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Game Industry Pushes Back Against Efforts To Restore Gameplay Servers (arstechnica.com) 246

Kyle Orland reports via Ars Technica: A group of video game preservationists wants the legal right to replicate "abandoned" servers in order to re-enable defunct online multiplayer gameplay for study. The game industry says those efforts would hurt their business, allow the theft of their copyrighted content, and essentially let researchers "blur the line between preservation and play." Both sides are arguing their case to the U.S. Copyright Office right now, submitting lengthy comments on the subject as part of the Copyright Register's triennial review of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Analyzing the arguments on both sides shows how passionate both industry and academia are about the issue, and how mistrust and misunderstanding seem to have infected the debate.
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Game Industry Pushes Back Against Efforts To Restore Gameplay Servers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:17PM (#56167003)

    Even if they can't do anything with their code, they refuse to let go. And when the copyright finally expires sometime next century, no one will be alive who remembers the game and no hardware exists which contains the code. Such is life with digital ephemera.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > when the copyright finally expires
      "AHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAno" -- Steamboat Willie

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Even if they can't do anything with their code, they refuse to let go. And when the copyright finally expires sometime next century, no one will be alive who remembers the game and no hardware exists which contains the code. Such is life with digital ephemera.

      Don't like the law? Write a letter to your state representatives.

  • Nothin new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:18PM (#56167005)

    The idea of "owning the means to play" was one of the key changes in gaming industry. The entire concept of multiplayer on modern consoles is predicated upon this principle, and with windows 10, PC gaming is headed in the same direction.

    Not giving players servers they could control was just one step on this progression.

    • Re:Nothin new (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:32PM (#56167089) Homepage Journal
      This no longer applies to just games. A lot of enterprise software won't work once they turn off the servers due to a change in business model, or a breaking software change.
      • Re:Nothin new (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @09:35PM (#56167325)

        Im going to post this anon because Im about to talk about work lol

        I tried pointing this out to the bosses as they moved to office 365 in the cloud. I pointed out that if Microsoft goes under or the servers go down, we will not be able to work. I pointed out that Microsoft only guarantees a 99% up time and that is not acceptable as we currently run a 99.999% up time.

        They tell me I dont understand that the world is changing and we have to move forward.

        I asked what happens in 15 or 20 years when all that is antiquated and the servers are off? Im told that will never happen as we will upgrade to stay current. I point to the servers I run that were made in 1994 and we can not upgrade because federal regulations require a specific process for documenting and gaining approval for the underlying format changes. I point out that someone decided that spending multiple millions of dollars to upgrade archival data that did not have an ROI was not a smart financial move. I then ask what makes them think this will be any different. Im told "It Microsoft, that's whats different. Now stop being such a pessimist."

        I am so glad I am retiring in a few years. I would hate to see the state of IT in 20 years when all this shit falls apart.

        • Re:Nothin new (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2018 @01:31AM (#56168083)

          Hate to be working for that company.

          Here is why you don't trust Microsoft:
          1) They have a penchant for obsoleting software on purpose. Please tell me why we needed upgrades from WinNT 4 to 2K to XP, to Vista to 7 to 8 to 8.1 to 10? With the exception of 64-bit support not being miserable, the only upgrade needed here would have been the jump from NT4 to Win7.
          2) Their Office software is even worse for obsolete pushing. I'm quite fine with Open Office thank you. Really the last necessary features were added back in Office 97 (Spelling and Grammar checks) , everything after that, I'm hard pressed to tell you what changed other than the god damn macro languages.
          3) Microsoft owned the smartphone market and then just walked away from it when the iPhone beat it up and stole it's lunch money one too many times. Seriously, nobody remembers WindowsCE, but I assure you that Windows CE was "the" thing if you were not on the blackberry platform.
          4) Remember Microsoft's iPod clone? Me neither.
          5) Remember the Xbox 360 RRoD plague?
          6) Even Microsoft has fucked the donkey with the Surface Pro 3 and later.
          7) Let's not even mention all the other hardware gadgets Microsoft has put out over the years and then promptly abandoned.

          Suffice it to say that Microsoft's track record for abandonment of technology is as bad as Google's. Only Apple tends to be aggressive about it however. Apple abandons tech when everyone else achieves parity with them. Apple has also thus far been right about most of their decisions, except when it comes to battery life, or support of the analog 3.5mm audio jack.

          So to go back to the topic. You know why the game industry doesn't want the servers restored? Because that would allow people to play old games that don't have their fucking microtransactions, lootboxes and whatnot in them. If it were permitted to re-activate, or build private servers for these games, the next step is monetizing them again, and because the copyright holder has basically abandoned that game, they can't really say anything about it.

          There are some cases (eg FFXIV v1.0, classic WoW, classic UO) where there is a preservation aspect that needs to be taken, where people who play with the game need to be blocked from "speed running" the game without the anti-cheat systems that came with those older MMORPG's. The reason a lot of those old games were ruined was because of botting, spamming, and various ineffective ecosystems that were easily overwhelmed by the "sharding" system in place.

        • Re:Nothin new (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @05:55AM (#56168569)

          I asked what happens in 15 or 20 years when all that is antiquated and the servers are off?

          This question shows you don't understand the nature of the type of business contracts these cloud computing companies run. Migrating entire companies to the Office365 has a few implications you don't understand:

          a) The cloud services are just there for backup and remote access. There's no requirement as part of this for you not to have access to your data locally.
          b) The cloud services are perpetual. Servers are coming and going all the time. You've subscribed to something that is continuously evergreen and won't be obsoleted in a way that the user sees (i.e. backend servers are just replaced and you'll never know) or if the entire service is obsoleted it won't be done so without a migration strategy. Your un-upgradable servers are completely different thanks to your platform being tied to your hardware. That hasn't been the case with most things IT in many years, and goes doubly for cloud based services.
          c) The contracts engaged in the business side will have an out. Sure you may need to download a few TB of data back locally, but this isn't your consumer level up and disappear act, the lawyers make sure of that.
          d) You do not require 99.999% uptime on your Office suite. If you did you may as well close your business now. And I will happily challenge you to prove you actually can provide that level of uptime of your network services to your staff.

          Something completely aside: You say there's no ROI on upgrading archived data? If you are going to let it rot and become unreadable due to age, then why did you archive it?

          I would hate to see the state of IT in 20 years when all this shit falls apart.

          People have been saying this every year since the dawn of IT. And we're still here. There's a lot of money involved here, and everytime there's money involved there's someone willing to make it all work out, for a fee, which is kind of why you have a job in the first place.

          Don't compare business services to some screw the consumer crap.

      • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

        This has gone beyond the mere software. Remember the Amazon cloud outage? We had people asking for help with things like their IoT ovens not turning off during it.

        • Re:Nothin new (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Altrag ( 195300 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @02:56AM (#56168251)

          Outages aren't really the biggest concern. Yes they're annoying, but everyone experiences them once in a while and there's a significantly higher chance that your own personal server (ie: probably a slapped together PC that you also game on, browse the web on, etc) will break than AWS will. Not that AWS never breaks as noted, its just a far, far lower chance.

          The big problem is the question of what happens when Amazon goes out of business. Or decides they no longer care about AWS. Or jacks up the price by 200%. Or changes the terms of service in a way that's untenable for your needs.

          Outages aren't the issue.. control is the issue. If you build your business on AWS (or Azure or whatever Google's cloud offering is called or any other) then you're essentially betting your future on those companies being rock solid both financially and contractually for as long as you intend to remain in business yourself.

          • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

            Current outages demonstrate some of the practical consequences of all the other things you are talking about. When your IoT item starts behaving in a way that can actually cause danger to you (i.e. oven not turning off, creating a fire hazard), it shows that consequences of the things you list are not even considered from the safety perspective, must less others. There's already an existing notion that cloud is reliable enough to be on for the lifetime of the device to tie key functions such as turning the

      • This applies to most 'software as a service', and much of what falls under the 'cloud computing' brand.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )
      So write your own software that isn't like this and offer it to us if you don't like the way the big companies do it?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    we are no longer purchasing a perpetual license for the use of the software (in this case, the game). Instead, we are renting the game on the publishers terms, Once the publisher decides to no longer to support the auth. servers to host the game sessions, the license is no longer valid. If this is their advertised business model, would there still be such a backlash from the gamers?

    • You would think people would clue into this, but they don't. Most Steam users talk about it like it's the second coming of Jesus, even though paying for something on Steam is to rent it for an indeterminate amount of time, such that your rental can be cancelled at any time for any reason that Valve wants without needing to return your money or any of your saved data.

      Do you like DRM? Well, buying things on Steam is voting for DRM.

      • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @11:30PM (#56167723) Journal
        Riiiight...you never hear of GameCopyWorld? Takes less than 15 seconds to crack any Steam game, Steam is to DRM what "pick the pictures with cars in them" is to security, its a joke designed to give someone a bit of security theater, nothing more. In fact if you go download a pirated game in 2018? Its almost always the Steam version because its so easy to crack.
        • Nice strawman argument. However, if you go back and read my post you'll see that nowhere do I claim DRM is effective. Anybody who thinks DRM is effective is clueless, lying, or both.

          Let's say that every time you bought something from the grocery store, the cashier punched you in the face. You keep going back because hey, the pain only lasts 15 seconds or so, and it heals on it's own, all you have to do is wait! Plus, you're getting crafty and sometimes you dodge the punch. Although, sometimes the cashier su

          • by NoZart ( 961808 )

            sadly, voting with your wallet has absolutely no effect in a market that is now completely saturated with brainless consume-zombies. The people who care are such a minority now, they wouldn't even make a blip on the radar if they all left gaming collectively.

          • Sorry but you are just moving the goalposts. you claimed Steam is "supporting DRM" but the DRM DOES NOT WORK and has been cracked for many years now, so claiming that horseshit is like claiming that buying DVDs instead of stealing is "supporting DRM" despite the fact that DVD encryption has been broken since Bush Senior was in the white house.

            But why don't you have the balls to admit the truth? Because I have seen your type a million times, you are a thief who is trying to justify his stealing by adding a

            • But why don't you have the balls to admit the truth? Because I have seen your type a million times, you are a thief who is trying to justify his stealing by adding a layer of "sticking in to teh man!" bullshit. either that or you are one of those ancient farts that haven't played anything released since windows 98 and therefor have an opinion worth less than nothing since you don't even buy the product you are railing against...so which is it? Please don't tell me that you are one of those crackpot FOSSie that want to tell us all we need is Tux Racer and a million Q3 Arena rip offs, because I thought those died out in the early 2010s when everyone stopped giving a shit about Linux after google ripped it off and turned it into the DRMpaloza that is Android and ChromeOS.

              I play video games on a daily basis and own 125 DRM-free games on GOG, plus another ~300 on Humble Bundle (specific count is more difficult there as they don't list a count and some of the items on the library page are soundtracks or videos). I've kickstarted Pillars of Eternity (1 and 2 (although 2 was technically on fig.co)), Torment: Tides of Numenera, Wasteland 2, Divinity: Original Sin, and The Bard's Tale 4. I've run Linux exclusively for over 15 years now. I also have a standing boycott against Steam

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Riiiight...you never hear of GameCopyWorld? Takes less than 15 seconds to crack any Steam game, Steam is to DRM what "pick the pictures with cars in them" is to security, its a joke designed to give someone a bit of security theater, nothing more. In fact if you go download a pirated game in 2018? Its almost always the Steam version because its so easy to crack.

          Most steam games can be started without steam by simply going to the executable. Steam's DRM was designed from the word go to be unobtrusive... that means it's weak, it was designed to tick a box for publishers, not to actually stop piracy.

          • Weak DRM is also one step further toward the idea of game preservation like in the article.

          • by _merlin ( 160982 )

            Steam fights piracy the same way the iTunes music store did: by making it easy/painless to buy the product so people have less incentive to pirate it. It doesn't have to have effective DRM to work.

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        Most Steam users talk about it like it's the second coming of Jesus

        I thought it was more like the 5th coming of the Flying Spaghetti Monster personally

  • I seem to recall (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Presence Eternal ( 56763 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:20PM (#56167019)

    Didn't Turbine explicitly say they'd be happy to let players run their own servers when Asheron's Call went down for good, but them WB lawyered up and acted like the assclowns they really are?

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:29PM (#56167067) Journal
    Copyright was introduced to allow authors a temporary monopoly on their works (something pretty much unheard of before then), in order to encourage creation and the proliferation of creative works. The point was not to give authors complete control over their works.

    So it seems only fair that a cultural work is free for all if the author chooses to no longer sell it. And that would include running servers for discontinued games. Offer the server or let others. And in that light, the argument that people running servers for older games would compete with newer similar games offered by the studio, is interesting. If there is a lot of interest in the older game, would it not be profitable for the company to keep its servers up? And if there is only interest in the older game because it would be free, wouldn’t that mean that most of those players would not pony up the cash to play the new one, with only a small resulting loss of sales?

    Of course I know that copyright has been perverted far beyond its original intent. But whatever.
    • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:42PM (#56167141) Journal

      Copyright was introduced to allow authors a temporary monopoly on their works (something pretty much unheard of before then), in order to encourage creation and the proliferation of creative works. The point was not to give authors complete control over their works.

      Not really.

      Copyright was introduced to allow publishers to keep a choke hold on culture under the pretense of "promoting arts and sciences".

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Letter of the law mate. Don't care what they thought then or what they claim now, letter of the law. That also means all attempts at copyrighted content should be subject to valuation to ensure in fact it does promote the arts and sciences and that does not mean generate a profit but have actual social worth. Give up the product and you should give up copyright. Really copyright should be paid for, user pays, they should pay for copyright to be renewed yearly and pay for the full cost of copyright enforceme

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Letter of the law mate. Don't care what they thought then or what they claim now, letter of the law.

          The Supreme Court of the United States has a policy of deferring to Congress on whether a particular statute actually "promote[s] the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

          Letter of the law:

          To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

          How the Supreme Court interprets it when exercising judicial review of copyright-related Acts of Congress:

          To secure for limited times to authors and in

    • And that would include running servers for discontinued games. Offer the server or let others

      The problem is that then they will offer a raspberry pi connected to a 56k modem powered by a couple hamster wheels. It'd be completely unusable but technically they would still be "offering the service"

      • That’s where a judge would come in. Which of course the publishers would not mind, to them lawyers are part of everyday business. For hobbyists running free servers, not so much. But that’s a problem with the legal system (the one in the US, over here going to court isn’t that expensive and not a big deal), not with my interpretation of the intent of copyright law.
    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @09:02PM (#56167191)
      Actually, that's a good argument for reducing the length of copyright. Copyright exists to allow content creators to profit from their works for a temporary time. If these game companies no longer feel they can profit from these games after approx 20 years and have shut down the servers, then clearly the duration of copyright is too long. The copyright holder's own actions constitute testimony that the length of copyright is too long and needs to be reduced to about 20 years.
      • by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:50PM (#56167617)
        You'll never get a shorter copyright term on anything while Disney has the mouse.
      • The problem with that is I still like 20 year old games enough that I don't need the new shiny ever again. I can perpetually stay 20 years behind and never give a company money again and still be happy. But I may not stay happy if that ruins the game industry in the process.

        The game companies know they can still profit off the old games 20 years later. Their problem is finding a market for their new games when their old games are good enough. They're out of financial incentive for shovelware, so they re

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @11:25AM (#56169449) Homepage

      So it seems only fair that a cultural work is free for all if the author chooses to no longer sell it.

      There needs to be a "shut up and take my money" clause in copyright law. If a company refuses to accept a reasonable amount of money for a discontinued product - and will no longer sell it in any form, they should lose some aspects of their copyright protection just like an undefended trademark.

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:30PM (#56167075) Homepage Journal

    So resurrecting abandoned servers -- which means that people can't play those games -- would hurt their business?

    This means one of two things:

    1. They're lying
    2. Their new games suck so badly that players would instantly drop them for the older versions.

    Either way, not a good thing for them to say...

    • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:49PM (#56167159)

      3. The GaaS business model relies on planned obsolescence.

    • To heck with them (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @08:57PM (#56167177) Homepage Journal

      So resurrecting abandoned servers -- which means that people can't play those games -- would hurt their business?

      No, it means that people can play those games. They don't want that.

      Their new games suck so badly that players would instantly drop them for the older versions.

      Not quite, but it will mean some people play the older games without the revenue from that going into their pockets. This (a) could reduce new-game purchases and/or play, and (b) means that abandoning software (something they all do) implies that they are abandoning the rights to that software, an idea that scares them silly, because their entire business model is based upon providing a temporary product that they have complete control over so they can make you buy again, and again, and again until your patience finally runs out.

      I am 100% in favor of the idea that if the software developer stops supporting the software, they lose ALL rights to controlling its use by the people who purchased it. If they want the benefits from providing a thing, then they have to support that thing. Support gone? Benefits gone.

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        I meant "can't play them currently". My bad for not being clear.

      • Except MSFT is fucking them in the ass when it comes to sales...you take a look at MSFT Gamepass yet? MSFT is gonna royally fuck the game companies by pulling a Netflix and having an "all you can play" buffet and the yearly cost? The same as just TWO triple A titles.

        The game reviewers on YouTube are already telling people to buy the XB1X and ditch buying new games completely, and comparing it to cord cutting. If its one thing these publishers should have picked up on is MSFT has no problem at all with thr

        • It would be different if buying a physical copy has any value down the road. As it is, you're just renting for a higher price. If the servers are shut down, you can't get the 20GB release-day patch to your game disc ever again. And you just have an archive copy of the beta version.

  • by bistromath007 ( 1253428 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @09:22PM (#56167259)
    This is an interactive medium. If it's not playable, it's not fucking preserved! That's not blurry at all!
  • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:30PM (#56167529) Journal
    Wasn't one of the key reasons for copyright to enrich the public wealth of culture by encouraging the creation of artistic works to eventually be released into the public domain by granting time-limited exclusivity to the creator? Doesn't its use, now, to keep artistic works out of the public domain and, effectively, cause them to cease to exist, fly in the face of the spirit of copyright? On those grounds alone, the gaming industry should be given a swift kick in the ass by the courts; and I say this as someone who makes his entire living on copyright law.
  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday February 21, 2018 @10:54PM (#56167627) Homepage Journal
    As a former City of Heroes player, all I can say is Fuck You ESA.
    • One benefit to the loss of City of Heroes is that had they not shut down, we would not be getting soon the much better City of Titans.

      In the meantime, Star Trek Online is casually satisfying my MMO cravings. :)

      • by dkone ( 457398 )

        Thank you for this. I have been following Ship of Heroes and had no idea that City of Titans existing. This is awesome news and it looks like this could be the year it comes out. I played the hell out of COH and still miss it.

        Cheers

      • Meh, I'd rather be still playing CoH. Subscribed 8 years and would still be subbed had those fuckstains at NCSoft not pulled the plug prematurely.

        But yes, I too am looking forward to City of Titans. Been a long 5+ year wait.

  • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @12:38AM (#56167967)

    If only there was some consumer protection law that requires a product guaranteed to last at least for a reasonable life cycle of said product... For software running on a supported computer, this would be infinite, as the computer itself is more likely to decay compared to the software running on it.

    Speaking of decaying multiplayer, even old games such as Doom, Quake, and related didn't stop working simply because some multiplayer master server went down. If only modern developers knew how to implement that feature as well...

  • I just checked, there is no such right.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      I just checked, there is no such right [to not have your business hurt].

      That is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. Businesses and individuals alike have rights, property rights among them, as defined by the laws of the United States and relative State Laws and statutes. There are no laws that I'm aware of that have anything to do with your conceptual idea "not have your business hurt" or "have your business thrive". You are afforded the ability to start a business per the laws of the United States and related State laws and statutes. That's it, period. If you wan

  • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @04:57AM (#56168435)
    Copyright should apply as long as the holder uses it for economic gain, i.e. by making the work in question available to the public for a resonable amount of money or other, nonmonetary forms of compensation.

    Under no circumstances whatsoever should copyright be usable to deprive the public of access to something that has already been published. Why? Because loss of access to information and culture leads straight back into the dark ages.

    • Copyright should apply as long as the holder uses it for economic gain

      Say goodbye to the GPL, etc.

  • If, on the shrink wrapped box, it says you are buying the ability to play online then online multiplayer play is part of the "product". If you purchased this product then you, per the terms and conditions of the product, are entitled to the online multiplayer play component because that's what was sold as part of the product. If the product says "we only guarantee access to multiplayer online play for 2 years" and they give it to you for 2 years and then take down the servers, that's what you paid for. P
    • Same with smart home devices, Ultraviolet movie purchases, Steam game purchases, standalone GPS units, and any hardware device that requires OS updates for security. Mystery EOL where keeping the product functioning requires continued spending on the manufacturer's part should not be permitted under law.

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        Mystery EOL where keeping the product functioning requires continued spending on the manufacturer's part should not be permitted under law.

        This is where you and I have a difference of opinion. You have a liberal position. You want government to dictate to product manufacturers what they can and can't sell to you. If a game manufacturer sold you a product with a guaranteed multiplayer online 2 year experience and fulfilled that obligation, you're saying you want the government to tell them they can't produce a product like that because it's unfair in your opinion. I say, sell whatever you want in that regard just make it CRYSTAL CLEAR what

  • How fragile must these companies be if a gaming museum operating a private server on a closed network is a threat to their bottom line?

    If the museum were operating a private server on the public internet and letting just anyone log in and play then maybe they'd have a valid argument.

    Maybe these companies should just make a deal with the gaming museum's "Hey, want to host our old servers for us? You do all the support and pay for all the upkeep, and you can let however many people you want play on them
  • Right to repair needs to = no rebuying software.

    There was this one VM system that replaced the MB of the old system (X86 chip set tied os + custom pci card that booted the system + was also the storage) that controlled hardware over the parallel port. An no that OS on the pci card will not run on newer X86 hardware right as the os only had drivers for the chip set in came on.

    But they where forced to sell it and give the Original IP holders an cut. (there is a much bigger story with it) But the point that is

  • by paulpach ( 798828 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @01:15PM (#56170055)

    I know this is slashdot. I will probably be downvoted in flames as a capitalist pig. Still, I want to give you the scoop from this side:

    I am currently making an MMO. I will have a few servers that people can connect to.
    Why don't I release a version of my server so people can run their own servers?

    This is not my first game, and from experience I can tell you piracy is just rampant. By controlling the servers I don't have to worry about piracy anymore.

    I can offer my game for free, which directly benefit my users, and support my game by having a built in vanity store. You can complete 100% of the game without paying a dime, but if you think those wings look pretty, fork a few bucks and support development. If I give the server away, I no longer have this revenue stream, and my servers will be competing with other people's servers and pirated servers. Thus it would be impossible for me to offer my game for free.

    Now, Ideally the game will never die, I will keep developing it for ever. But let's say that it is not profitable, if I give away the code so people can run their own servers and I develop new games, I will end up competing with my own game. Worst, people will blame me for bugs, or their kids purchased something by accident. I will end up dragged into support even though I won't be making money.

    Moreover, people might perceive my game as dead whether justified or not. They might decide to sue me to release the server. Now I have to deal with a lawsuit because I made a game.

    So yes, forcing me to give away my servers now or in the future will hurt me.

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