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News Demigod has more pirates than customers

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 17 Apr 2009.

  1. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    So losing access to all your previously purchased content on Steam (if you refused to pay any prospective "maintenance fee") is not a problem for you?
    Do you think people would be willing to repurchase their Steam-powered software, even if all of it was available elsewhere? If you're a Steam user with a significant quantity of purchases, you're locked into Valve like it or not.
    Tape copying involved far more than a couple of kids, it was pretty much endemic in most schools (and likely involved millions in total too, even if no-one was able to count it). However since most involved would not have had the money to purchase legitimately, its affect on software sales was probably marginal.

    The "commercial pirates" likely made a bigger difference since they dealt with adults more, but they've also been the hardest hit by P2P recently too.
    Steam (and other online activation systems) don't make software harder to pirate. The code performing an online check is no more of a challenge to remove than the disk checks that no-cd patches deal with.

    What such systems do accomplish is to:
    • kill off the second-hand market (while legitimate and legal, software publishers still equate it to piracy since they don't proft from it);
    • bypass the existing distributor/retailer system and the margins it involves;
    • provides publishers with more data and control over software usage - which can then be (ab)used by forcing adware/spyware installation or monthly subscription fees.
    PC Games are cheap, even new ones can often be had at a 40-50% discount at launch, far more so than 4-5 years ago. I now expect to spend around £15-25 compared to £25-35 back then, so I fail to see where the "piracy premium" is coming from.

    Now people buying through Steam certainly are paying through the nose with Valve charging full retail prices (especially since they don't incur the manufacturing, transport, warehousing and other costs that physical retailers do), but that is their responsibility for not shopping around (see Digital distribution rip-off suspected for some comparisons).
    I'd agree with the lack of PC games in stores, but let's face it, who in their right minds is going to pay £35-40 for a game in-store when the likes of Amazon, Play.com or DVD.co.uk sell it for £25-30? The last game I ever purchased from a game store was in 2004 and when I checked my nearest shop, even their second-hand section had higher prices than new software elsewhere (specifically, they were charging £18 for a second-hand copy of The Witcher original when a new copy of the extended version is retailing for £16-17 online).

    I would disagree about the number of releases though - compared to 5-10 years ago, we seem to have 2-3 times the number of titles. Indeed I would argue that many of the industry's problems are due to too many releases, leading to retailers discounting anything older than 1-2 months in order to make room for new stock.
    Console sales aren't likely to remain a panacea for long - as the volume of releases goes up, retail discounting and smaller market shares are likely to take a similar toll as with PCs.
    In terms of number of games released, the pure-MMO (as opposed to standalone games with an online play option) seems a pretty small minority. In addition, you need get (and maintain) a critical mass of players for MMO worlds to be viable, making it harder for new MMOs to compete with established leaders.

    And while piracy is not such a problem for MMOs (ignoring the possibility of pirate servers), they do have other issues (spam, gold farming, account hacking) increasing the cost of supporting them, compared to standalone games.
    Fighting piracy, to the extent of inconveniencing legitmate customers, is a losing strategy for the gaming industry (and systems like StarForce and SecuROM do affect principally if not exclusively legitimate purchasers).

    A better strategy is to maximise sales by eliminating any inconvenience to users and encouraging "non-legitimate" users to purchase via extra content and services (as the old saying goes, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"). When developers and publishers take piracy personally (suggestion to developers: pirates are at least showing some interest in your software, so look on them as "potential customers" and "free publicity"), it is legitimate purchasers that get caught in the crossfire.

    And piracy is not theft. This isn't just an opinion, it is based on the legal definition of theft as laid out in the Theft Act 1968, to quote:

    (1) A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.

    When someone makes a copy of software, no appropriation of property occurs. "Unauthorised duplication" would be a more accurate description of software piracy.
    It's the legitimate purchasers that suffer the most at the moment. Currently, they have to deal with disk-checks that may prevent their game working if their drive isn't "suitable" or they have "objectionable software" running. They have the risk of losing access to their software if the publisher goes out of business with online activation and being subject to unfair changes in EULAs if they don't.

    Game purchasing should be a simple process, yet we have an industry that seems to go out of its way to make things difficult. When I have to check GameCopyWorld for a no-cd patch prior to purchase, fiddle around with Daemon Tools or double check a game description for any mention of online activation (yes, my gaming PC is not Internet-connected since it allows me to minimise the security software installed), I keep wondering why I shouldn't just fire up BitTorrent instead.

    Being a legitimate customer of the games industry is increasingly like being in a relationship with an abusive spouse.
    Don't you think that charging, say, £5/month on each Steam account wouldn't be more of a cash cow? Sure, they'd put off new customers, but any successful business is going to reach a position where new customer numbers drop off - at which point the only way to expand further is to "monetise" their existing customer base.

    Your example of eBay is rather ironic too, given that they did just this by increasing listing and final sale fees (sellers are locked into their system more than buyers are).
     
    Last edited: 18 Apr 2009
  2. impar

    impar Well-Known Member

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    Greetings!
    Should have read the thread:
    Plus:
    Now, the roughly 120,000 users that weren’t running legitimate copies of the game weren’t online playing multiplayer or anything. The issue with those users was as benign as a handful of HTTP calls that did things like check for updates and general server keep alive. Pretty trivial on its own until you have 120,000 of them. Then you have what amounts to a DDOS attack on yourself.
     
  3. LordPyrinc

    LordPyrinc Legomaniac

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    I agree with AstralWanderer. Took a while to read, but good post.
     
  4. airchie

    airchie New Member

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    Sums the whole thing up for me tbh.

    IMO, there's the pirates who would never buy the game anyway (so not in fact lost sales) and the pirates who have one or more reasons to pirate who could and probably would be paying customers if incentivised by the publishers.

    Making things hard for paying customers is driving them to piracy more than its affecting the existing pirates. So SecureROM et al are in fact boosting piracy IMO.

    Steam, even though it is in effect a DRM platform, does benefit the paying customer and as such makes a killing. I personally buy games on Steam, even though they're cheaper elsewhere sometimes cos I like to be able to install Steam on any machine and download and play games through my account.

    Impulse seems to be very similar to Steam, I used it again recently to play Sins. Had no problem installing it, logging in and downloading and playing Sins. Worked just how I expected. Only issue was the piss-poor internet speeds on the hotel's 'high speed' internet. :D
     
  5. yodasarmpit

    yodasarmpit No longer the other Brett.

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    Demigod ?
     
  6. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    indeed, that was my first reaction to this news.
     
  7. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    But Demigod has NO DRM. Still people pirated it. And those numbers of piracy are just insane. Nobody can tell me that those pirates are "potential customers, just trying out". Most of them are just thieves. F*cking over the ones that payed for the game.

    [rant]
    I am starting to take offence in all those little excuses as why to pirate. It's thieving, period. I don't care why you pirate, you are f*cking over me as a legal customer. I have to put up with some DRM crap, because you have stolen other games. Then you whine about it "Meh, DRM is forcing me to pirate." Rather wonder why it's there in the first place.

    It's just like Titan Quest all over again. That game didn't have invasive DRM either. You just couldn't play the game correctly. Pirates even called the support asking for help and - guess what - costing money. Because of pirates there won't be a sequel of that game. Numbers where even bigger there iirc.

    So please, pirates, stfu, mind the doors and take your little wannabe-excuses with you.
    [/rant]
     
  8. Major

    Major Guest

    People will pirate with or without DRM, and people will not pirate with or without DRM.

    /End of pirating discussion. :)
     
  9. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    It requires online activation, just like Stardock's other products.
    I'm not pirating so I don't need to make excuses. However the point does need to be stressed that this sort of DRM does not affect pirates. It hits legitimate users, just like media checks did - the difference is that the negative consequences are less obvious to a casual purchaser.
    According to GameCopyWorld's entry, TitanQuest uses a SecuROM disk check. That is pretty invasive by most people's standards since it does attempt to restrict what other software you run on your system, and will refuse to function on certain (undisclosed) makes of DVD-ROM drives.

    TitanQuest in my view should be seen as a massive own goal by Iron Lore. By all means, include anti-piracy checks - but if they fail, you make damn sure the player knows its a licensing issue. Why? Because no code is perfect, you will always have boundary cases and therefore always the chance of a legitimate copy being mistaken for warez. Had TitanQuest thrown up a message like:

    "This game has failed a licensing check and is believed to be an illegitimate copy. If you did purchase this, please accept our apologies and contact <support details> to help us determine the cause of the problem.

    If you copied this illegally, we hope you enjoyed the game so far. However please understand that we require your support to continue producing products like this - as such, please uninstall this copy and purchase a valid one from <favoured retailer>. Thanks for your time!"


    then IronLore would likely not have encountered the problems it had and TitanQuest would probably sold better. As it was, I was able to purchase a copy of the Deluxe Edition for just £7 seven months after release. Games with a buggy reputation depreciate fast.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2009
  10. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    I think the problem here isn't that pirates have some halfway understandable excuse for their duplication, but merely that they aren't prepared to pay for their games, in much the same way as people aren't prepared to pay for their 500GB music collection. In music and film, the sad fact is that people now value quantity to such an extent that they won't face up to the sheer cost of their collecting; I'm not really sure what the answer to that is because of all the things people do with their music (burn CDs, PMPs etc) that move it away from DRM, but games are always played on a specific platform.

    Personally, I love Steam and think it's a damn good solution to a difficult problem. I just wish it saved my savegames too, so my laptop and desktop(s) would be matched...
     
  11. airchie

    airchie New Member

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    Damn Gmork, hope you manage to get that sand outta your vagina soon... :D

    Seriously though, While I believe Stardock is going the right way about their DRM (ie, hardly noticable to paying customers like myself) nothing is gonna stop people thinking they can play for free.
    In fact, Stardock support you playing a 2-player LAN with a single serial (which I plan to do this week with a colleague while travelling with work) and I suspect if he likes the game, he'll buy it.

    I agree that its unfortunate that the legit players got screwed by the pirates unwittingly but effectively DDOSing the Demigod servers but the latest patch, released within 24-hours, put legit copies that are patched up onto a diff group of servers and apparently the mulitplayer experience has improved massively.

    Its this kind of forward-thinking developer I'm happy to support and I suspect others are likely to agree. :)
     
  12. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    observation:

    DRM costs money to implement and licence
    DRM does not prevent piracy
    You just burned money, in a useless peace of technology that will be bypassed before the game is released, money that could have gone to the designers and coders to reduce the number of bugs, bugs that killed Titan Quest, not piracy.

    The fact that the pirates had a hard time playing the game means that you get bad publicity from a rather large community, a large percentage of them are avid consumers.

    Another observation is that pirates are also clients, they are considered avid consumers of media, if you don't want me as your client please state that wish and i will make sure that no one i know buys your stuff (if you state that wish please indicate the company that you work for, thank you), contrary to what you may think, a pirate has a lot of leverage these days, and you better start investing your money in making the game as good and accessible as possible and not as inaccessible as possible.

    One last observation about Demigod is that this game was unknown to me before this news post and would continue to be until i would some day stumble on it, low amount of publicity usually gives low sales during the first days of your product, if your product is good it will grow in sales because of the word of mouth phenomenon, if your product is an over hipped POS, it will sell amazingly during the first days, and fail in sales during the rest of its life, look at spore for a nice example.
     
  13. Mister_X

    Mister_X Chaotic Neutral

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    Proud to say I'm one of the ones who bought it. Stardock don't cripple their games with DRM and I'm happy to support them.

    The "I'm too poor to buy this/try before you buy" crowd have no valid argument for piracy. you don't get to buy a mars bar and try that before you buy it.
    Theft is theft.
     
  14. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    me: "Hey friend, can you give me a little bit of your mars bar? (its completely different from the last mars bar i got and quality depends on the maker) So i can try it before i buy it."

    Mister_X: "NO! You cant try it before you buy it, it would be considered theft!"

    i ask: "then how do i know its what i like?"

    Mister_X states: "Go to a chocolate review website, or order the demo chocolate."

    me : "You mean those websites that told me that l'Chiocolatera chocolates were awesome, set me back 50€ and then i stated that they tasted like suppositories? As for the demo, why should i base my view on a peace of chocolate that is smaller than half a peanut? Why cant you share with me a little bit of your mars bar?"

    Mister_X: "Theft is theft. Go away, or i am calling the police"

    You can not compare an object, like a mars bar, with a peace of intellectual property, like a DVD with a film.
    You consume the mars bar and its gone, you see a DVD and its still there, you lend the mars bar to a friend and its gone, you lend a DVD to a friend and you can still recover it, you want to buy another mars bar and you know that your previous mars bar was awesome, you can not do the same judgement on a game based on a previous game from the same company, if that was the truth then deus ex would have been a major flop. If you want to consume 10 mars bars you have to buy 10 mars bars, if you want to see a DVD 10 times you only have to buy it once, as of now there is no universal chocolate copy machine, there are several methods to copy every type of media, replicate it infinitely and transmit it to an infinite number of people.
    etc...

    This debate remembers me of the views of those guys that wanted Gutenberg and his invention dead, they said that it was the work of the devil, it was against the laws, that writers were being starved because people were not buying their books, thousands of scribes were unemployed.
    Eventually they made a police system to hunt down people that used Gutenberg's invention. You know what was his invention and what it made possible?
     
  15. DraigUK

    DraigUK Member

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    Then compare it to buying some trainers.

    Those who pay for games, go in to a shop try them on and decide to buy or not.


    Pirates want to go in to the shop, try them on, take them home, wear them for a weekend out, then lend them to several friends who also wear them before deciding to buy or not. So they nick them in order to do it.

    They decide NOT to buy and throw them in the back of the cupboard.

    Should they decide to BUY, they can't face going back into the shop they nicked them from in the first place, so keep them for free anyway instead of going back and paying out the £35 for the trainers.


    All this crap about being an important market blah blah blah. Your not. Because you don't pay anyway.

    There are two points I will say pirates have a point with - every game should have a decent demo to evaluate it properly ,and there are so many of you robbing theiving people out there, if they find a way to make you pay instead of stealing they (publishers) can make a lot more money.
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2009
  16. Mister_X

    Mister_X Chaotic Neutral

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    Your blatantly avoiding the point I'm making.

    People who create pirate software or download pirated software want something for nothing. It's the creation of the pseudo justification thats almost laughable. Let me instead of creating an analogy say this, Just because you CAN do it doesn't mean you SHOULD do it.

    If you want to try before you by, wait for the demo. If your "friend" has it, sure take a look at it, or even borrow it, nowt wrong with that.
    But copying it in the name of "trying" it when the VAST majority will not and never had the intention of buying it... You can't take the moral high ground, Its illegal!

    I'm not crusading for justice here. Infact if I'm honest I first played Gal Civ II ( another stardock game) on a " liberally licensed" copy. I liked it so much and after reading how Stardock don't DRM their games, i bought it. Didn't mean it was right of me to do it in the first place.
     
  17. Mister_X

    Mister_X Chaotic Neutral

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    You said it far more concisely than i did!
     
  18. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    can i correct your analogy?

    you don't agree with the corrected analogy? why not?

    Any analogy about piracy has to consider the fact that the original object never left the shelf of the store.

    One thing is a real finite object, the other is an object that can become infinite with current everyday technology, when this happens you get an effect similar to what happened when the fist printers appeared, suddenly something (books) that was limited becomes unlimited and becomes fuel for what we are today, with this event lots of jobs disappeared and lots of people lost money, especially those that did not want the printer to become widespread.

    I am not an important market? then i want a refund for all the media that i was influenced to buy and i influenced other people to buy due to piracy.

    Just because you CAN sue your potential clients doesn't mean you SHOULD do it.

    Question: Mister_X, what is similar in the next scenarios?

    * downloading an album from a torrent site
    * your friend lends you an album for you to listen
    * album exchange with your friends
    * going to a second hand shop to get the album
    * listening to loud music with your CD walkman with a real album on the streets with people passing by.

    As for the demo.... in certain cases the demo will come out when the universe ends, in other cases the demo makes the game look so bad that it prevents you from buying it and on a lot of occasions the demo is the best part of the game, you want to have fun with the game? play the demo and save your self some money to buy a game that is worth your money.

    edit: i am not pro-piracy, i am in favour of the media giants taking their huge heads out of their asses and start thinking of ways to commercially compete with piracy... maybe start a torrent tracker seeing that pirate bay is getting such huge profits.... or so does the media companies say.
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2009
  19. DraigUK

    DraigUK Member

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    Because SOMEONE had to go in there and nick the orignal pair in the first place, before your magic machine copies it for the world. There is no photo, they nick the product itself. Someone got the the original, copied it, and made it available for everyone else.

    They don't go and take a photo of it and leave it on the shelf. They nick it, copy it and distribute it.

    Try doing that in any other cirumstance, such as buying trainers, and you can see how ridiculous it is trying to justify what your doing.

    Just stop trying to justify it, because you can't. Just say "yeah I nick all this software, I know it is wrong to do it, I know it is illegal to do it, but I can get away with it so I do."


    No your not. You seem to have some sort of egotistical issue, that because you go and steal your important. Your not. You don't encourage people to buy, you encourage them to steal.

    You want a refund on every item you actually did go and buy because someone on your warez site told you it was great? ? Hahahaha. That one really made me laugh. maybe everyone who ever read a mag review on a game or bought soemthing because there mate down the pub told them it was awsome gets a refund as well? Hahahaha.

    Whatever you bought, welcome to the real world. You bought a product and got it. You don't get a refund for buying something, because guess what? Your not important.

    You don't influence anyone to buy anything, just the opposite, you influence and encourage them them to steal it, not buy it. All this rubbish about how you steal god knows how many copies of different games and then without fail go and buy the ones you like, and not only that, so does everyone else you advise to do so, is, bull.

    Or..

    Just because you CAN steal items doesn't mean you SHOULD steal.

    So if they don't get a good demo out, don't buy it until they do. Don't nick it. Don't justify stealing because "in certain cases" so you blanket steal every game out there. It's childish and laughable to do so.


    Nah your not pro-piracy, same as every other pirate out there, you just steal as it suits you and then come up with bull to justify doing it, while blaming everyone else for it.

    "Demo is not out on time, so I steal"

    "Demo is out on time, but not good enough or long enough or whatever other reason I decide at the time, so I steal"

    "I hate DRM"

    "There is no DRM on this game, but it was out 2 weeks ago in the US, so I'm stealing it"
    "It's too expensive and I am not waiting 2 whole months for the price to drop, so I am stealing it"

    "This one is not too expensive, but the cover is blue and I wanted it red, so I'm stealing it"

    "It's a Saturday and this game was released on a day with the letter "y" in it, and even more important the moon was only half full at that time, which is against my personal beliefs, so I am stealing it"

    Same as every other pirate over the years. Bull all the way.
     
  20. impar

    impar Well-Known Member

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    Greetings!
    Harsh words, but truthful.
     
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