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Old 09-30-2008, 12:11 PM   #1
ronnoc10
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Default Video Game Piracy

I would assume that most people here are against video game piracy, as they want to be in the industry themselves, and must have an appreciation and respect for the people who make games, but whenever there is a article about piracy on Gamasutra, many people defend it rather aggressively. (In many cases, I suspect the people leaving comments are not in the industry, as you are required to be, to join the site.) I, myself, have a large dislike for people who pirate software. I find the reason for this to be self-evident. Software companies create software for purchase by the consumer. Having no other source of income, they charge the consumer for the software, thus insuring that they make money. If a consumer does not purchase the software, they do not make money. From the consumer's standpoint, they want a service provided by the software (a few hours of enjoyment), and they are willing to pay for this service. If the consumer does not find the product worth the money that they are charged for it or do not possess the money, they do not buy it. This brings us to piracy. Some consumers do not find a product worth the asking price, and so they acquire the product for no money. As pointed out before, the company that created the software makes no money, but the consumer gets the hours of entertainment. If the consumer has pirated the software because the do not feel that it was worth the money the producer thought it was worth, or if they did not have the money the producer thought it was worth, they acquire it as what they feel it is worth, and they now feel that the producer is worth nothing. I find this sickening. Now, advocates of piracy often bring the quality of the game into consideration. This has no place in piracy discussions. For one thing, in discussion based in logic, all possibilities must be taken into account. A person could pirate a game for any reason at all. The producer could be charging 100 USD for a 'hello world' program, or 1 USD for the greatest game ever made. Why someone does something does not affect the fact that it was done. On the most basic level, piracy is a insult of the highest degree: the consumer does not feel that the game is worth what is asked to receive it. (I just realized that if I substitute 'what is asked by the producer to receive the product' for money, I can cover non-money reasons for piracy, such as DMM or pre-release piracy.) They then acquire it in another way, which may benefit another party, but feel that the producer's work is worth nothing. On the most basic level, I can see no excuse for piracy. Moving on, with the reality of piracy, I do not know what kind of future business strategy will be able to profit the producers. I, myself, don't have the money to play every game that I want to, and so rent games through GameFly. What I don't believe is that Gamefly and similar services prevent piracy. If one is willing to pay an insult like that to software producers, I don't feel that having prices in accordance with one's wishes is enough to stop one from piracy. iTunes introduced 1 USD songs, but piracy still prevails, even though I doubt anyone feels that 1 dollar is too much to pay for a song. I see piracy as a fundamental disregard for other people, and doubt that anything 'other people' could do would change this.

This is meant to be a thread of discussion, not me ranting, so I encourage you to post any thoughts on the issue as a whole.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
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I think the main discussion today is not for or against piracy (I think most people are against it) but about open source and freeware VS paid products.
Taking music as an example - many beleive that music today should be free to download, and the bands should make their profit from tours and sponspors. Some bands already allow free downloads of their new albums (Radiohead for exmaple).
I know that some of the sessions at AGDC were about free MMOs and how they make a profit (Sadly I didn't attend those sessions ).
Generally speaking, I am against piracy, and since games (or movies or music) is a luxury and not a necessity, if someone can't afford or doesn't want to buy it, they shouldn't try and get it for free (that is plainly stealing).
I do get to talk to people who download cracked games and ask me why I buy games if I can get them for free, I think that becuase these downloads are so easy to do, many people just don't think that what they are doing is illegal.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:52 PM   #3
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Games are an interesting one. I think most people here, myself included, will be against piracy. Artists deserve to be paid for their work, and that includes us programmers! However there are a few things that really annoy me about the way that the industry handles the piracy issue.

I don't buy games with SecuROM ever at all out of principle. There is a lot of contraversy surrounding it and I don't completely understand it all. However, the bottom line is that I can't trade them in at my local GameStation. That is how I finance most of my gaming habits, so I don't buy them; at least not the PC versions.

I am a big believer in LAN licencing and support for sharing LAN editions of games. It is inevitable at small LAN parties that people are going to pass games around to play multiplayer and I personally would prefer to make this easier and more legal. It's not as harmful as you might think since most people will go out and buy the game after the LAN anyway so they can practice and get better at it; usually through online play. It annoys me a lot that many games don't offer this type of support, especially when so many games used to release multiplayer-only disc-free demos that did everything we needed, except version patching (If only we could patch the demos!).

I like Steam's model in theory, but I hate the fact that my ISP blocks it. Purchasing games in store knowing that you could have got the exact same thing online for a fraction of the price really annoys me.
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
...but piracy still prevails, ....

Oh man, I thought piracy was declining, as evidenced by increased global warming. Now what am I supposed to believe?


There is little that any of us can do to affect software piracy on a global scale. We can, however, act locally. I encourage my acquaintances to purchase games rather than download cracks, and I dole out loads of grief when I hear them talk about whatever they just stole through bit-torrent (or wherever). If they persist, I disassociate myself from them.

Usually, I go my way and the pirates continue to steal, but I have had one "convert". It's a start.
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:24 AM   #5
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I encourage my acquaintances to purchase games rather than download cracks, and I dole out loads of grief when I hear them talk about whatever they just stole through bit-torrent (or wherever)
Or make them puchase a legitimate version of the game before downloading a no-cd patch. That's another thing that annoys me about anti-piracy; the whole needing a CD to run a game.
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
I see piracy as a fundamental disregard for other people, and doubt that anything 'other people' could do would change this.
I totally agree with you.

I'm trying to formulate this intelligently, but it's not working, as my philosophical software appears to get buggy when I do this at work, but...

Most people looking longingly at a Lamborghini but can't afford it would think it ridiculous to open the door and take it for a spin if they found the door unlocked and the key in the ignition. They know that that would be stealing.

However, since something intangible is easily accessible over the internet, they do not make that same connection.

Pirating games (or music) is no different in my mind...except that you don't typically find games in home computers that cost 100,000$+

I am not certain why, but I believe it has to do with the anonymity provided by the internet and the near certainty of not being caught. If people think there are no consequences for their actions, then they will be more likely to take them.

You do bring up an interesting point, though. Games typically sell at a given price range. I don't know how these are set, but there definitely seems to be a price range for a given type/quality of games. If producers were to knock their prices down, would they reduce the instances of piracy?

Somehow, I suspect not.

However, would they be able to reach the people that would want to pay for the game, aren't willing to pirate it, but can't afford to pay for the price as it currently stands? Could this increase revenues? I assume there's some kind of market analysis and economic examination that takes place to set these prices which takes into account these facts...
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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However, would they be able to reach the people that would want to pay for the game, aren't willing to pirate it, but can't afford to pay for the price as it currently stands? Could this increase revenues? I assume there's some kind of market analysis and economic examination that takes place to set these prices which takes into account these facts...
I have a feeling that if there was any significant drop in price, the loss of profit due to the price cut would be far greater than potential losses due to piracy.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:21 AM   #8
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I have a rather simple attitude to this. Those who are going to pirate won't pay for the game regardless whether the pirate version is available or not. Just don't make lives harder for the ones that are buying the games.

I am a fan of the Blizzard LAN solution and Introversion anti-piracy measures.

Blizzard (at least during Starcraft and Diablo I) had an option to install a cut down version of the game that could run without the CD and compatible with the full game's network games (IIRC). This was mainly for users who wanted to try the game.

Introversion used standard CD keys and Amiga style book codes to deal with copies but as an added measure to reduce the possibility of finding a pirated copy, they flooded the P2P networks of demos of the game that look/named like the full game. The idea was to frustrate pirates who were trying to find the game to download and as an added bonus, an 'innocent' user (one who doesn't know they are doing anything wrong) will be playing a demo instead which has details on where to get the full game from.
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by yaustar View Post
Introversion used standard CD keys and Amiga style book codes to deal with copies but as an added measure to reduce the possibility of finding a pirated copy, they flooded the P2P networks of demos of the game that look/named like the full game. The idea was to frustrate pirates who were trying to find the game to download and as an added bonus, an 'innocent' user (one who doesn't know they are doing anything wrong) will be playing a demo instead which has details on where to get the full game from.
That's awesome!

Also, I just read over my topic-starting post. It's really weird, in some content, and in writing style. I can't think of the last time I used the word 'prevails.' Edit: It also had paragraphs at one point...
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:28 PM   #10
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There was a game a long time ago, Star Control, I think (I still have the box, so I guess I could check...) that used a special 'linguistic translator' to provide copywrite protection. It was essentially a series of paper wheels all aligned on a single rotation point. In each wheel, slots were cut and words were printed. The idea was to make specific challenge-reply series match up to arrive to the correct password.

Very cool and it helped immerse players, but unfortunately I think that with today's means it would be pretty easy to crack. However, could there be an equivalent device for our times that actually ships with the game? Perhaps a small and inexpensive USB key that actually holds a key encoded or a chip card reader? So long as you have the USB key with you, you can install to any computer you want.

Hackers will likely crack this in 0.00000002 nanoseconds, but any thoughts?
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