Stolen Pixels #12: The Economics Lesson

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SenseOfTumour: This isn't even entirely about the inconvenience. It's also just a question of economics. DRM schemes increase the cost of game development, which increases the cost of purchasing a game, which increases the competetiveness of piracy. DRM is a problem because it's a waste of everyone's money. Game developers and publishers should be spending their money on things that increase the value of their product or not spend it at all, passing on quality or savings to their customers, not empty code that serves no one.

I wasn't really defending it, just stating that in most cases, I doubt many people will reinstall three times on different machines in the life of the game.

I'm certainly against DRM too, especially when it appears that lesser and non protected games seem to regularly sell more copies, if they are GOOD.

EA and the others need to understand that its the quality of the game that matters, and that customers are getting increasingly educated about the issue and we don't want what is essentially malware bundled with our games, and I'm in agreement too that I don't think spending the thousands on these ideas is worthwhile when they're ALL cracked within hours and only serve to punish the honest customer.

However, I stand by my point that most people won't hit the install limit.

SenseOfTumour:
However, I stand by my point that most people won't hit the install limit.

And what about the people who do?
I'm a games journalist myself, and we usually get one editorial copy to review. Most often than not the boss wants to play it, the guy assigned to the review has to play it, and maybe the others at the mag want to play it too. And we don't get additional copies, no way. On the other hand, I have games I'd like to play years from now on. I have a copy of StarCraft, that seen more than 30 installs along the years. If I buy a game, I want to have it forever, not just for 3 installs... DRM can go @#! itself...

And yeah, Stardock games at least have the courtesy of letting you play them...

Y'know... funny you mention ice cream, Shamus... I just thought you'd like to know, that in the days of yore when I hung out in the Neverwinter Nights Community, and talked with certain Bioware employees... they actually get FREE Ice Cream, and all they want (Well, I suppose within reason, and I think it was limited to those pre-packaged chocolate dipped cones and ice cream sandwiches). Naturally, we're mostly talking about EA, but I couldn't help mentioning this small nugget.

Also, for those who played Neverwinter Nights 2 who are wondering about Obsidian, they aren't graced with Free Ice Cream, but they do get Free Soda from the Soda Machine.

I just have to say that although it is bad for Ea to do things like this, so what? This is a game company where the majority of their products are iterations of Madden 95, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, NBA live, MLB Baseball and many other games that I really do not have the time or interest in looking up. Sure, they are going to piss off you, but there are a ton of casual gamers who frankly don't give a flip one way or another. These people are going to buy new games despite the warbling of the internet.

Yes, the decision is stupid. Any decision where a person who bought the product needs to do more work than "install game, play game" is going to bite the company in the ass. It is their mistake to make. Let's just stand on the sides and watch.

Oh blimey now I want to rant on Piracy and DRM but I'll just say "screw it" and congratulate you on making me laugh my ass off.

Seriously, you probably didn't even need the text in the "assets" part, those pictures alone are hilarious.

I need a job like that, being photographed while "banging" hookers in a suit. No actually, no I don't...

SultenSalami:
Unfortunately, the sentiment about spore is not correct, according to this article;

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/05/10/ea-backs-down-from-draconian-copy-protection/1

Huh? The article you're linking to specifically confirms that SPORE is still going to feature a DRM system.

TheKbob:
Shamus, great work, but I want to say maybe they will wise up like Bioshock did a year later and just let the whole thing drift away. Bioshock has no more limitations on it, at all, besides the CD key, that is.

This is also not true: Bioshock still features a DRM system with server-side activation required. The only thing they've removed is the limit on the number of installations their server will allow.

But, in reality, this doesn't mean that there isn't a limitation on the number of installations you can perform. As soon as they take down the authentication server, the number of installations you can perform will instantly drop to 0 and you've got a coaster.

Imagine that, every time you started your lawnmower, it dialed up the manufacturer and asked for permission to start. If the serial number of your lawnmower has been reported stolen or you don't have it hooked up to the phone line or if the manufacturer has gone out of business... well, then your lawnmower won't start.

That's DRM. And we, as customers, shouldn't put up with it. We shouldn't have to.

So...how does this hurt pirates?

Oh wait, it doesn't. Well played, EA. Well played.

why would you need to install a game more than 3 times anyways?

In SPORE you get to install 6 times, but each time you uninstall the counter gets reset. So you basically buy 6 games and each can be installed on one pc at any given time. no cd required to play, so that's nice.

Doesn't make the game any better though. It's (kind-of) a piece of crap.

Scaling is retarded: this is a picture of a colony on the in-game representation of earth. Yes, that colony is covering Antarctica(no polar ice?) almost entirely. And it only houses like 15 people.

image

I was thinking exactly the same the about the hookers when he mentioned them....

Maaaan. I miss Stolen Pixels. :(

EA and PC gaming.. sure they are not as bad as Ubisoft but not far off.

If anybody asks why PC gaming is in the situation it now is.. blame DRM!

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