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Games Your Rights Online

Game Industry Vets On DRM 372

An anonymous reader points out an article at SavyGamer in which several game industry veterans were polled for their opinions on DRM. Cliff Harris of Positech Games said he didn't think his decision to stop using DRM significantly affected piracy of his games, accepting it as an unavoidable fact. "Maybe a few of the more honest people now buy the game rather than pirate it, but this sort of thing is impossible to measure. You can see how many people are cracking and uploading your game, but tracking downloads is harder. It seems any game, even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway. People who crack and upload games don't give a damn what you've done to placate gamers, they crack it anyway." Nihal de Silva of Direct2Drive UK said his company hasn't noticed any sales patterns indicating customers are avoiding games with DRM. Richard Wilson of TIGA feels that customers should be adequately warned before buying a game that uses DRM, but makes no bones about the opinion that the resale of used games is not something publishers should worry about.
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Game Industry Vets On DRM

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  • Unavoidable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:44AM (#31007340) Homepage

    I think piracy is unavoidable in a non-subscription based model like most standalone games. The target audience (teenagers) sees themselves as poor, or actually is poor, and is thus unwilling to pay for something they can get for free. Others undoubtedly resent the fact they are being asked to actually pay for a game, and so are willing to crack them.
    I would like to see the demographics on who *does* pay for games and see if I am write, or if people of all ages are cheap bastards :P

    Now the MMO world has it much better off, since you need a subscription to actually play the game at all. Of course that undoubtedly leads to a lot of problems with stolen CC numbers and the like, so perhaps you are no further ahead. By requiring a CC number to even register, they of course limit their potential sales massively as well.

    Sadly I think this is going to lead to games which are free to play, but contain targeted in-game advertising down the road. I don't want to see how badly that warps the game designs we see as a result.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:47AM (#31007360)

    even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway.

    Huh? What's to crack if there is no DRM?

    Pirate the whole game, I can see that happening, but that's cracker-lackin!

  • by Tjebbe ( 36955 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:58AM (#31007408) Homepage

    Then just see it as a 'service' for the people that do buy your game to not use digital restrictions. Those are your customers, not the ones downloading it. They probably wouldn't have bought it even if it was impossible to download anyway.

  • by JosKarith ( 757063 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:10AM (#31007464)
    DRM is fundimentally flawed in that it only affects your paying customers. 2 days after your game has come out a stripped version will pop up on the torrent sites, meaning that anyone who wants to play the game for free can. Psi-ops was a classic point - I bought the game, only to find that the DRM system objected to me having a dvd burner in my system. So it got returned, and I downloaded a copy.
    Net result of DRM in this case - 1 lost sale.
  • by initialE ( 758110 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:10AM (#31007468)

    "The security measures used to restrict the unauthorized use of this software may cause your computer to experience partial or total loss of functionality, and may conflict with other software or hardware you may have installed on this machine"

    It's true enough, and worse is that they are not going to be responsible for restoring your system if it does in fact get hosed.

  • by LogicalError ( 1002490 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:12AM (#31007482)
    DRM, nowadays at least, isn't so much about piracy but more about killing the used games market. Of course they'll tell you it's about piracy, but it really isn't
  • by c1t1z3nk41n3 ( 1112059 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:22AM (#31007530)
    Yeah I've followed a weird arc. When I was younger I downloaded any game I could find just to try them out. I didn't have any money for games so I certainly wasn't a lost sale. Then after I got more settled and hit my mid 20s I started buying all my games. I had the money to spend at that point and I figured it only made sense to support developers who made the kind of stuff I like so there would be more to come. But now I'm swinging back the other way. I bought a retail copy of Bioshock even though I'd heard about the DRM problems with it. Bioshock 2 I was going to buy on Steam as that's how I purchase most games these days but after seeing the install limits and securom stuff I've just decided to pirate it. If I'm going to be treated like a criminal I may as well act like one.
  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:22AM (#31007532)

    There is only one "healthy level of DRM". Hint: Steam exceeds it.

  • Re:Unavoidable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:31AM (#31007578) Journal

    Or they could just, you know, be like me and this guy [metacafe.com] (warning: language NSFW but can you blame him?) and downloading cracked versions of games we already bought because the shitty DRM doesn't work!

    Being in PC repair I can attest that the latest DRM can be worse than most viruses. If you get Starforce or SecuROM mixed together, or either of those with any other like SafeDisc, well lets just say I hope you look back on the days of unstable Win9x fondly, because you will be getting a taste of those times. I can't even count the number of DVD drives of customers I had to throw away because Starforce or SecuROM decided they were "dirty evil filthy pirates" for actually having a burner and threw it into PIO mode and burned their drive smooth up.

    And be sure to place close attention to the background in that video. Notice the huge mounds of game boxes? Here he is a major customer and what does he get for doing the right thing and buying? Well he gets spit upon, that's what? Does the DRM do jack shit to stop piracy? Hell no! In fact the nastier DRM like Spore gets cracked even quicker than the others! It has gotten so bad with shitty DRM that I refuse to buy at release day anymore, simply because I don't have the cracked version yet. Once I have a working crack then and ONLY then will I buy, because I am frankly tired of shelling out $50+ for a paperweight I can even return when it is defective by design!

    Meanwhile the pirates are laughing their asses off, because their version just works straight out of the box, no hassles and no bullshit, meanwhile the ones that DO work expect me to hop up and change discs every. single. time. I want to play a game. WTF? Why did I spend all this money on fat hard drives when you ass clowns are gonna treat me like I'm using an x360?

    You want to cut down on piracy, game publishers? Instead of ass raping us with ever higher prices, "multiplatform" games that are nothing but really shitty x360 games, less and less game thanks to the lack of dedicated servers and the scourge that is DLC, how about giving us real value for our money, hmmm? How about that? EA got me to shell out for MOH:10th anniversary even though I heard Airborne wasn't great by offering me MORE value for my money! For $25 I got Airborne, Allied Assault with the two expansions, Pacific Assault the Director's Cut, and a making of, a WW2 Pacific War interactive timeline, and a music of MOH CD. All of the big game houses have older games, why not throw us a couple of older titles in? Why not a music CD or making of?

    But there isn't any surprise as to why there is so much piracy now. I have been gaming since the days of Win3.x, and never before have we gamers been treated so badly, charged so much for substandard fare, and generally spit upon for daring to pay good money. Is it any wonder so many say fuck it and get the actually working pirate version? And sorry about the length, but I am so damned sick of how shitty we gamers are being treated by these gaming corps. If we buy they spit in our faces and screw us over every chance they get, if we boycott they just scream "piracy!" and bribe our politicians to get nastier laws and put even worse DRM in. either way we are royally screwed.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:04AM (#31007726)

    CD checks are DRM.

  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:07AM (#31007740)

    Wait a minute. You're not even supporting the game creators by just keeping your store bought copy. Instead you return it and then download a copy so you can play for free? Where's the "-1, ungrateful leech" option?

  • Re:Ubisoft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by powerspike ( 729889 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:11AM (#31007756)
    well my internet was down yesturday, tryed to launch one of my games on steam (the game didn't even have multiplayer), guess what, it didn't let me load steam because i wasn't connected to the internet, net result, couldn't play any of my games off steam...
  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:12AM (#31007764)

    The trend is that the average age of gamers is now in the 30s.

    What this has to do with DRM is the fact that, at our age (yes, I am in my 30s) what we have the least is time - at the point in your life where you do have a decent income, money is much less of an issue than when you're a teen - if all I have is 1 or 2 hours a day for gaming I don't want to have to jump through extra hoops to play a game and I sure don't want to see my gaming time wasted because my Internet connection is down or the gaming servers are down and the games requires remote authentication (something that adds no value for me).

    The second point is that, when you actually work for a living you can relate the true value of money to the time it takes you to earn it. The cost of a game is then more than a mathematical figure, it's measure in how long do you have to work to pay for it.

    The third point is the increased awareness of the value of things that comes with age. To put it simply, a game fulfils one's need for entertainment and escapism and bad games cost twice as much as good movies and 3 times as much as good books and yet have less entertainment value.

    That said I still pirate games, and in the end it boils down to 1 reason:
    - There is no more try-before-you-buy for most games anymore - the age of Game Demos is gone. I don't want to waste my hard earned money (and I do know how hard it was to earn that money) in a game just to take it home and discover that it sucks, it has too many bugs or it refuses to run in my system due to DRM. I've had plenty of situations where I would buy a game and it would either not work properly, turn out to be little fun or exceptionally short even though gaming sites had been hyping it to no end. At this point (after 20! years of gaming) the gaming industry and the gaming press have shown me again and again that they are not to be trusted ...

    So what I do nowadays is I download the game, try it and if it works ok and I like it, I buy it. Just recently I got X3:TC and bought it as soon as I found out that the game maker had removed DRM in the latest patch (in fact I even got the Gold edition since I trully believe they deserve the money).

  • Re:Unavoidable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JackDW ( 904211 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:14AM (#31007774) Homepage

    I hate games that do this. "Free to play" has become a warning. It means: "Danger! This game doesn't have a monthly subscription or upfront cost, but the "real money transactions" will turn out to be more expensive than a monthly subscription".

    In all games of this sort, the game designers can alter the game design to maximise the amount of money they take from you. They figure out what you want to do and charge you for it. And if what you want to do changes, they nerf the game once more, again maximising profit at your expense.

    It makes them more money than a monthly subscription, clearly, otherwise they wouldn't do it! The "free" parts of the game are arbitrarily crippled, and you have to pay and pay and pay to undo this. See for example the Facebook game "Farmville" (can't select an area of farmland by clicking and dragging unless you rent this facility) or the MMO "Runes of Magic" (the default bag is tiny and you must rent a bigger one to progress through the game).

    The "free to play" model is a rip-off's charter. It is not a good thing. Do not support it. Pay up front, pay a fixed subscription, or play games that are genuinely free.

  • authentication (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:24AM (#31007826)

    this is all well and good till they turn the god damn server off- I loved ravenshield but can't now play the iron wrath expansion over lan because the server has been turned off. Ubisoft thereofre will never receive another dime off me as i cannot trust them to keep my access to games on, if i pay i want to be able to play when and how i want not some snotty jumped up non game playing executive who is probably sleeping with his PA.

  • by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:28AM (#31007842) Homepage
    Ungrateful leech? Why should he care about someone treating him like shit?

    If I bought a game it would be because I wanted to play the game, not because I feel a need to support a company. If the company makes it a PITA (or even refusing me) to even reach the point where I can start playing, I too would say "fuck this shit!", return the game and get a much better gaming experience by pirating it.

    BTW, I have a proud collection of 50+ legally bought original games in my bookcase.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:43AM (#31007922)

    I would call it the "You screwed me, I screw you" option.

  • by Terrasque ( 796014 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:44AM (#31007934) Homepage Journal

    From summary:

    Cliff Harris of Positech Games said he didn't think his decision to stop using DRM significantly affected piracy of his games, accepting it as an unavoidable fact.

    That was an argument FOR using DRM?

    "I have a rock that keeps away shoplifters, it only cost me $ton_of_money annually, and I use it to knock customers on their head every time they buy something. Now, the rate of shoplifting is the same both with and without the rock, so I see no reason to stop using it."

  • by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:57AM (#31007986) Journal

    Oh, so if anyone treats you like shit they forfeit their rights to their stuff?

    Methinks the law isn't on your side. And neither are ethics.

    BTW, I have a collection of 150+ legally bought original games in my k'nex game holding tower.

    Also, five paperweights from EA and Sega. Mostly EA.

    And unfortunately, I have to use pirate copies of about a dozen games.

  • by agentc0re ( 1406685 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:57AM (#31007988) Homepage

    Well no shit. Last time i check the population is growing, not at a standstill or decline. So us older folks who grew up in a non DRM gaming environment to what we have now are the ones that avoid that shit with a plague unlike our younger counter parts who most of which probably have no clue what DRM is. If they do, they don't give a shit, they're having fun playing their game one way or another. It wasn't their money if they bought it and they become a "rebel" once they hack it and have bragging rights to their friends to sound uber cool!

    However, this doesn't justify DRM's methods of preventing piracy. I think this guy has it right: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-mt4BpnfAN-o/how_anti_piracy_screws_over_people_who_buy_pc_games/ [metacafe.com]
    Enjoy! :D

  • by Tukz ( 664339 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:04AM (#31008022) Journal

    A very very light, and mostly acceptable one imo.

  • Re:Ubisoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:11AM (#31008058) Journal

    It didn't offer to start in offline mode?

    What game was it? If I have it I'll test that particular one.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:19AM (#31008104)
    Um, they got their "stuff" back if he returned the game, or are you really accusing him of stealing some bytes? Letting them keep the money for a product that he couldn't even use would just endorse their practice of using DRM. Personally I just wouldn't have played the game, but I can understand his view if he wanted to legitimately play the game and the company was basically telling him he couldn't, and worse, treating him like a criminal after he paid for their product! In this case if the company lost out it was due to its own blinkered greed and stupidity.
  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:24AM (#31008128)
    Exactly, the telling quote was that the inclusion of DRM didn't put customers off. We can extrapolate that to the non-inclusion of DRM not really losing customers to piracy (i.e. they would have similar sales figures and always lose similar customer numbers to piracy regardless of DRM). That being the case, the inclusion of any DRM seems incredibly pointless. Why neuter the customer's experience while simultaneously increasing your costs to produce (by developing around and testing the DRM), support (by having increased numbers of customers unable to play their legitimate copy contacting you to complain) and sell (when those self-same customers return their non-working copy) the game?
  • by Waccoon ( 1186667 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:30AM (#31008152)

    Steam has also gotten "less bad" over time, and as a result the nostalgia effect has kicked in. It's a shame I remember how terrible it was when it came out, and few other people do. I still boycott it, simply because of the horrible way it was established in the first place.

    I buy (and play) so few modern games these days. Mandatory online activation of any sort is the day I stop gaming. The old ones I have are numerous and plenty good enough.

  • by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduckNO@SPAMmqduck.net> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:30AM (#31008154)

    The trend is that the average age of gamers is now in the 30s.

    I get the sneaking suspicion that you pulled that out of your ass (or whoever you're getting that from is full of shit). Gaming has been growing more and more mainstream, even ubiquitous, over successive generations. It may have reached its peak (can't get more popular than "everybody plays video games") by now, but it didn't with kids growing up in the 80s. I know it wasn't completely true in the 90s, when I was growing up.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:34AM (#31008170)

    ... along with a widely publicised promise to unlock all content should Steam be discontinued / Valve go under.

    When companies go under, there is a priority order to who gets what, and guess what... customers are at the end of a very long list. That being the case, do you really believe that they'll be allowed to continue developing for long enough to do right by the customers when that is going to directly translate into further losses for the creditors? That's just not the way these things work, it's not even like the management there would be in charge if they were in liquidation, even if their promise is genuine. Maybe if the solution is already written and they literally just have to flick a switch to deploy it it'll happen, otherwise it's just a marketing tool to assure us everything will be okay (disclaimer: I really like Valve's games and have a few on Steam, I don't object to the service but I'm under no illusion of what will likely happen if they fail - people who still want to play games they bought will have to go find a cracked version somewhere).

  • Re:Unavoidable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:35AM (#31008444)
    Disagree on almost every level.

    With f2p MMOs, I - not the developer - get to choose IF, WHEN, and HOW MUCH I'm willing to spend on the game. If the game is good, I'll gladly pay to get better gear, charms, etc. If the game sucks, I quit and I'm out of $0.

    Compare that to Aion where you PAY $50 for the retail game, then PAY $15 a month just to SEE IF YOU'LL LIKE IT. That, my friend, IS a rip-off.

    Obviously, the "race to the top" becomes a big spender's minigame, and you'll end up maxing out a few credit cards to get there, but that's only a minority of the player base.

    F2P games were born in Asia, where most players are poor and play mostly from lan houses. So it doesn't make any sense to pay monthly fees.
  • by harl ( 84412 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:51AM (#31008540)

    Steam is the worst possible DRM.

    You have to ask permission to play.
    You have to agree to a legally binding contract that gives Steam the right to revoke your "purchase" at any time.

    Would you buy a car if the dealer had an option to come into your garage and take it back at their whim. Even if you'd paid for it in cash up front?

    Fairplay, Impulse, disc in drive, CSS are all examples of good DRM.

  • by harl ( 84412 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:53AM (#31008554)

    As I've done dozens of times with never a single result:

    This claim is not in the legally binding contract you agree to when you purchase a Steam game.

    Please provide some documentation of this claim.

  • Re:Unavoidable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:13AM (#31008672)

    I agree with this. The problem with this model is that it always trends towards having to sink some ungodly amount of cash into the game to remain competitive. There will always be somebody outthere who really, really gets into the game and is willing to dump a few hundred $$$ per month into it. With WoW, about the most that can get them is a dual box setup with multiple accounts. Nothing Blizzard sells for real world money has any tactical advantage in the game.

    However in "free to play" games that use micro-transactions for USEFUL gear, that guy who spends all that money is going to wipe the floor with you unless you pay similar amounts to keep up. I refuse to do this.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:20AM (#31008730)
    But, the game presumably doesn't run if you don't have the disc in the drive, right? That's DRM, you can't run the copy on your laptop if you forgot the disc at home.
  • On Piracy: (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:59AM (#31009082)

    Here's the thing: annoying "anti-piracy" measures NEVER work. They only interrupt the pirates momentarily - do you honestly believe there won't be 20 groups of hackers racing to see who can crack this protection first, from the moment it exists the pressing plant (and maybe before)?

    Older anti-piracy techniques have included: special floppy formatting (that messed with anyone who had slightly misaligned read heads), dongles (more for app software, but still an existing measure), getting the player to enter something from the manual or code wheel, keeping the CD in the drive, installing special DLLs or drivers, special background processes, online activation.

    All of these initiatives have not only failed but placed an expiry date on the games "protected". Modern OS doesn't support the anti-piracy files? You can never play it again. Don't have the manual, dongle or code wheel any more? Activation server taken offline? You're screwed. Want to install games on your laptop but don't want to carry 30 CDs everywhere you go? Tough shiat (unless you can locate a crack, of course).

    Meanwhile, the people who pirated the game and never had any intention of ever buying it? They might have needed to wait an extra day for the game to be cracked, but other than that it's nothing to them. The people who are affected are the people who bought the game - and they're getting pissed off. Pissed off people don't pay you money for your products. It's like those stupid anti-piracy ads on DVDs. People who buy the DVD get pissed off because they can't skip the "stop being a dirty pirate" ads. The people who download the rips will NEVER see the ads in the first place!

    Piracy has been the boogeyman of software ever since I got my first computer in 1983 (ZX Spectrum FTW!). Since then, the games industry has grown from a small, hobbyist industry into a multi-billion dollar industry where new releases can outsell Hollywood movies.

    If the PC market has problems compared to the consoles, the industry should try removing some of the barriers they place in front of their legitimate customers (DRM, incomplete games that need patches to become playable, unnecessary DX10 requirements, stupidly high minimum specs, etc.) instead of whining about people downloading a few copies. Especially when some people only turn to the pirate copies after having major problems with the legit version.

  • eightb (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:59AM (#31009090)

    DRM, CD/DVD-checks, password tests etc only affect the paying customer and as seen in past games it even can do harm to the game itself. The guy who uses the cracked version will never be annoyed by DRM, will never have to search for the CD/DVD and will never need to look up a password.

    Also: Illegal downloads don't equal missed sales. Those downloads are for free, and the kid who downloaded it probably never would have had the money to buy those 100 pirated games on his HD anyway. He maybe would have been able to buy one or two, and perhaps he even did!

  • Re:Unavoidable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:21PM (#31011040) Homepage

    Really? You think Steam is worse than those DRM schemes that totally fuck up your CD and often block access to games you own?

    Steam is the best DRM setup out there. Now, you can rightly argue we shouldn't have any DRM, but 'Check online for permission to run' is a hell of a lot better than 'Fuck around with hardware drivers and require users to have physical CDs'.

  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:29PM (#31011162)

    If I'm going to be treated like a criminal I may as well act like one.

    NOTE TO GAME PUBLISHERS: This line should keep you up at night and give you nightmares. If it doesn't make you question every 'security' decision you've ever made, you're a fool.

  • Indeed.

    Hey, asshats, we gave you copyright protection for a reason, and it wasn't to help you. It was to help society.

    You've stopped helping society? But you bought all the lawmakers so we can't change the copyright laws?

    Bite me.

    Copyright laws have long since stopped reflecting the will of the people. Laws are supposed to be a social contract we all agree to, but no one in his right mind would, for example, agree to retroactive copyright extension to encourage long-dead people to produce more stuff. Copyright laws have managed to work themselves outside said social contact, and hence, morally, you can do whatever the fuck you want WRT them.

    You want society to abide by the laws, they have to, at least vaguely, match what society actually thinks should be legal. Period. That's how laws work. It's not 'society has to do whatever laws corporations can buy'. Copyright law has long falling out of matching what society wants, long enough to actually have people grow up with mismatched laws, resulting in no respect whatsoever of them.

    Sucks for the numerous content creators who didn't have anything to do with this brokenness, but they should, by this point, know what world they live in.

    That said, game manufacturers aren't Disney, and aren't trying to rip off the entire system. They really do need to get paid for their games.

    But that doesn't mean it's moral for them to sell people games that will crap all over user's systems and/or not function and not give a refund. Even if the law says they can, because copyright law is not a reflection of what laws society actually wants.

  • Re:Unavoidable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:33PM (#31012978)

    Because the time sink argument doesn't scale. You see while time spent in the game and money might be interechangeable to you, it certainly ISN'T to the companies. They don't care if you spend 5 minutes playing or 5 hours - they don't make anymore money.

    WoW and EVE are not THAT bad to jump into with not much time input. They dangle the carrot, but they don't really care how much time you spend in the game - they're making their money elsewhere. It's in their best interest to strike a balance that makes the game fun for everyone, because it's financially best for them that they keep the game accessible to as many people and play styles as possible - because everyone pays the same.

    Micro-transaction games are different. They make MORE money the more that they can convince you to spend. Which means that often they make it flat out unbearable in order for people to play without dumping money into it. While your top tier free armor might have 5 defense - the new shiny $5 piece might have 115 defense. And the next $5 piece coming out the following week will have 120.

    You end up forced to keep spending that money - and unlike with "time sink" games - the company has an incentive to foster that.

    Then there's the other little problem: the whole PURPOSE of the game is to spend some time in it. If you're looking at the time you spend as a "cost" - then honestly, what the hell are you playing for in the first place? If you don't enjoy it, don't play. Seems like a waste to be dumping money into a game to boost stats and then sitting back enjoying the fact that you're paying a company for the privilege of not having to play their game. I can avoid playing a game for free if I want ;).

  • TFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:27PM (#31015050)

    It seems any game, even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one

    If it's being cracked then it wasn't DRM-free now was it?

  • by twistofsin ( 718250 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:29PM (#31015954)

    But once several casinos have banned a player for skill, another business becomes lucrative: teaching poker school.

    Casino's don't ban winning poker players. Poker players don't take any money from the house. They are gambling against each other, with the house taking a cut (rake) every hand. What players are winning or losing is irrelevant to them; the profits in a poker room come from being a service provider.

  • Re:Unavoidable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PaganRitual ( 551879 ) <splaga&internode,on,net> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:18PM (#31017160)

    Piracy was around long before DRM.

    Not only that, it was the root cause. People seem to forget that. So many people whinge and bitch about DRM and how they might as well pirate because pirates get the better run of it. But that will just continue the vicious circle. Piracy got us to where we are today with painful DRM and limitations on the amount of times we can even install a fucking game, which is utterly ridiculous. And yet people seem to claim that the answer is more piracy, as if that will somehow fix the problem with DRM, when in fact it will only make it worse.

    Whatever the answer to this downward spiral is, it's not JUST PIRATE IT HURR. The real concern is that it's gone too far. It's become a cruel hypocrisy. If you pirate it, the sales aren't seen, the lack of them is attributed to piracy or a bad game, and the IP or the devs are dropped (or both), and nobody wins. If you vote with your wallet, the lost sales are attributed to piracy or a bad game, and the same happens as before. Ubisoft say that PoP will come out without DRM, and we'll see what happens. Ubisoft are now touting an online constant DRM platform like Steam but (yes it's possible) worse. Obviously that didn't work out so well, but we're so deep into it now that it didn't even have to be piracy. The latest PoP was a god-awful game with zero challenge so it's not suprising that, for whatever reason, it wasn't seen to sell well, but the only reasoning ascribed to bad sales nowadays is piracy. Every game is expected to do exceedingly well, and if it doesn't, well it's piracy (but lets drop the devs and the IP just in case).

    About the only real way to do it is to have torrents that are purely for the game cracks, and then pony up for the legit game and then crack it to avoid DRM. The sales are good, and the torrent lists just show game cracks instead of full ISOs. It's not ideal but it's not as bad as showing 5000 people downloading the latest game. This is how I buy my PC games nowadays, but it's hard to find torrents that are literally just the DRM skipping crack. I purchased a copy of ANNO 1404 at full price (I was too impatient to wait for a price drop, it seemed that awesome, and it is), and I still had to wait for a full ISO to download just so I could grab the crack for TAGES off of it.

    Either that or just ditch modern gaming altogether.

    Hell, the golden age of gaming was still the Playstation 2 and on the PC in the time period up till about 2004, just before developers really got into the mindset that most games could be pushed to console and be given a shitty PC port afterwards, and the DRM mindset wasn't as ingrained as it is now. You could stick with that time period, and maybe have a Dreamcast off to the side, and not have to deal with insane DRM, get games dirt cheap and still have a solid line up of titles for a very long time. Maybe reach out into the now for a few key titles like Stalker and Oblivion (after you grab about 3gb worth of mods) just for kicks. But I digress.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.