while spending the entire Easter Weekend working overtime to try and get things working due to Gamestop breaking the street date?

    Why don't you show me your numbers showing how his numbers are wrong? Oh wait, thats right. You're just making shit up to fit your little preconceived world view.

  • by Computershack (1143409) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:10AM (#27625005)

    Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

    Bullshit. If they've got a copy which seemingly works 100%, most of them won't bother buying it because whats the point? In a month or so, the stats will be even worse. Guaranteed. So already IN ONE SINGLE WEEK, Gas Powered Games and Stardock have lost 80% of the potential revenue of the game and had its reputation tarnished by the freeloaders because of the server load issue.

  • by Urkki (668283) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:13AM (#27625029)

    No, it wouldn't be stealing, it would be breaking copyright and eventually also breaking into their systems since they don't have legitimate access.

    It wouldn't be theft as defined in law, but it most certainly is stealing in the colloquial meaning of the word. Stealing can mean an awful lot of things, just consider "stealing time" or "stealing a girlfriend". Thinking piracy isn't stealing is just self-delusion, trying to justify ones immoral actions.

  • by brit74 (831798) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:14AM (#27625039)
    I don't think anyone has really argued that.
    Yes they have.

    The main argument "in favour" is that piracy doesn't affect sales - most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it in the first place.
    That's not an argument "in favor" of piracy. Example: A company has zero piracy and 100,000 sales. Along comes piracy. Now, they have 1,000,000 pirates and 10,000 sales. In the second case, you can truthfully make the statement that "most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it in the first place". In this imaginary example, 900,000 people wouldn't have bought it. But, another 90,000 people pirated it INSTEAD of buying it, causing sales to plumet 90%. Nobody's going to seriously accept the "most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it" argument because even if it's true, it doesn't address what companies are REALLY concerned about: losing sales due to piracy. All "most of those who download the game wouldn't have bought it" really tells you is that each pirated copy wasn't a lost sale, rather, each pirated copy represents part of a sale - but that can still add-up to huge losses.

    A community of 18,000 would amount to empty servers a lot of the time especially if the game is available globally.
    Yeah, because 18,000 players means you'd never find anyone to play against. Anyway, the "enough players to play against" is the kind of argument a pirate might think is great (because it legitimizes their piracy), but no smart company is seriously going to accept that answer.

    Only a very detailed statistical analysis of the numbers could tell you if it was a good or a bad thing, and even then people would still argue with the result.
    In general, the people creating the media thinks it doesn't help. People who pirate like to pretend it does help.

    I can make a pretty good guess at who's more biased between those two groups. The companies want to maximize their profit. This means if piracy helps them, they will want piracy. If piracy doesn't help them, they won't like piracy. So, companies benefit by following the facts wherever they lead. They have an interest in finding out the truth - whatever it is. And most companies agree: piracy harms them.

    Pirates, on the other hand, benefit from piracy regardless of whether piracy hurts or harms companies. This puts them in a position where they should always claim (or convince themselves) that piracy helps companies - which makes them biased towards one single conclusion.

    In the end, I don't buy that there are two sides to piracy claim.
  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:16AM (#27625049) Homepage
    The whole try before you buy thing is a load of shit. You won't buy a game you've completed for free and quite often it's teenagers using this excuse. Do they expect me to believe they can actually afford the ass load of music, movies and games they steal without a decent paying job if they even have a job?

    I do know some people that have downloaded things and then bought them. It does happen but there is a huge amount of people that are just tight wads or think they deserve more entertainment than they can afford.

    If we want to save the internet from DRM we have to find a way to get rid of this dead weight so they don't ruin it for the rest of us.
  • by brit74 (831798) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:17AM (#27625063)
    Only in the bizarre world of copyright/software politics is it a problem that there was huge interest from people trying out your game!
    That's what demos are for. Anyway, the problem is not that they are trying out your game. The problem is that people have the full product and no longer gain anything by paying for it.
  • by VinylPusher (856712) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `rehsuplyniv'> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:20AM (#27625073) Homepage

    Yes but maybe the argument that people who do it mainly do it because they want to try before they buy still hold.

    Bullshit. If they've got a copy which seemingly works 100%, most of them won't bother buying it because whats the point? In a month or so, the stats will be even worse. Guaranteed. So already IN ONE SINGLE WEEK, Gas Powered Games and Stardock have lost 80% of the potential revenue of the game and had its reputation tarnished by the freeloaders because of the server load issue.

    You assume those 80% of people would have purchased the game, had it been impossible for them to obtain a pirate copy.

    I find this a difficult concept to accept. There are a whole bunch of digital media on my laptop and desktop that I would never have purchased, had free copies not been available.

    I buy things that are good. If I pay e.g. £24.99 for something, it's because I want to reward people with their hard work. I guess a lot of non-pirates pay for many things which they later feel were not worth the money? I'm not happy to accept this.

  • by bluesatin (1350681) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:21AM (#27625079)

    So already IN ONE SINGLE WEEK, Gas Powered Games and Stardock have lost 80% of the potential revenue of the game and had its reputation tarnished by the freeloaders because of the server load issue.

    Who said the people that have downloaded the game would have bought it?

    I know at least one person that said specifically to me "I'd wish they'd bring out a demo for that, I really like DotA on Warcraft 3", but he didn't want to download it.

    I cannot fault you on your statement about their reputation being tarnished, and was very confused that they would let pirated people play online using their servers. Usually pirated copies of a game don't cost the company anything, while due to them letting them on the servers a pirated copy actually costs the company money.

    Generally one of the reasons to buy a game nowadays is so you can play it online, with a pirated copy you can generally only go on pirated servers (which have a tonne of cheaters on usually).

  • by ijakings (982830) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:29AM (#27625113)

    Thats great, except in both of those "stealing" arguments, you are depriving someone of something tangeable by taking it away from them.

    With piracy you havent taken anything away from anyone.

    The argument that you have taken money away from the developers by pirating the game doesnt even hold, as you cant say with certainty that everyone who pirated the game would have purchased it.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:31AM (#27625125)

    Wrong. They have legitimate access. The server did not ask for any unique account or identification. It just lets anyone in. Maybe ony those that send them some data, that is openly available for everyone. But that does not change a thing.

    You can't give 50 people on the street a piece of paper with a flower on it, let anyone in your club that shows you such a piece of paper (but is keeping it), and expect the people to not give that piece to anyone else or copy it. That is just a delusional unrealistic pipe dream.

    See my comment on a parent comment, for how it's done. (Hint: *unique* accounts for buyers!)

  • Re:+1 Star Trek! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brit74 (831798) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:31AM (#27625133)
    Star Trek nailed it right on the money here.

    "Oh, we don't work directly for material things. The Replicators can make almost anything. So we live for other values".

    So, we have a Replicator for Books/Music/Movies/Games/Software.

    The problem with that is the fact that you still have to design things. Design can be a major investment. The basic business model for (say) software is invest X dollars and sell Z copies for Y dollars in profit (each). Essentially, you'd splitting up your development costs into Z parts and having each customer pay for a single chunk. You'd better have X smaller than Y*Z, otherwise you just lost money. Of course, if everyone treats software like it's freely replicatable, the whole things falls apart because no one contributes to the development cost, the software won't get written (because it's too easy for people to rip-you off), and society is worse-off for the it's selfishness on an individual level.
  • by Guspaz (556486) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:32AM (#27625135)

    You, and everybody else, seems to be missing the point. The game wasn't OUT at the time. GameStop leaked it, pre-orders got activated, and the rest of the game buying public still couldn't buy it.

    When a game is only really available to pirates, of COURSE there will be more pirates than paying customers.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:34AM (#27625149) Homepage

    How many "pirates" were foreigners who have no way to buy the game legally even if they wanted to?

  • by Delkster (820935) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:36AM (#27625161)

    Well, if these guys really used to have a more lenient stance on DRM and have only moved towards stricter attitudes over time, you'd think there might be a reason for that.

    The main reason why people wouldn't trust Sony or Warner making such a claim is that they tend to believe the motivation these companies have for pushing DRM isn't the piracy figures alone; they're also used as an excuse for schemes that give the big corps more control over the market and ways to milk the same product for more cash. The motivation was always there regardless of the piracy figures, and thus there's also more incentive to make the figures support those other motives.

    If Stardock indeed used to have a lenient stance at least in the past, clearly they didn't have these motivations. If their opinion has changed, they've either picked up these ulterior motives over time (which, I suppose, is also a possibility), or they've actually come to believe that it's necessary due to the piracy figures. If they believe in that themselves and also state it as the reason in public, they would seem to have less incentive to forge the figures than the big corps who also have completely different reasons for wanting to yell "omg pirates!111".

  • by bluesatin (1350681) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:47AM (#27625227)

    Doesn't matter if they wouldn't have bought it. It costs them money to have a player, in server costs and tech support costs. They'd much rather have no piracy and much less sales I'm sure - it'd just work out better financially.

    I completely agree with the fact it costs them to run the servers, and it's very unusual for a games company to allow pirated copies on official multiplayer servers as it costs them money.

    As well as letting pirates on your multiplayer servers, multiplayer is the easiest way to reduce piracy (make users make an account linked to a cd-key, or make the installation have a cd-key (not required for off-line play)).

  • Hypocrisy.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:53AM (#27625255)

    ... you should know a lot of people are freeloading scavengers as soon as they don't think their actions have any consequences.

    ... and the really irritating part of it is not so much the fact that they are ripping off stuff you poured a lot of sweat and money into creating, it's hearing them justify the act by citing the most outrageous examples of RIAA, MPAA, etc... abuse or hiding behind some false ideals about wanting to fight for peoples right to free exchange of information. I'm all for free exchange of information but when that means that products are being widely distributed free of charge on P2P networks even before you have had time to get them to market properly then something is wrong. Mind you big studios and software houses have the moolah and political clout to protect them selves against this to some extent. Piracy tends to hurt most badly people like small independent Music/Movie producers and small software companies particularly and trust me those people have very little stake in mafias like RIAA, and MPAA and analogous groups for the software industry.

  • by damienl451 (841528) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:55AM (#27625267)
    Only a very detailed statistical analysis of the numbers could tell you if it was a good or a bad thing, and even then people would still argue with the result.

    We should beware of physics envy. Do we really need pseudo-complex econometric studies that probably fail to control for many variables (most of which might not even be clearly identifiable in the first place)? I'm always amazed when people argue that a statistical analysis or econometric study is what we need, when all it takes is 5 minutes of rational thought.

    • The demand curve for video games is downwards sloping
    • Pirated video games are perfect substitutes for legit copies. The only exception would be games that derive most of their value from the multiplayer experience (e.g. UT, Quake III, etc.) AND have implemented an effective way to prevent pirated copies from accessing the multiplayer part of the game.
    • If the cost of pirated video games (including the opportunity cost of the time spent finding ways to bypass DRM, etc.) is lower than cost of legit copies, it is rational NOT to buy a legit copy.
    • The total cost of pirating video games is close to 0, since cracks are easy to find

    Maybe not everyone will always act rationally. Maybe *some* people will say "I've been playing for 1-hour, I should buy a legit copy". But most people will behave rationally and not buy what they can get for free. The precise percentage of people who will still buy video games is unknown, but it is lower than if piracy did not exist (the availability of free perfect substitutes causes the demand curve to shift to the left).

    I think the pro-piracy movement should learn more about economics. They seem to assume that people either would be willing to buy a game or would not. In the real world, people make decisions at the margin. Maybe you're not willing to pay $50 to play the game now but, in two years' time, when it costs $10, you'd be willing to buy it. Is it a lost sale or not? Perhaps not at current prices (thus, "I'd never have bought it anyway"), but a lost sale indeed at a lower price.

  • Piracy? Bonus! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:57AM (#27625275)

    I read this from a developer's perspective and I see something different than most of you: Piracy helped them!

    (I can hear the collective 'What!?', so you can save those replies.)

    They were only prepared for dismal sales. They said the server initially ran 'less well' with 10s of thousands of people online at once. They sold 18,000 copies. All of those people will want to be online at once at the start, so they weren't even really prepared for the real sales they got.

    Then they got 5x that amount because of the piracy. This let them see exactly where the system needed to be improved to handle the load.

    They managed this improvement -in a single day-.

    In my world, anything that can help me make that kind of improvement is a massive help.

    And lastly, I'm a -very- avid gamer and I had never heard of this game. Now it's on Slashdot's front page. You cannot -buy- that kind of advertising.

    Last note: Anyone that publishes an online game without a serial code is a fscking moron. Most crackers will not write a keygen for an online game specifically because it costs the developers money when they do so. They only write keygens for offline games.

    And 1 more: Note that there are only 6,000 players on the rankings for the tournament. http://pantheon.demigodthegame.com/rankings/tournament/8/page/182 [demigodthegame.com] Are we really supposed to believe that only 6% of the people playing an online strategy game are interested in its first tournament? Or maybe that 100,000 was pulled out of their ass.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:58AM (#27625281)

    Well, if these guys really used to have a more lenient stance on DRM and have only moved towards stricter attitudes over time, you'd think there might be a reason for that. ... If Stardock indeed used to have a lenient stance at least in the past, clearly they didn't have these motivations. If their opinion has changed, they've either picked up these ulterior motives over time (which, I suppose, is also a possibility), or they've actually come to believe that it's necessary due to the piracy figures.

    Actually this is quite common. Small, hungry companies start out with the promise to be "different" and "gamer friendly" etc, some get successful and more successful they get, more money the owners see filling their bank accounts, greedier they get. Soon after the Ferraris and the yachts get purchased, the greed becomes a burning, unquenchable desire that soon is overshadowing everything. Paranoia sets in that some "thieves" are looking to take it all away, the government "goon" tax-men, the undeserving uppity employees, the "pirates" etc and so on.

    Stardock is just a latest example of this.

    If they believe in that themselves and also state it as the reason in public, they would seem to have less incentive to forge the figures than the big corps who also have completely different reasons for wanting to yell "omg pirates!111".

    See above. Also, in this particular case, there are other possible motivations, such as a dispute with business partners over launch dates or a possible cover-up for a screwup with the multi-player servers that was discovered too late to fix before launch and Stardock was seeking excuses as to why they will not be operational and many other possibilities like simple incompetence ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:05AM (#27625319)

    Because the game-in-the-box is NOT all there is to being able to play this game. The publisher has to physically distribute something far and wide ahead of time to allow those customers to get it WITHOUT waiting for regional release dates, but the server backend and support services aren't necessarily available until the date set by the publisher.

    Gamestop *did* do the wrong thing.

  • by Draek (916851) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:07AM (#27625333)

    I agree with your second and third paragraph, which is why I believe your first paragraph is just a steaming pile of trolling crap. Yes, there's plenty of idiots that download anything that tickles their fancy and even many that don't (but hey, it had lots of seeders so it'd be fast anyways) and they should be taught the idiocy of their ways, mostly because they're driving the costs of broadband up for the rest of us, but the fact remains that both the prices of games have stayed way up, and the availability of demos has continued its trend down.

    Case in point, the game featured in TFA, looked cool, searched for the demo, nothing. Do you seriously expect me to shell $39.99 for something that I'm not sure I'll like? 'cause that money would pay for an awful lot of indie and even big-name games that do have demos available.

    Don't be so quick in blaming the BitTorrent-addicted idiots for this one at least. Plenty of reasons to go to TPB with this one, even if I won't. And yes, I'm one of those that download from TPB and, if I like it, buy retail and *then* buy on Steam again if its cheap enough (or the game was just *that* good), replaying it each time, and if I don't like it, trash can it is.

  • Re:Hypocrisy.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:23AM (#27625423) Homepage

    The larger RIAA/MPAA groups would still be forcing out the smaller producers regardless of the level of piracy, infact if piracy were zero then they would be concentrating on killing the smaller producers as it would be the only way to increase their profits.

    Copyright is an artificial construct designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many.. And the more draconian it gets the more people will fight against it.
    Current rules are extremely detrimental to our culture, a work can remain copyrighted long enough that the original customers of the work are dead before the term expires, and for things like software that rapidly becomes obsolete the terms are just insane - many applications completely vanish long before their copyright terms would expire.
    If copyright terms were more sensible, then the people standing up against them would be fewer in number and less credible in their message.

  • by Dan541 (1032000) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:25AM (#27625437) Homepage

    Also when you have a copy of something there is a good chance that you will tell a friend and thus piracy is a promotional tool.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:26AM (#27625445) Homepage

    Or better yet, give the game away for free and charge for an account.
    The idea of a cd-key is stupid, people will brute force or copy them resulting in legit buyers having a non working key and tons of hassle trying to play the game they actually bought.

    Plus if you charge a subscription, people know they're paying for a service and won't expect to continue receiving that service when they stop. If you buy a game and it comes with access to a service, what happens when the publisher arbitrarily decides to shut that service down?

  • Re:+1 Star Trek! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by laederkeps (976361) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:26AM (#27625451) Homepage

    the whole things falls apart because no one contributes to the development cost, the software won't get written (because it's too easy for people to rip-you off), and society is worse-off for the it's selfishness on an individual level.

    Now, I agree that commercial software has brought some pretty radical innovations in software, but surely everyone on /. knows of people who write software intended to be free and for free.

    The folks at freenet have this snippet in their philosophy statement [freenetproject.org]:

    9. But how will artists be rewarded for their work without copyright? Firstly, even if copyright were the only way that artists could be rewarded for their work, then I would contend that freedom is more important than having professional artists (those who claim that we would have no art do not understand creativity: people will always create, it is a compulsion, the only question is whether they can do it for a living).

    This has already been proven for software.

  • by Haeleth (414428) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:45AM (#27625541) Journal

    The vast majority of people who wanted to play this game had no alternative but to download it.

    Or, you know, maybe they could have waited for the fucking release date?

    This is the voice of America: "Me, me, me! Now, now, now!" Makes you proud, doesn't it?

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:46AM (#27625545)

    If we want to save the internet from DRM we have to find a way to get rid of this dead weight so they don't ruin it for the rest of us.

    Or, to put it more realistically and less pejoratively, companies need to come up with business models that don't rely on scarcity of non-scarce commodities.

  • Re:Figures! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:53AM (#27625579)

    Unfortunately for them, the guy cracking their DRM failed and didn't care, so every torrented copy crashed 5 mins in. Also, he released it 1 month before TQ went on sale, giving time for thousands of people to download it (millions if it hadn't crashed 5 mins in :P )

    Ever since I bought three games that wouldn't run because of DRM, I've been a bigger supporter of Piracy - but seeing my favourite companies go down because of it makes me less happy. :/

    Isn't what happened with Titan Quest precisely DRM working as designed? The bootleg copies didn't work right, thus making the game unplayable for pirates. Seems like the publisher got bit in the ass by unintended consequences of DRM doing exactly what it was designed to do.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:10AM (#27625651) Homepage

    And WHY weren't the servers ready? Because the game was not supposed to be released yet.
    You can't expect something to work properly before it's released, otherwise it'd probably been released earlier.

  • Re:Piracy? Bonus! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@nosPam.gmail.com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:24AM (#27625699) Homepage

    I read this from a developer's perspective and I see something different than most of you: Piracy helped them!

    That has to be the most masterful and gentle re-phrasing of the "them darkies don't want freedom, they enjoy slavery" argument I've ever read.
     
    But it's still bullshit.

  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:26AM (#27625711)

    Yeah it's a promotional tool for your friend to pirate it too. Doesn't exactly help the developer does it? Oh but you got something for nothing so it's all OK isn't it?

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:26AM (#27625713)
    Shareware games were how stuff like Wolfenstein/Doom and others pretty much built the PC game industry as we know it in the 90s. So I ask whatever happened to shareware? You'd download what was pretty much the full game without significant limitations (for example the shareware version would have only the first episode of several) and you paid a comparatively small fee to get the full version. If you didn't like the shareware game you were neither likely to pirate the full version nor end up with a regrettable purchasing decision. It was a great business model and it grew the market.
  • by ShadowEFX (152354) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:26AM (#27625719)

    Yes. Prove to me that, of those 100k pirated copies, enough people would actually have purchased the game to make it worth the cost and frustration of the DRM itself. Every pirated copy is NOT a lost sale...it applies to the *AA, and it applies here.

    This just proves they made a game a lot of people wanted to play, and a lot of those people are cheapskates.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:57AM (#27625871) Homepage Journal

    you can't blame piracy for this problem [this from Stardock!]...we could have simply had the retail version not have any HTTP calls in it... problem solved.

    So, if Stardock doesn't think the problem was piracy, why are so many people here using this opportunity to bash people who tried warez versions of the game?

  • It's not exactly difficult to have a serial number inside each copy of the game, and register that to the user account. It's even possible to build that mechanism in a way that allows resales.

    But it is difficult to keep your authentication server from getting slashdotted by copyright infringers' repeated failures to authenticate.

  • Re:Hypocrisy.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:20AM (#27625989)

    I'm all for free exchange of information but when that means that products are being widely distributed free of charge on P2P networks even before you have had time to get them to market properly then something is wrong.

    You are absolutely correct that something is wrong.
    But that wrong started long ago, and isn't what you think it is. Here is a relevant quote:

    "At present the holder of copyright has the public feeling on his side. Those who invade copyright are regarded as knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men. Everybody is well pleased to see them restrained by the law, and compelled to refund their ill-gotten gains. No tradesman of good repute will have anything to do with such disgraceful transactions. Pass this law: and that feeling is at an end. Men very different from the present race of piratical booksellers will soon infringe this intolerable monopoly. Great masses of capital will be constantly employed in the violation of the law. Every art will be employed to evade legal pursuit; and the whole nation will be in the plot. On which side indeed should the public sympathy be when the question is whether some book as popular as Robinson Crusoe, or the Pilgrim's Progress, shall be in every cottage, or whether it shall be confined to the libraries of the rich for the advantage of the great-grandson of a bookseller who, a hundred years before, drove a hard bargain for the copyright with the author when in great distress? Remember too that, when once it ceases to be considered as wrong and discreditable to invade literary property, no person can say where the invasion will stop. The public seldom makes nice distinctions." (Emphasis mine)

    That was from Thomas Babington Macaulay [wikipedia.org] in a speech [baen.com] he gave to Parliament in 1841. The unintended consequence of arbitrarily extending copyright beyond all rationality is the public's complete disregard for any worth in copyright.

    I believe the only way you will ever get people to respect copyright again is if you reduce it to something draconian and punitive, such as 2 years. Otherwise, the long term trend is that the number expensive works of art (such as multimillion dollar movies, games, and some music) will eventually diminish and you will get an explosion of public works. The question then becomes: is the collective value of works of art by the common man better than the value of one expensive work of art? Are all the free flash games combined better value than one Diablo V? Are all the homegrown computer animated movies of more value than Toy Story 7? I don't know, but when the public finishes taking back what should have been rightfully theirs decades ago, I suspect I will surely see a richer world than the one we have today.

  • Re:Hypocrisy.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:28AM (#27626039) Homepage Journal

    in a gambit to maximize the many's benefits in the long term.

    Didn't work out that way, though, did it?

    It got misused, mislabeled and mistaken for something that "helps creative people" when it really is just a way to accumulate wealth and power, and to create artificial scarcity.

    When I see copyrights being enforced on stuff where all the creative people involved have been dead for decades, it kind of shows it to be the scam that it is.

  • Re:Hypocrisy.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:58AM (#27626223) Homepage Journal

    Didn't work out that way, though, did it?

    Doesn't change that it was designed to benefit the few, in the short term, to encourage them to produce their hard to create but easily copied goods, in order to benefit the masses in the long run.

    It's why I personally call for reforming copyright, not eliminating it. Eliminating copyright completely would do just as much damage, personally I think it'd do more damage, than what the current system is doing.

    Like it or not, but piracy is creating a pushback effect on the current system. It effectively puts a limit on copyright for everything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @10:23AM (#27626397)

    This is the voice of America: "Me, me, me! Now, now, now!" Makes you proud, doesn't it?

    This is the voice of a human being. People having desires isn't a phenomenon restricted to the USA.

  • by theillien (984847) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @10:28AM (#27626449)

    The vast majority of people who wanted to play this game had no alternative but to download it.

    You're basing this on what data? And at what point does not having a brick and mortar store make illegally downloading the game legitimate?

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @10:58AM (#27626701) Homepage Journal

    People who buy games feel being hurt by those who pirate games. What is obvious load of crap.

    The actual PC game crisis was projected long time ago and number of PC market journalists have predicted that PC gaming is going to experience huge shake up. No, not because of piracy which was there since day one. But because of many many good games were already released are all are still playable. New games and ideas have to compete with huge existing catalog. Consoles have the problem to lesser extent, as they are refreshed after some time fixing bunch of technical issues, so there are more incentives for console gamers to buy new version of the same game compared to PC counterpart. Video consoles are still evolving, PC gaming is pretty much came to its plateau.

    What the journalists called gamer for was to buy new games to essentially sponsor PC game developer to continue their work. Now enter DRM. As PC gaming came out of its dark BBS ages, it grew into huge business. Managerial decision to deploy DRM as a way to fend off piracy and maximize profits is only logical - from pov of manager. But it actually back-fired: gamers skipped many new DRMed games and reinstalled some 10yo classical games of the same genre.

    What StarDock now tries to do is worth all support and praise we can give: they try to return PC gaming to its roots, when distance between gamers and developers was very very thin. The glorious times when publishers were actually doing what their name stands for: publishing, only publishing and no DRM non-sense.

    After reading the StarDock comments, I actually want to go and buy Demigod off Impulse. Not to play - my PC barely meets recommended system requirements nor do I like GPG games - but probably as a way to support them both in their aspiration.

  • by DittoBox (978894) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @11:27AM (#27626951) Homepage

    Then wait a week and buy it like everyone else. I can sort of maybe understand "sticking it to the man" when it comes to DRM but infringing copyright just because they didn't release it when you wanted is a bullshit cop-out.

    I buy all my music (I like mostly indie, non-big-label stuff), movies, games and other forms of entertainment. I also voted with my dollar for a very long time and never bought music online music when it was DRM'd, nor did I download it. I avoided CDs on RIAA labels. I told them with my dollar that if they were going to be asshats I didn't want anything from them, even if I downloaded it for free.

    You should be applauding Stardock and buying their game for not using the same heavy-handed techniques that the rest of the corrupt industry uses, instead of coming up with very thin excuses for all the lazy, cheap morons that are torrenting it instead of buying it.

    The problem with reductionism and Occam's Razor is that you're trying to remove the part that makes people guilty while simultaneously adding the excuse that it's just people who wanted it before the release date, so all's well.

    It's very saddening that people who are trying to use the internet to do their business, are doing so without imposing artificial restrictions like DRM and are not "suing their fans" are still getting this "gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme now now now now" attitude. It's entitlement taken way to fucking.

    Now, get off my lawn!

  • by rezza (677520) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @11:27AM (#27626953)
    It's actually well worth giving it a try, if your machine will handle it at a playable frame rate - the game is really well done and great fun.
  • by greenreaper (205818) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:19PM (#27628503) Homepage Journal
    We're working on it. See recent releases about "Goo" and our second-hand game market. It's just not easy to do it in a way that satisfies all the stakeholders (gamers, us, the developers), and on a technical level (how do you stop someone playing a game that they have installed?).
  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:41PM (#27628695)

    The vast majority of people who wanted to play this game had no alternative but to download it.

    I suggest that they did have an alternative: they could have NOT downloaded it.

    Seriously, "no alternative?" This isn't a life-giving drug, or people on the edge of starvation, it's a fucking VIDEO GAME. They could have shrugged their shoulders and gone back to Warcraft III for a few more days. "No alternative" my fat ass.

  • by neomunk (913773) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @10:35PM (#27632653)

    Don't just blow me off as foolish, back up your claims or withdraw them. I asked a simple question and instead of either answering it or properly blowing me off by ignoring it you chose snide derision. Well, I -DO- get it, and your factless (and tactless) claim notwithstanding, the OP seems to as well.

  • by neomunk (913773) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:06PM (#27640595)

    Your problem is that you believe the game to be contained in the box (an idea that the OP was trying specifically to nullify). If you consider the server-side backend to be a part of the product, and it is, then there is nothing "false" about the delay imposed. One part of a multi-part product being in place does not magically make the other part(s) irrelevant. The "ahead of time" you chose to put in quotes is the date the server portion would be in place. There is nothing at all twisted about that.

    You seem like a reasonably bright person, (though not as bright as your rude dismissals indicate you think you are) this concept isn't that hard. The game is a complete package, client and server, without the server, there is no complete game and therefore Gamestop was selling something that didn't technically exist at that point. Because there DID exist the physical portion of the game many people who couldn't see the difference (you're on slashdot so I'll assume you're not one of those people) thought that they actually had a working game.

    Have I managed to untwist the mystery or what?

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