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Mass Effect, piracy and DRM, part 2

Mike Doolittle's picture

The response to my previous post has been remarkable; clearly, many gamers are passionate about DRM and its place (or lack thereof) in PC gaming. I've read through all the comments, and would like to take a moment to respond to them.

As a few responders noted, EA has now relaxed the every-10-day "phoning home" rule; now, Mass Effect will authenticate only when new patches or content is being downloaded.  

Gamers have pointed to Stardock as an example of how to run a successful PC studio without DRM; however, I feel the comparison is moot, because Stardock is a very small company and games like Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire are not expected to sell, or be pirated, on a scale comparable to games like Crysis, Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament 3, all of which were very heavily pirated on the PC. Because a small company like Stardock doesn't have the tens-of-millions budget that a company like EA or Epic has, selling a hundred thousand units would be considered a big success for them, even if another three hundred thousand pirated the game. With big budget games, the risks are greater and the effects of piracy are more serious. It's also worth noting that piracy has indeed crippled small developers, as was famously borne out recently when Iron Lore shut down, which was followed by a passionate criticism of PC gaming (and PC gamers) by THQ Director of Creative Management Michael Fitch. 

Gamers also need to understand that DRM is not intended to stop piracy. No developer in their right mind would be arrogant and ignorant enough to assume that even the most sophisticated DRM would be bullet-proof. Rather, DRM is intended to reduce piracy, to make it harder. If simply increasing the time it takes for a game to be cracked may improve sales significantly, the developer would view the DRM as worth the trouble. 

People complain about the games being "too advanced", like you need some sort of supercomputer to run Crysis, or it's required by law to be able to play games at maximum settings despite the fact that nearly all games are designed to be scalable across a broad array of platforms. I do not buy this as a reason or an excuse for piracy. Clearly if someone has a system that can play these games, they can afford to pay for their games too. In fact as this recent article shows, piracy is as much a concern for the "casual" PC game developers as it is for the big boys like EA.

There's also a lot of confusion about "rights". Players want to believe that when they purchase a game, they have the right to use it however they want. That's simply a fallacy—the owner of the IP gets to decide. This is plainly evident in the fact that every game installer has an "End User License Agreement"; it's safe to say that most users simple click "agree" rather than actually read through all the legal mumbo-jumbo. Suffice to say though that it is the developer and publisher who have the right to decide how their software will be used. Love it or hate it, DRM is well within the creators' rights.

Do I like DRM? Of course not. I don't like inputing a CD key. I don't like CD checks (I avoid them, though, by purchasing all my games digitally). I don't like the rare occasion when I have to contact a publisher because my SecuROM activation limit was used up (happened once). But they are incredibly small niggles, a meager price to pay for the greatness of PC gaming. Perhaps the best DRM models are those such as Steam, which imbeds its DRM within a digital distribution and community-based service. (I rather like that Steam requires no keys or CD checks, and updates games automatically.)

And while piracy numbers are certainly high for PC gaming, much of the fuss has come from the supposedly poor sales of high-profile games like Crysis and Unreal Tournament 3. These stories were based on brick-and-mortar retail sales tracked by the NPD. However, PC gaming is fast moving away from this; as many have pointed out,  when one factors in sales from digital distribution (such as Steam, Direct2Drive and the EA Store), e-tail, and subscriptions, PC gaming is in all likelihood doing much better than many would believe. I would add the acquisition of Alienware and Voodoo by Dell and HP, respectively, along with the blooming boutique gaming PC market, as further evidence of a growing market for PC games. Neither piracy nor DRM is damaging the market as much as many would believe.

Furthermore, it's quite difficult to quantify how many pirates equal lost sales. Certainly it's not 1-to-1 (likely far less). Yet when you have developers like Crytek, id and Epic counting piracy as a primary reason for a move away from PCs as a central platform, it's tough to discount the notion that piracy does indeed translate to significant lost sales in many cases. After all, who would be so naive as to assume that the millions of people downloading music illegally from Napster in the late 90s would never have bought any of that music anyway?

DRM is a necessary evil. Gamers must realize that reducing piracy is good for developers, and the problems some people face with DRM (including Steam) must be viewed as collateral damage—assuming, of course, that the DRM is actually the issue, which may often not be the case. The challenge for developers is to find a DRM scheme that is as unintrusive as possible. EA's move to change Mass Effect's DRM shows that they are indeed cognizant of the notion that certain types of DRM may repel some gamers. Yet for current piracy rates to be reduced significantly, DRM must continue to be a reality. Here's hoping more developers can follow Valve's example, and that developers and gamers can reach a mutually beneficial solution.

Category Tags
Articles: Editorials  
Topic(s): Piracy & DRM  

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I agree with your points

I agree with your points that piracy has a negative impact on PC gaming. I do not think that the casual game DRM related article can be transferred to full-priced retail games.

I also do not have a problem with DRM as part of games as such, for example in Valve's Steam or with the voluntary product registration Stardock uses. Incidentally both Valve and Stardock couple their rights management with offering (in my opinion) significant added value to their registered customers. I perceived the registration as directly beneficial for me, not as a forced measure - I wanted to register.

I do not agree with rights management issues that have the potential to significantly worsen the gameplay experience of customers. A friend of mine can not have two games installed simultaneously because the DRM measures (ironically both using SecuROM in different versions) are incompatible and refuse to authenticate if they are both present on a system. I already wrote about some of my personal experiences with DRM. Not being able to play a game at all because of a DRM mechanism is a significant inconvenience. Having to start up every game that I may want to play when I travel to make sure they "authenticate" would be a significant inconvenience. Carrying game discs around and being unable to play a digital product because a physical one gets damanged or lost would be a significant inconvenience.

As a side note, I don't think that how using a "strong" DRM mechanism would be more beneficial than a "weak" one. Do you know of any PC game or any DRM mechanism in general that has not been cracked, not been circumvented? In my opinion DRM might have a function as a basic deterrent for casual PC users, not more, and the "strength" of the mechanism should be irrelevant. Game makers would be well advised to carefully analyze the benefits and drawbacks of using weak vs. strong DRM.

This is what I would ask of a DRM measure: DRM must be transparent, it can not under any circumstance cause me as a legitimate customer to be unable to play the game or to be noticeable inconvenienced by it and its behavior and controllability must be predictable to me before I purchase a game. Valve does this correctly. Stardock does it correctly. I fail to see why other game makers would not be able to do the same.

But then again when I compare the EA Games online store (where one has to pay an additional fee to be able to download a game for longer than 6 months) with Steam (where Valve understands that keeping your purchases safe and readily available to you is an important part of customer service), it may just be a matter of game makers' mindsets.

Once again your argument is

Once again your argument is flawed. In many way, having DRM not only irritate consumer like me, but it also encourage piracy. No matter how well written any DRM could be, all I take is one person to crack the damn thing and released a clean copy of it to the net. Now you have two competing product. One that not only cost you money but have the potential of annoying the hell out of you vs one that not only free but also free of any DRM. While I'm a loyal paying customer, all it take is for some company to release some really amazing game that irritate me enough with it DRM to push me to the other side.

Please understand that having a more secure product doesn't equate to less piracy out there. Cause once again, all it take is 1 person.

Hmm...

Quote:

It's also worth noting that piracy has indeed crippled small developers, as was famously borne out recently when Iron Lore shut down

Well, looking at Iron Lore's game lineup and attitude, I say "good riddance".

Quote:

In fact as this recent article shows, piracy is as much a concern for the "casual" PC game developers as it is for the big boys like EA.

The referenced article wrote:

(...) for every 1,000 pirated copies we eliminated, we created 1 additional sale.

If it's a similar ratio for big devs as well, to reach the target sales of Crysis, you'd only need to eliminate 4 billion (as in, four thousand million) pirated copies. Clearly DRM is the way to go, eh?

As before: instead of trying to stop pirates from playing the game, developers could focus on making people want to buy the game. As for the "how" of the matter, you could refer to Blizzard and CD Projekt RED, for instance.

http://www.shamusyoung.com/tw

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1656

Read it.

koolaid

OMG Mike Doolittle, you totally drank the koolaid.
hope you got PAID!

This is logically inconsistent

As a first time reader of this site (and last time, if this is the quality of articles here) through HardOCP - I have to say that this "game critic" doesn't really understand what's going on.

Unreal Tournament and Crysis didn't sell in huge blockbuster numbers because, quite frankly, they were inferior to their prequels. UT3 dumbed down many of the mechanics of the previous games, and had a very lackluster map design to boot. Crysis, while being fairly absurd and boring in the end, was crippled by astronomical system requirements. Past the pretty exterior, which most people couldn't run anyway, you had a mediocre FPS with tacked on "RPG" elements.

Anyway, it's hilarious articles like this that remind me how blind the people that support "anti-piracy" really are. When Britney Spear's terrible albums fail to sell, it's obviously pirates - not the fact that it's poorly produced hogwash. When the latest formulaic date flick fails to break even in the box office, it's obviously rampant piracy.

The point is, if people want something, and people know it's good, and that they'll enjoy it - they buy it. At least any mature adult I know that has more than 20 bucks a month to spend on anything ever.

That's why Iron Man did supremely well, but Spider Man 3 didn't. That's why Diablo 2/Starcraft *still* have respectable sales nearly 10 years from release. That's why tiny companies with amazing games (Sins of a Solar Empire) can sell 100k + copies.

Just because EA dumps 30 million dollars into some Madden clone doesn't mean they deserve to sell huge numbers. Sometimes the games just plain suck ass!

And I'm surprised you quote Oblivion as one of your favorite all time games, yet don't recognize the major issues it first had when copy protection was crashing the client for thousands of users with "non-approved CD drives." Same thing with Bioshock.

One last point, without combating the rest of this ridiculous article - some people install their games on multiple systems that they own. I have a laptop, gaming PC, and HTPC that I like to switch between. I expect to be able to play the stupid game that I purchased on any of my computers, and with Mass Effect (which I won't be buying, because I have the 360 version anyway) I'd already be out of user installs.

What's to happen when Bioware eventually drops support of the game? Do we trust them to unlock our copies so they don't have to validate for install limits or patches? Or do we get screwed in 5 years when we try and play the game again for reminiscences sake? Heck, I just recently re-installed my copy of Fallout on my laptop here - and I've been having a blast. Will I be able to do that with Mass Effect in 10 years?

It doesn't matter anyway though, unless there's some PC exclusive must have title (Crysis turned out to DEFINITELY not be one of them...wish I wouldn't have bought the collector's edition) I just buy on consoles anyway. My copy of Ninja Gaiden works on any of my friend's Xbox's. I can throw GTA4 into my buddy's PS3 too. No restrictions, I get to do what I want with MY game. And then, the greatest part? When I get bored with it, I can get 20 bucks for it off of Craigslist and absorb some of the cost. Whee!

If anything, DRM isn't helping the PC gaming world any (oh, and how I used to hate consoles...) - it's hurting it.

Bright day Sir, you have

Bright day
Sir, you have waved off the example of Stardock mentioning their small budget and low target number. But, could that not be the exact thing to bring relevancy to the discussion. One of the Stardock's employees himself a post in this regard. The fact that they their budget is balanced to what they can msot reasonably expect to sell. If i pruduce a hundred-million computer game and it fails to sell the twenty million copies necessary for me to break even- maybe it is not just piracy, maybe it is also my failure to read the market.

GTA4 was pirated BEFORE it was released

It doesn't matter what DRM you put on there, games are pirated before they are even released. The more popular the game, the faster a crack appears. It has nothing to do with the DRM. Grand Theft Auto 4 had a crack available before the game was even offered for purchase!

DRM isn't there to stop or even slow pirates. It is there to prevent resale. It is there to stop people from selling games they are done with on Ebay or back to places like GameStop. It is designed to hurt honest people who want to purchase the game legitimately.

The idea that DRM even slows down piracy is a joke. To assume otherwise is extremely naive. If anything it is seen as a challenge to that sect. I will bet that there will be a crack available for Spore within 5 hours of the time it is available in stores.

Quote: Gamers have pointed

Quote:

Gamers have pointed to Stardock as an example of how to run a successful PC studio without DRM; however, I feel the comparison is moot, because Stardock is a very small company and games like Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire are not expected to sell, or be pirated, on a scale comparable to games like Crysis, Call of Duty 4

Is that why Sins of a Solar Empire outsold Call of Duty 4 in the month of February, according to NPD data?

Your feelings aside, the facts are that Sins of a Solar Empire sold over 100,000 copies in its first two weeks.

The lack of DRM obviously did not hurt its sales.

I usually like to replay

I usually like to replay games a year or event two or three years later if the game is good. I've even replayed Return to Castle Wolfenstein last authumn and that game is 5-6 years old. Are there any activation servers available then for a game that requires activation in a few years? The publishers should commit themselves to a date when they release a patch that removes the activation, maybe 12 or 18 month after the release. That would at least make me feel better. How many PS2 gamers aren't there still playing old games? Do the publishers (it is the publisher that usually require DRM, not the developer) think PC gamers are any different?

The other thing is why they use such strong DRM protections requiring activation online and then also forces me to uninstall programs like Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools. I use them for mounting e.g. software images downloaded from Microsoft public download area or from the developer area. That causes trouble for me as a buying customer, having to uninstall and reinstall programs everytime I need them. There are almost never anything that mention that on the box cover. That is something to discover after installing the game!

Disrespectful

It's frustrating reading this article.

It really is very simple.
2 products.
First product: costs money, laden with DRM and inconveniences the buyer.
Second product: does not cost money, no DRM

Is it really difficult to understand the genuine buyer's concern?

Sure it is great to throw out statistics that high budget games like Call of Duty 4, Crysis and the endless string of EA Sports games are not selling. Well, no matter how much money you throw on crap, it's still crap. Budget does not matter in the making of a game that sells, it's making a game that people want and can play that sells.

Just ask movie goers about Uwe Boll movies.

And finally Stardock and Sins of a Solar Empire. It outsold many of the over budgeted games, is a very good game and is extremely polished. Is it some low budget game that we should simply wave off because
a) it has no DRM and thus does not support your DRM argument
b) it actually sells
c) is a damn good game compared against high budgeted crap?

DRM only hurts genuine customers. The sooner this is realized, the sooner recovery for this industry can occur.

I love how you still think

I love how you still think that anyone who's had any problems with games due to poorly written DRM like starforce is either a pirate or a moron who wouldn't know a boot sector from an actual boot.

Also, what about Virgin et al who shut down authentication servers without addressing paying customers? What will EA do when they get bought out by News Corp in 2012?

dont you even read

sounds like about 5 seconds of research to this article. (and sounds like he was given incentive to write something positive about drm..)

just a extra on the above comments,

The article mentions crysis
Crysis is a niche game, for the small percentage of gamers who have an elite system! and yet the game has sold way over a million copies. It was very well publicised that crysis wont play on anything but the best, and even the most expensive pc cant play the game at its max levels. The gameplay was noted by critics and highly commented on forums as being sub par. A demo was released too to show just how shocking it looks on our slightly out of date systems. Crysis on low looks terrible. That demo would have cost more sales than gained them!

Also all these games that were mentioned, were released almost all at once, so a gamer had to choose which ones to buy or sell a kidney for hundreds of dollars to buy them all at once.

But since the sales of these games were not huge on release day, it must have been the pirates. Even though proof shows again and again, that a good game, targeted at the right market, at the right time will gain great sales.

What a Load

I read through your first piece and simply rolled my eyes. Someone without a clue spouting their ignorance on the internet isn't exactly unique. But to dive back in yet again...? Not unique perhaps, but worthy of comment.

I've been a purchaser/collector of computer games for over 20 years now, back into the Apple days. Copy protection of one form or another has been around since the begining and it's never done diddly squat to reduce piracy. All it has ever done is inconvienience legitimate purchasers.

Disk based protection: Didn't stop pirates. But it did prevent legitimate users from backing up their floppies which were prone to accidental erasure. (BTW. The ability to back up your media IS a right)

Code Wheels/Enter-a-Word-From the Manual: Pirates kept on going. Sure pissed those of us who paid for it off though. (And that red paper to prevent photocopying? Hard on the eyes of the purchaser but didn't slow pirates down.)

CD copy protection: This actually wasn't too bad. Of course it didn't slow pirates down, but at least CDs are a fairly resiliant medium.

CD keys: This is fine. It's annoying, but whatever. It's a one time thing.

But now we're into the dark side of protection: Product activation

When you're relying on a remote entity to activate a product that you've purchased you're simply bending yourself over.

1) You're potentially limiting the number of installs that you can have. I build myself a new PC every year. Why should I have to call in to ask for more activations? It's MINE. I paid for it.

2) You're putting yourself at the mercy of the internet and the remote activation servers. As anyone who purchased Half-Life 2 the day it came out can tell you what a complete farce that was. Hours to unlock a product that you physically purchased and installed on your PC.

3) The huge failure here is that you're betting that the publisher will be around the next time you want to install the product. This tends to be a long shot in today's world of major accquisitions and support being cut off for any product whenver the financial incentive to sell new copies is gone. Is anyone really so stupid that they would trust EA to provide support to install a 2 year old product?

Maybe you enjoy the idea of buying a game, playing it for a month and then forgetting about it. But many of us are in this for the long haul. I have 800 CD based games and umpteen floppy disc games and I like to go back and play old games. I recently went back through Mechwarrior 2 (From the lack of perspective in your posts I rather assume you were still in diapers at the time that was released) but it was a hell of a game. Still is. If want to go back and play Mass Effect 10 years from now, why should I have to bank on the activation server being out there? (A clue for the clueless: It won't be.)

The problem with DRM is that it doesn't slow pirates down one little bit. The more effort publishers put into it, the more they'll enjoy getting around it. It may slow casual piracy, but it does so at the cost of seriously inconviencing the ones that actually DO pay and does so by treating them like a potential criminal while the actual pirates simply snicker through the install.

If you're Ok with paying for a crippled product (When you buy Yahtzee at the store, do the dice want to phone home?) and being treated in that fashion I am sure that there are some fascinating job opportunities out there for ya. But the rest of us need to stand up and tell companies like EA when they're going too far before the bloody things want a DNA sample.

Given the trend it has to be coming. And it won't slow piracy a bit, but I'm guessing that EAs marketing would get much more effective all of a sudden.

Lorne Laliberte wrote: Is

Lorne Laliberte wrote:

Is that why Sins of a Solar Empire outsold Call of Duty 4 in the month of February, according to NPD data?

It's probably more due to the fact that SoaSE was released in February, while CoD4 was released three months earlier.

Quote:

The lack of DRM obviously did not hurt its sales.

It's been well-established that bigger games (like CoD4) are pirated in far greater numbers than lower-budget indie games like SoaSE. It's also impossible to quantify how much piracy did or did not hurt SoaSE's sales. Have there been 40 million attempts to play illegal versions, like with UT3? Probably not.

lol

Wow... I thought I'd try reading through MD's past articles to see if there was any cause to cut him some slack on his DRM lovefest and on the first click came across this bit o' love RE: Bioshock for the PC.

"PC Gamers might want to pass and get the 360 version if possible, or purchase the game online from either Steam or Direct2Drive. There have been many problems with activation issues with the retail version of the game, relating to the SecuROM copy protection."

And let's reconcile that with:

"DRM is a necessary evil. Gamers must realize that reducing piracy is good for developers, and the problems some people face with DRM (including Steam) must be viewed as collateral damage—assuming, of course, that the DRM is actually the issue, which may often not be the case."

DRM does not reduce piracy. It's not good for developers. (Standard crap like SecureROM costs them money and is STILL ineffective) It hurts consumers and damages the publishers image with those silly enough to pay for a crippled product. It introduces another point of failure into a platform already plagued with compatibility issues.

And it's... necessary? On what planet exactly?

[quote=Mike DoolittleIt's

Mike Doolittle wrote:

It's been well-established that bigger games (like CoD4) are pirated in far greater numbers than lower-budget indie games like SoaSE. It's also impossible to quantify how much piracy did or did not hurt SoaSE's sales. Have there been 40 million attempts to play illegal versions, like with UT3? Probably not.

"40 million attempts to play illegal versions" of UT3?

I understand that research, logic, rationality, objectivity and basic reasoning skills don't actually apply when you hit the keyboard, but let's try and get real here.

(I know, I know... let's pretend for a minute)

GTA IV sold 3.6 million copies day one. UT 3 for the PC? Not in the ball park. Not in the city. Not in the state. It shouldn't be, it's a letdown compared to previous iterations.

We're supposed to swallow the idea that "teh evil pirates" (tm) tried to steal UT3 at a rate that would make GTA IV envious or possibly that there's a small contingent of idiots desperately running the software over and over between blog posts.

On planet Earth the reality is that if someone wants to steal UT3, they don't attempt it they do it. DRM will not stop them.

This is why the publishers lack credibility. They float irrational "facts" like "40 million attempts to play illegal versions".

You claimed you real all comments...

You claimed you read all the comments but you didn't bother to bring up the other bigger examples that I mentioned that also didn't have copy protection.
Oblivion for example. That was a HUGE seller and didn't have any protection against copying the cd. Same thing with morrowind.

Also, claiming that since stardock is small they must have been happy with 100,000 sales shows how little you know

I think you should try giving this post a read by one of the stardock devs:
http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/post.aspx?postid=303512

A couple quotes from it:
"Galactic Civilizations II sold 300,000 copies making 8 digits in revenue on a budget of less than $1 million"

Note that I belive they are talking about retail sales, not online sales.

"Sins of a Solar Empire. With a small budget, it has already sold about 200,000 copies in the first month of release. It's the highest rated PC game of 2008 and probably the best selling 2008 PC title."

Note that that was when it was released, it may not be the highest rated 2008 title anymore.

Mike Doolittle, the author,

Mike Doolittle, the author, wrote:

"There's also a lot of confusion about "rights". Players want to believe that when they purchase a game, they have the right to use it however they want. That's simply a fallacy—the owner of the IP gets to decide. This is plainly evident in the fact that every game installer has an "End User License Agreement"; it's safe to say that most users simple click "agree" rather than actually read through all the legal mumbo-jumbo. Suffice to say though that it is the developer and publisher who have the right to decide how their software will be used. Love it or hate it, DRM is well within the creators' rights."

Coca-Cola has IP in their drink recipes. They sell packaged, pre-made versions of this drink, fully containing that juicy IP within. Those packaged versions are not their IP, they are containers, products, whatever.

Cola-Cola does not have the right to alter, recall, or otherwise claim "their" soft drink after I have consumed it. However, if they attached an EULA to each bottle stating that they COULD do all this stuff AFTER I bought and consumed the product well then nobody would ever buy coke. Besides nobody buying (let's say everyone still did) any judge would rightly declare such an agreement void because its dumb (in the legal sense) and unenforceable. Therefore, companies don't have the right to do or demand anything with their product simply because they have an agreement saying so.

Star Wars is IP. I own it on DVD. I watch however and whenever I want because I'm not messing with anyone's property but my own. So how does this situation work differently? Well, simply because the producers of the movie use their IP and then make a packaged version I may consume. I don't alter the IP. I am not renting the IP. I do, however, OWN that packaged version and may use it however. I can even burn it. If I burn my game disc does that mean I am destroying the developer's property? So basically it doesn't work any differently.

The Disposable DVD market was dead on arrival. Nobody wants disposable (limited install or play) games.

EULAs (should) limit HOW I may use software, not IF. When money changes hands, the 'if' part is taken care of. I may use this as a coaster, as a game, as anything. I may not use this as a code base for my own game.

Some small, easy to find examples

Mike Doolittle on May 12, 2008:
"Crysis almost certainly did fall short of its sales potential, even if it sold over 1 million, and piracy may indeed have taken a significant toll. But it's not because the game is too system-intensive, or because the game wasn't any good; rather, it's because Crytek overlooked one of the key channels for modern PC gaming: digital distribution."

Mike Doolittle on January 7, 2008:
"I don't care what Cevat Yerli says about their "upscaling" game engine, Crytek's partnerships with Intel and nVidia, or the many gamers (including me) who insist that Crysis scales well and runs just fine. The reality is that this is a game that, despite a relatively lengthy development cycle, was probably released one generation of hardware too soon."

Mike Doolittle on November 27, 2007:
"You can hear the cries of doom and gloom miles away: PC gaming is dying, dead, on the way out, yesterday's news, whatever. But is it really? Because when I look at PC gaming, I see not only a growing market, but a place that is still the premier platform for videogames."

Mike Doolittle on November 3, 2007:
"The Crysis demo has been created a real stir in the PC gaming community. Most of it is for good reasons—it's a great-looking game, and the gameplay is very well done. But there have been some issues that bring to light a lot of the marketing ballyhoo that Crytek has been spouting, and unless things change pretty dramatically with the final product, a lot of people will be calling b.s."

This as well as other tidbits of yours and your exemplary execution of CoD4s single player campaign could easily be construed as "Mike Doolittle is killing PC-Gaming!". Either that or you conviniently forget your previous writings.

I call b.s.

Fundamentally there is no

Fundamentally there is no way of telling if DRM has any impact at all on piracy. Similarly, there's no evidence to support the idea that piracy impacts sales one way or another. These are not quantifiable things because there is no way to test them in a controlled environment. As such, there is no basis for the statement that "DRM is a necessary evil". We have no idea if it's necessary.

I have no problem with developers and publishers wanting to sell as many copies of their game as possible. This is why I suggest that they ignore the pirate, and do what they can to entice the consumer. DRM is counterproductive to the latter effort, and more so the more onerous.

SolidSnark wrote: This is

SolidSnark wrote:

This is why the publishers lack credibility. They float irrational "facts" like "40 million attempts to play illegal versions".

There's no reason to believe that's a bogus number. That doesn't mean 40 million people tried to crack it. I could mean 1 million people attempted an average of 40 times, or some other such variation. These numbers are corroborated with the numbers for Crysis and CoD4, which were also heavily pirated.

Sins of a solar empire clarification

Ref your comment about Sins of a Solar Empire not being expected to sell on a scale on a par with major games e.g. Call of Duty 4 etc.

According to the current issue of PC Zone magazine, in the UK Sins of a Solar Empire is currently the number three game in the charts, above Call of Duty 4, Mass Effect, and various editions of The Sims 2.

Sins of a Solar Empire has been sold with customer friendly intentions, and has taken a stance against aggressive DRM. Honest sales figures show that paying customers are buying this game in droves. As you said, this is against sales expectations, and goes to show the strength of feeling paying customers now have against overly intrussive DRM schemes.

... Talkjack

Anti piracy mechanism

Hello,
I have developed a mechanism by which a Software ( programs,games etc. and not audio/video) can be loaded only on one PC. It will never load on a second PC.
While loading on a second PC it flashes a message that this CD/program has been loaded on one PC on this earth and hence will not load on this PC. This mechanism is not a seperate program by itself but has to be incorporated on the software itself.
I am of the opinion that piracy takes place when a CD can be loaded on more than one PC. Stop it from loading on the second PC and you have stopped piracy.
Here the CD containing the program has been taught to load on one PC only.It never goes wrong and it cannot be taught to load on a second PC. But it will load on the same PC again and again.

Regards,
K.Ganapathy

meh

Developers don't think like gamers, as sad and harsh as that might be to understand its simply economics. Most of you people arguing such points over DRM are either pirates or kids or both, in either case DRM has absolutely no real world application except to restrict copy, manipulation and distribution of digital works. The companies that push these titles out don't give a rats ass what the consumer thinks about their marketing strategies. What they look at is selling and they do a good job of that regardless what your bragging rights entail. They also do not look at sales points vs volume what they look at is quite simply the net profit and the community of its user base. Nothing else, you kid yourselves thinking anything more its no different than the RIAA. A psychological warfare to hide the real profits, regardless how much cost they exclaim hit them hard from piracy they in fact make 2 to 3 figures off each purchased sale. It practically costs them nothing as far as money is concerned in regards to production, however time does cost them an arm and a leg because those salaries go to their employees.

The software world is a renewable energy source the amount of abundance outweighs the costs, there is in fact no way to hurt a software giant it can recoup losses since code development is neither an object or a commodity. It's a sector where employment is the stick in the mud nothing else.

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