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News Epic: "PC piracy drove us to consoles"

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 19 May 2010.

  1. hardski

    hardski What's a Dremel?

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    Pirating 360 games are easier than PC simply because you dont have to crack them to make them run.
    Theres a shop in every high street that will flash your 360 then all you have to do is burn and play.
    Every format has been pirated since the start of affordable media, VHS, DVD, now you can buy a Blu Ray burner so where are developers gonna turn to next?
    If they make it so easy you cant blame people for trying because if you look at your games collection how many are actually worth £40?
     
  2. NuTech

    NuTech Minimodder

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    That's my point, so many developers barely get their game to a good release standard, let alone spend 3 years releasing fantastic updates.

    This is why many developers (including the two I talked to) conclude that TF2 is a loss leader.

    Goodwill is priceless and fantastic to have, I agree. But supporting a game for that long costs a huge amount of money.

    EDIT:

    Again my question still stands: If the goodwill of supporting and updating (for free) a game for three years creates enough regular new customers to turn a profit, why don't more developers/publishers do it?

    If people like yourself, Boogle and kylew don't agree with the opinion that TF2 is a loss leader intended to promote Steam, you should have no problem answering that question and proving me wrong.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2010
  3. Er-El

    Er-El Minimodder

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    Also considering the fact the consoles part of that pie chart includes every single games console (DS, PSP, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, etc.) against just a single platform, PC. So therefore, PC is indeed equally as profitable as other platforms are.

    Epic need to just get it in their heads, their PC games simply aren't good like they once were, and until they are their titles will carry on selling poorly.
     
  4. mastorofpuppetz

    mastorofpuppetz What's a Dremel?

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    HUH? Almost every torrent have PC games already cracked and ready to play after DL. It is NOT easier to pirate on console, first you need to mod the actual hardware, Pc it's just a simple DL in most cases.

    Also people have been perma banned from live, many don't want to take that risk.
     
  5. pimlicosound

    pimlicosound What's a Dremel?

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    Yes, it should be. At least, it should be if they want to stay in business, satisfy shareholders, keep their employees and carry on making games.

    And if you want to carry on playing great games, you'd better hope that they focus on the money.
     
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  6. Mik3yB @ CCL

    Mik3yB @ CCL Everything is not going to be OK

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    Dictionary definition of "Business"

    Economic system in which goods and services are exchanged for one another or money, on the basis of their perceived worth. Every business requires some form of investment and a sufficient number of customers to whom its output can be sold at profit on a consistent basis.

    :D
     
  7. pimlicosound

    pimlicosound What's a Dremel?

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    Yes.
     
  8. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    You're sailing in a strange boat on this one...

    Why does TF2 keep going? Because people still buy it (as stated by Valve). Yes, you can buy games after the first week they come out, it's magical. By releasing so many updates it isn't a three year old game anymore to most people, it's still just as new and exciting as any release in the last few years. Look at Counter Strike: Source as well, it's getting a somewhat large update soon which is really just copying some code over from TF2. They'll be selling a great deal of copies on a six year old game which costs a whopping $20 still, and people will be fine paying that since it seems new.

    Methinks Valve is learning from the MMO market: constantly update game, constantly gain players.

    As for Portal, yes it has helped spread Steam and I won't say that Steam isn't a large source of revenue, but to say that free Portal is only to help spread Steam would be downright shortsighted. Portal 2 is sure to be coming out in the somewhat near future, being a sequel it will generally only sell to those who have played Portal 1. Fortunately for Valve, almost everyone who would have any vague interesting in Portal 2 now has no excuse not to buy it.
     
  9. Fizzban

    Fizzban Man of Many Typos

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    When this happens shotgun sales will go through the roof. Also we will be able to live our zombie-apocalypse fantasies in full, glorious, blood-drenched HD. :D

    Personally I cant wait. :lol:
     
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  10. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    you dont have a ps3 then, if you did, you would know games are constantly requiring updates, before you can play them
     
  11. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    Until someone writes an article on piracy that doesn't commit the fallacy of believing "one pirated copy equals one lost sale" I'm going to stop reading articles about piracy altogether.

    When something is available for what is perceived to be a "bargain" price, the number of people interested in buying it goes up. If the price drops a lot, the increase is huge - look at Microsoft's sales of Windows 7 at £30 for students (and Office too).

    Pirated content, software or otherwise, is essentially free, as far as the pirate is concerned. It should be immediately obvious then that there is a flaw in the logic that in a piracy-free world, sales would increase by the same amount. If the option of piracy was not available, a large proportion of those pirating content would never actually buy it. If someone could work out some sort of general relationship between the price difference for a good (£0-£market price) and the percentage of extra "customers" (in this case being pirates), it should be possible to work out a more accurate value for sales lost to piracy. It would be a much smaller number than those flung about in these sorts of discussions.

    As a (slightly flawed) estimation of this, I would be interested to see the sales figures for a given region for a popular game (lets say COD4, something like that) on PC and on one of the consoles. I would then like to see those numbers normalised to the number of people who own the required system in that region. This would produce COD4 sales as a percentage of (for example) PS3 owners and as a percentage of PC owners (where "PC" means a computer meeting the minimum requirements to play the game owned by a person who plays computer games on said PC). Effectively this is a comparison of potential buyers versus actual sales - and the impact of piracy, if there is a significant one, would be immediately clear.
     
  12. NuTech

    NuTech Minimodder

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    Do you honestly believe that those new customers provide enough revenue to fully fund the 120+ updates (remember existing players pay nothing, so your MMO comparison is completely irreverent)? Do you know how much it costs to keep paying (good) developers for three years? Yes, people do buy games after release date, but enough to fund all that?

    I think this is the third time I've asked this question now, so if I'm sailing such a strange boat you should have no problem answering it: Why don't more developers or publishers support/update their game (for free) for three years if it is profitable to do so?
     
  13. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    This is what made me laugh at the article, you summed it up :p
     
  14. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg What's a Dremel?

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    Publishers like their profit to come in exactly when they specify it will, it keeps the markets happy, Valve have no share holders they don't need to keep the markets happy they can have cash come trickling in if they so choose.

    Your argument is that valve is a publisher not a Dev? I ask you then if being a Pub means that they can support a game for 3 years after launch at apparent huge costs why do Dice et al go through EA?
     
  15. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    I think Valve does it because more TF2 players = more people using steam on a regular basis. I myself am a perfect example - I never really used steam because it was more expensive than buying from online retailers (plus I actually got a box). Then I started playing TF2, and as if by magic, I've started buying games from steam too.

    They haven't really advertised it, but the fact that you can burn a game to disk/save to a storage drive is really an excellent feature. It's actually better than having a boxed version of the game, because you can periodically update your backup to include all of the patches since the original release. You can even buy a game on steam then use a friend's backup to install the game + updates in a few minutes, without having to wait for any downloads. It's awesome. So, Valve, why did I not know about this feature before I found it for myself? If you'd told me about it 3 years ago I'd have been buying games on steam from then on...
     
  16. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    I do, actually. According to Valve there were record sales for TF2 over their Christmas sale and one weekend sale where TF2 was something in the area of $5 or less. So many sales, in fact, that they made quite a profit off of a game that would otherwise only sell a handful of $20 copies. A combination of sales and updates makes TF2 a game which plenty of people are still interested in playing, even after three years. People who never felt like buying the game before, or people who are new to the market in the last three years (three years in a growing market can't be too sahbby...).

    Valve is also a pretty small company, 225 employees says Wikipedia (citing a Gameinformer article). To add some new weapons and a couple new achievements isn't exactly a huge task either. I'm not a game developer by any means, but common sense says that adding and fixing a current product is cheaper than cranking out a whole new product line. Less revenue will be needed to support it.

    Continuing that thought, and trying to get more towards your question, Valve hasn't exactly released many new games anyway. Many of their franchises release on very long cycles with a continued profit between each release. They must update their games to keep people interested over the any years in which they are release-less. Left4Dead is starting to break that cycle, limited updates as compared to TF2, yet also very frequent releases to increase profit. L4D and L4D2 were literally one year apart, with updates about six months after each release (just recently The Passing. Expect a new update just around holiday season to entice new buyers). It's simply a different style of producing games. Other developers and publishers can get similar profit by creating new games on a shorter interval and abandoning old ones, so they do. It's arguably safer to do that because a failed game will be replaced in a year, yet a largely successful game will still net huge profit over its one year. Just look at CoD:WaW and CoD:MW2. Different business models is all.
     
  17. NuTech

    NuTech Minimodder

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    Right, so you think that the trickle of cash coming from new TF2 customers (remember the game sells at a very low price) covers the cost of employing fantastic developers plus other overheads?

    No. My arguement (which started as a reply to Baz and Kylew) was that it's unfair and nonsensical of them to compare other 'normal' developers to Valve, which is what they were doing.

    Being a publisher is not my arguement, being the most popular digital content delivery platform in the world is. It makes perfect business sense for them to update amazing games like TF2 for three years, or release Portal for free because it promotes their content delivery system.

    Loss leaders are incredibly common in the business world, it makes complete sense for them to lose a little bit of money supporting TF2 so that they can rake in 40-50% of the profits from all other games sold via Steam.

    Now if Valve didn't have Steam, do you think they could of afforded to keep all those developers working on TF2 updates or would they of done what every other developer in the world does and move on to new games?

    Bingo! We have a winner.
     
  18. juststsomeguy26

    juststsomeguy26 What's a Dremel?

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    Excuses excuses.
    The percentage of gamers smart enough to go and get a pirate copy of a game isn't honestly all that hight.
    I'd attribute the fall in the PC to consoles expanding into traditional PC areas like the internet streaming media and such. Prior to this generation even hard drives were after market upgrades to consoles. All this was designed to blur the lines and bring PC users into console gaming, now people are surprised it worked ?
    Not the least factor is rise of the Wii. Sure its supposedly the console gaming market outside its previous demographic. The PC was and is however a fixture in many households where gaming wasn't "serious" enough to warrant an expensive and dedicated console.
    Writing people without consoles off as non gamers is a flawed assumption. They may well have been what we now know as casual gamers, with the PC as their platform. With the Wii cheap, simple and in no way serious it may well have supplanted this casual PC gaming market.

    Sure piracy can be a problem, but in this instance its just a scapegoat for developers avoiding the cost of developing high end PC titles now that upper end PC hardware is so far ahead of current consoles.
     
  19. Grimloon

    Grimloon What's a Dremel?

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    Going back to an earlier comment regarding testing being easier on consoles rather than PCs it definitely holds true that a system using known hardware and software is a hell of a lot easier to test on than the average PC which, to be brutally honest, is usually something of a Heinz in pedigree.

    DirectX takes some of the uncertainty out of this but, at present, there are 3 different versions in use. DX9 still uses a HAL so that has to be coded for and take in to account varying audio and video hardware while DX10 and DX11 have done away with this. Add on top of that 3 different Windows operating systems in common use as well as 32 bit and 64 bit flavours of each then it starts sounding like a good idea for them to go to console instead as what do they have there? The same hardware and software on every box and, at worst, 3 dev and QA teams for each major console platform as opposed to significantly more for the PC.

    OK, so that's a worst case scenario and we know that it simply doesn't happen that way but please believe me when I say that testing even a simple web based application on a known system is infinitely more simple and requires far fewer man hours (and therefore significantly less money) than trying to make something work well on every PC.

    While I can understand Epic choosing to develop on consoles only for the above reasons and the economic difference it makes, I definitely don't agree with the "Boohoo! Pirates made us do it!" announcement.

    With regards to the ongoing debate encompassing business models etc...

    *grabs popcorn and a beer* :D
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2010
  20. NuTech

    NuTech Minimodder

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    Okay, so your arguement is that overtime (and especially during the $5 sale) they've made enough money from TF2 alone to support the game for three years.

    We can agree that neither of us truly know how many copies they've sold.

    My arguement is that don't you think if this system could work without Steam pumping Valve full of cash, that at least some other developers would be doing it?

    With the very high amount of loses currently happening in the game industry, if that system really worked surely others would be doing it too?
     
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