189: Rob from the Rich, Steal from the Poor

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Piracy isn't really the monster that the publishers make it out to be, its always been around and its no going away any time soon. They just don't like it because they don't have fingers in all the pies.

But its important that we make sure it doesn't hurt the Developers, and coming up with a solution for this isn't easy but we already have some systems in use that keep profits up and damage to Devs down. If anything Publishers have made alot of noise and told alot of lies about Piracy just to push for DRM. This worked well for them because it killed off the second hand PC Games trading market.

But it seems they did put enough thought into DRM and the long term effects have seriously made a slump in sales and alienated customers. Many Publishers have now fallen silent on the matter because they fear to acknowledge that DRM was a failure, other even continue to blame piracy for the slump. Thankfully some have seen the light.

Right now it seems the only people with the right idea are Valve with the Steam system. You need make the game a better deal than the pirate version, Valve have been developing and experimenting with this manifesto for some time now and its working.

The basic Valve manifesto:

- Don't treat all your customers like potential criminals. (Nice work EA)
- Have sales on your titles that make them very reasonably priced.
- Keep updating your games, either by patching bugs or introducing new content.
- Release said new content for free whenever possible, instead of nickel and diming customers to death with overpriced DLC.
- Word of mouth is far more important (and cheaper) than any PR campaign.
- Provide the necessary tools and encourage players to create new content, instead of intentionally withholding them due to (baseless) fear that free content will eliminate the demand for high-quality paid content.

The key words there are "high-quality" in the last point, not cheap map packs knocked out over a week or two or lazy DLC like the recent Operation Anchorage.

Mariena:

Sampler:
What about a move to ingame advertising? I know this is something EA are playing with and I'll probably get a heap of scorn thrown at me for mentioning it but if they give the game away and then have it contact a central server to play ads back you can keep a track of impressions and probably end up making more money than the cover charge of the game.

Take Fallout3 for example (as it's a good one) - plenty of billboards and ingame own make brands advertised, how hard would it be to link in to real-life adverts - the amount of hours I've spent on that game would surely mean if they had ads in it the revenue from so many I would've seen would be far greater than the 30 it costs.

It would also be an incentive for game houses to make games that last a bit and have a good replayability so you keep coming back and see more ads - better than some of the disposable crap pinched out of late.

The ads in Rainbow Six Vegas 2 were okay, if you ask me. It took place around 2008 (2005/2010), and some scenarios involved casinos and convention center type areas. I'd expect a lot of ads there, and they were actually appropriate.

But seeing ads for Dodge or BMW, or Siemens in a Fallout game, or basically anything that isn't set in our 2009.. that'd really kill the setting.

I'm sorry but even before I knew about the advertising in that game I realized that every car model in the second level was a dodge and it creaped me right out and ruined the gameplay experience. THEN I saw the huge DODGE billboards and was like OOOOHHHHHHH! Still haven't beat that game. Not on general principal or anything, the ads are just too jarring and they keep jerking me out of my little fantasy world where I'm an elite member of the most badass tactical assault squadron evar! Excuse me now, I must pretend I'm flying a spaceship to another planet. Pew-pew-pewwww!!!

EDIT: I was talking about R6V, you were talking about R6V:2. I should learn to read.

caross73:
No matter how much piracy there is, I think that there will always be artists who develop games, and there will always be people who manage to make a living off writing them. Of course will there be big-budget, 40 million dollars in development games if piracy is allowed to be too convenient? No. And honestly I don't care, because my best game experiences have all been in garage games without the huge cinematic, voice-over budgets.

I think I got more entertainment value out of a shareware copy of Scorched Earth that we played for months in the dorms in college than in my $60 copy of Oblivion which now sits on the shelf, having been drained of every bit of interest it once had over a couple weekend.

I know right haha. I really don't care if huge budget games die because most of the time they are terribly uncreative and uninteresting. While I liked Gears of War I've played better indie games for a quarter of the price.

Mariena:

Sampler:
What about a move to ingame advertising? I know this is something EA are playing with and I'll probably get a heap of scorn thrown at me for mentioning it but if they give the game away and then have it contact a central server to play ads back you can keep a track of impressions and probably end up making more money than the cover charge of the game.

Take Fallout3 for example (as it's a good one) - plenty of billboards and ingame own make brands advertised, how hard would it be to link in to real-life adverts - the amount of hours I've spent on that game would surely mean if they had ads in it the revenue from so many I would've seen would be far greater than the 30 it costs.

It would also be an incentive for game houses to make games that last a bit and have a good replayability so you keep coming back and see more ads - better than some of the disposable crap pinched out of late.

The ads in Rainbow Six Vegas 2 were okay, if you ask me. It took place around 2008 (2005/2010), and some scenarios involved casinos and convention center type areas. I'd expect a lot of ads there, and they were actually appropriate.

But seeing ads for Dodge or BMW, or Siemens in a Fallout game, or basically anything that isn't set in our 2009.. that'd really kill the setting.

Perhaps its just me, but I think it'd be cool to see billboard ads that would suit the era, like use some of Coca-Cola and Dodge's old advertisements they used in the 50s. For me, anyways, it would make the world in the game a little easier to relate to. I don't think it would be a bad idea so long as the game is set in an era where the advertising companies existed, one could simply mine their archives for ads that would suit the timeframe. As for games like WoW and fantasy games, I don't think it would work to well at all, they are hardly, if ever set on our planet, so having our companies advertising in-game wouldn't make sense.

The declining rate of "good PC games released in a year" is is direct alignment with the upswing in internet game piracy.

Then people bitch about why games aren't as good as they used to be.

Companies don't exist to please YOU they exist to please their PAYING CUSTOMERS, if you are a paying customer - bravo! But that's an important fact to realize. If the only people who are buying PC games are the casual gamer that's too ignorant to know how a torrent works and just wants to play generic Halo ripoffs, then generic Halo ripoff games are all you're going to see in the market.

These self-styled "hardcore gamers" that pirate nearly everything they play say they want something new, different, and innovative. But at the same time that they're complaining on message boards they're torrenting World of Goo instead of paying for it. They'll play the whole game while wondering why there's so many terrible Halo ripoffs and not enough new innovative gaming experiences

Whispering Death:
The declining rate of "good PC games released in a year" is is direct alignment with the upswing in internet game piracy.

Then people bitch about why games aren't as good as they used to be.

Companies don't exist to please YOU they exist to please their PAYING CUSTOMERS, if you are a paying customer - bravo! But that's an important fact to realize. If the only people who are buying PC games are the casual gamer that's too ignorant to know how a torrent works and just wants to play generic Halo ripoffs, then generic Halo ripoff games are all you're going to see in the market.

These self-styled "hardcore gamers" that pirate nearly everything they play say they want something new, different, and innovative. But at the same time that they're complaining on message boards they're torrenting World of Goo instead of paying for it. They'll play the whole game while wondering why there's so many terrible Halo ripoffs and not enough new innovative gaming experiences

I disagree somewhat, companies keep rehashing the same games over and over its because they sell. As for the rate of good games, it's largely decided by if a game (ported or otherwise) is stable and playable.

As for games never being as good as ones from the past, thats just rose coloured glasses syndrome. I have been a PC gamer since the early 90s and while there have been a few fun games there have never really been any "Wow!" games, at least none that make me say "There are no good games being made anymore."

008Zulu:

Whispering Death:
The declining rate of "good PC games released in a year" is is direct alignment with the upswing in internet game piracy.

Then people bitch about why games aren't as good as they used to be.

Companies don't exist to please YOU they exist to please their PAYING CUSTOMERS, if you are a paying customer - bravo! But that's an important fact to realize. If the only people who are buying PC games are the casual gamer that's too ignorant to know how a torrent works and just wants to play generic Halo ripoffs, then generic Halo ripoff games are all you're going to see in the market.

These self-styled "hardcore gamers" that pirate nearly everything they play say they want something new, different, and innovative. But at the same time that they're complaining on message boards they're torrenting World of Goo instead of paying for it. They'll play the whole game while wondering why there's so many terrible Halo ripoffs and not enough new innovative gaming experiences

I disagree somewhat, companies keep rehashing the same games over and over its because they sell. As for the rate of good games, it's largely decided by if a game (ported or otherwise) is stable and playable.

As for games never being as good as ones from the past, thats just rose coloured glasses syndrome. I have been a PC gamer since the early 90s and while there have been a few fun games there have never really been any "Wow!" games, at least none that make me say "There are no good games being made anymore."

1998: Half Life, Starcraft, Fallout 2, Theif, Unreal, Rainbow Six, Baulder's Gate, Starsiege: Tribes, and Grim Fandango

All of those games were released in 1998. I couldn't even imagine a year of awesome game after awesome game being released for the PC like that in the modern day.

008Zulu:

Whispering Death:
The declining rate of "good PC games released in a year" is is direct alignment with the upswing in internet game piracy.

Then people bitch about why games aren't as good as they used to be.

Companies don't exist to please YOU they exist to please their PAYING CUSTOMERS, if you are a paying customer - bravo! But that's an important fact to realize. If the only people who are buying PC games are the casual gamer that's too ignorant to know how a torrent works and just wants to play generic Halo ripoffs, then generic Halo ripoff games are all you're going to see in the market.

These self-styled "hardcore gamers" that pirate nearly everything they play say they want something new, different, and innovative. But at the same time that they're complaining on message boards they're torrenting World of Goo instead of paying for it. They'll play the whole game while wondering why there's so many terrible Halo ripoffs and not enough new innovative gaming experiences

I disagree somewhat, companies keep rehashing the same games over and over its because they sell. As for the rate of good games, it's largely decided by if a game (ported or otherwise) is stable and playable.

As for games never being as good as ones from the past, thats just rose coloured glasses syndrome. I have been a PC gamer since the early 90s and while there have been a few fun games there have never really been any "Wow!" games, at least none that make me say "There are no good games being made anymore."

No "wow" games? Let's go to the way back machine and see waht PC gaming was like a decade ago, before piracy was rare.

1998: Half Life, Starcraft, Thief, Fallout 2, Tom Clacy's Rainbow Six, Unreal, Baulder's Gate, Starsiege: Tribes, Grim Fandango

All of those games were "wow" games. So much so, many of them have spawned franchises that continue to this day and are still held up as examples of pinnacles of game design.

Whispering Death:
No "wow" games? Let's go to the way back machine and see waht PC gaming was like a decade ago, before piracy was rare.

1998: Half Life, Starcraft, Thief, Fallout 2, Tom Clacy's Rainbow Six, Unreal, Baulder's Gate, Starsiege: Tribes, Grim Fandango

All of those games were "wow" games. So much so, many of them have spawned franchises that continue to this day and are still held up as examples of pinnacles of game design.

I played those, they were fun (mostly), but nothing about any of them lept off the screen at me. None of them didn't add anything that we hadn't seen in their respective genres already.

Whispering Death:
1998: Half Life, Starcraft, Fallout 2, Theif, Unreal, Rainbow Six, Baulder's Gate, Starsiege: Tribes, and Grim Fandango

All of those games were released in 1998. I couldn't even imagine a year of awesome game after awesome game being released for the PC like that in the modern day.

Exactly, none of those games had staying power. If they did then people would still be playing them in the numbers they first were upon release.

Release those same titles today and people would berate them for poor level design and dated graphics.

008Zulu:

Whispering Death:
No "wow" games? Let's go to the way back machine and see waht PC gaming was like a decade ago, before piracy was rare.

1998: Half Life, Starcraft, Thief, Fallout 2, Tom Clacy's Rainbow Six, Unreal, Baulder's Gate, Starsiege: Tribes, Grim Fandango

All of those games were "wow" games. So much so, many of them have spawned franchises that continue to this day and are still held up as examples of pinnacles of game design.

I played those, they were fun (mostly), but nothing about any of them lept off the screen at me. None of them didn't add anything that we hadn't seen in their respective genres already.

Half-Life, you're saying that about Half-Life.

008Zulu:

Whispering Death:
1998: Half Life, Starcraft, Fallout 2, Theif, Unreal, Rainbow Six, Baulder's Gate, Starsiege: Tribes, and Grim Fandango

All of those games were released in 1998. I couldn't even imagine a year of awesome game after awesome game being released for the PC like that in the modern day.

Exactly, none of those games had staying power. If they did then people would still be playing them in the numbers they first were upon release.

Release those same titles today and people would berate them for poor level design and dated graphics.

Starcraft, you're saying that about Starcraft.

Oh no, I believe I've just fallen victim to a troll. Silly me.

Whispering Death:

Half-Life, you're saying that about Half-Life.
Starcraft, you're saying that about Starcraft.

What did Half Life and Starcraft add to their respective genres that make them such "wow" games?

A wonderfully accurate, astute, and most-of-all Fair observation on the phenomenon.
Thank you.

92% of those unpaying "customers" are people from places like India, Pakistan, Turkey, South-Africa ...places where 1$ a Day is considered a Great salary. Places where people just can't afford to spend 20$ on Software, no matter how well-intentioned they are in real-life.
That's where the "Garden of Eden" effect kicks-in. When something is readily available for Free, right in front of you for the taking, can you honestly refuse to on the grounds of moral objection alone. Especially given the Internet's ensured relative anonymity?

I'm not saying that the same percent of people who use the Internet on a regular basis have NOT at one point or another downloaded something illegally.

Clemenstation:
Also: mandatory linking-in to a central server for the express purpose of tracking advertising would not go over very well with most consumers.

It might if the game is otherwise free.

EDIT: on this:

Nurb:
most people hate the big publishers, but yea, it really does hurt the indie developers quite a bit. The smaller developer comeback like we had in the 90's can't happen again at this rate, it'll still be the age of bland, crappy, corporate sequels

I think blaming the constant string of cheap sequels marketed as triple AAA titles by the industry on internet piracy is a bit of a red herring.

Ads in games: okay, good job, you just got a reputation as a penny-pinching money-grubbing miser who would strip away your audience's escapism. I don't care if you can pay money to make the ads go away. You put real world ads in your escapist product. Your game is half-assed, and I'll go back to playing Starcraft 2 and all of its customs (when I have the time).

DRM: okay, I think I'll wait a week, then pirate that game if I want it.

CD Keys: see above.

Microtransactions: congratulations, your game is dominated by a bunch of no-life losers with nothing better to do with their money than to burn it on magical little pixels to dominate all of the kids who didn't burn their money on the same things. See ya, sucker, and enjoy your little sandbox dominated by no-life nothing-better-to-spend-money-on clowns.

Seriously, I don't understand all of this whining about piracy. Rather than fight it, why don't developers realize that they have far more people playing their games far sooner without the need for a marketing budget?

Hell...what about this biz model?

When the CREDITS roll (you know, after the player beats the game), why not have a link to a youTube video (or a series of them) detailing the blood, sweat, and tears that go into producing this game? What about keeping a journal of what's going on--that is, a progress report, etc...?

Hell...check this out:

www.flipsidecomics.com

See that little donation bar? When it reaches $100, there's a bonus page that comes out (they normally come out MWF). That's what you call innovation of the fact that you're getting tons upon tons of eyeballs. No, it doesn't fill up too often, but there's also the sale of printed books, possibly some other stuff as well.

On a whole though, devs should realize that they're trying to get rich off of an intangible, infinitely-reproducible product that can be redistributed with surprising ease.

What rational reason does any homo economicus have for paying for that which he or she can get for free?

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