Final Crysis

By Alec Meer on April 29th, 2008 at 8:20 pm.

Sulk.

Epic do it. id do it. Even educated fleas do it. And now Crytek have announced they too are dumping PC exclusives. VG247 spots Crytek’s Cevat Yerli telling PC Play about the aftershocks of Crysis:

“We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin. I believe that’s the core problem of PC gaming: PC gamers that pirate games inherently destroy the platform. Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we won’t have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive any more.”

Whether or not his mooted reason for it rings true, it’s sad news, and leaves me wondering who’ll next pick up the baton of bleeding-edge graphics. Crytek collected it from Epic, who’d collected it from id, but there’s no obvious successor – with the possible exception of Valve, who lately (and happily) have been concentrating more on eyecandy-via-art, not tech. That said, in these splendidly idea-rich times for PC, do we even still need someone pushing quite so hard against the graphical ceiling?

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341 Comments »

  1. Citizen Parker says:

    If ever I’m elected Global Ruler For All Eternity, first decree: Any internet posts about piracy have to be published without commenting enabled. All sides seem to come in with minds made up, so little ever seems to be accomplished. Maybe that’s just me being defeatist however.

    (for the curious, second decree: Segways for everyone!)

  2. John Walker says:

    cliffski – I think you go beserk EVERY TIME this discussion is had. You are so resolute in your position that you will make comments like in your one to Stu just now. Stuart is unfortunately far too rude to people when he loses patience, and then loses his chance of having people listen to the very many answers he has. However, your fury at him comes from your absolute belief that you are 100% right, and your complete refusal to consider any other opinion at all.

    Where have you sunk to his level? Where you wrote, “[you're] incapable of defending your point of view.” You may not have called him a fuckface, but you’re pretty bloody insulting.

    I suggest this. Ask questions. Not leading insults, but genuine, open-ended questions. Both of you. Ask each other, rather than tell each other.

  3. cliffski says:

    Show me John.. show me the bit where I go bezerk.
    You disagree with me (Clearly) over piracy, and you have discussed it sensibly. He has not. The only person going bezerk here is Stuart.
    He was warned not to flame people, and now that warning is apparently void.

    How on earth is pointing out that he is being abusive rather than addressing the issue ‘calling him a fuckface’?

    this is silly.

  4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Okay, let’s give it a try and see how it goes:

    Cliff, what is your actual hard statistical evidence that shows that the PC games market is in decline?

  5. cliffski says:

    Ok here is a rational question. lets see if it gets answered..

    “Do you think that the customer that already has in his possession a full copy of a game which he has played all the way through, knowing he can get away with keeping his money if he decides to, is in a neutral position when deciding if that game is worth purchasing, in comparison with someone who has only played a demo.”

  6. Robin says:

    Is there anyone Stuart hasn’t alienated yet on his bizarre crusade against anyone who so much as hints that it would be quite nice to get paid for their work? Will this escalation continue to it’s grimly inevitable conclusion, i.e. a middle-aged man, stripped to the waist and covered in blood, being escorted by the police out of Argos?

    (Or getting bored after a few weeks and finding another issue to call people names over.)

  7. cliffski says:

    I don’t have statistics. I know from experience that devs I know and worked with have shifted entirely (or mainly) to the console market, and quote piracy as a major factor. witness crysis, id, epic etc, as well as smaller devs I know personally.
    But are you suggesting that piracy is fine as long as the market does NOT decline?
    Surely the market should be the size it deserves to be based upon the entertainment value it provides? In other words, even if the market is growing, it should be growing MORE if some people are using piracy to avoid paying for the entertainment, where they would otherwise have done so.

  8. Larington says:

    I’m going to suggest solution B, if you find explaining your side of the arguments so tedious, please just put a single article on the web that breaks down all the major points and as many of the minor points as you can think of, and then everytime this thing comes up again – Link to it. Maybe with any luck it’ll reduce the amount of backwards and forwards if we have one article that can be referred to (Preferably with references for further reading). Better still, if that article is politely worded, the chances of aggressive language causing the other poster to become defensive (Which is where a person stops listening btw) is vastly reduced.

    If a point is evidently missed in a posters response, just politely say “please look at point 6 in the article again”…

  9. SuperNashwan says:

    “Once those were removed, CD sales were rocketing. Oops.

    I’m not sure what comparisons can be drawn with PC gaming from that.”
    I’d like to think a sensible person might at least come to the conclusion that for PC games piracy, we just don’t know right now. Some people here seem to be taking devs abandoning PC exclusives to be proof piracy is hurting sales, rather than merely being blamed for doing so. If you look at the flak some companies took for going multi-format (Thief 3 anyone?) it’s certainly a convenient excuse for the transition.

  10. John Walker says:

    I’m sure if Alec or one of the grown ups were here, the flames would get deleted. I prefer to see if people can be managed. I’ve contacted both Stu and cliffski privately to try and squish this, and maybe get somewhere productive.

    I don’t know if that will happen, however. People’s caricatures of the other side are so ridiculous that they treat each other like crap. I imagine that what will happen is this thread will dwindle to a close and drop off the bottom of the front page, and start over again the next time the subject comes up, with everyone back where they started.

  11. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I don’t have statistics.”

    Ooh, down at the first fence. Bad luck. So not only have you not proved that piracy is to blame for the PC’s decline, you can’t even show us that there IS actually a decline in the first place! Meanwhile, empirical published sales figures (they’re in MCV every month) show that the PC’s share of the market is much the same as ever, and probably actually getting bigger once the likes of Steam and casual games (which are rarely properly counted, and are growing especially fast) are taken into account. So the PC has a growing share of a growing market, yet you somehow manage to interpret this as a catastrophic decline signifying an imminent apocalypse. I find that weird.

    “But are you suggesting that piracy is fine as long as the market does NOT decline?”

    Yes, I am. Because, among other things, I believe that piracy in fact grows the market. The evidence available plainly supports this assertion, because levels of piracy have grown every year since games were invented, yet the market keeps consistently getting bigger rather than smaller. Piracy is a hundred times easier and a thousand times more widespread now in the broadband age than it ever was in the Speccy era, yet the industry is unimaginably more vast and profitable. The most-pirated formats in history – Spectrum, Playstation 1, DS – are also the most successful and longest-lived, even though piracy was rife on all of them from day 1.

    As a secondary reason, I’m not a mean-spirited market fundamentalist, so if someone is genuinely never going to buy something I make, I don’t give a toss if they have it for free. If it’s no real-world loss to me, in fact, I’m happier to have it experienced by more people, because I like it when culture is widely shared. But then I’m a liberal tree-hugging pinko that way. I make my entire archive of past writing and games available for free. I’m not greedy, y’see, and I have nothing but contempt for those who are.

  12. John Walker says:

    SuperNashwan – I’d tend to agree with that. While I have some pretty solid views on music piracy, I just don’t know when it comes to games. I see facts like: the most pirated machines in the past have always been the most successful, and then I see the PC market in a form of decline (or not as it’s still outselling 360), and I can form thoughts. But I just don’t have the information. Which, I think, is why in these debates I try to beg people to listen to each other so the information gets out there.

  13. Dudley says:

    “I make my entire archive of past writing and games available for free. ”
    A slight correction that by make available for free he means “charge £2 a month if you want to see anything recent” (www.worldofstuart.co.uk)

    Otherwise of course a solid post. There’s a hell of a lot at that site to read. Perhaps a few of you could go do so rather than enter a battle of wits unarmed.

  14. Larington says:

    I find it difficult, but I’m trying to stay in the “we just don’t know” camp… But its REAL difficult, partly fear, what if when I finally get into the games industry, I lose my job because the developer I’m working for is forced to close doors, and I’m out on the street with no way of paying the rent.

    That said, you know all those anti-gamer types who think all games should be banned, their suffering from fear as well and a lot of that fear is based on “research” that either has no definite application to reality, or which jumps to conclusions.

    We need to know, not guess, but because a lot of the important evidence, like sales figures on Steam, true numbers of downloads via torrents and other file sharing mechanisms (And especially how many of those downloads translated to sales AND WHY)… Without reliable indisputable evidence from which to found a proper analysis, threads like this will continue for all eternity, until gaming in general is superseded by superduperholographic virtual reality, and even then… Only maybe.

  15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “A slight correction that by make available for free he means “charge £2 a month if you want to see anything recent” (www.worldofstuart.co.uk)”

    That would be why I used the word “past”, you insanely argumentative clot.

  16. Dudley says:

    As to the actual article, perhaps similar games on consoles sell 4 or 5 times more because crysis only runs properly on a tiny proportion of PCs (maybe 2 million worldwide) but Halo 3 say, runs on 19 million 360s (minus a lot of broken ones)

  17. Dudley says:

    Yes Rev Pot.

  18. John Walker says:

    Ok, I’m off now.

    Everyone behave, and no one is to call anyone names, and I want you all in your beds with the light off by 11.

    Next time someone asks why we don’t have a forum: I link to this thread.

  19. shiznit says:

    And liverpool just got robbed.

  20. Dudley says:

    Sorry, Stu and I have some “previous”.

    Doesn’t change that he’s bang on here.

  21. Dudley says:

    “And liverpool just beaten by a better team despite that team wrongly having a goal disallowed”

    Fixed that for you.

  22. cliffski says:

    I don’t care if the pc games market has increased 10,000%. That doesnt mean that piracy is good for the market. Not vaguely.
    A perfect marlket is one where people who makes tsuff that people want, benefit from it, thus incentivising more of that product, to enlarge the global level of satisfaction.
    Soo….
    If you get *10* happiness from a PC game, and *5* from buying a hamburger, then in a no-piracy world, you buy the game, and the dev gets to make another game, producing a potential +10 happiness.
    If you pirate the game and buy the burger instead, the reverse happens, and society is only +5 better off.
    Thats a bad thing.

    Now it *does not matter* if the PC market is getting bigger or smaller or the same size. What matters is whether or not it is the *right* size. And piracy is preventing it getting to that right size.
    The system that capitalism uses to measure utility is money. If you can undermines the market and the money isnt spent in accordance with peoples desires, then the market is producing the wrong products.

    In other words, there are some great games NOT being made right now, because piracy is distorting the market.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    And that’s the difference between us, Cliff. I’m a rational realist, you’re a religious fundamentalist, whose religion is Capitalism. Which is what I said in the first place, and why we will never agree. I believe in happiness for as many people as possible, you believe in money. Good luck to you.

  24. cliffski says:

    No, not at all. You arent getting the point I’m trying to make.
    because people dont buy game X, we get no game X+1 EVEN THOUGH that is a game that everyone wants, and will make people happy.
    This is exactly what you want right? everyone to be happy?
    Yet when someone makes a game that everyone plays and nobody buys, its the last game of that sort ever made. because the developers have bills to pay. You might live in a world of happiness, but my landlord wants his rent.
    This is the harsh reality. People CANNOT make unprofitable games. It just does not work.
    What do you expect? For devs to say “hey our game is #1 on the torrent sites. We lost a fortune, and are in debt, but hey! lets do the much anticipated sequel!!”
    Thats not living in the real world, and its NOT maximising ANYONEs happines…

  25. obdicut says:

    Cliffski:

    You didn’t at all address the assertion, which I also believe, that piracy is actually good for the games market, in pretty much the same way it’s good for the music market.

    I am much more inclined to buy a game because I know that if, for whatever reason, my retail version does not function, that there are pirated versions available for me to install and use.

    There are many games that I would never, ever go to the trouble of purchasing in-store, but I will purchase using the most accessible and easy format available to me– Steam or Direct-Download. I have the comfort of knowing that if I change computers, I can redownload.

    Piracy gives me the option to download a game that I bought, legally, without needing to find the actual physical case. I like pirates for that reason. I also like them for cracking intrusive DRM.

    Chicken/egg is obviously applicable here.

  26. Dudley says:

    The game becomes profitable because the number of people who don’t buy it because of piracy is outweighed by the number of people who would never have played it without piracy and then go on to buy it.

    That won’t be true with Crysis I expect but then I and most people who aren’t the Queen don’t have the PC to play it.

  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Sigh. You’re not even listening, Cliff. What’s the point?

    I’m saying that piracy DIRECTLY CAUSES THE MARKET TO GROW TO A GREATER SIZE THAN IT WOULD BE WITHOUT PIRACY. Yet you say “I don’t care if the pc games market has increased 10,000% [because of piracy]. That doesnt mean that piracy is good for the market.”

    But that’s quite clearly EXACTLY what it DOES mean, IF my assertion is correct. And you can’t handle that even as a possibility, or come up with any sort of argument disproving or even disputing it, so you start dribbling on about imaginary hamburgers instead. Someone else paraphrased your reaction better than I could, though:

    “I don’t care how brilliant everything is for everyone, if it means I have to change my mind.”

    I gave you a fair shot, with a rational viewpoint supported by the available facts. Your response was “I don’t care about the facts if they conflict with my fundamentalist ideology.” You’d apparently rather sell FEWER copies and make LESS money, as long as it meant that nobody was getting a free ride at the same time.

    That I expected such an irrational and paradoxical response makes it no less disappointing, and I’m leaving it here, so that John can go to bed without worrying about what’s happening and having nightmares.

  28. sinister agent says:

    If you get *10* happiness from a PC game, and *5* from buying a hamburger, then in a no-piracy world, you buy the game, and the dev gets to make another game, producing a potential +10 happiness.
    If you pirate the game and buy the burger instead, the reverse happens, and society is only +5 better off.
    Thats a bad thing.

    What on earth is that supposed to demonstrate? Of course you’re going to get a preferable result from someone not pirating if you invent an arbitrary value system where pirating is automatically worse. Reload and try again, man.

    In other words, there are some great games NOT being made right now, because piracy is distorting the market.

    People who want to make games will make those games. You wanted to make Democracy, right? You knew it’d be hard and might fail, right? But you made it anyway. People don’t make games because they think the market is right for it. They make games because they like games, and want to make a good one and maybe get some money for it. Yeah, profit is a consideration, but nobody says “I’d love to make a game, but I won’t because of piracy”. If they thought like that, the game would probably be crap anyway.

    Piracy is essentially advertising for publishers – just look at what happened with Napster – millions of people heard of bands they’d never touch with a barge pole (I myself have a record collection comprised almost entirely of songs I downloaded first, for free, and I’m not the only one). Good games get pirated and so reach a wider audience, and that audience talks about the game with their friends who would otherwise have never heard of the game. They then go out and buy it, where before what would happen is the would-be pirate will not touch the game, and the potential buyer will not ever hear about it.

    Piracy isn’t distorting the market. Piracy is part of the market. Illicit goods, theft and cheap knock-offs are a part of every market. Every other market works around or even with it – they don’t fold, abuse and lie to their customers, and throw their toys out of the pram and blame everything on the pirates when something goes wrong.

  29. cliffski says:

    I tried to be civil, and yet i just get insults. so fuck it, why bother.
    bye

  30. obdicut says:

    Cliifski:

    I didn’t insult you once. You didn’t respond to me once. Others also didn’t insult you, and you didn’t respond to them.

    You’re choosing to be confrontational.

    And honestly, statements like “I don’t care if piracy has grown the game market” really do seem very, very, very strange.

  31. sinister agent says:

    Cliff, do us and intelligent debate a favour – ignore Stu’s insults, but address his points. Yes, someone can be rude to you but still make a perfectly valid point, and it is up to you to address that point regardless of the insults. Rise above it, but address it.

    That way you get to defend your stance, understand someone else’s, and maybe we all reach an understanding we didn’t have before – and you get to shrug off someone else’s rudeness, which is always satisfying because it means they get all frustrated while you get to be all “psh, I am immune to your tiny words.”

  32. cliffski says:

    ” People don’t make games because they think the market is right for it. They make games because they like games, and want to make a good one and maybe get some money for it.”

    you are describing people’s hobbies. Not full time development. How do you think studios pay the rent? and buy food. seriously.

  33. cliffski says:

    “And honestly, statements like “I don’t care if piracy has grown the game market” really do seem very, very, very strange.”
    you didnt read them then. That is NOT what I said.
    I said I dont care if the market has grown. That is so clealry and obviosuly not what you just stated.

    I do NOT think that piracy grows the market (obviously).
    I said that growth in the market does NOT mean that piracy has no effect. Surely people can see this?
    If a non-piracy market will naturally grow 50%, but with piracy it grows 30%, then piracy HAS had a 20% effect on the market, despite its overall rise.
    That is my point.

  34. cliffski says:

    “Piracy is essentially advertising for publishers”

    If this really grew sales, then surely the idea of making the game free, but asking people to pay for it (like radiohead tried), would be a MORE profitable system.
    Is this what people here think?
    If so…

    1)Why hasn’t any developer done this?
    2)Why don’t YOU prove us ignorant devs wrong by doing it right now. Prove us wrong. with hard sales figures.

    If letting people take the product for free really grew the market, then donationware would be the top earning system of games publishing.

    It isn’t.

  35. obdicut says:

    Cliffski

    My apologies, then, for misunderstanding you.

    So if you were showed data that showed that piracy does indeed grow the market, would you reverse your opinion on piracy?

    I’m trying to disentangle whether or not you’re making a philosophical or a practical stand here. It seems to be more philosophical than practical, since you’ve come to the conclusion without having data.

    In an interesting side note, bookstores do track most-stolen books-from-libraries, and they do use that as part of the metric for what books to repurchase. Of course, when a book is stolen from a physical library it actually disappears.

  36. cliffski says:

    Cool.
    If you could show me that piracy boosted my sales, I’d 100% change my opinion on it IMMEDIATELY.
    I hate dealing with piracy, DMCA, lawyers yada yada. Who needs it. I love making games, not arguing. I’d LOVE piracy to boost sales.
    But I just do not believe it does so, and furthermore, I do not believe its possible to know for sure, because you are asking pirates if they would have bought a game they know they already got for free.
    Nobody can answer that question honestly, not you, not me, not anyone. Thats just not the way our brains are wired.

  37. Dinger says:

    Guys, in 2 hours, according to GMT (!= GMT 1, contrary to what you Imperials like to think), it will be May Day. Kindly show some respect to the Wretched of the Earth.

    You know, if piracy is making it so that your business model doesn’t work, figure out what the cost of dealing with piracy is. If it’s too high, change your business model, even if it means not developing for the PC, or doing something else. Heck, I’d love to be paid to drink beer and watch professional sports, but it’s not a viable business model.
    As said, people CANNOT make unprofitable games. So don’t.
    Where it stops being a serious issue and becomes a “hobby horse” is when you cease taking effective measures against piracy and try to “socially engineer” change by insulting people who have a different opinion, and not necessarily one that condones piracy.
    Here’s the bad news: you may be a software developer, providing games for people to play. But, by your own admission, the people you’re debating with are not the leaders of the “pirate community”, nor is the ideology they espouse that of most pirates. So even if you thoroughly beat them, and by your persuasive argumentation and full command of divinely illuminated reason, forced them to admit the rightness of your position, it still wouldn’t change a thing.

    It’s as ludicrous as Bruce pointing to Stu’s site and screaming “pirate!” Uhhh, he just pointed out the difference between copyright infringement and theft. Copyright Infringement in most civilized places is not a crime; it’s a civil matter.

    Feel free to spend your time as you wish, but don’t pretend like your arguments are helping anything.

    And, for the record, many of us consider breaking the peace wrong, but we find infringement of our rights evil. Anyway, in that spirit, in a couple hours, we will commemorate the 222nd anniversary of the Haymarket riots, which brings together the spirits of communism and the fierce defense against any infringement of our rights. I strongly recommend we commemorate it with fierce spirits.

    Oh and Robin, clicking on your name brings up a page accusing me of pirating your images. After bypassing such charlatanry, I find you have made a game in which the player participates in a “victimless crime.” Oh Lord, let me guess how it ends: Cliffski writes “Wait, that’s a stolen apple. I’m sure you’re full of parasites now.”

    For the record, I opposed the Enclosure Movement too.

  38. sinister agent says:

    you are describing people’s hobbies. Not full time development. How do you think studios pay the rent? and buy food. seriously.

    By making more games. If a studio doesn’t have enough good ideas that they want to do in order to develop profitably full time, then they will and should go out of business. If all they can do is churn out crap, tough. None of us owe the publishers a living. If not enough people are buying a game, then their game is not good enough, their costs are too high, or both.

    But anyway. You talk about how much the market might grow without piracy, however, you fail to consider that maybe without piracy, the market would have grown less. You reach the conclusion “piracy slows growth” based solely on the assumption that piracy causes a net reduction in sales – in other words, you’re effectively saying “piracy costs sales because piracy costs sales”. You have nothing to back this up but speculation.

    I and a few other have submitted that in fact, piracy causes the hypothetical 30% growth by multiplying every game’s audience.

  39. cliffski says:

    No I have no data. as I just said NOBODY has data that can be trusted on that.

    But hold on.. You are saying that if a dev makes a game that EVERYONE loves, but NOBODY buys, then they make ends meet by doing the same thing again?
    If game A loses money you do NOT make another one. Unless you want to go bankrupt. How is that not clear?
    You are equating the amount of money the game made with how good it is. Thats fine, if people buy the games they like. If they like the game, play the game, but dont buy it, then you could make the next 10 awesome games ever and never earn a penny.
    That is my point!

  40. jack norton says:

    Well, in any case there’s a simple solution, make a online only game. Not a MMOG, just a regular singleplayer game that stores and read data from a server. End of piracy. Why big developers don’t just do that and stop complaining? :)

  41. obdicut says:

    “But I just do not believe it does so, and furthermore, I do not believe its possible to know for sure, because you are asking pirates if they would have bought a game they know they already got for free.
    Nobody can answer that question honestly, not you, not me, not anyone. Thats just not the way our brains are wired.”

    Well, there are many other ways of figuring out whether or not privacy helps. You can assume every single person pirating the game never buys the retail version, and you could still prove that piracy helped the game.

    If you ask your legitimate buyers the following question, with a promise of absolutely complete anonymity (as was done for the music industry) “Did you play a pirated version of the game before you bought it? Were you inspired to buy the game based on someone’s recommendation who had a pirated copy? Do you ever download the pirated copy of a game you already own?” These would be a good start.

    You do believe me, right, that I use pirated copies of games in the manner that I’ve described? And that others like me exist? Or are you assuming that I’m lying?

  42. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “You do believe me, right, that I use pirated copies of games in the manner that I’ve described? And that others like me exist? Or are you assuming that I’m lying?”

    This is the core of the issue. Cliff just chooses not to hear when people explicitly say “I pirated your game, liked it and bought it”, because if he acknowledged this incredibly-commonly-reported claim as being true, he’d have to admit that everything he’s stated as fact is wrong, and re-assess his entire position. And he really, really doesn’t want to have to do that.

  43. cliffski says:

    It doesnt matter what you promise them or what you ask, thats not my point.
    I think people lie to themselves.
    People play a game to the end, and then when they know they could buy it retrospectively, they CANNOT even to themselves, be fair about what they think the game is worth.
    People tend to devalue something they got for free. And people like to (generally) think of themselves as honest, and reasonable. If they have to admit (even to themselves) that they DID enjoy that game enough to buy it, it makes them feel bad. So not surprisingly you tell yourself that the game wasn’t good enough.
    I’m not saying it’s malicious, just that its natural, and thats what people do.

  44. obdicut says:

    Rev.

    “Cliff just chooses not to hear when people explicitly say “I pirated your game, liked it and bought it”, because if he acknowledged this incredibly-widely-reported fact, he’d have to admit that everything he’s stated as fact is wrong, and re-assess his entire position. And he really, really doesn’t want to have to do that.”

    But this isn’t even what I do. I pirate games AFTER buying them. And I know a lot of other people who do. I’m weirdly ethical and scrupulous, and I won’t download a game I don’t own (unless it’s ages-old and I can’t find any way to actually buy it.) I will download pirated versions of every game that I buy on disc. I often don’t even bother ever installing from the actual disc. I started this habit during a time period of a broken CD tray– I’d buy the game, download the pirated copy, and play it.

    I think that there are a lot of people like me. Really, what does the current model allow a user to do if they get their disc scratched and can’t install on a new computer?

  45. sinister agent says:

    Of course, when a book is stolen from a physical library it actually disappears.

    Yep – and the library operates in such a manner that means theft will not cripple it (as do shops, shipping companies and every other industry in the world).

    you are asking pirates if they would have bought a game they know they already got for free.
    Nobody can answer that question honestly, not you, not me, not anyone. Thats just not the way our brains are wired.

    Except that we can answer it. I already told you that I’ve bought at least three out of 6 – 10 games that I originally pirated. My brain is just fine, thanks. Also, there are a fair few games I and loads of other may not have heard of if it weren’t for a few people nabbing them – those people nab the game, play it, talk about it, etc, etc.

    If this really grew sales, then surely the idea of making the game free, but asking people to pay for it (like radiohead tried), would be a MORE profitable system.
    Is this what people here think?
    If so…

    1)Why hasn’t any developer done this?

    Because most developers prefer to shout and scream and blame piracy for all the industry’s failures. The videogame industry is incredibly conservative and cowardly.

    2)Why don’t YOU prove us ignorant devs wrong by doing it right now. Prove us wrong. with hard sales figures.

    It’s interesting that you’re so keen on sales figures when you freely admitted earlier that you have no evidence for your claims at all. Look at the posts someone made about the music industry earlier (big spikes in sales when Napster and the Napster 2 era took hold; industry trying to fiddle sales figures so it’d look like the opposite happened because reality didn’t fit in with their delusions about the convenient bogeyman). THere’s that for starters, and then empirical observation of myself and a fair few other people who have bought more games solely because of piracy to back it up.

    Not watertight, but it’s more than you have.

    If letting people take the product for free really grew the market, then donationware would be the top earning system of games publishing.

    It isn’t.

    Arguably because most donationware is crap.

    It currently works the other way round – people make a game, and then automatically think “how much can I sell this for?”. It’s only natural – it’s the traditional mode of business, it’s practical and the networks are already established. It’s a safe bet. If, however, people think they won’t make any money off it (or no publishers will touch it), then they consider freeware and donationware. What they don’t do is get their game and start considering all the options for distributing it – people will naturally think of selling it the conventional way first.

    And of course, I’m not talking about letting people get the game for free – I’m talking about letting some people get the game for free – they’ll then talk about it to people who will go out and buy the game (because some people, myself included, prefer to physically buy the game, and might not donate simply out of neglect, but if they had to pay or pirate (or pay AFTER pirating), they’d pay).

    . I pirate games AFTER buying them

    Oh yeah, I’ve done this too. I couldn’t get a Total War game to work from the CD. Downloaded a cracked version and bang – it worked.

  46. sinister agent says:

    But hold on.. You are saying that if a dev makes a game that EVERYONE loves, but NOBODY buys, then they make ends meet by doing the same thing again?

    No, I am saying (if you read the words that I actually used) that if their first game was a flop, their first game wasn’t good enough and TOUGH. SHIT. It happens in every industry. Blaming the pirates is like blaming the kids nicking chocolates (only worse, because you don’t actually lose the stock). If your chocolates were good enough, those kids would go out and tell their mates, some of whom would be honest and buy them.

    Name a game that everyone loves but nobody buys. One.

    The games nobody buys are this: BAD.

    If game A loses money you do NOT make another one.

    If game A loses money, game A (or its promotion) is not good enough and/or cost too much to make.

    Thats fine, if people buy the games they like. If they like the game, play the game, but dont buy it, then you could make the next 10 awesome games ever and never earn a penny.
    That is my point!

    Yes, but that doesn’t happen. If people like the game, people buy it, or at the very least, they talk about it and recommend it to others who will buy it. If people like the game enough, people tell their friends about it and/or buy it.

    Yes, some people will pirate the game and never buy it – but they were never going to buy it anyway. However, with piracy, they become another person talking about the game, recommending it on forums and to their mates. One person who would never have paid becomes one or two people who go and buy the game.

  47. Alex says:

    “Ah, but what does that shopkeeper do about it?”

    He employs security guards, sticks tags on everything he stocks, and scanners by every exit, he installs video cameras that watch the customers, he has steel shutters that cover the windows at night.
    Thats WAY more invasive than 99% of game DRM. You have just got used to it, and see it as reasonable.

    No, sorry cliffski, that’s not the same, in fact it’s less invasive. I’m only inconvenienced by those countermeasures as long as I’m in the store, as soon as I’ve paid and leave the store, that’s that.

    When I buy a game, everytime I want to play a game there’s still a security guard standing behind me, to see if I actually paid. Granted, he disappears when my disk check goes through, or I connect to a server, but he’ll be back next time.

  48. sinister agent says:

    Oh, by the way:

    If this really grew sales, then surely the idea of making the game free, but asking people to pay for it (like radiohead tried), would be a MORE profitable system.
    Is this what people here think?
    If so…

    1)Why hasn’t any developer done this?
    2)Why don’t YOU prove us ignorant devs wrong by doing it right now. Prove us wrong. with hard sales figures.

    If letting people take the product for free really grew the market, then donationware would be the top earning system of games publishing.

    “Doom.”

  49. Robin says:

    Stuart: “I gave you a fair shot, with a rational viewpoint supported by the available facts.”

    Please show me the facts that back up the claim that piracy is causally linked to growing the market. It makes some sense in the abstract, I agree, but this comment thread was sparked off by discussing a specific set of circumstances. You want to be a realist, address those circumstances. Face it, you won’t accept the possibility that piracy *can ever* be detrimental to the amount and quality of product in a discrete section of the market. And yet you’re calling cliffski a “fundamentalist”? Utterly hilarious.

    “Cliff just chooses not to hear when people explicitly say “I pirated your game, liked it and bought it”, because if he acknowledged this incredibly-commonly-reported claim as being true, he’d have to admit that everything he’s stated as fact is wrong, and re-assess his entire position.”

    So if an unknowable amount of people are Honest Pirates then your argument works? How terribly convenient!

    It would be great if people could be trusted to just pay what they thought something was worth, on a sufficient scale to build games that are easy enough and technically robust enough for the majority of people to use. Cliff’s argument about heavily pirated games not getting sequels is perhaps an oversimplification, but one that Stuart tellingly seems to be ignoring.

    sinister agent: “No, I am saying (if you read the words that I actually used) that if their first game was a flop, their first game wasn’t good enough and TOUGH. SHIT.”

    Startopia? Psychonauts? It would be great to live in a world where quality of games was rewarded fairly.

    Oh, and shareware != donationware. Why do you think Id, Epic and 3D Realms eventually abandoned the shareware model?

  50. po says:

    Methinks this comments thread needs another page, lest we crash the internet!