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Indie Game Dev On the Positive Side To DRM 440

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-an-excellent-whipping-boy dept.
spidweb writes "The online backlash against DRM has gotten a bit excessive, especially since the purpose of DRM is entirely admirable: to stop thieves and free riders and to help creators actually get paid for their work. This blog entry calls attention to XBox Live, a place where strong DRM is helping to encourage quality games at low prices which make money for their developers. Quoting: 'If I could snap my fingers and give myself the same absolute control over the games I make that XBox Live has over theirs (in return for lower prices), I would. The freedom of the current system is nice, but it comes at too high a cost. Honest people need to pay extra to subsidize thieves. The unfairness is just this side of intolerable, and it's only getting worse. DRM is fair if, for what the corporations take, we get something in return.'"
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Indie Game Dev On the Positive Side To DRM

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  • To me, DRM is about two things. First it's about making sure that people don't actually have control over the things they've ostensibly bought. The Amazon debacle is a prime example of this.

    Secondly, it's about trying to create artificial scarcity, which seems to me to be all the wrong strategy.

    And, on a different note, I don't think the low prices you're seeing are because of DRM. I think you're seeing them because developing good games shouldn't actually take the gobs of money that it's currently fashionable to throw at the problem. I know of several indie games that seem to be doing OK for themselves completely in the absence of DRM. Word of Goo [worldofgoo.com], and The Penumbra Series [penumbragame.com].

    • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:19AM (#29395803) Journal

      I think you're seeing them because developing good games shouldn't actually take the gobs of money that it's currently fashionable to throw at the problem.

      But it does take gobs of money if you want to develop a very slick-looking game that, besides its graphics, is the most basic regurgitation of a previously innovative and hugely successful game. There is very rarely significant innovation in subsequent games of a given successful franchise, yet they throw similar amounts of money at the development of each installment. See: COD, Every-EA-Sports-Game, etc. Let alone the development costs for games (and this is most of them) that do nothing more than attempt to mimic the pioneers/true-greats. Ultimately, I think it's because it's infinitely easier, in the corporate setting, to pitch a remake/sequel/imitation of a successful franchise, than to take a risky stab at something truly innovative.
      How many hundreds of thousands of indie games are there that have never even approached the success of World of Goo?

      • Yes, I've noticed that somehow derivative games seem to be a LOT more expensive to produce. My suspicion is that basically the giant pyramid scheme that is the modern corporation siphons off too much money.

        • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @04:14AM (#29396623)

          It's more that you have to "polish" more to get people to buy it.

          Take any game that spawned a genre. Usually, they don't come with too stellar graphics or controls. Even for the time it was created in. But they were genuinely new. Lemmings didn't have such omfgwowzomg graphics, even for its time, but it was something NEW. In a sequel, when you can't live off the new car smell of the game anymore, you have to pump resources into eye candy.

          And eye candy costs. You have to hire more and maybe better artists. You have to streamline the code because you're now dealing with way more graphics overhead. You have to work on balancing and streamline the interface or else people will go "yeah, better graphics, but $annoying_nuisance_of_original is still there, basically the same game".

          In short, you have to throw a LOT more money at sequels than at originals. Mainly because the "new game" bonus doesn't exist.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by happyemoticon (543015)

            I think it's important to point out that a lot of the successful indie games out there are 2D, whereas most mainstream games are 3D. Creating the same level of detail in a 3D game requires exponentially greater work. Games like Braid (or even mainstream 2D titles like Odin Sphere and Guilty Gear) can be beautiful without much work - Braid was done by like 5 people, wasn't it? But to get something really beautiful in a 3d setting, you need tens of millions of dollars, and even then it might be like Heavenly

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by barrkel (806779)

        I bought World of Goo in part based on all the interest around it, when they did their pirating blog post or whatever. I played it for a few hours, finished it in a single day IIRC. I haven't replayed it.

        In terms of total game time and replay value, it was not nearly worth it. Compare it to a game like Far Cry 2 - my current replay favourite, I love crossing the beautiful countryside avoiding the guard station hazards - and there's simply no comparison. Far Cry 2 is worth 50x World of Goo.

    • by localman (111171) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:40AM (#29395935) Homepage

      I absolutely hate DRM -- it creates problems for legitimate users and does virtually nothing to stop piracy.

      But... I think that it is attempting (and failing) to address a very real problem. It's all well and good for us to say "just don't worry about the pirates", but it's probably not a long term solution. Eventually, honest users feel like suckers for paying for music/software/movies/etc and they start moving towards taking stuff for free as well. I know that CD sales went up while Napster was big, but it is truly hard to imagine that such a situation unchecked would have continued for, say, a decade. At some point people just decide it's stupid to buy stuff they can get for free.

      And as much as we've become accustomed to the idea of free creative works, it's not really a cure-all either. Yes, some stuff will get created even without any notion of intellectual property, but some very valuable stuff won't get created in such a world. So without any other obvious solution to the problem, it's not so hard to see why DRM is attractive to desperate content creators.

      I don't have a solution. But I do believe there will be a growing problem for funding digitizable media in the future.

      Cheers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Omnifarious (11933) *

        I agree with you. But I think there are things you can do that make the people who buy your stuff feel special and important. And as long as you do that, I think you'll end up with a lot of people buying your stuff.

        I look at what Radiohead and NIN have done in this regard. Johnathan Coultan [jonathancoulton.com] is also a good example.

        People could've gotten and can still get the work of any of those artists for free. Many people choose to pay anyway. And the reason is that those artists do things to make the fans who choose

        • by maeka (518272) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:12AM (#29396067) Journal

          Radiohead and NIN are poor examples, and you know it.
          They both were established through the system before their little experiments with downloads-for-donations.

          The fact you used this broken argument pretty much proves the other's point. (Not that I agree with all the bashing you've received in this thread, I just can't let this one slide by.)

          Fact is I can browse the internet and find others who did make some money with downloads-for-donations, but I can't point to but a few who made a good living at it.

          • The same is true for almost all musicians. Almost no musicians who go with a standard record label ever make any money at it either. Which percentage is higher?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Ihmhi (1206036)

              In the future, signing with a record label for a few albums is probably going to be looked at the musical equivalent of college. That's like saying "Oh, well, it sure is easy for a Doctor to get a job at a hospital. They've already been to med school!"

              Unless bands get really creative with how they promote themselves and distribute their music (and thankfully, a lot of bands are doing this), they're going to have to drop a couple albums through the big corporate machine before they can be successful as indep

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by maeka (518272)

              Which percentage is higher?
              Another, IMHO, disingenuous, argument.
              The sample size is clearly too small - you could use this example to argue either side you want.

          • by Marcika (1003625) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @08:01AM (#29397165)

            Radiohead and NIN are poor examples, and you know it. They both were established through the system before their little experiments with downloads-for-donations.

            Your own argument is broken, because it applies just as well the other way around: If you are a small unknown artist, you have nothing to lose from free downloads (since you don't have any sales to speak of, the free publicity and word-of-mouth will easily outstrip the loss-of-sales); and for big established bands there are other huge advantages (they earn more from one donation than from the ten lost album sales, because their recording label doesn't take away most of the revenue).

            Cory Doctorow had a recent article about this: When he was an unknown artist and released his books for free, critics said it only works because he has nothing to lose; today the same critics say that it only works because he is already famous -- you can't have it both ways!

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by LordLimecat (1103839)
              And how many make money from giving works away for free? The question isnt whether they were able to give it away, but whether it was commercially viable, which it isnt (in the short term) for those up and coming artists. It may make them money LATER (through publicity) but it makes them nothing now. "Nothing to lose" doesnt mean that the lost sales from giving stuff away will for sure be made up in increased sales later.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jhol13 (1087781)

          So RadioHead and NIN are giving all their music for free, because they had such a good experience?

          No?

          At the moment I cannot get their music free legally. It might be a shocker to you, but for many people this does make a difference.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        you dare to speak the truth, i'm suprised yor arem't modded troll of something as stupid.

        the group think here is very much as you describe - don't worry about pirates, but if /.er's were spending 10 mil on developing a title only to see it on pirate bay for free i reckon they would sing a different tune. just look at how they react to gpl infringements....

        • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

          just look at how they react to gpl infringements....

          No. I would sooner drop all of my code into the public domain than slap DRM on it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gnupun (752725)

        I absolutely hate DRM -- it creates problems for legitimate users and does virtually nothing to stop piracy.

        That's not even the worst part of DRM. DRM is about spying on users, collecting their application usage data, and uploading that to the company server. Why the hell should anyone pay $60 to be spied upon? Is violating privacy so cheap? There must be at least a dozen ways to avoid/reduce piracy without violating user privacy and not using this DRM crap.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Why is it so damned hard to understand? You want folks to buy, yes? Then give them a good value for their dollar! Examples-I bought the entire Joss Whedon collection, I have the nice box sets sitting here in front of me on a shelf. Could I have pirated it? Sure, but then all I would have gotten is the episodes themselves, and not the actor and director commentaries, the "making of" featurettes, the makeup and stunts behind the scenes, etc. In short they gave me MORE for my dollar, so I bought.

        For an example

        • by GooberToo (74388) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @09:50AM (#29397767)

          Why is it so damned hard to understand? You want folks to buy, yes? Then give them a good value for their dollar!

          Why is it so damned hard to understand this position has no validity in the least. If this position were true, piracy for iPhone and Android would simply not exist. The simple truth is, piracy is flat out killing Android and even with the major rooting hoops for iPhone users, piracy is very much alive. Even more insulting, most quality applications on these platform provide extremely high bang for the buck. Hell, even many applications which have many hundreds, if not thousands of man hours still cost $0.99, or not far off.

          The simply fact is, according to a recent UK study, 60% feel they are entitled to steal anything IP related they want, if for no other reason then they feel they are entitled to do so. And yet despite this unjustified self entitlement, piracy is killing small developers and FORCING prices to be higher. Which brings us to the second lie often used to justify piracy. High prices, just like every other product, are often a reflection of fraud and theft. Pirates steal and justify it by claiming they do so because prices are so high. In reality, prices are often so high because they steal.

          The simple truth is, piracy is seriously destroying the commercial potential of Android. Because of piracy, using the App Store for a scaled basis of comparison, even the largest of Android developers are making, at most, 1/8th what they should be making. Many others are simply not making anything despite having huge pirate install bases. I can't stress it enough, piracy absolutely is hurting developers, deters others from entering the market, and forces costs to remain high.

          So next time you hear someone justifying piracy because of high prices, kick them in the nuts for being an idiot.
          The next time you hear someone justifying piracy because no one gets hurt, kick them in the nuts for being an idiot.
          The next time you hear someone justifying piracy because viral is helping, kick them in the nuts for being an idiot.
          The next time you hear someone justifying piracy because of DRM, kick them in the nuts for being an idiot.

          The simply truth is, pirates are nothing more than selfish, self serving, self entitled, idiots, who are hurting everyone.

          The next time a pirate goes to work, I hope they don't get paid...after all, no one got hurt and nothing was stolen. That's EXACTLY the same as piracy. That's how piracy makes developers feel because that's what pirates do to developers. And if it were not for these idiots stealing everything they can touch, there wouldn't even be a need for DRM. These douches are creating all the problems which they then use to justify creating these problems. So go on, have you kicked a douche pirate in the nuts lately? If anyone deserves it, they do!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Joe U (443617)

            You're making a good deal of references without sources, can you please cite some?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              He's commenting on Slashdot, not writing a thesis...

              Anyway, I googled to try to find some interesting surveys. Unfortunately, the only conclusion that I can come up with is that surveys are almost worthless. They're biased and seem to always support the views of the entity sponsoring the survey. Just searching for the UK survey mentioned by the GP, I found a survey sponsored by the music industry that shows even worse statistics on piracy and a survey from a group that calls themselves "The Leading Questio

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by GooberToo (74388)

              http://androidcommunity.com/android-apps-cost-as-much-as-iphone-apps-or-more-20090807/ [androidcommunity.com]

              http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/31/top-developer-reveals-android-markets-meager-sales/ [techcrunch.com]

              These links are just the tip of the iceberg. Google isn't hard to use. The question is, do you want to know the truth? If you do, its actually fairly trivial to piece the facts together with just about any search engine and web browser.

              Beyond that, just about every lie pirates use to justify their position is easily blown out of the wat

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Sloppy work. There is nothing about piracy in the links, the consensus is that android app store and 24 hour money refund policy suck and that Android customers are not excited about paying money for farting sound apps, something the Apple demographics goes for. And that high availability of quality free apps for Android undermines commercial software. One person in the comments section even proposed artificially sticking paid-for apps on top (coz they "get lost" in the midth of free software that provides
            • You're making a good deal of references without sources, can you please cite some?

              Aaawwww, shove it up your ass!! You an all the other citation Nazi's who will not allow a single item or point you disagree with to be made anywhere, anytime without an impeccable peer reviewed source, properly cited and referenced.

              A curse on Wikipedia and the [citation needed] meme. It would all be very well if the meme people actually promoted critical thinking, healthy scepticism and proper fact checking. But as it is, the meme just promotes the petty and frankly groundless rebuttals typified by the parent post. Instead of actually bothering to critique specific points in the grandparent, the whole thing is simply tarnished with the [citation needed] brush in a fairly transparent attempt to outright dismiss it.

              Considering that the meme originated on Wikipedia, it's not surprising that its purpose has twisted beyond its ostensible meaning. [citation needed] was always just another example of the stonewalling, wiki-lawyering and petty bureaucracy that thrive in that institution. From there, it has moved smoothly into the mainstream as a general purpose discussion terminating cliche. I have never seen actual honest debaters of any kind ask for citations in this way. Its a rhetorical technique, not an honest rebuttal.

              There are points in the grandparent which could have done with some justification. Maybe. The one about the 60% feeling entitled to "steal" IP. The Android and iPhone being sunk by piracy was pretty speculative. Android developers (?!) making 1/8 less than iPhone developers. It would be nice to have all these things confirmed, but I'm not going to dismiss the entirety of the post and lower the tone of the debate by jumping up and yelling; "[Citation Needed]!! [Citation Needed]!!! Unless you can prove it to me, it's not true!!!!"

              So, take your tricks back to the playground or some other net forum. Adults are talking.

          • by maharb (1534501) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @10:59AM (#29398261)

            DRM coupled with extremely high cost makes it dumb as hell to purchase many things.

            Record companies sell millions and millions of copies of a song for $1 with virtually no distribution costs or anything. They just get millions of pure profits to stuff in their wallets. With today's economies of scale in IP copying prices for digital wares should be drastically lower. Yet they are rising. Have you ever considered that prices should be a fraction of what they are today. Imagine if record companies sold songs for $.25 and put them on a server where you could download them if you lost them. In other words 100% DRM free with even assisted recovery of your files. This would be a huge hit and the volume of sales would increase by far more than the loss by the price cut. It would be easier to download the songs than it would be to pirate and you would never have to worry about losing your songs because your HD crashed and you only had 1 copy.

            A system like this would cater to a few pirates but guess what; They are the people that would never have bought music to begin with. They are not even in the market for music. On the other hand you would capture millions of people who pirate because they are filling their iPods with every song they like but can't afford to pay the price to fill it up. Times have changed when it comes to digital wares. Spreading your costs over more people at a lower price is the future of how media will be distributed, it is just a matter of who steps up and does it first. There are millions of people just like me, willing to pay for TV series, movies, music and games once the price is cut and they spread the cost over more people. Right now media companies are being greedy and paying the price.

            Times have changed from the CD production days when they could charge $1 - $2 a song. It is easier to record, there are more buyers, and the prices are the same. There are less distribution costs. Yet you are telling me to be sorry for these people? It is their own damn fault for being blind to the way society has evolved in the last 10 years.

            As for the phone apps that you are quoting. Go read some articles on why that may be. I have read a ton of articles and most of them point to the 'one use' phenomenon: Apps get downloaded used once, then never used again. In other words even if you think the app is amazing, the average user is only using it once then never using it again. When this happens with nearly every app people are going to have a hard time paying for something they know they will never use again.

            With my iPhone I only use about 1% of what I have downloaded. Now I will only buy something if I have used a trial version for a few weeks and see if I really use it, or if it is just a gimmick app that sounds great but you never end up using.

            Also, don't think I am advocating piracy. I think that all piracy is doing is giving these media companies someone to blame for their issues and they are going to get even more powerful because lawyers are their buddies, and lawyers are in charge of the country. Soon we will be paying a media tax and in the end it is only going to help the big dogs. Not little cell phone devs (that is what you are right?).

            Like the parent said: Give me a good value and the money will flow easier than ever.
            Take a look at steam and how well they are doing by charging less for games.

            • by GooberToo (74388) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:51PM (#29399089)

              DRM coupled with extremely high cost makes it dumb as hell to purchase many things.

              Interesting note, piracy forces prices higher which forces a reaction to integrate ever changing DRM., which in turn drives prices higher. Nasty cycle pirates have created.

              Record companies sell millions and millions of copies of a song for $1 with virtually no distribution costs or anything.

              Their distribution cost is completely irrelevant. Its a straw man's argument. Likewise is their profit. For it to be even slightly topical is to argue the free market and capitalism is wrong. Are you saying no one is entitled to make a profit?

              Imagine if record companies sold songs for $.25 and put them on a server where you could download them if you lost them. In other words 100% DRM free with even assisted recovery of your files

              We can already imagine that with iPhone and Android applications. While not 0.25, piracy is live and well for $0.99 apps which have very real costs associated. People pirate because they feel entitled, not because of price.

              They are the people that would never have bought music to begin with.

              Yet another lie pirates tell each other. If they would have never bought the song in the first place, they would have listened to it once, deleted it, and never listened to it again. Like stock, they effectively devalued it. Go illegally grab up a bunch of stock and when you get arrested, tell them its all okay because you would have never bought it in the first place.

              Apps get downloaded used once, then never used again.

              Then you failed to read that issue seems to largely on affect iPhone users. And just the same, that's not true for all applications either. If the application remains installed, they are assigning value to it. If they use the application, they are assigning value to it. If an item has value, and it is obtained without paying for it, the item has been stolen. For IP, we call this piracy. For stock, its called theft, fraud and/or embezzlement.

              Like the parent said: Give me a good value and the money will flow easier than ever.

              Then that's you and not pirates. By you're own admission, you don't pirate. If you do pirate, by your own admission, you're lying to yourself and everyone else who reads your post.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by maharb (1534501)

                "Interesting note, piracy forces prices higher which forces a reaction to integrate ever changing DRM., which in turn drives prices higher. Nasty cycle pirates have created."

                Interesting. I can just as easily blame the media companies for driving people to piracy. The increased piracy is forcing them to think they need to raise prices and then they drive more people to piracy.

                "Their distribution cost is completely irrelevant. Its a straw man's argument. Likewise is their profit. For it to be even slightly

    • by killthepoor187 (1600283) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:40AM (#29395937)

      I don't mine the intentions of DRM. I'm all for game developers getting payed for what they make. The reality, though, is that the drm gets cracked and the game gets pirated anyway. So the end result is that the game costs more to make in order to put the DRM in, the user experience is often worse from having to deal with said DRM, and the pirates still do what they do. So nobody wins.

      At some point (and it may have arguably already happened with some games) the consumer will be able to a get better game by NOT paying for it, simply because they will be able to find a cracked version that doesn't treat them like a criminal. (ie phoning home regularly for security, getting pissy about being reinstalled, etc.)

      • I don't mine the intentions of DRM. I'm all for game developers getting payed for what they make. The reality, though, is that the drm gets cracked and the game gets pirated anyway. So the end result is that the game costs more to make in order to put the DRM in, the user experience is often worse from having to deal with said DRM, and the pirates still do what they do. So nobody wins.

        At some point (and it may have arguably already happened with some games) the consumer will be able to a get better game by NOT paying for it, simply because they will be able to find a cracked version that doesn't treat them like a criminal. (ie phoning home regularly for security, getting pissy about being reinstalled, etc.)

        I am told that DRM often holds up for 14 days, and that the devs thinks that this is worth it, since a huge amount of the sale is in those 14 days.

        But yeah, DRM sucks. For games, I still think the best solution is to put some of the game on a server. For music films and such, I don't think there is a good solution.

    • Scarcity (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DeadDecoy (877617)
      I disagree with you. There is a scarcity and it is skilled developer's time. Software development isn't the kind of domain where you can pay lots of low-skill, cheap, developers to replace a few highly skilled developers. They'd probably expect 60k (low end) - 100k (moderate end). Skilled programmers if not paid well or interested, will probably move somewhere else, and that costs more money to orient another employee to their work. Now if you have ~10 people on a project that spans 2-5 years, you're lookin
    • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:09AM (#29396061) Journal

      DRM doesn't stop piracy in the slightest. A check of any torrent site shows that.

      As you rightly said, it's about control. This claim that "honest people subsidize thieves" is absolute nonsense as:

      A) Despite the claims to the contrary, most people wouldn't buy the games they pirate anyway (when I did it back in the day it was for the collecting). Also people should be grateful for piracy as they're preserving these titles.

      In ten years time, if you want to install Spore for example, will you even be able to install a legitimate copy and get it authorized so you can actually run it? The pirated version will still be around and you'll be able to still use it. DRM like Securom which requires online activation conveniently puts an expiration date on the games you buy. If you can't play them in ten years time, you're only choice will be to buy new games, which is exactly what EA and the like want. Once again, it's about control. Piracy is just a red herring.

      B) If piracy ended tomorrow, prices would NOT drop. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a rube. These are folk in the money making business. Look at Starforce protected titles. Uncrackable when they came out. GT Legends took TWO YEARS to crack. Yet the game came out at the exact same price as everything else within that genre. Actually $5 more here.

      The reason games are cheap on Xbox Live is nothing to do with piracy, and everything to do with market exposure and standardization. On XBLA games are released pretty much every week, promoted well on release etc... The points system sets down a very rigid price structure.

      It's more that than anything else. It seems rather than DRM being the selling point, it's convenience and standard pricing. Stats from the like of Valve have shown that when a game is put out at a cheaper price, sales increase far beyond what was expected.

      It would appear that the folk behind Xbox Live have figured this out when laying out the service. It's better to sell 10,000 copies at $10, than 2,000 at $30.

      Look at Steam last Christmas. Bioshock sold an astronomical amount due to it being reduced to $5. Left 4 Dead also did the same when Valve reduced the price. So much so they said how surprised they were.

      • I've argued these same points with Eidos employees on the Eidos forums.

        Another great argument to use is when they try to claim that "games cost so much because of piracy". Really? The average price of a computer game isn't much more than it was around 15 years ago, when piracy was essentially non-existent (it may have been around, but not in an amount that would really have an impact). The price of computer games hasn't even increased enough to keep up with inflation, let alone have the mythical cost of

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by stg (43177)
          Did you use computers 15 years ago? Piracy was huge - it was just done with floppies and over BBSs.
          Of course, it was a LOT less convenient over 28.8Kbps dial-up...
      • by Znork (31774) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @06:18AM (#29396901)

        If piracy ended tomorrow, prices would NOT drop.

        That's fundamental economics; reduce competition and prices will rise. And with protected monopoly rights, unauthorized copying is what passes for 'competition'.

    • by Afforess (1310263)
      Really? World of Goo [arstechnica.com] has extreme pirating problems.
      • by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:50AM (#29396391) Journal

        Many people that have been burned by a shitty game will pirate before buying. As piracy increases, so do sales.

        I recall reading a blog post from one of those indy devs, trying to figure out how much a "pirated copy" is really worth. I believe the final guesstimate was about 5% of the price. (which is to say, 1/20 pirates may buy your game if it's good)

        However, you also have to factor in evangelism. Most pirates are very vocal about being pirates, and can offer unbiased opinions on whether a game is shit or not. I know some pirates that downloaded Fallout 3, and they've tried to get me to download it. I prefer to buy my games, so I'm waiting patiently for it to show up on Steam for $10. Ultimately this is an extra sale.

        Those same pirates told me to avoid UT3, and go with Section 8 instead.

    • by sg_oneill (159032)

      Yeah Low prices are not caused by DRM. On the contrary.

      The laws of economics don't really care about legality or what not. Competition doesn't stop producing cheaper goods just because the competition is black market competition.

      History has shown that as a response to piracy companies have been forced to lower prices to compete against the pirates. Windows is cheaper (or at least has cheaper editions) , there are cheaper editions of photoshop. Music on itunes is remarkably cheap (at least in Australia compa

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:07AM (#29395763)

    If your software has DRM in it, it can't be transferred or resold (first sale), so there is no used market, which increases revenue. It can't be backed up, so if you accidentally destroy the media on which the software is recorded, it must be purchased again, which increases revenue. It can be remotely deactivated, so you have to buy something else to play, which increases revenue. Thus, devs should love DRM in their games.

    • by goombah99 (560566)

      If your software has DRM in it, it can't be transferred or resold (first sale), so there is no used market, which increases revenue. It can't be backed up, so if you accidentally destroy the media on which the software is recorded, it must be purchased again, which increases revenue. It can be remotely deactivated, so you have to buy something else to play, which increases revenue. Thus, devs should love DRM in their games.

      did you pay less for giving up those privledges? How much extra would you pay to regain those privledges?

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:26AM (#29395847) Journal
        First sale is a right. In fact, it is a right to the same degree, and by the same means, that copyright is.

        The law could change, it isn't one of those inalienable self-evident rights; but it is not a "privilege".
      • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:32AM (#29395891) Homepage

        First sale doctrine is a RIGHT, not a "privilege". DRM makes people mad. And lastly, I think this whole 'pirate' definition is skewed. To me a pirated game is one that is copied, repackaged, and sold as if it were genuine. Getting a copy for free, trying it, and deciding you don't like it is a whole different matter. Just because some one is playing a game you developed that is a copy of one that someone bought does not in my mind mean that person would ever be a customer. Maybe he/she thinks the game is ok, but not good enough to pay for. My guess is that most people, if they really like something will buy a copy for themselves. Thinking some one owes you money for some peice of crap game just because the tried a copy is off the wall to me.

        I don't buy DRM'd anything.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dangitman (862676)
      Since when can't you backup DRMed media? In most cases backup is easy - you just need the keys to use it. Contrast with older, non-DRM techniques which use things like deliberately defective media, which are difficult to copy or backup, so you do need the original media, unless you hack it.
  • Subsidizing? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why would the "thieves" need to be subsidised? What costs are they incurring? Bandwidth? Aren't they all self-distributing with bittorrent, taking a load off the developer's servers? Clearly they should be reimbursed for this valuable service?

  • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:08AM (#29395767) Journal
    I like how the reason for high priced games is laid at the feet of piracy, instead of accepting the fact that the prices are based on what the market/gamer can bear. Who needs basic economics knowledge when you have a crusade?
    • by abigor (540274)

      Talk to anyone who works for a major game developer: PC gaming essentially died because of piracy. End of story. The "price that the market/gamer can bear" when copying is easy is $0. So, goodbye PC, hello consoles!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Firehed (942385)

        Right, because console games are never pirated. Oh, wait [thepiratebay.org].

        That won't stop publishers making the argument, but there would be no argument at all if one side wasn't completely invalid.

      • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:15AM (#29396083)

        PC gaming essentially died because of

        Whoa whoa there, I'm going to have to see a netcraft report before I believe that.

        And anyway, I speak for PC gamers when I say you can take your "major game developers" - we don't want them. These companies have been churning out wildly successful but completely inconsequential titles for years. Fantastic graphics, a hundred voice actors, celebrity scifi writers.. It's like a summer movie. It's awesome, funny, whatever, but months later you've completely forgotten it. Hundreds of summer movies roll by, each with their flashy effects and compelling premise and stratospheric budget, and they're all the best movie ever but they're all indistinguishable.

        Well while the greedy lip-licking journeyman game studios descended the mountain to found gaming's Hollywood and make their fortunes, the wizened masters stood and watched silently from their monastery gate. The masters filed inside, leaving the gate unlocked- their students would return, extravagantly wealthy, seeking the deep secret to making a single game that doesn't utterly suck. Have fun with your awful shooter controls, forced release schedules, and games designed by executives.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fallingcow (213461)

          And anyway, I speak for PC gamers when I say you can take your "major game developers" - we don't want them. These companies have been churning out wildly successful but completely inconsequential titles for years. Fantastic graphics, a hundred voice actors, celebrity scifi writers.. It's like a summer movie. It's awesome, funny, whatever, but months later you've completely forgotten it. Hundreds of summer movies roll by, each with their flashy effects and compelling premise and stratospheric budget, and th

      • Ummmm (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:28AM (#29396123)

        PC gaming has died? Better let all the studios know that are still releasing PC games. Since July we have seen 16 releases including:

        Batman: Arkham Asylum, Wolfenstine, Tales of Monkey Island, and Street Fighter 4.

        That is just since July of this year. Then there's a little game called World of Warcraft that has over 12 million active (meaning paid to play within the last month) subscribers.

        PC gaming is hardly dead. Tons of games keep coming out from major studios, including games also available on the consoles. That's your real indicator right there. If it were such a problem, if it were truly "dead" then why would console titles come out for it? Wouldn't they avoid it as to not have their game pirated and to save the cost of porting? However, that's not the case. Street Fighter 4 came out for arcades first, then the consoles. They spent a little more time on the PC version giving it better graphics and more content and made it the definitive version. Hardly what you do for a "dead" platform, of it piracy will just eat all your sales.

        Money is being made on PC games, and plenty of it.

    • by sg_oneill (159032) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:30AM (#29396321)

      Anti-piracy activists seem to be the only people on the planet that believe monopolizing markets reduces prices and competition raises them.

      Well other than the people that used to claim linux made proprietary software more expensive SOMEHOW.

  • "pay extra" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:08AM (#29395769) Homepage
    "Honest people need to pay extra to subsidize thieves." -- why? Honest people are perfectly capable of paying the same amount of money to subsidize thieves. It's not like most the thieves were ever really going to give you money anyway. And they laugh at your DRM and attack it with 1337 h4x0ring and steal it anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. Why should I be penalized for a game that not enough people want to buy.

      What they are missing are the number of "pirates" that download games to make sure they aren't a pile of crap and can run on their system. I purchased one game that was labeled as vista compatible without verifying. Well can't get my money back now.

      There is a quick and easy solution to this sort of piracy: release demos again. I was bored and downloaded six demos off steam of games that I was unlikely to purchase. Now I own thr

  • DRM is there to allow big game studios, the entertainment industry and big business ultimate control over the content that the consumer pays for.

    Instances of this:

    1. Amazon.com yanks Big Brother copies off all Kindles. Only after a massive public uproar does it apologise.
    2. Sony implements illegal malware to implement it's DRM, gets into massive trouble and then apologises.
    3. Microsoft implements dial home license checking. Most people who pirate Windows get a crack to get around it, those who purchase the

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:20AM (#29395811) Journal
    All the honeyed words in the world won't change the basic, essential, fact that DRM is a system where somebody other than you controls your hardware, against your interests. It cannot work any other way. The purpose of DRM is entirely admirable in pretty much the same way that the purpose of mind control chips would be(just think of all the crime they'd reduce!!).

    That's the thing, even if everybody agreed that the objectives of DRM are 100% squeaky clean and wonderful(which is hardly the case, DRM schemes to date have had a nasty habit of trampling all over first sale and fair use, and generally giving the seller substantially greater power than copyright law would grant them) the means by which DRM must be implemented, namely taking control of everybody's property in order to protect yours, are simply unacceptable.
  • by MeNeXT (200840) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:21AM (#29395825)

    because of DRM. I use more than one system. I do not wish to load the game on the disk and still keep the DVD in the drive. I don't like to be kicked because some stupid punkbuster program gets it wrong! I'm not a thief don't treat me as such!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:22AM (#29395831)

    Sure, if DRM actually worked toward its purpose, there wouldn't be as much complaining.

    But DRM doesn't prevent piracy. It always get cracked. And furthermore, before it gets cracked, it makes stuff hard to use and not work right.

    Ergo, people are faced with a choice: buy the product that is crippled by DRM to the point that you probably won't even be able to play it on your computer, or get the pirated product without DRM for free. That choice leads to DRM not merely failing, but working against its ostensible purpose. After many years of this being painfully obvious in everyone's face that DRM causes piracy, we begin to doubt the motivations for DRM. Maybe helping content creators get paid, isn't what DRM is really for.

    In the case of music and movies, it's very clear that it's about controlling what playback equipment people buy, and creating monopolies for "standards" licenses. I can buy a bluray drive pretty cheaply, but a bluray player is expensive. And that is the purpose of DRM: to keep mplayer out of the player market. So it's about making sure someone gets paid, but that someone isn't the content creator. It's Sony's electronics (not movie) division.

    Now, on to your xbox gaming rant. You complain about low sales and the high price of your game. And you use DRM. You wish you could lower your price and gain sales. Well, there's one thing you can do that will not lower your sales at all, and will probably raise them: drop the DRM. You're thinking about pirates instead of the customers. Telling customers to join the pirates, isn't going to help your situation. All if takes is for someone to have one problem with your DRM, and you will have converted him to the other side: the pirates' side. Look to your customers.

    • "You wish you could lower your price and gain sales. Well, there's one thing you can do that will not lower your sales at all, and will probably raise them: drop the DRM."

      You heard about what happened to Paradox, didn't you?

    • Yes DRM may always be cracked, but the majority of a game's sales happen in the first few months. If you can create a system that isn't cracked for several months, then it's done its job.
  • Basically the advertisement and apology for DRM is that we will treat you like thieves since there are some thieves out there. Sorry - it's all your fault. Bull - I see those locked down games for XBox and such sitting there in their big piles of unsold games at the locked in prices of 69 bucks or 59 bucks - just sitting there, nobody is buying them at those prices. XBox games are nicely locked down aren't they? Where's the price savings? Nowhere cause when you bastards have the thing locked up there are no
  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:29AM (#29395865) Homepage

    "The online backlash against DRM has gotten a bit excessive..."

    DRM is still popular among game publishers, which leads me to believe there hasn't been enough of a backlash. Geeks like us know about DRM and can choose to avoid it when told of a product that has it, but your Average Joe won't know the difference until it bites him in the ass, and by then it's too late for him to demand a refund. Right now software publishers can sell me a game as part of a retail transaction and then impose additional terms, after the sale, at the point of installation. I see that as a kind of fraud, and say there hasn't been enough of a backlash.

  • Where to begin? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:31AM (#29395879) Journal

    So difficult to pirate that nobody bothers

    So he's not a complete moron in thinking that a "perfect" DRM scheme exists. However, it's pretty stupid to think that something would ever become "so difficult to pirate that nobody bothers" -- remember, it only takes one person to bother.

    Defense Grid is ten bucks, and it's giving me more than ten bucks worth of fun. Sure, I'm at Microsoft's mercy, and I don't "own" the product, but hey. Ten bucks.

    It's also twenty bucks for the Greenhouse version [playgreenhouse.com], which seems more than a bit odd. It's worth mentioning, though, that you do own that one, such as it is -- the only DRM is a single Internet check on first installation, which seems reasonable for a downloaded game.

    I charge $28 for a new game. I would LOVE to charge ten bucks. But, to stay in business, I'd have to triple my sales, and that won't happen. Would sales go up? Sure. Would they TRIPLE? Almost impossible.

    I don't know about that. You didn't seem to have much trouble getting onto Slashdot, which would get you a fair number of sales. But your general attitude in this article already makes me skeptical, and there's no way I'm paying $28 for what I see in that game. $10? Sure, and if it was good, I'd tell my friends about it. $28? You just lost a sale, buddy.

    The result? My games get pirated like crazy,

    The question: Would your games be pirated less with more DRM?

    More importantly: Even if they were pirated less, would that mean more sales for you? Because if I was pirating your games, and I suddenly couldn't pirate them anymore, I'd probably go pirate another game, not start paying for yours.

    DRM is fair if, for what the corporations take, we get something in return.

    I will agree with that. However, very often, what we get in return is nowhere near worth the DRM.

    An example of a marginally fair trade: Steam. Being able to IM a friend and hop into the game he's playing is cool. Being able to back up games, with a tool that will nicely create DVD-sized files, is very cool. Being able to download every game I own -- saturating my fiber connection -- after a reformat, in case something went wrong with the backup -- and needing only a username and password to recover all my games, and they're even planning to include savegames and settings, at some point -- is awesome.

    But this is still a trade many users are unhappy with. I'm online all the time -- many users would like to play their single-player games offline.

    An example of a very fair trade: World of Warcraft. The DRM is pretty much inherent in the system -- it connects to a server, and that server is unavailable to anyone who doesn't work for Blizzard. While there have been a few pirate servers, they pretty much have to reverse engineer and/or build from scratch most of the content and gameplay, and there's still the network effect -- if your guild's on a Blizzard server, you're on a Blizzard server. This is a case where you give up pretty much nothing for the DRM to work -- the one thing it takes from you is the ability to play offline.

    One of the problems with eBooks is they take away the ability to loan or sell the books you buy online, not to mention the lack of a satisfying physical object, and they still charge the same price for the book.

    That is why those of us in the know insist on unencumbered PDFs. I can get one that's watermarked, so I can't easily pirate it to the world, but I can easily share it among friends.

    the purpose of DRM is to prevent free riders (aka self-justifying weasels and morally damaged scumbags).

    The purpose of the McCarthy trials was to prevent communism from taking over America. It's a noble goal, but the casualties are unacceptable.

    If DRM enables pro

    • Ya I went and had a look at his games. $30 for that? Ummmmm, no. Those are not $30 quality games, I'm not even sure they are $10 quality games, maybe if the gameplay was real good.

      I am not the kind of person who demands top notch 3D graphics to play a game, I can accept that indy titles will have less assets, and thus cost less money. However, they still need to look decent. Defense Grid would be a good example. No, it isn't the best looking game out there, nor the most complex, nor the most playtime, etc.

  • So, because people pirate their games, they pay another company to install DRM in their game, wich changes nothing for the pirates who still get their DRM-free version anyway... then the legit buyers are stuck with the bill and the DRM...

    how is that fair?

  • It was never the intent of DRM to stop hard-core pirates, DRM was made to stop casual piracy, the "Oh can I borrow your game" where 1 copy of a game gets installed on five different peoples computers. The MMO people figured out a way around that, pay for play....people will pay for something they see a value in.

  • My problem with DRM has nothing to do with wanting to distribute content illegally, defend pirates or any other such thing. My problem with DRM is that in an attempt to stop the theives, the companies are treating the legitimate customer like crap! When DRM measures first came out I frequently found that the so-called license to the music that I purchased didn't actually work the way it was supposed to. I had to purchase several songs multiple times in order to run it on different devices, even though th
  • Except it doesn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:48AM (#29395969)

    The thing is, any DRM scheme can be cracked and it seems any DRM scheme WILL be cracked. You name it, it seems to have been busted. So this means that the people who wish to illegally copy a game can. They just go to one of the many sites offering it and get it. They are then not inconvenienced, since their copy has the DRM removed. However legitimate gamers, well those people it hurts. They have to deal with the DRM restrictions. It makes their experience worse.

    That's the situation I find myself in with a number of games these days. They are protected with SecuROM or TAGES or the like that require online activation, and only let you activate a few times. Well, that is not acceptable to me. I need to be able to play the game many years down the road. I like replaying games. So, there are games I just won't buy. Dawn of Discovery would be one. It really interests me, however I won't buy it because of the DRM. I suppose I could copy it, but I don't like doing that.

    So DRM hurts the legit customers, not the infringers.

    That's my biggest problem with it. If you actually could show me a DRM scheme that was 100% unbreakable, ok then maybe I'd give it some credit. After all, if you really could ensure that people HAD to pay for your product, perhaps it would do some good. I'd still want to see a real study showing that it does, but at least it would be possible. As it stands now, your DRM can and will be bypassed, which means that it only hurts people who actually pay.

    I'll even meet the developers and publishers half way. If DRM makes them feel warm and fuzzy, ok I can deal with it if it is non-intrusive. Impulse GOO is one I'm ok with. It doesn't bother me, it doesn't limit my installs, so it is fine. I'm not a zealot, I'm willing to compromise. However these ultra-restrictive DRMs do nothing to stop the copying, and just piss people off.

    Part of the problem is that developers need to stop seeing infringers as potential customers. While some might be, many aren't. In many cases if you made it so they couldn't have the product without paying, they'd simply do without. As such you can't look at all the number of copied software and say "We are losing all these sales," because you aren't. You need to worry about not pissing off paying customers. You don't want me angry with you, I spend a lot of money on games, but I WILL (and have) take it elsewhere if your DRM messes with my ability to play.

  • I definitely want the creators to get paid, and I don't want people to pirate copies of their games.

    That aside, I don't buy this argument. If piracy leads to "Honest people need[ing] to pay extra to subsidize thieves" and strong DRM helps to counter this, why is it that PC games are always much cheaper than console games despite their relative ease of piracy?

  • He does realize that xboxlive isn't stopping any pirating, right? In fact, it's so prevalent, there's been more than one major modder that has been arrested in the not so distant past.

    http://games.slashdot.org/story/09/08/04/1319221/California-Student-Arrested-For-Console-Hacking?from=rss [slashdot.org]

    This guy should probably be a politician. Ignore the facts at all costs, even if your proof directly contradicts the point you're trying to make!
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:58AM (#29396023)

    to stop thieves and free riders and to help creators actually get paid for their work

    "The" purpose? No, that's just the only socially acceptable purpose. There's also lock-in, forcing you to re-buy content you already own, the ability to take content back from you either intentionally or just by making a server go dark. You sir, are disingenuous.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:05AM (#29396043)

    I wouldn't have a problem with DRM...

    If it didn't violate the First Sale Doctrine.
    If it didn't violate the principal of Fair Use.
    If it didn't violate my right to format shift.
    If it didn't violate my right to backup my data as many times as I want, in any way that I want.
    If it didn't violate my right to use my content on any device I want.
    If it didn't violate my right to use my content whenever I want and without expiration, even in the event that the content provider no longer exists.

    These are all rights that content providers have not been able to bribe politicians to take from us in the US.
    These are all rights that DRM can strip away, by making the expression of these rights impossible without circumventing DRM and doing that is criminalized under the DMCA.

    • I posted before finishing my thoughts, oops.

      DRM takes all those rights away.

      And at best it only delays Copyright Infringement.

      I won't use the term Piracy or Theft because those are well defined crimes that have nothing at all to do with distributing copies of content.

    • by carlzum (832868)
      Exactly, DRM technology was created with only the publishers' interests in mind, but it's a step back from physical media for consumers. Publishers can have lower production and distribution costs and customers can have a product that can't be damaged or lost. But instead of investing in features that allow me to resell and use my product, they thew money at lobbyists and politicians to protect themselves.
  • by mykos (1627575) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:20AM (#29396095)
    Copyright infringment is stealing. Disturbing the peace is murder. Driving without a license is embezzlement. Any other minor crimes that we can rename to more serious ones?
  • Dumb (Score:3, Interesting)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @01:23AM (#29396109)

    You don't have a right to make money; so if you're selling an intangible product, you need to add value that makes purchasing the product attractive. In the past, when EA was "Electronic Arts", they took an approach where they treated developers like talent, and put their names and pictures in boxes and printed manuals. Packaging was creative and attractive, and the manuals, maps, etc included with the product had a certain value.

    The cost was alot less as well. $30 was probably the average cost for a new computer game. Now, in an age where almost all technology-related costs have plummeted, games are easily double that.

    IMO if you want to make money, you either need to add intangible value-adds, like packaging, manuals, maps, stickers, comic books or have online subscription or expansion options that allow you to pull down revenue for an extended period of time.

  • DRM just makes pirate copies more useful than the originals, so even honest users who pay for the games/movies/etc often end up breaking the DRM or obtaining pirate copies anyway.

    No unskippable "piracy is stealing" promos on DVDs (which the pirate copies obviously don't have), no phoning home every time you run a game, no access being denied to a single player game because your internet is down (and therefore want something to do while it comes back up), no scrambling around for half an hour looking for a d

  • Incorrect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:31AM (#29396327) Homepage Journal

    [T]he purpose of DRM is entirely admirable: to stop thieves and free riders and to help creators actually get paid for their work.

    Incorrect. The sole purpose of DRM is to give publishers control over a copy of a work after it has been ostensibly sold to a customer. (Its effectiveness in achieving this purpose is a separate question.)

    It is laudable that you would only choose to use this control for legitimate purposes, but that does not make it the fundamental purpose of the scheme.

    Furthermore, even if, in your benevolence, only intended to use DRM for this purpose, you would still stifle all uses of your work unforeseen by you. Would you have a problem with a legitimate buyer of your work using it on an emulator to enjoy it again twenty years from now? I suppose not. But if the current legal climate persists you would make a criminal of him.

    No. DRM is a naked play for control. An attempt to sell something but still act as its owner. Your good intentions do not change this.

    Honest people need to pay extra to subsidize thieves.

    Can you substantiate this claim? I can't imagine how any cost burden is placed upon you or your legitimate customers by people who aren't your customers copying your work.

    I suppose you mean that the costs must be defrayed over a smaller number of copies due to some imagined lost sales. But the question of what your costs would be if people who obtain your work illicitly obtained it legitimately is meaningless. If you attempt to discover the answer to this question experimentally by shackling your actual, paying customers with DRM you'll never know what your sales would have been without it. Much more importantly, you may or may not achieve your goals relating to those who aren't your customers, but you will certainly abuse those you claim to be attempting to protect.

    The choice is yours: punish your customers out of a sense of moral outrage, or align your perception of who your customers are with reality. Either way, you, and only you, must live with the consequences.

    -Peter

  • by spidweb (134146) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:55AM (#29396403) Homepage

    I've read the comments here with some interest, though I think they parrot a lot of conventional wisdom about DRM and piracy that is, at best, unproven. And is, most likely, quite wrong.

    I never say DRM can be unbreakable. Of course. But I AM saying you can make a system where the prices are low enough and the protection is strong enough that it's not worth pirating. For example, XBox Live. And it works beautifully.

    As for rights. I don't like having to put locks on the games/books/songs people own. But hey, in a democracy, we all get what the worst of us deserve. If DRM is the price we have to pay for creators to be able to afford to create, place the blame where it belongs. Pirates. I think there's room to worry about the rights of EVERYONE.

    Finally, I've been getting the comment that people who pirate will never ever buy a game. I've never seen one bit of hard evidence to prove this. Not all people who pirate are identical. I promise you that if the price is low and the bother of pirating is high (again, XBox Live) some people will buy the game who might otherwise have stolen it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Totenglocke (1291680)
      Just curious since you work for Spiderweb.... Does SpiderWeb use DRM now? I've played demos from Avernum and Geneforge (Geneforge is great, I just haven't ever gotten around to buying it) and found them quite fun. So I'm just curious about what wonderful "extras" I might get if you use DRM before I buy anything.
  • by eddy (18759) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @06:53AM (#29396995) Homepage Journal

    Consider this: The PS3 is still a secure platform, the XBox 360 is not. Therefore, since apparantly we pay hefty sums to compensate for software infringers and the publishers and devs are always saying how they would lower their prices if only no-one was pirating their precious bits, the games on the secure PS3 are in fact cheaper than the games on the unsecure XBox 360?

    WAIT, NO THEY AREN'T!

    Conclusion: The absense of software pirates will in fact NOT lead to lower prices.

    In fact, I'd say the pressure works the other way, if they could price games however they wanted, prices would GO UP! Some infringement works as a safety pressure valve. Too much and the platform is destroyed, too little and the platform won't grow. Further point: Where we have console AND PC versions of a game, the PC version's always much cheaper. You know, the PC where there is the highest pressure from infringers?

    So the next time these guys complain and use infringers as an excuse for their pricing, ask them to explain why the PS3 version isn't cheaper than the XBox 360 version, and I'm sure they'll give you some bullshit Sony and MS. Then ask again why we should care about infringers if the larger cost comes directly from the platform controllers...

  • Xbox Live and DRM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lemming Mark (849014) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @09:08AM (#29397489) Homepage

    The Xbox makes me feel a bit conflicted about DRM. The reason being that (more or less as the original article is pointing out) some of the uses of DRM on Xbox live arcade seem a bit less evil than you'd expect! For instance, they offer me the convenience of renting movies from a moderately sized catalog, for non-ridiculous prices, without going to the video shop. That's quite nice and it's something that would seem a bit silly to offer without DRM (unless you just streamed it, in which case quality might suffer). Generally I'd say that if you need DRM to enforce your policy then your business model probably isn't right - and to a certain extent I think that applies to online movie rentals; if you're giving someone the data you can't really make them give them back, unlike a physical disk. But in this case the Xbox isn't trying to con me, it's upfront about the cost and the fact it's just a time-limited rental. I just don't feel offended by it, the way DRM on a purchase would bother me.

    However, XBox Live does really worry me in other ways. For instance, they recently added the ability to buy full released games via download. This might be marginally more convenient than going to the game shop every few weeks to pick up a new title. However, you lose the ability to resell the games or lend them to people *and* you're not only asked to pay more than a second-hand copy of the games would be - the games I've looked at are charging more than I payed for a *new* copy. Admittedly I bought those games during a sale but I got a real physical disk that I can even lend to friends and resell. The prices they're charging are possibly fair in the sense of "I feel I got enough enjoyment in return for what I paid" but they're out of proportion to what I can get elsewhere. They're entitled to try this and see if it works but when I think about a future when the console vendors control all prices, sales and resales my knees get all wobbly and I have to go play Halo to relax.

    The other things that bug me about Xbox live's DRM / pricing include the fact that MS points are sold in inconvenient multiples, making it easy to have some left over. And also the rumours I've seen recently that they pressure DLC providers to charge money, so as not to create the expectation of free stuff. That's a rip off.

    At the end of the day, the Xbox has plenty of DRM and, like the author, I find some aspects of it not entirely intolerable. It still annoys me and I hope that some of their more greedy efforts to extend Xbox Live fail commercially. But it's less obnoxious doing it on an Xbox where I (personally, others may get a nasty surprise) knew what I was buying into, as opposed to pushing DRM on my PC which cost me more money and came with the expectation I could run what I wanted.

  • by mcbevin (450303) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @10:51AM (#29398183) Homepage

    This DRM/security etc stuff that Apple has for the iphone has only been a royal pain in inconviencing me during my development of the games ..... however as soon as any of my games have been released, pirated copies have instantly appeared on the internet/bittorrent. The existence of these hacked copies is not really something that has bothered me at all, but in any case, the point is, that all this DRM only tends to inconvenience the honest user/developer, while not stopping the 'thieves' anyway.

    The same logic of DRM only inconvencing honest users without stopping piracy has also applied in my experience with CDs (the last CD I bought in a shop had copy-protection mechanisms preventing me from ripping it, so I had to download it illegally just to put it on my computer+mp3-player, which made me realise there was no point left in legally buying the things), DVD-region-based-restrictions (I live abroad, and I stopped renting DVDs in germany and switched to downloading movies, as I got so sick of the DVDs available in germany mostly not having the original-english audio at all due to licensing crap) etc

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