Excuses on the High Seas

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Odjin:

Lvl 64 Klutz:

Odjin:

I just want to try it out, and if I like the game I pay for it.
Counter-Question. If the publisher refuses to give out a demo and therefore strips you from any chance to judge if a game (1) runs or (2) is fun, is it still incorrect to shoot back by stripping them from any chance to get your money? I know it's a gray area but I remember times where demos of games had been the defacto standard. Nowadays publishers seem to think customers are pricks that can be milked by serving products they can't be held reliable for. Nearly all games ( except some due to recommendation from friends or having played it there ) I bought so far has been because the demo convinced me.

No offense to you in particular, but I'm really sick of hearing this excuse about lack of demos. If after reading 3 or 4 well written reviews you still can't decide if you'll enjoy a game, you need to explore your taste in videogames more.

So reviews are totally useless to get an educated idea about a game.

...they show just what the game creators want to show us. But with a demo you see anything: the good and the bad ( no pun intended ). You get to see what they want to hide from you with sugar talking.

Red: Really? Do you base your decisions off of one review or something? Is it supposed to be a coincidence that every game I've bought within the last two years I've enjoyed? Is it a coincidence that before picking up the game I search around the web and see what it's like and how other people are feeling about it? I'm not saying you should go see the starred review at Popular Game Website, but if you look at what twenty other gamers who have two hands and two feet just like you, you should be able to develop a sense of how the game plays and what is good and bad about it. If someone tells you Game is the most innovative and enjoying game they've ever played and you go out and drop $60 on it, that's your fault. You should've read the other 19 reviews stating they killed the franchise, and realized "hey, this sounds like everything I hate in a game. I shouldn't go out and purchase this."

Blue: Oh, yes. Because demos are the most unbiased form of game testing, huh?

Kwil:
Oh I have plenty of downloaded MP3s on my hard drive. All legit. Emusic is pretty decent.

And you know why many don't? MP3 is a shit format. If you have good ears like I do you know what I talk about. If they would start selling OGG then we could talk business. And reencoding to OGG sucks ( encoded reencoded is worse than encoded ).

And you apparantly don't even know what piracy is. Recording a show off of the TV isn't piracy, it's time shifting, there are a number of court rulings backing that up.

It's the same as with the old cassettes for taping audio or the VCR tapes. You record it for later use being it once or multiple times. These court rules are as mushy as the laws they are based upon. Taping is a form of piracy even though a tolerated one. And this is accepted by the publishers. Do you know why? Cassettes or VCR tapes contain an extra fee which is the "copyright" fee. With other words with every cassette or VCR tape you buy you pay an extra fee for potential piracy. Funny not? It's in the system yet you deny it.

And no, I don't record songs off the radio, quality is crap, and I support artists by purchasing.

Radio stations pay fees to be allowed to air their music. And depending on the country ( as in mine ) you pay for the right to listen to radio stations. So you have already payed for all this. Where's the deal? Since otherwise you would be pirating already while listening to the radio station at all.

I don't photocopy full books, I buy them or use the library.

You obviously never did studies don't you? Any page copied from a book is potential piracy ( unless covered with proper credits to avoid plagiarism ). I can't count the tons of page papers I had ( or received from the prof ) to copy during my studies being it for exercise articles or exams. It's a hypocrite attitude to think you never pirated a page of a book. Again it's a form of tolerated piracy but one nevertheless.

And I don't borrow games, nor anything else, really. I have this funny attitude of if I need or want something, I'll go out and get my own rather than being a sponge on the people around me. Call it odd, if you will.

So you are a cat-in-the-bag man? Buying anything without knowing if it is good? I doubt it. How often comes a friend like "hey seen this? it's cool". You plug it in your machine and test it. And hey if it's really good get your own copy ( so you can play online against your buddy ) or wipe it from your PC since it sucks. Where in gods name is there a problem? It's like borrowing a car to your buddy. Although it's registered on your name he can take it for a drive to fetch his girl friend. People totally overrate this borrowing. Do you know that games even used this to their advantage? N.I.C.E. for example allowed to borrow a copy of the game to your pal and you could even play together ( 2 players only with the same CD ). And guess what, it works. People should not blind themselves to such things as there exist various funny ways to make things work in economies.

I'm a content creator myself you see.

Me too, so I take the right to call that rubbish you just said ;)

Hopefully, once you grow up and get a job, you'll actually find that the customers value what you produce enough to pay you what you ask for it.. rather than just thinking they're entitled to it because.. hey.. you've already done it anyway.

You don't know economics obviously. It's called win-win. If I assign the same value to a product as you do and I'm willing to pay we have win-win ( I get entertainment value, you get monetary value ). But if your product fails to deliver then I'm not willing to pay. No win-win, no contract, no sales. If I then happen to buy ( which can be for 0.- ) at the competitor ( let's say some warez page ) then you did not have an attractive enough product to fulfill the win-win situation. So the trick is to be better than your competitor and this doesn't mean to be 0.- or anything like that. It means to make a product/service where the customer is willing to pay your demanded price for. And if you fail at offering a win-win to a customer then you do not have to be astonished if they switch over to the competitors.

Ray Huling:

Anton P. Nym:
so long as the massive success is massive enough, the studio (or publisher) can still make money.

This is precisely what's in dispute.

The game companies think that the only way to make money is to load up on a killer ap, but they've consistently underestimated the cost of producing a blockbuster. Here's the argument from GTAIV, again from Slate:

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV, released last May, is the prime example of a blockbuster game. GTA IV sold 6 million copies during its first week, bringing in $500 million. True to form, it cost Rockstar $100 million to produce, 1,000 people worked on the project, and it took three-and-a-half years to complete. Six months later, sales began to founder--a major setback to a publisher that bet the farm on the title and predicted sales throughout 2009.

The model they're (and I was) templating from is the movie and book industries. It's possible that it doesn't translate perfectly to games... and I certainly don't dispute that production budgets have spiralled thanks to the requirements of ever-higher resolutions for art assets and other additional costs that come from creating a game to the A or higher standard these days.

Still, I'd miss the A titles if they were gone... and if us consumers don't support those A titles (while falsely signalling to the industry what that support is by using so many unauthorised copies, and while whinging more and more over polycounts and framerates) the A titles can't last, as you point out.

Anton P. Nym:
But piracy's effect on margins could tip the balance on a middling title from break-even to money-eater, and that's where it really hurts.

You're saying this, but you're not providing any evidence for it.

The closer a title gets to the "break even" point, the more weight small factors that affect revenue have to tip the balance between "slender profit" and "loss". I was going by arithmetic there; even if piracy has a small effect (which I dispute, but alas have no statistics to back up) that effect is particulary magnified on titles which already have small margins.

Of course, if you have statistics that indicate that piracy is benign then please bring them up. I admit that my objection to piracy is primarily a moral one (it just feels deeply wrong to me to take advantage of others' efforts without contributing something back in return) but I don't see how piracy could not have an adverse effect on the industry.

-- Steve

Say Anything:
Red: Really? Do you base your decisions off of one review or something? Is it supposed to be a coincidence that every game I've bought within the last two years I've enjoyed? Is it a coincidence that before picking up the game I search around the web and see what it's like and how other people are feeling about it? I'm not saying you should go see the starred review at Popular Game Website, but if you look at what twenty other gamers who have two hands and two feet just like you, you should be able to develop a sense of how the game plays and what is good and bad about it. If someone tells you Game is the most innovative and enjoying game they've ever played and you go out and drop $60 on it, that's your fault. You should've read the other 19 reviews stating they killed the franchise, and realized "hey, this sounds like everything I hate in a game. I shouldn't go out and purchase this."

I never failed so far at my purchases. But this is NOT because of reviews but because I'm a smart person to especially knows game development. I can see behind the game from various sources and my gut feeling never cheated me so far ( so I smelled crap even if every ass around me hyped it ). But the average Joe out there is not a smart person, is not a game developer, is not a tech-savvy person. He has to find out somehow if he wants to buy it. Reviews nowadays are nearly all hyped and over-positive. Granted if a game really is utterly crap even hype-reviews can't sugar talk it anymore but the majority of over-hyped blockbuster titles which suck major balls don't. Or why do you think so many games end up on second-hand? For sure not because every person in the world is a moron. It's because people are stripped from their chance to make an educated choice and personally I call this a crime on the consumer ( from the perspective of Economic Ethics ).

Blue: Oh, yes. Because demos are the most unbiased form of game testing, huh?

Sure, and you know why? A demo ( usually ) is for example the first chapter of a game or the first 2 or so maps or areas. The demo is supposed to be like the game just with only a small part of the content which can also be not all the possible items/weapons/skills ( for example Puritas Cordis giving you the first chapter or Sacred 2 which gives you 2 towns and skills up to level 20 if I remember correctly ). Granted they could cheat and make something else in the demo but they want to keep costs down so locking down the game to a small part and shipping this as a demo is the cheapest way and also the way which gives the player a 100% accurate view of the game... since it IS the game just locked down in some areas.

I never said pirates were some sort of freedom fighters, I know most of them are selfish pricks, but so are publishers. Publishers represent everything that is wrong with mainstream gaming, by re-releasing the same fucking game every year with minor graphical improvements, they are only stagnating the market. The hardcore gaming philosophy is a self-defeating one, in which all major publishers seem intent to exploit to their graves. So yes, the faster the publishers, and by association the hardcore gaming subset, dies, the faster new opportunities open up for the smaller developers. The current gaming market is currently built around one philosophy: exploit, exploit, exploit. Meaning they just exploit the current subset of hardcore gamers, which consequently, is growing smaller every year because of this philosophy.

The sooner the industry gets away from the chimps upstairs making the decisions, and back to making original games, the more stable and widely accepted the industry will be.

Hmm, nice thread, I agree with it. But, you forgot one type of pirate: the one who doesn't make excuses. I pirate games and movies and music. I know it's illegal and I have no right to do it. And I know it isn't right. Yet, I download them all.

-No excuses.

harhol:

The Escapist has the most vehemently anti-piracy stance of anywhere I've ever read, gaming sites or otherwise. All the writers seem to be of a similar (and in some cases identical) pro-corporate mindset. This article is just the most recent of many I've read over the past twelve months, and the one I happened to comment on.

...

Besides, I wasn't criticizing the article in the first place, I was just wondering why this site promotes such a typically North American pro-corporate agenda when it's supposed to offer an alternative to other (equally right-wing) gaming forums. An answer to my original question would be appreciated, though I don't expect one.

This site isn't exactly "rabidly corporate." It's more "rabidly creative capitalist." For example, if you look back at the Escapist Manifesto,

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/6.83466

you'll see that when it comes to game creators vs. GameStop, they are solidly on the side of the game creators and are quite biased against GameStop.

So it's not a matter of being rabidly corporate, it's a matter of being rabidly pro-game designer as the complete master of their product. Like on Orwell's _Animal Farm_, all businesses are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Shamus Young:

But no, you got me all figured out. I'm totally "rabidly corporate".

...

Is it wrong to gain access to something which costs money when it is simply impossible to pay for it? I still come down on the side that this isn't something nice people do.

Yeah, this is the thing: how do you know these are not nice people? Have you met them all? Do you know how they live the rest of their lives?

What you have to realize is that you've taken the issue of piracy and elevated it to the status of, say, snuff film maker--you've decided that if a person is a pirate, that does not just mean they do things that are not nice, that means *they cannot be a nice person* no matter how they live the rest of their life.

It might not be rabidly corporate, but it's certainly a rabid position to take. Like the question of abortion and Supreme Court justice nominees, The Escapist seems adopt at times the position that one's stance towards piracy as a kind of litmus test, a question that can be used to weed people out as not being 'one of us'.

You have not stolen a thing, you have gained access to a thing against the wishes of its creator. In the case of a theater, an art gallery, a concert, or a strip club, someone has spent their sweat and treasure to make something that you clearly want to see. They are then attempting to make a living by charging you for access. If you sneak in, you're still ripping them off, and the fact that you didn't steal the painting or kidnap the stripper does not absolve your shenanigans.

...

In any case, if you're from a country where major publishers choose not to do business, then you're not part of the "sales lost to pirates" problem that publishers keep wailing about. You're actually part of a completely different problem.

This I think is the fatal flaw in the article. The reality is that the kind of people who say it isn't stealing ALSO aren't part of the "sales lost to pirates" problem.

I think part of what harhol was trying to express was that The Escapist never seems to want to answer this question: how do you judge someone who pirates, but also buys a lot of games? How do you judge the person who will spend the same amount of money on games each month regardless of how much piracy they engage in that month?

Why doesn't The Escapist try to answer this question? Like you said, those people are "actually part of a completely different problem" yet we never get any exploration of that problem--even to figure out if it's a problem in the first place--and instead get article after article about the "lost sales" problem.

Why isn't there an article that takes a position on this question: would you rather have a person who spends more money on games and pirates, or someone who spends less money but does not? If you could choose your consumers, which one would you choose?

I think the issue is that articles like this feel as if they are pandering to the anti-Piracy crowd by condemning the Drrty Prrates out there, the ones who pay for nothing and cost the industry sales and rape the game designer's pet cat while waiting for the game to download.

The problem is *those people don't read The Escapist* and certainly aren't going to read anything that attacks them. So it all feels a little like Reagan talking about 'welfare queens'--it's just to make the base feel good.

While it's admirable that you started off by coming down on the side of piracy not being stealing, why not write an article about what it actually is? Instead of opening up that discussion just to shut it, why not deal with some examples that aren't straw men, like tabloids making money by selling pictures of celebrities, or how piracy actually *helps* certain industries like fashion?

http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/597
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-dilberto10oct10,0,7894347.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

Where's the discussion about how all commercial broadcast radio engages in legally-protected music piracy?

http://www.commlawblog.com/2009/02/articles/intellectual-property/february-4-the-day-the-music-started-to-die/

And where's my reference for adopting my argument that piracy isn't stealing by comparing it to sneaking into a theater?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/6.40776.293949

Is there no constructive notice doctrine here on The Escapist? Or did I miss the EULA where all opinions expressed on The Escapist become the intellectual property of The Escapist? ;-D

Shamus Young:
and has a huge shelf of 100% legit games - most of which weren't worth the money.

I'm sorry for your loss of money Shamus. It happens unfortunately, quite often.

Anton P. Nym:

The industry is still profitable because it works on the "hit" model; one massive success brings in tons of sales, a few middling titles break even more-or-less, and a bunch of lesser titles crash-and-burn...

...

Piracy won't kill the hits; they will indeed keep selling. Piracy also won't kill the duds because the duds are already dead. But piracy's effect on margins could tip the balance on a middling title from break-even to money-eater, and that's where it really hurts.

...

The effect of piracy isn't to kill the industry, not overall. The effect is to change the industry by making it tougher for small studios to keep going, making it more attractive to big studios to focus on "blockbuster" games with the broadest possible appeal, and driving developers more and more to the "game as service" model reflected by browser games and MMOs.

Not true--those titles you're calling "middling"? They generally weren't designed to be middling. They were designed to be blockbusters, but they failed. No one seems to know which game with a massive budget will be a hit and which will not. _Dead Space_ and _Mirror's Edge_ were both intended to be blockbuster hits, they just weren't. On the other hand, those games aren't so different from a game like _Assassin's Creed_ which sold extremely well.

As for small studios? They seem to be doing just fine. Paradox keeps putting out those monster EU/Victoria/Hearts of Iron games. Eastern Europe is getting into the mix with STALKER and The Witcher. Strategy First just put out a game about commanding a WWI submarine called _1914 Shells of Fury_ which was supposed to be a joint venture between David Jaffe and Cliffy B originally I think. Stardock has figured out that you can be a small studio and put out niche games, as long as the people in that niche are the kind of people who buy games

http://draginol.joeuser.com/article/303512/Piracy_PC_Gaming

And Sid Meier keeps on chugging along with those Civilization games. If anyone's got some evidence that pirates are responsible for the sub-par latest offerings in the Colonization and Railroad Tycoon lines, then let me know, but I haven't seen any.

I did not know pirates were responsible for Master of Orion III.

Everybody keeps talking about how the games industry is in trouble and it's all crisis and the end is nigh, but I have to tell you--I don't know when the games industry has been doing better, at least by a customer like me. I mean, there's a game from Strategy First where as "a resident of a medieval town, your goal is to rise from the status of a simple, insignificant trader to that of a Patrician and perhaps even become the head of the Hanseatic League."

Woo hoo! When I think of the Hanseatic League, I think of a blockbuster AAA title!

Sorry everyone--I just don't see the crisis everyone is talking about and how it's related to piracy. I think we've forgotten that non-blockbuster gaming used to be a middle-sized fish in a small pond. These days it's in a big pond. Don't confuse the relative size of the fish to the pond with the absolute size of the fish. I feel like that's what is happening here.

Gaming--core gaming--is just as healthy as it's ever been. It's just that these days gamers like us aren't the only ones buying games. The demographic that was buying Zima and 311 albums back when we were buying _Master of Orion_? These days that demographic is buying _Halo_ and _Gears of War_. Let's keep that in mind when talking about the state of the industry. The industry has added a completely new demographic, one large enough to create blockbusters. Let's keep in mind how the industry has changed before concluding that the change we see is decline.

Say Anything:

jemborg:
Funny you should drop a link to the World of Goo site and yet fail to read what they have to say about Piracy and why they consider DRM is a "waste of time and money"...

http://2dboy.com/2008/11/13/90/

Note that World of Goo is the second best seller at Amazon after WotLK.

Smart man. I suppose you don't know that World of Goo has an 82% piracy rate.

Ah yes, "Rock, Paper, Shotgun", good site. I joined it myself a little while ago.

Ahoy thar matey, I'm not 100% sure of the tone of your post there, but judging from a previous post on this thread I'll assume it was what you think is a brilliant piece of witty sarcasm.

I'm gonna assume a few other things too... 1) You didn't actually follow the link I posted and read it; 2) You didn't bother to read any of the posts following the link you pointed to, including the ones made by other staff members; 3) You might think I am advocating piracy!

If you had read it you might have considered that I believed the piracy rate of WoG was 90%! So thanks for that, it was actually less than I thought lol!

You might have seen that the makers of WoG wrote..."preventing 1000 piracy attempts results in only a single additional sale....people who pirate our game aren't people who would have purchased it had they not been able to get it without paying." The author of the article you link to is not sure what to think... "If piracy figures don't represent lost sales, what do they represent? Is it an indictment of humanity? Are they free advertising? Could 2D BOY have benefited in any way from them? Or are they causing active harm?". Yet significantly, he fails to mention that World of Goo is the second best seller at Amazon after WotLK, and they are very proud of the fact. So it can't be doing them that much harm.

2D BOY goes on to say... "I'm hoping that others will release information about piracy rates so that everyone could see if DRM is the waste of time and money that we think it is." Well, that's what your boys did... and it's 8% less by their estimates! Also what this suggests is that according to 2D BOY's business model having DRM would have cut into their profits!

What I believe is that most media/software distributors are greedy fucking paranoid sociopaths who have had an easy ride for many years and won't adjust to a new environment; that DRM companies have scared them into thinking that they can prevent piracy so that they will buy their stupid product; that they aught to drop litigation lawers and court actions and DRM... pass the savings onto the consumer and drop prices generally; that high prices don't necessarily produce good product, because we wade through tons of shit anyway.

Recently I purchased the lovely Universe Sandbox god simulator, the guy only wanted a donation. I was going to pay only $5 but he begged me (via a couple of popups) for $11.50, amused I took pity and paid him $12. The makers of the very excellent QuickMediaConverter only want a donation and that is listed amongst the top twelve freeware programs at lifehacker.com - I've seen similar programs that do far less and asking for far more. People I know who cheerfully pirate have paid for World of Goo. And even though all my gear is HDCP certified I still have to use AnyDVD HD to play a rented Blu-Ray! Even iTunes have dumped DRM!

Personally, I couldn't really give a toss about piracy. It means fuck all!

You certainly will "Say Anything". How dare I appear to criticise the article you found so "...Extremely well written, and a great message..." you self confessed flamer. All I was doing was providing an interesting adjunct to it- the author doesn't care for DRM. So I have a question... "work for a DRM company by any chance?"

Yes, I am rather smart thanks. :P

I'd like to pay for games, but I can't afford them.
Luckily, you do not need games to survive and you can go without if you're really in dire straits. But you don't need to. If you're strapped for cash, there are a huge number of quality indie titles out there for cheap or free. The world of freeware, abandonware, indie, open source, mods, and retro gaming is large enough to keep you entertained for years. And all of that fun can be had for free or cheap.

But if you're saying you're too poor to buy videogames but insist on playing brand new big-budget AAA titles on your top-of-the-line PC, then may I suggest that your piracy has less to do with lack of money and more to do with a lack of honesty.

I find this uncomfortable, because I was this dude at one time. I had a great PC but no money to buy games. My money had to go to bills and food. So I turned to pirating to stay on top of the sweet new releases.

Try playing indie puzzle games and freeware bullshit while your buddies are rocking out in COD4. You'll be wanting to pirate too. Thats a really weak alternitive to be honest. You're telling me I can have the same amount of fun on a 2D puzzle game as I do in Half-life? Bullshit and you know it, comes down to personal taste.

I played a few really bad online games, most of them riddled with hackers with little to no support. So I think the point is moot. If they wanted freeware/indie games, they'd get those, not be pirating the latest titles.

But alas I don't pirate anymore, because I can afford it these days. But I would of missed out on a lot of really great titles if wasn't for bit torrent, and in the end if I thought it was worth it. When I had the money I bought the full verison.

I'm sure some one's going to argue with me, but before you do... keep in mind I care little of what you think, and pretty sure you're rich asshole who justs shoving his wealth in my face. So don't bother.

jemborg:

Say Anything:

jemborg:
Funny you should drop a link to the World of Goo site and yet fail to read what they have to say about Piracy and why they consider DRM is a "waste of time and money"...

http://2dboy.com/2008/11/13/90/

Note that World of Goo is the second best seller at Amazon after WotLK.

Smart man. I suppose you don't know that World of Goo has an 82% piracy rate.

wall of text

Where's your argument? You wanted to know why the World of Goo picture was posted in a pirate-related article, and I told you why. Your personal attacks and own opinions have nothing to do with any of what I was talking about.

Anyway, yeah, I didn't bother to check the link because I didn't assume you would be linking to an article that says it's been pirated 90% - partially my fault for insulting you (slap on the wrist etc.), but the fact they're still making a lot of money off of it has absolutely nothing to do with the piracy level. Why it was even a question to you is beyond me.

Odjin:

Say Anything:
Red: Really? Do you base your decisions off of one review or something? Is it supposed to be a coincidence that every game I've bought within the last two years I've enjoyed? Is it a coincidence that before picking up the game I search around the web and see what it's like and how other people are feeling about it? I'm not saying you should go see the starred review at Popular Game Website, but if you look at what twenty other gamers who have two hands and two feet just like you, you should be able to develop a sense of how the game plays and what is good and bad about it. If someone tells you Game is the most innovative and enjoying game they've ever played and you go out and drop $60 on it, that's your fault. You should've read the other 19 reviews stating they killed the franchise, and realized "hey, this sounds like everything I hate in a game. I shouldn't go out and purchase this."

I never failed so far at my purchases. But this is NOT because of reviews but because I'm a smart person to especially knows game development. I can see behind the game from various sources and my gut feeling never cheated me so far ( so I smelled crap even if every ass around me hyped it ). But the average Joe out there is not a smart person, is not a game developer, is not a tech-savvy person. He has to find out somehow if he wants to buy it. Reviews nowadays are nearly all hyped and over-positive. Granted if a game really is utterly crap even hype-reviews can't sugar talk it anymore but the majority of over-hyped blockbuster titles which suck major balls don't. Or why do you think so many games end up on second-hand? For sure not because every person in the world is a moron. It's because people are stripped from their chance to make an educated choice and personally I call this a crime on the consumer ( from the perspective of Economic Ethics ).

And you do not believe this is the consumer's fault? If someone wants to read the most recent review on IGN and they say it's great and have advertisements for it all around the site, I think it's Average Joe's fault for taking the bait. If they look around on different boards (I.E. I love looking at ALL the reviews on GameFAQs, then check out Metacritic before making a purchase) then they might find something they're more interested in. Reviews are GREAT if you actually take the time to analyze them and don't jump the gun on the first article you read.

Ah, that's refreshing. Many good points.

S. Young:

The rise in piracy over the last few years has obvious roots in the fact that technology has created a system where the only thing preventing someone from pirating software is his own conscience.

Don't forget terror.



____________________________________________________________________________________

Say Anything:

Odjin:

Say Anything:
Red: Really? Do you base your decisions off of one review or something? Is it supposed to be a coincidence that every game I've bought within the last two years I've enjoyed? Is it a coincidence that before picking up the game I search around the web and see what it's like and how other people are feeling about it? I'm not saying you should go see the starred review at Popular Game Website, but if you look at what twenty other gamers who have two hands and two feet just like you, you should be able to develop a sense of how the game plays and what is good and bad about it. If someone tells you Game is the most innovative and enjoying game they've ever played and you go out and drop $60 on it, that's your fault. You should've read the other 19 reviews stating they killed the franchise, and realized "hey, this sounds like everything I hate in a game. I shouldn't go out and purchase this."

I never failed so far at my purchases. But this is NOT because of reviews but because I'm a smart person to especially knows game development. I can see behind the game from various sources and my gut feeling never cheated me so far ( so I smelled crap even if every ass around me hyped it ). But the average Joe out there is not a smart person, is not a game developer, is not a tech-savvy person. He has to find out somehow if he wants to buy it. Reviews nowadays are nearly all hyped and over-positive. Granted if a game really is utterly crap even hype-reviews can't sugar talk it anymore but the majority of over-hyped blockbuster titles which suck major balls don't. Or why do you think so many games end up on second-hand? For sure not because every person in the world is a moron. It's because people are stripped from their chance to make an educated choice and personally I call this a crime on the consumer ( from the perspective of Economic Ethics ).

And you do not believe this is the consumer's fault? If someone wants to read the most recent review on IGN and they say it's great and have advertisements for it all around the site, I think it's Average Joe's fault for taking the bait. If they look around on different boards (I.E. I love looking at ALL the reviews on GameFAQs, then check out Metacritic before making a purchase) then they might find something they're more interested in. Reviews are GREAT if you actually take the time to analyze them and don't jump the gun on the first article you read.

IGN = hype-shit... reviews are useless
GameFAQs = GameFAGs... reviews are as useless as IGN
Metacritic = total hype machinary. every shit gets high scores if you wave enough money under their noses.

Sorry but if you try to make a buy-decision on reviews you are in a hell. They are all so biased and hyping nowadays that forming an educated opinion is a futile attempt. So you say there are honest reviews? Do you REALLY belief this? Hell I've seen more comments as forum administrator and moderator where a negative review is torn apart by fanboys as being the reviews "incompetent pigs" who don't know what the fuck the are writing. Reviewing is a damn machinary... it's about making money and NOT about making an honest opinion about a game. I always did my reviews honestly. I always wrote what is good and what not on an objective basis and I never used scores just recommendations for whom it might be interesting and for whom note. Guess what I got pissed about all these shit reviews that I gave in in the end. It's not my fucking job to fix the errors of the industries... at least "this" kind of error ( others I do ). The entire reviewing system is borked beyond funny and is utterly useless. I've yet to see one hardcopy or online mag which has remotely "honest", "objective" and "representative" reviews.

Odjin:

Say Anything:

Odjin:

Say Anything:
Red: Really? Do you base your decisions off of one review or something? Is it supposed to be a coincidence that every game I've bought within the last two years I've enjoyed? Is it a coincidence that before picking up the game I search around the web and see what it's like and how other people are feeling about it? I'm not saying you should go see the starred review at Popular Game Website, but if you look at what twenty other gamers who have two hands and two feet just like you, you should be able to develop a sense of how the game plays and what is good and bad about it. If someone tells you Game is the most innovative and enjoying game they've ever played and you go out and drop $60 on it, that's your fault. You should've read the other 19 reviews stating they killed the franchise, and realized "hey, this sounds like everything I hate in a game. I shouldn't go out and purchase this."

I never failed so far at my purchases. But this is NOT because of reviews but because I'm a smart person to especially knows game development. I can see behind the game from various sources and my gut feeling never cheated me so far ( so I smelled crap even if every ass around me hyped it ). But the average Joe out there is not a smart person, is not a game developer, is not a tech-savvy person. He has to find out somehow if he wants to buy it. Reviews nowadays are nearly all hyped and over-positive. Granted if a game really is utterly crap even hype-reviews can't sugar talk it anymore but the majority of over-hyped blockbuster titles which suck major balls don't. Or why do you think so many games end up on second-hand? For sure not because every person in the world is a moron. It's because people are stripped from their chance to make an educated choice and personally I call this a crime on the consumer ( from the perspective of Economic Ethics ).

And you do not believe this is the consumer's fault? If someone wants to read the most recent review on IGN and they say it's great and have advertisements for it all around the site, I think it's Average Joe's fault for taking the bait. If they look around on different boards (I.E. I love looking at ALL the reviews on GameFAQs, then check out Metacritic before making a purchase) then they might find something they're more interested in. Reviews are GREAT if you actually take the time to analyze them and don't jump the gun on the first article you read.

IGN = hype-shit... reviews are useless
GameFAQs = GameFAGs... reviews are as useless as IGN
Metacritic = total hype machinary. every shit gets high scores if you wave enough money under their noses.

Sorry but if you try to make a buy-decision on reviews you are in a hell. They are all so biased and hyping nowadays that forming an educated opinion is a futile attempt. So you say there are honest reviews? Do you REALLY belief this? Hell I've seen more comments as forum administrator and moderator where a negative review is torn apart by fanboys as being the reviews "incompetent pigs" who don't know what the fuck the are writing. Reviewing is a damn machinary... it's about making money and NOT about making an honest opinion about a game. I always did my reviews honestly. I always wrote what is good and what not on an objective basis and I never used scores just recommendations for whom it might be interesting and for whom note. Guess what I got pissed about all these shit reviews that I gave in in the end. It's not my fucking job to fix the errors of the industries... at least "this" kind of error ( others I do ). The entire reviewing system is borked beyond funny and is utterly useless. I've yet to see one hardcopy or online mag which has remotely "honest", "objective" and "representative" reviews.

You do understand what a guest review is, right? You know that there's people who review games because they liked or disliked them and not because they're getting some kind of reward for doing it? Hell, look at the entire User Review section on the Escapist forum. I write reviews as do hundreds of others and not because we're trying to increase hype for games or give a distorted view of a game, we have no reason to do that. GameFAQs has a very similar system and that's why it's a reliable source for reviews, and when I mentioned Metacritic (first off, you do realize that Metacritic doesn't give highscores for publishers who "wave money under their noses", right? It's a compilation of the reviews and scores of a bunch of different sites) I wasn't talking about the overall score, but about looking at all 20-50 sites that offer a review and information about the game. Whether you're saying there's not a single fair review that exists or that there's no 100% chance to be sure you'll enjoy the game remains a mystery to me, but if it's the former, then you have absolutely no idea, and if it's the latter, then unfortunately you'd be correct, but if you do your research as I suggest you would more than likely land a 99.9% success rate and thus making the argument a total load of nonsense.

Anton P. Nym:

...if us consumers don't support those A titles (while falsely signalling to the industry what that support is by using so many unauthorised copies...the A titles can't last, as you point out.

[quote="Anton P. Nym" post="6.89041.1382493"]even if piracy has a small effect (which I dispute, but alas have no statistics to back up) that effect is particulary magnified on titles which already have small margins.

This is one of the big problems: there are no good data on piracy, which means that we consumers can't signal anything to publishers through piracy. There's no information for publishers to interpret.

And the same holds true for arithmetic. You can't add or subtract a number with unknown relevance. Piracy could increase profits for all anybody knows.

It is clear, however, that piracy scares publishers, and I'm happy about that.

Odjin:
IGN = hype-shit... reviews are useless
GameFAQs = GameFAGs... reviews are as useless as IGN
Metacritic = total hype machinary. every shit gets high scores if you wave enough money under their noses.

Sorry but if you try to make a buy-decision on reviews you are in a hell. They are all so biased and hyping nowadays that forming an educated opinion is a futile attempt. So you say there are honest reviews? Do you REALLY belief this? Hell I've seen more comments as forum administrator and moderator where a negative review is torn apart by fanboys as being the reviews "incompetent pigs" who don't know what the fuck the are writing. Reviewing is a damn machinary... it's about making money and NOT about making an honest opinion about a game. I always did my reviews honestly. I always wrote what is good and what not on an objective basis and I never used scores just recommendations for whom it might be interesting and for whom note. Guess what I got pissed about all these shit reviews that I gave in in the end. It's not my fucking job to fix the errors of the industries... at least "this" kind of error ( others I do ). The entire reviewing system is borked beyond funny and is utterly useless. I've yet to see one hardcopy or online mag which has remotely "honest", "objective" and "representative" reviews.

You are an asshole, you know that? How can you pass judgment on something you know nothing about? Have you ever worked at a games magazine or website? I guess not.

I'm an official PC game reviewer for many years now, for a hungarian webzine. You simply can't imagine the amount bile, cursing and hate we are getting day-by-day from the fucktards like you. Hell, even I get the usual hate-mail and forum comments on how I'm a sellout, a corporate lapdog or a paid advertisement. If I send a game to Hell that sucks IMHO, fanboys come crashing in and condemn me to eternal damnation because I'm a fucking asshole for not giving 11/10 for their favorite game that is the best game in the fucking galaxy. If I give high praise to a game that I like, people like you come in guns blazing, that I'm a fucking publisher-worshiper, a sellout...etc. There is no good review. We get lashed either by haters or fanboys, no matter what we write.

But, you know what's funny? I'm doing this for FREE! Yes, I'm not getting a single unit of currency for writing my reviews, not a single USD, HUF or anything else. I'm writing these reviews because I want to, and not because they pay me to. The only "payment" I get is that I can keep some of the games I review, so I don't have to buy them on my own. Yea, some of the games I have to buy myself, so sometimes I pay to even review games, not vice versa. Let this be a lesson to all the haters out there. It's not the reviewers' fault if you are an ass.

But, I know I simply can't write a review that is accepted by all. My first and foremost priority when reviewing a game is objectivity. If I set out to review a game, I don't even read news, ads or other reviews until I get the game and finished playing, so I won't get biased. I work on the review for days, making it entertaining, packing it full of information for the ones deciding to buy it and making it very thorough. But then again, I get the bile. It's inevitable.

It's not our fault, it's the polarization of the audience, and it's a national pasttime in Geekland to hate on game reviewers.

I've seen in-game ads brought up several times while reading this thread. My thoughts?
Good idea! Let's chuck some billboards up with Mountain Dew ads.
Developers can get massive amounts of money, consumers can pay less (or maybe even nothing, depending on the development costs of the game,) and pirating becomes a moot point.

No pop-up ads though, those would be gay.

Odjin:
Guess what I got pissed about all these shit reviews that I gave in in the end. It's not my fucking job to fix the errors of the industries... at least "this" kind of error ( others I do ). The entire reviewing system is borked beyond funny and is utterly useless. I've yet to see one hardcopy or online mag which has remotely "honest", "objective" and "representative" reviews.

If you seriously can't tell which games are worth trying by reading a couple of reviews, go back to your high school English teacher and talk with him or her. That's exactly the sort of thing Literature class is supposed to teach you; how to look at text not just for the words-on-page bit but also the ideas behind it, to look at the biases of the writer, to see if there are any repeated patterns between different takes on the same idea. The ability to read a review and get useful information out of it is, to my view, part of basic literacy in today's society. (Especially on this Web of a Million "Nigerian Bankers".)

Also, it's bloody ungracious to call all game reviewers either idiots or paid shills on a web magazine that publishes game reviews.

-- Steve

I have a feeling that this whole piracy is issue is going to turn out like the war on drugs. Where gonna come up with some ideas that sound good on paper, but won't turn out so well. Were gonna throw millions of dollars at a solution that won't work. Then were gonna say "eh, we tried." Go home and play a pirated version of Half Life 2. How can we put a stop to something that happens all around the world, and half of the global population does it? Its impossible. Sometimes the pirated version of the game is better, Spore for example had a very high anti-piracy program, that didn't work, and only frustrated the people who legally bought the game. Meanwhile the pirates laughed and played the game hours before the people who legally bought the game even started. Ok maybe that's stretching it.

Shamus, I enjoyed your article and found it interesting. Based on my admittedly quick skim of the other pieces published in this issue, I think yours was the best.

I still disagree strongly with several of your conclusions, and even your overall tone. Why? I think you're pulling apart individual arguments, then demolishing them in a way you couldn't the whole person - the pirate him or herself. See, it turns out that most pirates will buy a game, given the right set of circumstances. In fact, unless they're totally broke or have some ideological opposition to the whole exchange of money for goods thing, it'll happen more than once.

There's a common saying that every good lie is built around a kernel of truth, and that plays true here. Piracy isn't really stealing; it's copyright infringement. Some guys do enjoy a vast world of media while they're flat broke, then go buy it when they've got the cash. Others really do use games as demos.

To be honest, these excuses can and do work for me in the moral realm (when I can judge their accuracy). They never will in the legal for a wide set of fairly obvious reasons.

How do you fight piracy, effectively? You honestly try to find out what actually does motivate pirates without accepting "BUT THEY-UH JUSTA WANNA STEALA MY GAMEZA! HALP" as a valid answer. After all, if nothing else matters, there's not really much that can be done in the first place, is there? If there's no way to beat free, maybe we can convince them to just be good people through our plaintive cries for decency and justice!

Well, Let's take Valve as an example; after all, with their customer base, digital download platform, and the amount of customer data they collect, they're the most knowledgeable, right? If anyone can lead our way out of this morass, Gabe Newell is the man.

What separates the geniuses at companies like Valve from everyone else isn't hippie flower love, it's their ability to take the two widely disparate personalities held by potential customers (pirate, reliable consumer) and merge them back together. For example, Valve realized that customers didn't hate the being forced to pay part of DRM, they hated companies which would intentionally screw up their games with ever-increasing levels of crap for no reason at all.

Enter: The game-as-a-service model, where you get things like updates, fixes, and all sorts of nifty features which expand your game rather than restricting it.

Valve realized that you can, in fact, make more money by selling games for 50-75% less. They'd have dropped prices on just about everything they have if it weren't for being tied to brain-dead retailers who would be just as happy to see the entire industry die as long as digital download doesn't steal their market share.

Valve realized that, in a world of 90% piracy, releasing a game with an engine that runs like crap on everything but 5% of your customer base (see: Crysis) is going to fail utterly. Instead, you convert 10% of your pirates to your game buyers, and you just doubled your sales.

Did I mention that you can apply every point here to Stardock? In the end, this really isn't about changing pirates (customers who will take breaking the law over being fed recently excreted feces), so shredding the ethics of their rationale won't help developers a whit. If you want to sell games, you come to terms with the marketplace as it exists in the real world rather than the fictional creation in your law books, and you respond to it appropriately.

- Stop making single-player games for PC unless they incorporate at least some type of social interface, even if the player never uses it. Yes, as much as it is debated, require an internet connection, even for multiplayer co-op games at LAN parties. Before anyone complains, "But I can't afford internet!", let me say, "Video games require electricity. I don't hear you complaining about that."

- Release games to the console market a full four months before a PC release. Nobody will dispute that piracy doesn't happen on consoles, but it is certainly to a lesser extent than it happens on PC. Grab as much revenue as you can from the console market before taking the bigger risks of the PC market.

- Remove DRM from PC games. This has proven to hurt the legitimate user as much as (if not more) it hurts pirates. Piracy is going to happen anyway; DRM slows it down by a day or two at most. Kill the idiotic trend of "limited installs'.

Just some ideas. Nobody will like them, I know.

Say Anything:

Odjin:

Say Anything:

Odjin:

Say Anything:
Red: Really? Do you base your decisions off of one review or something? Is it supposed to be a coincidence that every game I've bought within the last two years I've enjoyed? Is it a coincidence that before picking up the game I search around the web and see what it's like and how other people are feeling about it? I'm not saying you should go see the starred review at Popular Game Website, but if you look at what twenty other gamers who have two hands and two feet just like you, you should be able to develop a sense of how the game plays and what is good and bad about it. If someone tells you Game is the most innovative and enjoying game they've ever played and you go out and drop $60 on it, that's your fault. You should've read the other 19 reviews stating they killed the franchise, and realized "hey, this sounds like everything I hate in a game. I shouldn't go out and purchase this."

I never failed so far at my purchases. But this is NOT because of reviews but because I'm a smart person to especially knows game development. I can see behind the game from various sources and my gut feeling never cheated me so far ( so I smelled crap even if every ass around me hyped it ). But the average Joe out there is not a smart person, is not a game developer, is not a tech-savvy person. He has to find out somehow if he wants to buy it. Reviews nowadays are nearly all hyped and over-positive. Granted if a game really is utterly crap even hype-reviews can't sugar talk it anymore but the majority of over-hyped blockbuster titles which suck major balls don't. Or why do you think so many games end up on second-hand? For sure not because every person in the world is a moron. It's because people are stripped from their chance to make an educated choice and personally I call this a crime on the consumer ( from the perspective of Economic Ethics ).

And you do not believe this is the consumer's fault? If someone wants to read the most recent review on IGN and they say it's great and have advertisements for it all around the site, I think it's Average Joe's fault for taking the bait. If they look around on different boards (I.E. I love looking at ALL the reviews on GameFAQs, then check out Metacritic before making a purchase) then they might find something they're more interested in. Reviews are GREAT if you actually take the time to analyze them and don't jump the gun on the first article you read.

IGN = hype-shit... reviews are useless
GameFAQs = GameFAGs... reviews are as useless as IGN
Metacritic = total hype machinary. every shit gets high scores if you wave enough money under their noses.

Sorry but if you try to make a buy-decision on reviews you are in a hell. They are all so biased and hyping nowadays that forming an educated opinion is a futile attempt. So you say there are honest reviews? Do you REALLY belief this? Hell I've seen more comments as forum administrator and moderator where a negative review is torn apart by fanboys as being the reviews "incompetent pigs" who don't know what the fuck the are writing. Reviewing is a damn machinary... it's about making money and NOT about making an honest opinion about a game. I always did my reviews honestly. I always wrote what is good and what not on an objective basis and I never used scores just recommendations for whom it might be interesting and for whom note. Guess what I got pissed about all these shit reviews that I gave in in the end. It's not my fucking job to fix the errors of the industries... at least "this" kind of error ( others I do ). The entire reviewing system is borked beyond funny and is utterly useless. I've yet to see one hardcopy or online mag which has remotely "honest", "objective" and "representative" reviews.

You do understand what a guest review is, right? You know that there's people who review games because they liked or disliked them and not because they're getting some kind of reward for doing it? Hell, look at the entire User Review section on the Escapist forum. I write reviews as do hundreds of others and not because we're trying to increase hype for games or give a distorted view of a game, we have no reason to do that. GameFAQs has a very similar system and that's why it's a reliable source for reviews, and when I mentioned Metacritic (first off, you do realize that Metacritic doesn't give highscores for publishers who "wave money under their noses", right? It's a compilation of the reviews and scores of a bunch of different sites) I wasn't talking about the overall score, but about looking at all 20-50 sites that offer a review and information about the game. Whether you're saying there's not a single fair review that exists or that there's no 100% chance to be sure you'll enjoy the game remains a mystery to me, but if it's the former, then you have absolutely no idea, and if it's the latter, then unfortunately you'd be correct, but if you do your research as I suggest you would more than likely land a 99.9% success rate and thus making the argument a total load of nonsense.

Guest reviews are in general as useless as payed reviews because people review a game for either (1) showing it's the best thing since sliced bread or (2) that it's the worst thing since Dragonfarm. In either case the review is highly biased and is not objective and therefore unsuited for forming an educated opinion.

Now what goes for MC you are right that they collect scores... but from whom? Exactly from those where publishers wave their money under their noses. So to use math if A is based on bought scores then A IS bought scores. So my claim still stands

Believe me I checked out tons of reviews about games in my past and the result is the same: utterly useless. They contradict each other, they are all totally biased and they ALL MISS THE IMPORTANT POINTS! What is important on a game is gameplay. It doesn't interest if the graphics are superb or anything like that. What's important is how does the game play, where are the problems, are the problems SERIOUS or MARGINAL. All these things are important since graphics and alike I can check out using screenshots. But what you can NOT check out using screenshots ( and sadely reviews ) is if the gameplay is solid and if the game is any fun after all. And this is a major problem of reviews but mostly because they are written by people who are more or less biased. So the only thing that can tell you exactly how the game is and if it is good or bad is a demo.

Playbahnosh:

Odjin:
IGN = hype-shit... reviews are useless
GameFAQs = GameFAGs... reviews are as useless as IGN
Metacritic = total hype machinary. every shit gets high scores if you wave enough money under their noses.

Sorry but if you try to make a buy-decision on reviews you are in a hell. They are all so biased and hyping nowadays that forming an educated opinion is a futile attempt. So you say there are honest reviews? Do you REALLY belief this? Hell I've seen more comments as forum administrator and moderator where a negative review is torn apart by fanboys as being the reviews "incompetent pigs" who don't know what the fuck the are writing. Reviewing is a damn machinary... it's about making money and NOT about making an honest opinion about a game. I always did my reviews honestly. I always wrote what is good and what not on an objective basis and I never used scores just recommendations for whom it might be interesting and for whom note. Guess what I got pissed about all these shit reviews that I gave in in the end. It's not my fucking job to fix the errors of the industries... at least "this" kind of error ( others I do ). The entire reviewing system is borked beyond funny and is utterly useless. I've yet to see one hardcopy or online mag which has remotely "honest", "objective" and "representative" reviews.

You are an asshole, you know that? How can you pass judgment on something you know nothing about? Have you ever worked at a games magazine or website? I guess not.

I'm an official PC game reviewer for many years now, for a hungarian webzine. You simply can't imagine the amount bile, cursing and hate we are getting day-by-day from the fucktards like you. Hell, even I get the usual hate-mail and forum comments on how I'm a sellout, a corporate lapdog or a paid advertisement. If I send a game to Hell that sucks IMHO, fanboys come crashing in and condemn me to eternal damnation because I'm a fucking asshole for not giving 11/10 for their favorite game that is the best game in the fucking galaxy. If I give high praise to a game that I like, people like you come in guns blazing, that I'm a fucking publisher-worshiper, a sellout...etc. There is no good review. We get lashed either by haters or fanboys, no matter what we write.

But, you know what's funny? I'm doing this for FREE! Yes, I'm not getting a single unit of currency for writing my reviews, not a single USD, HUF or anything else. I'm writing these reviews because I want to, and not because they pay me to. The only "payment" I get is that I can keep some of the games I review, so I don't have to buy them on my own. Yea, some of the games I have to buy myself, so sometimes I pay to even review games, not vice versa. Let this be a lesson to all the haters out there. It's not the reviewers' fault if you are an ass.

But, I know I simply can't write a review that is accepted by all. My first and foremost priority when reviewing a game is objectivity. If I set out to review a game, I don't even read news, ads or other reviews until I get the game and finished playing, so I won't get biased. I work on the review for days, making it entertaining, packing it full of information for the ones deciding to buy it and making it very thorough. But then again, I get the bile. It's inevitable.

It's not our fault, it's the polarization of the audience, and it's a national pasttime in Geekland to hate on game reviewers.

Reading before ranting is a bliss, don't you know? I mentioned in one of my earlier posts the problem of people giving a fair negative review about a game and getting trashed for it. I know this problem very well. Hell I took tons of stabs myself because I dared to give out a funded negative view on a game fanboys hyped up like hell. That's not the problem. It's good to see people standing up against the hype machinery but please be honest: how many reviewers really ARE of this kind? Looks like you are but the majority is not.

"Piracy is not stealing in the same way that blowing up cars is not murder.."

I will be using that to encourage my friends to blow up cars: "No man, it's not that bad, look, it's not like murder, it's like piracy, no one gets hurt."

EDIT: Also, he forgot one of the reasons I've pirated before. I have a copy of the game that is scratched or busted, or is far away, possibly in a different country (it's happened to me before) so I pirate the game just to be able to play it again.

FeverusDreams:
Shamus, I enjoyed your article and found it interesting. Based on my admittedly quick skim of the other pieces published in this issue, I think yours was the best.

I still disagree strongly with several of your conclusions, and even your overall tone. Why? I think you're pulling apart individual arguments, then demolishing them in a way you couldn't the whole person - the pirate him or herself. See, it turns out that most pirates will buy a game, given the right set of circumstances. In fact, unless they're totally broke or have some ideological opposition to the whole exchange of money for goods thing, it'll happen more than once.

There's a common saying that every good lie is built around a kernel of truth, and that plays true here. Piracy isn't really stealing; it's copyright infringement. Some guys do enjoy a vast world of media while they're flat broke, then go buy it when they've got the cash. Others really do use games as demos.

To be honest, these excuses can and do work for me in the moral realm (when I can judge their accuracy). They never will in the legal for a wide set of fairly obvious reasons.

How do you fight piracy, effectively? You honestly try to find out what actually does motivate pirates without accepting "BUT THEY-UH JUSTA WANNA STEALA MY GAMEZA! HALP" as a valid answer. After all, if nothing else matters, there's not really much that can be done in the first place, is there? If there's no way to beat free, maybe we can convince them to just be good people through our plaintive cries for decency and justice!

Well, Let's take Valve as an example; after all, with their customer base, digital download platform, and the amount of customer data they collect, they're the most knowledgeable, right? If anyone can lead our way out of this morass, Gabe Newell is the man.

What separates the geniuses at companies like Valve from everyone else isn't hippie flower love, it's their ability to take the two widely disparate personalities held by potential customers (pirate, reliable consumer) and merge them back together. For example, Valve realized that customers didn't hate the being forced to pay part of DRM, they hated companies which would intentionally screw up their games with ever-increasing levels of crap for no reason at all.

Enter: The game-as-a-service model, where you get things like updates, fixes, and all sorts of nifty features which expand your game rather than restricting it.

Valve realized that you can, in fact, make more money by selling games for 50-75% less. They'd have dropped prices on just about everything they have if it weren't for being tied to brain-dead retailers who would be just as happy to see the entire industry die as long as digital download doesn't steal their market share.

Valve realized that, in a world of 90% piracy, releasing a game with an engine that runs like crap on everything but 5% of your customer base (see: Crysis) is going to fail utterly. Instead, you convert 10% of your pirates to your game buyers, and you just doubled your sales.

Did I mention that you can apply every point here to Stardock? In the end, this really isn't about changing pirates (customers who will take breaking the law over being fed recently excreted feces), so shredding the ethics of their rationale won't help developers a whit. If you want to sell games, you come to terms with the marketplace as it exists in the real world rather than the fictional creation in your law books, and you respond to it appropriately.

Didn't you realize that Steam is DRM? It's in fact a very intrusive DRM ( locking down your games ). And Steam does not unite. Many people ( me including ) do all they can to not get in touch with this DRM monstrosity if possible ( I even go out to pay games in stores for some upcosts just to avoid having it on steam ). While the idea behind steam is good it is questionable in the implementation. One reason why alternatives are developed ( with moderate success so far though ).

Odjin:

Guest reviews are in general as useless as payed reviews because people review a game for either (1) showing it's the best thing since sliced bread or (2) that it's the worst thing since Dragonfarm. In either case the review is highly biased and is not objective and therefore unsuited for forming an educated opinion.

I'm done arguing, your way of one-sided thinking is such bullshit. You have no idea how a review works, you just like living in your own little world where everyone in the game industry is out to get you.

Nehx:
First of all. My english sucks, so deal with it please.

You are forgetting something really important to me, or better said, to us who live in third world countrys like Argentina.
Here the videogames market barelly exists, we dont have the same chances to get a high end pc at a reasonable price or a new generation console (im not asking for anything free, but im tired to see the prices in EU o US 3 times cheaper than here - read below for some facts). If i want to buy The Orange Box (with the box literally) for example, i have to contact someone to import it for me and he will sell it to me for at least twice as the real price.

So services like steam are getting more popular over this part of the world. Like NCsoft who made a deal with a another local company and that allowed us to buy GW at the same price than anyone in the world. Blizzard made available the expansions at the same days that US (a little more expensive buy we didnt care, it was a good deal) and they charges the monthly subscription in out local currency!!! (about 10 US dollars).

In other hand companies like EA, they market reach brazil for example, but they dont care about extending that market to the rest of Latin America (mexico is NOT latin america dont compare their video games market to the rest of us please).
Nintendo don't give a s*** about Latin America, i bought a DS for like 250 dollars with an a R4 (another 50 dollars) because any game cost me 4 times more expensive!!!

In the beggining i was not able to buy WAR because i was from Argentina (im like a terrorist or something like that?), sometimes that make us feel like we are not good or rich enough to play those games, even is we have the money.
So piracy is a common thing, because a videogame company knows that they wont be winning to much money over this lands as they do in US or EU.

The piracy will stop here when the prices get to a reasonable amount. I want to buy the game, but if they dont make it a little easy to me to get it, ill find another way to play it. Thanks to power of the Internet.

Some Facts on local prices based on US dollars:

Range of the common gamer salary = 400 to 1000 US dollars
Playstation 3 = 900 - 1100 US Dollars.
X box 360 = 700 - 900 US Dollars
Wii = 750 - 800 Dollars.

PS3 Games = 100 - 150 US dollars.
PC Games = 70 - 150 US dollars.

Dont tell me that this is all fault of ouy goverment import taxes or politics, because if the company is interested they can overcome that (see the past example like blizzard or ncsoft, even valve with steam).

So in conclusion, consoles like PS2 (i have mine with the mod chip) DS, PSP who let us play game without spending a ridiculous amount of money are famous around here.
I dont download pc games anymore, because im mostly a fan of MMOs and it feels REALLY good to pay for a good game like wow, lotro, EVE like anyone else.

The prices are the problem!!! not the piracy itself.

And thats why piracy exist here, is not an excuse its a REALLYTY.

Again sorry for my lame english and a long reply, im trying to express my self at the same level that i do in spanish.

Thanks for reading this!

Very well written. I don't know why you think your English is bad.

You have many valid points. I do not think that you or any other countries should be forced to pay 2-3 times EU or US prices for video games.

I believe that if prices were standard in every country, people would pirate less.

Odjin:

Didn't you realize that Steam is DRM? It's in fact a very intrusive DRM ( locking down your games ). And Steam does not unite. Many people ( me including ) do all they can to not get in touch with this DRM monstrosity if possible ( I even go out to pay games in stores for some upcosts just to avoid having it on steam ). While the idea behind steam is good it is questionable in the implementation. One reason why alternatives are developed ( with moderate success so far though ).

I'd say that Steam does a pretty good job of being DRM, considering personally I've gone through 4-5 computers in the last few years and been able to re-download all my games every time without any re-inputting CD keys or anything except simply logging in. And considering for several of those games I purchased the CD and have lost almost all of them I'm glad to be able to re-download them all again without any hassle. And if such a system is able to keep the developers happy by being suitably protected and the consumers happy by having easy access to their games online and offline then it's a good system.

When HGL came out, I bought into the hype that "it was created by the folks who made Diablo". I went out on release day and bought two copies, one for me and one for my wife, so we could co-op, like the old Diablo days. They were 600NOK each, so 1200NOK, which at today's exchange is 176.164 USD. Yeah, about $90 each. As it turned out the game was so ridiculously full of bugs it became unplayable. The first SP patch took those bastards months and months. We gave up, and I ended up casually playing it online, alone. Wish I'd pirated that PoS and tried it out before wasting the money.

FeverusDreams:

I still disagree strongly with several of your conclusions, and even your overall tone. Why? I think you're pulling apart individual arguments, then demolishing them in a way you couldn't the whole person - the pirate him or herself. See, it turns out that most pirates will buy a game, given the right set of circumstances. In fact, unless they're totally broke or have some ideological opposition to the whole exchange of money for goods thing, it'll happen more than once.

I agree 100%

None of the anti-piracy fundies want to deal with the fact that when we talk about the issue of piracy, we're dealing with actual people, not disembodied behaviors.

It's like the problem of broken windows:

Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing. (It has always been fun.)
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/198203/broken-windows/2

Maybe the answer to piracy is to get people to spend their time online in 'nice' neighborhoods, like Steam and eMusic. Maybe the same person who will pirate away if you leave them on a P2P network will buy stuff if you give them access to it online by way of a program that doesn't have any 'broken windows'.

Related article from Slate that I think is interesting on the issue of getting people to pay for stuff they can pirate for free:
http://www.slate.com/id/2211486/

Ray Huling:
The game companies think that the only way to make money is to load up on a killer ap, but they've consistently underestimated the cost of producing a blockbuster. Here's the argument from GTAIV, again from Slate:

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV, released last May, is the prime example of a blockbuster game. GTA IV sold 6 million copies during its first week, bringing in $500 million. True to form, it cost Rockstar $100 million to produce, 1,000 people worked on the project, and it took three-and-a-half years to complete. Six months later, sales began to founder--a major setback to a publisher that bet the farm on the title and predicted sales throughout 2009.

I saw that Slate article last week. The numbers bother me, as they don't seem to support the point they're trying to make.

So a GTA IV-level game costs $100 million to make, and earned $500 million in its first week. Great, so you've just funded the game itself *plus* 4 equivalent-budget dismal failures from your first week of sales. Given your own later statement that GTAIV sold 10 million copies in total, that's ~$800 million gross, or ~$700 million revenue, enough for 6 or 7 equivalent-budget games, even assuming that none of them sell a single copy!

Now, of course, the next title probably will be even bigger-budget, so maybe that's only enough to fund 2 or 3 dismal failures. But what are the chances of their next game selling nothing at all?

So Slate has either misquoted some numbers, or is misrepresenting what they mean.

Miral:
So a GTA IV-level game costs $100 million to make, and earned $500 million in its first week. Great, so you've just funded the game itself *plus* 4 equivalent-budget dismal failures from your first week of sales. Given your own later statement that GTAIV sold 10 million copies in total, that's ~$800 million gross, or ~$700 million revenue, enough for 6 or 7 equivalent-budget games, even assuming that none of them sell a single copy!

Now, of course, the next title probably will be even bigger-budget, so maybe that's only enough to fund 2 or 3 dismal failures. But what are the chances of their next game selling nothing at all?

So Slate has either misquoted some numbers, or is misrepresenting what they mean.

Not quite. You're assuming that the whole $800 million gross sales goes to Rockstar; that's far from the case, as retail stores, distributors, and publishers are taking slices of that gross sales figure too. There's also the promotion budget (probably footed by the publisher) that has to be covered as well.

I don't have actual figures, but I'd be surprised if Rockstar saw even a quarter of that gross amount in the end.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:
Not quite. You're assuming that the whole $800 million gross sales goes to Rockstar; that's far from the case, as retail stores, distributors, and publishers are taking slices of that gross sales figure too. There's also the promotion budget (probably footed by the publisher) that has to be covered as well.

Ok, that's a fair point I guess. In which case the Slate article should have included such numbers (or at least best-guesses) to better illustrate their point.

I know, I know, the industry doesn't like to publish those sorts of numbers. But many of them are public, so there has to be *some* level of transparency.

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