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Videogame piracy and the PC gaming industry

Mike Doolittle's picture

This week, Crytek president Cevat Yerli, mastermind of the next-gen blockbuster Crysis, mentioned in an interview that his company will no longer produce PC-exclusive games, asserting that piracy has become so rampant on the PC that making exclusive games for the platform is too risky. Right on the heels of this disconcerting interview, EA Sports president Peter Moore explained the company's decision not to bring future iterations of Madden to the PC, again citing piracy as a central issue.

Yerli and Moore are certainly not the first to express such concerns. John Carmack, who for the entirety of his career developed next-generation technology exclusively for the PC, has stated that his new "Tech 5" engine is being developed with a multiplatform focus. Epic, the company that makes the Unreal engine and the games of its titular kin, has stated that its engine development is tied to console cycles. In both cases, piracy was cited as a major problem on the PC. Not too long ago, an Activision employee stated that piracy of Call of Duty 4 was rampant. More and more we are seeing long-time PC-centric companies shift their focus to a more multiplatform focus, because there's just too much risk involved with PC-exclusive development due to rampant piracy.

Gamers may rightly point out that consoles have had their share of piracy issues as well; it's arguable for example that Mircosoft suffered significant sales loss due to the rampant and easy modding of the original XBox console. However, downloading pirated PC games is much easier than modding a console to play pirated games. Like pirating music, pirating games can be so easy and convenient that it's all too easy to forget that it's theft, a despicable act that robs hardworking developers of their right to be paid for their hard work.

PC piracy has become so rampant that it's clearly beginning to take a significant toll on the industry. Developers are regular people with bills to pay just like everyone else, and when hundreds of thousands or even millions of gamers are stealing games instead of buying them, making PC games simply becomes too unprofitable to sustain. Money does not grow on trees, and game development is a long and costly process.

If you can afford a PC that is powerful enough to play modern games, if you can afford to pay for high-speed internet access that would allow you to download such massive files, and if you can afford to spend many hours of your week relaxing in front of a good videogame—you can afford the meager $50 it costs to buy a new PC game. Game pirates come up with all kinds of rationalizations, from gripes about copy protection to the quality of the games themselves. But playing videogames is a privilege, not a right, and no one is entitled to excuse themselves from paying for a game simply because they don't like the way certain elements of it might be handled.

Does this mean the end of PC gaming as we know it? What kinds of solutions are there to piracy?

Many PC gamers feel that games developed exclusively for the PC tend to offer an experience that is superior to anything available on consoles. Recently, Crysis reinforced this notion with cutting-edge gameplay and graphics, and Cevat Yerli proudly stated that the game could not be ported to consoles due to its highly advanced technology.

Personally, I believe this to be somewhat of a fallacy. I don't buy Yerli's line that Crysis could not be ported to consoles, particularly because it scales well to lower-end PCs that are not even as powerful as modern consoles. This is not to mention the fact that Yerli also stated that Crysis would utilize quad-core processors to great advantage and be faster in DirectX 10, neither of which has held true. And we've seen with titles like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Grand Theft Auto IV that large, open-ended worlds with complex physics and artificial intelligence are indeed possible on consoles. Even in the previous generation of consoles, we saw a faithful port of the venerable Half-Life 2 to the XBox, with the only concessions being low-res visuals. Indeed, it seems that with today's engine technology, PC gaming's benefits are primarily aesthetic—the ability to play games in much higher resolutions and with greater graphical fidelity than consoles.

As a life-long console gamer, I made the switch to PCs primarily because of the superior graphics, controls, and mod communities—as well as to branch into some new genres that rarely see the light of day on consoles, such as RTS games and MMORPGs. Nearly every major PC game has been ported to consoles successfully, and as consoles have evolved I feel the technological differences are less important from a programming perspective, since modern game engines are designed to be scalable across a variety of platforms. Thus I tend not to believe that PC gaming is suffering because of the increasing focus on multiplatform games. Consoles themselves have far fewer exclusives than in the past, because game development has become too costly in most cases for developers to focus only on one platform. I will be intently watching games like Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2 later this year to see what kind of impact multiplatform development really has. I suspect enthusiast-level PC gamers' fears will be largely unfounded.

However, there is no denying that PC gaming has in the past always set the pace for gaming technology, and it would be disheartening to see that trend come to an end. And if piracy continues unencumbered, we may see not just fewer and fewer PC exclusives, but fewer multiplatform titles and ports as well; indeed, the entire quality and quantity of PC games could suffer greatly. What can be done?

It seems that as long as torrents are a reality (and they will not be going away anytime soon), piracy will always be a threat. Game developers are forced to create more stringent anti-piracy measures, but these measures have been known to cause problems for some users—some who use this as justification for more piracy! Fortunately, there are a few beacons of hope on the horizon. Mircosoft, nVida, Intel, AMD and others have formed the PC Gaming Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to solving many of the problems PC gaming is facing. Valve, developer of the Half-Life series and the Steam digital distribution platform, has released a set of developer tools called Steamworks that is designed to help developers combat piracy, and indeed a DRM service that functions as a community and distribution service may be the only viable long-term solution to combating piracy; it may not be long before we see an end to retail-box PC games. Certainly the bandwidth of sending a game across the internet is cheaper than manufacturing, packaging and shipping games across the country. With digital distribution, there are no unplayed copies collecting dust on store shelves. Combining the cost-saving measures of digital distribution with better publisher control over DRM and encryption may be PC gaming's best hope.

Ultimately, there will always be some schmucks out there who for some reason feel justified in stealing software. They've done great damage to the PC gaming industry, but the nail is not in the coffin—not by a long shot. On the contrary, there are many in the industry who are not about to take it lying down or fold over like clean laundry. Instead, they are looking for innovative solutions to combat piracy and reinvigorate PC gaming. I'm confident that there are enough people passionate about PC gaming to crush the rampant spread of piracy and breathe new life into the market. Crysis, I think, will not be the last game of its kind.

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Articles: Editorials  
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"Like pirating music,

"Like pirating music, pirating games can be so easy and convenient that it's all too easy to forget that it's theft, "

You were actually doing really well until I saw this little bit of mis-information. Copying a computer game is NOT theft.

a: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

b: an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property

No property was "taken" from Crytek since, apparently they're still able to sell their game at Wal-mart. Although to most people, there is no real difference, there is a huge difference from a legal stand point.

PC game piracy has been

PC game piracy has been running rampant since C64 days. It is not something new.

Despite the constant, rampant piracy of PC games since PC gaming's inception, the market has grown quite large.

The issue that developers are facing is the larger profits available from sales on closed, pirate-resistant systems such as game consoles.

Piracy, since it has been there from the beginning, has never had a breakthrough year where it suddeny sucked profits from PC developers, it's been a constant, which PC developers could mostly ignore... until Consoles became so profitable that it made more sense to release games there instead of the PC.

But what we're really looking at here is an effect of the Information Age. All information strives to become free. PC, being an open platform, will support services more than it does games. Games, being information, will seek to be free, but a service, such as World of Warcraft servers, will seek a premium price.

Closed systems are a different story, of course. A well designed console can practically eliminate piracy. With the 360, if you want to play pirated games, you basically have to give up your rights to access Xbox Live, which is a big deal for most gamers, just look at the percentage of Xbox users that are online.

I think that 20 years from now, even consoles will have moved to a 'service' economy. I for one, wouln't mind paying $20 a month to play any xbox game I wanted to, sent to me over the internets directly from MS. It's not much different than the relationship I currently have with Gamefly.

In conclusion, I think that the piracy boogeyman is overhyped. Piracy of PC games has ALWAYS been there, and always will be. To deal with it, PC developers will move to providing services instead of just games. Those services will prove to be more profitable than the old model.

Torrents are new

Measure,
Piracy has always been there, sure. But it's never been so incredibly easy. Hundreds of thousands, even millions of users can and do simply hop on a torrent and download the file. There's no complicated hacking or cracking. It's just as easy as pirating music, and it's comparable to copying old cassette tapes versus illegally distributing a song to millions of people over the internet.

Anonymous,
Feel free to dodge the issue with semantics; the fact is that you don't have a "right" to own the software; you are simply paying for the privilege of using it. Nobody loses physical property, but it was never really about physical property to begin with. When you pirate a game, you are robbing developers of their right to control the sale and distribution of their intellectual creative property, and while you may not feel you are "stealing" in the archaic sense, your actions still have industry-wide ramifications, because game developers don't just pick their funds from the money tree and make videogames for free. They're hardworking, everyday people like you and me and making a videogame costs millions of dollars. It's not up to you to decide the terms of use for someone else's creative property.

What if...

... there was another reason? A lot of people complain that in order to play a PC game like COD4 or Bioshock, or any other recent game with all "special effects" set to max, with AA and AF on, even to the max (say 4*AA and 16*AF) with at least an 19" screen's worth of resolution = 1280*1024 and a reasonable framerate... one needs to buy a PC(if buying an entire system if one's PC's too old to be upgraded) in the 1500 dollars spot... even 1000 to 1200 is a bit tight.

The most expensive console right now is the PS3 right? do the maths.

But wait, you're telling me (not you Brad, I'm just saying) that the res is higher in a PC game than on a console? PS3 can play in full HD a 60$ game on a 500$ system.... you need it to be a 1500$ system to have it so on a PC.

Ouch, that hurts...
(Everyone please note that the figures I give are not to be taken "by the letter" but are just an indication (but altogether not completely misleading and false)... Also, let's not forget the 360. Last but not least... I don't have any of the above consoles, and have recently aquired a gaming PC... so I've spent quite some time researching the topic... which doesn't make me an expert but I'm just saying. Also, I don't hate consoles it's just a question of priority, my PC was so old I wanted a new one, I love gaming both PC and console-wise, but I slightly prefer it on the PC, for many reasons, the main one is that I like it that I can do it all on one platform)

That's one of the reasons...

Why are PC's so expensive? They can do more? Sure, but in that case, why do I need to buy a graphics card in the at least 300$ to 500$ range when a console that does it all is the same price? Cuz after that graph card I need a processor, a mobo, some RAM etc....

So Piracy AND high prices anyone? (BTW, I'm not saying anything that's original, just check out the forums out there ;-) and you'll see )

theres one easy fix to end

theres one easy fix to end pretty much all piracy on the pc......digital distribution and some sort of multi player or online upgrading system. valves been doing it for years and it seems to be treating them well, many others like EA are falling in line as well.

I think rather than developers bitching about piracy (witch most do just to appease their ceo when he asks why their sales are so weak, crytek for example) they need to put their heads together and come up with a universal digital distribution system and seriously consider some type of interactive update system for their games.

don't get me wrong, i understand piracy is out there but it isnt just pc developers hurting.....GTA4 set world records for the amount of bootleg torrents being distributed for the xbox360 4 days before it even got released to the public. either change with the times or go down in flames but don't rest the blame entirely on someone else's shoulders. Pirates have always been around, you just need to design a faster clipper ship to catch them.

Piracy is a lame excuse

How do these companies measure the amount of pirated copies? What indicators do they have that their sales are indeed dropping because of piracy, and not because of something else?
What really happens is, that a lot of gamers are disappointed by current games. It's really rare that a game just works out of the box. Usually, you have to update your system first (drivers, directx, .Net, whatnot), then install the latest patch, and maybe even fiddle with some cryptic configuration files. But gameplay will most of the times still not be flawless. Save game corruption, gameplay-destroying graphical oddities, bugs in game logic that hinder advancement, these are just some of the things I've encountered in current titles like Neverwinter Nights 2, The Witcher, and even Crysis.
It's easy to blame piracy. It's a good excuse to abandon the difficult PC Games market, with it's myriad of different machines a game has to run on, and the resulting QA overhead.
Even if the big industry abandons the PC completely, I see hope for it in the form of indie games. The indie movement has grown exponentially over the last few years, and it's creative potential is amazing. Sure, you won't get the latest DX10 shaders, surround sound and fast internet servers that keep track of every last fart you do. Instead you get games, that are actually FUN, because they concentrate on what is essential: GAMEPLAY.
Now, back to Dwarf Fortress.

One thing I don't understand

One thing I don't understand Power is should that system be implemented, what would it change? I mean you're talking about a payable service right? Maybe some dudes out there just don't care to spend ANY amount of money and just want to have all they can grab for free...

chilloowARPC wrote: Why are

chilloowARPC wrote:

Why are PC's so expensive? They can do more? Sure, but in that case, why do I need to buy a graphics card in the at least 300$ to 500$ range when a console that does it all is the same price? Cuz after that graph card I need a processor, a mobo, some RAM etc....

PCs aren't that expensive, especially when you consider than any current card from ATI or nVidia, even something like a cheap 9600GT, will positively crush consoles in terms of processing power.

You must also realize that PC games are played in much higher resolution than consoles – even a modest 1280x1024 is higher resolution than 720p (1280x720), and the vast majority of console games are rendered in even lower resolutions (as low as 1024x600) then upscaled to 720p. PC gaming gives you significantly higher visual quality. You get what you pay for; the amount you invest in your PC depends largely on what resolution you wish to play in.

And lastly, I fail to see how the cost of a gaming PC is in any way a contributing factor or justification for piracy. If you can afford a good gaming rig, you can afford to pay for your games.

Whoops, I called you Brad in

Whoops, I called you Brad in my first post, sorry Mike ;), my bad... I think I was reading one of Brad's article just before lol...

"PCs aren't that expensive, especially when you consider than any current card from ATI or nVidia, even something like a cheap 9600GT, will positively crush consoles in terms of processing power. "
All I'm saying is I hope the 8800GT 512MB is if not a bit better than at least as good as a PS3 or a 360 ;P
No, seriously, it's an open question but is the 9600GT really better than those latest consoles? It's hard to compare PC's to consoles isn't it? Still, a 9600GT is around 170$... then you still need all the other components.

"You must also realize that PC games are played in much higher resolution than consoles – even a modest 1280x1024 is higher resolution than 720p (1280x720), and the vast majority of console games are rendered in even lower resolutions (as low as 1024x600) then upscaled to 720p. PC gaming gives you significantly higher visual quality. You get what you pay for; the amount you invest in your PC depends largely on what resolution you wish to play in."
Mmm, now that I didn't know! Very interresting, first it's rendered then upscaled to 720P or 1080p or i..
Very interresting, I've learned something.

"And lastly, I fail to see how the cost of a gaming PC is in any way a contributing factor or justification for piracy. If you can afford a good gaming rig, you can afford to pay for your games."
There is never any justification, but just excuses we make to lie, cheat or steal... Still, forgive my stuborness, but for some people a console is all they can afford, then they DL games for free and voila!

Anyway, all I'm saying is please don't quit the PC guys (that goes for all gamers and game developpers), I love all the tweaking and customizing, it's great! Choosing your components depending on your budget and your performance wish is fun, building your PC is rewarding, then playing games on "your" beast is so cool :p ;)
Still, Zugabi makes a point, it can all be pretty daunting for some people, they just don't want all the hasles.

It is extremely easy to

It is extremely easy to fight the majority of multi-player game piracy:

1) One CD Key per registered account. Must have an account to log in and play. Novalogic has done it this way to great success for a long time.

2) Block Hamachi. Pretty easy since from what I recall all Hamachi traffic is over 5.x.x.x

I bet these people who say

I bet these people who say piracy is not a big deal are themselves pirates trying to justify their immmorality. People I know who pirate games have all kinds of excuses: i'll stop when i get a better job, i'm just one person, i wouldn't buy it anyway, I'm just trying before I buy, etc ,etc. They feel they are entitled to just about anything because they are 'clever' enough to download a torrent or apply a crack.

Piracy isn't as big a deal as publishers make it out to be either, since those people probably wouldn't pay for every game they pirate anyway. But it IS a growing problem because it is so much easier to pirate than it used to be.

Console piracy is big, but no where near as huge as PC since it requires more complex, illegal, hardware modification. So yes, in a very real sense PC pirates are killing the PC game market, and are bringing us all closer to the DRM'd motherboards, OS', and processors of big brother.

Thanks guys and remember: karma is a bitch.

chilloowARPC wrote: There

chilloowARPC wrote:

There is never any justification, but just excuses we make to lie, cheat or steal...

You don't think the gaming companies lie, cheat or steal??
Bloody oath they do.

They LIE about minimum system specs needed to run the game.

They CHEAT by releasing games with known bugs just so they can get it out for the Christmas sales. (we'll just patch it later)

They STEAL your money when there is NO refund on games that have been purchased that don't work dispite the fact that your machine covers the required specs.(case in point Bioshock. STILL people who can't play the game they puchased and the stoney wall of silence from 2KGames)

The current bitch about piracy is about nothing but GREED.
I see John Carmack has a couple of Ferrari's.
Yep! I can see how piracy has hurt him and if they can rub out piracy maybe Mark Rein and Cliffy B can afford a couple of new speedboats or a new condo each.

Money, money gimme more.
Enough is never enough.
Gimme all your cash now so,
I can move on to the next person.

Ventry wrote: The current

Ventry wrote:

The current bitch about piracy is about nothing but GREED.

Well since you don't need money how about sending me a nice check? Or are you too GREEDY to share?

Lame excuses...the poster above you was right.

The Main Reason...Not Unveiled

Hello..I am an average net explorer who stumbled on this article (and this website) and after reading it and the comments written by other people none of them were able to tell the main reason of piracy...its poverty.

You sir has shown your concern about the hardworking people at the gaming industry being "robbed" of their money due to piracy while failing to acknowledge that there are like many people especially in the developing countries(Pakistan,Bud an,India e.t.c) who still now having a hard time getting even basic commodities.I mean that for them it is a curse but for the underprivileged it's a blessing.

You gave the example of purchase of a new PC. That is only just the part of a complete system,since a user will have to buy Windows OS CD or DVD at an exorbitant price(Vista Basic 350$) and then additional softwares like antivirus , antispyware which ain't cheap either raising the price of a PC twice or thrice times higher.

You say that playing PC game is a privilege. Well sir tell this to a man who with all his might manage to buy a second hand PC for their kids to play.The reply will obviously a negative, it be more negative if he was aware of the time when the Western countries were crying hoarse about book piracy.I mean if it wasn't for the book pirates, the illiteracy issue would have been even worse. Also it is our (that is human) nature to take the privilege after fulfilling their necessities, this nature is what we all called "Greed" and there is little or nothing can be done to even control it. And those in the developing countries who are self satisfied with their necessities often complain that:

1) Purchasing items online is risky due to rampant and uncontrolled cyber crimes.

2)requires credit cards,a privilege for the elite here

Thus they have no choice but to go along with piracy. Also many people are unaware of the advantages of a genuine software and the consequences of piracy.

So thats how piracy continued to live on,the main clients of software pirates are actually the developing countries with crippling economy.

I am not saying that I have no sympathy for the PC games developers.They have done a fantastic job.However the main element to blame is within the industry ,that is, the one responsible for marketing their products. Their strict policy of constant price disregarding the region and the payment method is really discouraging for the people way far away from America who strive to get at least a genuine copy of old softwares and games from Ebay or Amazon.com.

I suggest that to combat piracy the industry should make their products cheaper and easier to obtain by hiring authorized reseller. They should also spread awareness and publicize their products in popular GLOBAL channels. Only doing the following not only will they gain some respect but also ignite hopes for the future of PC gaming and Softwares in general.

Enough Said for a while,
Good Evening,
Cheers.
P.S: Yes, I am one of the PC gamers in a developing country called Pakistan who is trying to get legal softwares and games.

Digital Distribution

Valve's so called "perfect" steam content delivery system has been cracked since HL2 came out. There are piracy groups that specialize in hacking/cracking steam and creating custom clients that allow the user too download games from valve without paying a cent. it's amazing how ignorant valve has been towards this matter, and the irony is that they're encouraging other developers to utilize steam technology.

Another fact is that no matter how advanced DRM technology gets and new content distribution protocols are advised, pirates will eventually find a way to circumvent it, DRM & game developers aren't the only ones with amazing talent at programming software & writing code.

Mike Doolittle

Mike Doolittle wrote:

Measure,
Piracy has always been there, sure. But it's never been so incredibly easy. Hundreds of thousands, even millions of users can and do simply hop on a torrent and download the file.

Yes, this is what devs and corporations say, but is it really true? There is and has always been a tendency to blame everything on faceless pirates, but never any actual facts to back it up.

Good games sell, bad games don't. IMO, it is as simple as that. Crysis, while having pretty graphics, was the same tired old FPS formula we've seen regurgitated countless times. The latest version of UT fell into the same trap. Pretty visuals, but the actual game was almost a carbon copy of the previous ones. Being an old and grey PC gamer, I'm sad to say that even the once mighty id haven't released anything interesting or worthwhile in years. Sorry, John, but you know it's true. And EA? Do I even need to say it?

If these guys want to abandon the PC platform, then fine. I actually think it will be a stronger platform for it, as it will give smaller and more innovative devs a chance to be heard and seen.

Hi everyone, Numbers for PC

Hi everyone,

Numbers for PC piracy can be measure by the amount of illegal keys being used on multiplayer servers as well as looking a torrent traffic. The numbers on either are disturbing to say the least.

I don't think anyone in the PC gaming industry realistically expects piracy to be wiped out. It's a continual struggle and will always be an issue. The focus really needs to be on delaying cracking of the game as long as possible after release, particularly during the first few months of sales.

And finally, before anyone starts talking about gloom and doom sales, let's remember that NPD (source of the infamous "UT3 and Crysis flop" story) only measures brick-and-mortar sales in the United States, which these days is a small fraction of PC game sales. Steam has something like 15 million subscribers, and there are other digital platforms like Direct2Drive. According to EA, Crysis has sold over a million copies.

Mike Doolittle

Mike Doolittle wrote:

Numbers for PC piracy can be measure by the amount of illegal keys being used on multiplayer servers as well as looking a torrent traffic. The numbers on either are disturbing to say the least.

I don't think it's that easy. There is no way of knowing how many of those who download torrents were planning to actually buy the game and my uneducated guess is that a fair number download titles out of curiosity and because it's possible to do so. How many of those represent actual lost sales is impossible to tell.

Illegal keys in online use might seem hard to argue, but it would be interesting how many keys there are in *sustained use* as opposed to sporadic games out of curiosity. Regardless, illegal keys used online should be relatively easy to crack down on?

Yes, Steam games have been cracked, I know, but there far less piracy with Steam than there would be without it. Steam is also a work in progress and constantly being updated and improved.

Note that I am not defending piracy, but I'm getting tired of the simplistic nature of these debates. I've been around since Space Invaders and find it both amazing and depressing the same old arguments being trotted out as "FACTS", when they are not.

"This week, Crytek president

"This week, Crytek president Cevat Yerli, mastermind of the next-gen blockbuster Crysis, mentioned in an interview that his company will no longer produce PC-exclusive games, asserting that piracy has become so rampant on the PC that making exclusive games for the platform is too risky."

Yeah, I bet the guys at Blizzard are shaking in their pants with the huge risks they're taking developing PC exclusives. *cough*
As for Crysis: blaming piracy for Crysis "only" selling a million copies instead of five seems like a huge exaggeration. It's a small step up from Far Cry in terms of gameplay, and its awesome graphics come at a price - fewer people have the rig to run it at high settings.
Not to mention, Crysis happens to be the sort of game you would buy for fifty bucks only to play it through in a weekend and likely shelve it, not touching it for a few years afterwards. When you could borrow it from a friend for the weekend (i.e. pirate it), there's not much incentive to shell out a not-so-meager fifty bucks for such a ho-hum game lacking longevity.

"when hundreds of thousands or even millions of gamers are stealing games instead of buying them"

It's unfortunate that no such numbers exist in case of most larger publishers, but Reflexive entertainment found that for roughly every 1000 eliminated pirated copies they would gain 1 additional sale. Using this ratio, for that additional 4 million sales that Mr. Cevat Yerli missed, about 4 billion pirates would need to be screwed by DRM. Similarly, millions of pirates would translate to thousands of lost sales - hardly the crippling blow to PC gaming publishers make it out to be.

Obviously, this 1000:1 ratio isn't necessarily universal, but it should illustrate that using a 1:1 conversion is probably off the mark.

"And we've seen with titles like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Grand Theft Auto IV that large, open-ended worlds with complex physics and artificial intelligence are indeed possible on consoles."

Oblivion is a horrible example, considering its open-ended world aspect was crippled compared to its predecessor so it could run on consoles (no more levitating over the continent, hah) and its AI was generally atrocious (regardless of platform).

"Instead, they are looking for innovative solutions to combat piracy and reinvigorate PC gaming."

I would think that the aim of game developers shouldn't be to stop certain people from playing your game, but getting them to buy it. There's a difference, but most find it too convenient to ignore.

"One CD Key per registered account. Must have an account to log in and play."

Yeah, that can be pretty fun, too. I actually can't play one of my legitimate games online since the cd-key is already in use. Doesn't bother me too much, just wanted to point out that even such simple ways to prevent piracy can become an annoyance.

"Piracy isn't as big a deal as publishers make it out to be either, since those people probably wouldn't pay for every game they pirate anyway. But it IS a growing problem because it is so much easier to pirate than it used to be."

Is it really a growing problem? IIRC Doom 2 was played by 10 million people, bought by 1 million. That 90% isn't horribly worse today, as far as I know.

Its not about the high-res PC gaming notion

Why are PC's so expensive? They can do more? Sure, but in that case, why do I need to buy a graphics card in the at least 300$ to 500$ range when a console that does it all is the same price? Cuz after that graph card I need a processor, a mobo, some RAM etc....

The highest res that you can do on consoles is either 720p (1280x720) or 1080p (1920x1080) and pseudo (like Halo 3) resolutions in-between.

Every game - including Crysis - can be run at 720p and with the minimal settings. Even at 1080p if you have the rig.

So, nobody said you needed an uber rig to play a PC game. If you *prefer* to play it on an uber right and will everything maxed out, then you *have* to ack and prepared for the higher cost of admission. Thats no different from having a regular 4:3 TV, a run-of-the-mill HDTV or a top-of-the-line Sony Bravia. The value you place on your entertainment is that which you must be willing to sustain.

So its just rubbish when I hear people talk about how the rig to run games at their highest is what drives the costs up. You don't HAVE to run the game at the highest setting, in much the same way that just because your car has a speedometer that goes up to 180 mph, doesn't mean you should floor it. In fact, most people will never drive their car past 100 mph in their entire lifetime.

A high-end console will set you back upwards of $500. If you already have a rig that is as old as the current gen consoles, then my guess is that with $500, you can upgrade that rig to the point of it surpassing the consoles in every way possible.

And if you want to run your game a true 1080p on a 42" LCD monitor as opposed to your five year old 19" monitor, that is also a luxury and the price that you place on your entertainment.

None of this has anything to do with the developer.

Piracy is a real problem, even though it has been around forever. The difference between now and then is that we are in the age of broadband and cheap bandwidth. Who could possibly imagine wanting to pirate a game - at least any decent game - over the Net with a 9600 or even 28.8 baud modem? Heck, my guess is that even if Torrent were invented back then, nobody would use it because the experience would be completely bad. Plus, how many of us needed to have a "always on" utility to keep our modem online and prevent it from disconnecting? Thats what kids today would have had to contend with.

So yeah, even though piracy was always around, you just can't compare it to yesteryear because the availability of technology just made it easier. And easier means proliferation. Thats same thing with most things related to tech. e.g. cars are faster and mroe efficient today than they were ten years ago. Despite the fact that they are *still* based on the combustion engine - an invention that - at its core - remains unchanced since its inception.

- DS

Quote: Valve's so called

Quote:

Valve's so called "perfect" steam content delivery system has been cracked since HL2 came out. There are piracy groups that specialize in hacking/cracking steam and creating custom clients that allow the user too download games from valve without paying a cent. it's amazing how ignorant valve has been towards this matter, and the irony is that they're encouraging other developers to utilize steam technology.

That may be, but any copy protection scheme is doomed to failure anyway. The thing with Steam is that it's convenient, just like downloading unauthorized copies of games is - even more so, since you don't have to mess with cracks etc. And that there is the key. Like previously noted, the price of a game isn't that much for someone with the cash to buy a PC gaming rig. Downloading is damn nice, though, not so much because of the price, but because it's easy. So an easy system to pay for downloads, with demos so you can see what you're getting without shelling out 50 euro or so for a game that turns out to be a turd will go a long way to making sure people willing to pay for games do so.

The rest of them - the people who won't pay - just aren't going to buy games, whether they can be downloaded for free or not. They're not part of the customerbase, and devs gritting teeth over them will just wind up needing dental work... If you're selling apples, theft is an issue since every apple stolen is one you can't sell to someone who'll pay. If you're selling software, just make sure buying is at least as easy as downloading for free. Right now that is being done by making copying as hard as possible - how about making buying easier and more appealing instead?

Piracy, I love it ...

Piracy, I love it, they are sounding just like the RIAA and MPAA, I mean DVD and Cinema sales are doing really well, why, CAUSE THE CONTENT IS GOOD, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, great films.

UT3 didn't sell very well, cause it wasn't very good, and as for Crysis, most people that I know didn't buy it, because it wasn't going to run on their pc's like all the screen shots that have are on the Internet. There are plenty of games that do well on PC, Like WOW, Guild Wars, Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2. WHY, because they are good games.

Go back to making good games, and stop moaning about piracy, it's so easy to blame piracy for everything that is wrong in the enterainment industry, but it doesn't make it true.

ps. Stop copy protecting games with copy protection that ONLY hurts the people who have bought it, not the pirates.

Anonymous wrote: "Like

Anonymous wrote:

"Like pirating music, pirating games can be so easy and convenient that it's all too easy to forget that it's theft, "

You were actually doing really well until I saw this little bit of mis-information. Copying a computer game is NOT theft.

a: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

b: an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property

No property was "taken" from Crytek since, apparently they're still able to sell their game at Wal-mart. Although to most people, there is no real difference, there is a huge difference from a legal stand point.

Thanks, counsel! Come on. Unlike you, I actually went to law school. Fine, the author used "theft" as a shorthand for "copyright infringement." Big deal. Either way, it's illegal. It doesn't matter if it's some non-rivalrous information that is incapable of being "taken" in a way that deprives some other user of the information, just like I don't need to lay a finger on you to be guilty of an assault (go look that one up in a legal dictionary, if you need help).

dsmart[3000ad]: You are

dsmart[3000ad]:
You are making good points, and I wouldn't disagree.
What I'm saying is... why can't we all enjoy things we want to, to their full extent? Be it graphics wise or other? Mother Nature provides with ample resources to nourish ourserlves and live a happy life. Expect we don't, and supposedly, we are the most intelligent species on earth. Even for a mundane thing as playing a game, some people will pay 50$ and get it all maxed out, most others will pay the same price, but have in all tuned down. Why should there be this difference?
Stealing is wrong, as a principle. Stopping it won't be possible, unless we find a way to share it all better?

Mr Anonymous from Pakistan is right, we definitely have to deal with poverty and inequality, which we are, if only it could happen faster...!!!

I don't think there are easy answers to this.

Look I'm no saint, out of the approximately 30 games I've owned on various consoles or on PC, 2 of them where pirated PC copies. So yes I've cheated too... I know it's wrong but I was tempted and didn't listen to my conscious. I try to avoid that as much as possible though... But it's no excuse anyway.

The first pirated game I forgot which one it was, but a friend had DLed it and said you should try it out so I did.
The second game was Splinter Cell. I liked that game very much, as it was good, and also because it was the first Metal Gear Solid type of game I had ever played, and seeing how another friend really enjoyed MGS games, how good they seemed was surely extra motivation. I've really
enjoyed the game, even though at the time I couldn't max it out fully. Which prooves that if a game is really good (at least according to you that is), then yeah you can enjoy it, even a lot, even if you can't max it out (and you'll always complain about that anyway ;P ).

Still, I don"t think that saying "if a game is not good, I have the right to steal it" is fair, because some people made an effort to make it... that is still stealing, and wrong. Besides, maybe that person thinks it sucks, while that person thinks it's cool.
Sure, maybe some games are overpriced and don't deserve to be a full 50 or 60 bucks (which to some is still a high price), but again that is a complexe debate.

Someone made a good point earlier, that Software (Games, OS...) is realesed and then have to be patched... Well, Sure it can be frustrating. Still, if you've paid for it, then DLing the patches is free anyway, so you may complain that you didn't get a finished product, but the patch is free anyway. Besides, you may not necessarely need it, I have the first version of BioShock, I think
there's a patch, but since it seems to be running well, I won't bother with it. Besides, the underlying reason is that even though Windows OS are so widespread, hardware specs differ, thus I don't think that it will ever go away. Besides, human error comes into play, and perfection doesn't exist. Sure, maybe you'd need to spend an extra effort to try to hack away the last remaning big issues, but you'd need more time and money, and even then you still can't make it perfect nor can you find all the bugs.

As for the minimum specs, firstly and sadly, I don't think that all hardware and rigs (with different hardware configurations) can be taken into account, unfortunately, and that again is another issue. Still, you can tweak the .ini files, maybe that sometimes helps. There are more and more sites out there that provide good info, for newbies like me.

There are alternatives though: free software, even good ones. Also, you can rent a game, and you can also buy an older game, when the price falls down. Two years ago, when F.E.A.R. came out, I still had my year 2000 PC (which even back then wasn't a real gaming PC)... it fell way short of the minimum specs, so I couldn't play it. Now that I have my new PC, I bought (first hand and not
second hand)it brand new for ten bucks. Cool. So yeah, I had to wait two years... frustrating but then again, not that big a deal when you think about it. You make a list of all the games you'd like to try out... And you have some games to finish. You can always ask a friend to lend one to you too.

But again, why can some people have it, and some other not...

Who god damn knows anyway ;P :D ??????

Ah well...

"Copying a computer game is

"Copying a computer game is NOT theft"??

Huh. I guess my three years of law school and 10 years putting people in jail as a District Attorney was wrought with "mis-information".

You have quoted from some basic theft statute (in California, the pertinent sections are Penal Code Section 484 et. seq.) and ignored the plethora of state and federal laws specifically aimed at copyright theft and infringment.

As a life-time PC gamer, I am saddened by this type of attitude. The truth is that piracy is rampant in the PC world; whether it be via torrent, ftp or Usenet and it has had an impact on developers.

You might want to justify your actions with "oh... I was not going to buy it anyways so they are not REALLY being hurt" or "well.. the game was not worth buying", but the fact of the matter is you ARE stealing.

At least man up and admit your behaviour is criminal. Of course, you are right in line with 99% of the crooks I dealt with; take no personal responsibility and declare your innocence to the end. Your parents must have been REALLY good at their job.... or not.

how about thieving little

how about thieving little pricks like you grow up and stop blaming the companies who ACTUALLY MAKE THE FUCKING GAMES.
nobody is forcing scum like you to help yourself to other peoples hard work.
prick.

Just because you can....

chilloowARPC wrote:

:
You are making good points, and I wouldn't disagree.
What I'm saying is... why can't we all enjoy things we want to, to their full extent? Be it graphics wise or other? Mother Nature provides with ample resources to nourish ourserlves and live a happy life. Expect we don't, and supposedly, we are the most intelligent species on earth. Even for a mundane thing as playing a game, some people will pay 50$ and get it all maxed out, most others will pay the same price, but have in all tuned down. Why should there be this difference? Stealing is wrong, as a principle. Stopping it won't be possible, unless we find a way to share it all better?

I think you're comparing Apples to Oranges. Enjoying the things you want to the way you want to is a lifestyle choice that affords you *no* entitlements.

e.g. I have been a software developer for almost twenty years. Before that I was a gamer and living the life of a Lemming (9-to-5 druggery). Even though I couldn't afford my gaming lifestyle while I was working, paying for college etc I still didn't pirate games. Ever. In fact, according to my friends in the industry, I am probably one dev who has the largest gaming library in existence. As of my last inventory taken last Summer, I had about eleven thousand titles; most of which are stored at an air conditioned facility with top of the line 24/7 security (go to my website, www.dereksmart.org) and look at the links to the right of the page. Thats how much I value my entertainment.

Being a gamer first and game developer second, albeit one that caters to more of a niche gaming segment, I am torn between pleasing my gamers and subjecting them to Draconian DRM schemes. Unfortunately, even though I have a large enough install base of trustworthy gamers who ensure that I make money from my games, I still have to take precautions and only in the interest of at - the very least - not making my games easy to steal. Does that mean that I wouldn't like to sell five copies just because I happened to have sold two while losing three to piracy? Far from it.

Theft is theft, be it IP or a tangible asset. In much the same way you can't stamp out grand theft auto, bank robbery, gas station hold ups, breaking & entering etc you can't stamp out IP theft.

What we - as developers and the media in general - are saying is that IP theft is rampant enough to cause a ripple effect. That effect trickles down to the business of economics. Though some of us do this for the sheer fun of it and being glad that we actually make money from our work and hobby, others aren't so lucky. Thus the fine line between doing the next game before you go out of business, hinges on how much money you make on the game you just worked two years on, threw millions at, and released.

The fact that the cost of game development is rising and with game developer salaries not increasing to match, it means that the risks are far higher today than they were yesterday when game development was cheaper. This is the #1 reason why so many - MANY - game developers and publishers are shutting down, being bought etc. This year alone, no less than fourteen (at last count) had fallen prey to this. And we haven't even passed the half way mark of this year yet.

The end result is that most of all these talented guys will be scattered to the wind, end up at larger outfits which only care about the bottomline etc. The end result? For every innovative title, there will be ten clones of varying quality. Don't take my word for it, outside of games like Assasin's Creed, Portal etc, go show my one single game that wasn't based on some other game that came before it in the past two years. Just one. Even Crysis didn't have a single innovative thing about it. Not one. Unless of course you regard it as a tech demo and a clear example of what not to do if you don't know the difference between an Earth shattering and mind blowing "tech demo" and a meh "game".

Alex St. John (of Wild Tangent) is about to deploy their Orb portal for the PC. In his interview, he clearly implied that the future of PC gaming lies in free gaming funded by advertizers and a price to pay if you want something of your own. In short, you're only going to be playing PC games if you own a subscription to a service. Turner's GameTap had a similar idea, which IMO, they've royally botched - and missed the boat - by focusing on legacy and casual games as their core offering. Others will follow suit eventually and PC gaming will continue to decline unless there is a way to mitigate and/or get a grip on the damages caused by lost revenue due to piracy.

Currently, you can get over the air TV broadcast - even HDTV - for free. If you want premium content such as HBO, PPV etc, you have to pay a subscription to a cable or satellite company. That is the direction that PC gaming is going in if this problem keeps up. And it will be a shame because unlike back in the day and today, you won't be able to walk into a store and find the best games in a box. And my media library won't be as large as it is in the next ten years compared to how it grew in the past ten.

Any form of theft is a clear and present danger to those who have a business to run. PC gaming is not the exception to the rule.

And please don't preach to me about economics. If you can't afford to buy games, you probably shouldn't have video gaming as a hobby. In much the same way that if you'd like to have a Ferrari, but can't afford it, you shouldn't consider stealing one. Mother nature didn't make the rules about who can drive a Ferrari and who gets to ride a bus.

- DS

Sins of A Solar Empire has NO copy protection

I look at comments from these guys as somewhat disingenuous. Look at Stardocks latest game, Sins of a Solar Empire which has no copy protection at all. Like Gal Civ 1 and 2 before it, which also had no copy protection, it is selling very well. For March it was one of the top selling PC games.

There are many people who appreciate this faith in the consumer buy the game maker and pay close attention when a game like this comes out. I bought Sins as soon as it came out. I will support companies who want to support PC gaming. The winers who claim piracy are killing PC gaming should contact Stardock and find out why they are doing so well.

Hi everyone

To give you guys an idea of the severity of PC piracy, here's a new story:

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/37203/98/

There have been over 40 million attempts to illegally download Unreal Tournament 3. Now obviously it's unlikely that 40 million people tried to download it, but even if each person tried 40 times and was successful once, you're still looking at a million illegal downloads. The actual number is probably somewhere in between. Crytek is looking at the same numbers. It would be ludicrous to assume that these numbers do not translate to significant lost sales.

I also do not see how any personal criticisms of software quality has any relevance whatsoever. Crysis was one of the most highly acclaimed games of last year (91 at Metacritic), sold a million and has been pirated millions of times. If the game sucks, why do people want to play it at all? People aren't pirating ass games like Conflict: Denied Ops. They are pirating the big, popular, critically acclaimed games that generally do big sales, and costing developers millions of dollars in the process. At some point, developers don't want to take the risk anymore. Why spend three years of your life and millions of dollars to make a game just to have all these assholes decide they don't need to pay for it?

The Stardock model

In the comments area for that article people again mentioned stardock. If piracy is so terrible then again how can people explain the business success of Stardock?

Also for Cyrsis its not 40 million lost sales. As usual the author has no clue. How many of those attempts are from the same users using bots to try and get a working key? Loads, and these ample evidence that this is the case if you do a little searching.

Look at steam? Its a nice setup and Crytek could use steam instead of complain. Also how many lost sales did Crytek get from people who don't have a system capable of running the game at a playable frame-rate. All I read from that article is more the same bullshit from an industry that wants the easy way out, uses piracy as an excuse for every shortcoming and in essence blames the consumers.

If Stardock can sell games without any copy protection and do it well then so can other publishers.

lack of distribution

Reading through all the comments I am surprised that ome of the most obvious problems that drive users to piracy is not mentioned anywhere... Problem is that people have found Piracy suddenly to be the scapegoat and blame it all on piracy cause PC gaming is not experiencing growth it used to have.
Only games I have payed for, I own on Steam.. for 2 reasons.. I couldn't be fucked to crack CS:S so i had to start using Steam and because I live in 2 countries ATM Steam allows me to play all the games I want on all my PCs wherever.. I find it to be extremely convenient.. No cd to carry through airports.. all the games are just there..
This brings me to the point - Lack of distribution for PC games! All these people talking about how rampant is piracy and how low are PC gaming sales... have they recently been to any gaming stores?? All the stores I have been to lately, they have a small shelf, max two dedicated to PC with rest of the store for consoles. And this this shelf or two you will find only the games that sell such as Counter Strike and some other big names... Clearly this forces PC gamers online for other games and there is lack of legal, easily obtainable content for PC the only therefore, convenient solution remains to pirate the game..
Here is an example.. Mafia 2 is coming out in foreseeable future.. So what if I wanted to play Mafia 1? What are my chances of finding it in store?? or online for that matter?
So the morale is that once u push someone to do something and keep pushing them to do it again... at some point.. they will not need to be pushed to do it again.. ;)

....on Stardock's "success"

JoeZ wrote:

In the comments area for that article people again mentioned stardock. If piracy is so terrible then again how can people explain the business success of Stardock?

There is nothing to explain. And to those of us in the business, the "success" is understandable. Its simple really.

Small team. Small dev costs. Low overhead.

With that, even if you sold 50% of your projections, when you only needed 25% to be profitable, you're still on top.

In fact, it is that same model that everyone in the industry uses. Why? Because we all take piracy (an acceptable risk) into account when making projections.

So, Stardock - a *small* company - selling 100K units of a *niche* game developed by a *small* developer with a *small* budget, can be perfectly happy with those numbers (piracy or not) when compared to the likes of a larger (or even smaller) company with a much larger investment.

This is pure economics. Stardock's 100K units "success" is another company's 100K units failure. e.g. UT3 and even Crysis (those million units take into account OEM, freebies etc since they were practically giving the damn thing away since they couldn't sell it. NPD figures don't even show Crysis going near 150K units in North America) were failures by those same calculations. Crysis and UT3 obviously cost a lot more to make than the Stardock *published* game that you're all using as a silly yard stick.

Also, the sales of SiNs is not a fluke. When have you seen Brad make any such claims about *any* other Stardock product? When in fact several (e.g. GalCiv) were also sold at retail and in a box and with no copy protection?

This whole crap about Stardock's success being due to there being no copy protection in the SinS game is pure adulerated **rubbish**. Fact is, Sins is a niche title and there are enough honest gamers in that category who would pay for such a game. 100K+ of them as a matter of fact. Copy protection or not. If we knew how many copies were actually pirated, then we'd be talking.

All indies face the same thing. In my case, none of my games have lost money. Does that mean that I couldn't have made *more* money?

Lets put things into perspective please.

Well well, lots of comments,

Well well, lots of comments, hello everyone ;-)

Hey dsmart[3000ad],
"Mother nature didn't make the rules about who can drive a Ferrari and who gets to ride a bus."
You mean, there's enough for everybody but it's up to us to move our ass and fill our brains with knowledge and know-how in order to have a better situation as say a better job (more interresting, with more responsibilities, a better salary)? As in it's up to us, no matter the odds against us, to drive forward and upwards? Like a cliche example: Mr X was born in the ghettos, worked hard to rise above misery?

Look, you've made some very interresting arguments, and I won't disagree. In fact, you've defended your case pretty well, and I'm out of arguments. In case I didn't make it clear though, I'm against piracy, even though I've commited the crime myself, twice for like 30 games, which, even if it was 1 for a trillion game, would still be wrong. Still, I'm only human, temptation temptation... I only hope I won't fall for it again. So, I'm no example but please don't copy game! You get the idea ;-)

As for the last comment, distribution, indeed! I live in France, when I go out to stores, most games are in full French version, both audio and text, and you can't change it. It sucks, big time. I mean, why can't they do it like with movies and series you rent or buy on DVD? In France, you at least have english and french audio, and french and english subtitles, at least french subtitles. Why the hell can't they make it so for games? Of course, most French are French (duh! and God knows we suck in English lol ;-) ) so they read and watch movies and play games in French, which is perfectly normal, execpt for a very few who like to have it in VO (Version Originale) or VOST (VO Sous-Titrée (with subtitles)). It's all fine except movie and series watchers can watch their rented or bought movies in VO but gamers can't... at least they have the choice, even if most won't since, well, we're not English or American... Which sucks for me, and a few others, which forces me to go online and on ebay for example, which mostly offer second hand games, but I want my games to be brand new with the plastic around it and all! God dammit I want to pay for it too, and own it... I remember lately I went to this shop I didn't know of: "Hi do you have this game for PC please? No, we don't sell PC games anymore..."
I don't want to go online because I'm still not at ease with having my credit card number floating around the net... Lucky me so far I've found this UK Gaming shop on ebay that has so far the few games I wanted, brand new and not expensive, and they accept cheques which I send by letter. I receive the game(s) the next week, it's all good... (Except, it would have been easier had the British entered the Euro, but that's another story lol).

Of course, I'm sure most people are more and more ok to buy stuff online and download games online. But it sucks that you only find console games on shelves in stores now, and less and less PC games...

By the way, finding Indie games seems to be even harder unfortunately.

BTW, some people go to specialised shops and buy Japanese games in VO... now THAT is hardcore gaming or what :P ;) !!!!!

Convenient?

Someone blue wrote:

All the stores I have been to lately, they have a small shelf, max two dedicated to PC with rest of the store for consoles. And this this shelf or two you will find only the games that sell such as Counter Strike and some other big names... Clearly this forces PC gamers online for other games and there is lack of legal, easily obtainable content for PC the only therefore, convenient solution remains to pirate the game..

I don't buy this for two seconds. First, if you can't find a game at a brick-and-mortar store, there are numerous online stores for digital distribution (including Steam), so if you can download it from a torrent you can download it legally from Steam, Direct2Drive, the EA Online Store, or Microsoft's Windows Marketplace. If you can't find what you're looking for in those places, surely you can just hop on Amazon.com or eBay and find legal new or used boxed copies of the game.

But I don't think the industry is worried about the piracy of niche or legacy games. It's games like Crysis that take three years and tens of millions of dollars to produce, then get heavily pirated.

More piracy numbers here:
http://kotaku.com/364440/pc-gamings-piracy-sales-charts

Point I wanted to make is

Point I wanted to make is that not everyone is happy running around brick-and-mortar stores looking for games... and as the guy above mentioned.. not all people are ready to use digital services yet to the fullest.. At the end of the day Retail still is the king of sales.

I need to look into other digital services u mentioned, as i currently only use steam. Fact is there are lot of the new games missing from it.. Being Europe I don't get any good stuff from Ubisoft that I was so looking forward... not to mention Crysis

PS.
I looked at amazon.com top selling Games chart (including hardware) and it seems that amount of PC games in ~300 is more then 360 or PS3 games.. OK.. Nintendo takes home a landslide but point is that PC games sell poor cause there is no retail shelf space for PC any more..

It is a problem...

I agree with much of what you say. It's been voiced before and the voices are becoming louder.

... but where do you get the idea from that almost every major PC game has been successfully been ported to the console? There isn't a single strategy game that did well on the consoles and many RPGs failed completely.

BTW, I was mentionning you

BTW, I was mentionning you Someone Blue when talking about distribution. It was almost midnight and I couldn't remember your name, took some time to write the post and I was too lazy to check it back :DDD

Anyway, I've yet to try D2D or Steam, but, living in Europe too and while trying to buy F.E.A.R., I've tried on Sierra's online distribution service but... couldn't because they said my IP was from Europe so access was denied... First time I wanted to try to use my credit card online and I'm thrown off by internet racism, what a world I tell you! ;-) Maybe it's cause they don't want to make the conversion between euros and dollars??

I even tried to call Vivendi (which is distributing the game in France (and Europe?) if I'm not mistaking), to see if they could send me the English version of the game... of course they were bewildered. Maybe I should have said: "well fine if you don't want me to get it legally I'll DL the damn game, don't you know the client is king!". ;-)

Should I ever use digital distribution, I hope I won't have the same problem when wanting to find games in VO.

Otherwise what's the point of having the internet and the WORLD WIDE web ????? :D

Not to mention the

Not to mention the intellectual property that was stolen from Crytek which indeed does constitute theft.

It amazes me how people think it's not stealing. I guess when someone breaks in your home why bother calling the cops because they had their reasons for stealing your stuff.

"There have been over 40

"There have been over 40 million attempts to illegally download Unreal Tournament 3."

Would you say that less people playing it online at any given time than UT Classic is purely due to pirates sticking to single player, then?

"It would be ludicrous to assume that these numbers do not translate to significant lost sales."

You base that on what, exactly? People that didn't deem the game to be worth 50$ would do a complete reversal if only they couldn't torrent it or borrow it from someone else? Not to mention that if, going by Reflexive's data, casual gamers have a 1:1000 conversion ratio, the situation would likely not be much better for generally more tech-savvy 'core gamers.
Of course, if you have an explanation for a hundred/thousand-fold difference there, do share.

"I also do not see how any personal criticisms of software quality has any relevance whatsoever."

It would be depressing if quality had no relevance whatsoever to a games lower/higher sales figures. They don't have a large enough impact as it is, I'd say, but the situation is far from that horrible. Anyway, I digress.

"If the game sucks, why do people want to play it at all?"

No need for the false dichotomy. There is a difference between an "ass game" and one that's not really worth 50$ for a couple hours of shallow entertainment. It's not like unoriginal games you can finish during a single weekend weren't criticized a decade ago - why should such games become multi-million sellers nowadays?

"Crysis and UT3 obviously cost a lot more to make than the Stardock *published* game that you're all using as a silly yard stick"

I would say it's equally silly to assume that a game made with ten times as large a budget would automatically be ten times as good/popular and thus sell ten times as many units.

When crippled economy IS the

When crippled economy IS the root of all evils then ignoring it is a great folly.

Your description of your restricted budget life is impressive but compared to what millions of people are sacrificing in this part of the world thats child's play(forgive me if I offended you).

Also the difference between your currency and mine is vast, if suppose you earn 20$(if you earn in dollars) per month which,in your eyes,is low then the value of this "measly" amount if we do the following conversion:

1$=65 Pakistani Rupees
20$=1300 Pakistani Rupees

So if a game cost 50$ then the total cost in Pak Rupees (with shipping cost etc) will be approximately 4000.

Here the average working man earn approximately 16$ per month while the middle class working man earn as much as 50$, and its still not enough.

As mentioned before,I am NOT supporting piracy but trying to explain the reason of why millions of people are ignoring it. And by adopting archaic attitude of "Take it or Leave it" will only spawn more pirates who will further harm the industry not in greed but more like in vengeance.

For example if some rebellion group terrorize a country, it has two option.One is to use force(military or otherwise),sanctions or verbal assault which will harden the rebels and will fight more vigorously,hence counter-productive.Another option is to negotiate with them,make peace,strike a deal that is acceptable for both side.

Similarly the game developers,who have vast resources must reform their marketing procedure and make it more easier in this part of the world to buy genuine CDs and DVDs(since more than 80% of CD shops in my home contains pirated CDs,DVDs etc).Convert a pirated CD seller into their Reputable reseller since brick and mortar type shopping is still popular here, spread awareness about piracy,make some irresistible offers and most importantly reduce price of their products in here or provide some discounts.After all if somebody wants to do global business(which I believe every gaming industries wants to do) they MUST KNOW THE ECONOMY OF EVERY PART OF THE WORLD!!!

IF not complied,then friend you are wasting your time and energy typing in this blog or ANY blog with this topic to convince the mass that piracy is bad,EVEN if the gaming industry in general died since consoles are not invulnerable to cracks and piracy( but that is another topic).

Enough said for a while,
Good Day,
Cheers,
A Pakistani PC gamer(sort of)

Hey

Hello again.

I wanted to comment on our Pakistani PC gamer's last post:
I'm sure all posters would agree with me, but I don't think you've offended anyone here as I'm sure most people are aware that living standards in a country like Pakistan are not really comparable to that of your "average" western country.

This time speaking for myself, I have to confess that I was speaking from a European perspective, and this site being American I believe, and forgetting that this is the internet, I wrongly assumed most commentators here were your average developped country dude. Still, I know people who get endetted to buy a console, or a new PC. You know what I mean.

Finally, I agree with you when you say that games should be more equally accessible to the whole world, or PCs and software in general, it would maybe help reduce the price, which is good even for us, and, well, good for humanity as a whole. Of course, let's cure all diseases and get rid of all our miseries first, but if we can do that while each kid next door owns a PS8 or an XBOX 1080, or a Spaceware OCed PC, than so much the better.

Peace.

PS: there's a laptop worth 100$. Developped especially for poor countries. Very interresting endeavour.

Eventually, even dinosaurs like me will buy everything online. had I done it, I might have been able to save dozens if not a hundred or more €...

Crytek ran a publicity campaign where they claimed..

"Your PC will not run this game. Go get 2 8800 GTX running in SLI mode, a 800watt power supply, a Quad Core proc water cooled and over clocked to 6ghz and 4 GB of ram then MAYBE the game will run at 35fps and won't crash too much."

Does nobody else remember this?

If you can afford a PC that is powerful enough to play modern games, if you can afford to pay for high-speed internet access that would allow you to download such massive files, and if you can afford to spend many hours of your week relaxing in front of a good videogame—you can afford the meager $50 it costs to buy a new PC game.

That's just it, isn't it? You need to have a $10,000 PC from falcon northwest to run the game on medium, so people weren't even stealing it. Go over to TPB and check that out. I can assure you that more people are stealing games which can actually run on their sub $1,000 dells with shitty integrated graphics chips.

If they had tried promoting it like Sup Com, as in "Yeah you need a video card with 128mb of ram and a 2gb proc, but it scales up nicely if you have something better, and maybe if you don't have such a great proc you can still get by" they would have sold more games.

I have to agree with Mike.

I have to agree with Mike. Good games sell, bad games don't. I've been playing PC games back since the 4mhz, 2-4 colors, days (not quite as far back as punch cards). The games may have been simpler in graphics and gameplay, but they were original and fun. I was happy to spend my dough on something like Space Quest, even just for the humour. So many games that come out now are reguritated forms of predeccessors. ID and EA definitely, few and far between with their 'hits'. (The new Bionic Commando does look like it's gonna be good btw)

Piracy is definitely an issue, cracked games are easier and easier to aquire with the internet and mass connections/torrents etc.. I've read some good things on here; people are going to pirate yes, so offer a service like WOW, multiplayer and upgrades. Not possible? Then simply don't produce crap, and bitch about people stealing it. More than likely with most games, these 'pirates' play it for a half hour and thank themselves for not wasting the money, and wipe it from their system never to play it again. Most people are willing to go out and buy something they think is a good investment.

One final thing, maybe bring down the prices of your products to make them more consumer friendly. $50-70 for a potential piece of crap is more than most people who are struggling to get by can afford. (Why shouldn't everyone be able to relax with some play time). The $30-40 price range might be incentive to some to purchase rather than pirate, and overall have a larger population doing the honest thing.

Jay wrote: One final thing,

Jay wrote:

One final thing, maybe bring down the prices of your products to make them more consumer friendly. $50-70 for a potential piece of crap is more than most people who are struggling to get by can afford. (Why shouldn't everyone be able to relax with some play time). The $30-40 price range might be incentive to some to purchase rather than pirate, and overall have a larger population doing the honest thing.

That would be a good start indeed.

GAME PIRACY DOES NOT HURT SALES AND GAME COMPANIES KNOW IT!

GAME PIRACY DOES NOT HURT SALES AND GAME COMPANIES KNOW IT!

This is closely related to the DRM issue.

I look at the piracy issue this way and I believe companies do too but they won't admit this to you:

Piracy doesn't hurt companies one bit and they know it. If they make 1 million copies of a game at a set price and they send to market all 1 million, they figure how much cash they stand to make on those games. If they reach their target number of sales, the company considers that game a success for them.

Now lets say another 1 million copies were pirated. This is great for the game company because they get more exposure and chances are better than not that sometime in the future some of those folks will purchase a game from that company. It's free advertisement. None of those pirated games will cause the game company to lose one penny of those targeted 1 million sales because for every kid who has a pirated game there will always be one willing to buy the game off the shelf. Thus they get all the money they were after. The game companies know this.

The marketing divisions also know the psychological factor involved. If you tell a person he can't do something he's more likely to try to do it anyway. I am not saying they want pirated games but they know if a million people refuse to purchase the game and decide to download it free instead, they will have this much more free advertisment.

Some people try to make the claim that the game companies deserve to get paid for the copies of pirated games and are thus losing money. This is totally silly. As an example, people download songs off the radio all day long and pass copies to their friends. The music companies don't figure on getting paid for this, so they don't worry about it. They worry about the sales of CD's they send to market. The game industry is no different. The argument goes like this:

If we (the game company) can stop people from pirating our games (by DRM or anti-piracy technology or what have you then we can put out more game copies and get paid for them. Again this is silly. If the game company wanted to make 2 million sales why didn't they just produce another 1 million copies for market in the first place? They want to make free money on your work. Your machine makes or downloads the copy and gets the copy to a consumer (you). They don't have to spend money on making the copy and shipping it to the store and advertising for you to buy the game. You have done all that work for them and they are just mad they can't make EXTRA money off of you they never accounted for in their targeted sales, in the first place!

It can be said for that very reason the company does not deserve the extra money because they haven't done the work and spent the money to provide the person with THAT COPY.

Yes, this may be illegal but it does not hurt the games sales. Because of this I heavily dispute the decision to make this a crime as there is no real basis for it. It would be like the music industry saying O.K. folks now we are going to charge you for all the songs you downloaded off of the radio, and oh by the way, if we catch you with a CD of radio recorded songs you're going to jail! You never hear the music industry claim they lose money because people record songs off of the radio because they know this does not hurt their intended targeted CD sales.

Only if a semi truck with 50,000 copies ran off a cliff and the games were destroyed on the way to market, would they lose any money.

This to me is very logical. Even in America we are surrounded by media propaganda every day and we just fail to see it. The game industry has yelled for so long now that piracy hurts their sales that we have come to believe it like sheep. They are then able to use this and other means to justify things like a heavy DRM.

You show me any study that proves 100% beyond any doubt that because a game is so heavily pirated it kept people from walking into a store and buying a game off the shelf and for that reason alone a company could not reach their targeted sales, I will kiss your feet in public on National TV. Come on, that's laughable. It can't be done. For a company to expect me to swallow that bull, means they haven't really thought it through.

Bottom line, the Piracy issue is a fallacy made up to force us to accept a companies right to control the use of their product anyway they see fit. Of course they have the right to do that anyway with their product, but this way they will have the mainstream popular consensus on their side, and that means less hassle for the company, which would cost them money. They always feel they have to justify their changes in the product because consumers don't like it. They are only hurting themselves more than the pirates ever could.

Remember, Don't use pirated material as it IS as of now against the law. I just felt the need to share these thoughts as I don't think the issue has been examined enough by the general population.

Wow, necrothread and

Wow, necrothread and caps-lock. Since you brought it up, I'll add to the conversation.

Anyway, as an anonymous game developer, I always love the cognitive dissonance required to believe both that "a pirated copy isn't a lost sale because the person wouldn't have bought it anyway" and "a pirated copy is good because the person who wouldn't pay for the first game might buy the next one!" If you stole my first game, then I have a hard time believing you're going to fork over money for the next one. If you like my games, then you should have the decency to buy the first one even if you stole it and played it before you paid for it.

Not all of us work for EA. Some of us make a living crafting games for people, and someone stealing (yes, STEALING) my work directly affects my ability to keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of my family. You say that a pirated game is free advertising, but it's really crappy advertising. A single pirated copy reaches one person. The money I can make off a single sale is enough to reach thousands of other people via advertising.

In the end, there are very few good reasons to pirate a game. It might be crap? Read reviews and play the demo. Too poor? Find a game you can afford; a lot of indie titles are cheaper than the $50-60 price point. A student of game design? Write the company and ask nicely for a copy to study.

Just admit you would rather steal from game developers like me than pay for stuff and quit trying to justify your need for instant gratification.

Anonymous wrote: Wow,

Anonymous wrote:

Wow, necrothread and caps-lock. Since you brought it up, I'll add to the conversation.

Anyway, as an anonymous game developer, I always love the cognitive dissonance required to believe both that "a pirated copy isn't a lost sale because the person wouldn't have bought it anyway" and "a pirated copy is good because the person who wouldn't pay for the first game might buy the next one!" If you stole my first game, then I have a hard time believing you're going to fork over money for the next one. If you like my games, then you should have the decency to buy the first one even if you stole it and played it before you paid for it.

Not all of us work for EA. Some of us make a living crafting games for people, and someone stealing (yes, STEALING) my work directly affects my ability to keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of my family. You say that a pirated game is free advertising, but it's really crappy advertising. A single pirated copy reaches one person. The money I can make off a single sale is enough to reach thousands of other people via advertising.

In the end, there are very few good reasons to pirate a game. It might be crap? Read reviews and play the demo. Too poor? Find a game you can afford; a lot of indie titles are cheaper than the $50-60 price point. A student of game design? Write the company and ask nicely for a copy to study.

Just admit you would rather steal from game developers like me than pay for stuff and quit trying to justify your need for instant gratification.

First off, I am not a pirate nor do I agree with people who pirate games. Piracy is illegal and no one should do it. I just don't believe it hurts the industry as the propaganda makes it out to. I will admit my post was geared toward large companies who send a lot of copies to market. Perhaps it's different for the small time developers or people like you who make games or game content for other people to sell. I don't know.

You say, " If you like my games, then you should have the decency to buy the first one even if you stole it and played it before you paid for it." I agree with you 100% No one should pirate games nor should there be any good reason to. Just as well no one should copy music from the radio and pass it to their friends.

Tell me, if you make a game and it sells all of it's copies how then does this keep food from your table if someone pirates the game? I can understand you are hurt that you didn't make money on that copy, that your creative work was used in a way you don't approve of. But these are personal feelings. It is still just a copy and does not reflect a loss to your targeted projected sales from the materials you sent to market.

And BTW, you state," "I always love the cognitive dissonance required to believe both that a pirated copy isn't a lost sale because the person wouldn't have bought it anyway" and "a pirated copy is good because the person who wouldn't pay for the first game might buy the next one!"

That is not exactly what I said. You apply that to a person who is trying to justify piracy. I am not trying to justify piracy. Piracy is wrong no matter how you look at it. Just because it does not hurt industry sales IMO doesn't mean it's o.k. to do it.

You say, "Just admit you would rather steal from game developers like me than pay for stuff and quit trying to justify your need for instant gratification."

I would not steal from anyone. I fail to understand why my ideas on piracy not hurting sales translates into I am a pirate who is trying to justify any need for instant gratification.

Again, I am not saying I agree with piracy. I just don't see how it can possibly hurt your pocket book though it might damage your pride.

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