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Piracy Games

Sometimes It's OK To Steal My Games 438

Posted by timothy
from the eternal-debate-continues dept.
spidweb writes "One Indie developer has written a nuanced article on a how software piracy affects him, approaching the issue from the opposite direction. He lists the ways in which the widespread piracy of PC games helps him. From the article: 'You don't get everything you want in this world. You can get piles of cool stuff for free. Or you can be an honorable, ethical being. You don't get both. Most of the time. Because, when I'm being honest with myself, which happens sometimes, I have to admit that piracy is not an absolute evil. That I do get things out of it, even when I'm the one being ripped off.' The article also tries to find a middle ground between the Piracy-Is-Always-Bad and Piracy-Is-Just-Fine sides of the argument that might enable single-player PC games to continue to exist."
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Sometimes It's OK To Steal My Games

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  • Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@gmail. c o m> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:09PM (#33077566)
    Much like indie music producers, many love to have their music 'pirated' because it means exposure. Like the old shareware days. Remember when Radiohead [telegraph.co.uk] did that pay-what-you-want scheme? Not a bad idea. The sooner the content producers adapt to the new distribution models, eliminate the middle-men cartels that get all the cuts (old-school mentality), the sooner the gangsters of profit are shown that information generally wants to be 'free', finding a way to make people pay for it through their own generosity and good-will obligation, as to arm-twisting and draconian DRM, the sooner quality information can flourish, the sooner garbage that keeps our current signal-to-noise ratio so low begins to become weeded out.

    Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there needs to be a front company to sell the work of somebody else. But I believe this should only be true for circumstances in that the producer(s) can't maintain the quality of their work, nor the channels of distribution in a manner that maintains the quality of the original product. But something that is self-contained awesomeness that has a fairly hands off approach, well, find ways to monetize it other than arm-twisting and litigation. This guy seems to get it.
  • Uhm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:22PM (#33077710)

    You can get piles of cool stuff for free. Or you can be an honorable, ethical being. You don't get both.

    http://www.fedoraproject.org/ [fedoraproject.org]

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:33PM (#33077796)

    Radiohead is not really a good example. They had already achieved success inside the context of the music industry, not to mention critical acclaim and a huge fanbase.

  • by Weezul (52464) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:39PM (#33077832)

    All those middle men are not ripping off their artists. They are ripping YOU off.

    In the arts, powerful middle men sell fame to artists, and sell product to consumers. Artists get an acceptable deal if they reach the end of their contract while remanning creative, as they'll sell more shit for vastly more then.

    Yet *some* artists would achieve fame anyways, maybe very different artists. YOU are deprived of them because some middle man made another choice about who becomes famous.

    And middle men are ripping off the best artists by preventing an egalitarian competition for fame, obviously.

  • by BitHive (578094) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:46PM (#33077888) Homepage

    Nobody is entitled to get money just because they made some software or recorded some music. Rewards are handed out by the free market; if they don't receive the return they would like then they need to change their product or find another career not whine about other people pursuing their rational self-interest. Read up on free market capitalism sometime.

  • by Rix (54095) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:55PM (#33077992)

    Sorry, if you feel that there's nothing wrong with using a cell phone, your morals are wrong. Sorry, if you feel there's nothing wrong with sex before marriage, your morals are wrong. Sorry, if you feel that god doesn't hate fags, your morals are wrong. Sorry, if you feel that womyn should not make all decisions in the world, you're morals are wrong.

    It's subjective. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree.

  • by Rix (54095) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:57PM (#33078012)

    And no one is entitled to prevent me from helping my neighbour just because it interferes with their business model.

  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:00PM (#33078040)

    Nobody said they are entitled to get money, just that they should be able to expect to be paid by people who use their products. In "free market capitalism," (which you should read up on sometime), when I use a product, I pay the entity that created that product (sometimes that's through another vendor, and sometimes that company says that the price is $0).

  • by TheEyes (1686556) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:02PM (#33078058)

    "Information wants to be free." That's a fine statement to make if you already know what's being discussed--that is, you know the difference between free-as-in-speech and free-as-in-beer, but it's not a statement that is at all productive when speaking to an adversarial or even a divided crowd. Part of the problem is that the default meaning of "free" to most people is the "free beer" version. Put quite simply, most people spend far more people in their day to day lives thinking about money than they do about abstract legal concepts like free speech, and so whenever a well-meaning debater says, "Information wants to be free," that translates into most people's heads, by default, into: "I don't want to pay for information;" that is, you want to get everything for free. Yes, yes, I know that's not what the statement means, but it's a statement so easily misconstrued that it should really never be mentioned in a persuasive argument about copyrights, patents and trademarks if you want to actually try to persuade someone.

    Similarly, I don't like to use the words "Intellectual Property," as that confuses the concepts of copyrights, trademarks, and patents with those of actual property, For the same reason I don't like the new mindset of calling such things "Imaginary Property," which in my mind is as juvenile as those people using M$ to denote Microsoft. Instead I try to use the acronym "CPT"--for Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks--as a more accurate, and shorter, qualifier.

    Yes, these word choices are a bit overly pedantic, but we need to be more diplomatic in our speech if we don't want discussions on CPT law to devolve into the same partisan shouting matches that everything else falls into.

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

    by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:04PM (#33078076) Journal

    He was speaking in terms of PC games. I've not seen a lot of high-quality PC games given away (Alien Swarm is the one recent exception that I know of).

    The whole point of this article is what I've said in every piracy argument I've been involved in: if no one buys quality PC games, they won't be made any more. Buy the games you play. I'll go even further than the author: don't just buy one a year, you cheap schmucks. Buy anything you play for more than 10 hours.

    The more money we sink into the PC games market, the healthier it will be. The more quality titles we support, the more we'll see of the same level of quality.

  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:06PM (#33078100)

    Yes they most certainly are entitled to try to prevent you from stealing their products. Their business model is their choice, not yours.

  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:34PM (#33078300)

    You cannot look at top grossing games (or movies or music) to get an idea of the economic impact of software piracy. You have to look at the not so successful games.

    The kinds of games that are going to have problems from piracy are the games that are good but not great. Think of any game that you do not ever see a commercial for on television. The impact of piracy on a high profile title is probably the difference between making 50 million dollars and 40 million dollars profit. Significant, but not really that damaging to the company that made that title.

    The impact of piracy on a low profile title is probably the difference between making a modest profit and having to shut down the studio that made it.

    An indie title is probably not going to be popular enough to attract that much piracy.

    END COMMUNICATION

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:34PM (#33078306)

    Certainly not. The creator of the content is not entitled to get money. However, the consumer is not entitled to get the content for free, either.

    The content creator is entitled to set the terms for which his content is distributed. The consumer is entitled to choose whether the terms are acceptable to them, or to avoid the content.

    If the consumer doesn't like the terms, that doesn't mean he is free to ignore them.

  • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:36PM (#33078312) Journal
    Yay, Moral Relativism! So while we're agreeing to disagree, we'll just have to agree to disagree that it is wrong for me to drop by, tie you up, skull fuck you in both eye sockets and take all of your possessions. After all, I see nothing wrong with me doing any of that to you, so it's OK and we'll just agree to disagree.

    And this would be why no sane society bases itself on Moral Relativism, it sounds fun right up until someone with weapons and organizational skills realizes that he can set himself up as a dictator, and does so. And then the anarchist utopia ends and we get Somalia. Paradoxically, in order for a free society to function you have to have good laws which don't leave things open to such ridiculous interpretation. While some of the lines are pretty easy to draw, I think we can all agree that skull fucking someone is not OK, others are going to be a little tougher. Unsurprisingly, in those gray areas people tend to disagree. At this point, the best solution for deciding those gray areas, which we have come up with, is to have democratically elected representatives argue it out and make a final rule. And, in order to keep our society out of the hell of anarchy, we all go along with it and work though the system to change things we don't like. I think I'll have to agree with Mr. Churchill on this one, "Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

    So which one sounds better to you?
    A society based on rules which keeps everyone mostly free but brings overwhelming force to bear to maintain an acceptable standard
    Or
    Anarchy and the possibility of a random guy dropping by to skull fuck you

    I'm gonna stick with my laws, even if they are screwed up from time to time. At least I have the option to change them without a gunfight.
  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:36PM (#33078316)

    One final note: depriving someone of a potential sale is not theft, unless you are prepared to say that competing businesses are "stealing" from each other.
     
    How are those in any way even remotely similar? One is competition, and one is using the creativity and work of someone without compensating them. That's theft.

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

    by westlake (615356) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:38PM (#33078332)

    Insulting people is not going to get you anywhere.

    I'll remember that the next time I see a Borg icon, a rotten Apple, or a stained glass Window.

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

    by genner (694963) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:49PM (#33078432)

    See, you have people like me who DO. For a classic example, Starcraft II. Starcraft II is a high-budget game, which Blizzard spent a lot of money marketting. All that is good. I was going to buy it. Here's what happened: I bought the thing, was confronted with a 36 hour download time, and used a version that I happened to have which was a torrented predownload. For reasons I still don't understand -- maybe it was regioning, whatever -- their DRM prevented me from using the game that day. I had to wait until July 28th, a day after it was released, to play it at all. On the release day, I'd tried numerous times to "authenticate" my copy, all of which failed. I went to my battle.net account, which claimed that I'd somehow activated too many copies. I called Blizzard and got hung up on numerous times with an "unfortunately, we're experiencing a high call volume" load of crap until I finally got through, at which point the hold time was 56 minutes. Now, I did the right thing. I bought the damned thing for $60. Blizzard's DRM caused a major screwup, which made me wish that I'd pirated it so at least it would work.

    It had nothing to do with DRM. Blizzards network broke under the strain. That's why smart people wait a few days before buying a game that popular.

  • Nor, it appears, do you understand where the cost of games comes from.

    Wherever it comes from, it could be paid for by advertisers (e.g. Sneak King), or by companies or governments who use the game's engine for a training tool (e.g. America's Army), or by a bounty of preorders after the free demo is released (the Street Performer Protocol).

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:51PM (#33078446) Homepage

    Hm, I suppose that is true technically, but I think you're not really on target there.

    Your problem is the second use of the word 'explicitly.' That word isn't in the ninth amendment. Instead the rights reserved to the states and the people are merely those that are neither granted to the United States, and not denied to the states. This, especially in conjunction with the elastic clause, leaves the door open to implicitly granted powers, which are fairly like penumbral civil liberties that are also not expressly protected but can be understood to be present by careful reading. (E.g. the First Amendment expressly protects a right to speak freely, but not a right to listen -- since the lack of the latter would effectively gut the former, and this would be an absurd result, we must infer that the latter is also protected)

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:07PM (#33078554) Homepage

    Instead I try to use the acronym "CPT"--for Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks--as a more accurate, and shorter, qualifier.

    Meh. I don't use 'IP' either, but it contains some other things too, like trade secrets, publicity rights, hot news, and other even more obscure fields. Given that most of these have nothing at all to do with one another, and it's fairly rare for them to all arise in conversation, I suggest not trying to glom them together, and just using whichever one is appropriate at the time. Plus it saves on having to teach people a new initialism, and then get into the whole spiel. Just a suggestion.

  • by metacell (523607) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:07PM (#33078560)

    Copyright is just an arbitrary social convention. Three hundred years ago, composers were happy when their music was used by others. Today, the staff at restaurants can’t sing the Happy Birthday song to their customers because it would constitute an unauthorised commercial use.

    Copyright was a legal construct the printers (not the writers!) lobbied for in order to increase their profits, and soon, people got used to it and started seeing it as a god-given right. Perhaps in the future it will be possible to copyright individual sentences, and speaking them without the permission of the originator will be seen as ”stealing”. Perhaps there will be moral outrage, like the one over piracy, when people insist on speaking any sentence they like without paying the appropriate fee.

    There are some morals which are very basic and vital to society, like the taboos against murder or theft, but copyright is not one of them. Copyright is a legal construct which gives priveleges to some (primarily large media corporations) at the expense of others (consumers). Copyright should be judged on how beneficial it is for society as a whole. It is an economic instrument meant to stimulate the production of literary and artistic works, not to ensure the income of writers and artists.

  • by Atlantis-Rising (857278) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:08PM (#33078570) Homepage

    That sounds logical at first blush, it's a dramatically oversimplified (and thus, effectively wrong) explanation of what's happening.

    The United States (consisting of the federal government and states) is a single sovereign entity. The constitution is a creation of, and subservient to, that sovereign entity- it is a self-imposed restriction on the exercise of that sovereign power and a description of the split of that sovereignty.

    The 9th and 10th Amendments are therefore by definition meaningless. Of course all powers that are not granted to the federal government flow to the states; there is nowhere else for them to possibly flow. They are simply restatements of what it means to have a federated government.

    Of course, the issue is even more complicated than THAT; because ultimately the federal judiciary (specifically the Supreme Court) is the embodiment of the constitution as a document and the ultimate arbiter as to its meaning; in that respect, the split of sovereignty is not so much defined in the constitution as it is described in broad strokes in the constitution and then assigned to the Supreme Court for specification. In that respect, the issue of the 'federal government usurping those powers' is a meaningless statement in the broad scheme; it cannot by definition usurp what it is legally entitled to, and the Supreme Court defines what it is legally entitled to. The only way the federal government could usurp powers it was not legally entitled to would be to disobey a ruling of the Supreme Court that an exercise of its power was ultra vires

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

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:11PM (#33078596)

    What other than DRM would stop a single player game from working when their network fails?

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:13PM (#33078608)

    What should be done about copyright owners that don't even want to take my money, in a way that "promote[s] the Progress of Science and useful Arts"?

    Unfortunately, the idea that the copyright system is for the benefit of the public was forgotten by most people a long time ago. The copyright lobby has successfully infected the education system with their "copyright is for the benefit of artists" propaganda. The USA now goes around trying to force other countries to abide by our copyright system; at what point did a copyright system that was supposed to be for our benefit suddenly become relevant to any other nation?

    As with so many things, the benefit of the people is not really a motive in the law anymore.

  • by Goboxer (1821502) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:17PM (#33078634)
    Do you think in a capitalistic society that having no copyright is going to promote the production of goods such as video games? Or basically any work of similar nature?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:23PM (#33078678)

    The impact of piracy on a low profile title is probably the difference between making a modest profit and having to shut down the studio that made it.

    An indie title is probably not going to be popular enough to attract that much piracy.

    Wait what?

    If a low profile indie title isn't popular enough to attract that much piracy, how the hell is it piracy's fault if the company fails from poor sales? Thats like saying "my product isn't very popular, isn't selling well and isn't even being stolen. THEFT DROVE ME INTO BANKRUPTCY!"

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

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:33PM (#33078746) Homepage Journal

    "I've not seen a lot of high-quality PC games given away"

    You could at least define "high quality". If you mean high FPS, lots of bling, lots of gore, and flashing lights - yeah, you're probably right. Linux doesn't have a lot of high quality games. To me, nethack is pretty high quality.

  • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:41PM (#33078786)

    These three enumerated powers are big enough to drive a postal truck through.

    Not really. Even the commerce clause (perhaps the broadest of them all) could not possibly be twisted so far as to (for example) force citizens to purchase a product; you can't say with a straight face that that has anything to do with interstate commerce, especially if the product isn't purchased across borders. There's not doubt congress has overreached and it's not because the constitution is too vague.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:44PM (#33078808)
    I'm glad this at least got modded Funny rather than Insightful. So what would it be like if any government of the moment had the power to change the constitution easily like in some other countries? President won't sign some law - easy, change the constitution to remove the veto power. Supreme Court making some inconvenient ruling - easy, change the constitution to get around it. President is stil thirsty for power after two terms are up - easy, change the constitution to allow a third term. Take a look at Russia, Belarus etc for example. The US Constitution is not perfect, though as far as constitutions go it's pretty damn good and farsighted, but its value lies in it being above the government and very difficult to change. Nation of laws, not men.
  • by metacell (523607) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:51PM (#33078838)

    Do you think in a capitalistic society that having no copyright is going to promote the production of goods such as video games? Or basically any work of similar nature?

    Yes, it certainly will. You are focusing on the production of the original game/movie/book, but the production of copies is equally important. And the production of copies will certainly be stimulated by abolishing copyright.

    Without copyright, anyone can copy a game/book/movie and offer it for a lower price or in a more convenient form. Instead of selling a few copies for a high price, they will sell a large number of copies for a lower price, meaning they will benefit a much larger number of people. The artificial scarcity enforced by copyright is a terrible economic waste. A book or movie or piece of software can be copied for a few cents and enrich someone's life, but with copyright, the copyright holder suppresses the number of copies in order to keep the price high.

    The only time increased production of copies might be a bad thing, is if it causes people to stop producing the original games/movies/books, but it seems highly unlikely that will happen. So far, piracy hasn't lead to decreased revenues for the movie, music(*) or literature industries. People generally don't seem to pirate to save money, but rather to get access to a larger volume of books/movies/software. The money "saved" on pirate copies is generally used to buy other books/games/music.

    (*) The music industry would have us believe they are the verge of bankruptcy, but that is simply not true. The record sales have gone down during the last decade, but that is more than offset by the increase in legally downloaded music and the increased revenues from collection agencies like ASCAP. As a whole, the music industry is making more money than ever.

  • by kiddygrinder (605598) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:07PM (#33078912)
    to be fair, i think they're ripping everyone off. getting an acceptable deal at the end of a draconian contract that puts you multiple hundred thousand dollars in debt is not cool.
  • Re:Actually.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Derosian (943622) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:14PM (#33078938) Homepage Journal
    You must have been on a 56k modem with a 36 hour download time, or the servers were down, it took me all of 30 seconds. The digital download version, as was stated in multiple locations, was only usable after 10AM the day of the release. When I installed I had no problem adding Starcraft II to my Battle.net account which is what it really is, you don't really authenticate. You might as well be using Steam and complaining about Authentication. It makes sense they had a high number of calls and a 56 minute wait time in the time period immediately after a release. All of these things sound normal to me, sure its annoying and if I was unfortunate enough that the DRM kicked me in the butt I would complain too, but Blizzard has a history of 'doing the right thing' and if you get in contact with them are likely to get it worked out.
  • Re:Actually.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:18PM (#33078952)

    I'd class Dwarf Fortress as high quality(with the exception of the graphics which are of a standard closer to a 1980's text editor) and that's given away free.

  • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:24PM (#33078980) Homepage Journal

    Even the commerce clause (perhaps the broadest of them all) could not possibly be twisted so far as to (for example) force citizens to purchase a product

    That's why Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was passed under "To lay and collect taxes [for] the general welfare". If you don't buy a product, the government reserves the right to tax you for its value and give it to you. Think of it as eminent domain run in reverse.

  • by metacell (523607) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:37PM (#33079048)

    So the downloads increased more than thousandfold when you made it free. In other words, most of the people who downloaded the free version would never have done so if it wasn't free. Likewise, most of the people who downloaded a pirated version would never have got it if they had to pay.

  • by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:41PM (#33079076)

    Some people make games for the love of making them.

    I doubt that many would disagree that Cave Story, Iji, Knytt, Dwarf Fortress, or Seven Days a Skeptic are excellent examples of their genre.

    All of them are given away free.

    The article implicitly assumes both that game developers only make games for the money, and that a front-loaded payment model is the only way to go; both of which are not necessarily true. For example, Tarn Adams (Dwarf Fortress) earns his living entirely through donations. People torrenting his game actually help him by decreasing the bandwidth cost of his website.

    So no degree of piracy or lack of piracy is ever going to cause good single player PC games to cease to exist, and, similarly, you'll be able to get piles of cool stuff for free... well, as long as net neutrality holds out, at least.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:56PM (#33079152)

    I make games for a living and while DRM and other things are a pain in the ass some times, it's still nice to get a pay check........
    Nice try at justifying being a douche...I think there should be a demo to see if you like a game....
    but if your playing the game and enjoying it, pay for it and don't be a douche

  • by internettoughguy (1478741) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @10:02PM (#33079194)

    That's why Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was passed under "To lay and collect taxes [for] the general welfare". If you don't buy a product, the government reserves the right to tax you for its value and give it to you. Think of it as eminent domain run in reverse.

    I don't have to much of a problem with that when it's something that everyone needs, and it works out cheapest when it's centralized: roads, power and data networks, and public healthcare seem to fall under that banner.
    The problem for me is that because we are all paying the same amount, everyone (or the government) thinks that we should not be allowed to take any risks with our own bodies, otherwise we'll "be a burden on the healthcare system".
    That fucks me off. Again have no qualms about state run monopolies when: A) private companies are legally allowed to compete with them, B) everyone pays for real value of their own, so that I can smoke crack and ride a Harley with no helmet on, if I so choose.

  • Re:Actually.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by enter to exit (1049190) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @10:06PM (#33079214)
    Although you can get a lot (but not all - you'd be surprised at what people call "open") of FOSS software for free legally. The developer was not referring to law, he was referring to ethics.

    I wonder how ethical it is to use FOSS software and not give a little in terms of support to the developers (be it financial or time)
  • by XanC (644172) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @10:11PM (#33079252)

    No, the Constitution is an agreement between sovereign states to create a federal government, and delegate certain powers, and only those powers, to that government.

    The Supreme Court is not meant to be the ultimate arbiter of what the Constitution means. Congress, the President, and the judiciary ALL swear to uphold the Constitution, and if the President (for example) believes something is unconstitutional, he must behave accordingly, regardless of what the Court says.

    But in any case, the ultimate arbiters are the states themselves. An entity created by an agreement cannot have the final word on what the agreement says. That just doesn't make any sense.

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

    by RsG (809189) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @10:31PM (#33079356)

    When the OP used the phrase "high quality" I read it to mean "expensive, technologically complex and with bells and whistles like voice acting/cut-scenes/whatever".

    If your sole measure of quality is gameplay (and that's a damn good thing to base your judgment of a game on incidentally) then you don't need any of the above. Hell, there are games made fifteen years ago I still play. Bells and whistles don't age as well as core game mechanics.

    All that being said, I would be a little sad to see the Starcraft 2's of the world die out, or migrate entirely to the consoles. So I'm going to back the person who wrote the article in the first place: Buy your games. I've no problem with people trying before they buy, or pirating abandonware they can't get legitimately (or otherwise unavailable through legal channels), or cracking games you own to get rid of obnoxious DRM schemes. But if all else is equal, we (the computer gaming community) should buy the damn things.

    Because otherwise, the cost of making games gets spread around that many less legitimate customers, and I think the people who do pay have a right to be a little pissed off paying for someone else to play for free.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @10:38PM (#33079384)

    Blizzards network broke under the strain

    And why should Blizzard's network have any impact at all on my ability to play a game, that I bought, in single-player mode, on my own pc?

    Because my right to play that game must be verified via authentication against Blizzard's server.

    That qualifies as DRM.

  • by dollarwizard (1806856) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:12PM (#33079520)
    Here's why. Every individual has two commodities they own: 1. Time. 2. Money. People with #2 tend not to have #1, and vice versa. So for someone with a good income, it's just not worth the time involved to locate a torrent, download it from the few people seeding it, etc., etc. (Even if YOU could find it quickly, there's still a learning curve involved for the average person.) The people who pirate software almost always are those who wouldn't buy it in the first place, simply because they don't have any money. But by getting your software, a certain tiny percentage will help you via word of mouth, which in the end helps your bottom line.
  • by NonSequor (230139) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:29PM (#33079592) Journal

    You say you reject moral imperatives, but you create moral imperatives of your own which you seek to impose on other people. You assign infinite value to freedom of information and berate people who value it differently. What is it that makes your view superior? You're taking issues with vast configuration spaces and reducing them down to one bit of information. Oversimplifying anything this much is stupid. You're trying to optimize one variable without considering what you're doing to all of the other variables.

    I see in you an example of how people can become the mirror image of the things they hate. You're so eager to negate the things you hate that you just flip them in the other direction and end up creating a structure which shows flaws congruent to the original's flaws. Your opponents have certain problems that they want to avoid and you have certain problems that you want to avoid. Your opponents want to avoid their problems even if it means that the problems you want to avoid blow up. You want to avoid your problems even if it means that the problems they want to avoid blow up.

    The only way that you're helping society is by acting as a counterweight against elements on the opposite extreme. But what would really be better would be for people on both ends to move a bit closer together and find some common ground.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:36PM (#33079624)

    I believe Randseed bought the game digitally, which meant he would have had to download the entire installer. Of course he could've done this several days in advance, as Blizzard made the downloader available beforehand to help people avoid the inevitable congestion issues, and simply activated it while installing the game on release day.

  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Friday July 30, 2010 @12:40AM (#33079860)

    Wow, if consumers are entitled to get content for free, why don't all of them do it? And if they did, why would content creators create it in the first place? Why do certain people think they deserve to get content for free while others pay for it? Sounds kind of arrogant to me. *Someone* has to pay for it. Why not you? Are you really that special?

  • Let me get it straight. Your need to earn money is more important than the right of all of the human kind to freely access information?

    I have information in my head right now that you probably do not have. If I refuse to share any of this information with you for free (or just refuse because I don't want to share it with you), am I violating your rights?

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:39AM (#33080084)

    The problem for me is that because we are all paying the same amount, everyone (or the government) thinks that we should not be allowed to take any risks with our own bodies, otherwise we'll "be a burden on the healthcare system".
    That fucks me off. Again have no qualms about state run monopolies when: A) private companies are legally allowed to compete with them, B) everyone pays for real value of their own, so that I can smoke crack and ride a Harley with no helmet on, if I so choose.

    Thank you. The concept that because your actions may 'burden' the government, then the government may tell you what to do down to the most basic fundamentals of life, what you may or may not eat.

    And that people somehow view the government pushing itself that far down your throat as a good thing, depresses me.

  • err... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Otis_INF (130595) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:53AM (#33080132) Homepage

    I, as a professional ISV owning developer, can only pay my bills because of copyright. This way, I can write software for a living and sell licenses of my work to my customers. What you wrote is IMHO one of the most stupidest things I've ever read about copyright: why would someone who created something NOT own that work? You seem to think that person doesn't own that work, 'society' does.

    Sorry, but that's just an excuse for ignoring the fact that you don't own the hard work of other people, they do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:42AM (#33080312)

    Sorry, USA States are no sovereign. You settled that in 1861.

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

    by severn2j (209810) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:56AM (#33080350)

    It had nothing to do with DRM. Blizzards network broke under the strain. That's why smart people wait a few days before buying a game that popular.

    Actually, smart people don't buy products that require the publishers network to be up in order to play a singleplayer game. Having to wait a few days because of network load is a bit of a slap in the face when we're all subjected to the constant pre-order culture where playing on release day is the most important thing.. Paying for that just sends a message that its okay for publishers to pull that shit. Although, I guess if nobody bought it, they'd just blame piracy anyway...

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

    by ultranova (717540) on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:00AM (#33081124)

    If your sole measure of quality is gameplay (and that's a damn good thing to base your judgment of a game on incidentally) then you don't need any of the above. Hell, there are games made fifteen years ago I still play. Bells and whistles don't age as well as core game mechanics.

    However, bells and whistles are necessary to represent those core mechanics in an appealing manner. Many older games have awful interfaces, and most sprite-based ones run into the problem of low resolution making it hard to figure out what's happening since everything becomes a pixelated mess.

    Because otherwise, the cost of making games gets spread around that many less legitimate customers, and I think the people who do pay have a right to be a little pissed off paying for someone else to play for free.

    60 dollars for a single game is too much. At this point, even if BitTorrent were to disappear entirely, sales would not go up. People simply don't have that kind of money to spend on entertainment. So please don't pretend that you are paying for the pirates; you aren't, you are paying for the development costs.

    Game development costs have gotten completely out of hand while quality tends towards mediocre, and the result will be the same it has been before: a market crash.

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

    by Abstrackt (609015) on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:35AM (#33081314)

    However, bells and whistles are necessary to represent those core mechanics in an appealing manner. Many older games have awful interfaces, and most sprite-based ones run into the problem of low resolution making it hard to figure out what's happening since everything becomes a pixelated mess.

    One word: Nethack.

    60 dollars for a single game is too much. At this point, even if BitTorrent were to disappear entirely, sales would not go up. People simply don't have that kind of money to spend on entertainment. So please don't pretend that you are paying for the pirates; you aren't, you are paying for the development costs.

    People don't have $60 to spend on entertainment? Having seen so many people drop $500 on a console or video card I find that hard to believe. Besides, no one is forcing you to pay $60 for these titles, they just slap a high price tag on it and people buy it because they must have it now. If you can learn delayed gratification you can wait about six months and the price will drop.

    You're not just paying development costs, you're paying the highest amount they think they can make from you; that number drops over time. If you can't find the money for a game you want there are probably two scenarios: 1) you're spending too much in another area or 2) you can't afford the system (computer or console) anyway.

    Game development costs have gotten completely out of hand while quality tends towards mediocre, and the result will be the same it has been before: a market crash.

    They're giving people what they want. Do you really think EA is churning out Madden 20xx for the fun of it? As long as people are buying shit games for high prices you'll find some developers working that niche market making shit games and selling them for high prices.

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

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:59AM (#33081482) Homepage Journal

    He was speaking in terms of PC games. I've not seen a lot of high-quality PC games given away

    How times change! Back in the day the best and most popular games were free; registration was cheap ($20 to $30) and you got extras with registration that made it worth the price.

    It was called "shareware" and was a great concept. For instance, the first Duke Nukem was actually three full three level games. The first three levels were actually a full game itself, when I registered it they sent three mors disks, with the other two "levels" that were actually two more games, and the third disk was a completely different shareware game. You also got a printed manual. The original Wolfenstein and DOOM were like this as well; there were thousands of other shareware titles.

    In an era where anybody can get any electronic version of any movie, book, song, or software from the internet for free, this is the way to go -- give the game away because they can get it free anyway, and sell the extras, the extras being physical media, printed manuals, and so forth. The only people who suffer from giving stuff away are those whose stuff is crap, because if you download my game and it sucks, you're not going to give me any money. If it's good, people will pay.

  • by Kuma-chang (1035190) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:44AM (#33081906) Journal
    If you can only sell 50 copies a week a $1, but can move 25k copies per week at $0, you need to find a way to make money off of $0. Find a sponsor, insert some advertising. That's a 50,000% difference in market reach between $1 and $0. Even if you can only figure out how to make $0.01 per customer, you've increased your revenue by 500%. This is the trap that the traditional media companies fall into--thinking they need so many units of product at the same prices they've always charged. It's a different platform, you need a different model.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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