Piracy Numbers

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Piracy Numbers

Shamus provides some hard data on videogame piracy.

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Good, so no more silly piracy rants from now on, OK Shamus?

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How big of you to make that claim.

Just about what I thought. Pirates pirate, no matter the protection. Simple enough.

More DRM = fewer sales? Likely.

More DRM costs more to implement? Likely.

Bother with DRM? I wouldn't - offer continued support with additional content (over TIME, not at release) to encourage people to buy.

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How accurate of you to make that claim. You have peered into my very soul.

Fixed.

Honestly, llaf, you respond to that by taking a potshot at him, and it's a no win. You post like a jerk and you're reinforcing that statistic. You post opposition to that statistic and you're reinforcing that you're in that demographic. The only way you can come across as something other than a jerk is to post either a) articulatly, or b) not at all.

Starke:

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How accurate of you to make that claim. (Case in point)

Fixed.

Uh, case in point? I'm a jerk for being opposed to sweeping statements about people whose single universally common trait is an arguably immoral act?

That's some ridiculous numbers.

And to think, I love Stardock and actually paid for Entrepreneur and The Corporate Machine...

How can we tell them that the PC is still worth developing for? Buying more games? Thanks to steam, I just play a lot of demos and I hardly find something that screams to me "This is incredible, pre-purchase now."

Even indie games are great, but I bought Trine on sale - does this really help the developers? I'm not pirating it, but buying it at 75% off, how can they profit from me being a thrifty shopper? As a gamer, I don't like to spend a shit ton of money. A friend of mine bought Zombie Driver, and he and I had great fun with it - we went over to his house, and we played through it, alternating turns when we died and whatnot...And we loved it - but it was done in like 3 hours.

He felt ripped off that he spent 20 bucks on 3 hours of gameplay, and I wouldn't pay more than 5 dollars for that game, because I can get a movie ticket for 5 bucks around here for almost the same amount of time done.

It's a great game, I had fun, I enjoyed it, but no free-roam, only one city, no map editor, no DLC, etc...Why wouldn't someone pirate it?

A lot of demos I play (Eufloria, Metal Drift, Zombie Driver) give away a large portion of the gameplay, and I would like it to be significantly improved when I purchase the real thing - else I'll just wait for it to go on sale and that probably won't really help any developers, publishers, or the industry in general, even though I want to make an impact.

Should I just mail Stardock a 50 dollar check?

llafnwod:

Starke:

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How accurate of you to make that claim. (Case in point)

Fixed.

Uh, case in point? I'm a jerk for being opposed to sweeping statements about people whose single universally common trait is an arguably immoral act?

Nothing arguable about it. People in the revolutions never claim their actions aren't radical. Pirates cannot claim their actions aren't STEALING.

Still we have a vicious circle, more DRM = more Pirates, more Pirates = More DRM

I bought spore, and also downloaded the pirated copy. Mainly because of all the shit the securom did to my system.

Sadly, publisher's just can't get their heads around the fact that their games will always get pirated. No matter what.

Movies and music get pirated all the damn time, arguably more than games. And yet they don't impliment mandatory online activation or whathaveyou.

llafnwod:

Starke:

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How accurate of you to make that claim. (Case in point)

Fixed.

Uh, case in point? I'm a jerk for being opposed to sweeping statements about people whose single universally common trait is an arguably immoral act?

What's arguable about it?

They steal.

OT: Some interesting points. The whole thing is doing my head in, because no-one will relent. Publishers won't with the DRM (well, some have) and the pirates just don't give a shit.

If you can't get rid of piracy (you can't), then you need to make things more appealing to get legit buyers more interested in buying your games. Then make the service you provide better (i.e. not DRM).

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How big of you to make that claim.

Not paying for something that it cost money and peoples' hard work to make is pretty jerk-y to me.

You know, I find these numbers very hard to take seriously.

For one, I know a number of people who have gone from pirated to proper copy. And a number who played pirated to get past the DRM (especially the constant disc/net checks).

But let's take the bookies favourite, Mewtwo.

Now, given our 90% piracy rate, (And in Mewtwo - it's almost likely to be higher) that means that of the figures they have

wiki:
4.7 million sales - and allegedly pirated 4.1 million times(PC) and nearly a million times (Xbox)

Hold on....that looks suspiciously like 50/50.

Never mind, let's look at the comeback. RRP was 55, but we know damn well that almost no-one bought it at that...best figure I can come up with was an average price of around 40.

So Infinity Ward should have made 220 million, made 170 odd million, and claim they should have made (90% piracy) 2.2 billion.

Now, figures don't really add up here, because it's fair to assume that 90% of the people who bought/pirated MewTwo (And remember it has a wonderful anti-piracy DRM that was cracked within days) were able to get online.

That means (90% Piracy) 40 million different players joined in. Which is basically the population of England, Ireland and Scotland. (UK is 62 mil)

Now if all of these games have roughly 90% piracy at all times...that means that for every new person who wants to play it, 9 pirates will also want to play it.

This seems less like hard data, and more like mass exaggeration.

I've bought and paid for every game I've ever played. When I worked at a popular retail computer outlet and saw rampant piracy on a daily basis, I would still proudly buy the game and say "no thank you" as the tech guys offered to give (steal) me a copy.

What did the DRM that came along do for me? Well I stopped playing PC games at all. The hassles of being pestered by something even though I've always gone the prim and proper route soured me on the whole experience.

Point of this story? Well obviously I'm just offering a self-righteous rant to make myself feel superior. But maybe next time you make a column like this, you can have one category for me.

This is a good article. It points out the failings of DRM, and says you have to ignore pirates rather than fight them.

CommyGingerbreadMan:

llafnwod:

Starke:

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How accurate of you to make that claim. (Case in point)

Fixed.

Uh, case in point? I'm a jerk for being opposed to sweeping statements about people whose single universally common trait is an arguably immoral act?

Nothing arguable about it. People in the revolutions never claim their actions aren't radical. Pirates cannot claim their actions aren't STEALING.

In a lot of cases, yeah, they can. I torrented Psychonauts, The Longest Journey, and The Witcher, games I would not have bought had they not been "freely" available, and have since purchased all three of them. I got ICO for the PS2 since acquiring it "legitimately" through eBay would have cost at least one hundred USD more than retail price, precisely 0% of which would have gone to the developers.

How many people use the pirated version as an extended demo?

Actually, back when I pirated things (I don't anymore) that's pretty much exactly what I did. I pirated games, and if I liked them enough to keep playing them, I almost always (I'd say 94% of the time, depended on how easy the game is to acquire) I bought them, usually digitally.

I wasn't using that as an weak excuse either, I'd say of all the games I downloaded, roughly 150 or so, about 75% of them ended up getting liked by me and bought at a later time.

And I never seeded.

Just another anecdote to counter yours, it isn't data as you said, just making sure both sides of the argument are represented. I'm not condoning piracy either.

And I'd still be termed a pirate by the industry, although I gave up on it last year.

Am I a jerk?

*weeps*

I'm starting to wonder if publishers like Ubisoft even understand how piracy works. All it takes is ONE GUY to crack the DRM, and then it's available to anyone; the DRM is useless after that. Like you said, how can DRM do anything if pirates aren't even affected by it?

Great article, and in fact I find this whole topic fascinating, if only for how dumb it is. Publishers really don't seem to understand what they're up against.

You guys(pirates) just got slapped in this article just pointing this out.

Better get some first aid for all that butthurt.

Woodsey:

OT: Some interesting points. The whole thing is doing my head in, because no-one will relent. Publishers won't with the DRM (well, some have) and the pirates just don't give a shit.

If you can't get rid of piracy (you can't), then you need to make things more appealing to get legit buyers more interested in buying your games. Then make the service you provide better (i.e. not DRM).

What bothers me the most is that DRM is only affecting the paying customers, and not pirates.

Why should I suffer because my neighbor pirate?
In all honesty, it makes me more likely to pirate [insert random game publisher here]'s next release, or boycott the game and company altogether.

I mean, why should i pay for an inferior product when my pirating neighbor get's the "good" version for free?

DRM has only on purpose, and that is to (hopefully) slow down the crackers so much that more people buy the game before it is available on torrent sites.
And this does not seem to be working, as new releases by [insert random game publisher here] are often on torrent sites before the game is even in stores!

In short, DRM is meaingless and pisses of your paying customers.
Please stop it.

Okay...

Demigod: DOTA players were angry/curious someone was trying to sell a dumbed down version of a free warcraft 3 map. The rest likely wouldn't have known it existed if not for sites like rlslog.net
World of goo: None of the people that pirated it would've known it even existed if not for sites like rlslog.net publishing the fact it was "cracked." Quotes, as it game didn't use any drm.
Ricochet infinity: same as world of goo...
That iphone app: Its a goddamn iphone app. They're charging for flash games. Most the time it isn't even an original product, but a port of a free game.

To attempt to offer some "converse" to this... now, please god don't shoot me for posting this, I know the source could be called, at best, biased, but... http://www.rlslog.net/piracy-isnt-that-bad-and-they-know-it/ God, the fucking url is even misleading. Its an email from the makers of a movie called "man from earth." They slapped it together from almost nothing and it didn't even get that much attention on the indie-film circuit. Due to "piracy," the film received pretty massive attention. They've re-released the film on bluray, they're doing well thanks to something demonized by massive corporations.

I am not in any way affiliated with any website mentioned.

How many pirates are jerks?
100%

What about the people that pirate old games that cost a bazillion bucks on E-bay?

The 90% number is fudged by the developers.

The_root_of_all_evil:

wiki:
4.7 million sales - and allegedly pirated 4.1 million times(PC) and nearly a million times (Xbox)

Like this example, they look at the numbers and then tell people that 4.1 is about 90% of 4.7, zomg our games have 90% piracy!

Wicky_42:
Just about what I thought. Pirates pirate, no matter the protection. Simple enough.

With one big exception. Pirates had a hard time breaking through StarForce. Their response, a whispering campaign against it on the internet that still paints StarForce as the Anti-Christ of gaming. (It wasn't a perfect DRM, but it did actually stop them, and it was a hell of a lot less invasive then SecurRom's 1 activation ever limit.)

More DRM = fewer sales? Likely.

Pretty much a given. And, as Shamus admitted, DRMs can actually motivate piracy, ex: Spore.

More DRM costs more to implement? Likely.

Not likely. This is a fact. SecurRom, TAGES and the rest are all produced by third party security companies. These companies license their security software the same way Epic Games licenses the Unreal engine, for money. So, yeah, DRM systems cost money to implement.

Bother with DRM? I wouldn't - offer continued support with additional content (over TIME, not at release) to encourage people to buy.

What EA is doing does seem like a good solution, not a perfect one, mind you, but a good one. Steam being another good option, where you have a lot of service options added in via the distribution system. As for getting the companies to ditch the DRMs? That's a tougher sale. Consider it in this way, you own a shop in a shitty neighborhood, no matter what you do, your store will be broken into every night. Now, you can either put expensive locks on the doors, which will be broken every night, or no locks. As an economic choice it seems like the expensive locks don't make sense, but, could you really walk out every evening without locking the door? The publishers are kind of in that situation. They know it doesn't make a difference, but they want to believe that it does.

llafnwod:

Uh, case in point? I'm a jerk for being opposed to sweeping statements about people whose single universally common trait is an arguably immoral act?

Put it this way, if you don't pirate, you're victimized by the DRMs that are designed to slow down or inhibit them. If they didn't exist there'd be no need for such things, hence, Jerks. By definition they are taking someone elses work without paying for it, ergo, Jerks. Piracy rates have lead to the destruction of the PC gaming market and forced numerous gamers to move over to consoles, forcing us to give up our prefered gaming format, hence, Jerks. And finally, I've yet to meet a pirate online who is appologetic for their actions, they're always very quick to paint themselves as goddamn Robin Hoods stealing from the evil rich corporations and giving to themselves... what... wait a minute... hence, Jerks.

Please stop with the piracy articles. I am really sorry but you keep saying the same thing over and over again. I want your views on something that hasnt been beaten to a fine paste put on the burnt toast known as society and digested by our multi-tasking computer like brains.

Like maybe what would happen if brain eating aliens came to earth during the zombie apocalypse?

How effective is Steam integration in reducing piracy? I've never heard the numbers on a game released exclusively through steam (or requiring steam to play online). Did TF2 or L4D have substantial piracy rates (a la Spore or Demigod)?

Resistance is futile.

Starke:
Put it this way, if you don't pirate, you're victimized by the DRMs that are designed to slow down or inhibit them. If they didn't exist there'd be no need for such things, hence, Jerks. By definition they are taking someone elses work without paying for it, ergo, Jerks. Piracy rates have lead to the destruction of the PC gaming market and forced numerous gamers to move over to consoles, forcing us to give up our prefered gaming format, hence, Jerks. And finally, I've yet to meet a pirate online who is appologetic for their actions, they're always very quick to paint themselves as goddamn Robin Hoods stealing from the evil rich corporations and giving to themselves... what... wait a minute... hence, Jerks.

Thing is, Piracy is a red herring. Right now its being used to justify destroying the used game market. Something large publishers have been trying to do for decades. Hell, if you remember back before even the "For the low low price of $599!" fiasco, the sony studio heads were musing on a method to "brand" discs the first time they were played, locking them to the console on which they were first ran. The only reason they opted out of this, was the extra costs associated with producing "unbrandable" rental copies. If this doesn't horrify you... I just don't what to say.

Starke:

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How accurate of you to make that claim. You have peered into my very soul.

Fixed.

Honestly, llaf, you respond to that by taking a potshot at him, and it's a no win. You post like a jerk and you're reinforcing that statistic. You post opposition to that statistic and you're reinforcing that you're in that demographic. The only way you can come across as something other than a jerk is to post either a) articulatly, or b) not at all.

Every game I've pirated has been bought, or is now bought. All the games I've pirated are old.

Starke:

llafnwod:

How many pirates are jerks?

100%

How accurate of you to make that claim. You have peered into my very soul.

Fixed.

Honestly, llaf, you respond to that by taking a potshot at him, and it's a no win. You post like a jerk and you're reinforcing that statistic. You post opposition to that statistic and you're reinforcing that you're in that demographic. The only way you can come across as something other than a jerk is to post either a) articulatly, or b) not at all.

Wow, that edit made your post a lot more vicious. I'm still not quite convinced my post makes me a jerk, as responding to what you feel to be a ill-made statement in a deprecating fashion isn't really uncommonly cruel. I did, in fact post a brief articulation of my stance on the matter, and I'd be very interested in hearing your view on it.

llafnwod:

CommyGingerbreadMan:

Nothing arguable about it. People in the revolutions never claim their actions aren't radical. Pirates cannot claim their actions aren't STEALING.

In a lot of cases, yeah, they can. I torrented Psychonauts, The Longest Journey, and The Witcher, games I would not have bought had they not been "freely" available, and have since purchased all three of them. I got ICO for the PS2 since acquiring it "legitimately" through eBay would have cost at least one hundred USD more than retail price, precisely 0% of which would have gone to the developers.

Premonition:

How many pirates are jerks?
100%

What about the people that pirate old games that cost a bazillion bucks on E-bay?

That's a grey area. If the game is not supported anymore, I'd say it's fair game. Sure, with the virtual console and GOG.com some old games are getting new support but then again, 6$ for some good classic games like Gabriel Knight and all, pretty good deal.

Pirates, are scum who want to destroy the gaming industry. And I really dont think the spore thing was really inspired by fighting the good fight or any of that bullshit, more people stole it and used it as an excuse to act like they were fighting teh good fight. Every one who stole teh game, helped nothing and moved us one step forward to the death of teh gaming industry

Question: does loaning out one of my games or borrowing someone else's game count as piracy? Because I've been doing that since I was a wee lad. Lending out Syphon Filter, borrowing Red Alert 2, lending out Worms: Armageddon, borrowing Disgaea: Hour of Darkness... I called it sharing and back then it was not only okay, it was encouraged! Was that wrong?

Note: I haven't done it in a while.

I understand the logic here, why pay for something if you can get it off the internet for free. Lots of people on the internet, especially the hardcore internet folk who are often gamers, have no moral backbone what-so-ever. Anonymity turns people into assholes but it also makes them moral-less. Anonymity revels the despicable beast in the heart of man afterall. What we need to do to stop piracy is fix people so they they will fell the moral pangs of "IT IS WRONG, YOU ASS!" over the economic pangs of "It costs 50 dollars, unless I download it then its free." Of course this is, so far, not possible (without big brother). Which leaves us wonder what can we do to try and alleviate what we have and really there isn't much. The asshole of the internet laughs at your pain and your only end is either to struggle and cause them to laugh louder or not make games. Reminds me of my days being bullied.

ZZoMBiE13:
I've bought and paid for every game I've ever played. When I worked at a popular retail computer outlet and saw rampant piracy on a daily basis, I would still proudly buy the game and say "no thank you" as the tech guys offered to give (steal) me a copy.

What did the DRM that came along do for me? Well I stopped playing PC games at all. The hassles of being pestered by something even though I've always gone the prim and proper route soured me on the whole experience.

Point of this story? Well obviously I'm just offering a self-righteous rant to make myself feel superior. But maybe next time you make a column like this, you can have one category for me.

If it makes you feel any better, I remember the jackass who ran the forums on Superdickery.com once comming down on me hard. I had bitched him out for pirating everything he plays and then never paying for it, and he claimed I was doing less to support the industry than he was. He said this almost in the same breath as bitching out the developers for not releasing any good PC exclusives anymore.

Hopeless Bastard:
Thing is, Piracy is a red herring. Right now its being used to justify destroying the used game market. Something large publishers have been trying to do for decades. Hell, if you remember back before even the "For the low low price of $599!" fiasco, the sony studio heads were musing on a method to "brand" discs the first time they were played, locking them to the console on which they were first ran. The only reason they opted out of this, was the extra costs associated with producing "unbrandable" rental copies. If this doesn't horrify you... I just don't what to say.

What it isn't is a red hering. Piracy has been an issue for nearly every console or computer system ever. With the advent of high speed internet it's become something more. A veritable armegedeon. The music industry today is half the size it was in 1998. That's not a soft economy, that's the result of piracy. You're right in part though, piracy has become the justification in killing off the used game market, but it isn't a conspiracy in so far as "I know we'll invent this thing called piracy." It is a response to slipping game sales as a result of piracy, and the publishers saying, "where can we cut our losses? We can't go to every door of every pirate, kick them in the testicles and move on, the music industry got royally fucked over by doing that... I know, we fuck over the used game market."

But, Piracy isn't a red hering. Nintendo spent an entire cycle using cartridges after everyone else had gone to disks because of fears of piracy. Cartridges cost more to produce than a CD by a substantial margin. They cost more to ship, and they cost more shelf space giving retailers a solid reason not to pick them up at all. You don't do something like that if it's not a real and genuine threat.

I was under the impression that the branded disks issue was dropped because there were problems with the disks not imprinting propperly and dangers of a massive class action suit as a result. Though more expensive hardware costs for the consoles themselves come to mind. When the most reliable consoles in the current market have a 2% or 3% failure rate, those could be some pretty large suits. And EULAs in software just do not hold up in court.

As a guy who downloads pirated games and buys legit games heres my take on the whole issue I think for most people who do it. If anyone can program a DRM another programer or team of equal skill can program around it and people who download pirated game will wait anyways for someone to hack it. I had to "pirate" some of my older legit games because they no longer functioned after some poorly programmed update made it unable to function normally. As for the actually pirated games, I do it because I dont have a huge cashflow so I download games im less than sure of and if its great or Im pretty psyched about it before hand Ill buy it. Some games i pirated Ill never buy, like Spore, because halfway through what seemed like a fun game became pure shite for me.

DLC I think is a better way to stop piracy since it rewards those who go the legit route instead of irritating them, Im looking at you securerom, and a bit of an incentive to go legit. Digital distribution isnt hack proof either but since it cuts the cost of producing and distributing the disc entirely companies like Steam can sell you a game at ultra low prices and still make huge profits for all involved by the AMOUNT they sale since there is no actual money being lost to extra overhead. This is why Steam is growing in popularity especially friends of mine who pirate games.

SO my advice, stop punishing people for actually buying the games, make them higher quality, more quality DLC, and if your game is being digitally distributed make it cheaper because we know its a crapload cheaper for you.

Long live pirate bay :P

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