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DRM Piracy The Internet Games

GOG: How an Indie Game Store Took On the Pirates and Won 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the arrr-me-hearties dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As if we needed further proof that DRM really is more trouble for publishers and consumers than it's worth, Good Old Games, the DRM-free download store that specializes in retro games, has yet more damning evidence. In an interview this week, the store's managing director says that its first venture into day one releases earlier this year with Witcher 2 was a storming success — and the version that hit the torrent sites was a cracked DRM version bought from a shop. The very definition of irony."
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GOG: How an Indie Game Store Took On the Pirates and Won

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  • by sunking2 (521698) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:28PM (#42108801)
    DRM may not stop piracy, but there are many people out there who aren't outright looking to pirate things. These are casual users like my mother who has tons of silly little puzzle and mind type games that she buys for a few bucks. Her friend comes over and wants a copy and she gives it to them thinking nothing of it. Low and behind it doesn't work. It's a $5 game so nobody really cares. DRM isn't about the hard core pirating community in a fully electronic world. It's about discouraging the casual user who primarily passes around physical media around.
  • by metrometro (1092237) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:37PM (#42108929)

    > Her friend comes over and wants a copy and she gives it to them thinking nothing of it.

    In our company, we call that "lead gen" and seek to encourage it. In the attention economy, trading marginal costs (literally zero, in your example) in exchange for a referral is good business. Many of those referrals won't become customers. But for the ones who do, the cost-to-acquire-customer is again literally zero. It helps to have good branding and more than one product. But this isn't rocket science.

  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:48PM (#42109067)

    DRM doesn't only fail to stop piracy, it can encourage it...

    Last weekend my girlfriend rented a blu-ray from Redbox. The largest TV in my house happens to be my monitor, and the only blu-ray player I own is a drive on my PC. I attempted to start it, but instead got a message from my player software that I needed to update my software to play the movie. I checked for an update to my player software, and it said it was up to date.

    Then, I looked on the drive manufacturer site looking for a firmware update for the drive, thinking that might help. My drive model was not listed on the manufacturer site. I found another support site, but they also did not list my drive. I searched for a while and eventually found out that it was only available on a support site for a European division. I updated the firmware and tried again... no luck.

    By this point, I had spent 30 or 45 minutes trying to get this to work. I got fed up, and said, "Screw it, I'll just pirate it."

    It took me less than a minute to find a pirated source. It took maybe 15 minutes to download it. I spent much more time than that trying to get it working legitimately, without even counting the time to drive and get the movie.

    I don't pirate stuff because I'm not willing to pay it, it's because they make it a pain in the ass to be legit.

    If I know ahead of time I'll have problems with DRM for either games or movie, I usually skip them entirely.

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @05:00PM (#42109181) Homepage

    Sharing code and designs predates computers by many years, hell, in many ways, it goes back to the begining of recorded history.

    However the term "Open Source" was, by all sources I can find, coined in the late 90s... and was rather inetionally setup as a way to break away from the more radical elements of free software philosophy.

    Free Software, and Open Source both come from much older and less well defined traditions, but, they each brought their own perspectives to the table in much more explicit ways than before them.

  • Re:Love GoG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @05:33PM (#42109601) Journal

    What I love is there is no jumping through hoops or messing with cracks. i want a game on my netbook which doesn't have a DVD drive? no problem, just drag the .exe over and run it.

    But I'm about to get serious hate for pointing this out but fuck it, it needs to be said...they really really REALLY need to more testing on their games! Case in point i76, that game uses the CPU clock as a timer for several in game events so this game does NOT like modern multicores, yet there is zero warning that this game is gonna require hacks and tinkering to get to run. I went through every trick on the forums before giving up and while its only $10 its still not looking good on GOG when they are selling a game with serious issues. you go to their forum page for i76 and you'll see the thing is full of people having similar issues with not being able to progress in the game. And this is far from the only one, there are several games on their forums where people are having to use my hacks because I'd run into a game and just have to keep trying different things until I found a way around the problem which i would promptly post.

    So while i love and will keep buying from GOG I really wish they'd do a little more testing or at least give you a heads up if there are serious issues. But this is something I've been pointing out for awhile now folks, its not the DOS games that are gonna end up lost, DOSBox has that down pat, its the Win9X era games because so many of them used hacks to squeeze more performance out, what we need is a "Win9X Box" that will simulate say a 733MHz P3 with 384Mb of RAM and a Geforce 4 that will fake all the quirks that devs would use back then.

    Oh and one final nit to pick....why is the GOG guys getting screwed on prices? When you see a game like Grimloack that both GOG and Steam has Steam nearly always has it cheaper, and of course on the sales its not even close, the last sale where i saw they both had it GOG was selling the game for $7, steam for $3. WTH devs, you punishing GOG for not having DRM? Because i find it hard to believe Valve is gonna be taking a loss on a game, sale or not. So if valve is getting the same cut all I can figure is either the GOG guys are taking a bigger slice (thus making the devs charge more to come out with the same profit on their end) or you are giving Valve better prices than you are giving GOG.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @05:50PM (#42109825)

    Probably detected a break in the HDCP chain. The Anydvd driver is essential for HTPCs even when you own the bluray disc.

    Ah yes, the end to end authentication and encryption of all devices involved in the video signal.

    Funny how I can't get end to end authentication and encryption for my god damned credit card to prevent skimming and such.

  • by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:26PM (#42110249)
    That reminds me of an interview I read a while back with the CEO of the Ernie Ball guitar string company. Someone in his IT department, unbeknownst to the owner, had been installing Microsoft software on more computers than they had licenses for. Rather than giving them the opportunity to fix the situation, Microsoft immediately jumped into legal action. The result is that the owner had his IT department move all of their workstations to Linux and only use open source software so that it could never happen again.

    Found the link. [cnet.com]
  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:07PM (#42111211) Homepage Journal

    There's no reason to ever take a game off the market.

    I can think of three.

    First, the upstream licensor of the game may offer only a time-limited license. The DVD releases of Daria and WKRP in Cincinnati were delayed for a long time because they had to figure out how to replace all the music that was licensed only for the original broadcast, not for home videos to be produced later. There's a reason Nintendo couldn't just start selling GoldenEye 007 on Virtual Console on day 1 of the Wii Shop Channel: it'd need a new contract with EON. And by the time that was negotiated, they ended up doing an enhanced remake instead. Likewise, Tetris DS was discontinued two years after release because The Tetris Company didn't want to flood the market with Tetris products.

    That ties into the second reason: cannibalization [wikipedia.org]. If you have too many of your own older products on the market, they compete with your newer products. If you just released Mario Party 7, would you want Mario Party 4, Mario Party 5, and Mario Party 6 to be on shelves? Worse, studies such as one done with clock widgets in GNOME [pair.com] show that where there are too many choices, a lot of people choose "none of the above" and walk out with nothing [wikipedia.org].

    Third, I'd be interested to see how video games are substantially different from movies and TV series in this respect. The film Song of the South (1946) was briefly available on LaserDisc in some markets. It has not since been rereleased on DVD or Blu-ray anywhere, allegedly because of a change in prevailing moral values among viewers [tvtropes.org].

  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:24PM (#42112007)

    > Sharing code and designs predates computers by many years, hell, in many ways, it goes back to the begining of recorded history.

    That is correct. The basis of civilization is built upon sharing. We shared (copied) ideas and technology: wheel, mathematics, education, language, philosophy, science, etc. By doing so EVERYONE benefits. The philosophy is WIN-WIN.

    Conversely closed source is an archaic greed based philosophy - WIN-LOSE.

    Money is a great motivator and provides nice incentive BUT at some point it is no longer enough. At the end of the day the "Right Thing" to do is to share, not maintain artificial illusions of power and control.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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