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PC Games (Games) Businesses The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Free Games As a Solution To Game Piracy 806

christ, jesus H writes "PC gaming may not be dying, but it is in a state of flux. We're seeing developers and publishers blaming piracy for all the ills of PC gaming, but attempts to rein in pirates with the help of DRM only annoys and mobilizes the legitimate customers of your games. The solution? According to David Perry of Shiny Games, PC games are going to be free." (And if anyone has a favorite replacement term for "piracy," in the context of electronic copyright violation, please suggest it below.)
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Free Games As a Solution To Game Piracy

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  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:56PM (#24137555)

    I prefer the term "stealing games" myself. It fits well, does away with the positive connotations that the term "piracy" has gained in some circles, and -perhaps most important- it really makes the pirates mad.

    • by DaedalusHKX ( 660194 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:04PM (#24137779) Journal

      I would still be willing to BUY games (I don't pirate them, I just haven't found much to interest me, console OR desktop alike).

      Again, I would still be willing to BUY games if they would stop rehashing half witted half finished games. So few companies really release good games, and everyone expects insane growth. Always "growth". Perhaps some retards somewhere forgot that you can only grow so much before your body either collapses under its own weight or you evolve into something else. Otherwise, no luck.

      Blizzard always releases late. People understand them. Why? Because Blizzard, ID, Ravensoft and no others I can think of, have managed to release a bug free or complete product. Most of their fixes, in my memory, have been playbalancing, rare bugs on rare configs, etc. But their games WORK. Other people's games... often hit and run.

      Why is it that so FEW companies actually put out workable, GOOD products? Perhaps if more of them did, and if shoddy products were to be refunded in FULL, then perhaps better products would "revitalize" the market.

      Games don't need to be free. Shitty ones and incomplete ones should be. The "no return if opened" policy is bullshit. It just allows a company to sell a shitty game and get away with it. It allows a store to carry a non tested product and get away with it. But hell, if pharmaceutical companies and electronics and even car companies can get away with shoddy products, why not the software industry? If the customers keep waiting for governments to step in and save them, they ought to realize that it is MUCH easier to buy off bureaucrats and politicians than ten thousand pissed off freemen customers, some of whom might be willing and able to use their rights (from the vocal to the physical) when other means fail to extract remedy for shoddy product and vaporware sold as an actual, complete product. Fraud of this sort should be held accountable by the victims, the customers. Until the customers demand quality, and stand by that remark... and demand refunds on shitty products, until that occurs... well, nothing's gonna change.

      • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:10PM (#24137945) Homepage Journal

        Other people's games... often hit and run.

        Hit and run games are fun, too. Now hit and miss games I could understand not liking. ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The "no return if opened" policy is bullshit.

        This is actually a very good point. I didn't pirate things anywhere near as much as I do not before that policy. Back when Egghead or wherever would accept returns, I bought a game and, if it was horribly buggy or just plain sucked, I returned it. When they changed that policy, that is when I started looking on pirate BBSes, etc.

        The natural extension of that is the Internet and technologies like BitTorrent.

        The same kind of thing applies for the ridiculous anti-piracy measures that publishers take (e.g., Sec

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

        Again, I would still be willing to BUY games if they would stop rehashing half witted half finished games

        I realize that you personally haven't used it to justify piracy, but I see this all too often from pirates. This is not a valid excuse. If games really sucked so much, you wouldn't even be interested in pirating them!

        Why is it that so FEW companies actually put out workable, GOOD products?

        What games don't work? List some, and I will list you twice as many that do ship in a reasonably working, bug-free form.

      • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:04PM (#24139217) Journal

        I think you unintentionally found the replacement for the term "pirate".

        it is MUCH easier to buy off bureaucrats and politicians than ten thousand pissed off freemen customers

        The Fremen [] fought CHOAM and the Sppacing Guild. Perfect name for copyright infringers!

      • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:08PM (#24139315) Homepage

        +50, Nailed it!

        The no-refund policy leads to horrible products with fantastic marketing budgets. What's a scorned gamer to do, sue the company ? On what grounds ? You can't prove "lack of fun" in court.

        I'm of the opinion that piracy / software theft / whatever you wanna call it, helps the good game houses and hurts the bad ones. The whole try-before-you-buy excuse is a very valid one IMHO. There's a crapload of software out there, that I would have never heard of, were it not for some illiterate little shit in Norway posting it on Usenet. Not just games but apps too... prime example: O&O Defrag. I saw it on some FTP eons ago, gave it a whirl, and have been a paying user for over eight years now. Why the *&@^ am I paying for a defrag tool ? Because I like the damned thing, that's why. Had it not been pirated, I would still be cursing at MS Defrag / Diskeeper on a daily basis.

        Same thing applies to games. You mentioned Blizzard, well a long long time ago, when I was just a teenager with lots of BBS accounts, I stumbled upon the original Warcraft. I had no clue what this game was, nor did any of my friends, but it was an addictive little thing. Chop wood, mine gold, kill stuff - FUN! Warcraft 2 came out, I trotted down to EB and picked up the War2 battlechest. Then Starcraft, War3, and WoW.

        Had it not been for that pirated copy of the original Warcraft, I would never have bought the 2nd and 3rd installments.

        The same is true for a bunch of Lucasarts games... Day of the Tentacle, anyone ? If it weren't for those massively distributed copies of Monkey Island, I would not have been hooked, and they would have sold $250 less games to this one guy alone.

        Meanwhile, when companies release shitty games, the kind that's not even worth pirating, you can be damned sure I'll never buy their stuff, and I won't bother downloading it either.

        If games didn't cost $60-70 to "try", maybe they would sell more. There are very few shops that release demos anymore, and the ones that do, often pull a Hollywood on us, where the full product only adds filler with no substance. The business model needs to be redesigned from the ground up - new distribution, new (smaller) budgets, greater emphasis on gameplay... it's not so hard, just look at all the runaway hits of recent years like Portal or Sam & Max - inexpensive to make and tons of fun.

        Sure, blockbusters can be good too, but so many of them flop because the money takes over, release dates get bumped up and salaries get chopped. What, you actually believe those no-experience foreign sweat shops with mile-long resumés are going to cut development costs while delivering a superior product ? Ever heard of EA and Activision ? Ever seen them release a top-quality product ?

        The game industry is fucked, much like the music industry. Pointing fingers will not change that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by brkello ( 642429 )
          All you are doing is justifying your illegal actions (as is popular on this site). Don't get me wrong, I have pirated in the past so it isn't like I am sitting on some moral high horse. So feel free to pirate all you want, just don't come on here and tell me it is good for the game companies. It isn't. It is the people like you and the people that pirate everything that makes DRM exist.

          If you don't want to get stuck with a bad game, find a reviewer that has similar tastes and stick with what they recommen
      • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:13PM (#24139413)
        Blizzard is entirely unlike most game companies. Blizzard values its customers and wants them to have as good a time as possible. They don't just abandon products, they release no-CD patches. They allow their customers to enter their CD key on the website and download the entire game (useful if you bought the PC version and now want to play on a Mac), even if said game was released eleven years ago. Heck, they still have tech support subsites for Lost Vikings and Rock N' Roll Racing - titles they released back when the company was still called Silicon & Synapse.

        Blizzard puts the customer first and only delivers polished products, release dated be damned. And that's why everyone loves them. Now compare that to, oh, just about everyone. It's a shame Looking Glass died, but the retail version of System Shock 2 was unbeatable for most people because a crucial window wasn't breakable. Piranha Bytes' The Gothic 3 gold master was so unready for production that they had to release the first patch on launch day. BioShock is a prime example of DRM gone bad^H^H^Hworse as many players are locked out of the game for too many reinstalls before they even played the game once - reinstalls which they accumulated trying to get the game to work.

        To put it like Zero Punctuation's Yahtzee might: The video game industry is a sea of vomit and that's the qualitative standard against which new games are measured. The better ones are usually very nice and pretty examples of vomit but they're still vomit. The few gems people like Blizzard release can't change the fact that we're waist-deep in gastric acid.
      • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:28PM (#24139707) Homepage

        The no return with open package isn't just because of piracy... it's because people would use big-box stores as rental stores. Get a game, play through it, return it and get another one, all "free". What I'd be most impressed with is if they did a return policy like Gamestop does. 7 days, no questions asked, after that, you're SOL. 7 days is long enough that you can return it if it sucks, but short enough that you can't play through most games worth money, assuming you're a normal person. There may be a few people who abuse it, but I think that would be a solution that would appease the greatest number of people, and get more people buying games again.

      • by sxmjmae ( 809464 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:12PM (#24140625)
        I have returned lots of opened software. I return it and claim I disagree with the Licensing agreement (which typical states that if you disagree with it you are to return it). If push comes to shove I ask them to read the Licensing prior to opening the box and of course you can NOT use my copy to do that. I have had 100% success rate in returning opened software packages.
      • by Denial93 ( 773403 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @04:05PM (#24141765)
        When I worked in a games company, I was told matter-of-factly that 80% of games sold are played for less than 30 minutes, and 80% customer satisfaction was alright. By that logic, a lot more effort was put in the first level compared to the last. Playtesters made sure the game was finishable, but everyone involved knew it started to get tedious after the first few hours. I scripted a couple of cutscenes very late in the game that I was told less than a percent of players would ever see. I still did them as best I could, but I wouldn't be surprised if others were less motivated...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        > Blizzard always releases late. People understand them. Why?

        Having shipped & worked on a few titles the answer is simple:

        Because no one remembers if a bad game ships on time, but if a good game is late, no one will really care _too_ much. In order to do this, you need:

        1. Money, to "buy" you the time to polish.
        2. Faith in your good team to produce a great product.

        Most game studios are short on both.

        Blizzard is not innovative -- they just copy what _works. BUT, they DO put a ton of work into UI and b

      • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:20PM (#24143395) Homepage Journal

        Having worked for blizzard, I can assure you we shipped at least diablo, diablo II, starcraft, broodwar, lord of destruction, warcraft III, frozen throne, and wow with lots of software bugs.

        Not many fatal bugs, but plenty of bugs. I personally fixed about 300 non play balance bugs that went into various patches.

        Bugs are unavoidable in large software projects. Avoiding serious bugs that will make your customers unhappy is mostly about devoting sufficient testing resources to finding that class of bugs before shipping, and planning for extended work hours right after release to quickly fix the most serious bugs that escaped your testing.

    • by Syrente ( 990349 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:04PM (#24137793)
      I always considered 'Eternal Borrower' or 'Stonking great Thief' as accurate ways of naming 'pirates.'
    • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:05PM (#24137813) Journal

      It's not stealing as copying does not deprive the original owner of anything. Copyright is an artificial monopoly provided by the government as an incentive to create and release creative works.

      Am I stealing from you if I choose not to buy from you, but from someone else? No? Yet I am depriving you of revenue, isn't that stealing? No? Then depriving you of revenue by copying your product isn't stealing either.

      It is copyright violation, which is wrong, but not stealing. It is wrong because it violates the social contract you agree to by continuing to live in our society.

      That is important: you wouldn't even have a moral claim against a person who renounced society and all its benefits who then violated copyright. They would not be a party to the social contract, and would have no moral reason not to copy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Kinda like when I screwed your wife while you were at work. You could still use her, so there is nothing wrong with it. Me and the twelve other guys all agree on this.

        • Not a very good analogy. The wife would now have the herpes you gave her, which would make her less fun in that particular aspect of the relationship.
        • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:21PM (#24138225) Journal

          Kinda like when I screwed your wife while you were at work. You could still use her, so it wasn't stealing

          Fixed that for you.

        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @02:56PM (#24140283) Homepage Journal

          This is a quite (unintentionally) interesting post. The words "stealing" and "piracy" are criticized here because they are inaccurate metaphors for the thing being described, chosen to sway the debate by their emotional impact. Here we have an AC troll who is trying to veer the conversation back into emotionalism by yet another inaccurate metaphor.

          You can see that the words "stealing" and "piracy" obscure the issue, without necessarily thinking that copyright infringement is acceptable.

          Some cases of piracy are reasonably close to theft: unauthorized commercial duplication for example. In this case, the copyright holders aren't deprived of the material, they are deprived of the revenue, which the infringer enjoys. Other cases are not very much like theft, but are still not very admirable. They are more like freeloading.

          Still other forms of copyright infringement represent the user trying to exercise a right he believes he has but which the copyright holder does not believe he has. In some cases that may be a legal right (such as archival copying), in other cases it may be a moral right, like replacing a CD lost in a fire. Such infringements have to be viewed on a case by case basis. Some are be reasonable and others are not, some are legal and others are not, but none are precisely "stealing" nor are any "piracy", which technically means robbery on the ocean without a valid legally recognized license from a sovereign nation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eln ( 21727 )

        Am I stealing from you if I choose not to buy from you, but from someone else? No? Yet I am depriving you of revenue, isn't that stealing? No? Then depriving you of revenue by copying your product isn't stealing either.

        That's quite a leap there. If I steal your product, that implies that I want it. Do I want it badly enough that I would pay for it if there was no possible way to steal it? Maybe, maybe not, but the product clearly has some value to me, since I was willing to go through the trouble and risk of stealing it.

        However, if I'm buying someone else's product instead, that implies that your game has no value to me, since I believe your competitor's product to be superior enough to spend my time on it rather than

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          If I steal your product, that implies that I want it. Do I want it badly enough that I would pay for it if there was no possible way to steal it? Maybe, maybe not, but the product clearly has some value to me, since I was willing to go through the trouble and risk of stealing it.

          Yes, but we are not talking about stealing, unless you can prove otherwise. We are talking about copyright infringement.

          That was kind of the point.

          However, if I'm buying someone else's product instead, that implies that your game ha

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You are both depriving the producer of revenue AND making use of their product without paying for ownership. It's much like 'stealing' wifi access from your neighbor. The only physical aspect of the theft involves electrons/impulses/etc...

        "the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny."

        Copyright (whether you approve or not) denotes ownership...making it intellectual property. The wrongful taking of makes it theft.

        Funny how the slashdot crowd considers it t

        • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#24138287) Journal

          No, the slashdot crowd considers it copyright violation is Microsoft includes GPL'ed code, and we consider it copyright violation if someone copies music, movies or software. See how that works? It's a different word, denoting a different action, with different consequences, but it is still wrong.

          Using someone else's wifi is stealing, as you are depriving them of a limited resource: their bandwidth. You can make unlimited copies of a digital work without depriving the owner of anything.

          You can argue the point all you like, but the law sees it differently than you do. Jaywalking also isn't littering, in case you were confused about that, too.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sm62704 ( 957197 )

          Copyright (whether you approve or not) denotes ownership

          No, it doesn't, not in the US according to our Constitution. The public OWN the work, the work's creator is given a limited time monopoly.

          If you rent a house you have a limited time monopoly to the house, but it is NOT your property. If you OWN the house it is yours to pass to your decendants forever (or until it burns or someone steals it).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Let me throw this wrench in the works. What if I buy a used (game/book/music) at Half Price Books []? What if I borrowed it from a library and returned it? This still deprives the producer of revenue beyond the first user. I am paying for ownership in the first case, but that's only going to the store has the game, not the intellectual owner. And that, in essnce, has been their argument--it doesn't matter if Joe Blow bought the game, the minute he started sharing it with others, that's suddenly illegal.

          What it

    • by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:07PM (#24137869) Journal

      > favorite replacment term for "piracy,"

      market correction

    • by Odiumjunkie ( 926074 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:45PM (#24138731) Journal

      I prefer the term "raping children" myself. It fits well, does away with the positive connotations that the term "piracy" has gained in some circles, and -perhaps most important- it really makes the pirates mad.

      See the problem?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jesus_666 ( 702802 )
      "Copyright infringement" is arguably more correct but somewhat unwieldy. In Germany we use the term "Raubkopie", which would word-for-word translate to "robbery copy". Reverse the ordering and you get "copy robbery", which could be refined into "copy theft". While copyright infringement isn't theft, the term "copy theft" at least implies that the "stolen" object is still there.

      The term is actually already being used by some people; it gets ~2000 Googles and most of the first-page hits seem relevant. Howev
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ewhac ( 5844 )
      The term you're looking for is, "Unsanctioned copy." "Unlicensed copy," also works, but is inferior, due to the popular confusion of precisely which license is at issue.

      Under no rational analysis can it be said to be, "stealing."


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 ( 957197 )

      I prefer the term "stealing games" myself.

      If you go into a store and take a game without paying for it you're stealing. If you download it, even illegally, you're not.

      If you steal a game the store owner is out the cost of the game he bought from the publisher. If you download a game illegally nobody has lost anything, particularly if it is a game you would not have otherwise paid for (too poor, just want to check out a new genre etc) and most especially if, like some do, you want to see if you actually like

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      How about the term "anonymous offsite back-up with frequent integrity testing"?

      But honestly, I don't see much point in pirating the games. Most aren't good enough to be worth the effort and those that are should be bought just to support the companies that make good games. When I was younger (kid, had no money), I "acquired" some "back-ups" and frequently "tested the integrity" of those back-ups, but now that I'm older and have money, I just buy the ones I want.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )

      And when you can prove that one person "stealing" the game makes it impossible for somebody else to buy it, you might have a point. Until then you really ought to actually spend some time learning about the subject.

      Realistically, piracy has always been rampant, and despite the FUD to the otherwise, there's still a game industry. It's just that back in the late 80s and early to mid 90s the vast majority of game companies didn't waste money or effort fighting it.

      I personally won't buy games which have copy pr

    • by menace3society ( 768451 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:12PM (#24140623)

      I prefer 'piracy'. The group ethics of freebooters during the golden age of sail is identical with the ethics of digital encryption-circumventors and copyright-ignorers.

      To understand, you have to realize that sailing in the 17th century was a miserable occupation, especially with the Royal Navy. The hours were wicked, the breaks short, and the work back-breaking. Officers (who were paid about 10 times what you were) were rewarded for treating you harshly. Rations were insignificant and insufficient (the practice of giving lime juice to sailors didn't start until the 19th century, so scurvy likely). You could even be forcibly press-ganged into serving on a ship, if you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      As a pirate, however, there were many more men on a ship, meaning less work and more free time for all. Food and fresh water were easier to come by, since you didn't have to make long trans-oceanic voyages, so nutrition was better and servings more filling.

      The captain still earned more booty that the rest of the crew, but only by a factor of three or four, as shares of treasure were distributed proportionately. And speaking of captains, they were elected by acclaim, rather than imposed by remote authorities from the Admiralty.

      The characterization of pirates as bloodthirsty is mostly a historical relic inserted by the authorities to frighten children and to discourage sailors from becoming buccaneers. A few were psychopathic, it's true, but the punishment they meted out as victors was no worse than what they would have faced themselves at home. All the talk of bargains with the Devil or Death was a metaphor for the pirates exchange: they earned freedom and sovereignty, but had to pay for it with a price on their heads.

      In many cases the pirates proved better men than their opponents. Jean LaFitte fought alongside the Americans in the War of 1812, Capts. Morgan and Kidd plundered vessels in the name of the Crown, and Great Peter fought at sea to protect Friesland from its belligerent neighbors.

      The parallels to modern-day software/content piracy should be obvious. They believe in freedom, rather than monopolistic autocracy; they risk severe punishment; they advocate sharing the fruits of their labor; they are generally nicer people than most of their adversaries (game designers tend to be the best of the lot, but when it comes to music, movies, books, etc. the contrast is much more clear).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by negRo_slim ( 636783 )

      "stealing games"

      That is exactly the thought in my head when I played on some "private" World of Warcraft servers. Which are already offering this model of business. In that market rules of the game often relaxed to increase the rate of character progression for more casual players. Also often times the group running the emulated World of Warcraft server will accept donations and in exchange offer in game items of various levels. From 5USD for 5k gold to 250USD for collections of vastly overpowered items. Needless to say th

  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:56PM (#24137561)
    Electronic copyright violation.

    Yarr, I be a clever pirate.
  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:58PM (#24137609) Homepage

    Instead of mediocre games that require incredibly expensive stuff few people have.

  • Bootlegging (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geof ( 153857 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:00PM (#24137673) Homepage

    Bootlegging []: to produce, reproduce, or distribute illicitly or without authorization

    This helps to distinguish private copying from for-profit counterfeiting by organized crime.

  • TAANSTAFL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mesa MIke ( 1193721 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:00PM (#24137677) Homepage

    They'll be encumbered with ad- and mal- ware.

  • Problems... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:03PM (#24137753)
    Sure, free games may solve game "piracy", but it doesn't address what is killing PC gaming. Which are A) Windows, B) Insane hardware requirements and C) Consoles. When all PC games become cross platform (Linux, Windows and Mac), require the average hardware and will run decently on low-end hardware (for example, now it would need to run on 512 MB of RAM and a cheap Intel graphics card), and be better than the games on consoles. Once they solve all those problems PC gaming may be mainstream, but right now they confine themselves to a small niche.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      On point A)Windows: Exactly. Halo 2 running only on Vista? What the...? That's plain wrong, considering most of us are still running XP.
    • Re:Problems... (Score:5, Informative)

      by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:12PM (#24137995)
      Holy crap can we stop with the "PC gaming is dead / dying" mantra? It's simply not true.
      - US PC Gaming Revenues 2007 - $2.76 billion +12%
      - US PC Gaming Revenues 2008 - $3.1 billion +14% (forecast)
      - Worldwide PC Gaming 2007 - $8.3 billion +14%
      - Worldwide PC Gaming 2008 - $9.6 billion +16% (forecast)

      Those numbers are from the May MaximumPC. PC gaming is *not* dead, it's growing. Stop spreading the FUD.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by King_TJ ( 85913 )

      Yes, someone please mod the parent post up!

      PC Gaming is dying because people are tired of the "latest, greatest" games not only including a $50 price tag, but also another $250 price tag for a new video card to play them well!

      People constantly complain that the Mac is "not a viable computer" for them because they don't have enough games out for them, not enough graphics card options, etc. But I can see the flip-side of that. Sometimes it's nice watching Apple "hold the line", saying "What?! These configu

  • Call it what it is (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr.Ned ( 79679 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:09PM (#24137941)

    "And if anyone has a favorite replacement term for "piracy," in the context of electronic copyright violation, please suggest it below."

    Umm, a copyright violation? Copyright infringement? Why not just call it what it is instead of bringing in some new word that's going to have a specific connotation?

  • If the future of free games means installing DRM crap on our computers, such as SecuROM, then they can keep their "free games". It's only going to become an entry point for companies to install their malware on our computers.

  • by Jellybob ( 597204 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:12PM (#24138015) Journal

    Just make them good. I have no problem with paying for my games (I do so for every game I have a copy of), but I'm not going to go out and buy a crap game if I can help it.

    Of course the industry needs to stop crying wolf as well. While sales from brick and morter stores are going down like a brick, a lot of that is being picked up by services like Steam, because Valve seems to have realised that attempting to screw your customers just doesn't work.

  • I personally think it's the consoles that are the REAL reason. A decade ago, PCs were at the top of the hill for superior graphics and networking for team playing. Now they aren't because HDTVs, internet connectivity and multicore proccesor consoles. There's no niche anymore. At least worth spending on. Same thing happened to arcades.
  • A good replacement term for piracy is the involuntary 100% discount... which differs very little from the voluntary 100% discount suggested by making 'all computer games free'. That is 100% stupid. If you are charging for services related to the game, i.e. "color t-shirts" in the game or the online service or whatever, then guess what part people will pirate instead of the game?

  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:19PM (#24138175)

    People have been pirating games for almost 30 years, but companies have been profitable. Pirating games is a giant pain in the butt, so if you can purchase a game online and legally download it, you're probably going to do it. You can purchase almost any game via digital downloads these days.

    Compare to consoles, I own an xbox 360 but do not own a single game. I don't pirate, but I have gamefly. I get 3-4 games per month, which I play beat and return in mere days. The amount of money being made there per game is miniscule, if I had more free time I would probably do the trade-in thing which I understand is all the rage.

    I'm not convinced "free" (as in crack) games are a solution to a real problem. Windows is just not turnkey enough for the simple games that consoles do best. For the complicated games, lately people don't buy very many. Who has time for WoW AND Lotro AND MMOG++? PC games tend to be involved, for this reason we won't acquire every game that hits the shelves and will be selective. If a game sucks, we won't buy it, no time, forget money.

    Console games...well gamefly will send me anything on my queue, and I'll keep the queue full even if the games on it suck and I just send it back barely touched. If you're EA, this is just fine, that means they're getting more share of my entertainment budget ($14.99/mo or whatever it is). From the standpoint of running a business based on increasing profits, they like it, no risk.

  • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:25PM (#24138309)

    Valve has a nice vision: []

    Have to say I agree with them.

    I recently bought a new, up-to-date PC with dual cores and all the bells and whistles. After playing nothing but WoW, Civ and other less-powerhungry games on my trusty old 1,2 GHz Celeron and Win'98, I could finally check out all the games I missed.

    So far: Half-Life 2, Orange Box (consisting of EP1&EP2 too, and Portal). Love it. Also love Steam. It works.
    Another case: Galactic Civilizations 2. Stardock's Stardock Central (and the parallel, Impulse), rock.

    NO Copy protection. No DVD in drive bullshit. No running through the hoops. Before, when I bought a game it was always running via to get the crack. Another game that I got was Crysis. Fine, gamecopyworld has cracks - except there isn't one for the 64-bit 1.21 version. So I was stuck with the DVD in drive..

    Then, as an old Baldur's Gate&Torment&Kotor fan, I heard that Bioware had done a new RPG - Mass Effect. To avoid hassle, I googled for what copy protection it's using - and read about the whole phone-home-schema. I can run Steam in offline mode. Stardock Central doesn't phone home. But these guys seriously thought that spyware in your PC is ok?!

    I was already firing up my torrent client, but then I read [] about EA loosening the DRM and actually bought the game instead.

    Gotta love Valve. And Blizzard.

  • Call a spade a spade (Score:5, Informative)

    by eepok ( 545733 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:48PM (#24138805) Homepage

    It's not stolen, it's not pirated... it's an "Unlicensed Copy". Nothing more, nothing less.

  • what a crock. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DragonTHC ( 208439 ) <Dragon.gamerslastwill@com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:30PM (#24140999) Homepage Journal

    Games don't have to be free.

    And they will never get away with charging microtransactions to PC gamers.

    David Perry of Shiny Games is a moron.

    Make a decent product. Give us plenty of chances to view it. Give us ample opportunity and convenience to purchase it. If we like it, we will.

    Eliminate DRM. It obviously doesn't work. Sometimes it prevents your game from working properly.

    Use Steam!!!!! We do. Stop wasting your whole budget on marketing. We don't care about the TV commercials. We don't come to E3 to get posters.

  • Right 'free' games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @04:41PM (#24142575) Journal

    For those who don't know, these free games are all the rage in places like korea. Instead of buying a boxed game and then paying a monthly subscription ala World of Warcraft, you download the game for free and play it for free BUT all the advanced items are not looted or crafted but bought.

    The earliest games just made some useful but not-essential items buyable. Buyable but still lootable or at least tradeable. Think Second Life where 1 person buying linden dollars can buy stuff from players who never spend any real cash.

    But that isn't profitable enough, so slowly the "buy" items have become more and more essential to play the game beyond the basics.

    One example is a game, might be Perfect World, where you get one free sample of a pet. A little pig that picks up loot for you that drops in the world. Handy no? But hardly essential? No, the game drops so much loot that anyone trying to pick stuff up AFTER the free pet has run out will find the game near impossible to play. So where do you get more piggies? From the shop.

    And then of course the smart players are going to do a small sum, exactly HOW much do you have to pay each month to play the game succesfully? Oh dear, an amount very similar to the monthly subscription of WoW. Execpt for ONE small problem, that is the MINIMUM sum. You can easily spend more and we all know how addictive these games can become. Blizzard can only charge you the monthly fee, although Blizzard and SOE are learning how to fleece their customer for more, but the Korean games go far further.

    Remember all the outcry when console games for the x-box and 360 started charging, one racing game where most tracks and cars had to be bought after you bought theboxed game?

    The Koreans go far further.

    I don't see this as the future.

    Do you REALLY want games entirely designed around selling you items? An RTS where every upgrade for your units has to be paid for, an adventure where puzzle items have to be bought, an RPG where every skill is paid for?

    As expensive as single player games have become at least that is a fixed one time charge (oh okay ignoring games like Oblivion) where you know the game can be finished for that amount of money. I really don't want a future in which a company makes its money from me playing the game over and over.

    lets not forget also that this means the end of modding. Do you really think that if EA manages to introduce the sale of single pieces of furniture in The Sims that they would allow the countless free mods that exist?

    How are you going to sell a FPS with bought items if any modder can add far better weapons?

    No, just produce games that are decent value, remove the damn DRM so paying customers ain't punished and accept that perhaps the market isn't in producing the Xth FPS but in producing unique fun games that the people want to pay and play. Remember that the biggest game ever is The Sims. A series that launched WITHOUT drm and allowed open modding and made the company more money then they could ever have dreamed. The PC market is alive and well but you got to stop aiming for the 12yr old boys. I know quite a few The Sims fans and they don't give a shit about buying a new expansion, all they care about is new options to produce free content for EA. That is how you make money. Sell to people willing to pay for your product, not fight a loosing war.

  • Subscription Gaming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arccot ( 1115809 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:51PM (#24143907)
    Personally, I think the answer is subscription gaming like GameTap. All you can eat from their catalog for one price. That way, you don't get burned on a bad purchase. It's convenient, cheap, and generally easier to do than pirating.

    The biggest reason piracy is so rampant is because it's so easy and because it's free.

    If they added value by putting feelies []back in boxes, it could help.
  • by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:54PM (#24146773) Homepage

    Piracy has meant theft of copyrighted materials for a VERY long time. Since 1790. I think 218 years or so is long enough for the definition to be valid.

    From the 1828 edition of Webster's dictionary:

    " PI'RACY, n. [L. piratica, from Gr. to attempt, to dare, to enterprise, whence L. periculum, experior; Eng. to fare.]

                    1. The act, practice or crime of robbing on the high seas; the taking of property from others by open violence and without authority, on the sea; a crime that answers to robbery on land.

    Other acts than robbery on the high seas, are declared by statute to be piracy. See Act of Congress, April 30, 1790.

                    2. The robbing of another by taking his writings."

  • Schwarzkopiererei (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kirth ( 183 ) on Friday July 11, 2008 @08:11AM (#24150663) Homepage

    Not really a replacement for the english-speaking world. But in german, "schwarzkopieren" means "copying something without being authorized to do so", thus somebody who does that is a "Schwarzkopierer".

    This is analogous to "schwarzfahren", which means using some public-transport vehicle without paying the fare.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall