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Other Piracy

Discussion in 'Software' started by Zinfandel, 2 Aug 2010.

  1. Cabe6403

    Cabe6403 Supreme Commander

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    That's not what Adam was saying.
    Saying something is never black isn't the same as saying it's always white. There are no absolutes other than that 1 pirate copy != 1 lost sale and not every person pirating wouldn't have paid for a pirate copy.

    It's somewhere in between but is quite literally impossible to quantify.

    There is a massive difference in releasing everything you produce as free and turning a blind eye to pirating.

    Turning a blind eye means that your software gets pirated, people hear about it and from that publicity and sales are generated.
    I've downloaded certain indie games and programs before that would allow you to bypass the registration if you wanted with nothing other than a friendly reminder that if you enjoyed the product you could pay for a full licence from their site. Which I then did.

    If the game/program was released for free then I would still have the same product but I wouldn't pay.
     
  2. Altron

    Altron Minimodder

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    Exactly.

    If you give it away for free, no one will buy it.

    If you don't add DRM or anti-piracy, it may get pirated, but there are plenty of people who will still buy it.

    There are plenty of small applications under $10 that are easy to pirate, but clearly there are enough people paying for them for the companies to continue development.

    I'm definitely seeing a "stick up for the little guy" attitude in this thread. Whether it's right or wrong, I won't make a judgment on, but I find it interesting.More people seem to feel that it is OK to pirate software that is either very expensive, or comes from a major studio. There doesn't seem to be a social stigmatism attached to saying "Well, I pirated MW2" because it's the stereotypical console port re-make of five other games, released by a huge studio at a very high price. I guess the conception is that these companies are too big and sell too much for a single lost sale to hurt them, whether or not that is actually true.

    Whereas, nobody in this thread has said they pirate inexpensive games or software from independent devs.

    Any discussion on the morals of software pirates is incomplete without the discussion of 'voting with your wallet'.

    There are people who won't pirate at all, and people who will pirate everything. But there are a large number of pi-curious (see what I did there?) people who use some legit software and some pirate software.

    And I think part of determines the decision making process of pi-curious people is a feeling of wanting to support new and interesting things. I think that if most of them see a really unique and fun game from an indie developer, they'll buy it, because they want to support that dev and have them make more new games. For elledan's game, I think most people would be like this. They might pirate it to see what it's like, but many will return to buy the game, because they want him to continue developing games.

    So, stuartpb, there is a huge difference between offering a game for free, and producing a game that costs money but is easily pirated. It's sort of like shareware.

    And, even if they don't return and purchase the software, if they play it and enjoy it, they know who he is. If he makes a really great game that they pirate and play for free, then next year they see another game by his studio for sale in Steam, they might say "Hey, I played this guy's game last year and it was really fun, I want to see what his new one is like, so I'll buy it"

    For elledan, piracy is a marketing tool. He'd rather have his game reach a larger number of players than make the most money, because he knows that he is establishing himself and becoming more popular.
     
  3. Krazeh

    Krazeh Minimodder

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    Perhaps you'd like to explain what is so incredibly funny and incredibly naive about realising that currently piracy is an inevitable side effect of releasing software and that you can deal with that problem by other means than putting in place mechanisms that do nothing but annoy paying customers? I mean why spend time and money trying to combat a problem you can't possibly hope to beat as a small developer/publisher? Isn't it better from a commercial sense to use that time and money to produce a better product for the people that will be paying for it?
     
  4. Cabe6403

    Cabe6403 Supreme Commander

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    Just as an aside,
    oOne of my favorite games from back in the day (I believe it's from 1995) came with this notice:

     
  5. Altron

    Altron Minimodder

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    It's sort of like the honor system.

    And, I'd wager that as a whole, the bit-tech demographic (average bit-techer seems to be an educated male in his early 20s with a source of income) would pay for a game they liked. And they'd also really appreciate how nice of the developer it was to provide the game without any DRM strings attached.

    Doing something like that shifts the image of a pirate. A software pirate likes to feel like he is Neo in the Matrix... one man, fighting against a bunch of corporations that want nothing but his money. He might pirate a AAA game, using his sneaky hax0r sk1llz to circumvent all the evil DRM that 'the Man' put in, and feel justified. If he pirates a game that's as easy as clicking "No thanks", then he is just the kind of person who steals candy from babies. In America, we call that person a "douchebag". I believe your Metric term is "chav". Conversion factor is 1:1, afaik.

    Companies like elledan don't force people to pay for the game instead of pirating it by adding in oppressive DRM that can be unpleasant even for legitimate customers. They get people to pay for the games by appealing to common human decency, which does still exist in certain gamer circles (such as bit-tech).
     
  6. Cabe6403

    Cabe6403 Supreme Commander

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    Actually, I'm from Scotland, we call them Neds :p

    Also, relating to DRM, here is something that happened to me. I bought a BRAND NEW copy of Lost Planet for the PC a few years back. When I installed it I entered the CD key it said it was already in use. So I emailed the publisher and had to wait 2 day for them to email me back. What they wanted me to do was to photograph the disc, the CD key, the box and a piece of paper with a big long code on it, upload them to an image server (they suggested imageshack.us) and then email them the links. The said they would verify the copy and it would take 72 hours.

    So I bought a new game and was forced to wait over 5 days to play it. I didn't even bother emailing them back with the pictures, I just downloaded a copy and had it working in a few hours.

    DRM hurts legitimate consumers and doesn't stop piracy. You could argue that DRM drives legitimate consumers to piracy. Just look at the Assassins Creed II DRM issues.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2010
  7. Cabe6403

    Cabe6403 Supreme Commander

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    I'm pretty much exactly that except I have very little income (I'm a full time Masters student). I still choose to support developers by paying for games the majority of the time.

    I don't pirate games very often, when I do it's either because:
    1) I'm too low on cash to pay for the game.
    When I do this I tend to go back and buy the game at a later date. I own a number of game that are still factory sealed as I only bought then after I had already played them. I bought them to support the developer. Same with many films actually.

    2) Because I'm not really sure I'll like it and there is no suitable demo. Especially with PC games seeing as it's become almost impossible to resell them. To me this is akin to going to buy a car and not being allowed to give it a test drive first and not being allowed to return it. I may enjoy the car but there's no way I'm going to drop the money upfront and risk it being a POS.


    With music, I run a student radio station in Glasgow so I listen to a lot of music, a lot is sent to us but a lot is just me downloading and listening to bands. I delete most of it after listening because most if it isn't to my taste. But I keep lots too. What I inevitably end up doing is promoting the band (for free) on my station and shows and paying money to see the band live. I have doors (yes, plural) covered in gig tickets and festival tickets.
    I estimate the value of all the tickets on the door to be well over £3000.

    tl;dr: I pirate at times, but I support the content creators in a different way.
     
  8. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    As an aside, I'm actually one of those rare girls in the gaming industry :)

    But yes, that's the basic idea. We could go for DRM, waste time and money setting up a verification, key generating system and algorithm and heavens know what else, or just add in a little reminder as Cabe6403 noted to appeal to basic human sense. Much cheaper, and probably even more effective than some DRM which only ends up frustrating your audience.
     
  9. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    surprised this has reached 10 pages

    piracy eventually will be stopped as british ISPS and american ISPS get stricter and stricter on what is classed as fair usage and what you can actually access on your own internet connection. Chinas idea was to block google totally. Can you imagine if the uk goverment blocked P2P downloads. Yes it would cause problems for some legite programs but it would stop nearly all piracy

    Very few people pirate via FTP or even know how its done ( distro servers that run at ultra high speeds to seedboxes which then seed the torrent using 100mbit connections )

    The true pirates the ones mostly using seedboxes to get the latest releases and sell them will never ever be affected by what happens in UK or USA law because downloading FTP files is not illigal and cant be traced ( they are fully secure connections ) the Seedbox connections that is the back bone of the p2p world ( in private bit torrent sites ) will never be shut down as they are hosted from countrys that dont care what they get threatend with they just ignore them.

    The better the game the more chance the public will buy it, Starcraft 2 battlefield bad company 2, MW2 have all sold extremely well and you dont here any complaints about piracy from them.

    Most games that are poor you here complaints about mensioning piracy affected sales, When its not the case at all its just they made a **** game and cant deal with it.

    sins of the solar empire which has no drm has sold extremely well as its a very good game. which goes back to the point above

    Good games will always sell

    shite games dont sell well and pirates get the blame

    Piracy in games is a tiny portion of the problem that the overall piracy things is doing
    XXX TV Films Music is were 80% of all downloads are aimed at. Anime is a close 5th id be surprised if games are even 5% of the total piracy going on in the net

    as most people dont have the connection or the paicience to download an 8gb game at 100kb/second

    whilst downloading 220mb album is easily done and a 700mb film is the same.

    As for second hand game sales

    You dont here hmv complaining about DVD or Music sales that have gone missing due to second hand sales do you. Just games companys trying to milk everybody for every penny they own.

    PC market has very few second hand sales due to CD key requirements in online play.

    Id expect to see the 360 and ps3 eventually implement such a system.
     
  10. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    My company is not a large one, so I see it as my company being the "small fry" in the expansive corporate pond. Every sale I make counts, so little things have a habit of making a big difference to my company's performance. I touched on something earlier, that no-one has commented on yet, and that is the fact that piracy doesn't just affect the publishers, it affects the whole supply chain. The ease at which people can obtain pirate copies often means that less sales are made by retailers, and let's face it, there are plenty of people out there who do pirate. Less sales for the retailer means less income. The big brand name retailers can absorb fluctuating sales figures with a lot more ease than the indies, like myself can. Piracy is indeed having a very negative effect on companies like mine. Look at the specialist games retailers, see how many PC titles they stock, when compared with the consoles. This is partly due to piracy too.


    I did refer to this earlier.


    Well all I can say is that I hope this business plan doesn't come back to bite Elledan in the bum. From the perspective of a businessman, I find this a worrying ploy, that could result in the income from her games being so small that it really isn't a viable business. I do sincerely hope I am proven wrong, because morally it makes a lot of sense. But it relies on the morals of the mass public, as to whether they decide to pay or not for a product that I am sure will have a lot of time and effort put into it.
     
  11. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    Oh, but every company is forced to adapt to this reality. DRM has been proven over and over again to not work and only cause frustrations for actual customers. It's not so much a business plan as it is a reality check.

    As they say, DRM is like trying to make water not wet :) Many companies have and will spend millions of Euros on a DRM 'solution', only to have it cracked within a week and more often than not causing issues for the legal buyers. See Ubisoft's recent 'online verification' scheme debacle, for example. I have heard of many people not buying those games and telling their friends to not to, simply because of the oppressive DRM which causing serious issues during playing the game, if you can start playing at all.

    That's not good PR, that's shooting yourself in the foot. Blizzard is a lot more pragmatic on this issue, with just a single online verification for their latest game. We don't do even this, however, because keys can be faked and lead to legitimate customers having to deal with a 'taken' key. That's not good for one's customers.

    And what's wrong with putting good customer relations first?
     
  12. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    Absolutely nothing wrong with good customer relations, this is what every successful business is built on. The point where I would be worried is the fact that you see piracy as a medium for promoting your business, or at least that is what you said earlier. It's one thing to make games accessible to legitimate players, and not use restrictive DRM, but to see piracy as nothing more than a PR exercise is treading thin ice as far as I can see.

    There are publishing companies that have gone belly up and attributed piracy as one of the contributing factors of their demise. For a startup company to be so blasé about piracy, I find incredibly worrying. I can understand your reasons for not wanted to bog games down with draconian DRM, but to try and reap some benefits from piracy could do exactly as I suggested, come back and bite you in the bum.

    As said by many within this thread, most people who pirate had no intention of buying a game. You suggest that if someone pirates one of your games, you think (hope) that the person who pirated your games will do the right thing and buy one in the future. So you are expecting a leopard to change his spots. There may be the odd one or two that do, but there will also be those who do not. As any fledging business person will tell you, every sale counts.

    I know some companies are moving away from DRM, and I welcome this in one way. I do not welcome companies publicly condoning piracy, as it affects more than just the publishers, and it's about time the pirates, and the publishers, started giving this more thought.
     
  13. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    This wouldn't even bother me, for one simple reason:

    [​IMG]

    They're pretty useless and inefficient methods/networks for anything other than piracy and porn. I don't understand why the law (or at least ISP policy) hasn't already modified itself to stamp out p2p and torrent clients.

    Also, elledan:
    Although I disagree with stuartpb about most things piracy-related, I think that's a well-meant and astute warning. If you try to use piracy as a propagation method I think it could capsize you. Bigger companies like EA can afford to passively tolerate piracy and reap the free advertising benefits, but I think the equation's balanced out in their case by the relative difficulty of pirating their stuff, and the fact that everyone knows they could (and occasionally do) obliterate guilty parties in a court of law, something people know a company as small as yours probably couldn't and wouldn't do.
     
    Last edited: 14 Aug 2010
  14. Altron

    Altron Minimodder

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    And how many are actually closing because of piracy, and not because they got too expensive and stopped making good games? We've all reached a consensus in that it is very difficult to get an accurate measure of how many pirates would or wouldn't have bought the game. Piracy has become a scapegoat for mismanagement and incompetence inside a gaming company. No, they didn't go out of business because they got too bloated and were releasing games behind schedule. No, they didn't go out of business because they had terrible writers and each game was just a shinier version of the one before. They went out of business because of pirates. Kinda like how companies lay people off because of the "recession" or "the bad economy". Many layoffs are because a person is incompetent, or performs a job that doesn't make the company any money (especially many clerical jobs being replaced by electronics. In my company, hardly any of the managers have secretaries. They all have laptops and blackberries and scheduling software and do it themselves)

    This is circular logic.

    You're stating that pirates wouldn't have bought the game if they couldn't pirate it. Then you're stating that because they can pirate it, they won't buy the game.

    If pirates had no intention of buying the game, there is no loss in having them play it. I think that's what Elledan means. She isn't losing potential revenue, but she is creating publicity and word-of-mouth. Maybe someone who pirated it tells their friend, who pays for it. Maybe someone who pirated her first game ends up buying her second game.
     
  15. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    And now a non commercial break:




    We really are just rehashing the same old arguments Altron. :D
     
  16. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    I'm not thinking of doing that. I'm merely admitting that there's not a damn thing a small company like mine can do about the piracy of our games. Unless you have a foolproof solution to keep people from pirating our games?
     
  17. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    Really? Maybe these earlier posts gave me the impression that this was exactly what you were thinking of doing:


    EDIT: looking at that last quote now, I am also confused. You say that piracy is a grey area, and refuse to say whether it's right or wrong. You then go on to say that commercial copyright infringement is wrong. Do you mean it's not OK for commercial enterprises to infringe copyright, but it is OK for individuals to do so? Or do you mean that the copyright infringement of commercial products is wrong? If it is the latter, then what do you think software/digital media piracy is?
     
    Last edited: 14 Aug 2010
  18. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    More like an 'if you can't beat it, use it' thing :)


    Commercial copyright infringement, i.e. for profit, is always wrong. If someone started selling copies of our games they'd get sued right away.

    The thing is that it's not feasible to stop non-commercial copyright infringement, as has been demonstrated extensively during the past few decades by big companies and organizations. There's also no financial incentive for this type of infringement, ergo it's fairly harmless and PR probably does a better job there than treating one's potential customers and regular pirates as criminals. Of course I'd like people to just buy our games and not pirate them, but that's the difference between wishful thinking and reality. It's also why I get annoyed when people loudly proclaim that piracy is theft and everything. It's best to be pragmatic about it instead of losing oneself in grand statements.

    Basically, the real world is rarely black/white on most issues :)
     
  19. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    Well what I said stands. You run the risk of it coming back to bite you on the bum. Also, I would refrain from mentioning that part of your business plan to your bank manager, if ever you are looking for funding. I think they would very likely take a dim view to being so accepting of piracy.


    I agree that we are not going to stop piracy, but I also don't want to put my stamp of approval on it either, as a business entity or on a personal level. Piracy has affected my profit margin within my business, I have had to adapt to deal with the problems it presents to my business, but it still results in potential income being lost. As a SME, my business cannot afford to be complacent about any loss of income.

    I would never treat any of my support clients (existing or potential) as thieves, but I am honest with them, in that I will not support ANY pirate software or OS'es. I will also refuse to advise on how to pirate, or where to find pirate materials (something I get asked frequently). I don't preach to them on the rights and wrongs of piracy, that's a decision for them to make. I will tell them that I will not be a party to it, and leave it at that. This policy works well for both me and my business.

    As for my belief that piracy is no better than theft, well I have stated all along that this is my personal opinion. I also believe that the law should be changed to reflect this. I'm not making grand statements at all, I am expressing my personal opinion. Because you disagree, you seem to think I haven't given this matter much thought.
     
  20. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    So what are you saying? That we should waste millions on non-working DRM implementations which will likely only succeed in rubbing our customers the wrong way and lead to additional bugs in our software? Yes, that sure sounds like a great business plan.

    And when you proclaim that piracy equals theft, against international law, then I would call that a grand statement, even an unfounded one. Doesn't meant it isn't a personal opinion :)
     

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