Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on March 10, 2008 By Draginol In GalCiv Journals

Recently there has been a lot of talk about how piracy affects PC gaming. And if you listen to game developers, it apparently is a foregone conclusion - if a high quality PC game doesn't sell as many copies as it should, it must be because of piracy.

Now, I don't like piracy at all. It really bugs me when I see my game up on some torrent site just on the principle of the matter. And piracy certainly does cost sales.  But arguing that piracy is the primary factor in lower sales of well made games? I don't think so. People who never buy software aren't lost sales.

Is it about business or glory?

Most people who know of Stardock in the gaming world think of it as a tiny indie shop. And we certainly are tiny in terms of game development. But in the desktop enhancement market, Stardock owns that market and it's a market with many millions of users. According to CNET, 6 of the top 10 most popular desktop enhancements are developed by Stardock.  Our most popular desktop enhancement, WindowBlinds, has almost 14 million downloads just on Download.com. We have over a million registered users.

If you want to talk about piracy, talk about desktop enhancements. The piracy on that is huge.  But the question isn't about piracy. It's about sales

So here is the deal: When you develop for a market, you don't go by the user base. You go by the potential customer base.  That's what most software companies do. They base what they want to create on the size of the market they're developing for. But not PC game developers.

PC game developers seem to focus more on the "cool" factor. What game can they make that will get them glory with the game magazines and gaming websites and hard core gamers? These days, it seems like game developers want to be like rock stars more than businessmen.  I've never considered myself a real game developer. I'm a gamer who happens to know how to code and also happens to be reasonably good at business.

So when I make a game, I focus on making games that I think will be the most profitable. As a gamer, I like most games.  I love Bioshock. I think the Orange Box is one of the best gaming deals ever. I love Company of Heroes and Oblivion was captivating.  My two favorite games of all time are Civilization (I, II, III, and IV) and Total Annihilation. And I won't even get into the hours lost in WoW.  Heck, I even like The Sims. 

So when it comes time to make a game, I don't have a hard time thinking of a game I'd like to play. The hard part is coming up with a game that we can actually make that will be profitable.  And that means looking at the market as a business not about trying to be "cool".

Making games for customers versus making games for users

So even though Galactic Civilizations II sold 300,000 copies making 8 digits in revenue on a budget of less than $1 million, it's still largely off the radar. I practically have to agree to mow editors lawns to get coverage. And you should see Jeff Green's (Games for Windows) yard. I still can't find my hedge trimmers.

Another game that has been off the radar until recently was 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.  Neither of these titles have CD copy protection.

And yet we don't get nearly the attention of other PC games. Lack of marketing on our part? We bang on the doors for coverage as next as the next shop. Lack of advertising? Open up your favorite PC game publication for the past few months and take note of all the 2 page spreads for Sins of a Solar Empire. So we certainly try. 

But we still don't get the editorial buzz that some of the big name titles do because our genre isn't considered as "cool" as other genres.  Imagine what our sales would be if our games had gotten game magazine covers and just massive editorial coverage like some of the big name games get.  I don't want to suggest we get treated poorly by game magazine and web sites (not just because I fear them -- which I do), we got good preview coverage on Sins, just not the same level as one of the "mega" titles would get. Hard core gamers have different tastes in games than the mainstream PC gaming market of game buyers. Remember Roller Coaster Tycoon? Heck, how much buzz does The Sims get in terms of editorial when compared to its popularity. Those things just aren't that cool to the hard core gaming crowd that everything seems geared toward despite the fact that they're not the ones buying most of the games.

I won't even mention some of the big name PC titles that GalCiv and Sins have outsold.  There's plenty of PC games that have gotten dedicated covers that haven't sold as well.  So why is that?

Our games sell well for three reasons.  First, they're good games which is a pre-requisite. But there's lots of great games that don't sell well.

The other two reasons are:

  • Our games work on a very wide variety of hardware configurations.
  • Our games target genres with the largest customer bases per cost to produce for.

 

We also don't make games targeting the Chinese market

When you make a game for a target market, you have to look at how many people will actually buy your game combined with how much it will cost to make a game for that target market. What good is a large number of users if they're not going to buy your game? And what good is a market where the minimal commitment to make a game for it is $10 million if the target audience isn't likely to pay for the game?

If the target demographic for your game is full of pirates who won't buy your game, then why support them? That's one of the things I have a hard time understanding.  It's irrelevant how many people will play your game (if you're in the business of selling games that is). It's only relevant how many people are likely to buy your game.

Stardock doesn't make games targeting the Chinese market. If we spent $10 million on a PC game explicitly for the Chinese market and we lost our shirts, would you really feel that much sympathy for us? Or would you think "Duh."

 

You need a machine how fast?

Anyone who keeps track of how many PCs the "Gamer PC" vendors sell each year could tell you that it's insane to develop a game explicitly for hard core gamers.  Insane.  I think people would be shocked to find out how few hard core gamers there really are out there. This data is available. The number of high end graphics cards sold each year isn't a trade secret (in some cases you may have to get an NDA but if you're a partner you can find out). So why are companies making games that require them to sell to 15% of a given market to be profitable? In what other market do companies do that? In other software markets, getting 1% of the target market is considered good.  If you need to sell 500,000 of your game to break even and your game requires Pixel Shader 3 to not look like crap or play like crap, do you you really think that there are 50 MILLION PC users with Pixel Shader 3 capable machines who a) play games and will actually buy your game if a pirated version is available?

In our case, we make games that target the widest possible audience as long as as we can still deliver the gaming experience we set out to.  Anyone who's looked at the graphics in Sins of a Solar Empire would, I think, agree that the graphics are pretty phenomenal (particularly space battles).  But could they be even fancier? Sure. But only if we degraded the gaming experience for the largest chunk of people who buy games.

 

The problem with blaming piracy

I don't want anyone to walk away from this article thinking I am poo-pooing the effect of piracy.  I'm not.  I definitely feel for game developers who want to make kick ass PC games who see their efforts diminished by a bunch of greedy pirates.  I just don't count pirates in the first place.  If you're a pirate, you don't get a vote on what gets made -- or you shouldn't if the company in question is trying to make a profit. 

The reason why we don't put CD copy protection on our games isn't because we're nice guys. We do it because the people who actually buy games don't like to mess with it. Our customers make the rules, not the pirates. Pirates don't count. We know our customers could pirate our games if they want but choose to support our efforts. So we return the favor - we make the games they want and deliver them how they want it. This is also known as operating like every other industry outside the PC game industry.

One of the jokes I've seen in the desktop enhancement market is how "ugly" WindowBlinds skins are (though there are plenty of awesome ones too). But the thing is, the people who buy WindowBlinds tend to like a different style of skin than the people who would never buy it in the first place.  Natural selection, so to speak, over many years has created a number of styles that seem to be unique to people who actually buy WindowBlinds.  That's the problem with piracy.  What gets made targets people who buy it, not the people who would never buy it in the first place. When someone complains about "fat borders" on some popular WindowBlinds skin my question is always "Would you buy WindowBlinds even if there was a perfect skin for you?" and the answer is inevitably "Probably not". That's how it works in every market -- the people who buy stuff call the shots.  Only in the PC game market are the people who pirate stuff still getting the overwhelming percentage of development resources and editorial support.

When you blame piracy for disappointing sales, you tend to tar the entire market with a broad brush.  Piracy isn't evenly distributed in the PC gaming market. And there are far more effective ways of getting people who might buy your product to buy it without inconveniencing them.

Blaming piracy is easy. But it hides other underlying causes.  When Sins popped up as the #1 best selling game at retail a couple weeks ago, a game that has no copy protect whatsoever, that should tell you that piracy is not the primary issue.

In the end, the pirates hurt themselves. PC game developers will either slowly migrate to making games that cater to the people who buy PC games or they'll move to platforms where people are more inclined to buy games.

In the meantime, if you want to make profitable PC games, I'd recommend focusing more effort on satisfying the people willing to spend money on your product and less effort on making what others perceive as hot.  But then again, I don't romanticize PC game development. I just want to play cool games and make a profit on games that I work on.


Comments (Page 17)
on Sep 13, 2008

Coming into the last quarter of the year, it is my hope that Sins sales surpass the 1 million mark for x-mas. Now that would clearly show mega publishers like EA (how did they manage to take control of BW?) that their business practices are simply not "best practices" and never were.

 

on Sep 13, 2008

Ephafn
But something I would like to know is how much the piracy of some game reduces sales for some other game. In short : is someone who have pirated Civ IV less likely to buy GalCiv 2? If it is the case, then piracy could only be tackled by a industry-wide action, which (as a player/buyer) I am afraid of.

If the person pirated Civ 4, then why in the world would they want to pay for GalCiv 2? They'd just pirate it too.

The best way to sum up Brad's entire post: Any time you spend worrying about pirates is time wasted because pirates aren't your customers.

on Sep 26, 2008

There is a point beyond which any security measure becomes too much. For me, that point has been reached.

I loved BioShock the game. As a fan of System Shock, I loved the new game even before it came out.  There was never any doubt that I would be purchasing it.

What I did not love was when I got it home and found that instead of BioShock the game, I had bought BioShock the fussy, system-crashing, only-runs-when-it-feels-like-it DRM nightmare.  That's right, the game's so-called security used to lock up my system, it wouldn't run if I had antivirus in the background, and so on.  There was a whole host of problems caused by it.

Can you imagine buying a car that would only start if you: 1) were subjected to a DNA scan upon entering the vehicle to verify your identity, a scan which could fail if you had kissed your wife or girlfriend recently; 2) were not wearing a wristwatch; 3) were not trying to drive anywhere on Tuesday; 4) wore only those brands of cologne deemed acceptable by the car's manufacturer; etc etc.  That's what it felt like trying to play BioShock. I was never able to identify exactly what it was about my computer that SecuROM had such a problem with -- I don't use any illegal software, nor am I savvy enough to have an exotic setup. Much of the time, the game just wouldn't start.  While I was able to finish it, I never did get it to a point where it would run any time I asked it to. PC games are known for having quirks, but in many cases these minor issues are more like the charming idiosyncrasies of a friend than actual problems.  SecuROM is like the two-year-old in the next restaurant booth who won't stop screaming.

Enter Mass Effect. I bought it without knowing it had an oppressive DRM. Again: picky, only ran when it felt like it, and even after I shut the game off, I found that just having run the SecuROM created niggling little issues I could only resolve by rebooting.  Again, the biggest stain by far on what was otherwise an outstanding product was the security.  I still make occasional halfhearted efforts to complete this game, but have so far been unable to.

So here came Spore, one of those games whose concepts make me feel I have been put on this earth solely to play them. I stared at the sixty warm, sweaty bucks in my trembling hand as I contemplated how wonderful it was going to be when they became a game.  Then someone told me Spore was going to have SecuROM.  Now, here comes the part you game companies ought to read very carefully: The sixty bucks went back in my pocket and they're going to bloody well stay there.

I have easy access to torrent sites, and I know how to use them without getting caught, but I don't use them.  The understanding is the same as when I buy a pizza: money for product. I give you twenty bucks, then that hot cheese and pepperoni becomes mine.  If I sneak in the back door and take pizzas, that hurts your bottom line, limiting your ability to provide me more pizza in the future. If I make it possible for others to get in your back door, too, that hurts you even more.  I understand this, hence I don't do it.

If I fail to give you money, then naturally you won't give me pizza.  But it works the other way, too: If you don't give me pizza, I stop giving you money.  I grant that this analogy isn't perfect -- nobody (I know of) copies pizzas to torrent sites.  However, if a pizza were to malfunction when I opened the box, instantly rendering itself, and possibly the milk in the fridge, inedible, I'd call the store and demand my money back. 

Game companies, I have personally put thousands of dollars into your products and your pockets. You think pirates hurt you?  You're hurting me every time you make me deal with crap like SecuROM and now I think it's time to hurt you back.  I don't care how few installations I get but the security must allow the game to be played.  You broke that rule, and now the deal's off. My parents taught me to be honest, so I'm above stealing your product.  You, the people responsible for smearing the digital feces that is SecuROM all over the games I most want to play, are teaching me my honesty doesn't matter.  Mark my words: somebody in the DRM equation is going to lose big-time, and the sixty bucks that's sitting in my pocket instead of yours says it ain't gonna be me.

on Sep 26, 2008

Let me chime in again.

To bring yet another car anaology in, let's say you're in the market for a used car.  You go down to "Honest Joe's Car Megastore and Emporium."  You meet Bill, your salesman.  Bill points you to a 2004 Toyota Camry, with a fresh coat of paint and what appears to be a newly upholstered interior.  You're allowed to take the car for a test drive - with Bill in the seat warning you not to exceed 45 because the cops in the area are Serious Business (tm).

The car handles fanatastically, feels good to sit and looks beautiful.  Going back to make the deal, Honest Joe assures you that this car performs just as great everywhere else, doing anything.  He seems like a nice enough guy, and man that's a sweet ride for the deal. Still a little uneasy, you try to have a qualified mechanic inspect it, but of course Honest Joe has his own mechanics and only they can inspect the car for you - they've also "driven it at maximum" already. They tell you not only is the car in perfect condition, it's fantastic and will never fail you. You shake hands, leaving the dealership.  Once out on the highway, the engine explodes when you hit 55.

Is this your fault for not requesting to drive it about 55? Probabaly.  But is it more than likely a case of Honest Joe not being so honest, and knowing the car was a terrible peice of junk, therefore making you operate it in the areas it's best in to make a sale? Yes. Is it his fault for skewing the mechanics to tell you the car is fine? Yes.  Is it false advertising to show you only what's great? Yes.

Who is in the wrong here? Well, in the USA we have lemon laws and such.  Clearly Honest Joe is a **** and needs to go to jail.

So when a game company does this, what happens?  Nothing.  No legal penalties at all. If you don't see the anology I'll clarify.  The car is obviously the game.  Honest Joe is the devloper/publisher.  The mechanics are game review sites that are often biased (the Kayne and Lynch: Dead Men fiasco comes to mind, or most sites witha review and an advertisement from the company for the very game they're reviewing on the next page.)  The test drive is the demo - optimized and tightened to run at a level of maximum performance and awesome that the real game in entirety cannnot possibly reach in normal gameplay.  The fresh coat of paint is a CGI mockup trailer that has nothing to do with actual gameplay, and the upholstry is promises of an advanced graphics/ai engine, along with tech demos.

When you buy a lemon car the car dealer knows is a peice of trash, the law is on your side.

If that car is a game, too bad, you're out money, better luck next time.

Sure, in the real world people can and do steal cars.  It happens every day.  But the vast majority of people who drive have bought thier cars legitimately, either new or used.  The people who steal cars are a tiny fraction of drivers.  Most people are honest and want to pay for the things so that they legally own them.  I doubt this would be so much the case if cars were like games in thier lack of cosumer confidence and protection. People will allways steal cars, but I don't know of anyone who does it because thier cars keep exploding when they get them out of the lot.

Piracy is the same way - less people would do it if there was some sort of consumer guarantee.  If crappy game could be sent back to thier makers for a refund torrents would plummet.  If new games were proper instead of beta software, or even had qualities of play equal to thier demos torrents would plummet.  But as long as new games keep coming out as fifty dollar wastes of time, with no way to get satisfaction when you are outright lied to by biased review sites and demos that show the games in a light unequal to thier actual ability, when things aren't hyped with parts that are simply bad in actual practice, when things are what we pay for them...

Piracy will drop dramatically.  Criminals will always pirate, but right now angry, jaded, lied to customers are pirating too, not to get a free game, but to get proper information before making a purchase (50 bucks is seven hours+ at minimum wage before taxes, for example - it is more than a day of work for a min wager, and even for me it's four hours of my work) that is going to reward them with the electronic equivilant of a pile of feces which they cannot return.  The industry, not every person in it but as a whole, has become incredibly corrupt, forgetting entirely about customer satisfaction in many cases, only intent on that hype-filled release day dollar number and nothing else.  Many customers are tired of feeling used and powerless and want the ability to decide what they buy for proper reaosns back in thier hands.

Sure, we could stop buying games from irreputable places, but gaming is a passion for so many of us, and we want to see, play, and support good games.  I want more good games to come out, and less awful ones.  Unfortunantly by the time you legally see that a game is awful these days, you've already supported it.  Sadly, at current piracy is one of the best ways to ensure you do NOT support a crap game.  Sins does it right - an unfettered trial with a reasonable time limit on playtime, but no "fail, you have to buy full version to test feature X and determine it's not as awesome as we say." But most companies do not do this because customer satisfaction has slipped far down on the list of priorities.  So people pirate to test which games are worth thier money and which are not.  When a legal system forgets the customer to protect the comapnies with crappy product, people will ignore the legal system too.

DRM is not the awnser to piracy.  Putting customer satisfaction first, however, is.  Is anyone entitled to enjoy the fruits of labor of a development team for free? NO! But are we entitled to assurances that the product we're being shown is what we get, that it will work, that it will be worth our money and fun?  I think we are.

on Sep 29, 2008

Ok @ ubrokeme,

a 15K rig isn't that unrealistic, it depends alot on where you buy the parts and how much you REALLY want to spend/tinker with your creation. I can give you an example now (these are all RRP prices given in australian dollars)

$1900 - Intel Core 2 extreme qx9770

$550 - xfx 790i ultra SLI

$890 - 4gb corsair dominator 1600mhz ddr3

$1800 - 2 xfx 9800gx2 black edition 

$499 Tagan bz series 1300w PSU

$929 Creative sound blaster x-fi elite pro

$726 - Creative gigaworks s750 7.1 thx

$899 Sony BWU 200s Bluray burner

$1580 - 2x 300gig velociraptors in raid 0 and 2x 1TB Western digital drives in raid0

$4998 2x 30" Samsung Syncmaster 305T

$699 - Thermaltake swordM

$1900 - Logitec G7 laser mouse + OPtimus Maximus oled keyboard

Total cost - $17,370

 

on Oct 07, 2008

I haven't been a PC gamer for the last 10 years, but this article made me want to go back.

Products driven not by profits but by a desire to make cool stuff? Projects so ambitious that they frequently fall apart? Seeing kudos in demanding the most powerful hardware available?

They're all stupid ideas that belong in the teenage coders' bedrooms of the 1980s. What's baffling, hilarious, and hugely endearing is that the values from that environment have spread, malignantly, over a massive industry. Even the big, money-driven bad guys from back then have learnt to follow the hardcore by always seeking 'real gamer' approval for street cred. Can you imagine anyone 20 years ago thinking that the likes of EA need to be told to look at the market as merely a business?

So, yes, the PC games industry - the glamourous part at least - is undermining itself in business terms. It's so specifically user-centred that it will self-destruct: the ideal target user is so particularly defined that he or she, (well, he) is probably imaginary. But what a way to self-destruct! No gamer interested in the PC 'platform' (a Mario-esque moving, dissolving platform) should think twice about sticking with it, since there are companies serving it that will literally destroy themselves in the pursuit of the perfect game delivered to that ideal gamer. Just have faith - and strive to be the ideal gamer, optimistic with a tuned machine - and there's a good chance of a reward, and a guarantee of the thrill of anticipating, however wrongly, the moment an ambitious developer hits the sweet-spot.

So what's wrong with complaining about piracy? Well, it's wrong when the complaint comes from the mouth of a businessman, which it often does. The answer to it was given neatly in this article: if it's profits you want, don't chase imaginary markets. But it seems most of the commenters here are gamers, not businessmen. So it's our job to say:

Screw the sensible answer: this is my hobby. My hobbies are not the place for sensibleness.

If thieves like the same stuff as me then don't just stop making it! What kind of a solution is that? I'm glad big publishers try instead to stop pirates. There's room to criticize their methods, but not their intentions. And the likes of SecuROM are not really that bad. If anti-piracy efforts are Heath-Robinson-elaborate and ineffective, then doesn't that fit with the product they're trying to protect? PC games as a whole are a lovably clunky mess, anyway. I'm not saying a I would choose SecuROM, or something similar, but it's not that big an annoyance in an arena where you need to be braced for annoyance. There's an aesthetic consistency there, in fact.

In my eyes, anti-piracy measures on PC games and publishers complaining about piracy both serve as effective moral propaganda, reminding adults that they shouldn't steal things. I'm not sure we can ask for more than that at the moment, and there's no sensible criticism of it that a gamer can make. This article was very interesting, but it was written for cold businessmen, not gamers, and we should be worried that the advice it gives may well be followed.

on Nov 04, 2008

This is of the best articles on gaming and piracy ever written by the way.

on Nov 04, 2008

For what it is worth, I believe Frogboy to be a gamer first and foremost then a businessman. He is one of those lucky few that gets to make money doing what he loves. So I consider his opinion to be a solid mix or balanced view from both sides of the gallery.

on May 30, 2009

No developer or gamer should ever get depressed or annoyed that people are playing their game - it's a homage to their skill and talent that people even want to bother pirating the stuff - it's not exactly effortless.

What they should be annoyed about is how they're not getting money from these people who are playing their game - and given that that's the problem, the logical solution is to think about how to get these people who are ALREADY favorably disposed to you to part with as much cash as you can squeeze out of their grateful hearts.

on Sep 02, 2009

Some countries all thats available is pirated versions and its considered the norm. I'm American currently living in the Philippines and over here all there is is pirated games and such. Go to the big Malls and you find stores everywhere with pirated games, movies, everything. I couldn't even find a legal non pirated PC game store in the bigger sized city I live and happened to go to the #2 city and found 1 store that sold only legal copies. Talked to the owner and he said he had alot of problems getting customers because retail copies are roughly 1,000-2,500 peso's (20-50 dollars US) vs pirated copies of movies at 40 peso's (less then a dollar), pirated games usually between 100-200 peso's ($2-4) and max maybe 300 peso's ($6). Countries where its considered the norm and almost legal makes it hard to get the piraters because many are either small time in a country that matters or big timers in a country that doesn't care like China, Philippines, Thailand, and a few other often Asian countries. Still however people over here generally couldn't afford any game if its going to cost them 2k peso's which could be an entire weeks pay (entire months pay to some).

 

Still will mention the other side.... sometimes piracy actually helps in a small way which doesn't make up for the loss but a sad consolidation prize. For instance all I could get over here was a pirated version of Gal Civ II and tried it, liked it but wanted the patches hense I spent for both expansions instead of pirated expansions (owned the original Gal Civ 2 legal n all... just expansions at first pirated). So occasionally when given reason a pirated version can lead to a legal sale that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise since dumping $40 for a game oen doesn't know if they will like at all is a bit rough these days. Will also mention on how the pirated early release of Wolverine Movie actually helped boost box office sales.... sales were actually above predictions which were made before an unfinished leaked copy was distributed over the net. So sometimes it helps a tad but rarely.

on Oct 31, 2009

I know this probaly isn't the place to post this but I recently got this game and i have been trying to register for metaverse but it keeps telling me the code isn't registered to my account can anyone help out?

on Dec 02, 2009

 i ve read the article, even thoe it seems to be an old one. Im a gamer. I played games since be4 i lerned to speak well, like, since age of 2 or 3... I own 6 computers, and have more games in my house (PC games ((not tolcking about console games which i also have plenty of)) ) then the next Gamestop has in stock. I love games, and manage to have a life: a fun job (bartending) and going to college this spring, on top of that even manage to have enough time to have a very cool gf whom i absolutly adore and shes not a gamer at all...... Its possible im not ur averege PC gamer ether. I dont shy away from using Pirate Bay or Iso Hunter among others for downloading games&music&movies. However, i, if i happen to download a game i really like, or a movie, or soung... i buy it. Its my way to say thx to the ppl who put their time and effort into making such a cool product. If i dont like the game( or music&movie) i downloaded, i delete it. The reason why i think pirate bay is valid among other things is beouse, there has been numerous occassions, ive read gamespy, gamespot, pc gamer, and other reviews, that sugested the game is good, i bougth it, and now its collecting dust, becouse it sucks. becouse it doesnt suck but i dont like it. Becouse, it could have been a good game indeed, but its released all buggy, and u have to w8 if hopefully the devs would be kind enough to realise patches to make it stable... Some may argue, well, download a demo.... Well, most devs dont make a demo now a day for 1, for 2 some demos may not be enough to make a conclusive opinion on a product, to that end however, most demos are. i also know im not alone. I know many gamers. Hard core gamers. Mild gamers. Casual gamers. Not-gamers, just those who enjoy 1-2 games once in rear while. Many of those i know, also download games to check them out. And most of em, if they really liked the product, it was stable at realise, its a fun game, and appealling to their tastes, they will go and buy that game. And those games, they downloaded, and didnt like... its not gonna be kept long on a hard drive... The hard drive is not made of rubber.

 

            We live in an age of rapid information. Because of this age, men-hateful ideology on the scale of a state (like fascism ) is hopefully no longer possible. It is because of this age simple things, like morning newspaper (in paper format) can become a rarity. It is because of this age, information is no longer just a commodity, it is also a necessity, much same as water and air, and education. If information is not a commodity, can it be copyrighted? Yes it can be, but only to a limited extent. Does water we drink, not get processed? It does. Is it a service? It is. Is not a service entitled to revenue? It is. But to that extent? Certainly not to an extent there u pay for something that has become for all intent and purpose a public property. Much same way, as a song, written by a celebrated artist, who has long passed away, should not be copyrighted and generate revenue in millions to some publisher (not because that publisher spend money on production of copies, but because that publisher holds “rights” to it). There for, as long as information is a continuing service, it retains the rights for a copyright. In relation to gaming, that does that mean? A long outdated game, that no longer maintains any developer support, yet is publicly iconic, is no longer a commodity, it public cultural heritage. A product, developed by a company that since dissolved, in my opinion , is no longer a commodity. A product that became iconic, of a generation, even if its resent, is no longer a commodity. A poorly designed information-based product, with no support, unstable, and published, is no longer a commodity.

            Piracy in relation to up to date gaming. Well for starters, there are few software entertainment PC products, that, on day of release, are stable. That’s a very important note. Many developers today, are content to realize, unstable, unfinished products, which they may or may not support. That’s called a rip-off. No amount of piracy will hurt a product more, in this age of information, then unstable product will hurt it self. No amount of piracy will disregard and destroy revenue for a well made, well supported product. In fact, such a product, will sell it self. Any well made product, well supported product, with multiplayer, will be bought by those who buy games in a first place, and some others on top of that. If such a product as described in the lust sentence, should become torrent’s favorite, even better, its called free marketing to the masses by the masses.

            Pirate-Bay, piracy or sharing of information? Anything u will answer to this question, is called philosophy.

 PS:IN relation to stardock: i torrented Galactic Civ2, i liked it, i bougth GalCiv2 Gold Edition.   i torrented Sins of a Solar Empire, i liked it i bougth it, bougth 3 of em, 2 for friends of myne. I torrented Mass Effect, i liked it, i bougth it, in fact i bougth 6 of em (5 as gifts to friends; to that end i bougth every single Bioware game made to date, and i adore their games, so far a masterpice of programming art as far as im conserned), I torrented World in Conflict, i liked it, i bougth it. I torrented Assassin's Creed2, i liked it, i bougth it, i torrented Halo ODST, i liked it, i bougth it, i torrented Gal Civ2 TA, i didnt like it, i deleted it (maybe i just never got the point of it, but then i installed it, and started a new game, i saw EXACTLY the same identical game as Gal Civ2,maybe i missed something, becouse i didnt play longer then 1st turn, but i really couldnt tell a differense). I torrented Fallout 3, i liked it, i bougth it, also a few copies more then 1 for frinds. I  bougth a game, out of hype once (and "good reviews") Red Alert 3..... i havent played more then 4 min of it... now its collecting dust. I dont belive im a theef, in any of those cases, just a responsible buyer, who likes games, but also understands the value of money... and that i would much more rather, give 60 or more $ to charity, then buy a game that i will play no longer then Red Alert 3. Also, there are some games, that indeed i would much rather just torrent and not bother looking for them in stores there i may or may not find them, like Modern Warfare 2, but this is A: a good game B: it has multiplayer, so i bougth it... evcourse, i prob wouldnt, if it wasnt available at steam, becouse alot of retailers those days, dont carry PC games, even if they generate hype. Also, i torrented Arcanum, an old game.... but the company that made the game no longer exist, the game is no longer sold or prodused, and i will not spend day-after day, scrolling through e-bay, in faint hope, that some1, may still sell it. On another side note, Diablo 3 is coming out eventually, i will buy this game regardless of reviews... Still, the other day, then the news that Diablo 3 only came out, and i wanted to re-fresh my Diablo2 days all the sudden, i went to the store to find it at the cost of around 30 $ (i don't remb exact price), now im not poor, or cheap, but no way on earth, am i ever going to pay, for such an old game such an outrageous price (lucky for me i found the D2 disks, while wisiting mom in MA ).

 

PSS : my microsoftword is acting funny.. so i was forced to continue without it, and it was rather late then i started typing this... i didnt see my key bord, so there could be some grammatical errors, i hope they are not many and utterly obvious, my apologise for any spelling error's i may have commited while typing this.

on Mar 03, 2010

I can't tell you how many times I've linked, talked about or referred back to this post and its nearly two years later. The sad thing is that things have gotten worse since then. *sigh*

on Mar 07, 2010

"Blaming piracy is easy. But it hides other underlying causes.  When Sins popped up as the #1 best selling game at retail a couple weeks ago, a game that has no copy protect whatsoever, that should tell you that piracy is not the primary issue."

 

WOW! I totally love this paragraph. This article is very well written and sums up mythoughts and frustraitions with the PC market games. After all the new console systems came out I looked at them and thought "I'm buying a new PC instead" before I realized the virus of DRM plagueing the system preventing me from playing games I would have otherwise bought.

Hundreds of dollars in fact would have gone to buying PC games instead beer to enhance various systems' games I already own. It really hurts not being able to play certain games bacause I'm taking a stand against intrusive DRM and am not the type to pirate games since that would send the wrong message to the people I want to listen to me - as was said in the article - pirates shouldn't have a say.

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