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Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

Anger With Game Content Lock Spurs Reaction From Studio Head Curt Shilling 908

Posted by timothy
from the oh-the-huge-manatee dept.
MojoKid writes "Studios and publishers are fighting back hard against the used game market, with the upcoming title Kingdoms of Amular the latest to declare it will use a content lock. In this case, KoA ups the ante by locking out part of the game that's normally available in single-player mode. Gamers exploded, with many angry that game content that had shipped on the physical disc was locked away and missing, as well as being angry at the fact that content was withheld from used game players. One forum thread asking if the studio fought back against allowing EA to lock the content went on for 49 pages before Curt Shilling, the head of 38 Studios, took to the forums himself. His commentary on the situation is blunt and to the point. 'This is not 38 trying to take more of your money, or EA in this case, this is us rewarding people for helping us! If you disagree due to methodology, ok, but that is our intent... companies are still trying to figure out how to receive dollars spent on games they make, when they are bought. Is that wrong? if so please tell me how.'"
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Anger With Game Content Lock Spurs Reaction From Studio Head Curt Shilling

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  • Not on the disc (Score:4, Informative)

    by aaron552 (1621603) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:59PM (#38861787) Homepage
    From what Curt Shilling has said, the content is not on the game disc and was intended to be released as (day-one) DLC, but instead, those who buy the game get it for free. I really don't see the problem, myself.
    • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:06AM (#38861823)

      I don't give a shit what an executive figurehead says out of the corner of his mouth. The outcome is all the matters and game developers are trying to charge the same price for a single use, non-transferable license as they used to charge for transferable media.

      Yes that is wrong, because I as a customer have no desire to pay the same or higher price for a reduced value. I will download pirated copies or go without before I willfully entrap myself in this DRM/license pay-per-use dystopia being advanced by IP Rights Holders.

      There's nothing wrong with making a profit, but don't complain to congress if you find that your scheme isn't viable in a free market. You'll lose money in your attempt to re-write the social contract.

      • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:10AM (#38862187)

        How is it wrong to raise the price? This game is not that previous game you bought for the same price. In the same way Harry Potter is not star wars. They may come on DVD's but they are in no way the same movie.

        And in short: you're going to go without. Good or bad the games industry is fed up with used games, and piracy. That means the entire experience is going to require you be authenticated with their service, constantly, and some of the core content will only exist on that service. In other words it's going to look at lot more like Steam, and a lot less like the 1980's.

        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:4, Interesting)

          by VAElynx (2001046) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:22AM (#38862251)
          And frankly? I'm fed up with them, and so are thousands of gamers all across the world. And well... we do have an option - these days, F2P games are becoming increasingly plentiful, like the excellent World of Tanks, and given that old-time designers were apparently not as big douchebags, there's still the availability of older quality titles which are both cheaper and more worthwhile than most of what is produced these days.
          And for everything else, there's DnD 3.5.
          Of course, the resulting sales failure *will* get blamed on piracy.
          • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:31AM (#38862299)

            Um... you do know what the F2p model is right? it's a giant DLC farm (if you want anything good you pay for it), and if you're only there for free you exists as a product to keep some other sucker paying 100 dollars a month for the game. That's what F2P is. Free to play is in no way free. They're going to try and hook you into 'well I spend 10 dollars, what's 10 more?" or "well I could spend 15 dollars a month on WoW, why not 15 dollars for that new Tank or gold to buy tanks or whatever. If there isn't one person paying 150 dollars for every 9 people who pay nothing they're going out of business as would Blizzard if they had no subscription revenue. If you aren't the sucker paying 150 dollars a month then their goal is to make you into that sucker, or you to die for that sucker to feel good about his 150 dollars a month.

            Which works remarkably well at generating revenue, and is a perfectly valid business model. But one should be under no illusion what they're doing.

            • Re:Not on the disc (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Lord_Jeremy (1612839) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:41AM (#38862349)
              F2P game companies like free players because they significantly increase the player base (which of course increases the value of the game in general). They just like paying players a helluva lot more.
            • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

              by VAElynx (2001046) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:43AM (#38862367)
              I dunno - I have been playing it since the closed beta, and didn't shell out a penny, yet i don't see getting steamrollered just because of that. If i'm getting screwed somehow, then i'm pretty fucking happy about it.
              Even better example would be TF2 where the things that are exclusively for purchase don't affect game balance at all.
              The point is though - yes, this is a business model, and yes , it's aimed at generating revenue, but it is remarkably customer-friendly. The business model mentioned in the article above is just heavy duty assholery attempting to bypass existing laws and screw customers over.
              • Re:Not on the disc (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday January 30, 2012 @02:22AM (#38862531)

                It's attempting to bypass the existing business model, which has failed. You may not like what they're doing, but we're going to see a lot of failed attempts at new business models.

                As to world of tanks specifically: You can buy with real money what you can earn in game through playing. You may not have been steamrolled, but you're there to make the experience enjoyable for someone who bought their tank. That's kinda how the entire game works. That doesn't mean it isn't fun.

                • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by VAElynx (2001046) on Monday January 30, 2012 @04:33AM (#38863021)
                  Yep. And there's a difference between a new business model that attempts to bypass fair use policies and alienate their own userbase ,and one that doesn't, much like there's a difference between a new position from kamasutra and unpleasant things involving ass and a broom handle.
                  In other words, i'm not saying we won't be seeing such attempts, but that they are flat out wrong, and I don't feel like letting myself be ripped off.
            • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

              by kainosnous (1753770) <kainosnous@lavabit.com> on Monday January 30, 2012 @02:11AM (#38862477) Homepage

              I think that you miss the point. Nobody is trying to stop them from making a profit. This isn't about us trying to make them poor, it's about people being fed up with companies acting more like parasites trying to squeeze more revenue from their product their predecessors did and is worth paying. They treat the consumers like they need their products. They forget that people aren't always able or willing to pay higher and higher prices for their merchandise.

              Sure, F2P games are often there to provide a profit. We don't have a problem with that like we didn't have a problem buying and trading games back in the 80's and 90's. When I was growing up, part of the fun of buying a game was that after you got bored with it, you could trade it off with one of your friends. You'd still buy the latest games that came out when you had the cash, but your old games still held value. Even in this new age, I still enjoy breaking out the old Nintendo games sometimes.

              As a side note, there are many truly free games out there. It's called OSS. I know that some people will complain about the low quality compared to the more polished proprietary games, but at least we have some free options. As for me, I haven't found any game, for pay or for free, that I enjoy as much as nethack. So, let them make a profit, but when that profit is made to spite the consumer, I say it's time to look for an alternative.

              • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Monday January 30, 2012 @07:03AM (#38863565)

                I'd just say it's about them double-dipping and trying to work around the first-sale doctrine.

                Once a game is bought new, the creator shouldn't be able to say shit about how it's used. Licenses and CD-keys should be 100% transferable.

            • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Interesting)

              by wertigon (1204486) on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:29AM (#38862753)

              F2P (Free To Play) does NOT equal P2W (Pay To Win).

              League of Legends is doing it right; it's free to play, and everything except skins are obtainable, though paying makes you get those faster. I have no problem with that kind of model and have invested about €100 so far over the course of two years.

              Battlefield Heroes on the other hand, now there's a game that's pure P2W. Sometimes I play it for a few rounds just to see if it has improved; everytime I find it worse than before. It used to be an awesome game. Nowadays, it's all about how much money you can spend on those über weapons... Makes me sad. :(

        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:4, Insightful)

          by solidraven (1633185) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:58AM (#38862437)
          And this is why I stopped gaming all together. In the limited free time I do have I like doing something I enjoy. Fighting with locked down software isn't on the "fun" list. I can't name a single new game that works properly on my laptop simply due to the copy protection. I always have to use a networked dvd drive cause the one in my laptop can't deal with all their stupid schemes. I'd rather use my money to light a fireplace than pay for a game like that.
        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nyder (754090) on Monday January 30, 2012 @02:21AM (#38862527) Journal

          How is it wrong to raise the price? This game is not that previous game you bought for the same price. In the same way Harry Potter is not star wars. They may come on DVD's but they are in no way the same movie.

          And in short: you're going to go without. Good or bad the games industry is fed up with used games, and piracy. That means the entire experience is going to require you be authenticated with their service, constantly, and some of the core content will only exist on that service. In other words it's going to look at lot more like Steam, and a lot less like the 1980's.

          I think the automobile industry should do this also. Make it so software is required to drive the car, and that software gets downloaded everytime you start the car up.
          That way the car manufactures can make money thru the used market without having to actually buy and sell used cars.

        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AmiMoJo (196126) <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:30AM (#38862765) Homepage

          This "take it or leave it" attitude is part of the problem. Aside from there being a lot of sly deception (does it clearly state on the box that you are buying a license rather than a game, and that it is worth less second hand, and that if you buy second hand you get a cut down version?) companies need to form relationships with their customers, and part of any relationship is a two way dialogue.

          Customers have every right to complain, and in fact in this case it is absolutely vital because if they don't and the game fails to sell it will be blamed on piracy. We need to make it clear that the nasty DRM is what made it fail in the marketplace.

          • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Interesting)

            by SacredNaCl (545593) on Monday January 30, 2012 @06:58AM (#38863549) Journal

            This "take it or leave it" attitude is part of the problem. Aside from there being a lot of sly deception (does it clearly state on the box that you are buying a license rather than a game, and that it is worth less second hand, and that if you buy second hand you get a cut down version?) companies need to form relationships with their customers, and part of any relationship is a two way dialogue.

            Customers have every right to complain, and in fact in this case it is absolutely vital because if they don't and the game fails to sell it will be blamed on piracy. We need to make it clear that the nasty DRM is what made it fail in the marketplace.

            After a horrible delivery fiasco, I was forced recently to buy a textbook via an adobe DRM type encryption method. I will never do it again. What I expected was something closer to a PDF file. What I actually got was a broken PDF-like document, only viewable in a horrible viewer with the lack of a decent zoom feature, the inability to *print* pages that I need (it will let you print some of them, but not others, and it doesn't tell you before you try it), an incomplete product (compared to the physical book) filled with broken links to the publishers website, and a 2 hour headache finding the links to the prior version of the book to make it work in a cumbersome wrapper. I'm annoyed enough that I'm trying to get a refund on it, and may push it as far as going for a charge back from my credit card company under the defective goods clause. If anyone from Bedford/St Martins is reading this: You need to step up, and deliver what you promise.

            If people are having DRM experiences with games anything close to what I just had with a DRM protected textbook -- they indeed have every right to complaint, and need to do it loudly.

        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjames (1099) on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:40AM (#38862807) Homepage

          Good or bad the games industry is fed up with used games, and piracy.

          Yeah, and I want a pony.

        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NickFortune (613926) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:29AM (#38863207) Homepage Journal

          How is it wrong to raise the price?

          Well, I suppose that depends on how you go about increasing the prices.

          I mean, if all Shilling wanted was to raise the price he could have simply, you know, charged more money for the product and then we'd not be having this silly conversation.

        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Totenglocke (1291680) on Monday January 30, 2012 @06:30AM (#38863415)

          That means the entire experience is going to require you be authenticated with their service, constantly, and some of the core content will only exist on that service. In other words it's going to look at lot more like Steam, and a lot less like the 1980's.

          And that means that there will be a lot more piracy or people who just stop buying from the major game studios until they quit being greedy little shits who think they can violate the doctrine of first sale to make perpetual profits off of one copy of a game.

        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ultranova (717540) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:32AM (#38864331)

          Good or bad the games industry is fed up with used games, and piracy.

          They are fed up with the Doctrine of First Sale, yet whine when everyone else gets even more fed up with the rest of the copyright law.

          I guess we're headed for another great video game crash; the combination of incompetence, rising development costs and feelings of entitlement reaching the level of absurd hubris in the industry are a deadly combination. Now if only they'll take the movie and music industries with them, we can start cleaning the corruption they have inflicted on us, such as ACTA.

      • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:23AM (#38862257) Journal

        Sad an AC had to nail it. I would just add this is also completely against one of the cornerstones of capitalism, and that is first sale. once you sell something that's fucking it, then its mine. I can sell it, wipe my ass with it, turn it into ninja stars if that is what i want to do because ITS NOT FUCKING YOURS ANYMORE you asshole! if you want to play that bullshit why the fuck can't we all do it? from now on PCs aren't sold, we're just giving you a one use non transferable license! Now you have to dispose of all PCs because that license isn't transferable! Hey we'll do it to houses too, clear that whole housing market problem right up because after one use you'll have to burn the fucker!

        Just because its on a fucking disc or is IP doesn't suddenly give it magical fucking rights, its STILL a product. this kind of bullshit is what i fucking HATE about these cartels, they are trying to be fucking Schrodinger's fucking cat and be in two states at once. On the one hand they are saying "Oh no, you didn't buy the media, you bought a license" well fine, my disc got scratched so i can just download another one since i have a fucking license right? "Oh no, you don't own a license, you have a disc so if its gone you gotta buy another one!" BULLSHIT fucking bullshit! you can NOT eat your cake and have it too assholes! Its either ONE or the other but NOT both, you can't have all then protections and NONE of the liabilities you greedy little piss ants!

        Now i apologize if my language has offended anybody but this REALLY pisses me off. this is just big media trying to do an end run around rules that have been there for ages by trying to claim their IP crap is two things at the same time while being NEITHER ONE when it comes to responsibilities. Well fuck you cartels, i'll pirate also before i buy a single thing from this company!

        • by symbolset (646467) * on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:43AM (#38862371) Journal
          I, for one, found your specific use of language inspirational and appropriate. Wish you could have worked some rectal pineapple insertion in there though, as the situation calls for it.
        • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @03:27AM (#38862751)

          I'm going to summarize this issue:

          When you buy a hammer to assemble a bed you just bought, you're perfectly free to sell that hammer once you're finished using it. The hammer manufacturer can not demand that the person you sold it to pays them something too.

          And it should be the same with games. If you decide you're done playing with a game and you want to sell it, then you should be free to sell your right to play the game. When you sell a used game, you lose the option to play it again in the future.

          Now I know game companies are going to say that a game is designed to be played only once and so if people could just resell their games, they (the companies) would go out of business. My answer: so what?

          First of all, my father had only one hammer since he moved out of his parent's home when he was 20. He's 60 today and still has that hammer. When I moved out, I bought a hammer (as well as some other tools) and I plan to keep those tools my whole life. There's one hammer per household, and yet hammer manufacturers don't seem to be going out of business.
          People don't buy just one video game in their entire life. They buy quite a few. Even when they can freely resell those games, they still buy several games. Also, video games can be more expensive than a hammer. If hammer manufactures can do it, then why can't game studios? I think it's clear that game studios are just trying to use the fact that their product is digital instead of physical to make more money.

          Second, if people don't want to keep your game their whole life, then that's your own fault. Major game studios these days release games that last just a few hours (I think the average is 8 hours). Compare this to the 90's when a game could last 50+ hours. 8 hour games also cost quite a lot, usually $50 - $60. Let me rephrase that: you're expected to pay $60 for just 8 hours of entertainment. And then you're expected to pay that again on a regular basis (hence why we have dozens of sequels to most major games - Call of Duty franchise anyone?)
          It's normal that when your product is so expensive but is useful only for a few hours, your customers will try to resell it after they're done with it. See, my girlfriend bought a hammer last month because she had to nail a painting to her wall; she never uses a hammer but she decided to keep it instead of selling it to a friend or neighbor, because she might need a hammer again in a few years.
          So instead of complaining that customers don't want to keep your game very long and quickly resell it, why don't you make games that people want to play for a while? Some suggestions to achieve that:
          - Longer storyline that lasts 50+ hours (like most games in the 90s)
          - Stop holding our hand and penalize getting killed within the game! I played Modern Warfare and when I died, I came back to life right where I had fallen. No wonder I finished the game in a single afternoon! And by the end I hated the game, because while too hard is frustrating, too easy is boring.
          - Add a reason to replay the game. For instance, I recently played a game where after finishing the campaign, I could restart a new campaign with all my earned skills, weapons and upgrades. This also enabled me to access secret areas and do stuff you can't do the first time you play. Just don't over do it - replaying the entire game 10 times just to pick up some development art sucks.
          - Make expansions to the game. Lots of them. For 5+ years. I hate sequels because sequels add content but also remove some of it. Good expansions (i.e. not cheap DLC that add a costume or a new gun but expansions that are almost as big as a full game) are what I look for. In sandbox games, it's also fun to have one huge map in the same game rather than 3 smaller maps spread through 3 games (think of Grand Theft Auto series and what it would have been like if you could play in Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas all at once, from the same game).
          Just by using expansions, you can make your game last years. You can even price expansions the

      • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

        by symbolset (646467) * on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:49AM (#38862399) Journal

        "There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

        Robert Heinlein, Life Line, 1939

        Sheer poetry from the Dean of Science Fiction, early in his career and long before he was famous.

    • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Elbereth (58257) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:21AM (#38861943) Journal

      So, you get the content for free, if you're the original owner, but you need to buy it, if you're a second-hand owner? That's frustrating, but it's not as bad as it could be.

      Anyway, my suggestion to them would be to have a market on their own website, where you can auction/sell activation codes to the games that you own. That way, they can track the second hand market, make it easier for people, and also perhaps make a tiny profit off of each sale (say, 5% or 10%). Also, this would make it very easy to trade/sell DLC. In fact, I should probably set up a third party website like this.

      • by Squiddie (1942230)
        The problem with that is that when I want to play my game some years from now, I will have a reduced experience. How long until the whole game is locked out like this? They're just trying to see how much crap people that play games will take.
    • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zemran (3101) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:39AM (#38862047) Homepage Journal

      Why should I have to go and get something that I have already bought, paid for and had delivered? Will they recompense me for my time and inconvenience? I doubt that but even if they did, unless they refunded the whole some by way of apology, I would still be pissed. This has all gone to far and I, as someone who had always been happy to buy lots of games in the past, download the cracked copy every time now because I do not want to put up with this BS. If I cannot play the game, when I want (i.e. no need for internet etc.) I would rather have a copy. If I am going to have to go online (to download half the game) I may as well download an entire game. I am not even prepared to put the CD into the drive every time I want to play (why should I? My CD drive is not internal!), I just want to play.

      I have got about a cubic metre of games that I have bought in my room but now I download. I do not mind paying but I do mind having to put up with all the shit. If they provide good extras (manual maps etc.) I will buy it and download the crack. For me it is not about the money, it is about being able to play it when I want.

    • Re:Not on the disc (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:40AM (#38862049)
      Meh, If you don't like it, don't buy it. Instead play something else; vote with your wallet. It's not like there's a shortage of games.
  • Why yes it is. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sethstorm (512897) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:01AM (#38861793) Homepage

    Is that wrong? if so please tell me how

    There's nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit. There's everything wrong about withholding product and lying about it.

    • Re:Why yes it is. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Telvin_3d (855514) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:58AM (#38862131)

      I don't think they are lying about anything. They are being very clear in what they are doing and why they are doing. People are not happy with what they are doing, but I don't think deception is involved.

      • Re:Why yes it is. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Requiem18th (742389) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:22AM (#38862249)

        Actually yes. It involved deception. When you buy a game, there is a reasonable expectation that you will be able to play everything that is in the disc. More over, there is an expectation that you will get a "complete experince".

        It's kinda like if you bought out The Dark Knight only to find that the last 15 minutes are locked by a subscription system. Or like going to see a movie and then just before the last part the managers ask you for an extra fee to see the end.

        This is the kind of thing that you would expect to be informed beforehand. So while it isn't a crime, it deserves all the backslash it can get, I hope you are not suggesting that the gamers should shush about this.

      • Re:Why yes it is. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nabsltd (1313397) on Monday January 30, 2012 @02:29AM (#38862551)

        I don't think they are lying about anything. They are being very clear in what they are doing and why they are doing.

        Do they clearly state that when their activation/DLC servers are turned off, you will no longer have access to the complete game you paid for unless you are still using the original install? Because, that's how this works.

        Once you activate the content using the code on on the package, that code is no longer valid. So, that first install is the only one with the full content available.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:01AM (#38861803)

    First sale doctrine. QED.

  • Yes, it's wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@noSpAM.hotmail.com> on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:02AM (#38861807) Homepage Journal

    They are preventing someone from having anything of value to sell after they are done with it. Perhaps if the game didn't cost so much in the first place it would have less value used and more would buy it new - what a concept. I don't buy too many games these days but I play many older ones and some online games. It's stunts like this that would prevent me from buying this game new OR used. $50 and $60 dollars per game is crazy and has greatly curtailed my desire to buy. Between crappy DRM that makes my life hell and is now starting to limit even hardware changes to publishers pulling crap like this to ensure I cannot resell any game I buy I simply have no stomach to purchase their crap. Let them go bankrupt and someone who values their customers more take their place so far as I'm concerned....

    • Re:Yes, it's wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:13AM (#38861873)
      I am single dad with a single income but I have two teenage sons who like to play games. When something hot comes out like Gears of whatever, I buy a new copy. But for other games they wait until it's available used. I can't afford a new version of everything. I think that what they are doing is, at the least, mean-spirited.
      • Re:Yes, it's wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jythie (914043) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:45AM (#38862073)
        Not just mean spirited, but bad buisness. I am trying to figure out what box of cracker jacks these CEOs got their MBAs out of... various industries have encountered this for centuries, each has tried to wipe out the 'used' market because it felt they were not getting a good deal out of it, and they each tend to rediscover the same basic problem, the used market puts money into their industry and ads value to their products

        Stop used sales, and your product becomes worth less... one might get more of each sale, but the total number of sales tends to go down resulting in a net decrease of income. Sadly, new industries keep forgetting that there is more to a market then the immediate first order effects.. learning how things interconnect is important. grrr.
    • As with music and everything else, the big USED product market didn't prevent various massive industries from being born... which are now using their power to warp reality and politics.

      Infinite stock price growth is what fuels this war with their customers. Share holders are all that matters today nobody thinks of customers. The past is not enough, they must wring every cent from you in every way conceivable or the board picks a new CEO. Many newspapers that died were still profitable but not as high as de

  • OK then. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:04AM (#38861811)

    companies are still trying to figure out how to receive dollars spent on games they make, when they are bought. Is that wrong? if so please tell me how.

    In my case they need to figure out a better way to receive my dollars. There's absolutely nothing wrong with what they are doing. It simply means that I will refuse to support their business by purchasing their products. If enough people feel the same way, then they will either find a way to stop treating people like shit and make money or go out of business.

    • Re:OK then. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:13AM (#38861879)

      Well said. The problem here is, like Garth Brooks, some companies believe that used games are somehow the bane of their existence. I've seen games sell upwards of a million or more copies in a week, and how again is used killing them? Oh, it's out of their control. Something I don't care about.

      I know people use it all the time, but damnit, the First Sale doctrine is alive and well. If they want to "license" us a copy of the game, then we should be able to exchange media when ours is scratched by our kids playing frisbee. We should also be able to get a replacement if we break the disc. Currently, you're mostly shit outta luck with respect to the latter (and the former, but it varies by publisher.) But if they want this sort of licensing model (effectively killing used game sales), then they should be prepared for the consequences of their new model.

      Trouble is, they want (like the music and movie industry) to have it both ways. No need for them to uphold any sort of content licensing agreement, but if they want to squeeze you, the customer, about something like used games or DLC, then they want that power. Funny how companies are like that. :)

      And no, I am not interested in their game. They (and EA) have decided to make it difficult for me, so I will make it difficult for them to continue with this business model by NOT buying their games. Quite simply, if it's not "evil pirates" it's those goddamned "evil used buyers." I'm tired of fucking hearing it. Clamping down on your paying customers is NOT going to solve the infringement problem... nor is it going to garner you any goodwill, which once you lose, takes YEARS to get back.

    • Re:OK then. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EdIII (1114411) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:20AM (#38861937)

      There's absolutely nothing wrong with what they are doing

      There is absolutely everything wrong with they are doing.

      I understand that digital delivery and games that can be played online has confused the issue, along with the persistent confusion over what copyright is.

      However, it is really this fucking simple:

      Customer purchased product from store.
      Customer owns product from store.
      Customer after some period of time sells product used to somebody else.
      Store already got paid, so they have no legal interest, much less moral or ethical interest, in the second sale.

      First Sale Doctrine covers this. Everywhere else in the physical world you cannot pull this fucking shit for two seconds without being called crazy greedy retarded sons of bitches.

      I have said before, and some of disagreed with me (they are wrong), but when you pay for copyrighted content you are granted rights in return for the consideration you paid. Part of that, is quite obviously, the ability to sell your copy. Traditionally in the past this was very easy to wrap your mind around with when it came to art and books, since they were physical items you could touch and pick up. Every single time a piece of artwork or book is sold the legal entitlements that came from copyright are transferred. It is completely legal, moral, and ethical to be able to do so. You own it, the physical medium and those rights.

      They can try all the EULA crap that they want. That does not make it right, or legally defensible in a court of law. Shilling is a greedy fucking dumbass who cannot understand why he cannot get a part of each and every resale in perpetuity. Quite simply, he is not satisfied with being legally compensated one time, but has major entitlement issues to believe (erroneously) that he has every right to be compensated when his customer sells the game to another gamer used.

      The fundamental problem being that Shilling does not want to understand copyright as it currently is, or what it was designed to be. Shilling, and other shitheads like him, only want to be part of a world where they have absolute control over every copy everywhere and that it always remains their direct property under their direct control at all times.

      Well fuck him, and fuck Microsoft with their 720. When I purchase physical mediums, or directly download copies of copyrighted content I will absolutely protect, by force if required, my right to transfer those rights to anyone I please for any amount of consideration I please.

      There is everything wrong with they are doing from every perspective you can think of.

      • Re:OK then. (Score:5, Informative)

        by trawg (308495) on Monday January 30, 2012 @05:41AM (#38863251) Homepage

        They can try all the EULA crap that they want. That does not make it right, or legally defensible in a court of law.

        I am not sure if that is true any more (in the US) since late last year in the Autodesk trial.

        From the Freedom to Tinker blog [freedom-to-tinker.com]:

        The Ninth Circuit's decision in Vernor significantly erodes the first sale doctrine with respect to software and other mass-licensed digital goods. ...
        In Timothy Vernor's case, however, the publisher of the AutoCad software argued that it never actually sold the copies Vernor bought, so there was no "first sale" for copyright purposes. Under the software publisher's logic, which the Ninth Circuit adopted in the case, both the copy and the intellectual property embodied in the copy were only licensed, and quite restrictively so, pursuant to the terms of a mass end user license agreement (EULA); nothing was ever sold, despite the retail transaction that put copies of the software into the hands of the initial purchaser, and despite the downstream transaction that put those copies into Timothy Vernor's hands. ...
        Under Vernor, software copyright owners not only own the work embodied in every copy of a program they sell, they own every copy, too. Consumers are left with both empty pockets and empty hands.

        I strongly believe First Sale doctrine should extend to software, but the EULA looks like it is sneaking in to block it.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:05AM (#38861813)
    Make games I don't want to sell 2 weeks after I buy them?

    I still got my original copies of Chrono Cross & Star Ocean 2 from launch day. Just sayin'...
    • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:20AM (#38862239)

      Not every game wants to be that epic. In this day and age you're competing as much for time as for money. If people can't pick up your game and be done with it in a week (when they buy the next big game) you might not sell very many - because if you aren't Skyrim you're better to be Portal than Divinity 2: Ego Draconis or the First templar . "Long" is not a selling point anymore and nor is "50 hour experience" or "70 hour experience".

      Want to know why? Because the people who have money to game all have their original copies of chrono cross and star ocean too, and guess what, those people all have (or are trying to get) jobs, and families and stuff now, and spending 70 or 80 hours on one game doesn't have the appeal it did when they were younger. People *might* want a few games a year that are big epics, but most of the time they want portal, uncharted 3, call of duty or any collection of other 'short' games interspersed amongst their skyrims and WoW/SWTOR time.

  • by macraig (621737) <`mark.a.craig' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:08AM (#38861831)

    ... this is us rewarding people for helping us!

    Where did this jackass study economics? This ain't the way it works: I give you money, you give me something of equal value in return, period. His former dean and professors should fail him retroactively.

    What a spin doctor.

  • Doublespeak (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SoftwareArtist (1472499) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:12AM (#38861865)

    "We're not trying to take more of your money, we're rewarding you! By generously allowing you to access content that you've already bought from us and that already belongs to you. But we don't allow you to resell that content that you bought, even though you're legally entitled to. We don't want to reward you as much as that."

  • DLC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:13AM (#38861869)

    [rant]Game companies are already forking us over on DLC. When you buy a game, figure on 2x the list price in order to get a *complete* game.[/rant]

    I never buy new games anymore. I wait until you can buy the game, all the expansions, and all the DLC on Steam for $20 before I buy it.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:13AM (#38861871)

    How clueless can you get. This guy clearly didn't bother to read any of the comments or he wouldn't have made such an ignorant statement that completely ignores his customers. How's that shoe leather tasting, Mr Shilling?

  • by paleo2002 (1079697) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:13AM (#38861875)
    Game companies, like more and more content and service providers, seem to be contesting the concept of ownership. They want to charge just as much (or more) for their products as they've done in the past but with fewer associated rights. Or they want you to pay perpetual subscription and licensing fees. Secondary markets for games (and books, music, clothes, cars, etc.) aren't some new phenomenon created by interweb hackers and sexting teenagers. Its been a fact of life for commerce for quite a long time. Why suddenly begin treating it like a threat to your business now?
  • The market. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:13AM (#38861877)

    I've bought more legitimate games for my PS3 than any other system. Want to know the secret? I pay $25.00-$50 per game. They ship from the UK, from OZGameShop.com There's no DRM, there's no bullshit. I put them in my PS3, they install, and they play. I don't have to be online to use them. I own 26 Playstation 3 games, I even preordered 2 of them and paid full price $70-100. That's more than every other console I own combined. If you try to force me to pay $60-120/game. I will stop buying games again. You will have priced me out of the market. I will prefer to spend my $500 on PC hardware, and crack your software. Because I can't justify YOUR prices. There's a point where buying a game is a good honest deal and I will buy many games. But then there's the point where you're ripping me off blind, and I will stop buying your products. It's your choice really. I pay well above average for the humble bundles as well. My first payment was $35 because I saw the value of what they wanted to sell. I wouldn't own any PS3 games or even a PS3 if I couldn't get the games I want for $25 each. You wouldn't have 29 sales of games, hardware, and controllers without that available. That's about $1200 Sony and it's publishers would be missing. Don't screw over gamers, and we won't screw you over. Stop acting like entitled children. You don't own our money and we don't owe you anything.

  • Dear Curt Shilling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bpkiwi (1190575) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:22AM (#38861955)
    Curt

    I can see that you might struggle to understand why you shouldn't get a cut every time something you once produced is re-sold. After all, when you buy a used book you send some money to the original publisher right?. And every time you sell your used car, you are happy to make sure a percentage makes its way to the original manufacturer don't you?.

    Just think, that beautiful antique Ming vase you brought, the original effort and creativity that went into the painting. It's unique, some Chinese artisan spent months, or even years, of their life making it. They would never do that if they didn't know that hundreds of years later when you bought it at an auction in New York, they were not going to get a cut of that.

    Yes, I see your problem. Your problem is that an item's value consists of it's useful value (the value of actually using it), plus the residual value. The residual value is the amount the owner can get by selling the item once they have no further use for it. You are attempting to reduce the residual value artificially. Your problem is that reduces the actual value of the game over all. So guess what? people won't pay you as much for it.

    Your other problem is that you really don't understand the above.
    • by LearnToSpell (694184) on Monday January 30, 2012 @02:44AM (#38862605) Homepage
      Just think, that beautiful antique Ming vase you brought, the original effort and creativity that went into the painting. It's unique, some Chinese artisan spent months, or even years, of their life making it. They would never do that if they didn't know that hundreds of years later when you bought it at an auction in New York, they were not going to get a cut of that.

      Actually, look up 'droit de suite.' You may laugh. Or cry.
  • by mentil (1748130) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:23AM (#38861959)

    It seems developers can't win with day-1 DLC. If they release it normally, it's content that should've been released on the disc (even if it was gold or content locked before the DLC was finished). In this case, they're including a one-time-use code to get the DLC for free; isn't that better than asking ALL players to buy the DLC?

    I don't see how this is worse than the other "project 10-dollar" schemes of having players of used games pay for a DLC that unlocks multiplayer or something, especially if the content isn't already on the disc (as the game developers claim).

    Perhaps if they provided an online code generator that anyone could use to redeem for a free copy of the DLC, that'd suffice? It's worth noting that the PC version comes with this DLC already included, no code required, although there isn't much market for used PC games.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:26AM (#38861979)

    They are doing their best in a very tough industry.

    It's very easy to work really hard, put your heart into a project, and then have it die with NOTHING to show for it.

    Even the guy flipping burgers knows he's going to get paid even though not very much. These game devs will sometimes work on projects for years spending profits from old projects or savings on the hope that the new project will be worth the effort.

    Great game studios go out of business all the time for lack of sales, poor marketing, or just bad luck.

    I'm not commenting on this specific technology they're trying here... I'm just saying... give them a break. They're trying really hard to stay in a business they love and we the gamers enjoy.

    One thing which I wish the game companies would try more of is serialized game development. There have been some experiments with this but I really feel this is the solution to a lot of problems. Rather then making the game all in one shot, focus on sorting out the engine, netcode, etc out and then release the game in little packets good for an hour or so of gameplay.

    Then the investment isn't as large. If people aren't buying the game then stop development after a couple episodes rather then completing a full season which should be roughly equivalent to a large full release game.

    Further, if the game is a success and sales are good you can just keep releasing episodes ultimately making a much larger game then you'd otherwise release. And the game dev gets rewarded for making larger games.

    Right now in the current game market you can charge maybe 50-60 dollars for a AAA game title. If you release a game that is twice as big as most games on the market you can't charge 120 dollars even if its' well worth it. Gamers just won't pay it.

    However, if you packaged the game into episodes then you could charge 2-5 dollars per episode, release a new episode every month or so, and then keep making them for as long as people bought them.

    That gives you all the long lasting profits of an MMO with all the great single player goodness we've been missing from MMO titles.

    My only experience with this model so far has been the games from TellTale Games. I preordered the whole Monkey's Island series and was very happy with the process. I think I paid 40 dollars or something for the whole series and they released a new title every two months over the course of a year. I can't speak for everyone but I was very happy with the arrangement and if anything would have been very happy to buy a second season.

    In any case... that's my suggestion. Break the games up into bits small enough that you can afford to fail and expandable enough that if you have a hit you can milk it for all it's worth. That's why some TV shows only have two episodes and others go on for 10 years. If it's a flop you're out the cost of a pilot. If people like it you can just keep making them until people get tired of them or you decide to retire you private island.

  • by infosinger (769408) on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:27AM (#38861983)

    Under the old model I could buy the game for $59 and sell it for $19. Net cost is $40. Also, I could share the game on all the consoles or PC's in my household (Family plan). Now the game is $59 and the family plan is over $118 or higher. Now add the inconvenience of the DRM and the effective playability (i.e. value has been decreased). Take all this together and ask: Is this game still worth buying? Some people will still buy at this "higher price" some won't. If they made the right choice they will have higher profits, if the didn't the result will be lower profits. Getting all upset because they "screwed up" the product is like getting all pissed off because the new Ford Mustang only has a 100HP engine and they are charging the same price for it. You probably won't like it, won't buy it, and Ford will have lower earnings.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @12:40AM (#38862055)

    Curt Schilling, the CEO, is an ex-Major League Baseball pitcher who is likely headed for the Hall of Fame (he lead three different teams to 4 World Series). He turned his video game hobby, marketable name and tens of millions in the bank into a post-baseball career as game studio head. In parallel, he has flirted with the idea of entering politics as a conservative Tea Party-type candidate, and wrote occasional political as well as baseball commentary on his 38 pitches blog [wordpress.com].

    To nobody's surprise, 38 Studios (38 was Schilling's uniform number with the Red Sox) soon fell well behind schedule on their AAA game, and was hemorrhaging cash. They tried to get Massachusetts (their original home base) to guarantee a loan, but Mass said no. However, a business development board for Rhode Island (a notoriously poorly run state with a longtime corruption problem) agreed to co-sign a $75 million (!) loan, on the conditions that 1) 38 Studios relocate to RI; 2) RI gets a substantial equity stake in the company; and 3) 38 Studios agrees to meet an aggressive schedule of hiring hundreds of RI citizens to good-paying staff positions. The board is hoping that Schilling's company will help spark the emergence of a tech industry in RI. That's a big reason why they have so many employees, and why they have little or no wiggle room in cutting consumers a break. They need the revenues, now!

    You may have noticed that they missed the 2011 Christmas season (as well as 2010, etc). Lots of Democrats pointed out that by accepting the government-guaranteed loan, Schilling violated all the "small government, free market" principles he'd been espousing in his blog. I've noticed that since the move, Schilling hasn't blogged about politics, and was amusingly silent when Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas refused to join his teammates for the Stanley Cup victory dinner at Obama's White House (just the kind of news item Schilling used to delight in blogging about).

    Good luck, Curt.

  • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:12AM (#38862199)

    This isn't about games being picked out of bargain bin for $5 two or three years after release.

    It's about the practice of game stores selling new $60 games, then a couple weeks later buying them back for $8 (or more typically store credit) and re-selling them for $55. It's a practice that sees almost as much money leave consumer pockets but half as much reach the people who actually made the games and is very wide spread. The stores deliberately under-stock new games in order to push people towards the used copies. It's typical to go in a week after release and be told they don't have any new copies, but there are a half dozen used for a couple dollars off.

    It's a practice that's bad for the developers, the publishers and fairly bad for the consumers as a whole. Basically bad for everyone but the pawn shops in the middle. It siphons enormous amounts of money out of the industry and is one of the reasons that basically every studio smaller than EA or Ubisoft is forced to sell out or close, regardless of how well liked their games are.

    Yes, measures taken to combat this have some nasty collateral damage. No such thing as perfect system in real life.

    • by Rennt (582550) on Monday January 30, 2012 @01:41AM (#38862345)

      I understand the pressure that publishers are under, and I can understand that they see profit made by GameStop and want a piece - the simple truth is that they just haven't earned a dime of it.

      IT'S YOUR BUSINESS MODEL, STUPID! GameStop can only abuse the industry on such a massive scale because of the prices YOU set. And if you offered an online service for users to trade used licenses, not only could you make a bit off the second hand market but you would put GameStop out of business overnight.

      Exploiting your customer base and breaking games is NOT acceptable collateral damage.

  • Shrinking market (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moorley (69393) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:24AM (#38864273)

    The problem is greater than they imagine and you will start to see it every where.

    Just google the word plutonomy for the big picture.

    The dilemma has always been to provide a customer with a product for a price that works for all. The problem is the price no longer works for the producer so they want to jack it. The blow-back is that customers, who do not think themselves thieves, but savvy consumers are being told they are no longer viable and not wanted.

    As the majority of Americans continue to make less while a small part of them continue to make more you will see more and more "big companies" have this same fight. They don't see that the problem isn't that fact that as time goes on only fewer folks will have the ability to afford their goods, they will instead see that they need to lash out against the "unworthy" customers who just don't want to shell out the cash they know in their hearts their product is worth.

    One should remember that Price is one of the 4 P's of marketing. We tend to think that it means that charging 5 to 10 times the true value of Chanel No. 5 is all that it is about but it also works on the lower spectrum. If your target market is spending 0.025% of their monthly income to purchase your product you need to remember that has to scale. I don't buy my DVDs at best buy. I buy them low cost from the WalMart bin or secondhand in pawn shops. It's not that I don't want to buy DVDs but that source meets my budget.

    By continuing to start a war of words and technologies against folks who perceive they are your customer to you are basically telling me I am not your customer. I am not worthy of your product. Fair enough. If they keep this up their customers will find new products to fill that same niche in their income bracket, as they should.

      I don't dream of Lamborghini's or Chanel No. 5. My heart no longer goes pitter pat to see the latest Spielberg flick on the big screen at today's movie prices. Although game design studio's may think their products are gold, and they may very well be, they will find by shrinking their own market, rather than finding ways to price appropriately that they also will have no market.

    Looks like they want to get to their destination fast rather than slow. Screw 'em. I like board and card games better. If I need story I will pick a good pick up a god book or short story they may or may not have paid the rights to themselves (actually I will lend it from the library cuzz I can't afford to buy it.)

    This lesson was learned by me again just the other day. The local coffee roaster that I have loved for years and seen them grow decided that a free cup of coffee could no longer be given if you bought a half pound of whole bean coffee instead of a full pound. The owner actually got the employees together to "discuss this" and then expounded on his personal view that it was too expensive. They never thought to offer a cup of coffee for 50-75 cents with the purchase of the half pound, instead the owner basically made the moral judgement that folks who can only afford half a pound of coffee (6 bucks by the way) are no longer their customer. So I am no longer their customer.

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