Jimquisition: Piracy - Trying To Kill It Makes It Stronger

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Jimothy Sterling:

getoffmycloud:
The simple reason they don't do more stuff like steam is look what happened with origin as soon as it was announced everyone came out and said they hated it and would never use it and just pirate EA games so I can see why publishers would be put off this kind of service.

The difference is, Origin didn't need to exist. Steam exists already.

Well that's not really a valid argument because why is there more than one supermarket chain in the world, why is there more than one car manufacturer in the world, why is more than one video game retailer in the world because it provides choice without it you get a monopoly and that is always a bad thing.

Why the picture of Twisted Metal when saying "endless patches"? It will have one small day one patch that David Jaffe feels really bad about doing but made it as small as possible so it doesn't get in our way. After that, he's said the game will be left alone unless there are huge bug they missed that need patching or if the game does really well and fans demand new features. That's quite the opposite of endless patches, and if they're able to stick to that plan, an example of what games should be doing.

Anyway, I agree with everything about how publishers are doing it wrong, but just like last week, none of that equates to me giving a free pass to pirates. Pirating because you don't want DRM is not better than pirating because you just don't feel like spending money. Whatever reason you do it for, pirating only tells publishers they need to try harder to stop them. And yeah, publishers are shit too, as for them trying harder means even more draconian shit that punishes the paying customer. But pirates are still an equal part of the problem. Publishers are trying to stop piracy in the wrong way, and game players are telling publishers that they don't want DRM in the wrong way by pirating games. Both sides are WRONG and it's paying customers getting stuck in the middle taking all the hits.

You know what we really need? Boycotts. Too bad that we suck at boycotts as the boycott episode of this show pointed out, though (that picture of the MW2 boycott group on Steam all playing MW2 still makes me facepalm). If all of us would actually band together to not buy the game, not pirate the game, and write to the publisher of the game the next time a game has some really shitty DRM to tell them exactly why we aren't playing their game, that might actually do some good. Good luck actually getting the majority of people who say they'll join in to follow through with not buying or pirating it, though.

Did not get the rant about gaming getting slower because you need to install games on consoles. That's not a piracy thing. That's a consoles this gen aping PC's as far as game play experience and on-line abilities, requires aping some of the PC's down sides, of game installs and patching. Nothing to do with piracy.

The Piracy is a service problem point was already made back here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/114391-Valves-Gabe-Newell-Says-Piracy-Is-a-Service-Problem. But worth re-iterating while this piracy trilogy of episodes is happening

Jim seems sad, maybe he needs a happy topic or pills or something. I agree with his points though. Games need to catch up but they will do it kicking and screaming all the way...if they don't mess it up when they get there.

Jimothy Sterling:

getoffmycloud:
The simple reason they don't do more stuff like steam is look what happened with origin as soon as it was announced everyone came out and said they hated it and would never use it and just pirate EA games so I can see why publishers would be put off this kind of service.

The difference is, Origin didn't need to exist EA doesn't seem to know how to run an online store. Steam exists already.

Fixed it :) Hell even old Impulse was run better than Origin and they had almost no games.

Origin deals listed 3 things for me. Free shiping, sims games preorder stuff, and one 50% off sims expansion

Steam has 5 games on sale from 10-75% off

Impulse has 10 things on sale.

If EA can't learn from their competators then I have no doubt they will feel it in the wallet.

Kwil:
Generally agree, but you fail in the same way that most of these rants against "the man" fail.. you forget that the reason we're getting this crap DRM stuff imposed on us in the first place is because of the pirates.

That's why I get really annoyed whenever somebody gets up on their righteous horse and says, "It's the companies' fault!"

NO. IT. ISN'T.
It is, and will remain, the pirates fault. You want to fight piracy? Here's a good way, tell everybody you know who's a pirate that they're a prick for forcing companies to put all this crap on their games to try to slow them down.

There are ways to lessen piracy, yes. And yes, the companies can take steps toward it as Steam has done, but let's be honest, unless everybody released on Steam, your next rant would be about how it's so inconvenient to remember which service your game is signed up with and so people pirate because they don't want to be bothered going through any service.

On the other hand, *we* can take steps toward stopping piracy and crappy products at the same time, simply by refusing to give pirates any succor or rationalization. You hear that somebody pirated a game, just go, "Man, that's not cool," and no matter what half-ass rationalization they give you, repeat, "Whatever, it's still a shitty thing to do."

You're obviously seeing a lot of replies because your reasoning is somewhat flawed. Yes, DRM and other methods to fight copyright infringers ("pirate" is a convenient term, but not strictly accurate. Piracy denotes theft, but illegal downloads of media aren't theft, they are copyright infringement) were and are implemented as a response to media piracy, however, the companies response to the piracy phenomenon, in the form of stricter and more invasive DRM, drives more people to piracy. When these corporations make it more difficult for legal, paying customers to acquire and use their products than pirates do, that is the fault of the corporations. They've failed to identify the source of the problem and the reasons that people pirate in the first place. There will always be people who prefer to pay nothing rather than something, no matter how difficult, convoluted or illegal it is, just like we still have people that steal cars and rob banks.

Jim is dead correct when he says that convenience is an important way to fight piracy. Of course, that's not the only thing. Getting our games and music has to not only be convenient, but it has to be simple and it has to be relatively affordable. If albums were $19.99 on iTunes instead of $9.99 and individual tracks were $2.00 or $2.50 there would be a lot less customers. But Apple found the sweet spot between convenience and pricing, something the games industry has almost universally failed to do, outside of Steam and sites like GoG.

To put the blame solely on the copyright infringers and pirates exonerates the game publishers of any blame in creating the current environment. They most certainly share the blame with their ham-fisted attempts to lock down games, DRM schemes that do more to frustrate legitimate customers than they ever do those pirating games.

Lastly, finger wagging at people is probably the least effective way I can think of to get them to stop illegally downloading games and to start paying. Probably about as effective as your parents telling you not to drink beer when you were 16.

GeorgW:

Yopaz:

GeorgW:

But the people that upload do it within days of release(your own words), I doubt it's much of a hassle anyway. And the honest consumers wouldn't have to pay a cent more for the same product they buy now, they just have the option to pay to skip DRM. I'm sure plenty of people would do it, and if they do maybe publishers will rethink DRM.

I wont go back on my word that most DRM is cracked within days of release, Modern Warfare 3 was uploaded before its release. However what you fail to see with this point is that DRM is just a false security in these days of piracy. If they were to release a copy without DRM and one with they actually show us all that they know DRM wont stop piracy, yet they punish honest customers who aren't willing to shell out for the DRM free version. This shows us and the pirates that they know they are fighting a losing battle in this and that they actually give up on the battle and try to squeeze us for more money. DRM on the budget version punishes a honest customer. A higher cost DRM free awards the wealthy and makes piracy a lot easier than it already was.

You make a good point and I'm not sure how to counter it. As I said, it was only a thought experiment.
But answer me this, what happens if you want to play a Ubisoft game or Diablo 3 and don't have a stable internet connection? Why should your only option be to pirate, why can't the publishers give you another option, but for a small convenience charge? I understand why my version doesn't really work, but can't we figure one out?

well you also have the option to play other games, especially in the case of D3 where T2 is a really high quality contender without the drm nonsense (and cheaper)

getoffmycloud:

Jimothy Sterling:

getoffmycloud:
The simple reason they don't do more stuff like steam is look what happened with origin as soon as it was announced everyone came out and said they hated it and would never use it and just pirate EA games so I can see why publishers would be put off this kind of service.

The difference is, Origin didn't need to exist. Steam exists already.

Well that's not really a valid argument because why is there more than one supermarket chain in the world, why is there more than one car manufacturer in the world, why is more than one video game retailer in the world because it provides choice without it you get a monopoly and that is always a bad thing.

This doesn't have anything to do with monopolies or anything. People hate Origin because EA said "no more games on Steam, come to Origin if you want them". That pisses people off. People like Steam, and suddenly telling them "Nope!" for whatever reason EA had, valid reason or not, doesn't make people like you or your new service.

Then to top it off, Origin isn't offering any other services like Steam does. Origin, you buy the games and then it runs in the background offering you no benefit. Steam, you buy the games and then it runs in the background offering you an easily accessible web browser if you get stuck in the game, friends list, chatting, and other features similar to what you can get on Xbox Live or PSN. It makes Steam worth having in the background, whereas Origin is just sitting there making sure you didn't steal the game. And as a store, Origin also stinks, as Shamus Young pointed out recently.

People hate Origin because it does it wrong in a world where Valve has been showing everyone how to do it right for years. Things might have been different if Origin was actually good when it launched. Even if EA manages to bring it on par with Steam, they're still going to be fighting an uphill battle to get customers because their first impression was terrible.

2fish:
Jim seems sad, maybe he needs a happy topic or pills or something. I agree with his points though. Games need to catch up but they will do it kicking and screaming all the way...if they don't mess it up when they get there.

Jimothy Sterling:

getoffmycloud:
The simple reason they don't do more stuff like steam is look what happened with origin as soon as it was announced everyone came out and said they hated it and would never use it and just pirate EA games so I can see why publishers would be put off this kind of service.

The difference is, Origin didn't need to exist EA doesn't seem to know how to run an online store. Steam exists already.

Fixed it :) Hell even old Impulse was run better than Origin and they had almost no games.

Origin deals listed 3 things for me. Free shiping, sims games preorder stuff, and one 50% off sims expansion

Steam has 5 games on sale from 10-75% off

Impulse has 10 things on sale.

If EA can't learn from their competators then I have no doubt they will feel it in the wallet.

Actually origin is worse than other places as it charges full boxed price for their games, i got bf3 from game pre order via the web (which came earlier than release aswell) for 26.00, origin had it pegged at 40.00. Ofc its a terrible service. when brick and mortar is outpricing direct download your doing something wrong.

Kwil:

So if we stop blaming companies for piracy and start blaming the pirates, if people start thinking, "What if my friends find out I didn't pay for this game?" instead of "I'll show those guys and their DRM.." then that means we win. Companies will be able to spend less resources trying to protect what's theirs, and more on making it the best it can be.

This will only work when there isnt DRM to crusade against.

So long as ubisoft and securom style DRM exists then there will be no societal pressure on them other than the people that hop and down like you saying "IT ARE NOT THER COMPANIZ FAULT!" who can be safely ignored as not knowing what they are talking about.

Now, if the game companies provided service on par or better with pirates then there would be cause to put negative pressure on pirates. I guarantee you that no one will brag about pirating the Humble Bundle, with all of its DRM free goodness. Why? because THAT can actually shame them.

They could pay what they wanted, even a penny, to get those games with no strings attached, but they stole it, that makes them pathetic, and they take no pride in such a thing. Where as there is a lot of pride to be had when they take an Ubi game and play it more freely and in a better condition than the rube who payed 60 dollars for a game that doesn't work half the time.

So, you are partially right, but the companies are still to blame and need to get their act together before any kind of pressure will work.

Wait....I like Jeff Dunham.

I agree with the other stuff though, anti-piracy measures actually ruin the experience of playing the game. They would rather sacrifice their consumers to fight piracy. What I don't understand is how they cannot see the trend, sure new games may hold off being pirated for a few days, or even weeks but they will find a way to work around whatever barriers were setup while those that legally bought they're games will still have to jump through hoops when they long have been deemed useless.

One exception I can recall of this is X3, initially they had shitty DRM but after it became useless, the developers removed it via patches through the game. But it took maybe a year before this happened but at least they did.

Good points Jim. Reading this in conjunction with Shamus Young's Experienced Points provides an insight into how the industry could be more convenient. There are certainly enough services out there, they just don't seem to get the exposure. That and they're mainly constricted to the PC market. The sooner consoles start offering competatively priced digital downloads the better.

getoffmycloud:

Jimothy Sterling:

getoffmycloud:
The simple reason they don't do more stuff like steam is look what happened with origin as soon as it was announced everyone came out and said they hated it and would never use it and just pirate EA games so I can see why publishers would be put off this kind of service.

The difference is, Origin didn't need to exist. Steam exists already.

Well that's not really a valid argument because why is there more than one supermarket chain in the world, why is there more than one car manufacturer in the world, why is more than one video game retailer in the world because it provides choice without it you get a monopoly and that is always a bad thing.

The difference being that Supermarkets try and compete with each other for customers. Steam is a supermarket that sells games from a variety of publishers and developers, Origin sells EA games. It's like Heinz opening up a shop and then promptly pulling all of their stock off the shelves in other supermarkets. Suddenly you have to make an extra trip (installing and making an account on Origin) to get the Heinz product you wanted.

Not to menion Origin's pricing seems to directly reflect the prices of boxed retail copies.

Kwil:

That's why I get really annoyed whenever somebody gets up on their righteous horse and says, "It's the companies' fault!"

NO. IT. ISN'T.

Yes. It. Is.

See, the pirate doesn't have any obligation to the customer, because he's not providing a service. The company is providing a service, and it isn't my problem if other people pirate games.

Ninedeus:
Wait....I like Jeff Dunham.

I agree with the other stuff though, anti-piracy measures actually ruin the experience of playing the game. They would rather sacrifice their consumers to fight piracy. What I don't understand is how they cannot see the trend, sure new games may hold off being pirated for a few days, or even weeks but they will find a way to work around whatever barriers were setup while those that legally bought they're games will still have to jump through hoops when they long have been deemed useless.

One exception I can recall of this is X3, initially they had shitty DRM but after it became useless, the developers removed it via patches through the game. But it took maybe a year before this happened but at least they did.

Because a few days of no pirating means a few days of people purchasing at the retail stores, and considering that stores only look at the first week or so on the shelves to decide whether they want to order more, those few first days are the important ones.

Pandabearparade:

Kwil:

That's why I get really annoyed whenever somebody gets up on their righteous horse and says, "It's the companies' fault!"

NO. IT. ISN'T.

Yes. It. Is.

See, the pirate doesn't have any obligation to the customer, because he's not providing a service. The company is providing a service, and it isn't my problem if other people pirate games.

No, it isn't. It's the pirates fault. It's the companies fault if people don't buy. However that is an entirely separate issue from if people pirate.

Rednog:
[
So the only problem is the existence of DRM, and removing all DRM would remove the existence of piracy or at least stifle it immensely?
The flaw in the argument is that some developers have actually tried releasing DRM free games...and lo and behold the piracy rate is still laughably high. Take a look at the Witcher 2, hey we love the PC and want to support it as much as we can so we'll make it DRM free! And it gets pirated no differently than other games.
The same with something like indie bundles, hey this money is going to charity, we have DRM free versions and we offer multiple places to redeem keys if you so desire...it still gets pirated in large numbers and you have a slew of people paying only a single cent for it.

I don't think it really is a clear cut case that Jim is presenting it to be, it isn't just this case of one providing a wholesale better experience/convenience. I think it tends to be more of a case of people are just going to pirate because it isn't going to cost them anything to do it.
I mean it is hard to argue something like oh look netflix gives me such a great service...but at the same time backslap ubisoft for having to be always online. For both you have to be online, netflix doesn't allow you to download a bunch of stuff and watch it offline at your leisure (unless I'm missing some feature of netflix). Yes one is more of a rental service and the other something you own, but the point is that you can't on the one hand praise a service that requires you to be constantly online and bash another for requiring the same thing.

You are right. Removing DRM doesn't remove piracy. However there is a group of people in the world who doesn't want to pay for games DRM or not. There are a different group that is willing to pay for games DRM or not and there's a group that boycotts games because of DRM.
Do you disagree that if you could get the group that boycotts a game because of its DRM the sales number might increase? Do you disagree that a DRM that makes it impossible for a few to play and install games generates annoyance and maybe even hate for a company?
What I was trying to say is that the only ones who get problems with DRM are the honest customers. Do you honestly think that the actual customers deserves to have these problems while pirates get out the easy way?

Now we don't have Netflix here, so I can't speak for that, but I am quite familiar with the music service Spotify. You get to listen to music for free, but you have to listen to some advertisement every few songs where the money from the ads are used to pay for the service and the song licenses. If you find a song you like you can purchase it and download it and add it to your portable media player. If you get tired of advertisement you can buy a subscription. If you want to listen to music while not being connected you can get a better subscription and get to use an offline mode and you can use it on your smartphone. Everyone I know who used to download music stopped because that was so much more convenient.

What we need to realize is that piracy wont stop and DRM just makes it hard for the person who actually buys it, not the pirates and that's not fair.

GeorgW:

You make a good point and I'm not sure how to counter it. As I said, it was only a thought experiment.
But answer me this, what happens if you want to play a Ubisoft game or Diablo 3 and don't have a stable internet connection? Why should your only option be to pirate, why can't the publishers give you another option, but for a small convenience charge? I understand why my version doesn't really work, but can't we figure one out?

I know I would be willing to pay a convenience charge for my games. I use Steam even though I can get it cheaper from retail most of the time even with Steam sales because I like having my games collected in one place. Honestly I like the idea of a one time online activation made simple. It's easy for pirates to bypass it, but it's just slightly inconvenient for the honest customer. The sad thing is that those who are behind cracking games are quite smart even though I know several pirates who aren't. I think that fighting piracy is a lost cause and that we should fight it in a way that doesn't alienate those who actually are honest.

bahumat42:

GeorgW:

Yopaz:

I wont go back on my word that most DRM is cracked within days of release, Modern Warfare 3 was uploaded before its release. However what you fail to see with this point is that DRM is just a false security in these days of piracy. If they were to release a copy without DRM and one with they actually show us all that they know DRM wont stop piracy, yet they punish honest customers who aren't willing to shell out for the DRM free version. This shows us and the pirates that they know they are fighting a losing battle in this and that they actually give up on the battle and try to squeeze us for more money. DRM on the budget version punishes a honest customer. A higher cost DRM free awards the wealthy and makes piracy a lot easier than it already was.

You make a good point and I'm not sure how to counter it. As I said, it was only a thought experiment.
But answer me this, what happens if you want to play a Ubisoft game or Diablo 3 and don't have a stable internet connection? Why should your only option be to pirate, why can't the publishers give you another option, but for a small convenience charge? I understand why my version doesn't really work, but can't we figure one out?

well you also have the option to play other games, especially in the case of D3 where T2 is a really high quality contender without the drm nonsense (and cheaper)

Simply not buying it is always an option, but isn't that worse for everyone (except the competition)? The gamer doesn't get the game they want and the publisher loses a sale. That's not exactly a solution.

Yopaz:

GeorgW:

You make a good point and I'm not sure how to counter it. As I said, it was only a thought experiment.
But answer me this, what happens if you want to play a Ubisoft game or Diablo 3 and don't have a stable internet connection? Why should your only option be to pirate, why can't the publishers give you another option, but for a small convenience charge? I understand why my version doesn't really work, but can't we figure one out?

I know I would be willing to pay a convenience charge for my games. I use Steam even though I can get it cheaper from retail most of the time even with Steam sales because I like having my games collected in one place. Honestly I like the idea of a one time online activation made simple. It's easy for pirates to bypass it, but it's just slightly inconvenient for the honest customer. The sad thing is that those who are behind cracking games are quite smart even though I know several pirates who aren't. I think that fighting piracy is a lost cause and that we should fight it in a way that doesn't alienate those who actually are honest.

I agree. It's just sad how publishers never listen to the costumers. And people pirating humble bundles and the Witcher 2 isn't exactly helping our case either.

I've never pirated a game I could easily get legally.

mjc0961:

getoffmycloud:

Jimothy Sterling:

The difference is, Origin didn't need to exist. Steam exists already.

Well that's not really a valid argument because why is there more than one supermarket chain in the world, why is there more than one car manufacturer in the world, why is more than one video game retailer in the world because it provides choice without it you get a monopoly and that is always a bad thing.

This doesn't have anything to do with monopolies or anything. People hate Origin because EA said "no more games on Steam, come to Origin if you want them". That pisses people off. People like Steam, and suddenly telling them "Nope!" for whatever reason EA had, valid reason or not, doesn't make people like you or your new service.

Then to top it off, Origin isn't offering any other services like Steam does. Origin, you buy the games and then it runs in the background offering you no benefit. Steam, you buy the games and then it runs in the background offering you an easily accessible web browser if you get stuck in the game, friends list, chatting, and other features similar to what you can get on Xbox Live or PSN. It makes Steam worth having in the background, whereas Origin is just sitting there making sure you didn't steal the game. And as a store, Origin also stinks, as Shamus Young pointed out recently.

People hate Origin because it does it wrong in a world where Valve has been showing everyone how to do it right for years. Things might have been different if Origin was actually good when it launched. Even if EA manages to bring it on par with Steam, they're still going to be fighting an uphill battle to get customers because their first impression was terrible.

I do agree that origin is a bit shit but my point is the moment they announced origin people already decided it was shit and didn't give it a chance for all they knew at that point it could have turned up with a massive library of games at half the price of steam. And how is having EA games only on an EA service different from Valve having there games only available through steam?

GeorgW:
Simply not buying it is always an option, but isn't that worse for everyone (except the competition)? The gamer doesn't get the game they want and the publisher loses a sale. That's not exactly a solution.

Actually, it's the only solution. When companies see a game being pirated a lot they conclude they're on the right track, they just need even better piracy controls.

They only really start looking at other answers when the product isn't moving.

Ideally, people would not buy or pirate, and would let the company know *why* they aren't doing so.

Sounds like a throwback to the last podtoid. It's also entirely correct. Hell, in 2009 Newell said that Pirates are nothing more than underserved customers. The problem is that a lot of developers/publishers see their jobs as just pushing a product instead of providing a service.

Hear that everyone? Jim will fix it.

Jimothy Sterling:

getoffmycloud:
The simple reason they don't do more stuff like steam is look what happened with origin as soon as it was announced everyone came out and said they hated it and would never use it and just pirate EA games so I can see why publishers would be put off this kind of service.

The difference is, Origin didn't need to exist. Steam exists already.

There is nothing like some healthy competition to keep the rival services in check.

Imagine a world if piracy didnt exist, Gabe was a tyranical unscrupulous business person and Origin didnt exist. The prices of games on steam would be alot more than they are now. It's called a monopoly and it's a shitty situation for the consumers.

While I honestly don't have any real issue with online passes, I can understand why people do. Many of the other issues listed are some that I agree are really annoying. Having to install games is a giant pain. Especially on a console which, in my opinion, one of the benefits is supposed to be not having to go through that hassle like with PC. One of the worst offenders was DMC4, which had a 7 GB install on the PS3. I only had a 20 gig HD, and it took over an hour to install.

I also agree with the constant firmware updates issue. The problem there isn't only the fact you have to stop playing, but if you don't agree to the ToS, you're SoL. Or if the store isn't available to redeem your key on, then you lead to the problems that one game had on the PS3 when it was released during the Blackout.

The worst offender is easily 'always-on' DRM where you have to stay connected to the internet to play. That's a horrible idea and needs to die.

That said, I don't think making things DRM-free would help too much. Steam is one of the few examples of DRM that works... at least for the most part. I don't like the fact they can revoke access to your entire library. And due to an issue that many users have with a file not being created correctly, offline only works for me when I turn Steam to offline mode while connected to the internet. Which kinda goes against the point of offline mode. Not being able to play offline if you're not connected to the internet to get the file needed to play offline and such. But that's a whole argument I had in another thread I don't care to go back to.

I think Steam is currently the best DRM option they have available. It's mostly non-intrusive and it's flaws, while major in my opinion, aren't deal-breakers. That said, I do think DRM can continue to improve itself.

Probably one of your best episodes Jim, and I couldn't agree more.

There's nothing worse than seeing a publisher stab themselves in the foot over and over again, especially when you as the customer know better how to run their business better than they do.

I have never not regretted buying an EA game because every time I do I run into the worst kind of bull**** just to play the damn thing (pro-tip, we'd support Origin if you'd give a crap about PR). I never touch a PC Ubisoft game because, well, duh. The sheer level of stubbornness and ignorance of world trends and their own customers is baffling. I am sick of seeing developers being destroyed by the idiotic warpath that these publishers have set themselves out on.

And then they have the nerve to support SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. A destruction of the internet and our culture just so they don't have to adapt to the modern world. With the amount of effort and money that they put into this global takeover, they could simply listen to the damn customers and start making more money because of it. It's really that simple.

They will always lose this fight, I just hope they don't destroy us all before they do.

Kwil:
Not buying the product is the absolutely appropriate response. I 100% agree with you on that. That in *no* way justifies piracy. You see, in most enterprises, not buying the product means not *having* the product. If a store introduced mandatory, full-on body scans because they had a problem with thievery, nobody would argue in their favor. At the same time, we wouldn't see all these pathetic attempts to excuse the thieves either. Nobody would be saying, "Well, given what they do, I see why people sneak in and steal shit." No, they'd just be saying "Hey, don't shop from those pricks.."

I never said it justifies piracy and I certainly wouldn't argue that piracy is morally or ethically justified in most cases (although from a purely financial point of view piracy seems like a pretty legitimate choice, because why pay for what you can get for free, but whatever). I'm saying that it also doesn't justify the publisher to inconvenience the consumer base with his fight against it. As you've said, no one would argue for either the thief or the store.

The only reason.. the *only* reason.. piracy is as prevalent as it is is because of people like you who turn a blind eye to it and let others get away with it without condemning it. Does DRM suck? Yes. Is it an excuse to pirate? NO. So when we say shit like "Well, I understand why people are doing it," we're the ones who are making excuses for the shit-heads who are actually doing it. Would-be pirate looks around the internet, gets his/her self-righteous "Yeah! I'm fightin' the man, man!" rationalization in place, and goes and gives the companies more reasons to put on DRM.

Oh, I'm not very fond of the "if they offer bad service it's my right to pirate" line of thinking either. But again, the pirate is the publishers problem, not mine. It's not even exclusive to this industry, piracy is a problem everywhere, every company that innovates has to deal with people infringing their copyright. Yet no one would think about nailing cars shut or only selling "licenses to drive them" because otherwise the Chinese/Japanese/French/Americans/Germans/Italians might reverse-engineer it. Which all of them acually do.

You want proof? Smoking. Nothing anybody did could get smoking to decline until people at large started going, "You know what? That's a really gross habit." Societal pressure did a hell of a lot more damage to smoking than anything any company did. And what we, as decent people need to start doing is telling pirates "That's a really shitty thing to be doing."

Will it stop all of them? Of course not. Some people are pricks by nature. But most folks are generally pretty decent and try to avoid doing things that other people think are shitty.

Smoking? You wanna make this personal, eh?! Pressure from society is only worth so much, and unlike smoking piracy actually has many things to offer to the pirate. No one quit smoking because of "that's gross, man" alone, it was because "I was thinking about quitting and having to stand in the cold sucks so now I actually have the incentive to follow through". The pirate goes "It's free, so whatever". I know plenty of people like this and no one would be particularly phased over me giving them shit for pirating.

The thing is, we don't need to stop all of them, we just need to get the numbers low enough that there's less and less justification for the DRM in the first place, because if we're smart, we'll be telling the companies "You know, all this DRM crap is a pretty shitty thing to be doing," at the same time, and trust me, developers *want* to be able to listen. You think they like having to code in circles to try and hamper pirates? Hell no.

So if we stop blaming companies for piracy and start blaming the pirates, if people start thinking, "What if my friends find out I didn't pay for this game?" instead of "I'll show those guys and their DRM.." then that means we win. Companies will be able to spend less resources trying to protect what's theirs, and more on making it the best it can be.

DRM will always be justified from the publisher's perspective. DRM was initially designed to prevent "offline"-piracy, i.e. people lending games to their friends or burning CD's. Considering how little it does against online piracy it's not unreasonable to think that this is still its main purpose. The publisher, in the end, wants complete control in this aspect and if there is a risk that only one guy borrows the game from his friend - a lost sale! - they will keep it around. Guaranteed. From a business perspective there is no reason to remove it until you actually gain more by doing so.
Hence why I argue that communicating "I'll buy your product if your service stops sucking" is the only way to go. If the people who openly communicate this far outweigh the gains of DRM, they will remove it. Everything is a gain/loss calculation after all.

Now, you argue that reducing the number of pirates does just that and yes, that's true, but DRM has so much more to offer to the publisher that even if there wasn't a single online-pirate anymore they'd still keep it around.
And you know what? I still don't see why I should fight their fight. Here I am with my hard-earned 60 bucks which I just have to spend right now. Why should I fulfill quota of converted pirates before I can get a product that doesn't suck? It simply isn't my problem.
How about a choice between "Spend 60$ and get a product that's good, or help us and get an even better product" instead of "60$ for a shitty product, help us and we may or may not produce something that sucks slightly less"? That might get me motivated. You know, positive encouragement and all that. As of right now there is no incentive to bother, because the chances of publishers changing their behavior are abysmal. At least, that's what they communicate. Communication is key, and the video games industry is - for the most part - terrible at it.

Kwil:
Generally agree, but you fail in the same way that most of these rants against "the man" fail.. you forget that the reason we're getting this crap DRM stuff imposed on us in the first place is because of the pirates.

That's why I get really annoyed whenever somebody gets up on their righteous horse and says, "It's the companies' fault!"

NO. IT. ISN'T.

It's the pirates' fault that game publishers institute a number of measures that have, and have always had, zero effect on piracy, while inconveniencing the paying customer?

No, that special brand of idiocy is all on the publishers, I'm afraid.

It's like those unskippable anti-piracy trailers that were placed at the beginning of DVDs for a while. The only people who ever saw them were the people who paid for the product. The product I paid for was worse than the pirated product.

Clearly, though, I should blame the pirates for these moronically counter-intuitive measures that have no effect on piracy.

GeorgW:

bahumat42:

GeorgW:

You make a good point and I'm not sure how to counter it. As I said, it was only a thought experiment.
But answer me this, what happens if you want to play a Ubisoft game or Diablo 3 and don't have a stable internet connection? Why should your only option be to pirate, why can't the publishers give you another option, but for a small convenience charge? I understand why my version doesn't really work, but can't we figure one out?

well you also have the option to play other games, especially in the case of D3 where T2 is a really high quality contender without the drm nonsense (and cheaper)

Simply not buying it is always an option, but isn't that worse for everyone (except the competition)? The gamer doesn't get the game they want and the publisher loses a sale. That's not exactly a solution.

Yopaz:

GeorgW:

You make a good point and I'm not sure how to counter it. As I said, it was only a thought experiment.
But answer me this, what happens if you want to play a Ubisoft game or Diablo 3 and don't have a stable internet connection? Why should your only option be to pirate, why can't the publishers give you another option, but for a small convenience charge? I understand why my version doesn't really work, but can't we figure one out?

I know I would be willing to pay a convenience charge for my games. I use Steam even though I can get it cheaper from retail most of the time even with Steam sales because I like having my games collected in one place. Honestly I like the idea of a one time online activation made simple. It's easy for pirates to bypass it, but it's just slightly inconvenient for the honest customer. The sad thing is that those who are behind cracking games are quite smart even though I know several pirates who aren't. I think that fighting piracy is a lost cause and that we should fight it in a way that doesn't alienate those who actually are honest.

I agree. It's just sad how publishers never listen to the costumers. And people pirating humble bundles and the Witcher 2 isn't exactly helping our case either.

Yeah, pirating games where the money goes to charity or games that don't offer us any problems makes it hard to side against DRM. I actually think I would be OK with a game that had a crappy DRM if it actually did prevent pirates from playing it.

lol... I remember MVC :p

Actually with the rise in indie games I feel that this system is on the way out, but it wants to make the process of leaving as painful as possible.

I think that simply making buying "more convinient" than piracy, is a good solution, but it's a temporary one.

Not having to pay money for every product that I check out, can also be a major convinience, and right now, it is only counterbalanced by the fact that several people have the feeling that we are "supposed to" pay for every game.

It's essentially just a cultural habit, that we feel guilt over copying games, but happy to pay for them. And in part, paying to avoid guilt is the convinience that we pay for.

But how long will that habit remain? It's not an universal constant, or an objective moral standard, just a remnant of the past few decades where buying physical copies in the store was the only choice. In other media, like radio, or TV, everyone feels that getting shows for free is natural. (yes, there is a different business model that makes it ok, but most people don't ay attention to that, I'm only talking about the vague feeling of entitlement).

Or just think about how with Internet news, everyone feels entitled to free news reports, and suddenly newspapers are more unappealing, and even have to switch to an ad-heavy free distribution model, like Metro.

Now the Internet is having that effect on all media, a whole generation is growing up in a world where copying files all day is self-evident. Eventually, the habit of paying $60 for certain downloads, while none for others, will lose it's meaning in the eyes of the masses who don't particularly care about industry revenues.

While I agree that making legal game downloads more convinient makes more sense than DRM, this is just a first step. On the long term, gaming industry must be redesigned to be profitable while distributing most of it's content.

Kwil:

GeorgW:
Simply not buying it is always an option, but isn't that worse for everyone (except the competition)? The gamer doesn't get the game they want and the publisher loses a sale. That's not exactly a solution.

Actually, it's the only solution. When companies see a game being pirated a lot they conclude they're on the right track, they just need even better piracy controls.

They only really start looking at other answers when the product isn't moving.

Ideally, people would not buy or pirate, and would let the company know *why* they aren't doing so.

But that's the problem, if a game just isn't selling, they would just scrap it, they would never realise it's cuz of DRM. And I don't think publishers look at big pirate numbers positively, that would just mean the next game wouldn't sell any, and get pirated a bunch. I would love a way to tell the publishers off, but I can't really think of a way to do that. I love Android's thing where when you uninstall an app, they ask you why, but given that you'd have to have already purchased it, that would be impossible with games.

Yopaz:

GeorgW:

bahumat42:

well you also have the option to play other games, especially in the case of D3 where T2 is a really high quality contender without the drm nonsense (and cheaper)

Simply not buying it is always an option, but isn't that worse for everyone (except the competition)? The gamer doesn't get the game they want and the publisher loses a sale. That's not exactly a solution.

Yopaz:

I know I would be willing to pay a convenience charge for my games. I use Steam even though I can get it cheaper from retail most of the time even with Steam sales because I like having my games collected in one place. Honestly I like the idea of a one time online activation made simple. It's easy for pirates to bypass it, but it's just slightly inconvenient for the honest customer. The sad thing is that those who are behind cracking games are quite smart even though I know several pirates who aren't. I think that fighting piracy is a lost cause and that we should fight it in a way that doesn't alienate those who actually are honest.

I agree. It's just sad how publishers never listen to the costumers. And people pirating humble bundles and the Witcher 2 isn't exactly helping our case either.

Yeah, pirating games where the money goes to charity or games that don't offer us any problems makes it hard to side against DRM. I actually think I would be OK with a game that had a crappy DRM if it actually did prevent pirates from playing it.

I wonder how much Skyrim got pirated, given that it was on steamworks and a major title.
Yeah, the big problem with DRM is that it doesn't do shit. I wonder if Diablo 3 will either not be pirated at all or pretty much exclusively, cuz given the way their DRM is heading that's the only 2 options I'm seeing.

Jim Sterling:
Snip

In the near future, piracy is going to have something that is going to stop them in their tracks if the gaming industry accepts it, the cloud.

With Onlive proving at least the service can function, we can get any game we want INSTANTLY without downloading, installing, or anything else. Any kind of traditional torrent site just simply can't provide that amount of convience. As soon as the internet connection needed to run the service becomes common place, and they figure ways around the technical issues such as low frame rates and get the games multiplayer to work proper, and it becomes a subscription service like Netflix, why is their any reason to pirate games at all?

What a topic. Great discussion as always when it comes to piracy.

Melon Hunter:

That's how a competitive market works; one company sets up a business in a pre-existing market to try and get some of the profits from it. Should Microsoft not have bothered with making the Xbox, as it didn't need to exist, due to the Playstation 2 and Gamecube already existing? Of course not.

In a way, it should have been a good thing, as Steam hold a virtual monopoly over digital distribution for PC games. The problem is, Origin has nowhere near the level of good service and pricing that Steam offers currently.

That is exactly how competitive markets work, but I will not understand why people say Steam holds a monopoly. They do not. A monopoly is a predatory business practice that prevents other companies from entering the same market as the company is in. Steam does nothing like this. They are biggest because they have been around for a long time (in computer years), they offer the best deals (as long as you are not in Australia) and they make their customers happy. All the titles on Steam are allowed to be sold everywhere else. They do not prevent other titles from selling on their service. Even with Valve games, you can go to a brick and mortar store and buy them.

GeorgW:

You make a good point and I'm not sure how to counter it. As I said, it was only a thought experiment.
But answer me this, what happens if you want to play a Ubisoft game or Diablo 3 and don't have a stable internet connection? Why should your only option be to pirate, why can't the publishers give you another option, but for a small convenience charge? I understand why my version doesn't really work, but can't we figure one out?

Your only option is piracy because companies won't treat their customers with respect. It's not the consumers problem that the company creates obstacles for you to play games. It's not the customers responsibility to jump through hoops to play a game that you bought. It's the literally the companies fault that these things happen. Piracy is not the consumers fault or problem when we are talking about honest customers. But the companies act as if the piracy is all that matters. Yet, they still make more than enough money off of paying customers to create new games, find new ways to get in the customers way of playing them, and spend lots of money on security solutions. It sounds to me like the companies should start paying attention to what paying customers need.

OT: The thing that drives me nuts is that paying customers hate these things the companies do but then simultaneously make excuses as to why it's ok. All I'm saying is that I know what pirates do and I don't support them, but I do not care to be treated like a criminal because my neighbor may be a software pirate. It's not my fault and it's not my problem. And, accordingly I do not buy games from companies that do not respect me (Ubisoft, Activision, EA, any game that uses GFWL, etc.). We are all adults and know that there is no such thing as guilt by association. If my room mate downloads all his music, did I commit a crime? No, I did not and I should accordingly not be treated as someone who should be living in a 5x9 cell.

I've heard it said several times in other articles and forums: piracy is not a criminal issue; it's a customer service issue. I find it very difficult to disagree with that idea. We really don't need more laws regarding piracy(and I'd really like to see the limits on copyright rescinded back to the standard of 14 years; if you can't profit from your idea in 14 years, you have an issue). What we really need is for companies to adapt their policies to the changing expectations of the market.

Most people are rational enough to be willing to pay for the content they enjoy, but you have to let them actually enjoy it. If people are not able to enjoy the product, then they will either learn to live without it, or they find a means of removing the restrictions that prevent them from enjoying it(for which piracy ends up often being the means of implementation of this strategy). In both cases, the company loses on potential income because they devalued the product relative to the asking price in the minds of the buyer, which leads the buyer to refuse to purchase the product.

Several times, I have proclaimed that there are only three reasons for piracy: lazy, cheap, and a douche-bag. While that is true in a large percentage of cases, it is not true in every case(demonstrating that my own thinking was oversimplifying the case). In many cases, the reason for piracy is unavailability or extremely limited availability relative to demand. Basically, there exists a market for a particular product, but that market is not being served with that product. As a result, the market is forced to obtain the product through different means, i.e. piracy. While this is not a justification for the act of piracy in this case, it is a point to show cause for the phenomenon and to demonstrate there being a simple remedy of making the product more conveniently available to that market for reasonable price. I think a good example is the anime and manga market here in the US(granted, that market has other issues, currently, that are likely contributing to its woes), and the example of Viz Media's push to make the manga they license digitally available through their mobile device apps(I know they have an iPad/iPhone app, but I don't know if they have an Android app) for substantially lower price than print(almost 50% off, in some cases).

I think if companies adapted to better serve their markets through the Internet and digital media, while they will not eliminate piracy(as Jim says, you really, truly can't stop it), they will make piracy less an issue for them.

EDIT: minor grammatical edit.

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