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Shadow
09-19-2008, 04:56 PM
It seems to me that lately the PC games industry and pirates have been waging war on one another. From my perspective, it's just like an arms race. One side increases their arms and the other "needs" to increase theirs also to keep up. All the while both sides are screwing themselves. The industry is losing customers and the pirates are encouraging developers to stop developing on the PC. The term mutual self destruction comes to mind. And as usual the actual paying customers are caught in the middle and are taking collateral damage. Spore is just the latest high profile game to use a pretty restrictive DRM scheme.

I keep hearing a lot of people say Spore's DRM sucks so much that they are going to pirate the game. I have mentioned many times why this is a really bad idea, but here's another: you are supporting the pirates in this stupid war. You have just helped them increase their arms and if things keep going like they are, the industry will respond with even worse DRM.

If you don't like internet activation, limited installs, and other types of restrictive DRM, teach them an actual lesson. If you buy a game like this, you are telling the developer you are ok with the DRM. If you pirate the game, you are encouraging the pirates and teaching the developers that their DRM needs to be stronger.

Even better is don't buy that specific game AND don't pirate it either. Don't support either side in this war. Go find one of the countless games that has perfectly reasonable DRM or none at all. Hint: indie games are typically very good in this respect.

Skarecreau
09-19-2008, 07:04 PM
That's a good point. It's too bad that most people won't take that high road...

I've been gaming for a couple of decades now and have played hundreds of games. I have no qualms about boycotting a game if the company does something reprehensible (or if the game seems to suck compared to previous releases...Ultima VIII, ahem). There are plenty of other games out there!

LordLabyrinth
09-20-2008, 02:53 PM
Shadow, you're probably right. Even though unscrupulous companies like EA upset me very much, the alternative shouldn't be an option either.

Anyway you know we are placing our hopes on you, so work hard. :)

RezoApio
10-16-2008, 08:45 AM
Perfectly said and perfectly true. I agree 100% to your opinion.

I am very new to your site but will definitively buy the DoP tonight to support what you are doing. Most of all, what I appreciate is the easyness to run under Wine.

I am an 100% ubuntu user and I hope more and more studio (Indies or mainstream) will support Linux as a native or at least painless wine installation.

I am still very confused on how to play the game... but I hope to find my way in it.

Kind regards from Paris

Delve
10-16-2008, 11:17 AM
Just crossing all kinds of borders aren't you Shadow? Good job :)

Welcome RezoApio, enjoy your stay!

rjk2008
10-16-2008, 03:30 PM
I am an 100% ubuntu user and I hope more and more studio (Indies or mainstream) will support Linux as a native or at least painless wine installation.


I just discovered Ubuntu a few weeks ago and honestly, I almost uninstalled vista and installed Ubuntu in its place on my laptop immediately. Unfortunately that would mess up too much stuff, but its a nice dream. It is a truly wonderful operating system that I am slowly transitioning into.


It seems to me that lately the PC games industry and pirates have been waging war on one another. From my perspective, it's just like an arms race. One side increases their arms and the other "needs" to increase theirs also to keep up. All the while both sides are screwing themselves. The industry is losing customers and the pirates are encouraging developers to stop developing on the PC. The term mutual self destruction comes to mind. And as usual the actual paying customers are caught in the middle and are taking collateral damage. Spore is just the latest high profile game to use a pretty restrictive DRM scheme.


To be honest, I think pirating is being used as a scapegoat and given more blame than it deserves to rationalize the losses due to poor game design and poorly managed game developers/publishers.

I found Depths of Peril on a torrent site. I had never even heard of it before, but I saw it was a 'Diablo Clone' so I tried it out. Ends up Shadow got a sale and a fairly loyal customer out of it.

Not that pirating doesn't hurt companies, it does. However I think a lot of the hurt comes from a different effect- People that play pirated copies get to try out the game (not just a potentially misleading demo) and see if it is really worth it. In this way, people can make an informed decision to buy the game instead of reading a review or two, looking at the box cover art and imagining all the cool features toted on the back that may or may not actually work.

Now, there are some people that don't buy a game if they like it- they just keep playing the pirated version. But I argue that most of them are not a lost sell. Nor are they costing the developers or publishers money, unless they start spreading rumors or initiate malicious attacks against the company, but that is another topic altogether. They get the game for free, using their own resources, and generally are not able to log on to an official multiplayer service and use resources there. The only possible resources lost to pirates are automatic patches and website access. The main point is, the people that have massive collections of pirated games don't want to pay for their entertainment. If your game isn't available to them for free, they aren't going to run out and buy it, they are going to find something else that is free.

I'm not attempting to cause an argument or hijack the thread into a pirating vs non-pirating war. This is a subject I have been interested in and have been researching for years. I think the general perception of pirating needs to change. Copyright of a digital product that can be easily and quickly distributed is difficult to enforce, as it is so easy to do. Also, only recently has the original, intended purpose of p2p distribution methods been implemented. A bonus of the torrent and distributing sites is that you already have the framework in place to distribute your digital product. The same places that distribute illegal copies can also distribute legal products as well.

Eventually, games will go the way of music, and what videos are now becoming. Digital distribution at lower prices. Another limiting factor in buyers of computer games is the price. Sure, 50 or 60 bucks may not be much to some people, but for others thats a fairly hefty investment in a product that may end up being an overpriced coaster.

I see it as this: If you have a way to digitally distribute your game to large masses at only 5$ a copy, sure that is 1/4th the price of a 20$ boxed game, however to most people 5$ is not a big risk to take on a game. If they don't like it, its just 5$, who cares? Now 20$ is not unreasonable, but its still not exactly throw away change. The great benefit of torrents and p2p networking is that the majority of the burden of distribution is placed on the users themselves, not the originating server, hence dramatically lowered distribution costs. So, in theory, that 5$ will be mostly profit. And due the easy access and availability of the product it will most likely exceed the 15$ price drop.

This is a basic economic strategy, you can either sell a product at higher price, but to fewer customers, or you can sell a product at lower price to more customers. If both generate the same gross sales $ amount, the higher price will generally be better due to A: Limiting supply, thus keeping demand high, and B: Reducing the production costs and distribution. Since a single product only gives X amount of profit, if you sell less for more, you are generating more profit.

However, in software you have the benefit of production costs of a single item being for the most part non-existent. All the cost is in the actual development of the product, where if distributed digitally online, will not need any further costs to create more of the product. Also, if used within a p2p network model for distribution, distribution costs can be minimalized. Hence, the net profit will stay the same regardless of the number of copies distributed. With this in mind, I believe choosing to distribute copies at a lower price but with the hopes of attracting a greater number of customers is the best way to break into the industry. Companies such as Blizzard with a well established name and reputation for producing quality games can demand more, because the chance of them releasing a poor quality product is low and the chance that they will not continue to support it is even lower. But this is a basic law of economics seen throughout all products and services.

It seems this has turned into a lecture on economic theory and the reduction of distribution costs through p2p networks. To summarize, the gaming industry needs to think outside the standard dogmatic mindset and re-think their positions on pirates, why pirating is so wide-spread, and current / traditional ways of getting games to the gamers.

Sorry for the verbose post and any comments or refutals are welcome,
-rjk

Shadow
10-16-2008, 04:24 PM
To be honest, I think pirating is being used as a scapegoat and given more blame than it deserves to rationalize the losses due to poor game design and poorly managed game developers/publishers.

I would guess that piracy gets more blame then it deserves also, but that doesn't mean that piracy isn't doing a lot of damage to the industry.

Not that pirating doesn't hurt companies, it does. However I think a lot of the hurt comes from a different effect- People that play pirated copies get to try out the game (not just a potentially misleading demo) and see if it is really worth it. In this way, people can make an informed decision to buy the game instead of reading a review or two, looking at the box cover art and imagining all the cool features toted on the back that may or may not actually work.

That's what demos are for. If a game doesn't have a demo, don't buy the game.

Now, there are some people that don't buy a game if they like it- they just keep playing the pirated version. But I argue that most of them are not a lost sell. Nor are they costing the developer's or publisher's money, unless they starting spreading rumors or become involved in malicious attacks against the company, but that is another topic altogether.

It's true that all of these people aren't lost sales, but some of them are and the more people justify and support pirates the larger this group is going to get.

I think the general perception of pirating needs to change. Copyright of a digital product that can be easily and quickly distributed is difficult to enforce, as it is so easy to do.

Yes, it does. Currently there are way too many people that think pirating is ok and doesn't really hurt anyone. It does. It probably doesn't hurt as much the industry pretends it does and there are always counter examples like yours, but it does hurt the industry.

Why is it that more and more companies are leaving the PC games industry and moving over to the consoles? Some of them are no longer even bothering with PC ports. This is happening despite the fact that you have another middle man to pay money to, so you get even less per copy sold.

Eventually, games will go the way of music, and what videos are now becoming. Digital distribution at lower prices.

The problem with this and this is a very common misperception, is that distribution is very little of the cost of a game. Developing the game is almost all of the cost. Distribution is pretty minor. So getting rid of the distribution cost doesn't really change much.

I see it as this: If you have a way to digitally distribute your game to large masses at only 5$ a copy, sure that is 1/4th the price, however to most people 5$ is not a big risk to take on a game. If they don't like it, its just 5$, who cares? Now 20$ is not unreasonable, but its still not exactly throw away change. The great benefit of torrents and p2p networking is that the majority of the burden of distribution is placed on the users themselves, not the originating server, hence dramatically lowered distribution costs. So, in theory, that 5$ will be mostly profit. And due the easy access and availability of the product it will most likely exceed the 15$ price drop.

This is a basic economic strategy, you can either sell a product at higher price, but to fewer customers, or you can sell a product at lower price to more customers. If both generate the same gross sales $ amount, the higher price will generally be better due to A: Limiting supply, thus keeping demand high, and B: Reducing the production costs and distribution. Since a single product only gives X amount of profit, if you sell less for more, you are generating more profit.

This IS basic economics. However, even assuming your distribution costs are zero, in this example you would have to sell 4 times as many units. That is a huge difference to make up and probably not likely to happen. Your support costs also go up by 4 times, so even if you do break even revenue wise, your profit just went down. There are probably a bunch of other issues with more customers and low price, but I won't go into those.

scragar
10-16-2008, 04:27 PM
To be honest, I think pirating is being used as a scapegoat and given more blame than it deserves to rationalize the losses due to poor game design and poorly managed game developers/publishers.

I found Depth of Peril on a torrent site. I had never even heard of it before, but I saw it was a 'Diablo Clone' so I tried it out. Ends up Shadow got a sale and a fairly loyal customer out of it.

.....

Sorry for the verbose post and any comments or refutals are welcome,
-rjk
I do agree with you that a lot of the time the free "trial" found by pirating a game(or anything else really), gives them a much better bonus in the end than if 1/10th of the pirates where to buy the game(Cory Doctorow has experienced this with his scifi(publicity = more readers, most of which will buy the paper book and more of his work in the future), and windows benifits from it(I've argued this a lot before, but microsoft would rather people pirate their system than switch to another, as long as people are using windows and not their competitors companies will still buy windows, which is where a good chunk of microsoft's money comes from)), I'm not so sure if Soldak would gain a bonus from this, but I'm sure the increase in popularity would offer a bigger bonus to sales overall than would be lost by piracy.

I agree with you, I pirate stuff from time to time, TV shows that come out in america first(but I buy the DVDs for when they do come out in the UK, which I wouldn't do if I didn't watch them pirated), a few games I've downloaded illegaly just because it's so hard to find the games(before now I've had to wait 7 weeks for an order of a game via import, pirating that when I ordered it was no problem for me, I got to play it when I paid for it, they still got the money, I still got the game, everyone is happy), and downloading books via torrents was how I first heard of many of my favourite authors and series of books.

I'm sure lots of people feel the same way, that's not the problem, the problem is fear, the developers are convinced that as long as they don't try to fight piracy everyone will just steal the software, they'll lose all of their money and go bankrupt. I can honestly see that line of thinking, It's natural to expect this line of thinking, personaly I was scared when I first offered one of my scripts as open source under the GPL, if people could just reuse and edit my code why would anyone pay me to develop for them, that didn't happen(infact, the oposite happened, now I get email from people offering $20 or $30 US for edits that take maybe 5 minutes to do, so now I earn more than I used to for these little edits, it's cool).

Delilah Rehm
10-16-2008, 06:59 PM
I believe Shadow would rather hit himself in the head with a hammer than walk the gray line. He's just that kind of person. I totally understand the gray line. You can't get the product for seven or more weeks so why not pirate it now when you're going to pay for it later? I have plenty of friends who do it for British shows that America won't see for awhile!

The problem that Shadow pointed out with the gray line is this: yes, the developer got their money, but the pirates got their "ego-boo" too. And now the pirates are encouraged to hack more stuff... which leads to more ugly DRM... which leads to more pirating (both gray line and black)... more hacking... more DRM. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Maybe developers are overreacting, but that isn't the point. People, especially the best people, won't work for free. They'll find something else they can make money at. If developers feel like piracy is the reason for the decline of their PC software business and that this will eventually lead to bankruptcy, the developers are going to bail. The only new PC games we'll see in that bleak future are going to be tiny, casual things or games with monthly subscriptions.

Shadow and I don't have an answer for this crazy problem. We're not crusading. We don't even believe what we say here will change a thing.

We watch it, sadly. We both love PC games, but like the old buggy whip makers of the past, we know the day may come when we can't make PC games the way we do now.

rjk2008
10-17-2008, 12:33 AM
That's what demos are for. If a game doesn't have a demo, don't buy the game.


I am not a big fan of demos. This mainly stems from my experience with Sacred, another 'Diablo Clone' that came out a few years ago. I played the demo, it was very polished and basically bug-free. I bought the game and blood shot out of my eyes. After you left the demo area the game was totally different. Content you didn't have access to in the demo was bugged, even to the point of being unable to finish the game. Some of the bugs were incredibly simple, such as a character's stats being stored in a single byte, thus when characters gained over 255 in a stat, they wrapped back to 0. This experience has caused me to be suspect of demos.

There is also the problem of game companies sticking all the copy protection/DRM software with the demo and install it onto your system. I am not a big fan of DRM and think it hurts the consumer more so than any pirating attempts. All DRM does is provide pirating groups with a challenging problem to overcome. I'm glad the consumer gets to pay for the increase in development costs so that pirating groups don't run out of entertainment. :p


It's true that all of these people aren't lost sales, but some of them are and the more people justify and support pirates the larger this group is going to get.


I think the 2 sides is a bit too general. Perhaps 4 sides would be more accurate. The 2 main sides would be the developers/publishers and the pirates. By 'pirates' in this case I am referring to the groups that go and actually crack the games. The other classes would be 'leechers', those who download the released cracked games by the pirating groups, and the innocent consumer.

In this scenario the consumers are the ones that are getting constantly screwed. They do the moral/legal thing, don't use pirated copies, and they end up getting rewarded for it with insanely restrictive DRM and licenses for it. It sucks for them, sucks to be them, and so I think they are getting somewhat pushed into becoming leeches. Perhaps legal leeches that own a copy of the game, but still also use a pirated version.

The publishers (since its usually the publishers that want DRM from what I have read) want DRM so that consumers don't become pirates themselves. They also know they can't beat the pirates, so DRM is mainly to delay the pirating until the game has a few weeks to sell. If you check out game release dates and torrent sites, you will see this is a false hope.

The pirates aren't going to stop pirating games. They do it for fun, perhaps to learn, even for respect amongst that community. The publishers put in new DRM and the pirating groups have a fun time cracking it. DRM is fuel for the pirate's hobby.

The leechers are the main ones that the publishers look at. The publisher's use the amount of leechers as the excuse for piracy. Most likely this is through ignorance, I don't know. But it isn't going anywhere good. By making more restrictive DRM, consumers start to see become a leecher as not so bad a thing. There is also the argument that due to DRM and the added complexity it brings to the program and code, cracked/pirated games are more stable. I've actually seen some proof of this myself, however I think it is more the exception than the rule.

So, a couple thought experiments based on this setting of 4 groups:

--What if DRM is done away with?

The consumers would benefit, but the leechers would benefit as well. The pirates would lose out, as whats the point of pirating a game that has no protection? The publisher, from what I have seen, thinks they will also lose out because consumers would become leechers. However, Stardock and their no DRM policy provides some evidence against this mentality.

--What if a DRM was made that couldn't be cracked?

This is the scenario in which the publisher's "win". They make a DRM that the pirates can't crack, no matter how hard they try.

Some would say the pirates lose out here, but I would argue the opposite. They now have a project to work on cracking that will last them years, so they just got hours and hours of entertainment.

The leechers will definately lose out since they can no longer get free games, although the severity of this is a matter of some debate as an unspecified number will most likely not suddenly transform into paying customers but instead go on to other free sources of entertainment.

The consumer, do they win or lose? Most likely they lose. The DRM will probably be annoying and bulky. It may or may not provide additional security holes that hackers can use to spread malicious code. the added complexity will also most likely lower the performance of the game, depending on specific DRM implementation, and cause additional bugs and compatibility issues. Aside from these lovely 'features' added to their gaming experience, this uncrackable DRM will be costing the publisher quite a bit of money, and guess who is going to get to pay for it?

Not so happy an ending, in my opinion.

--What if pirates stop pirating?

I'm sure the publisher's would love this, although whether or not they would believe no one was intent upon cracking their game is another story. Would DRM disappear? I doubt it. The restrictive DRM seen in current games would probably disappear, substituting in a cheaper one just to keep people honest.

The pirates may or may not be losing here. If they aren't cracking games, I assume they just found something better to do with their time. I doubt the pirating community could be stomped out by any type of law enforcement agency, try as they might, so I think if pirates stop pirating it will be of their own will and not because they were forced to.

The consumers benefit here. Less DRM the better, less DRM means cheaper games, right? Probably not. But at least people that buy a game can install it more than 3 times now. :rolleyes:

The leechers would lose out, but again, if they can't get access to free games it doesn't necessarily mean they are going to turn into paying customers. Situation is basically the same as if an uncrackable DRM was made. Basically the leechers lose the source of free games.


--What if people stopped leeching?

The publishers would love this, probably. Although it would be interesting to see what their bottom lines and profit margins look like with and without leechers.

The pirates would most likely be unaffected. As long as games have DRM they are happy.

The leechers, well they aren't leeching pirated games any more so they are either buying games or finding other sources of entertainment.

The consumers may or may not benefit. Sure, the massive distribution of cracked/illegal software has been stopped. However pirates are still cracking the DRM on games and making them available to the general public. The effect on consumers will mostly be determined by whether or not the publishers decide to lessen the DRM they use in games.

Well, theres a brief (in the epoch scale) analysis of what I think would happen with the current situation. A lot to read. Even more to type. :p


The problem with this and this is a very common misperception, is that distribution is very little of the cost of a game. Developing the game is almost all of the cost. Distribution is pretty minor. So getting rid of the distribution cost doesn't really change much.


I am interested in this. Could you give more information about it? It was my assumption that developer's don't get much of the money that is paid to a shop, like EB or Gamestop, when a customer buys a game. Due to costs of creating the box and contents, producing physical copies, included extras like manual, concept art, maps, etc. , and shipping costs of getting the game from the manufacturing plant to the shop.

It is my understanding that for things like textbooks only a small percentage (~10-15%) goes to the author(s). A majority goes to the publisher and the middleman retailers and bookstores get the rest. I had assumed it was similar with retail boxed games.


This IS basic economics. However, even assuming your distribution costs are zero, in this example you would have to sell 4 times as many units. That is a huge difference to make up and probably not likely to happen. Your support costs also go up by 4 times, so even if you do break even revenue wise, your profit just went down. There are probably a bunch of other issues with more customers and low price, but I won't go into those.


I didn't factor support costs into the mix, thanks for pointing that out. I am no marketing major so calculating whether the added exposure of being on some type of downloadable game service that gamers have easy access to is going to generate enough consumers to make up the price difference is a matter of debate. I'd say for larger games that are already selling a million + copies that would be more unreasonable, however for the smaller indie teams the additional exposure and availability may make up for it or more.

Just out of curiousity, do you have any sales statistics you could post for DoP? I'd be interested in seeing what the average sells count looks like and the outlet distribution sells numbers to see where it sells the best.

Yet another long winded post by your's truely,
-rjk

scragar
10-17-2008, 01:43 AM
I am not a big fan of demos. This mainly stems from my experience with Sacred, another 'Diablo Clone' that came out a few years ago. I played the demo, it was very polished and basically bug-free. I bought the game and blood shot out of my eyes. After you left the demo area the game was totally different. Content you didn't have access to in the demo was bugged, even to the point of being unable to finish the game. Some of the bugs were incredibly simple, such as a character's stats being stored in a single byte, thus when characters gained over 255 in a stat, they wrapped back to 0. This experience has caused me to be suspect of demos.
I've had the same experience before now, a game will play great for an hour, maybe 2 in a demo, I go out and buy the real game, play it for 3 or 4 hours and it starts running slow, half an hour later the game crashes, turns out they missed a memory leak, if you don't quit back to the main menu every so often the ram requirement gets too high and it just crashes, fantastic coding(of sure, they fixed it quickly, but if I knew that would happen I would never have bought the game, atleast not till they fixed the bugs, this wasn't even covered in reviews of the game, which leads me to think either the reviewers never got the game, they played it in very short bursts, or they had way more than the 386mb of ram I had).

There is also the problem of game companies sticking all the copy protection/DRM software with the demo and install it onto your system. I am not a big fan of DRM and think it hurts the consumer more so than any pirating attempts. All DRM does is provide pirating groups with a challenging problem to overcome. I'm glad the consumer gets to pay for the increase in development costs so that pirating groups don't run out of entertainment. :p
Crackers are destructive, it's nice to give them a distraction, save them destroying something valuble, but most crackers(in general here), and imature script kiddies and the remainder are unlikely to do anything that would be noticed by most people anyway(since there are generaly 2 groups, those that don't care who knows about them, they live for the challenge, and the script kiddies, who don't fully understand what they are doing and wanna make themselves heard), so I doubt that's a problem.

I think the 2 sides is a bit too general. Perhaps 4 sides would be more accurate. The 2 main sides would be the developers/publishers and the pirates. By 'pirates' in this case I am referring to the groups that go and actually crack the games. The other classes would be 'leechers', those who download the released cracked games by the pirating groups, and the innocent consumer.I'd proberly go for more than 4 sides:

developers
crackers
customers
unwanting leaches -- they'd never buy the game anyway
gained sales -- those who buy the game after playing the pirated copy
lost sales -- those who would buy the game, but saw it on a torrent
potential sales -- those who don't buy the game because of DRM(crosses with lost sales somewhat)


In this scenario the consumers are the ones that are getting constantly screwed. They do the moral/legal thing, don't use pirated copies, and they end up getting rewarded for it with insanely restrictive DRM and licenses for it. It sucks for them, sucks to be them, and so I think they are getting somewhat pushed into becoming leeches. Perhaps legal leeches that own a copy of the game, but still also use a pirated version.

The publishers (since its usually the publishers that want DRM from what I have read) want DRM so that consumers don't become pirates themselves. They also know they can't beat the pirates, so DRM is mainly to delay the pirating until the game has a few weeks to sell. If you check out game release dates and torrent sites, you will see this is a false hope.

The pirates aren't going to stop pirating games. They do it for fun, perhaps to learn, even for respect amongst that community. The publishers put in new DRM and the pirating groups have a fun time cracking it. DRM is fuel for the pirate's hobby.

The leechers are the main ones that the publishers look at. The publisher's use the amount of leechers as the excuse for piracy. Most likely this is through ignorance, I don't know. But it isn't going anywhere good. By making more restrictive DRM, consumers start to see become a leecher as not so bad a thing. There is also the argument that due to DRM and the added complexity it brings to the program and code, cracked/pirated games are more stable. I've actually seen some proof of this myself, however I think it is more the exception than the rule.
actualy, cracked copies of games are often a lot more stable, DRM is normaly bolted on at the last minute, consumes ram and CPU cycles without doing anything productive and doesn't undergo enough testing, when it's removed things are often a lot better.
So, a couple thought experiments based on this setting of 4 groups:

--What if DRM is done away with?

The consumers would benefit, but the leechers would benefit as well. The pirates would lose out, as whats the point of pirating a game that has no protection? The publisher, from what I have seen, thinks they will also lose out because consumers would become leechers. However, Stardock and their no DRM policy provides some evidence against this mentality.
no DRM works well, piracy was very popular back with games sold on floppy disks, they still sold, remember the horrible thing that people with tapes did to radio? What about the effect of VCRs on TV? Piracy will always be a problem, but fighting piracy won't do any good.

--What if a DRM was made that couldn't be cracked?

This is the scenario in which the publisher's "win". They make a DRM that the pirates can't crack, no matter how hard they try.

Some would say the pirates lose out here, but I would argue the opposite. They now have a project to work on cracking that will last them years, so they just got hours and hours of entertainment.

The leechers will definately lose out since they can no longer get free games, although the severity of this is a matter of some debate as an unspecified number will most likely not suddenly transform into paying customers but instead go on to other free sources of entertainment.
agree with you to here, but
The consumer, do they win or lose? Most likely they lose. The DRM will probably be annoying and bulky. It may or may not provide additional security holes that hackers can use to spread malicious code. the added complexity will also most likely lower the performance of the game, depending on specific DRM implementation, and cause additional bugs and compatibility issues. Aside from these lovely 'features' added to their gaming experience, this uncrackable DRM will be costing the publisher quite a bit of money, and guess who is going to get to pay for it?

Not so happy an ending, in my opinion.
this I disagree with, uncrackable DRM is available, it's only available for online games, and is a simple idea, when a game is bought you give it a random key, when this game goes online to play it sends you the key, you keep a note of it and let them play, the instant you have 2 copies of the game with the same key you lock them both out, with a small warning, and have them wait a minute or 2 to play again, no loss if it's a mistake, massive loss to pirates(since pirated keys tend to be very popular trying to get online when 30 other people are trying will be near impossible).
Because they key is required to play online pirating the key will be hard, since the checks are performed on the server, not on the client as with conventional DRM(I recomend reading the first chapter of Content by Cory Doctorow at this point for an idea of what I mean when I say denying Bob the key -- it's available as a free PDF from his site, so no excuse for not reading it for this topic :p)
--What if pirates stop pirating?

I'm sure the publisher's would love this, although whether or not they would believe no one was intent upon cracking their game is another story. Would DRM disappear? I doubt it. The restrictive DRM seen in current games would probably disappear, substituting in a cheaper one just to keep people honest.

The pirates may or may not be losing here. If they aren't cracking games, I assume they just found something better to do with their time. I doubt the pirating community could be stomped out by any type of law enforcement agency, try as they might, so I think if pirates stop pirating it will be of their own will and not because they were forced to.

The consumers benefit here. Less DRM the better, less DRM means cheaper games, right? Probably not. But at least people that buy a game can install it more than 3 times now. :rolleyes:

The leechers would lose out, but again, if they can't get access to free games it doesn't necessarily mean they are going to turn into paying customers. Situation is basically the same as if an uncrackable DRM was made. Basically the leechers lose the source of free games.
The problem with your idea here, is that if the pirates stop pirating then some of the leachers will have a go, and honestly most DRM isn't hard to crack.
--What if people stopped leeching?

The publishers would love this, probably. Although it would be interesting to see what their bottom lines and profit margins look like with and without leechers.

The pirates would most likely be unaffected. As long as games have DRM they are happy.

The leechers, well they aren't leeching pirated games any more so they are either buying games or finding other sources of entertainment.

The consumers may or may not benefit. Sure, the massive distribution of cracked/illegal software has been stopped. However pirates are still cracking the DRM on games and making them available to the general public. The effect on consumers will mostly be determined by whether or not the publishers decide to lessen the DRM they use in games.

Well, theres a brief (in the epoch scale) analysis of what I think would happen with the current situation. A lot to read. Even more to type. :p
well without leachers the pirates would stop making the game public, it's because lots of people download it that they pirate things, it's not because they want it to be free, but because they want people to know they cracked it(how rare is it you see a torrent without someone accredited for it? Not often I'll bet)

I am interested in this. Could you give more information about it? It was my assumption that developer's don't get much of the money that is paid to a shop, like EB or Gamestop, when a customer buys a game. Due to costs of creating the box and contents, producing physical copies, included extras like manual, concept art, maps, etc. , and shipping costs of getting the game from the manufacturing plant to the shop.

It is my understanding that for things like textbooks only a small percentage (~10-15%) goes to the author(s). A majority goes to the publisher and the middleman retailers and bookstores get the rest. I had assumed it was similar with retail boxed games.
I'm with you on this, although I understand development is a majority of the costs I don't think that the middle men selling something on their behalf is exactly cheap though, would be intresting to hear more on this.

I didn't factor support costs into the mix, thanks for pointing that out. I am no marketing major so calculating whether the added exposure of being on some type of downloadable game service that gamers have easy access to is going to generate enough consumers to make up the price difference is a matter of debate. I'd say for larger games that are already selling a million + copies that would be more unreasonable, however for the smaller indie teams the additional exposure and availability may make up for it or more.
hmn, support costs for software are pretty high, and there's always the chance that you'll wonder into the domain of the stupid user who needs far more support than you'll want(I've had people put through to me for some daft reasons, one user wanted to complain to me in person that at no point in my docs or software did I explain that usernames and passwords should be memorised. I'm sure comments like that waste a lot of support time, since you can't ignore the user, but at the same time they will need talking through everything, step at a time...)

Just out of curiousity, do you have any sales statistics you could post for DoP? I'd be interested in seeing what the average sells count looks like and the outlet distribution sells numbers to see where it sells the best.

Yet another long winded post by your's truely,
-rjk
I don't think it's nice to be posting average sales etc, it would be nice to just see a comparative chart of sales(pie or bar char without labels on the y axis) etc.


Nice read BTW.

Shadow
10-17-2008, 01:40 PM
I am interested in this. Could you give more information about it? It was my assumption that developer's don't get much of the money that is paid to a shop, like EB or Gamestop, when a customer buys a game. Due to costs of creating the box and contents, producing physical copies, included extras like manual, concept art, maps, etc. , and shipping costs of getting the game from the manufacturing plant to the shop.

It is my understanding that for things like textbooks only a small percentage (~10-15%) goes to the author(s). A majority goes to the publisher and the middleman retailers and bookstores get the rest. I had assumed it was similar with retail boxed games.

Well you are talking about 2 different things here. The actual game box/distribution tends to be a few dollars a box. So that part isn't too much of the overall cost/price.

Now if you are talking about who makes money from each sale, then yes the retailer, distributor, and the publisher all take their cut before the developer gets anything. We make a LOT more per sale from our website than we do through a retail sale or even a portal sale.

Just out of curiousity, do you have any sales statistics you could post for DoP? I'd be interested in seeing what the average sells count looks like and the outlet distribution sells numbers to see where it sells the best.

I can't really be specific. In general, unfortunately retail still far outsells online distribution.

rjk2008
10-20-2008, 11:16 AM
Well you are talking about 2 different things here. The actual game box/distribution tends to be a few dollars a box. So that part isn't too much of the overall cost/price.

Now if you are talking about who makes money from each sale, then yes the retailer, distributor, and the publisher all take their cut before the developer gets anything. We make a LOT more per sale from our website than we do through a retail sale or even a portal sale.


This was what I was thinking of. Basically, if there is an easy system in which you could distribute your program P2P and get most of the profit (while paying a small fee to a company like Vuze that is hosting/advertising the software and has a massive consumer base to start with) perhaps charging less with the expectation of getting more sells to make up for it would be a viable strategy. Basically, cut out the middlemen that are making the price so high.

Regards,
rjk

Kruztee
10-20-2008, 12:09 PM
I can't really be specific. In general, unfortunately retail still far outsells online distribution.

Crikey, I haven't bought software in a box in over two years! People still do that?:D