Stolen Pixels #21: A Heartwarming Reconciliation

Stolen Pixels #21: A Heartwarming Reconciliation

This installment of Stolen Pixels comes with 40% less human waste and only partial nudity.

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Yes, indeed. It would also be a shame if a delicious popsicle went to waste because some idiot had dipped the thing in a flowing river of human excrement.

Don't sit on the fence Shamus.

Maybe EA are bringing out the DRM to promote the hard work and difficult conditions that software pirates have to go through EVERY day. I mean, it's not easy being the first person to switch a few bits in the master code. They have to train really hard.

This feels somewhat as a joke. I'm talking about the installation limit raise by the way...
But seriously, great Stolen Pixels. I wonder were will this all end, I mean, copy protection has always been there with us during our gaming lifes but nowadays it's almost like companies like EA don't want us playing their games although I have to agree with them with this: it's not because of the copy-protection in one game (or several) that I'm going to stop playing any particular game 'cause if the game IS that good chances are nobody will care about the DRM's or whatever. I still disagree with DRM's by principle and I honestly don't think that "pirates" are the the original bringers of doom and DRM's: it's just natural evolution of basic human behavior (ie.: mistrust).

(...) and land them the gold at the missing-the-point Olympics.

The LOLs.

Sorry, had to say it.

To be fair, 2k Games has been doing DRM too, and other PC publishers. EA just gets the notice because it controls a larges market share/devoured so many other developers. If DRM is bad, it's bad whether the big dog does it, or the underdog.

Loneduck3:
To be fair, 2k Games has been doing DRM too, and other PC publishers. EA just gets the notice because it controls a larges market share/devoured so many other developers. If DRM is bad, it's bad whether the big dog does it, or the underdog.

The issue is that EA pushed it's DRM on 2 very important releases. Mass Effect's PC user base had been waiting a very long time for the chance to play (Bioware originally being a PC friendly company) and they felt it was adding insult to injury. Spore was hyped up to the sky and the DRM caused all the hype to implode. EA's releases were just easier to attack.

2K's major screw up was Bioshock PC, and by that time most people had bought in on the 360. It did not have the dedicated PC user base that a Bioware or Will Wright game carried with it.

Loneduck3:
To be fair, 2k Games has been doing DRM too, and other PC publishers. EA just gets the notice because it controls a larges market share/devoured so many other developers. If DRM is bad, it's bad whether the big dog does it, or the underdog.

We did notice with BioShock, so 2k gets their attention. Though it wasn't as big as Spore's.

And that's some lovley photographies!

The more they pull crap like this the more I think piracy is just a cop out. They know they can't get the pirates to buy their games, and they know they can't stop the pirates. So instead they are trying to get their current customers to accept "Software as a Service".

Reminds me of this slashdot comment:
Spore gave us infinity minus three too few installs.
Red Alert 3 will give us infinity minus five too few installs. Not an improvement in my book.
I don't think the install limit is really about piracy anyway, it's a method to force you to buy the game more than once and to prevent you from buying it second hand.

I'm surprised in 3 ways:

-> The DRM is there to break the second hand market which EA sees as a critical situation. Yet I haven't bought a single game second hand and really, I wouldn't even know where to find a shop for second hand games. Do so many people buy their games second hand? And even then, I do sell/buy second hand books, dvds,... It's my right as a customer. And it means you have sold a copy, it wasn't pirated in the first place!

-> Why is this only news now? Mass Effect & Bioshock had the same issues and both are triple A games. Yet only now does it seem to have rippled a bit into the mainstream. Well, a little bit...

-> 3 activations to 5, who are they kidding? Won't change my mind and I doubt that anyone else will now suddenly change their mind.

Some guys over at Ars Technica tried out the limited installs and found it to be less draconian than first suspected:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080916-ars-puts-spore-drm-to-the-testwith-a-surprising-result.html

But from my point of view this still misses the critical point of needing to call customer service in order to play a game that I paid for, I don't care how easy it is or how friendly the staff, the very fact I have to call annoys me. Not to mention the fact that a piece of software I don't want (secureROM) is installed on my PC and I really don't know what it does while its in there. I guess the argument could be made that a lot of software does stuff that I don't know about, but given my friends experience, most of them don't crash my PC and slow down my boot times by 2 minutes.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Yes, indeed. It would also be a shame if a delicious popsicle went to waste because some idiot had dipped the thing in a flowing river of human excrement.

Don't sit on the fence Shamus.

Maybe EA are bringing out the DRM to promote the hard work and difficult conditions that software pirates have to go through EVERY day. I mean, it's not easy being the first person to switch a few bits in the master code. They have to train really hard.

They sure do like a challenge though...

grinner_88:
a piece of software I don't want (secureROM) is installed on my PC and I really don't know what it does while its in there. I guess the argument could be made that a lot of software does stuff that I don't know about

surely thats in the user licence agreement ie: "by installing our game (and by extension SecuROM) you allow secuROM to [s]contam-[s] 'liberate' your system of financial security threats (to EA Games inc. assoc.) and, by extension to liberate your bank accounts and credit cards of financial security threats to EA Games. monitor your browsing and buying habits, and redirect all 'unsecure' net purchases to EA Games." -or something.

The main problem here is that EA have decided to change the rules of commerce and buying or selling, and are under the misapprehension that they no longer sell games, but they sell the rights to play a copy of a game. as gamers, we are no longer customers, but rather licencees.
and I for one, aint going to stand for it.

heres a question. if I broke into a Game retailer one night, opened up all the boxes of spore, mass effect, and bioshock; copied down all the Licence keys from the manual, then put everything back where it was, would I be guilty of theft? or simply B&E and Trespassing (assuming i intend to use those keys in the future).

Carra:
Yet I haven't bought a single game second hand and really, I wouldn't even know where to find a shop for second hand games. Do so many people buy their games second hand? And even then, I do sell/buy second hand books, dvds,... It's my right as a customer. And it means you have sold a copy, it wasn't pirated in the first place!

I'm surprised if you really don't have a GameStop or GameCrazy in your area. They're typically attached to Barnes & Nobles and Hollywood Video stores. Gamestop is a huge conglomeration of Software Etc., Babbage's, FunCoLand, and Electronics Boutique. They're in like every mall in the country. (A mall in my area has two, plus another one across the street at the Barne's & Noble's)

A lot of people do buy games used. My experience is that they're usually in playable condition and since everything's on discs now I don't even have to delete a save file to get going. I think the strength of these secondary markets should really get game companies to question the value of what it is that they're selling. If a $60 game really isn't worth $60 to a consumer who instead nets $-40 for what amounts to an extended rental (where have I heard that phrase before?) then maybe something about the whole business model needs to change.

I don't personally believe these stores hurt the games industry at large as much as many seem to think they do. For one thing I started buying more games after I started selling some off at a GameCrazy in my area, and not just used copies. Being able to sell a few games got me the cash I needed to buy a new one I wanted. Also, I'm a little more bold in my purchases knowing that I can just sell them later and not lose the entire cost. I have less luck with rentals since the time I get to play a game is sporadic. I've rented games before and only gotten to spend a couple of hours or less with them before having to return it. Being able to fudge with that time without late fees is a nice convenience.

It must be tricky selling something that's intended to be disposable so that people will keep buying them from you but also keeps nearly all of it's original value into several iterations of resale.

Gummy, I hope you understand that this is basically a recursion of what's been going on in the software world basically since the beginning. Actually the typical model for software purchase is licensing, not sales. It's just that in the past the licenses were easily transferable and not enforced so thoroughly, so it was a lot more like ownership.

I could extend your scenario and ask what you would be charged with if you did exactly the same thing but copied code instead of licensing keys. It's basically the same thing. That's is why there are those who say ideas should not be treated as property.

I'm surprised if you really don't have a GameStop or GameCrazy in your area. They're typically attached to Barnes & Nobles and Hollywood Video stores. Gamestop is a huge conglomeration of Software Etc., Babbage's, FunCoLand, and Electronics Boutique. They're in like every mall in the country. (A mall in my area has two, plus another one across the street at the Barne's & Noble's)

So second hand games are popular in the US. Here in Belgium, second hand games are sold via e-bay and similar sites, not via shops. So yeah, no GameStop or GameCrazy ;)

And yes, the money you get from selling your games can be used as an investment in new games. It's a win win again.

I have to say this issue bothers me.
Honestly, I don't think software developers are fighting piracy ENOUGH.
I am from Israel, so I am a little biased, but here piracy is rampant.
And when I mean rampant, i mean that buying software here is considered to be a patsy thing.
Buying a game is considered to be stupid, as it can easily be downloaded from free , hassle free, danger free.
And again, I am a software Dev with a social circle of other software devs. Although none of us are rich, we all make very nice paychecks, live in very nice houses, and usually we do not hold back on spending our money on entertainment.
And yet, these people wont spend 20 bux on a game from steam, wont buy a budget game from the local game shop. Why? Cause they'll be a patsy.
No matter how much I try to tell them : Why pirate software ? You all work IN software. Pirating software hurts you.
And also, you of all people, cant you understand that pirating games ( which is our main problem here isn't it ? ) hurts people just like YOU, working day in day out 11 hours a day on eye watering code so you can have a better game?
And I get the usual responses "If games were cheaper bla bla bla" , even though they spend 3x as much a day on restaurants and drinks "I don't have to pay for software , information is free" , which is a stupid thing for a software worker to say IMO, "They have anti piracy software those games! The Chutzpa!!".
That last thing usually blows my mind.
Yes, they have anti piracy measures, which they try to use so people will buy their games SO they might make money to make better games.
When I try to convince them that if they don't like games and DRM measures, don't play the game at all. Vote the capitalistic way. But pirating it makes no real stand, has no real meaning.
It's like stealing a book because its too expensive, or because it can be read only 10 times.
Don't like that? don't buy. Get freeware books, get open source books, whatever.

So, what is my rant about?
It's a chicken and egg race (Yes, a chicken will beat an egg in a race, but let that go).
Pirates hurt business, hurt it bad. Titan quest is an excellent example of a company that bought the bucket due to piracy. Game developers all over the world are starting to show reluctancy in developing software for the pc due to piracy.
And when they try to protect themselves, they get pirated even more.
Now, is that their fault?
If I was being burglarized every day, I would install a burglar alarm. The people who wouldnt like it would most likely be burglars. If any friends I had would be annoyed that when they enter my house it would beep and hoot sometimes, they can either 1) stop coming to my house 2) suck it up.
breaking my burglar alarm is not an option.

PS: my First post, yay!

smnoamls

The question is not
"if I were burglarized every day, would I install a burglar alarm?"

The question is,
"if I were burglarized every day, would I have armed guards do a pat-down on everybody who walks by?"

"if I sometimes had people pilfer from my store, would I spit in the face of everyone who buys something, because they might have also stolen something?"

End users should be able to install the game/software on an unlimited number of computers and keep on adding installations, as hardware changes or system crashes etc. occur. The real item to control is not the number of installations; it is how many of these installations can be used, at the same time.

Thus, with ByteShield, the permission to run moves from one PC to another, seamlessly. For more information see the whitepaper "Is Anti-Piracy/DRM the Cure or the Disease for PC Games?" which can be downloaded here www.byteshield.net/byteshield_whitepaper_0005.pdf.

I wouldn't be against a 100% online autorization everytime I wanted to play. A system like steam. I have cable internet that is always on. I have no problem with online activations. The only problem is the limit. I've already had a problem with Stalker: Clear Sky on Steam. They decided to add an extra layer of DRM on top of the regular Steam protections. So not only do I have to have a working Steam account, which no one else can use simultaneously, it can only be installed on 3 PCs. I had a problem which I remedied by reinstalling windows, and then 2 hard ware upgrades later, I couldn't access my game on Steam. Luckily, I contacted the Tages support and they reset my activation limit.

Steam is the perfect compromise between security and user rights. I wish all publishers would see that. Just don't go on there and add extra DRM layers because that is defeating the point.

raising the limit from 3 to 5 is stupid, its like you buy a bag full if chips, but after you take out 3 chips, the bag implodes into itself. o/c you would be pissed out of your mind and would come see me asking wtf happened, but would you realy be happier if i told you "ok, fine, our next flavor will have the limit raised to 5 chips" its like are you stupid? i want to use it to its complete usefullness.

ea games, challenge everything, even common sense

RIP EA GAMES

 

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