Editor's Note: The Broke Gamer

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I prefer the term "Zero Budget Gamer". I chose this username precisely because for the greater part of the last five years or so, I've been out of school(ish, I went back in 2007-2009), without a stable job, living with my parents, yet still finding ways to play games.

Being a big fan of RPGs, it hasn't been difficult to find games well worth their purchase. With only a PS2, PC and DS to entertain me, I've either had to scrimp and save change from every purchase, or return to the old teenage standby of working extra-hard around the house to get a little bit of spending money from my parents. Bargain Bin hunting and borrowing from friends have helped me to experience some of my now favorite franchises. I also religiously replay old games, and every game in my library has been played and replayed at least 2-3 times. I've even managed to scratch my MMO itch by playing several Free MMOs, though none of them had much staying power.

Also, though I'm sure some would call it stealing, I've been a huge fan of Emulation for a long time. Through it, I've been able to play games for systems that GameStop no longer caters to, experience and/or re-live classic games that defined genres or changed how we looked at games. If not for Emulation, I would never have played Earthbound or Chrono Trigger, and would never have gotten into the Breath of Fire, Soul Reaver, or Mana Series.

Chiasm:

Only if there is a industry for video games, Which is why so many speak up about this issue. As more and more people pirate games; less money can be made in selling and making video games. Yes companies are looking to profit but then again every business must make a profit just like this web site or with a radio station and even non-profits have to profit.

Well of course I can't disagree with you on that point. The industry seems to me to be going pretty strong from an economic point of view though, but maybe not exactly from an artistic point of view.

The argument I never get, is why the industry believes that punishing paying customers for the existance of piracy is a worthwhile route. I can only assume they use DRM for the purpose of various types of market control. I can assure you it does nothing to prevent piracy, quite the contrary.

The local efforts I run to help stop child abuse in my area couldn't run if it wasn't "profiting" with donations, without money we couldn't even afford to get the gas to get from point A to B. Like many have said, "If people don't pay for video games, there won't be many if any"

But if people stop donating, would you start blaming your existing donators? If you did, that would probably drive them away. In my experience that does happen with DRM and some of the other obnoxiuos marketing schemes from game publishers. People get so sick of it that they get driven away. Either they spend their cash elsewhere or they pirate their games.

In terms of poverty, the theme of this issue of The Escapist (which I think has some excellent points and advice) this whole debate is irrelevant because people without money don't spend money - piracy or no piracy. Preaching morals is pointless in this case.

Quick question: How can you admit, in an article, that you have pirated in the past, but a member who states the same thing will receive anything from a warning to a suspension? The Escapist, or at least, those handing out punishment, have stated in the past that even discussing piracy is against the rules, and yet you can do so in a much more noticeable way: In an article.

Just doesn't seem fair. This is why we need set-in-stone rules, which I believe are in the process of being created, if I remember right. But in the meantime, there should not be this type of difference in terms of what an article can state, and what a member can say.

Russ Pitts:
Y'all are in the wrong shop if your aim is to legitimize piracy. The Escapist never has and never will condone the practice.

You can draw as many funny pictures as you like, but taking a commercial product without paying for it is immoral, illegal and detrimental to the industry as a whole.

Bottom line: If you love games, pay for the games you play.

if you can't appreciate the wisdom of that sentiment, then you're hopelessly amoral and not worthy of the time and attention game developers spend trying to make you happy.

Yet you've done it, and have now publicly admitted so. Yet you claim to not condone the practice and attack and ban anyone who even mentions it passing. That makes you a hypocrite in my book.

And if there's one thing I hate more than anything in the world, it's hypocrites.

Bostur:

But if people stop donating, would you start blaming your existing donators? If you did, that would probably drive them away. In my experience that does happen with DRM and some of the other obnoxiuos marketing schemes from game publishers. People get so sick of it that they get driven away. Either they spend their cash elsewhere or they pirate their games.

Agreed there is something wrong with the way bigger publishers are preemptively fighting pirates and used games. It seems the video game industry is slowly becoming more and more like the record industry; with developers the naive bands who the publishers market and sell out.

But at the same time its one of those areas where you have to wonder is it good or bad? With so many studio closures and lay offs maybe the profiteering is the only way the industry can afford to make big name titles. Though one thing is for sure; pirating will only worsen or make the industry even more driven for profits (which will ironically drive more to pirating.)

In terms of poverty, the theme of this issue of The Escapist (which I think has some excellent points and advice) this whole debate is irrelevant because people without money don't spend money - piracy or no piracy. Preaching morals is pointless in this case.

With poverty in mind, its really a shame that publishers seem to forget how huge the market is for "budget" type games. More games should initially be priced around 30$ or so cutting out the used market and making more gamers willing to try their product new; games like Enslaved come to mind or even Dynasty Warriors/EA sports titles.

Russ Pitts:
Also not for sale: my opinion that piracy is bad for the industry. That's not only what I personally believe, but also just plain common sense. Here's why: If people are consuming a commercial product, which costs money to create, but not paying money to consume it, then the valuation of that product will be effected in one direction or the other. That's straight-up basic economics. Either the perceived price of that product (irrespective of the product's cost to manufacture) will decrease such that the manufacturer will no longer be able to adequately charge for the product in order to continue funding it's manufacture, or the valuation for those who are willing to pay will increase to offset the decline in revenue from those who are not.

The products here are not finite in their numbers since they are digital, by the same commercial logic it sets their hard values firmly to zero. Not to say that it is worth zero, mind. But while I understand the idea of people not paying even if they'd never have bought it anyway having an influence on valuation I can't help but see that influence really coming from anywhere else than panicky white collars. Basic economics just do not cover that issue, or in a manner that always leads to hysteria, which goes to proves that this is not the right way.

The goal of this issue is clearly to strike down the "I'm too poor" excuse, this excuse has some validity despite being abused. For instance you mention a game you would never have played had you not pirated it, how many games did it push you to buy afterward ? After it contributed to develop your tastes as a gamer, and you got more money. Maybe you'll say you can't know that, fact is I do, every game you enjoy makes you a better potential consumer in accordance with your income. Otherwise pay for everything, play less, buy less.
http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2009/04/study-pirates-buy-tons-more-music-than-average-folks.ars

There's a certain mentality behind day one "piracy" that I don't like myself, so in any case the escapist does well to attack it. But once again I am disapointed by the one dimentional monolithic view in which you hold this topic :(
You probably don't remember (or it was with some other staff) but some years ago when I just registered I argued that all "piracy" is completely justified past ten years, I still stand by my words and there's something that explains why I am in the right very seriously :
http://fr.feedbooks.com/book/2750
Don't dismiss it because of the title, the author is also against "piracy", except he is probably better informed than you are on the real issue behind it...

Chiasm:

Agreed there is something wrong with the way bigger publishers are preemptively fighting pirates and used games. It seems the video game industry is slowly becoming more and more like the record industry; with developers the naive bands who the publishers market and sell out.

But at the same time its one of those areas where you have to wonder is it good or bad? With so many studio closures and lay offs maybe the profiteering is the only way the industry can afford to make big name titles. Though one thing is for sure; pirating will only worsen or make the industry even more driven for profits (which will ironically drive more to pirating.)

Or maybe they simply have painted themselves into a corner where they feel they need to outdo themselves in terms of larger and larger budgets. A Hollywood dream maybe.

I sometimes have a cynical view of companies. If they can't make a living let them die and something else will rise from the ashes. I'd never think that of people, but companies are artificial constructs where ethics don't apply.
I think we sometimes need a cleansing rain to start anew. The collapse of the dot.com bubble in the late 90s was a good thing. A lot of innovation rose from that.

If the gaming industry has become a bubble too big to support itself I'm sure something new will grow from the ashes. I do think we are seeing this happening already. There is a lot of infant ideas that will grow and mature over time.

With poverty in mind, its really a shame that publishers seem to forget how huge the market is for "budget" type games. More games should initially be priced around 30$ or so cutting out the used market and making more gamers willing to try their product new; games like Enslaved come to mind or even Dynasty Warriors/EA sports titles.

Indeed. I even think that working within the limitations of a smaller budget may sometimes result in more innovation. I might like the 30$ games more than the 50$ games.

Sir John the Net Knight:
Yet you've done it, and have now publicly admitted so. Yet you claim to not condone the practice and attack and ban anyone who even mentions it passing. That makes you a hypocrite in my book.

And if there's one thing I hate more than anything in the world, it's hypocrites.

If there's anything I hate, it's people with poor reading comprehension. ;)

In that same paragraph in which you note that I admitted to having twice pirated games, I also renounced the practice, acknowledged that it was wrong and proclaimed I had personally taken steps to ensure I would never have to reduce myself to theivery again.

Everyone makes mistakes. That doesn't make one a hypocrite, it makes one human.

Russ Pitts:

Sir John the Net Knight:
Yet you've done it, and have now publicly admitted so. Yet you claim to not condone the practice and attack and ban anyone who even mentions it passing. That makes you a hypocrite in my book.

And if there's one thing I hate more than anything in the world, it's hypocrites.

If there's anything I hate, it's people with poor reading comprehension. ;)

In that same paragraph in which you note that I admitted to having twice pirated games, I also renounced the practice, acknowledged that it was wrong and proclaimed I had personally taken steps to ensure I would never have to reduce myself to theivery again.

Everyone makes mistakes. That doesn't make one a hypocrite, it makes one human.

Oh please, like I don't have a hundred other reasons to consider you and your little community to be morally bankrupt. And why am I not the least bit surprised that you choose to hide behind semantics, like every other pretentious knob on this site. If you want to admit a mistake and call it human error, that's one thing. But it doesn't give you one bit of lenience to be judgmental of others for the same crimes. And since that's exactly what you're doing it only strengthens my assessment of hypocrisy on your part.

Sir John the Net Knight:
[quote="Russ Pitts" post="6.276753.10768505"]Oh please, like I don't have a hundred other reasons to consider you and your little community to be morally bankrupt. And why am I not the least bit surprised that you choose to hide behind semantics, like every other pretentious knob on this site. If you want to admit a mistake and call it human error, that's one thing. But it doesn't give you one bit of lenience to be judgmental of others for the same crimes. And since that's exactly what you're doing it only strengthens my assessment of hypocrisy on your part.

eh. I call this one an "agree to disagree."

Let's move on now.

Chiasm:

In terms of poverty, the theme of this issue of The Escapist (which I think has some excellent points and advice) this whole debate is irrelevant because people without money don't spend money - piracy or no piracy. Preaching morals is pointless in this case.

With poverty in mind, its really a shame that publishers seem to forget how huge the market is for "budget" type games. More games should initially be priced around 30$ or so cutting out the used market and making more gamers willing to try their product new; games like Enslaved come to mind or even Dynasty Warriors/EA sports titles.

This is a very interesting point. You've convinced me to spend some time talking to publishers about their plans (if they have any) to address to reality of shrinking fun budgets and declining incomes.

incal11:
The products here are not finite in their numbers since they are digital, by the same commercial logic it sets their hard values firmly to zero. Not to say that it is worth zero, mind. But while I understand the idea of people not paying even if they'd never have bought it anyway having an influence on valuation I can't help but see that influence really coming from anywhere else than panicky white collars. Basic economics just do not cover that issue, or in a manner that always leads to hysteria, which goes to proves that this is not the right way.

It's a tricky issue to pin down, for sure. We're not talking about "hard" commodities, like cars, but the artificial inflation of the supply of the product, via digital file sharing, does have an impact on demand. I agree that it's probably not a hard 1:1 ratio, as it might be with a physical product (i.e. if I steal a truckload of cars from a factory and give them away for free, I will have A) stolen material from the owner of that truckload of cars, and B) stolen profit potential from the seller). However, even with a digital product being given away to people unlikely to have paid for it anyway, there are still damages, both legally and economically. For one thing, you can't prove that the possessors of the stolen digital property would not have paid for it in the first place (which is the core argument for file sharing), so the law has to treat the distribution of the digital copies as actual theft of property with a damage or loss of revenue to the potential seller. Just as if you take one of my stolen cars, even if you wouldn't have gone out and paid for that car in the first place, you will be charged with possession of stolen property. It's not a legal grey area, it's very much black and white. The only reason digital file sharing is often treated as if it were a grey area is because it is very difficult to track down and reclaim the property that has been distributed. It is, in other words, difficult to enforce the laws against the act. That doesn't make it legal, however. Or right. The fact that people get away with it doesn't make it the right thing to do. It just means that if you do it, your chances of getting caught and charged are slim. Piracy of digital entertainment is currently in its Wild West phase. That phase will end eventually.

I understand that there could be bad consequence for your enterprise if you were to express a though too out of line. I'm not a novice on this topic, so with your insistance on giving me the basic car comparison lecture I feel you are not honest with me.
Whatever you may really think you should at least read that ebook I linked you in my previous post, It does not defend piracy or even my own defiant attitude toward the law (it was written by a lawyer btw).

Russ Pitts:
It's a tricky issue to pin down, for sure. We're not talking about "hard" commodities, like cars, but the artificial inflation of the supply of the product, via digital file sharing, does have an impact on demand.

That only comes from the insistance in treating digital commodities in the same ways than the hard ones (like those god forsaken cars), an insistance much like a traditional belief. There should be no question of inflation in the first place since any question of "supply" is an artifice quickly brought down by some hacking.
I agree that it has an impact on demand, but there's serious reasons to think that impact is positive, see the rest of this post.

(...)For one thing, you can't prove that the possessors of the stolen digital property would not have paid for it in the first place (which is the core argument for file sharing), so the law has to treat the distribution of the digital copies as actual theft of property with a damage or loss of revenue to the potential seller. (...). It's not a legal grey area, it's very much black and white. The only reason digital file sharing is often treated as if it were a grey area is because it is very difficult to track down and reclaim the property that has been distributed.

The real core argument is how those who pirate more tend to buy more. There are a number of studies to prove it, while publishers can only pretend that 1 download is 1 lost sale and inflate the numbers to defend their dogmas. I assume you ignored that part of my post because you thought it ridiculous, even though I brought an example (and I have more). I am serious, it would be fair now for you to try to build a case against this, or acknowledge I may have a point. Unless you just prefer to "agree to disagree" in the face of proof.
Outside of the US and UK as far as I know it is customary in bookstores to let people read without buying if they want, simply because they actually are the best customers.

This is a black and white issue if you insist that even the most inept laws can dictate good and bad (a naive philosophy to begin). I understand the strong moral justification of the righteous citizen who won't question the law since it's not his place, but this is not an attitude as sane as you'd like to think. Also we are talking about "intellectual" property, it just does not work like cars and trucks, there is nothing to "reclaim" per se.

There are two possible futures, one where the wild wild web dies replaced by "civilisation", and one where it goes on beyond the power of today's big players. Which future really is best for humanity, for innovation ? Even knowing all the benefits of a freer culture, if you seriously think it's the first one please tell me why.

incal11:
There are two possible futures, one where the wild wild web dies replaced by "civilisation", and one where it goes on beyond the power of today's big players. Which future really is best for humanity, for innovation ? Even knowing all the benefits of a freer culture, if you seriously think it's the first one please tell me why.

Honestly, it depends on how you are defining "humanity" and "innovation." For my part, as a professional creator of media who would like to continue to be able to practice my trade and be compensated for it, piracy is a serious threat to my livelihood, and therefore the "humanist" solution in my book would be the solution that eradicates that threat.

I can see that as a consumer of media, it might appear as if unfettered access to it might be the most humanist way of looking at the world, but there, too, one must accept that in an environment where creators are being actively de-motivated to create, there will be less content created, and what remains will be of lesser quality. So there, too, I can't see how this is a good thing. And certainly not a spur for innovation.

The "content needs to be free" argument really only works if you disregard the fact that it would be the only thing that is. Someone would still have to pay for the lights, heat and food of the person creating that content, and if it isn't you, then who?

I'm sorry, but I disagree with you in totality. I do not see the picture you're seeing as far as the "benefits" of a culture in which others are free to consume the product of another person's labor without compensating them for it. By arguing that certain products need not be paid for, when others are, you are unilaterally declaring that those who perform the job of creating what you would prefer be free are second-class citizens. Slaves, essentially, to your demand for free media. I am not a fan of slavery, and I would not be so bold as to call it humanist or the product of a free society.

I realize I may not sway you, and that's fine. We can always agree to disagree, but I hope you think long and hard about this world you are envisioning. I do not think it will be as rosy as you are imagining.

-R

Russ Pitts:

Honestly, it depends on how you are defining "humanity" and "innovation." For my part, as a professional creator of media who would like to continue to be able to practice my trade and be compensated for it, piracy is a serious threat to my livelihood, and therefore the "humanist" solution in my book would be the solution that eradicates that threat.

Serious threat or perceived serious threat? Piracy has been a well established practice for over 20 years and doesn't seem to have made much of a dent in the industry.

I understand why you see it as a threat, but how much of that perception is based on something more substantial than irrational fear or broad assumptions?

Both trenches seems to me to be stuck in their views due to this whole subject being almost impossible to measure.

It's all very theoretical. We don't know how much is pirated, what the economical consequences are, or even what things would be like without piracy. One side claims that piracy is keeping the industry alive, the other side claims that piracy is crippling it. Both arguments seems to me to have some validity.

My own opinion is that both arguments are irrelevant because nothing will change. What could be is a Utopia or Dystopia depending on the point of view, but in reality a pointless excercise of thought.

My biggest concern as a paying consumer is feeling like a criminal for crimes I never commited, when Im faced with DRMs, unacceptable EULAs, constant limitations in my consumer rights, and of course being on the receiving end of morality preachers.

I know you are probably a busy person, whether or not you answer me again, thank you for your time.

You did not sway me, but why not ? Maybe you think it is because I am stuborn and morally bankrupt. Taking this seriously for introspection yes I am stuborn, though not close minded I assure you. But I would be amoral If I just didn't care about the artists, if I didn't care I would not be discussing this now, and if I was totally wrong I would not have proof to give you.
Your own core argument is that our society is such that we absolutely have to go along with those who say "inflation!" because they want to. I know a bit about the Social Contract, it does not excuse passivity, or willing ignorance .
You unavoidably agree to disagree, well I disagree with that totally and utterly. I do not agree with you, and I resent that cowardly attitude. Don't take that personally, if this is only a source of stress for you I can't be angry.

Russ Pitts:
Honestly, it depends on how you are defining "humanity" and "innovation." For my part, as a professional creator of media who would like to continue to be able to practice my trade and be compensated for it, piracy is a serious threat to my livelihood, and therefore the "humanist" solution in my book would be the solution that eradicates that threat.

Game journalism here doesn't work in quite the same way, it's writing but even digitally it is tied to a support, a journal or this site. There is no reason to download your articles from a torrent, as for the high resolution videos those who don't want to pay are content with what they have already (just checked and found nothing).
However this is a painful subject for the normal artist, writer or programmer. In a world where they'd be rewarded for their talent, not because the law says they just have to be, many would have to face the fact that they are not talented enough to make a living of their "trade". The world is never rosy for everyone, but in a world less restricted by copyright(not totally without, it's not all or nothing here) the pros more than compensate for the cons for the creators too. I have thought about it longer and harder than you, and unlike you I have more than my hurt ego to oppose:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,710976,00.html
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-10054438-62.html
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4831-net-music-piracy-does-not-harm-record-sales.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copyright_term.svg
and again
http://fr.feedbooks.com/book/2750

I can see that as a consumer of media, it might appear as if unfettered access to it might be the most humanist way of looking at the world, but there, too, one must accept that in an environment where creators are being actively de-motivated to create, there will be less content created, and what remains will be of lesser quality. So there, too, I can't see how this is a good thing. And certainly not a spur for innovation.

"one must accept" why ? this is where I see the trench in which you hide.
To me it looks like many artists just actively demotivate each other believing that a download is a lost sale, just like it is believed that the duplication of something infinite from the start can only lead to inflation. For a rigid systems in an "elastic" environment inflation is unavoidable unless it is acknowledged that the environment is not rigid. A good example are those "pay what you want" schemes who have been very sucessful so far, same for those artists who take the time to get close to their fans and actually profit from distributing their creations (or even having it distributed).
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/107233-iPhone-Game-Dev-Credits-Piracy-for-Doubling-His-Sales

Bostur:
Both trenches seems to me to be stuck in their views due to this whole subject being almost impossible to measure.

You too have a look at my links and tell me what you think :) It's true I am in my own trench, if there's a point on which I am biaised and possibly wrong I'd be grateful if you pointed it to me.

incal11:

You too have a look at my links and tell me what you think :) It's true I am in my own trench, if there's a point on which I am biaised and possibly wrong I'd be grateful if you pointed it to me.

You are biased due to ideology so am I and so is Russ Pitts. I find that a commendable human trait, but it somewhat muddles the waters.

We can measure sales, thats relatively simple and accurate unless someone specifically has an interest in skewing the numbers.
Measuring downloads can probably be done with some accuracy by making samples in a local area and using statistical methods to analyze it. Its not perfect measurements but I'm guessing it can be close enough even though a lot of data will be unaccounted for.

I don't see how its possible to make a correlation between those two numbers though. It's not possible to make a control group. We can not see the effect of no copying happening on a particular title because its uncontrollable.

I'd like to quote a small passage from one of the articles you linked:

The most heavily downloaded songs showed no decrease in CD sales as a result of increasing downloads. In fact, albums that sold more than 600,000 copies during this period appeared to sell better when downloaded more heavily.

The thesis is that copying helps sales, because the most copied albums also sells more. There is another cause that seems more obvious to me, that popular albums will result in high sales and a lot of copying. The two are related but not necessarily as the cause and effect.
I simply dont believe that cause and effect can be tracked in any meaningful way.
Of course the record industry makes their own statistics and conclusions that I believe are just as flawed.

I find it likely that downloads can result in some viral marketing that benefits sales, however downloads are bound to also have negative effects on sales. Which of these opposing forces weighs the most would be an important factor that we can't track.

To me it looks like many artists just actively demotivate each other believing that a download is a lost sale, just like it is believed that the duplication of something infinite from the start can only lead to inflation. For a rigid systems in an "elastic" environment inflation is unavoidable unless it is acknowledged that the environment is not rigid. A good example are those "pay what you want" schemes who have been very sucessful so far, same for those artists who take the time to get close to their fans and actually profit from distributing their creations (or even having it distributed).

This active demotivation that you mention worries me a great deal as well. I suspect this can be very damaging both for the artists and the consumers. The threat of copying may be an illusion but the demotivation caused by it certainly is not.
"Pay what you want" schemes are probably not an answer to all sectors of the industry, but there are a lot of other options. One obvious one would be to make sure that legally bought copies are not of a lower quality than the pirated ones. The introduction of DRM and online registration to commercial games has devalued legally bought copies a great deal.
A variety of titles with different prices as Chiasm suggested is another way to go.

So far the big publishers have spent the time waiting for the perfect DRM scheme to solve all their problems. I doubt it will happen. I hope they may try to seek alternate solutions, but my hope isn't very high, most likely small independent publishers will have to show the way.

We can not choose the weather, but we can choose to wear warm clothes and make the most of it, or we can choose to sulk in a corner moaning our fate.

Bostur:
[quote="Russ Pitts" post="6.276753.10773196"]Serious threat or perceived serious threat? Piracy has been a well established practice for over 20 years and doesn't seem to have made much of a dent in the industry.

I understand why you see it as a threat, but how much of that perception is based on something more substantial than irrational fear or broad assumptions?

Both trenches seems to me to be stuck in their views due to this whole subject being almost impossible to measure.

It's all very theoretical. We don't know how much is pirated, what the economical consequences are, or even what things would be like without piracy. One side claims that piracy is keeping the industry alive, the other side claims that piracy is crippling it. Both arguments seems to me to have some validity.

My own opinion is that both arguments are irrelevant because nothing will change. What could be is a Utopia or Dystopia depending on the point of view, but in reality a pointless excercise of thought.

My biggest concern as a paying consumer is feeling like a criminal for crimes I never commited, when Im faced with DRMs, unacceptable EULAs, constant limitations in my consumer rights, and of course being on the receiving end of morality preachers.

It's a serious threat in that it is forcing reevaluation of previously-established business models. whether those models needed to be changed anyway or not is an open question, I'll grant you.

I do share your concern as a consumer that in reacting to the threat of piracy, creators will engage in practices that make it harder for me/us to engage with their products. To that I would say that if you fear them at the same time as you appreciate them, then you can probably imagine how they feel about you ;)

Anyway, we seem to have found the spikey edges of this debate. I think we can both agree there's a lot on both sides that is prejudice or speculation.

One fact I will acknowledge, however, is that digital file sharing isn't going anywhere. It is ultimately in the creators' hands to work around it, through it or with it. Consumers will do what consumers will do, and attempting to adapt to changes in the marketplace, rather than stop them, is the only successful strategy.

Russ Pitts:

Anyway, we seem to have found the spikey edges of this debate. I think we can both agree there's a lot on both sides that is prejudice or speculation.

True, I'd like to thank you and the other posters for helping to bring this topic on a much higher level than the usual mud slinging.

Bostur:
The thesis is that copying helps sales, because the most copied albums also sells more. There is another cause that seems more obvious to me, that popular albums will result in high sales and a lot of copying. The two are related but not necessarily as the cause and effect.
I simply dont believe that cause and effect can be tracked in any meaningful way.

It could be tracked meaningfully, that noone has the means or more probably the will doesn't mean it is impossible.
For now there is anecdotal evidence, like that developer in the escapist article I mentioned who made his own study with interesting results. I'd have to look for them but there are other anectodes like this one, even if it is not direct evidence overall this is getting too much for a simple coincidence.

This active demotivation that you mention worries me a great deal as well. I suspect this can be very damaging both for the artists and the consumers. The threat of copying may be an illusion but the demotivation caused by it certainly is not.

This demotivation is not universal however, those who invent new schemes and adapt will survive, those who refuse to change will not. I won't miss them.

Russ Pitts:
It's a serious threat in that it is forcing reevaluation of previously-established business models. whether those models needed to be changed anyway or not is an open question, I'll grant you.

If the models do need to be changed then it is a "good" threat, stagnation has never been a good thing anyway.
Of course I think changes are indeed needed, why they are needed would be explained in that ebook I keep bugging you about, If you could at least acknowledge it's existance you'd thaw that cold heart of mine a bit :)
http://fr.feedbooks.com/book/2750

Edit: no reaction, oh well, referenced for next time.
Thanks to both of you for your intelligent answers.

Azaraxzealot:

Zachary Amaranth:

Azaraxzealot:
a lot of pc gaming elitists don't know just how expensive it is to get into that. especially in the hard times like what Russ described.

Or just don't care.

Given how often the "I can afford it" logic comes up, I'd assume a good chunk of PC elitists are entitled kids.

i can't agree any more. no wonder they have no idea how expensive their hobby is or why they claim 500 to 600 dollars is cheap :P

Heh, I remember when I was under 15 years old. I basically was an entitled kid with parents that bought him everything. When I turned 16 though, I went to work with my dad. When I first got my 2 weeks worth of work, I noticed how hard it truly was to indulge my gaming needs. I mean, I only got like 600 bucks from those two weeks, and from the bills I payed, school and electricity mainly, I ended up with maybe... 30 bucks to spend on games.

You never truly know how hard it is to keep up with your hobbies, gaming in this case, until you actually start working for it.

woo! for FAFSA :P

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