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The End of Copyright 86

Gamasutra has an article from the ever-interesting Ernest Adams on the future of copyright as regards creative works. From the article: "If we're going to go on making video games, the publishers have to find a way to make them pay for themselves. One approach is an advertising model, although I'm reluctant to say it because I hate the idea of ads in games. Another is to treat games as a service rather than a product. With broadband distribution, I think this is increasingly likely: you won't ever have a durable copy of a game, you'll download it every time you play it. Each instantiation will be unique, personalized for a particular machine and Internet address; encrypted to discourage hacking; and expires after a few hours. After that you'll have to download a new copy."
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The End of Copyright

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  • Who here has heard of copyleft?
  • I'm done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawkbug ( 94280 ) <psx@fi[ ]e.com ['mbl' in gap]> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @07:36PM (#14142726) Homepage
    "Each instantiation will be unique, personalized for a particular machine and Internet address; encrypted to discourage hacking; and expires after a few hours. After that you'll have to download a new copy."

    And that will be the official end of me every buying a game again as long as I live. Under no circumstances will I pay for software usuage with that type of model. I simply won't do it. That also goes for things like MS Office 12, Windows, whatever. If I can't purchase a disc/drive/etc that contains a copy of the software that I'm free to use OFFLINE, then I'm done with non-free, non-opensource software. Windows XP is hard enough to deal with, having to activate it over the net or phone - but if I had to do that everytime I used the damn thing...
    • Re:I'm done (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      but if I had to do that everytime I used the damn thing...
       
      ...and pay for it indefinitely while my personal information is being sold to third parties...

      I'm with you.

      This sounds like a great idea for a business (near-zero "distribution" costs, subscriptions, et cetera), but where is the advantage to the consumer? It doesn't sound like this model would provide a lower cost, so I can't imagine what it would be.
      • who cares about the advantage to the one who labels himself a consumer? He gets his cheap (per hour) entertainment. But the advantage to the (let's say) Linux community might be quite substantial, as more and more users are driven away from the emptiness that are his corporate-controlled boxen.
    • by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @09:28PM (#14143465) Homepage Journal
      Absolutely correct. One of the great things about having a disc, even one that has copy protection on it, is that when you want to play the game, you throw the disc in and let it start. Okay, it has to search for the copy protection, but at least it doesn't require a mandatory connection to the Internet to do it.

      Looking at it from a legal perspective, if you buy the game and then are not allowed to play it, doesn't that constitute grounds for a lawsuit? Here in the States there are clauses in most state/commonwealth laws that make illegal any actions that constitute "services unrendered" when the purchaser has continually acted in good faith. So, you - for whatever reason - lose your Internet connection or you're somewhere (such as with a laptop on international travel) where Internet access is not easy to get. Ooops! Sorry! You have to download a new, encrypted version in order to play! You pay, but you don't play! Why would "services unrendered" not apply? Ah, yes, such terms could be hidden in an EULA. Well, as Sony recently found out EULAs are not necessarily enough to cover deceptive or nefarious practices.

      I'm not a lawyer, so what I've said might be baseless. Even if it is, I really despise anyone who thinks that it's fair game to potentially deny someone the ability to use a piece of software that is legally purchased and legally used in good faith. This is as despicable as when UbiSoft required all "Ghost Recon 2" users to "phone home" for authentication even for a LAN game that had no Internet traffic whatsoever. No Internet connection, no LAN game. Sorry, you lose. Once again, only the legal users were punished because the hackers knew how to get around it.

      encrypted to discourage hacking

      Oh, puh-lease! Good hackers will have decrypted code available in no time with any copy protection completely stripped off and available on Usenet. What's sad is that the game companies still persist on thinking that copy protection works.

      Why don't they do something more practical -- like include value add items like the old "Ultima" series used to do? I remember that some of the things that always made people want to buy the game besides loyalty and just about everything about the game* were the cloth map of Britannia and the trinket relative to that particular chapter of the game. Granted, we don't all want t-shirts, but certainly there could be more tangible incentives to make people want to buy the game.

      My idyllic world, I suppose.

      * This does not necessarily include "Ultima 8: The Arcade Game" or "Ultima: Ascension - The Bug Ridden Piece of Sh!t With The Pathetic Storyline And Even Worse Ending That Insults The Ultima Franchise".
      • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @12:15AM (#14144227) Homepage
        Good hackers will have decrypted code available in no time with any copy protection completely stripped off and available on Usenet. What's sad is that the game companies still persist on thinking that copy protection works.

        Copy protection works, that's why publishers keep using it. What a small number of the more sophisticated users do is largely inconsequential. Copy protection is largely effective with the mass market. The masses will copy something if it is trivial to do so. If you put up the least little barrier many will buy the product, a readily available crack program on the net doesn't really change this. I witnessed one example of this regarding an unprotected chemistry program bundled with a freshman chemistry textbook. The book had a coupon that let the student by the program for $15. The program was required for homework but only 10% of the students bought it. The next semester the program had weak copy protection, cracks were available (hell, I think there were already generic cracks that removed the protection from any product using it), the users were college students taking chemistry (you would expect this group to be a little more capable than the average gamer), yet the bookstore saw sales dramitically increase, about 90% of textbook sales. Similar things happen with games. I don't know how many times I've read something like: "A friend burned me a copy but it didn't work so I bought my own".

        Copy protection isn't 100% but it seems good enough to warrant it's use. Sad but true.
        • Your two examples aren't necesarily fair comparisons. You're talking about $15 for a program. That's not a real-world scenario in this case when we're talking about games that come out at $50-60 street price. $15 is well within the budget of most people, so if given a choice between shelling out $15 for a program or having to deal with some level of copy protection, I'm sure that most people would rather just pay the $15.

          You're also talking about a program that's required. The students had no choice
        • Copy protection works, that's why publishers keep using it.

          Well if you mean by annoying the customers who actually paid for it, while people who download the no-cd.exe or pulled the already cd-cracked cd image off a bit torrent without any problem, then yes... It works quite well.
        • Fun Fact: It's more trivial for me to download a game and copy a crack (or bypass the protection) than it is for me to go to the store and buy it.
          • Fun Fact: It's more trivial for me to download a game and copy a crack (or bypass the protection) than it is for me to go to the store and buy it.

            I'll bet there is a more important fact: You are more technically inclined than the average gamer. As I said, it doesn't really matter that the technically inclined can bypass copy protection. Copy protection doesn't have to be 100% successful. Generating enough "new" sales to pay for the license and the handful of returns or lost sales isn't that hard. The ma
        • Actually, I think all your example does is prove a very simple idea of economics, rather than copyright functioning properly. People value their time, and if the cost of buying an item is less than the percieved cost of that person's time, they will buy the product. As price increses, assuming time to copy does not increse proportionally, the likelyhood of a person just putting in the time to copy it will go up. So, while people may not be clamoring to copy a $15 program, it's not uncommon to find peopl
    • And this is why so many people will not buy software distributed via Steam.
    • Re:I'm done (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by supabeast! ( 84658 )
      Very few people give a damn what crabby open-source nerds will or won't do in terms of software purchasing. This sort of business model doesn't target people like you as a customer, it targets the morons of the earth - the people generally not bright enough to understand the differences in distribution models other than "this one doesn't require me to get off of the couch", and not techincally adept enough to just pirate the damned game in the first place. Valve's success with their vile authentication sche
    • It's easy to say things like "Under no circumstances..." in a Slashdot post, but maybe not so easy to carry them out - especially when it's not that difficult to see a time when there is no more "offline".

      Realistically people will weigh the costs of the hassle of registration (and actual financial cost of purchase) with the benefits of whatever it is that they are getting. They do this all the time, in all sorts of industries, and it's difficult to see why the software industry should be any different. So
  • Steam anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @07:42PM (#14142776) Journal
    This sounds like a bad implimentation of Steam, which has proven itself to be a pretty darn good system. Flaws, yes, but I can play lots of games without finding the CD, download new games, play locally or online, pay a very reasonable price, and have an overall GOOD experience with gaming. I even play Half Life 1 on the same account, which I bought in 1998, and they still support it without putting the CD in.

    I don't mind paying for stuff that works and represents a good value. Its the Sony "steal GPL and infect your computer" crap that tempts me to abuse bittorrent. Valve Software (the makers of Steam), however, will continue to get my hard earned dollars.
    • Steam=nice DRM?!?! (Score:2, Informative)

      by dupont54 ( 857462 )
      Steam a good system ?

      Are you talking about the system which do not let you play an OFFLINE game during a week-end because their servers crash and you have forgot to firewalled Steam before launching it?

      Are you talking about the system which, in contradiction to any advertisement, do not sold you any game, but only an "access" to some contents, access which can be terminated by the publisher at any time and for absolutely any reason as specified by their Subscriber Agreement?

      A digital renting service
    • This sounds like a bad implimentation of Steam, which has proven itself to be a pretty darn good system. Flaws, yes, but I can play lots of games without finding the CD, download new games, play locally or online, pay a very reasonable price, and have an overall GOOD experience with gaming.

      At least until Valve drops support for the particular game you are playing to reduce competition for newer ones, or simply goes banckrupt. Or the server happens to crash or get overloaded. Or the Big Brother decides

  • Numbers are off (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @07:56PM (#14142848) Homepage Journal
    The guys either nuts or doesn't know what he is talking about. Take this for example:

    Forget notions of what their rights may be in law; the idea that a band or an author should be paid millions upon millions over the next several decades for something that it cost them at most a few thousand dollars to make, just feels silly to most people.

    Lets see... J.K.Rowling took nearly two years to write the latest Harry Potter novel. At a low salary of $50,000/year (yes, I know she is in England), that comes out to $100,000 alone. Yeah, doesn't feel really silly to me, especially given that that doesn't come out to much per book.

    Lets see, if Copyright ends, no more GPL, so anyone would then be able to sell software with GPL'd material without having to open source it. Any company/individual can redistribute code someone else wrote for free (Someone writes WoW, someone else copies the code and re-implements it on their own network) so we have the death of programs in one sense.

    Studio makes a new hit movie, and now someone else is redistributing it for free without paying the actors or producers a dime.
    • What?

      HARRY Potter's creator J.K. Rowling was the top woman earner in Britain this year, a new salary rich-list revealed recently.

      Her annual pay of 48 million pounds (US$77 million) was six times greater than the salary of Queen Elizabeth, according to The Mail on Sunday's annual list. http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2003/0102/ls12- 2.html [chinadaily.com.cn]


      How the hell did you get 50K a year?
      • How the hell did you get 50K a year?

        I was figuring in how much it would cost someone to live off of for two years. The author says that it costs only a few thousand to write a book, I'm pointing out the minimum needed to write one.
    • by dwandy ( 907337 )
      if Copyright ends, no more GPL

      Without copyright we don't need the GPL.
      The purpose of the GPL is to ensure that works created by people are available to people in a public commons. If we remove the notion that someone can withhold works from the public commons, then we don't need to create a public commons. ('cause it'll all be public, ...right?)

      • So then people currently using the GPL wouldn't mind people taking their code, modifying it, releasing it, then not releasing the source code, as long as there were no copyrights anymore? If the purpose of the GPL was just to ensure that works created by people are available to people in a public commons, then it would be just like BSD style licenses.
        • Whatever its purpose, many GPL proponents would be willing to take that deal.

          Of course, specific uses (such as voting machines, banking systems, etc.) could still be required to be open sourced.
    • Lets see, if Copyright ends, no more GPL, so anyone would then be able to sell software with GPL'd material without having to open source it. Any company/individual can redistribute code someone else wrote for free

      And any other company/individual can get that code, reverse engineer/disassemble/decompile it, and post the source code for all to see. It's a lot of work, but we have a lot of people on our side. Voila, what was closed is now (somewhat) open. When the next version of the commercial program comes
      • And any other company/individual can get that code, reverse engineer/disassemble/decompile it, and post the source code for all to see. It's a lot of work, but we have a lot of people on our side. Voila, what was closed is now (somewhat) open. When the next version of the commercial program comes out, reverse engineer the new features and add them to the open source version too. Pretty soon they'll realize they're not hiding anything.

        Reverse engineering is not that simple. Completely reverse engineering l

        • Take something like AutoCAD, which is the result of years and years of piling on addons and extensions. Something like that is simply too complex to completely reverse engineer.

          True. But would you really have to? As long as you can disassemble it into a form that can be used to recreate the program, you can take all the time you want to find the parts you want to change, clean them up a bit, and make your changes.

          And remember, we're talking about a commercial program based on GPL'd code. That alone would ma
    • by Weezul ( 52464 )
      No, you can keep a limited degree of copyright, say five years, and a limited degree of GPL, by passing a law that no one gets that copyright protection unless they release the source code.
    • Studio makes a new hit movie, and now someone else is redistributing it for free without paying the actors or producers a dime.

      I don't mean to be old school cynical, but maybe we should actually do away with copyrights in order to destroy the entertainment industry and put our resources into something more beneficial to mankind... Like better industrialization, medical, and scientific progress.

      Although a large part of me disagrees with my own statement above, since a great deal of our technology progress co
      • I don't mean to be old school cynical, but maybe we should actually do away with copyrights in order to destroy the entertainment industry and put our resources into something more beneficial to mankind... Like better industrialization, medical, and scientific progress.

        I can give you some more reasons to disagree with this. If we did this, then we wouldn't have novels or music either (mind you, I preffer classical music but the individual performances are copyrighted so it still falls under the artists
        • If we did this, then we wouldn't have novels or music either

          OK, I apologize in advance. I don't usully feel the need to flame people, but...

          This is just a stupid thing to say. We had music, literature and art LONG before we had copyright, or even money for that matter. What we in today's society seem to completely miss is that many people do these things because they enjoy doing them, not because they want a payoff. Being a musician myself, I can spek first hand. I don't take money for performanc

    • Studio makes a new hit movie, and now someone else is redistributing it for free without paying the actors or producers a dime.

      Yes, that would end Hollywood as we know it. Where exactly do you see the problem?

      You do know that most of the great art, literature, and acting happened before copyright even existed, right?
  • stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:00PM (#14142885) Journal
    That's fucking retarded, seriously it is. without Trusted Computing customized and encrypted doesn't mean shit, the key has to be sent along with the encrypted block. without copyright law Trusted Computing wouldn't have legal support keeping it "uncrackable" so none of this shit will work.


    the way to do this is to make it an actual service not some steam clone with extra chromasomes. for example buying an online Key gives access to official company run hookup servers and company run game servers for match-type games

    paying a monthly fee gives you access to the official supported MMO server.
    • encrypted doesn't mean shit, the key has to be sent along with the encrypted block

      never heard of asymmetric algo? or challenge-response?

      I sincerely hope your not my bank CSO... or any CSO for that matter.

      • the point is that the encryption won't keep the client from copying the files, which is what the summary suggests
      • The prior poster was correct, and it's you missapplying the idea of asymetric crypto. In asymetric crypto they can keep their encryption key secret, but in order for you to be able to use it at all you MUST be able to decrypt it and they therefore MUST send you the decryption key with it.

        It's amazing how many people fail to grasp the fundamental fact that DRM is not a genuine use of encryption and that DRM is fundamentally impossible. If you want tomeone to be able to use something then they MUST have the d
        • you MUST be able to decrypt it and they therefore MUST send you the decryption key with it.
          Wrong on this issue, and it seems you don't grasp a part of asymmetric encryption. Say B (server) wants to send something to A (you), it doesn't encrypt the package with its encryption key and send you the decryption key. Doesn't make sense to send a key along with the lockpad, except in a certain type of challenge-response (though it is not the decryption key). What it does is ask you for an encryption key and the
          • I do understand assymetric crypto, and you're right I was careless in saying the key must be "sent" with it. My intent was that the person getting the data must have the key. I wasn't paying attention to that detail because the main point was the distinction of whether something was genuine encryption or not, that DRM is not encryption and DRM is fundamentally flawed logic and is impossible because it is trying to use encryption while the the "opponent" must have the key.

            genuine encryption is not uncrackabl
            • Sure it can. When I say "effectively" and you say "in practice", that restricts "unlimited resources" to the practical laws of physics

              Yep, got me :)

              Short of a surprise mathematical/physics breakthrough, or a computer larger than the universe and running for more than the age of the universe, proper crypto with a decent key length can be uncrackable.

              Right, except that, like you said, DRM is fundamentally flawed logic and is impossible because it is trying to use encryption while the the "opponent" must

              • Ok, we're quibbling over wording. Chuckle.
                We both understand and agree on crypto, and we both understand and agree on the technicals of DRM, and we both understand and agree on the policy/social/non-technical aspects of DRM.

                >a bit of an expert on Trusted Computing.
                What is "expert" supposed to mean?


                I have a folder full of technical specifications that I have been studying and I have a text file filled with notes on various software and hardware approaches to undermine, destroy, subvert, or crack the syste
    • "this might be the future" the author writes.

      Well, it might be,
      and monkeys might be flying out of my BUT.
      (Madona in a Waynes World epiode)

      I think this story is not really ", stuff that matters"
  • Why are we so obsessed with predicting that things will die, when most likely, they won't?! *sigh*
  • by BushCheney08 ( 917605 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:29PM (#14143099)
    This has got to be simply one of the most idiotic ideas I've ever heard. If the content providers are going to require that I redownload a copy of game/movie/music/whatever every time I want to play/watch/listen/whatever it, then they better be paying for my broadband, too. And none of that slow low-end crap, either.
    • by Yorrike ( 322502 )
      Even worse, think about load times. First it has to be downloaded, then it has have the bit you want to use copied to part of the memory where it can used from.

      Seriously, even with a fast connection and a fast machine, this is going to make the simple act of sitting down and playing impossible. You'll sit down, select which game to play, stare at a "downloading, please wait" screen for a few minutes at very best, then sit watching a "loading, please wait" screen for a little while longer.

      Frankly, fuck t

      • Even worse, think about load times. First it has to be downloaded, then it has have the bit you want to use copied to part of the memory where it can used from.

        Unfortunately, it's already happening and it doesn't require you to download the entire game every time. Look at modern-day cell phones, for example. Even after a subscription expires, the binary is still stored on the device. You simply reactivate the game by buying more subscription time.
  • While Broadband (or "Ultraband" as would probably be required to recieve most modern games as a service) is increasing, it is still no where near universal and for a variety of reasons we all already know about (e.g. distance to telephone exchange problems, stingy parents etc.) it will not be universal amongst customers for a long, long time yet.

    Are game publishers and others going to sacrifice all these potential customers simply in order to prevent piracy; something which hasn't been proven to have that b
  • The game industry will be over by then, remember [slashdot.org]?
  • "OK, we need to find a way to make more money - the Blizzard guy who lives across the road has five yachts, and I'm still paying off my third."
    "Well, they've got a highly popular Massively Multiplayer, which brings in a lot of cash because of their subscription model."
    "Massively Multiplayer, eh? When is ours coming out?"
    "Uh, we won't have one for another nine months."
    "Nine months! They could have a dozen by then! We need one of these 'subscription models' as soon as possible. What do we have?"
    "Just som
  • FTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by deblau ( 68023 ) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @09:18PM (#14143412) Journal
    On June 27, 2005, the US Supreme Court decided to hold companies that make file-sharing software responsible for copyright infringements perpetrated by the software's users. Everyone expected that they would rule as they did when Universal City Studios sued Sony over the Betamax in 1984: there were legitimate uses of the technology, and it shouldn't be held responsible simply because it can be used unlawfully. Instead, however, they ruled that file-sharing software actively encourages piracy and the makers should be held accountable.

    This conclusion grossly misconstrues the opinion. Instead, they held that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties. MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 125 S. Ct. 2764, 2780 (2005). They never said the software itself was illegal. They went on to reiterate the Sony rule:

    [M]ere knowledge of infringing potential or of actual infringing uses would not be enough here to subject a distributor to liability. Nor would ordinary acts incident to product distribution, such as offering customers technical support or product updates, support liability in themselves. The inducement rule, instead, premises liability on purposeful, culpable expression and conduct, and thus does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discourage innovation having a lawful promise. Id.
    One small note: the liability attaches to those who distribute, not those who create. They didn't get Grokster for the coding work, only for distributing the software while advertising its illegal uses.

    A small procedural note: they didn't actually reverse the lower court, they vacated (threw out) the lower court's opinion, and sent it back for further trial on inducement. Grokster capitulated before the trial continuation finished, probably because they knew they had a losing case.

    The rest of the article goes on to troll some more, but I won't give it credence by rebutting it. I just thought I'd help clear up any confusion anyone has about the Grokster holding.

    • I don't usually reply to my earlier posts, especially after a few days, but I thought a useful analogy might be in order.

      Suppose I'm selling knives. (Grokster wasn't selling anything, but we're both "distributors" for the sake of the Grokster case.) I advertise my knives as great for slicing bread. The Supreme Court doesn't say too much about this, because it's perfectly legal. Now I advertise my knives as great for slicing up people, something that I portray in a positive light. Now I'm inducing crime, a

  • by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:29PM (#14144044)
    Slashdot needs to stop posting articles from Gamasutra.

    Not because the articles are poorly thought-out, reflect foolish ideas or just plain suck.

    No. Slashdot needs to stop posting Gamasutra articles because so many people here just don't understand what Gamasutra is or have any clue who writes the articles. Take this one for example. Ernest Adams has been working in the game industry for what.. 20 years now? He's seen a lot of stuff come and go, and has a finger on the pulse of the industry and writes a lot about it. He may be wrong or right, but he's not some newbie game 'journo' or hack. What he says is nearly always worth thinking about, and the reasons he says it are worth understanding as well.

    Another great example is the article a while back by Richard Bartle, expounding the idea that permanent player death is important for masively multiplayer games. He was largely dismissed around here as someone who just doesn't know what multiplayer games are about, and a bit of a fool to boot. In fact he wrote one of the first multiplayer games, called MUD (some people may have heard of it - it's the grandfather of just about every multiplayer RPG), and has worked in the industry for many, many years. That didn't stop people taking the point and reacting to it before they understood it or thought about why he said it.

    Gamasutra is a site devoted to professionals in the game industry. It reflects professional opinions, techniques and issues, and is well read by the industry. People like Ernest Adams and Richard Bartle are professionals who know what they're talking about and say things for a reason.

    It seems that in the rush to react to articles, Slashdotters miss the point that they're not the target audience.

    (waiting to be modded as 'Flamebait' now)
    • The reason why so many /. readers hate articles from Gamasutra is because so many of them are simply outdated or wouldn't fit in today's context. Permadeath in MMOGs? Why the hell would I pay to play then? I could just play a FPS with a mod for swords with no regular fee instead, since I'm probably going to just get ganked every 10 minutes. Permadeath WORKED for MUDs because so little data was actually saved and even assuming you managed to get all the best l3wt, it probably didn't have much meaning in it b
      • the whole point of PERMADEATH is that you then take far more care of your player if you want to build up XP and get nice stuff...
        • You take care of your character more, until your roomate starts downloading the latest game/movie/tv episode, the power goes out, your internet goes out, your IM client brings you to the desktop, the phone rings so you go and answer it, someone comes to the door and you answer it.

          And then die because of it.

          The next step? Quitting from frustration.

        • the whole point of PERMADEATH is that you then take far more care of your player if you want to build up XP and get nice stuff...

          Yes. And what does that mean in practice ?

          It means that you can't explore, since that means taking risks which result in death, forcing you to start from the beginning, which means that your character is so low level that it won't be able to go far from the starting location without dying.

          On the other hand, powergamers will find a nice place to get equipment/exp with a low

    • Maybe if these Gamasutra authors want to keep their reputations as professionals who know what they're talking about and say things for a reason, they should think things through before posting an article.

      "Encrypted to discourage hacking?"

    • It seems that in the rush to react to articles, Slashdotters miss the point that they're not the target audience.

      But they SHOULD be..and that's the real problem.

      Maybe Slashdotters as a whole aren't making games, but they sure as hell are playing them, in droves. Just because they can't all do the requisite API calls and such (though surely many can), Adams isn't talking about the technical side of things, he's talking about distribution models, ownership, that sort of thing. In that arena there's no
    • Another great example is the article a while back by Richard Bartle, expounding the idea that permanent player death is important for masively multiplayer games. He was largely dismissed around here as someone who just doesn't know what multiplayer games are about, and a bit of a fool to boot. In fact he wrote one of the first multiplayer games, called MUD

      So in other words, he's some bitter has-been who can't get round the fact that his baby is obsolete, and that no-one cares about his 'outrageous' ideas?

      I
    • It seems that in the rush to react to articles, Slashdotters miss the point that they're not the target audience.

      Slashdotters may not be the target audience for Gamasutra articles, but they are the target audience of Gamasutra readers. Without the game consumer on board, there are no games. Ten or twenty years ago, this was different - the resources that went into programming a game were limited enough that one or a few people could handle it easily. There was room to try new things and figure out throug
  • I would play HL2 even if Gordon had to stare at Coca Cola products on billboards. I say "Make the Games Free!"

    Prof
  • by miaDWZ ( 820679 ) * <alan&alanisherwood,id,au> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @01:37AM (#14144704) Homepage
    In many places, such as Australia - we do not have the luxury of downloading the same thing over and over again.

    Your regular Internet plans down here are limited to somewhere between 3-10gb per month. The larger plans go up to about 40gb (20gb peek, 20gb off peek).

    Now, if we are talking about a big game, say, HL2, we are talking like 2gb here. Whilst I am very lucky, and happen to be one of the few in Australia to have an ADSL2 connection - I'm still on a 20gb cap. So, I can download 2gb in seven minutes (assuming ideal conditions) - that's still 1/10th of my monthly download gone.

    Play say, a couple of times a day and you've passed your download limit.

    Now, remember, many people are charged money for going over their download limit. The largest ISP in Australia, Telstra Bigpond [bigpond.com.au] charge AUD$150/gb over your limit.

    So, lets say you have a standard 3gb account, and play the game 5 times in a month - you pay:

    [charges for going 7gb over limit] = 150 * 7 = 1050 + monthly fee

    Now, I don't see many people willing to pay $1050 for a game.
    • I completely agree. Though, this problem exists in the USA as well. At the university I recently graduated from, we had a monthly download limit of 1.5GB, and an upload limit of equal size. Go over the limit, and you're reduced to a 56k connection. Go over more than once, and you're cut off for the semester. Keep doing it once reinstated, and no more connection for you.

      As a grad student, I frequenctly played UT2004 every evening due to the short rounds. Under this model, I'd get one play a month, asi
    • I have had DSL, cable, and several forms of fixed wireless, in half a dozen different locations, ranging from 1 Mbps to around 20 Mbps, and none of them had download limits. They were all heavily used. None of the plans cost more than $40/month.

      Plans with download limits clearly do exist somewhere, but it looks to me like they are on their way out.
  • Video games need to get off the Gillette model. If you give away the razor, and sell the blade - people steal the blades. Mach 3 Razors are one of the most shoplifted items in the western world. Of course Gillette don't care, they are buffered from the financial ramifications by the middlemen who have to absorb the loss and in the process they get market penetration.

    So what are their options?

    Charge less for games. $50 is lot of money - and it takes a really good game to justify that cost. What marketeers fa
    • Sell hardware, not software - and for a profit. ... Follow the lead of dance mats, donkey konga, light guns and sell them for $50 game included ... sell a halo controller, or a lightsaber ...

      I like it.
      While companies bitch and moan that their product is being pirated they have so far been a 1-trick pony. They insist on clinging to an outdated business model that simply doesn't work in the new age.

      Every other company and business sector had to accomodate the changes that happened around them: The oft-

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