The Needles: How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

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The Needles: How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

BioShock 2's installation limits were scaled back to... different installation limits?

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I totally agree. They haven't scaled back shit. It's insulting that they think we're this stupid.

It's a sad fact of life these days that the way most companies work is to treat its staff and customers like morons - and its partially their fault because all the company execs see are morons in their dealings.

"I fell on a piece of wet floor and was awarded Umpty thousand pounds!" - Why the eff didn't you look where you were going?

So, legislation has to come in protecting companies from morons, and in the most Orwellian manner, that means rules and regulations to protect the "rights" of the company against the "rights" of the individual.

Which means we all lose.

But we can't be moaning about it, oh no, because that means we're world wide whingers, and that has it's own little hate faction already to tell us off because they've had to deal with that for ages.

The time of the carrot has long since passed. Now it's only the stick, and you have to pay to get beaten.

Just as a basic metaphor:
Imagine if you bought a book at full price that had a few pages missing but they were promised to be released later.
Then you had to ring up the book owners to tell them you could start reading it. And you could only read it if they were awake.
Then you could only read it a few times and no-one else could read it.
(Actually this is starting to sound like a Kindle)
And you could only read it at home.

OR...you could pay a guy to photocopy the pages of the book, along with a synopsis, the author's details, what the prevailing mood of the book is and he'd thrown in a first draft from the author.

Even if you are 100% down-the-line legal, doesn't the latter look so much more inviting?

The reason piracy exists is that it's easier to pirate the game than purchase & play it normally. Until you can produce a DRM that makes the legal copy easier to use than the pirated copy, then you're just giving the pirates a free ride.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought "oh...thanks for nothing" when they announced they were replacing the installation limits with... installation limits...

I'm not against piracy protection. I encourage it. I disagree with you that Steam was the "root of all evil" that are DRMs schams. That's like blaming 9/11 on the guy that invented jumbo jets.

However I stand heavily against all forms of installation limits on principle. Partially because I'm paranoid, but mostly because I BOUGHT THE FUCKING GAME, I DIDN'T RENT IT. If I wanted to rent a game I'd subscribe to an MMO. This "installation limit" crap does nothing if not inconvenience the legitimate customer AND MAKE IT BETTER FOR THE PIRATES. This is as backwards as it gets. The pirate gets the game for free -AND- doesn't have to deal with the installation limits bullshit... It's like they're asking us to fuck them over.

This whole move by the Bioshock team, however, was dishonest at best. It reeks of the P.R. team trying desperately to avoid a nightmare by tossing Windows Live the hotpotato...

Probably not going to be touching this one anytime soon.

Ps: If I were you I wouldn't be very optimistic. Look at how successful recent piles of tripe were: Transformers movies, Twilight books and movies, MWII... People like it, it's the only explanation.

It's a shame "day one DLC" only gets a passing mention. "Digital distribution", which is being pushed as the "next big thing" for console gaming, is the way they've been forcing DRM into the console world as well (you can't sell, rent, trade, or borrow an Xbox Live Arcade game either, and Microsoft controls where or how many times you can install them -- same with Sony and the PSN, or Nintendo and WiiWare).

It used to be that you could avoid this by sticking to games on a physical disc, but tying DLC to a "first purchase" is just their way of shoving their control out to discs as well.

I'll be in that same "tempted to yell 'I told you so!'" boat when they start making this "DLC" an essential part of the game, rather than just an alleged "bonus".

The Title was my thoughts exactly when I saw the article.

They do all of this to avoid pirating... but frankly, all I'm seeing is more and more reason to pirate.

They do all of this... always inconveniencing the customer, never the pirate. I've only bought games with reasonable DRM. I bought Bioshock TWICE (when the DRM was sort of removed), I've bought STALKER shadow of chernobyl atleast 4 times, I bought Fallout 3, Supcom, many many more. But these titles the horrid DRM? None of them. I had a pre-order for Bioshock 2, when I found out about the DRM I cancelled my pre-order and searched for a couple of good torrent sites.

The whole "Loss of potential profit" thing is bullshit as is. Nor is it an excuse for such horrible DRM. Face it companies, if someone has never bought a game before, they wouldn't have payed for your game either way, even if pirating was impossible.

And then THIS, where they try to make it look like they're "Caving in" when they are actually just putting the blame on some one else... I'm never buying another 2K game because of this bullshit.

2K is now up there with Ubisoft, and EA.

shit at this rate I'm going to run out of game companies.

Who wouldn't want to pay the same ammount of money you used to pay to own a game to buy a restrictive license to play it instead?

I have to say I'm eternally grateful for things like Good Old Games.

Each time I see ridiculous methods of DRM being forced on PC gamers, I make a vow to buy more DRM-free GOG games, or DRM-free/light (just a CD key for example) indie games.

We've had years of various over-restrictive DRM methods, with no effect on pirates but plenty of adverse effects on paying customers. Now, the big idea is to shift towards Steam type "services", with Games for Windows Live, EA DLC (DA:O, ME2), new battle.net and so on. This is just a different type of DRM, and I don't like it. What's even worse is that the old DRM methods remain, but these new ones are added on top! Lets not forget the farce that was GTA4...

[edit] to answer your question "How Dumb Do They Think We Are?", I would imagine "very". I hope that we don't collectively prove them right.

So to "solve the problem" it seems all they did was sack one company and put it the hand of another? Doesn't look like you solved the problem at all. If you wanna stop people from Pirating do what they did with Batman Arkham Asylum and make so parts of the game don't function as properly as if you bought it with legal tender like printed bills

I can't help but to wonder how much a game would lose by not having anything in the way of SecuROM, DRM, online activation, etc. I doubt that they would lose any amount of money worthy of mentioning when you take into consideration the amount of money used to put this in the game.

Ah well, I'm certainly no expert in the area (hell, I'm not even a PC gamer) so I'm probably talking out of my ass right now. Enlightening read.
Have I ever mentioned that "bamboozle" is probably my favourite word in the English language?

dududf:
The Title was my thoughts exactly when I saw the article.

They do all of this to avoid pirating... but frankly, all I'm seeing is more and more reason to pirate.

They do all of this... always inconveniencing the customer, never the pirate. I've only bought games with reasonable DRM. I bought Bioshock TWICE (when the DRM was sort of removed), I've bought STALKER shadow of chernobyl atleast 4 times, I bought Fallout 3, Supcom, many many more. But these titles the horrid DRM? None of them. I had a pre-order for Bioshock 2, when I found out about the DRM I cancelled my pre-order and searched for a couple of good torrent sites.

The whole "Loss of potential profit" thing is bullshit as is. Nor is it an excuse for such horrible DRM. Face it companies, if someone has never bought a game before, they wouldn't have payed for your game either way, even if pirating was impossible.

And then THIS, where they try to make it look like they're "Caving in" when they are actually just putting the blame on some one else... I'm never buying another 2K game because of this bullshit.

2K is now up there with Ubisoft, and EA.

shit at this rate I'm going to run out of game companies.

That's a false assumption. If someone is interested in playing the game, three things can happen:

1. They buy the game.
2. They pirate the game.
3. They go without the game.

Let's assume there's an even distribution, so 1/3 buy, 1/3 pirate, and 1/3 go without. Do you really believe that all of the 1/3 who pirate would go without if pirating were unavailable?

Do we really honestly believe that the people who pirate games are too poor (or don't like games enough) to buy the games if they had to?

Some portion of pirates would buy the games if they had to. That means that the existence of pirating does eliminate some stream of income for the company. QED.

Answer: Very dumb indeed. We are not gamers to them, just numbers. Cattle ready to be farmed. Those "geniuses" want to get money from us without even trying. Rather than realizing that ENCOURAGING gamers to become pirates must be one of the dumbest decisions ever in the history of games' marketing (alongside acting contrary to their customers wishes), they insist on doing their own crap NOT realizing (or refusing to realize) that they will be brought closer and closer to their own doom.

Seldon2639:

dududf:
The Title was my thoughts exactly when I saw the article.

They do all of this to avoid pirating... but frankly, all I'm seeing is more and more reason to pirate.

They do all of this... always inconveniencing the customer, never the pirate. I've only bought games with reasonable DRM. I bought Bioshock TWICE (when the DRM was sort of removed), I've bought STALKER shadow of chernobyl atleast 4 times, I bought Fallout 3, Supcom, many many more. But these titles the horrid DRM? None of them. I had a pre-order for Bioshock 2, when I found out about the DRM I cancelled my pre-order and searched for a couple of good torrent sites.

The whole "Loss of potential profit" thing is bullshit as is. Nor is it an excuse for such horrible DRM. Face it companies, if someone has never bought a game before, they wouldn't have payed for your game either way, even if pirating was impossible.

And then THIS, where they try to make it look like they're "Caving in" when they are actually just putting the blame on some one else... I'm never buying another 2K game because of this bullshit.

2K is now up there with Ubisoft, and EA.

shit at this rate I'm going to run out of game companies.

That's a false assumption. If someone is interested in playing the game, three things can happen:

1. They buy the game.
2. They pirate the game.
3. They go without the game.

Let's assume there's an even distribution, so 1/3 buy, 1/3 pirate, and 1/3 go without. Do you really believe that all of the 1/3 who pirate would go without if pirating were unavailable?

Do we really honestly believe that the people who pirate games are too poor (or don't like games enough) to buy the games if they had to?

Some portion of pirates would buy the games if they had to. That means that the existence of pirating does eliminate some stream of income for the company. QED.

That being said, do you think pirates will buy the game if they can't pirate it?

I think that's also an equally silly statement.

Seldon2639:

That's a false assumption.

Which you then "prove" by two assumptions and a speculation of your own.

QED.

Abusus non tollit usum.

dududf:

That being said, do you think pirates will buy the game if they can't pirate it?

I think that's also an equally silly statement.

Do I think all of them will? No. Do I think some of them will: yes.

And, not for nothing, but isn't there also a fairness issue here? Economics aside, how is it reasonable that people are being allowed to use (without paying) something that other people worked long and hard on?

Nimbus:
I totally agree. They haven't scaled back shit. It's insulting that they think we're this stupid.

Unfortunatly it seems to be the way they are treating us as of late and its really annoying.

Nicely written and wlel pointed article Andy

It is a switch-a-roo.

But really, who needs 15 activations? Or even 5? They should allow 2 activations, and provide deactivations. And phone support for deactivations in the case of HDD crashes. As long as the process is easy and automated, there is no problem.

There are much bigger problems with PC gaming than software activation.

No Andy I disagree, they haven't shot themselves in the foot. They are up to the bloody stumps that remain of their knee caps.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Seldon2639:

That's a false assumption.

Which you then "prove" by two assumptions and a speculation of your own.

QED.

Abusus non tollit usum.

1. Some portion of the gaming population pirates games
2. Some portion of the population which pirates games would buy those games if pirating were not an option.
3. Therefore, pirating does remove some income stream from gaming companies.

The part of that syllogism which is debatable is the second part. The conclusion follows logically if the assumptions are sound.

If you don't believe any pirates would buy the games if they could not pirate, that's fine, but then the argument is only over that question.

Abusus non tollit usum.

Yes and no. Abuse does not remove legitimate use, but what is "legitimate"? If one defines a legitimate use of a game as "unlimited personal use on the individual system for which you bought the game, without the ability to copy, have more than one concurrent installation, or share", then the abuse of those provisions which had previously not enforced the purely legitimate use is now causing a crackdown on all illegitimate use

This is why PC gaming is going down the toilet, I've noticed in my local video game shops, theres like 2 shelves for PC games ( not counting the 'budget' games, new games. ) and about 10-20 for x-box ( Retor and 360 ) and for Playstation ( PS3 and PS2 ) also for the Wii and DS games, kinda sad really.

Seldon2639:

dududf:

That being said, do you think pirates will buy the game if they can't pirate it?

I think that's also an equally silly statement.

Do I think all of them will? No. Do I think some of them will: yes.

And, not for nothing, but isn't there also a fairness issue here? Economics aside, how is it reasonable that people are being allowed to use (without paying) something that other people worked long and hard on?

I'm not here to argue the morals of piracy.

It can be viewed as a form of protest.

I mainly use it, if I wanna give a game a try, or something major is inhibiting my purchase or most of the time To find out if I like the damn thing. all games that I liked and pirated I've purchased.

Every single damn one, even obscure ones (Evil Genius anyone?).

And now we're swerving off topic.

OT:

Why should we purchase something that assumes that everyone is a pirate? And even then only punishes the legit customers.

I will NEVER buy a game, that has stupid DRM included. Regardless. If Half Life 2 Episode 3 came out tomorrow I would say "Fuck it" and just wikipedia the plot and be satisfied.

Also...

The_root_of_all_evil:

Seldon2639:

That's a false assumption.

Which you then "prove" by two assumptions and a speculation of your own.

QED.

Abusus non tollit usum.

He has a point. You countered my assumption with another assumption.

God I'm/your funny. Both of us swinging our assumptions around as if they are proper representations.

Kojiro ftt:
It is a switch-a-roo.

But really, who needs 15 activations? Or even 5? They should allow 2 activations, and provide deactivations. And phone support for deactivations in the case of HDD crashes. As long as the process is easy and automated, there is no problem.

There are much bigger problems with PC gaming than software activation.

Quoted for Truth

If the issue is "I need to be able to reinstall if I change computers" do it the same way Itunes does. If the issue is "I need more than one computer to have it, 'cause I have more than one", have two or three activations.

But all of those arguments sound like a smokescreen to me.

Seldon2639:
QED

Please don't use that term when you don't prove anything. I have no ligitimate reason for asking this. It just seems to offend me for some reason (I am not being sarcastic or anything. I really don't know why).

as for the DRM: Making DRM frontloaded will do nothing to halt piracy. If the copy is checked for authenticity when the game starts it is very easy (relatively speaking) for the crackers to bypass or remove the check. The check should instead happen while you play the game. If the check says the game is pirated a variable will shift. The variable will then block some important bit of gameplay... say the ability to glide. Then you put in a couple of more of these each with its own check variable and effect.

This will not stop the pirating but it will slow it down for a time and more importantly it will cause no inconvenience to the customer - I think.

Well I've always been against games which aren't simply insert, install and play.

If the installation limit isn't theirs' it raises the question of why they have one at all.

Really piracy isn't being prevented no matter what the protection on the game and developers are still enjoying commercial success. In fact Stardock have already shown that there is little difference between requiring a disc to play and no disc at all. Which is infinitely more convenient than having to keep a disc on hand, or even loading a separate application before booting your game.

I get the feeling that copy-protection isn't much more than a measure taken by executives who are ignoring the fact that the net effect of their "protection" is nothing, except perhaps some gamer backlash.

I wouldn't be angry if the DRM actually worked, but it doesn't so its ridiculous.

I've said it before and I will say it again: Piracy is an industry straw man - DRM is only marketed as anti-piracy, the real goal is to cut down secondary sales and starve the second-hand games market. Pirates just help that goal along by providing a convenient target that also lets publishers take the moral high ground.

A lesson to learn. Never ever put DRM on a game that is extremely easy to pirate (That is, single player games, online features are bare to nil on them). It's doable on a multiplayer game, since pirates can't pass the protection on the servers for long, but a single player, that's gonna hurt your sales.

This is so much like the last BioShock fiasco. Confusion. Flamewars. Changing policies that don't really change. 2kElizabeth out in front, talking nonsense and taking heat for the decision-makers:

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1290

What a stupid, pointless mess.

The original BioShock still requires activation today, even though the game isn't even on the shelves anymore and the only place you can get the game is used or from the pirates. Even if you're ignorant enough to think that DRM fights piracy, there are no longer any sales to protect. Yet legit users are STILL bearing the burden of that rotten system.

Seldon2639:

If you don't believe any pirates would buy the games if they could not pirate, that's fine, but then the argument is only over that question.

However, you are also using Occam's Razor to devolve the debate, what about the extra piracy that DRM adds due to problems in the user base?
Or the extra PR gained by the pirated code being available?
Or the pirates that then purchase the game because of altruism?

Any debate can be black and white as long as you don't take any notice of the grayscale.

I thought the big thing about SecuROM wasn't that it's DRM (Steam is technically a form of DRM too) but that it's "malware" that actually messes with your computer somehow. Or was that just rhetoric?

Also, the Steam entry for Bioshock 2 has removed the "Third Party DRM" tag, but changed the line about install limits to "SecuROM offers unlimited activations on up to 5 PCs." Uhh... so did they get rid of SecuROM or didn't they, and why did the activations drop from 15 to 5?!?

Steve the Pocket:
I thought the big thing about SecuROM wasn't that it's DRM (Steam is technically a form of DRM too) but that it's "malware" that actually messes with your computer somehow. Or was that just rhetoric?

The thing is that it can, and often does, and you've allowed it to do so via the EULA. Thus allowing the DRM to scrag your computer in violation of some country's Data Protection Laws.

DirectX had these problems when it was first released. Norton still has them.

How do you produce statistics on how effective DRM is though? Because if you could find out how many pirates there were on your system, you wouldn't need it in the first place.

Seldon2639:

That's a false assumption. If someone is interested in playing the game, three things can happen:

1. They buy the game.
2. They pirate the game.
3. They go without the game.

Let's assume there's an even distribution, so 1/3 buy, 1/3 pirate, and 1/3 go without. Do you really believe that all of the 1/3 who pirate would go without if pirating were unavailable?

Do we really honestly believe that the people who pirate games are too poor (or don't like games enough) to buy the games if they had to?

Some portion of pirates would buy the games if they had to. That means that the existence of pirating does eliminate some stream of income for the company. QED.

You know what we do know?

- Those people DO exist. We know there are people who just don't wanna pay for it, and there are people who simply can't pay for it, or honestly wouldn't buy it anyways. How many of which? Nobody knows.
- A copy pirated is NOT a copy not sold. Pirating costs nothing, buying costs money. So while people who pirate may not have bought the game otherwise, you can be sure a certain number of people wouldn't have bought it otherwise. Saying 1 pirated copy = 1 lost sale is the same as saying if you gave out 10 million Ferraris for FREE today, they should be selling 10 million a day otherwise.
- Piracy creates publicity through the most effective means in the business - word of mouth. Simple effect. The more people have something the more they talk about it as common interest.
- All numbers on the matter are random guesses. For either sides. You have sales numbers, and even those are very fishy, and often unreleased. Everything else is speculation.

Piracy DOES affect the industry, positively and negatively... But here's the kicker: nobody, not one person, has the slightest idea what the final math comes down to. Anyone who tells you they do is lying.

Shamus Young:
This is so much like the last BioShock fiasco. Confusion. Flamewars. Changing policies that don't really change. 2kElizabeth out in front, talking nonsense and taking heat for the decision-makers:

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1290

What a stupid, pointless mess.

The original BioShock still requires activation today, even though the game isn't even on the shelves anymore and the only place you can get the game is used or from the pirates. Even if you're ignorant enough to think that DRM fights piracy, there are no longer any sales to protect. Yet legit users are STILL bearing the burden of that rotten system.

What bogs my mind is that apparently companies still think this kind of DRM inconveniences anyone but the legitimate customer.

This kind of aggressive DRM has an assbackwards logic from the start: Instead of rewarding your legitimate customer you try to inconvenience them... Because clearly the people who reverse engineered and rendered useless your last 20 attempts to stop them will just give up now.

I'll say it again, it's like these companies are asking us: "PLEASE! Please screw us over!".

DRM has one main problem, companies assume it can't be bypassed or circumvented by any means, and that it would enforce the players to only be able to obtain the product by making 1 or more "legitimate purchases" of the title... and ladies and gentleman this is a big pile of horse manure they are trying to feed both the buyers and themselves.

As I said before I live in Venezuela, over here it is not rare that a PC game goes for, roughly, 130 bucks at release date, and they DON'T get cheaper as time goes as it happens in other countries. Given that the average outcome over here is 600 a month you can see the problem.

Most (if not all) PC gamers over here rely on piracy by downloading the title themselves or even buying bootleg copies, witch can be bought for about 15 to 30 dollars depending on the title and/or seller... and most of the bootleggers Remove the DRM from the game. Hell piracy over here is so organized that stores/sellers (mostly stands/kiosks) offer Guarantee over their bootlegs, and that includes the bypassing of the DRM! (yes this is a rather weird country)

However, I can see the problem, with the increase of DRM the companies alienate the buyers, either because they DON'T want to re-buy a game just because installing limits, the secuROM/ whatever other software the companies put in utterly screws their machines, leading to data, time and money lost... and that's only two reasons I can come up with from the top of my head.

My point is, how long before the companies realize that if they keep this up they could be seeing the kind of thing that happens over here in my country spreading farther? most PC buyers purposely AVOID DRM-protected games already, when are they going to realize this hurts them where they feel it the most, their profits?

gee this just gets me to consider ... quitting gaming ... WTF i hear you say ? ... it's getting so technical that it will be too expensive to play anymore ... they are going to go digtal someday just because of one thing .... M-O-N-E-Y ... they lose lots through piracy and don't want to share ... yeah it's bullshit

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