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PC Gaming Piracy: Very Good Article

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Chixofnix

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Location
Kansas City, KS USA
I was very pleasantly shocked today to read this (lenghty) article at tweakguides.com. Not sure when it came out but it reads to be last edited January 2010.

This is perhaps the most thorough/intelligent/thoughtful discussion of gaming piracy I have ever encountered. Granted, that's not saying a lot since most such discussions quickly degenerate to caveman logic, but seriously this article is amazing.

If I were a a game developer, I would make this mandatory reading for all decision-makers.
If I were a PC Gamer (and I am), I would want all my friends to read this article (and I will).

If you're pressed for time, bookmark/favorite this link for later, but do at least read the conclusions on the final page ;)!

Note: I know I don't have to remind most of you, but to avoid this thread being deleted PLEASE make yourself aware of our forum rules before making a piracy-related posting!
 
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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I would love to read it......BUT, the link does not work for me. Gives a 404 error and then redirects to the Front Page of Tweakguides...
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Don't blindly support Steam. Steam is a good digital distribution platform, but at the moment Valve has an effective monopoly on digital games distribution. In the absence of a real competitor, prices will remain high and Valve will have no incentive to pressure publishers to both lower digital prices and remove redundant DRM on Steam-protected games.

I hate Valve (and digital distribution in general)... I'd buy a 1,000 things from GoGamer before I bought ONE from Valve... but prices will not "remain high" because they are not high right now to begin with.

I put in 35 bucks on a four pack of Borderlands. Granted... their price on Penny Arcade's first game is STUPIDLY high (and has never been on sale), but for the most part they are inexpensive. (I eventually bought Portal for $2.47 and Universe at War and Lost Planet for five bucks a piece.)

That said I think digital distribution is a TRAP. Having to connect to the internet to play a game is a TRAP. What happens when... lo-and-behold... Valve or whoever goes under? If I dig up my X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter disc, I can fire up a dos emulator and play it. What do I do if I want to play Bioshock or Half Life 2 ten years from now and there's no server to authenticate it?

Then what happens if I'm banned from valve (justly or unjustly)? What happens if I want to give the game to my cousin? What happens if I want to sell the game on Amazon or Craigslist?

Too many what ifs...

We're moving towards a society where nobody actually owns ANYTHING... and that's dangerous. Because... once the system crashes... you lose everything you were PRETENDING to own.

Bad Business leads to Sad Situation
 

killem2

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
I hate Valve (and digital distribution in general)... I'd buy a 1,000 things from GoGamer before I bought ONE from Valve... but prices will not "remain high" because they are not high right now to begin with.

I tend to see a much better decrease in prices with steam. MUCH better than I see at stores.

I put in 35 bucks on a four pack of Borderlands. Granted... their price on Penny Arcade's first game is STUPIDLY high (and has never been on sale), but for the most part they are inexpensive. (I eventually bought Portal for $2.47 and Universe at War and Lost Planet for five bucks a piece.)

I don't have that game but there are much greater discounts with direct2drive and steam.

That said I think digital distribution is a TRAP. Having to connect to the internet to play a game is a TRAP. What happens when... lo-and-behold... Valve or whoever goes under? If I dig up my X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter disc, I can fire up a dos emulator and play it. What do I do if I want to play Bioshock or Half Life 2 ten years from now and there's no server to authenticate it?

Steam has said that if for some reason their servers shut down the Authentication part of aspect would be shut down and no longer need to be checked.

Then what happens if I'm banned from valve (justly or unjustly)? What happens if I want to give the game to my cousin? What happens if I want to sell the game on Amazon or Craigslist?

I think you might be a little paranoid, they don't ban customers for fun. If you want to give your game away that's ok, they sign up for a free steam account, and you put in their id and wa la its done. Same thing for amazon or craigslist.

Too many what ifs...

As you can see most are hardly an issue.

We're moving towards a society where nobody actually owns ANYTHING... and that's dangerous. Because... once the system crashes... you lose everything you were PRETENDING to own.

Bad Business leads to Sad Situation

It not dangerous. You sound like this is fight club. its not like account info isn't backed up and if something so cataclysm were to happen that it would wipe out even the back ups, you have A LOT more important things to worry about than your tie fighter cd.



Steam is the best thing that has ever happened. prices are cheaper, specials are awesome, and having no disk around is a god send.
 

whooping_a_panda

Mr Slave Senior
Joined
Jul 24, 2001
Location
Los Angeles
i've always had a love hate with steam and i buy things willy nilly due to its pricing, i did buy 14 games this holiday sale for under 45 bucks... but it's always made me wonder what happens when the company goes under. rhapsody does the mp3 business for a monthly fee if im not mistaken, what happens when they go under?

i find it highly unlikely that in the event of such a circumstance the bankrupt company is going to pay money to keep servers running so you can key your games/music. the more likely situation will be whoever's left turning the last lights out will tell you to peace out before they leave.
 

shadin

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
I've moved entirely to Steam for all my games. It's usually cheaper than retail (except new releases, which are the same), and the weekend/holiday deals are far too good to pass up. Plus I'm spoiled now by never needing discs to reinstall, satisfy disc-checks, and no more disc-based DRM (I boycott any dev/publisher too lazy to remove the DRM from the version they upload to Steam, but that's a handful of games out of the entire catalog).

Valve is one of the few gaming companies that has managed to pretty much never **** me off or treat their customers poorly, so I have a hard time believing that not only Valve, but all the publishers they're technically acting as a middle-man for, would leave everyone out in the cold and not give them permanent access to the games they've purchased in the event that Valve goes out of business. It would be a nail in the coffin for the reputation of practically every developer/publisher of any consequence in the industry, since they almost all do business through Steam.

To the article, though, it isn't digital distribution competition that keeps new release prices the same as retail on Steam - it's brick and mortar. As long as games are sold in retail outlets, the publishers are never, ever going to lower digital prices, since doing so would cause extreme backlash from their B&M buddies. Honestly, though, all you get with a retail copy these days is a flimsy cheap box (or DVD case), a disc, and usually a single page pamphlet detailing controls, so I have serious doubts whether the price will ever change much even if physical distribution disappeared. They're already giving you practically nothing except the license, the packaging and disc itself probably costs $1.00 total.
 

dgb303

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Location
5280, USA
I've moved entirely to Steam for all my games. It's usually cheaper than retail (except new releases, which are the same), and the weekend/holiday deals are far too good to pass up. Plus I'm spoiled now by never needing discs to reinstall, satisfy disc-checks, and no more disc-based DRM (I boycott any dev/publisher too lazy to remove the DRM from the version they upload to Steam, but that's a handful of games out of the entire catalog).

Well said.

Aside for the ludicrous amount of money wanted for new releases, I don't have a problem paying for games, and in fact, if the games are good the developers should be rewarded for their efforts.
 
OP
Chixofnix

Chixofnix

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Location
Kansas City, KS USA
Re: Steam,

I'm in the same boat as most here... This past holiday sale nailed the coffin where I also purchased a slew of new and classic titles/expansions for less than the cost of a single new game. I do think the article above hit a capital point by stating economically there are people who do place value in games, and thus WILL buy the game if the price is right and DRM annoyances are skirted. Steam for the most part achieves both very successfully.

This Christmas, a family member got me a retail copy of Dragon Age: Origins. Loving the game, but absolutely annoyed at the disc-check requirement. I understand there are supposed to be financial reasons why developers like Bioware and Steam aren't coming to an agreement to allow retail owners to authenticate through Steam, but it doesn't change the annoyance factor =/.

I am excited however to see developers are slowly learning to work hand-in-hand with digital distribution outlets. It allows us DRM and price-concious consumers to move on that "sweet spot" sale without being burdened by DRM efforts, all the while supporting the developers who make the software we love.

Steam has made clear that full, non-authenticated ownership of owned titles will be conveyed should it come to a demise. Should that day come and they don't live up to this promise, I predict myself and many others will turn into vocal supporters of a new brand of "legit" pirating. For the sake of the future of all video gaming, I hope this day never comes. Unfortunately, I think it's a ticking bomb already since EAstore and others are fooling people into thinking they "own" a game when really they're only "renting" the rights for a set period.
 

shadin

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Steam has made clear that full, non-authenticated ownership of owned titles will be conveyed should it come to a demise. Should that day come and they don't live up to this promise, I predict myself and many others will turn into vocal supporters of a new brand of "legit" pirating. For the sake of the future of all video gaming, I hope this day never comes. Unfortunately, I think it's a ticking bomb already since EAstore and others are fooling people into thinking they "own" a game when really they're only "renting" the rights for a set period.

That brings up a good point, things like the EAStore with their limited downloads and the like are probably going to erupt in the media before we have to worry about Steam going under. Either EA will set a positive precedent, or they'll give everyone a lesson in how not to handle it, either will work out in the long run.

Also, it's true, if Steam goes under you're going to have it's (what is it now, millions?) of users diving into that grey area where you own a license/code for a piece of software but you no longer have your disc.
 

pejsaboy

Member
Joined
May 1, 2005
Location
nor-cal
I haven't read the linked article yet [plan to momentarily], but here's something else to think about. Seriously, if Valve goes under and for some reason DIDN'T unlock all of the games to their owners, it will only be a matter of time before somebody tears Steam apart and finds a way to bypass the online authentication. At which point you use Steam's nice little "backup" feature and create installation disks for all the games on your account.

For me Steam isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread since I COULD go find no-cd cracks for all my games if I really wanted to. However, it is the best thing since butter and [insert favorite flavor] jelly/jam for the aforementioned sliced bread. Plus, The only thing on my steam account is The Orange Box, which I received as a hard copy, and Bioschock.
 

Owenator

Senior Internet Fart
Joined
Dec 29, 2000
I read the articles concluisons. They were very good! I buy most of my games on steam now because it is easy to hook-up with my friends and play. I don/t have to run xfire etc. To be honest, a $40 game is less than the cost of going to a couple of movies so they are plenty cheap. I just get gunshy when they are $50 or $60 if there is no demo. If they just lowered the steam price on all new games to $30 or less the sales would more than make up for the price cut and move more people to less pirated system.

Personally I'd restate the strawman like this: "PC gaming offline is dead"

Don't fight it. It'll all be online and digital soon.:D
 

Aztroth

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
Apollo Beach, FL
... obviously even the most hardcore of pirates recognize the concept that taking without giving something in return is not a sustainable outcome, which is precisely what pirating games without giving the developers or publishers anything in return is all about.
all I have to say on the subject. I dont agree with straight piracy, but neither do I agree with some of the punishments (like drm) that producers are pushing on to their legitimate supporters do to the above quote.
 

DBA

Registered
Joined
Apr 11, 2008
Good article. I do agree with most of his conclusions. I am one that enjoys my demos prior to buying a game.
I personally buy most of my PC stuff of of Steam and if i don't then i go through Amazon. As far as console vs PC, there are just some genres that i think work better on the PC, RTS/FPS.
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Good article. I do agree with most of his conclusions. I am one that enjoys my demos prior to buying a game.
I personally buy most of my PC stuff of of Steam and if i don't then i go through Amazon. As far as console vs PC, there are just some genres that i think work better on the PC, RTS/FPS.

End War was actually released on PC... Why?

I dunno...

It's clearly a console game ported over to PC.

And it's essentially SOCOM with vehicles... Real-time strategy or no.
 

Neuromancer

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Location
Tau'ri
I always demo games. I am really looking forward to purchasing Dragon Age now :) but I am holding out hoping they have a diamond pack or something that includes the upcoming expansion :) Glad that I never shelled out for Crysis (ugh, very pretty but not much of a game IMHO).

Wish Madden would come back to PC I used to purchase it EVERY year...and that is bad for PC gaming, since the only real change is graphics and rosters.
 

Lavacon

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Location
Lost in NH
Wish Madden would come back to PC I used to purchase it EVERY year...and that is bad for PC gaming, since the only real change is graphics and rosters.

EA killed Madden 08 online play and 09 is soon to follow. I too miss Madden on the pc. EA.... please don't force a console down me throat... :cry: