The Needles: Michael Pachter, Ubisoft and the Perils of Rights and Wrong

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Therumancer:
That's functionally what the gaming industry is trying to do, and there are laws in place specifically to prevent that kind of thing.

Well, not exactly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ProCD,_Inc._v._Zeidenberg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Corp._v._Harmony_Comps._%26_Elecs.,_Inc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Cartridge_Remanufacturers_Association_Inc._v._Lexmark_International_Inc.

http://www.eff.org/cases/blizzard-v-bnetd

I agree with you, I think, in that DRM in videogames, and copyright in the digital world in general, is a horribly broken, dysfunctional mess. But as long as both sides approach the issue with iron-clad certainty that they're right and the other guys are wrong, things aren't likely to change. If anything, they're going to get worse.

Piracy is not acceptable. Neither is balls-to-the-wall, good-luck-with-this-shit DRM.

So, publishers can implement shitty copy protection, and customers can refuse to buy their games. If we're serious about coming up with fair, workable solutions, that needs to be the starting point. But if all we really want is free games, well, that's a whole 'nother matter entirely and not one that the pirates are likely to be very inclined to "solve."

Andy Chalk:
The middle ground is firmly in the grip of Valve, which has apparently stumbled upon the holy grail with Steam, the one DRM system that keeps (just about) everybody happy.

Thats just is isn't it?
People didn't like steam to begin with, did they? But instead of making it into some unplayable monster, valve made Steam into a product you actually can enjoy. (Making your life simpler)

I know some people are dead set against Steam also; and I hear what you are saying guys, I just don't agree.

The age of DRM free games on PC is over. Let's all just all agree on that. Sure you have some people that will still give you games without it, but they are not really the big wig games you might always want.

So what now? We are doomed to be given some DRM, but what kind? Is Steam really so bad, when you look at all the other options? Its not perfect, but it's still one of the better DRM options.

So Steam = good in my argument, but there is a catch.

You see there are all these other DRM programs, Games for Windows Life for instance. And some games are made to be played with it. So even if you buy your game at Steam (your game already have DRM) you get yet another DRM with it. (and a shitty one at that)

So Steam is good, whats not so good is all these other developers who is trying to cash in on their success, leaving us customers with way to many programs and outlets... and we end up with a lot of crap solution.

This is a problem consoles doesn't have, since they are in essence their own DRM. Sure you can hack the consoles, but then you often loose out on other things. (and its a little more tricky)

If violating copyright is theft, then assault is murder.

I think anything a publisher does to make sure you don't rip off their games is their right, and I think that people who steal should be in jail," he said. "I welcome the flamer comments on this one. If you think that's right, good for you; we have no interest in your business since you don't pay for stuff anyway."

If you don't agree with him, then you MUST be a pirate, and therefore have no rights anymore? Publishers can do anything, even terrorizing their honest customers? What a nice man.

It's pretty obvious, and has been for a long time, that pirates are killing PC gaming and it's the so called "hardcore" gamers that have the monster PC's and all the technical know-how that are doing it. The average person doesn't know how to hack or crack a gamecode, they only know how to download it. These are the same morons that then complain that developers and publishers are neglecting the PC with their releases. It's enough to make you sick, the blatant arrogance and ignorance of these filthy scumbag criminals that steal from someone and then go on to badmouth THE VICTIM when they stop leaving the front door unlocked for them to continue to do it. And, as always, it's the honest people that pay the price at the end of the day. All of that effort to combat piracy costs money and that money needs to be recouped, from the legitimate consumer at the checkout.

Long post incoming

Let me open by saying that I registered just for this comment.

Lets begin: Piracy is a complex issue with a miriad of causes and consequences, and any approach that tries to reduce it to singular cases will fail miserably. I fully understand that reducing the issue to a bipolar one is easy, and clearly identifiable, with clear-cut sides, but its nevertheless wrong and stupid. Gaming used to be a nerd thing, with the average IQ hovering above the 100 mark, so lets not act like we dont have the capacity for a complex issue.

Piracy has always been, and will always be. Nothing will ever reomve it, no matter how hard you try, and strong actions against it (aka pounding that metaphorical hammer on the pirates) will just provoke an equal or greater reaction. You can, however, try to reduce piracy.

Have I pirated games? Yes. Have I bought some of the games I pirated? Yes. Why? Because the pirated version convinced me that it was good enough to be worth my money.

Now, one reason I pirated those was that I wanted to find out how the games are. And, without a demo and with most review sites horribly unreliable (seriously, all reviews hover around 80-90 percent, meaning that all games are at least good. And when I stumbled upon the IGN review for Mount&Blade, which was 60%, I think, I puked, as they had no taste or feeling for quality), there is simply no other way besides maybe word of mouth/forums to find out how good a game is. For example, I pirated a recent Ubisoft game about the Holy Land and blades to the neck. I found it to be a horribly controlled console port with shallow mechanics, grind-oriented execution, and overally unimpressive behaviour. Now, had there been a demo, I could have dl-ed that, played it, found out that I dont like it, and thus would not have pirated it.

You see, not all pirated games are games that said pirating user would have bought.

Now, if you bring back the demos, I am sure that you could at least reduce some of the piracy. Maybe it would reduce the "try and see" piracy more than the "must have this" piracy, but its a reduction nontheless. Or you could try not buying reviews for your game, but I digress.

Also, take a look at companies that use little to no DRM. Like Paradox Interactive, my favourite publisher. Sure, they fill a relative niche, but still, no DRM, and they still make money, enough to expand into a quite large publishing company (from 10 or so games to 20+ games). Some of the piracy is comitted as a "fuck you" to the DRM-heavy games, going by the reasoning of "well, if I could only rent it, I might as well steal it". Now, removing DRM will not eliminate even this faction completely, but it will reduce it.

Lastly: as soon as the shelf life of a game expires (with todays twitch-culture, that is at best half a year), the price should drop rapidly. I might pay 25 bucks for [insert random relatively good AAA title], but I sure as hell wont pay 50, because its not that good.

And lastly: someone here said that gaming culture should just accept DRM. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE????? Isint gaming a youth/young adult thing? Arent the youth supposed to at least challange authority. I know mainstream culture has becume vapid and impotent, but for fucks sake, if you roll over and let the industry (whatever industry, from Hot Topic to Ubisoft) buttfuck you, what do you expect? Gamers swallowed DLC, which is effectively paying for a patch (no DLC was large enough to be an expansion), they swallowed microtransactions, and you want them to swallow DRM? If you are not even trying to resist the stupid and counterproductive ways the indutry hadles this problem, then dont expect any compassion from them. Vote with your wallet, blog, if you must, inform others that [insert publisher] is a douche, but for gods sake, dont roll over and take it. You know, fight for what you want, or you might as well let them stomp you in the face and smile to it.

Edit: none of the above are excuses. Some of them are reasons.

I've always paid for games, and I even pay for every bit of music I have (off itunes), so I don't really feel like piracy can be excused. Although, I do watch tv shows on the internet, but thats because they don't show them here, or I missed them on the tv.

Ubisoft is completely in their right to put the DRM on their game.
I'm 100% in my right not to buy a game that I would have otherwise bought because it has said DRM.
I still don't own, and have not played, the three DLC packages for Borderlands because of the DRM.

The only problem is that probably less than 5% of gamers in the world have that resolve. Gamers have major entitlement issues. If there's a good game coming out, they seem to think that, as a gamer, it's their right to play this game no matter what. Thus, they see no moral quarrels in pirating a game if need-be in order to play it (be it because of DRM, because they can't afford it, or whatever).

Frankly, I think gaming companies need to start cracking down hard and tracking IPs that are sharing the game. A few lawsuits flying around and people will start to think twice about pirating a game. Oh what's that? They might scare-off a few customers? Why would they scare-off someone they aren't even targeting? Heck, as a paying customer I want to see this happening. If a gaming company is going to waste their money on the non-paying user-base, I'd rather see that money going into lawsuits against the pirates than into a form of DRM that only hurts me.

Hubert South:
Long post incoming

Just a couple things I'd like to point-out.

Have I pirated games? Yes. Have I bought some of the games I pirated? Yes. Why? Because the pirated version convinced me that it was good enough to be worth my money.

Now, one reason I pirated those was that I wanted to find out how the games are. And, without a demo and with most review sites horribly unreliable (seriously, all reviews hover around 80-90 percent, meaning that all games are at least good. And when I stumbled upon the IGN review for Mount&Blade, which was 60%, I think, I puked, as they had no taste or feeling for quality), there is simply no other way besides maybe word of mouth/forums to find out how good a game is. For example, I pirated a recent Ubisoft game about the Holy Land and blades to the neck. I found it to be a horribly controlled console port with shallow mechanics, grind-oriented execution, and overally unimpressive behaviour. Now, had there been a demo, I could have dl-ed that, played it, found out that I dont like it, and thus would not have pirated it.

You see, not all pirated games are games that said pirating user would have bought.

Now, if you bring back the demos, I am sure that you could at least reduce some of the piracy. Maybe it would reduce the "try and see" piracy more than the "must have this" piracy, but its a reduction nontheless. Or you could try not buying reviews for your game, but I digress.

I wouldn't count on it. People would still insist that they're pirating a game to try it because "the demo just doesn't show me enough", or "the demo isn't long enough", or any number of excuses. Frankly, I don't honestly know why demos out of style. Back in the PSX days it was common for any game worth talking about to have a demo, but ever since the PS2 era they were few and far between. However, that's beside the point. While I'm sure a few people would be discouraged from pirating a game as a demo, it certainly wouldn't be that big of a dent.

And lastly: someone here said that gaming culture should just accept DRM. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE????? Isint gaming a youth/young adult thing? Arent the youth supposed to at least challange authority. I know mainstream culture has becume vapid and impotent, but for fucks sake, if you roll over and let the industry (whatever industry, from Hot Topic to Ubisoft) buttfuck you, what do you expect? Gamers swallowed DLC, which is effectively paying for a patch (no DLC was large enough to be an expansion), they swallowed microtransactions, and you want them to swallow DRM? If you are not even trying to resist the stupid and counterproductive ways the indutry hadles this problem, then dont expect any compassion from them. Vote with your wallet, blog, if you must, inform others that [insert publisher] is a douche, but for gods sake, dont roll over and take it. You know, fight for what you want, or you might as well let them stomp you in the face and smile to it.

You're sort of right, but not for the reasons you listed. Firstly, saying that we should be defying authority almost makes it sound like you're supporting piracy. Anyway, we shouldn't be against harsh DRMing tactics for the sake of "sticking it to the man", but because we should be opposed to spending our money on such an anti-consumer product. We, as gamers, should be making a stand against such restrictive DRM by simply not purchasing the product. When the PC version of Assassin's Creed tanks and all that Ubisoft can hear is clamoring about the DRM packaged with the game, that sends a pretty clear message about what PC gamers do and don't want when other companies with lesser DRM are selling just fine. So mind you, I agree completely that we shouldn't accept DRM, just saying that we should be against it for a more tangible reason than just sticking it to the man. (( Besides, if we rebel just because we're expected to rebel, isn't that just its own type of conformity? ))

Another thing I want to point out is that DLC is NOT "effectively paying for patches". You really need to do your homework before making such claims. Back before the internet was commonplace enough for a company to consider releasing a download-only content update, they instead released what were known as "Expansion Packs". You had to pay for them just the same as DLC, except that they were typically a little more expensive due to having to package them rather than just being able to put them on a server for download (they usually tried to put a little more into them to justify the effort, too). Patches are, and always were, nothing more than fixing bugs and/or making balancing tweaks. And before you point-out Valve with their free upgrades to Team Fortress 2, that's a little thing we call the exception that proves the rule. Few other companies (if any) release as much content for free.

Andy, you say that piracy is about bad behavior. Is that the case of all piracy? And is that sometimes not a reaction of bad behavior by the publishers/developers? I'm not saying fight fire with fire, but what other choice is there?

Not too long ago I played the demo of Brutal Legend, my mind was blown and I instantly pre-ordered it. When it arrived, I fired it up played a bit and found out the game was not at ALL what was advertised (in the demo). Luckily I still found it to be a decent, if not awesome game and felt that even if my money was lured from me I was happy with the product.

The big problem about games is that they cost a lot. If I buy a product for 1 cent and it sucks I get a tiny bit of dissapointment at worst, and probably I just dont care. What do I expect for 1 cent? If I buy a product for 70€ (like some games are some places in europe) and its not what the trailers say it is I will be VERY disappointed.

Is it then strange that a lot of customers dont want to throw 70€ out the window to buy a product that might be shit and might be good? I sometimes download to try. I buy what I like, and delete what I dont like. I wouldnt have to do this if game companies insisted on making misleading commercials, trailers and demos. If they try to scam me my conscience can bear the strain of piracy for the sake of finding out if they are full of crap or not.

This is a part of the subject that is not usually touched upon. Do I think I am in the right when I do this? No. Not legally. But I WANT to support the companies/developers that make good games. I WANT them to have my money, because ultimately it leads to more awesome gaming experiences for ME.

If I buy a game that is crap I am doubly *ahem* loved in the buttocks. One: I buy a product that was advertised to be -this- awesome but was really just crap, Two: I actually give money to developers that make crap.

Can anyone blame me for trying to find an alternative?

I agree with what pachter said too, however i've said this over and over again, he totally failed to answer question posed to him and that is what he thinks about Ubisoft's particular brand of DRM. not whether there should be DRM.

always funny to see pirates think its "right" to steal games. Look if u cant afforded it, don't play it. I cant afford a BMW M3 which means i dont drive one. it doesnt mean i have the right to go steal one because its too damn expensive and i still want to drive one.

DTWolfwood:
always funny to see pirates think its "right" to steal games. Look if u cant afforded it, don't play it. I cant afford a BMW M3 which means i dont drive one. it doesnt mean i have the right to go steal one because its too damn expensive and i still want to drive one.

No, its not right to steal it. But most places will et you test drive the car so you can find out if you like it.

Edit: also, if you are applying real-world (in this case automobile) industry laws to this scenario from the consumer side, please do so from the producer side. Were I to buy a car, I would own it (and no, bank credit and all that do not factor into this discussion here).

Hubert South:

DTWolfwood:
always funny to see pirates think its "right" to steal games. Look if u cant afforded it, don't play it. I cant afford a BMW M3 which means i dont drive one. it doesnt mean i have the right to go steal one because its too damn expensive and i still want to drive one.

No, its not right to steal it. But most places will et you test drive the car so you can find out if you like it.

Edit: also, if you are applying real-world (in this case automobile) industry laws to this scenario from the consumer side, please do so from the producer side. Were I to buy a car, I would own it (and no, bank credit and all that do not factor into this discussion here).

Demos for games, and a lease isnt ownership nor is financing until after pay off. y are you analyzing the analogy? stop over thinking things dammit

This particular type of DRM is BS in every sense of the word. Pachter being the old man didn't get the point of what he was asked. and Piracy is wrong no matter how you look at it. sum of all that is said.

Because if you are using a bad analogy, it will at best mislead your readers, and at worst harm your cause. I am sorry, next time I'll remove my brain functions, m'kay?

Srdjan:
If you are going to buy a game and you pirate it because it's cheaper, then you should buy it, but if you have no intention of buying game you should pirate it, and then if game proves to be a hidden gem then you should consider buying it. I have many games that I bought, but I only buy games that I like, and I go to upper method all the time.

I hear this a lot from people and yet, no one actually does it. They all say they do or will go buy the game but I have rarely seen it. Or they buy the game used (or on Steam for $2.49) years later to help satisfy that reason to pirate in the first place.

So what games have you pirated and then said, "Wow, this is a great game and worth every penny of my $60 bucks (assuming US prices)" and then went out and bought it?

Acalla:

Srdjan:
If you are going to buy a game and you pirate it because it's cheaper, then you should buy it, but if you have no intention of buying game you should pirate it, and then if game proves to be a hidden gem then you should consider buying it. I have many games that I bought, but I only buy games that I like, and I go to upper method all the time.

Well to be honest non of the games today worth that money but I bought Bioshock, Mass Effect and Dragon Age, of course I bought many indie games and other cheaper games I really liked.

I hear this a lot from people and yet, no one actually does it. They all say they do or will go buy the game but I have rarely seen it. Or they buy the game used (or on Steam for $2.49) years later to help satisfy that reason to pirate in the first place.

So what games have you pirated and then said, "Wow, this is a great game and worth every penny of my $60 bucks (assuming US prices)" and then went out and bought it?

Acalla:

Srdjan:
If you are going to buy a game and you pirate it because it's cheaper, then you should buy it, but if you have no intention of buying game you should pirate it, and then if game proves to be a hidden gem then you should consider buying it. I have many games that I bought, but I only buy games that I like, and I go to upper method all the time.

Well to be honest non of the games today worth that money but I bought Bioshock, Mass Effect and Dragon Age, of course I bought many indie games and other cheaper games I really liked.

I hear this a lot from people and yet, no one actually does it. They all say they do or will go buy the game but I have rarely seen it. Or they buy the game used (or on Steam for $2.49) years later to help satisfy that reason to pirate in the first place.

So what games have you pirated and then said, "Wow, this is a great game and worth every penny of my $60 bucks (assuming US prices)" and then went out and bought it?

WTF it won't comment, it just keep posting blank and quote.

To answer question, I don't find any of newer games worth that money but I have bought Dragon Age, Bioshock and Mass Effect, also I bought many indie or other cheaper games I really liked.

Therumancer:

geizr:

--snip--

Okay first off, I will say that I do not consider "Robin Hood" type heroes or anything of the sort. On this I agree with you, and feel that piracy is wrong... despite the gaming industry being a corrupt group of crooks themselves.

This is why I always refer to the game industry and pirates going at it as being the mafia, and a bunch of gang bangers duking it out. Neither side is right, or has any kind of moral high ground. It's the legitimate users that suffer from the fallout.

That said, Ubisoft neither has a legal or moral right to what they are doing. When it comes to these EULAs and DRMs, basically what they are doing is theft just as much as what the pirates are doing. They are functionally wrangling for a legal way to take your money and not be obligated to give you anything in return. That's what a lot of what they're doing amounts to, and that's functionally what the EULAs say, even if they are not binding contracts (despite the fact that they are trying to find ways of making them so).
...

I'll admit that my statement of morality should have been rephrased as "even possible moral." Be that as it may, Ubisoft does indeed have a legal right to control and protect the distribution of their intellectual property. However, we, as customers, are in our legal right to not buy it if we feel we are needlessly inconvenienced(which we are) or that the product has been devalued(which it has). Ubisoft can't force you to buy their product(that would require illegal and potentially immoral actions), and there are other games by companies not trying so hard to rip off gamers from which you can purchase games.

Getting mad and in a huff over Ubisoft's actions(to be clear, I have no sympathy for them if they go bankrupt tomorrow, cause I think what they are doing is a really awful way to treat paying customers) doesn't necessarily accomplish anything. As I wrote in another post, a company only hears and understands two sounds, the creak of wallets opening to give them money and the slap of wallets closing to withhold money from them. Anything else is likely to be ignored as random noise. In other words, as a customer, if you don't like it, don't buy it; buy something else, but don't pirate.

However, I will say that, as a customer, if you want to be the Robin Hood in this scenario, your primary recourse there is to inform other potential customers of the dangers they may face in purchasing from Ubisoft, assuming you've actually purchased the game and suffered as a result. I would suspect many, if not most, gamers are more trusting of other gamers' opinions(especially those who have PLAYED the game) regarding the quality of experience in a game than they do game reviewers or the advertisements for games(at least this is true for us old timers who have learned to not believe the hype). Most businesses seem to significantly underestimate or under-value word-of-mouth advertising, otherwise known as PR. Engendering bad PR by creating draconian DRM systems can cause a significant loss of sales as potential new customers are made wary of purchasing their product. In this sense, you cause additional closing "slaps" of the wallet, which a company actually hears and, if wisely run, will pay attention.

DTWolfwood:
I agree with what pachter said too, however i've said this over and over again, he totally failed to answer question posed to him and that is what he thinks about Ubisoft's particular brand of DRM. not whether there should be DRM.

always funny to see pirates think its "right" to steal games. Look if u cant afforded it, don't play it. I cant afford a BMW M3 which means i dont drive one. it doesnt mean i have the right to go steal one because its too damn expensive and i still want to drive one.

If you could copy the car, so that the owner gets to keep it and no insurance company is paying anything out, would you do that?

I don't wish to argue a moral standpoint(and I wish it to be known that I pay for my games), but I can't quite convince myself that downloading some copied data and stealing someones car are the same thing...because they're clearly not.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I don't wish to argue a moral standpoint(and I wish it to be known that I pay for my games), but I can't quite convince myself that downloading some copied data and stealing someones car are the same thing...because they're clearly not.

But to the people that created the game and rely on the income it generates to put food on their table, they are.

We all have a pretty firm grasp on all the things that the gaming industry is doing wrong. Their expectations on profit-per-box-sold are growing faster than the actual quality of their product. And to feed this habit, they're clamping down on the wrong folks.

The problem is that we, the consumers, are not communicating this fact to them. We're arguing in circles, and the responsibility is on US to fix it--with our voices and our dollars. If we're going to establish this dialogue, we've got to change our understanding of a few key terms (and eliminate more than one false dichotomy).

1) "Right," "Wrong," and "A Bad Idea"

We throw around the words "right" and "wrong" more than we should. The problem is that their accuracy depends on what you're MEASURING by. When I come up against a problem with DRM, I feel "wronged," but did the company actually do anything morally wrong?

No. If I buy a season pass to most amusement parks, and it rains on one of the days I show up, they don't refund the whole pass. I can try another day. If I buy a lifetime pass to a gym, and that gym closes down after a couple years, they don't refund the whole pass. Some of these are things we deal with as consumers, and it's not WRONG.

Now, with overly-restrictive DRM, we can argue that it's "a bad idea." It represents stupid choices on the part of the company, there are better ideas out there, and it will cause them to lose business... but it's not WRONG from a moral or legal standpoint. It's like stamping out a kitchen fire with a bag of money--bad idea, costs you more than you're saving, but it's not "wrong."

2) "Rights," "Privileges," and what you're REALLY buying.

Be very careful how you use the word "rights." If something is truly a "right," it has no conditions--it is afforded to you in all situations. You have the right to a fair trial, no matter how guilty you look or how heinous the crime was, for instance. An unconditional entitlement.

Anything that has any sort of condition is a privilege, plain and simple. Your ability to go where you will is a privilege, the condition being that you obey the laws of the land. Otherwise, that privilege is revoked and you're kept in jail.

As a consumer, you have the right to get what you have paid for, and you have the right to choose what you will and will not buy and from whom. That's it. Those are your rights. They're very few, but very important. Where we go wrong is a misunderstanding about how these work.

When I go to Busch Gardens and buy a ticket for admission, that is what I am buying--a ticket for admission. I'm not buying "a good time." I'm not buying "a ride on coasters X, Y, and Z." I'm buying a ticket that allows me to enter the park during normal business hours. Anything else that I expect is not something that is necessarily guaranteed (unless such a guarantee is expressly posted at the time of purchase).

So, if I go in there and half the rides break down, or the guy that does the caricatures is out sick, or there is no more Icee stand, that's my own tough luck. I can either try to enjoy what's there, or I can leave and maybe REQUEST a refund. And if I'm not satisfied with the park's handling of things, I never have to come back again. But at no point in this transaction did Busch Gardens ever cheat me--I received the product for which I paid: a ticket for admission to the park.

Now, if I buy a box of cereal and it says there's a prize inside... and I go home and open it to find there is no prize inside... now my rights as a consumer HAVE been violated. I did not get what I paid for, as per the packaging. I can DEMAND that the company address this--and they can choose to do so by giving me a refund or by providing the missing prize at their own expense.

When you buy a game, even one with restrictive DRM, you're purchasing a box filled with a working copy of the software. You're not purchasing a gameplay experience. You're not purchasing a trouble-free installation. You bought the disk. If the disk works and installs the game presented on the package, you've gotten what you've paid for. If an EA-style DRM keeps you from playing it, or your ISP interferes, these are all unpleasant. But your rights are not being violated, unfortunately. You bought a product. You didn't buy "enjoyment" of that product. Most importantly, you're not buying the RIGHT to do anything--your rights are as a consumer, not a user.

Think of it this way--you bought a helicopter, but that doesn't mean it automatically comes with permission to use the airspace anytime you like. Weather, air traffic control, fuel costs, all of these things can interfere... but your rights aren't being violated.

Now, if in all of this you feel you are not getting your money's worth, you can REQUEST a refund, and perhaps most importantly you can withhold your dollars from that company in the future.

THE PROBLEM HERE:

You don't have a right to play the game. If the ONLY company that makes the game you want is a company that you can't stand to do business with, your choices are two: suck it up and play, or forgo that game in the interest of principle.

You see, the companies have a right, too. They have a right to receive payment for products and services rendered. If you installed the game, they have the right to payment. If you're unhappy with your game experience, that's a bummer. As long as you received those things which were advertised, you have not been stolen from, cheated, lied to, or wronged.

So, if you're pirating to "teach them a lesson about consumer rights," the only one violating any rights is YOU. Go ahead, do it, whatever--but be HONEST about it.

"I stole this game because I wanted it, but I did not want to pay for it." Period. However noble your reasons for withholding the cash, the result is the same. You stole it. And in doing so, you lost any credibility you could have had in the argument to do away with overly-restrictive DRM.

Acalla:

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I don't wish to argue a moral standpoint(and I wish it to be known that I pay for my games), but I can't quite convince myself that downloading some copied data and stealing someones car are the same thing...because they're clearly not.

But to the people that created the game and rely on the income it generates to put food on their table, they are.

Is that strictly right? I would imagine that the people who work for any given company will be drawing salaries, not working all year round with the vague hope of collecting some commission when a game is released(which unless you're EA or activision, may be 2 or 3 years...which just doesn't add up). It might damage returns on investments and harm the company, but the people who are doing the creating are surely getting paid.

That really wasn't my point though, and I'd like to again stress that I am not a pirate. But data and a car aren't the same thing.

dastardly:
We all have a pretty firm grasp on all the things that the gaming industry is doing wrong. Their expectations on profit-per-box-sold are growing faster than the actual quality of their product. And to feed this habit, they're clamping down on the wrong folks.

The problem is that we, the consumers, are not communicating this fact to them. We're arguing in circles, and the responsibility is on US to fix it--with our voices and our dollars. If we're going to establish this dialogue, we've got to change our understanding of a few key terms (and eliminate more than one false dichotomy).

1) "Right," "Wrong," and "A Bad Idea"

We throw around the words "right" and "wrong" more than we should. The problem is that their accuracy depends on what you're MEASURING by. When I come up against a problem with DRM, I feel "wronged," but did the company actually do anything morally wrong?

No. If I buy a season pass to most amusement parks, and it rains on one of the days I show up, they don't refund the whole pass. I can try another day. If I buy a lifetime pass to a gym, and that gym closes down after a couple years, they don't refund the whole pass. Some of these are things we deal with as consumers, and it's not WRONG.

Now, with overly-restrictive DRM, we can argue that it's "a bad idea." It represents stupid choices on the part of the company, there are better ideas out there, and it will cause them to lose business... but it's not WRONG from a moral or legal standpoint. It's like stamping out a kitchen fire with a bag of money--bad idea, costs you more than you're saving, but it's not "wrong."

2) "Rights," "Privileges," and what you're REALLY buying.

Be very careful how you use the word "rights." If something is truly a "right," it has no conditions--it is afforded to you in all situations. You have the right to a fair trial, no matter how guilty you look or how heinous the crime was, for instance. An unconditional entitlement.

Anything that has any sort of condition is a privilege, plain and simple. Your ability to go where you will is a privilege, the condition being that you obey the laws of the land. Otherwise, that privilege is revoked and you're kept in jail.

As a consumer, you have the right to get what you have paid for, and you have the right to choose what you will and will not buy and from whom. That's it. Those are your rights. They're very few, but very important. Where we go wrong is a misunderstanding about how these work.

When I go to Busch Gardens and buy a ticket for admission, that is what I am buying--a ticket for admission. I'm not buying "a good time." I'm not buying "a ride on coasters X, Y, and Z." I'm buying a ticket that allows me to enter the park during normal business hours. Anything else that I expect is not something that is necessarily guaranteed (unless such a guarantee is expressly posted at the time of purchase).

So, if I go in there and half the rides break down, or the guy that does the caricatures is out sick, or there is no more Icee stand, that's my own tough luck. I can either try to enjoy what's there, or I can leave and maybe REQUEST a refund. And if I'm not satisfied with the park's handling of things, I never have to come back again. But at no point in this transaction did Busch Gardens ever cheat me--I received the product for which I paid: a ticket for admission to the park.

Now, if I buy a box of cereal and it says there's a prize inside... and I go home and open it to find there is no prize inside... now my rights as a consumer HAVE been violated. I did not get what I paid for, as per the packaging. I can DEMAND that the company address this--and they can choose to do so by giving me a refund or by providing the missing prize at their own expense.

When you buy a game, even one with restrictive DRM, you're purchasing a box filled with a working copy of the software. You're not purchasing a gameplay experience. You're not purchasing a trouble-free installation. You bought the disk. If the disk works and installs the game presented on the package, you've gotten what you've paid for. If an EA-style DRM keeps you from playing it, or your ISP interferes, these are all unpleasant. But your rights are not being violated, unfortunately. You bought a product. You didn't buy "enjoyment" of that product. Most importantly, you're not buying the RIGHT to do anything--your rights are as a consumer, not a user.

Think of it this way--you bought a helicopter, but that doesn't mean it automatically comes with permission to use the airspace anytime you like. Weather, air traffic control, fuel costs, all of these things can interfere... but your rights aren't being violated.

Now, if in all of this you feel you are not getting your money's worth, you can REQUEST a refund, and perhaps most importantly you can withhold your dollars from that company in the future.

THE PROBLEM HERE:

You don't have a right to play the game. If the ONLY company that makes the game you want is a company that you can't stand to do business with, your choices are two: suck it up and play, or forgo that game in the interest of principle.

You see, the companies have a right, too. They have a right to receive payment for products and services rendered. If you installed the game, they have the right to payment. If you're unhappy with your game experience, that's a bummer. As long as you received those things which were advertised, you have not been stolen from, cheated, lied to, or wronged.

So, if you're pirating to "teach them a lesson about consumer rights," the only one violating any rights is YOU. Go ahead, do it, whatever--but be HONEST about it.

"I stole this game because I wanted it, but I did not want to pay for it." Period. However noble your reasons for withholding the cash, the result is the same. You stole it. And in doing so, you lost any credibility you could have had in the argument to do away with overly-restrictive DRM.

Underlined, bolded, and strung in flaming, neon lights to out-shine the sun. This is exactly what people, gamers and techies especially, need to understand.

Sexual Harassment Panda:

Acalla:

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I don't wish to argue a moral standpoint(and I wish it to be known that I pay for my games), but I can't quite convince myself that downloading some copied data and stealing someones car are the same thing...because they're clearly not.

But to the people that created the game and rely on the income it generates to put food on their table, they are.

Is that strictly right? I would imagine that the people who work for any given company will be drawing salaries, not working all year round with the vague hope of collecting some commission when a game is released(which unless you're EA or activision, may be 2 or 3 years...which just doesn't add up). It might damage returns on investments and harm the company, but the people who are doing the creating are surely getting paid.

That really wasn't my point though, and I'd like to again stress that I am not a pirate. But data and a car aren't the same thing.

True, but if the game does not sell well then the studio might not get new funding for another project and lay-off the people that were drawing that salary.

And yah I agree, data is not the same as a car... but they aren't even in the same ballpark in price either. Lets just look at media then and say, if you steal a DVD to get a movie or d/l that movie off the Internet, you still have stolen the data. The physical DVD is just about worthless compared to the data that is on it. So what is the difference? Just because you can put it in your pocket? I have to admit, even while writing this, I find it hard to say they are the same. There is something inside me that says having that physical copy is inherently more valuable then just the data. But the truth of it is, the data is the part that give me the entertainment and, therefore, is the valuable part.

I understand you don't pirate, so I am not trying to pick on your stance... just using your post as a jumping off point.

The reality of the situation is this. These companies like Ubisoft, EA, and the like have deluded themselves into thinking they can come out on top in this skirmish. Hell Ubisoft still refuses to admit their most recent DRM was cracked. The reality is they are now to the point where they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. The most recent debacle with Ubisoft demonstrates this perfectly.

Companies are getting so single minded about stopping pirates that they are angering their honest and legitimate customers. And to what end? Ultimately the pirates do what they must to crack the games. In the case of Assassin's Creed 2 they DDOS'd the servers to get codes causing a couple weekends worth of down time for a good many of Ubisoft's customers. Now it's not hard to guess who the average customer was angry at because they couldn't play their game. In the end of it all Assassin's Creed 2 was cracked and Ubisoft was left with a cracked game and a lot of angry people who went days w/o being able to play their games.

Pirates, as a whole, operate anonymously in a world without consequences. They don't care who they piss off or what they have to do in order to crack the next big game. The same can't be said for the publishers. The sooner these companies learn they will end up driving away their legitimate customers well before they drive off the pirates with these crazy DRM schemes the better the industry as a whole will be. There are some companies like Stardock, Blizzard, and Valve that "get it" and others are still fighting a battle they can't hope to win.

DRM simple doesn't work currently.

As it stands, people buying the games are better off cracking it.

I'm no hardcore pirate, I'll buy games if they take my fancy. I was one of the few people who actually bought spore apparently.

Was it worth it? Nope. But, well, there you go.

I've pirated a few games however, and, if it wasn't for me doing so, it's unlikely I would have bought others.

Ultimately, if it wasn't for piracy, a few of the games I own today, I would not do.

On the flip side, would have I bought games I wasn't sure of if piracy didn't exist? No, probably not.

Not to say "Piracy is helping!". But, from first hand experience, I'm spending more money due to it.

The only advice I'd really give to these companies, is rather than spending thousands on a DRM which gets cracked within a few days, to maybe a week if you're lucky, spend it on improving the game.

People who want a game for free, will get a game for free, that's just how it is. You shouldn't waste resources which you could be spending on improving your games on systems which get cracked very quickly.

Sexual Harassment Panda:

DTWolfwood:
I agree with what pachter said too, however i've said this over and over again, he totally failed to answer question posed to him and that is what he thinks about Ubisoft's particular brand of DRM. not whether there should be DRM.

always funny to see pirates think its "right" to steal games. Look if u cant afforded it, don't play it. I cant afford a BMW M3 which means i dont drive one. it doesnt mean i have the right to go steal one because its too damn expensive and i still want to drive one.

If you could copy the car, so that the owner gets to keep it and no insurance company is paying anything out, would you do that?

I don't wish to argue a moral standpoint(and I wish it to be known that I pay for my games), but I can't quite convince myself that downloading some copied data and stealing someones car are the same thing...because they're clearly not.

so i guess plagarism, copyright, trademark, and patent infringements aren't stealing?

yep your absolutely right, i cant quite grasp y me downloading data, that some1 made and is selling, for free doesn't equate to me taking a car, that some1 made and is selling, for free as stealing. Yep totally different. Sorry to have posted.

Here lemme teach you a new word.
Metaphor: a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity

Btw you can copy a car, take existing vin number and stamp it on a different car of same make and model (usually done on a wrecked car that was fixed, aka a lemon). Boom car copied, clearly ILLEGAL.

Anybody who defends piracy should be flogged. As a university TA, I am not a wealthy man; however, I buy original games with my money. When you pre-order console titles from amazon.co.uk or sites like that, prices are reasonable, as far as I'm concerned; as for PC games, they're fairly cheap already, and if you wait a few months, you can easily get a AAA title like Dragon Age: Origins for ten quid. At that point, justifying piracy becomes really hard. Ten quid are three fucking beers at the pub. Anybody can afford that.

I have played pirated games in the past, but I'm not proud of it. And yes, I download other entertainment media illegally at times, but I am not proud of that, either. I certainly do not consider it my God-given right.

But even then, I own about 1,100 original CDs, 350 original DVDs/Blu-Rays, and easily 200 original games, so the entertainment industry's downfall won't be my fault - still, that's an alibi, innit, to assuage my conscience for owning illegal shit in the first place. If, at some point, utterly air-tight anti-piracy software is developed, I will not throw a hissy fit - in the past four years, I have only played three games for which I did not pay, and I did buy one of them afterwards. If I think that a company behaves unethically, I don't play their games, full stop; I don't weasel out of boycotting, say, Activision by playing their games without paying for them (although that might be a problem should Prototype 2 ever be released).

Pachter is spot on. As long as there are douche bags who think it's okay to steal shit, it's the companies' right to protect themselves. Ubi's DRM isn't unethical - what it is, however, is stupid. It's bad from a business standpoint, and from a technical one.

Archangel357:
Anybody who defends piracy should be flogged. As a university TA, I am not a wealthy man; however, I buy original games with my money. When you pre-order console titles from amazon.co.uk or sites like that, prices are reasonable, as far as I'm concerned; as for PC games, they're fairly cheap already, and if you wait a few months, you can easily get a AAA title like Dragon Age: Origins for ten quid. At that point, justifying piracy becomes really hard. Ten quid are three fucking beers at the pub. Anybody can afford that.

You're right, and I'm not defending piracy, however, the pricing for some games a bit much these days.

Take the new Call of Duty for example.

With a RRP of 55 ($80) it's asking a bit much for a game which contains about a year's work. Not to say "So piracy is the only option!", but, I can't blame people for not wanting to pay that much for something like that.

If you want to avoid piracy, then bringing the price down is one step, especially with games which are going to make hundreds of millions of profit like the new CoD will, it'll also improve the gaming experience for those who don't fancy tolerating DRM.

DTWolfwood:

Sexual Harassment Panda:

DTWolfwood:
I agree with what pachter said too, however i've said this over and over again, he totally failed to answer question posed to him and that is what he thinks about Ubisoft's particular brand of DRM. not whether there should be DRM.

always funny to see pirates think its "right" to steal games. Look if u cant afforded it, don't play it. I cant afford a BMW M3 which means i dont drive one. it doesnt mean i have the right to go steal one because its too damn expensive and i still want to drive one.

If you could copy the car, so that the owner gets to keep it and no insurance company is paying anything out, would you do that?

I don't wish to argue a moral standpoint(and I wish it to be known that I pay for my games), but I can't quite convince myself that downloading some copied data and stealing someones car are the same thing...because they're clearly not.

so i guess plagarism, copyright, trademark, and patent infringements aren't stealing?

yep your absolutely right, i cant quite grasp y me downloading data, that some1 made and is selling, for free doesn't equate to me taking a car, that some1 made and is selling, for free as stealing. Yep totally different. Sorry to have posted.

Here lemme teach you a new word.
Metaphor: a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity

Btw you can copy a car, take existing vin number and stamp it on a different car of same make and model (usually done on a wrecked car that was fixed, aka a lemon). Boom car copied, clearly ILLEGAL.

I was trying to further the discussion, you don't need to give me attitude about it. Perhaps your immaturity is why you see all of the examples you have given as exactly the same, when they're not. The immature mind loves absolutes and bundling things in together, that's why we have assholes on every forum who completely need for either the 360 or the ps3 to be clearly the better console.

Have you ever read an article in a newspaper or a magazine without having paid for it? If you have you have broken the law by your very strict definition of what theft is. Someone you know might have bought the newspaper, but you have consumed the data on the page without the writer being compensated, if I caught you doing it and called you out on it...you'd accuse me of being ridiculous, because in this instance we only see the physical product as being valuable. Which is somewhat of a double standard.

It's principly the same as buying a game and then copying it(or even just installing it on another machine) so your brother or friend can play it too, but that is illegal, industry destroying behaviour that the newspaper industry(which is dying, not flourishing like the gaming industry)apparently has no case to complain about.

The rules apparently don't work across the board, there is a very definite grey area, I certainly don't see how you can deal in absolutes with this issue. It begs the question, are we letting people in the industry(with obvious bias) tell us how we should feel about the issue, or are we reasoning for ourselves?

I'm not sure you are grasping what a copy is, it's something out of nothing, not the same as putting new plates and serials on a shitty car and selling it(which would be fraud, not theft, as would your plagieurism example).

I really wasn't trying to get at you or make you look stupid, I was encouraging you to explain yourself further. I don't know why you responded so aggressively. Shall we go back to civil discussion?

Acalla:

Sexual Harassment Panda:

Acalla:

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I don't wish to argue a moral standpoint(and I wish it to be known that I pay for my games), but I can't quite convince myself that downloading some copied data and stealing someones car are the same thing...because they're clearly not.

But to the people that created the game and rely on the income it generates to put food on their table, they are.

Is that strictly right? I would imagine that the people who work for any given company will be drawing salaries, not working all year round with the vague hope of collecting some commission when a game is released(which unless you're EA or activision, may be 2 or 3 years...which just doesn't add up). It might damage returns on investments and harm the company, but the people who are doing the creating are surely getting paid.

That really wasn't my point though, and I'd like to again stress that I am not a pirate. But data and a car aren't the same thing.

True, but if the game does not sell well then the studio might not get new funding for another project and lay-off the people that were drawing that salary.

And yah I agree, data is not the same as a car... but they aren't even in the same ballpark in price either. Lets just look at media then and say, if you steal a DVD to get a movie or d/l that movie off the Internet, you still have stolen the data. The physical DVD is just about worthless compared to the data that is on it. So what is the difference? Just because you can put it in your pocket? I have to admit, even while writing this, I find it hard to say they are the same. There is something inside me that says having that physical copy is inherently more valuable then just the data. But the truth of it is, the data is the part that give me the entertainment and, therefore, is the valuable part.

I understand you don't pirate, so I am not trying to pick on your stance... just using your post as a jumping off point.

I think it's sad when companies go bust, but my thinking is really that it's just too bad. I don't think we should allow industry insiders to tell us how we should feel about the issue, because there is such a ridiculously obvious bias there.

I just responded to someone else, I gave the newspaper industry as an example. If they were claiming that anyone who reads their newspaper without paying(your friend might hand it to you, you might find it lying around...whatever)is a thief and should be locked up. They would be laughed at, even though they would have a valid claim too as something has been consumed without the creators seeing any money. It's worth pointing out that the newspaper industry is dying whilst gaming is flourishing everywhere other than the PC platform, which is still making money...just less.

I'm not comfortable with letting the industry make up the rules as it goes along, it sets a nasty precedent where the consumer is obviously going to lose.

Cingal:

Archangel357:
Anybody who defends piracy should be flogged. As a university TA, I am not a wealthy man; however, I buy original games with my money. When you pre-order console titles from amazon.co.uk or sites like that, prices are reasonable, as far as I'm concerned; as for PC games, they're fairly cheap already, and if you wait a few months, you can easily get a AAA title like Dragon Age: Origins for ten quid. At that point, justifying piracy becomes really hard. Ten quid are three fucking beers at the pub. Anybody can afford that.

You're right, and I'm not defending piracy, however, the pricing for some games a bit much these days.

Take the new Call of Duty for example.

With a RRP of 55 ($80) it's asking a bit much for a game which contains about a year's work. Not to say "So piracy is the only option!", but, I can't blame people for not wanting to pay that much for something like that.

If you want to avoid piracy, then bringing the price down is one step, especially with games which are going to make hundreds of millions of profit like the new CoD will, it'll also improve the gaming experience for those who don't fancy tolerating DRM.

MW2 is 30 quid on amazon. Just saying. If you watch out for offers and bonuses and such, you're not ever going to have to pay full price for a title.

And nobody is dropping prices due to success. If profits reflected on the price which the consumer has to pay, petrol would be 30p a litre.

I recall Securom violating my right to privacy, as the product essentially worked like malware, and installed without my consent and (previously) knowledge.

Even if it were put into the EULA, I was boned anyway because company policy dictated that I could never get a refund on that software, even if I did not install it. The Zeidenberg case presented in Andy Chalk's wikipedia link seems to imply that I should be able to return the software, as noted in the UCC.

That's how sticky this notion of "software ownership" is, and why I don't bother to do business with companies who will not even provide the intention of fair-trade with their customers. I'm fully convinced that they are attempting to wrest control completely from the hands of the customer with this legal voodoo.

Unlimited reinstalls? Fine. That's fair. I paid for a non-perishable product, not a service.
DRM, 3 installs with non-negotiable terms and no possibility for a refund? That's a hazy line that borders on illegal, or at least, an unconscionable contract. The terms are unfair even in the best of circumstances. Upgrade your OS? You lose. Upgrade your computer? You lose. Get a virus? You lose.

No other product-centric industry works like this.

Archangel357:

MW2 is 30 quid on amazon. Just saying. If you watch out for offers and bonuses and such, you're not ever going to have to pay full price for a title.

And nobody is dropping prices due to success. If profits reflected on the price which the consumer has to pay, petrol would be 30p a litre.

I was referring to the Black Ops Call of Duty game. Cheapest I can find that is about 45.

True, these days prices for games is in the hands of the publishers, who, regardless of how much I idealized the industry as being "All about the entertainment" and "The joys of creating games" are in it mostly for profit.

Just one of those things really.

If I ever was to become a Video Game Developer (I'm trying!) I wouldn't really mind piracy much. If I'm creating something for people to be entertained by, frankly I wouldn't mind some people getting it for free.

I suppose I just don't see why people are trying to make people so miserable over a form of entertainment.

Publishers and Devs are still making good sums of money, saying you want to put people in jail when you're in the entertainment business is a bit beyond my understanding.

ColdStorage:
Firstly, I'd like to say I mentioned Michael Pachter smelling of poo long before this furor, which means I'm ahead of the curve (go me!).

Whatever floats your boat, skippy.

While I do like Steam remember that it wasn't all plain sailing with that either, some people kinda play Half Life 2 on the intended date because of a glitch it had, Valve are well known to playtest everything to death but that slight oversight made for very angry Valve loyalist. Also when either steam or a game was being patched it would "lock" out so you couldn't play it, it ruined a weekend pro tournament. But now its a pretty sleek and stable system, what I'm saying is these might just be teething issues for Ubisoft much like Valve had.

I am wondering if you are under the impression that most pc player's issue with Ubisoft is their faulty servers, then you, like Pachter, are missing the mark. The issue with Ubisoft came up long before the server DRM came online, and back when it was just announced. The fact that the only way you can play a current release Ubisoft product on your PC is by being online to their servers through the entirety of gameplay, is what is the issue. Servers, being built by man, are bound to be faulty. And I highly doubt all of Ubisoft's issues with the servers since they came online have been due to hackers. It's more likely due to inexperience dealing with a new implementation, as well as unexpected traffic through those servers. Granted, that is partly what happened with Steam, and Ubisoft's servers are bound to be more dependable in time. Maybe.
But you need to take into account that Ubisoft is requiring a lot of info for you to share so you can play your AC2, SH5, RUSE, or Splinter Cell game. Stuff Steam doesn't even ask for.
Then there is the fact that Ubisoft won't be around forever, and support for games only lasts so long. How long do you think Ubi is willing to put money into their servers that they aren't even getting direct revenue for, for the games they are "protecting?" It may very well be a shorter lifespan than what Halo 2 got to see on Xbox LIVE. And where will pc players be then when the support is dropped? Will Ubisoft release a patch removing the DRM? Maybe. They may very well not, since they may think they don't need to when we are probably all playing the next best thing.
Gamers don't give up on the games they really enjoy. I still play Unreal Tournament 2004, Evil Genius, and other older games. Neither of those games still receive support from their publishers. Hell Evil Genius doesn't even have a company backing it anymore. I wouldn't be able to if either Epic or Sierra had the same DRM idea. Short of hitting bittorrent sites for a crack. Which might be laudible, but how many of those "cracks" you might find might also include a virus or other malware just because somebody thought it would be funny. That's the risk of dealing with black market items. Which DRM cracks and other hacks fall under.
In the end, Ubisoft's DRM only makes Ubisoft the winner. Thinking we might someday come to love it is a sad way to think, since you aren't even thinking for yourself anymore.

I like Stardocks and the guys who made Zeno Clash approach, which could be called the Green Day tactic, of "hey guys, if you pirate our game and you enjoy it, can you maybe buy it?, we kinda need the money".

And that approach actually has had its benefits, as Stardocks has seen a decent revenue stream for their game. And even more now that Zeno Clash is available on the Mac.

And I'm liking the current trend in the video game industry where when they cock things up they give us free stuff, such as Sony with the PSPgo and even Valve to assuage PC users with regards to support on the PC we got FREE PORTAL!.

I'm not too sure what you mean there, but if you are merely saying you like when companies give free stuff as a promotion or just as a Thank You to loyal gamers, then yea, that is cool.
Giving Portal away as Valve did recently guaranteed a lot of exposure to the game, garnering interest in the upcoming sequel to the game. More interest means more sales. That's forward thinking.
Steam does have certain frustrations to it, but you do have the choice to actually prevent updates being done if you are on a roll with a game and downloads for you are turtle slow. Then you can allow updates and let Steam run when you go to work, bed, or school. Keep in mind also games won't update while you are playing, so you won't get interrupted by Steam begging to update.
But another thing to keep in mind, is if you don't update your game, like TF2, Left 4 Dead, or other multiplayer games that you may have on Steam, then you won't be able to play it online with others who have updated, or at least not have it run very well.
But all things aside, Michael Pachter is a blowhard who merely wants to say what is on his mind, and seems to enjoy when people want to object. Sounds like someone else who many Escapists have taken an issue to in the past. A certain Jack Thompson.
The best thing, and I know I failed here in doing it myself, is to just ignore them. They are merely trolls. No threat to us. Jack proved that when he argued himself out of his high-paying job.

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