World Of Goo Piracy Rate: “82%”

By John Walker on November 15th, 2008 at 12:03 pm.

Too much effort went into this one.

The post yesterday reporting World of Goo’s 90% piracy figure drew a surprising response. The P-word regularly generates comments threads that scare our hosts, but this one was odd. It became a discussion about whether one could disprove the 90% figure, and then extrapolating this to reach peculiar conclusions. Some could see this as people claiming there were far fewer stab wounds than first predicted and therefore there hadn’t been a murder. Others might suggest that fighting over the exact number is completely irrelevant, as that’s not the point of the issue. Now 2D BOY have responded with new look at the figures.

In response to the vociferous arguments that dynamic IPs and multiple installations could be responsible for a lot of the 90% of registered IPs against sales, 2D BOY dug deeper. While it’s true that a dynamic IP, or second installation, would appear as a unique user, that doesn’t take into account the player IDs. The majority of those whose IP rolls around with each connection would still be using the same player name. So based on player names, 2D BOY discovered that there are 1.3 IP addresses per player – not the figures that many were spuriously claiming.

The stats are these:

76% of players have contacted the server from 1 IP
13% from 2 IPs
5% from 3 IPs
3% from 4 IPs
1% from 5 IPs
1% from 6 IPs
1% from more than 6

Of course it will be pointed out that each game has room for three player IDs, and they took this into account too.

“we also looked at how many players IDs were created (rather than used) from each IP address. given that the vast majority of player IDs are associated with only a single IP, this is a fairly accurate measure of how many profiles the average user created. on average, a player has 1.15 profiles per installation.[Their emphasis]

It then completely nerds out to get the figures. I’ll not summarise, but paste their maths:

when we take the total number of player IDs (which is smaller than the number of unique IPs from which leaderboard entries came) and divide it by 1.15 (the average number of profiles per installation) the number of estimated unique installations drops by about 35% as compared to the estimate based on unique IPs. let us further say that the average user installs the game on 1.25 computers with different IPs (i.e. not behind the same router), which i think is a high estimate. that lowers the estimated unique installations by another 20%. after factoring both of these in, the piracy rate would still be 82%, and we should keep in mind that this number doesn’t include those who never opted to submit scores to the leaderboard (it’s an option that’s off by default). so while it’s possible that the actual piracy rate is lower than 90%, it’s unlikely that it’s significantly lower. 2d boy hopes this satisfies the more rigorous number crunchers out there :)

A drop from 90 to 80% makes one difference: it means there are twice as many legitimate copies out there as previously thought. But twice 1 out of 10 is 2 out of 10 – it’s not the most enormous leap.

I’m sure that many will pick at the maths above and argue their reasoning why they think this number might be lower (or even higher), but I’m not sure that’s relevant. Unless there’s a dramatic proof out there that slashes this figure into a quarter, it strikes me as a distraction. If one can’t destroy this number, and therefore the 82% figure is close enough to accurate, given that it might be slightly lower or higher, what then? That’s the interesting discussion. Is this piracy a problem?

2D BOY certainly don’t believe that adding DRM to their game would have made any difference. (I would argue that logic dictates this – something that is always cracked on Day 0/1, and only affects the legitimate customers and not the pirates, is going to do nothing realistic. But clearly very few publishers agree, so there’s still much debate to be had). But have they been robbed of 86% of their sales? Again, the implication from the company is they think perhaps 1 or 2 of every 1000 of those pirated copies could have been a sale. But there’s still tens of thousands of people with a copy without paying for it, far more than those who did pay.

Here’s another question. If piracy figures don’t represent lost sales, what do they represent? Is it an indictment of humanity? Are they free advertising? Could 2D BOY have benefited in any way from them? Or are they causing active harm?

Whatever the significance of the PC’s piracy rates, the results from 2D BOY make one thing very clear: While some of us are paying for our fun, a lot of us are not.

Edit: A rather significant statement from 2D BOY’s Ron Carmel appears below in the comments. It’s helpful to put it up here:

“by the way, just in case it’s not 100% clear, we’re not angry about piracy, we still think that DRM is a waste of time and money, we don’t think that we’re losing sales due to piracy, and we have no intention of trying to fight it.”

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614 Comments »

  1. Duoae says:

    @ John
    I’m interested to hear from people reading this epic thread, but who aren’t necessarily posting.

    Has anyone been given cause to rethink their position? Not necessarily changed their mind, but stopped and readdressed the matter with new perspectives or information?

    It makes me sad when the visual result of debates like this is two ranks in their trenches, refusing to budge (rightly or wrongly). I don’t think that’s ever the case, but those who are doing the new thinking are not always doing the typing.

    I haven’t changed my stance but then i consider myself to be more central (middle ground) in the arguments. I don’t believe that every pirated copy is a lost sale. I don’t believe that because you can’t afford something that you should be able to take it (even though there are socalism/communism reasons for allowing lower wage people access to these things) but perhaps that’s more of a problem with people’s wages for their jobs and having a divide in wealth which is inexcusable.
    I also don’t believe that a content producer is entitled to profit from every use of their product once bought (i.e. every time a film is watched – or through sharing a product (e.g. friend watching a film) and i don’t believe that once sold, the content producers have the right to control how that product is used (i.e. limited installs and DRM) though they still own all the rights and controls allocated to them for their copyrights and the content of that product as it is with all other products on the market – the majority of games are not services (MMOs excluded of course because they provide functionality that cannot be achieved through personal means).

    What this thread has done is improve my knowledge of both sides of the argument and allowed me to expand the ideas that i am exposed to (specifically some of Rev.’s posts).

    I also think that the vocal minority, while annoying for the people they are vocal to, are important. No human can know everything and in the subjects that we are each individually familiar and knowledgeable in we should strive to improve things for everyone – not just ourselves – and this is the service that the vocal minority provides.

    Take for example the ID card system being introduced in the UK. My bet is that a majority of the population are or would be against it given all the facts but as it happens it’s the vocal minority (No2ID and such groups) who speak out against it, harrass government and try and inform the general public as to the problems.
    There are other examples such as the credit crisis and bad funding management of the government – things that i have no idea about – and while watching Bremner, Bird and Fortune the other evening i was appalled and scared at the stupid things that ‘the people in charge’ do. It seems to me that the appointed people have no sense or are completely self-serving…. or possibly both. If the vocal minority didn’t shout out loud these things wouldn’t be exposed and i wouldn’t know about it.

    Like it or not but the vocal minority is a good way to gauge the overall impression of the populace and is also a good way to know which way to aim when producing a product or plan. Of course there are groups of vocal minorities that are bad for everyone because they are so extreme that they are past the point of reasoning and logic: militant animal rights groups spring to mind.

  2. Rev. S Campbell says:

    I didn’t know anyone with either, hence tape-to-tape copying being the most common method of piracy

    QUACK QUACK ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE FAIL.

    Other explicitly-for-pirating hardware devices like 007 Spy didn’t require the hardware to run the copies. Copying programs like Lerm or The Key cost pennies and were (usually) themselves copiable and therefore pirateable. I’m sorry, but if you’re trying to present an argument that piracy was out of tecnhical or economic reach of most ordinary gamers in the 8-bit era you’re just plain mental.

  3. Tom says:

    I couldn’t be arsed to go through this entire thread, but I have read a lot of it, and still can’t quite believe what I’m reading: it’s all just attempts at justifying theft.
    Some people argue… well… they’re arguing all manor of… stuff.
    Lets bring it right down to the basics, and instead of using a BitT client and a torrent site, we’ll use a swag bag and a game shop: You walk in to EB, pick up a game and read about it, stick it in your swag back and walk out the shop without paying… need I say more… ? THAT IS THEFT! A LOST SALE. You log on to Pirate Bay -> hit download… THEFT! IT’S THEFT PEOPLE! FUCKING THEFT, FOR THE LOVE OF DOG, HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU POSSIBLE ARGUE ABOUT THIS?! TTHHEEFFTT! YOU. HAVE. STOLEN. SOMETHING. AAAARRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
    That is the inescapable truth.
    And having read a fair portion of this thread I can’t help but wonder how many people in here paid for WoG.
    Now that would be an interesting percentage to know.
    Zero day piracy is the thing to counter. Stop that and as a games dev, you’re good to go. All remaining piracy is inevitable so you may as well not bother trying to stop it.
    Said it before and I’ll say it again: Steamworks is FREE. For the love of dog why isn’t it being used?!

  4. Paul Moloney says:

    “Thinking back, game piracy was pretty easy in those days, assuming you had a network of friends with a wide variety of games.”

    Yes. Yes. This is my point. There was a good chance that at least some of your friends had bought the games for you to copy. It’s quite possible for pirates to get a particular games and never met anyone who bought a game. Indeed, without anyone in the same continent having ever bought the game.

    Believe me, if I could have gotten all the games I bought as a kid for free instead, I probably would have. £12 (old Irish punts) in those days was literally a few weeks’ pocket money.

    Torrenting may take longer, but it’s a fire and forget operation; the manual effort involved in loading up a web page, searching for a game, clicking on the link to download the torrent file, then later on mounting the ISO, probably takes about 20 seconds.

    P.

  5. Catastrophe says:

    “Do not get personal with these comments. Flaming will not be tolerated.”

    Who flamed who? I’ve read up and down the latest comments and can’t find the drama :(

  6. Iain says:

    @Rev: Lerm! Thanks for that, trying to remember what that software was called was going to bug me all day.

  7. cullnean says:

    im with tom

  8. Paul Moloney says:

    QUACK QUACK ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE FAIL.

    Since I haven’t seen you come up with any figures yourself, your own opinions are based on anecdote as well.

    I’m sorry, but if you’re trying to present an argument that piracy was out of tecnhical or economic reach of most ordinary gamers in the 8-bit era you’re just plain mental.

    Bzzt, straw man. I’m not trying to say it’s impossible: I’m saying it’s much much much more easy now.

    P.

  9. Pike says:

    @Tom, it is in no way shape or form theft to copy something. Theft assumes that the victim actually lose access to the stolen property. This is not some fringe opinion. It is actually the way our legal systems are set up. Losing a potential sale isn’t the same as being robbed. If it was then any form of competition would be seen as theft.

    If copying to someone’s publically available intellectual work without consent was equatable with theft, how come there are time limits attatched to IP? Why does it cease to be theft after 20 years if it’s a patented invention, for instance?

  10. Catastrophe says:

    @Tom

    I’m against piracy and prefer to buy games but I understand that 1 pirated game does not equal 1 lost sale.

    For example:
    Game1 for sale in shop.
    Bob buys Game1.
    Bob copies Game1, cracks Game1, puts Game1 on Torrent.
    It was 1 physical game.
    Bob has created the other instances of this game – the dev’s don’t even know exist.
    50 people download Game1 from Bobs torrent – 50 versions of this game have not been stolen.

    The actual question is “Would the 50 people who downloaded the game from Bobs torrent actually buy the game if there was no torrent for the game?”

    Which brings the approximation of 1 sale lost to every 1000 copies pirated.

  11. Iain says:

    @Paul M: I’m not trying to say it’s impossible: I’m saying it’s much much much more easy now.

    I think what you actually mean is that you’ve got easier access to material to pirate. The actual physical process of piracy itself is no more easier now than it was 20 years ago. Clicking a link is just as easy as pressing record on a tape deck and finding a copy of Lerm was just as easy as finding a torrenting program. If you couldn’t do it at the time, well I think you just need to blame your friends for having too many scruples. But look on the bright side, there are fewer stains on your soul…

  12. Hmm-hmm says:

    I don’t know. I don’t really believe most people pirating do so because they wouldn’t be able to purchase them. I don’t really believe there is some hidden benefit to piracy, only that piracy still comes with some of the positive aspects of experiencing a game. Which, when seen in that light, shows there’s no added value from piracy if all people pirating would suddenly start purchasing. Hypothetically speaking.

    That said, I am very much open for information saying otherwise. I’m just not convinced it exists (or ever will).

    It’s obviously in the pragmatism of an industry where especially indie producers have to look at ways to find publicity and in the beliefs (DRMs or not, for example) they and the gamers themselves hold that we see the leeway created for the discussion held.

  13. Tom says:

    [I am angry]

  14. Pike says:

    [I am also angry]

  15. Dan Lawrence says:

    @ Pike

    I think there is generally a time limit of theft of more physical goods to its just not explicitly set in law as it is with IP. A lot of regular goods are consumable or at least damaged in their usage, a second hand table is worth less due to its condition whereas a second hand digital game is funtionally identical to its original so has lost no intrinsic value through the act of anothers usage of it.

    I don’t think you’ll find many clued up content creators opposed to IP lapsing after a number of years. Cliff Richard and the companies that hoover up IP excepted.

    For the record on second hand game sales/rentals, this was something of a mess up on the part of the games industry as I believe the film industry takes a cut of all its rental sales.

  16. Alec Meer says:

    Folk shouting at each other ≠ informed discussion. Be gentlemen, gentlemen.

  17. Sam says:

    @Tom:

    Assuming that you’re not just trolling (the CAPITALS kinda make it hard to tell), then you seem to be missing the point and context of the “1 pirated copy != 1 lost sale” thing. The point is that evidence suggests that if you Magically Stopped Piracy, most of the people with pirated copies wouldn’t then go and buy a copy of the game. Ergo, they cannot be sensibly regarded as a cause of lost revenue (the pirates who would, of course are).

    You’re also ranting in capitals about THEFT, despite claiming to be submerged in the legal system and therefore completely aware presumably of this history and basis of intellectual property law. You also appear to be very close to claiming that because something is illegal it is necessarily morally wrong, which is problematic, to put it mildly.

  18. Duoae says:

    “Do not get personal with these comments. Flaming will not be tolerated.”

    Who flamed who? I’ve read up and down the latest comments and can’t find the drama :(

    I think he must have been psychic because just a few posts after yours the internet heavens seem to have opened in the form of ‘Dog’.

    Tom…. how do you feel about sharing your games, DVDs, books etc? Technically – according to your definition it is theft as well. No one was paid for the additional access to those materials and thus is morally wrong.

  19. Pike says:

    @ Dan Lawrence

    There is in no way shape or form any time limits that decide that privately owned physical property suddenly turn into public property. None. This is a very distinct difference compared to how IP, such as copyrights and patents work.

  20. Tom says:

    I wasn’t angry – i just couldn’t believe what I was reading.
    And i think my 1 pirate copy does not equal one lost sale point is valid.
    What I said was, if zero day piracy is the worst of it, how you can you say 1 pirate copy is not one lost sale?! The guys doing the pirating are obviously well aware of the games existence, and are trying to get hold of it asap because they are also aware that 9 times out of 10 you can obtain the game before its actual release date.

  21. Kieron Gillen says:

    “The fascinating part about this whole debate is that I think the Reverend viewpoint is correct functional economics and we should acknowledge and research it as such publicly and without fear. At the same time I have terrible trouble imagining it all would still function if everyone involved accepted that picture and a certain percentage of buyers weren’t beaten into the aforementioned individualist economic morals, at least for part of their lives.”

    Why is why Stuart’s position is ethically flawed on a really basic level: if everyone did it, the system wouldn’t work. One of the best test for an ethics is whether they can be applied universally and all that jazz.

    I’m fine with admitting piracy is natural and inevitable. I’ve written about childhood piracy at length. Especially, many of the utilitarian arguments hold quite a lot of water. And as a comic creator, my general position on piracy is that hating pirates is like ranting about the weather.

    But the “its unethical” arguments are fundamentally flawed and I just get annoyed at people making excuses, y’know? Accept and understand you’re acting unethically and roll with it.

    (In the same way, I can understand that adultery is inevitable, but I’m not being naive in noting that it’s unethical.)

    I also am a little sickened that the pro-piracy position went to such an enormous lengths to argue against the original 90% piracy rate* and accepts the 1:1000 ratio without question or even real examination of how those numbers were created and what they were originally being applied to. Does anyone really believe that without WoW’s fundamentally unbreakable DRM ** they’d only have 10,000 less subscribers?

    (1/1000th of their 10 Million, really rough maths fans)

    I’ve actually got an essay on piracy in my head, and it’s coming from a completely different direction to most of them, but I’ll save it for another time. And probably another place.

    But a thought which is totally separate to that… we’ve said repeatedly that PC Games aren’t mainstream. But if we’re assuming that sort of 80%-90% piracy rate – and we’ve got three sources referenced here which say that – it means PCs *are* mainstream, in terms of as many people playing them as the console incarnations. Especially if you – as you should do – count individual console formats as individuals rather than grouping them into a big lump. We should stop claiming to be a niche. Especially for those who believe piracy doesn’t matter and gamers are gamers, we should start admitting we’re speaking to an equally large audience.

    KG

    *And I’ll also note there’s only been a few people who’ve argued that figure is probably a tad conservative. The “Only those who have uploaded” hole is pretty hefty. In fact, since the multiple-IP one proved to be only a 8% effect, possibly a similar effect. But we don’t get the virulence to dismiss the figure and argue it’s higher.

    **WoW has never been pirated in a real way. The pirate servers are simply not WoW. They’re vastly, incredibly inferior. To claim otherwise is about as weak an argument as you can forward.

  22. Pike says:

    You can’t say that one pirated copy is the same as a lost sale since demand goes up and down according to price. That a person is willing to aquire a certain product at a price point close to zero doesn’t mean that they would have bought the same product if it was available only at a higher price point. It’s basic economics.

  23. AbyssUK says:

    Finally some decent figures I wish other companies could be so open with its piracy research. Its made me think twice..i thought most pirates were like me.. i.e. only pirating the stuff thats not worth buying.. or trying before you buy.. how wrong was I. I honestly thought that world of goos piracy rate would be lower than 10% and show the other compaies how to do it.. but shit people we failed… i should never have underestimated the power of stupid people in large groups… damn chavs…

    I am going to stop pirating games now.. I’ll still crack out any drm and send a complaint to the company for using it and am still going to get my HD tv episodes (a totally different issue.. sort of.. maybe…)

    Good bye piratebay I knew thee too well.

  24. Kieron Gillen says:

    Pike: “There is in no way shape or form any time limits that decide that privately owned physical property suddenly turn into public property. None.”

    In practice, Death taxes will make private property public property.

    KG

  25. Iain says:

    @Tom: If some of your family practice law then I shouldn’t need to tell you that immoral does not necessarily constitute illegal.

    And you’re wrong, by the way. Copyright infringement is not legally equivalent to theft. They may be morally equivalent from your point of view (and I would be inclined to agree with you on that, by the way), but from a legal standpoint they are two different offenses. The legal precedent is quite clear on this.

  26. Rev. S Campbell says:

    Why is why Stuart’s position is ethically flawed on a really basic level: if everyone did it, the system wouldn’t work.

    At no point anywhere do I say everyone should do it. Indeed, I say entirely the opposite – I say that people who can pay should pay, specifically because otherwise we really would see a drop-off in release numbers. (And a colossal one at that.)

  27. Pike says:

    Well, Kieron, as a libertarian I’m no fan of taxes in any form, but as far as death taxes go, we don’t have any of those here in Sweden nowdays.

  28. Tom says:

    oh Sam, you twist and turn.
    The whole 1 pirated copy isn’t one lost sale is just plain old bollocks. I know what you’re saying, but it’s crap in the grand scheme of things imo. You may loose a few customers because they couldn’t afford the game when it’s first released but they’d buy it in the end. Overall, sales and profit would improve if you could cancel out piracy.

    You’re also ranting in capitals about THEFT, despite claiming to be submerged in the legal system and therefore completely aware presumably of this history and basis of intellectual property law. You also appear to be very close to claiming that because something is illegal it is necessarily morally wrong, which is problematic, to put it mildly.

    My comments about being “submerged” was simply a reference to just how much I hear about it day to day. I hear about all sorts of cases and I’m well aware of the objectivity involved in the legal system.
    You have obtained something for free that you should have paid for. Theft. Pure and simply. I don’t have a problem with sharing in the more classical sense of the word. Sharing is how people who can’t afford to play every game, get to play every game. It’s what friends are for and I see no harm in it.
    Torrents however represent a massive infringement on the part of the uploader, and willingness to partake in this infringement on the part of the downloader.
    IMO sharing and torrenting represent two very different things.
    It’s easy to ignore the finer points of these differences in order to back up your own argument, but they are different. One I could easily imagine encouraging game sales, the other is just a leech.

    This whole argument about piracy and DRM boils down to an issue of morality imo, at the end of the day. As before, lets bring it down to the absolute basics. You have obtained something for free you should have paid for. Theft.

    Do you honestly think ANY of the arguments in this thread would actually stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. If you do, my advise is most definitely DO NOT operate your own defence.

  29. Rev. S Campbell says:

    RPS, can you lock comment threads? Once we’ve got to the point where idiots are stridently insisting in all caps that copying = theft, it’s probably only going downhill.

  30. Kieron Gillen says:

    Rev: As I did say, as a utilitarian position, you do okay. But for anyone who wants to be ethical, it’s not. The attempts to make piracy the moral high ground is what annoys.

    EDIT: Not that you were doing that either. There are people who are.

    Pike: I didn’t know that! The actual impact of normal taxes are an interesting one to think about Re: this too though… but it’s wandering.

    KG

  31. Paul Moloney says:

    I say that people who can pay should pay

    Yes, but what does that actually mean? There’s people who will genuinely claim they can’t “afford” games when they are spending €20 a week on drink.

    P.

  32. Pags says:

    Agreed with Rev. S Campbell, at this point it’s just a shoutfest of people saying either copying = theft or copying != theft; I imagine those few who have had the patience to have followed the thread entirely aren’t going to speak up anytime soon if they haven’t already, and I doubt anyone’s going to come to this thread fresh and read it all.

    Besides, after almost 500 comments it’s fair to say everyone has probably vented as fully as possible.

  33. Gap Gen says:

    I say that people who can pay should pay

    Yes, but what does that actually mean? There’s people who will genuinely claim they can’t “afford” games when they are spending €20 a week on drink.

    Further, anyone who can afford a PC that can play the latest games is *probably* lying if they say they can’t afford a £20 game.

  34. PHeMoX says:


    Valve has stated that Steam has had a direct, positive effect on sales for them. While Steam doesn’t stop piracy in its entirety, it effectively stamps out zero day piracy, which many developers agree is the most dangerous kind.

    What do you say to Valve’s claim that stopping zero day piracy DOES have a positive effect on their sales?

    Nice claim but Half-life 2 got pirated before the Steam version was out, the Steam-version got hacked as well if memory serves me well. Meaning… if hackers feel like it, they’ll hack anything.

    For them it’s a challenge. Therefore it’s futile to even think about responding.

    Steam itself doesn’t prevent piracy in any way.

  35. Tom says:

    Rev – you’re argueing semantics now.
    We’re talking piracy here, not life and death.
    It’s infringement from one side, and theft from the other. In this case, pretty much one in the same thing.
    What we can agree on though is that either end is a crime.

  36. Rev. S Campbell says:

    The “if everyone did it” ethics argument is nonsensical, because you can apply it to everything. We’re all entitled to call the police, but if we all did it at once society would collapse. The same applies to everyone having a walk in the park at once, or claiming benefits, or getting flu jabs, or going to Norwich. Civilisation only endures at all because people don’t all choose to go to Norwich.

  37. Rev. S Campbell says:

    What we can agree on though is that either end is a crime.

    We certainly CAN’T agree on that, because downloading a game you haven’t paid for is NOT a crime.

  38. Quirk says:

    Let’s just remember correlation is not causation. Evolutionarily successful organisms are more likely to have parasites and microbes evolve which prey on them. This does not mean that these parasites are extraordinarily beneficial to their hosts. Some of them may be – there are plenty of cases of genuine symbiosis – but in the main they most definitely are not.

    Ultimately, I’d prefer the cost of creating new media to be shared relatively equitably among those who partake of it. I have no objection to tradeoffs such as getting the game a little later and paying less for it. I have no objection even to those acquiring it for free once the people who developed it have long ceased to hold any title to it. Second-hand sales fail to share in bearing the burden of that cost, but forbidding them would too greatly damage the freedom of the buyer.

    However, I just don’t see any justification for pirating a newly released game, playing all the way through it, and then not giving the creators any money. If this behaviour became entirely socially acceptable and legal, it would eviscerate the games industry, and all that would remain would be a few indie developers hanging on on the basis of goodwill.

    Of course, that’s not going to happen. Piracy will never be allowed to prosper to that level. If it did, we’d see killer hardware DRM in a very short space of time, restricting it back into the hands of the savvy few.

  39. PHeMoX says:

    Further, anyone who can afford a PC that can play the latest games is *probably* lying if they say they can’t afford a £20 game.

    Totally correct. It’s really a matter of mentality. Especially for all those 12yr old kiddos thinking downloading is just another way of getting their games. Even those kids probably could afford spending some money… but they won’t, because they simply don’t want to.

    That’s the problem.

  40. PHeMoX says:

    We certainly CAN’T agree on that, because downloading a game you haven’t paid for is NOT a crime.

    And why not? You have something in your possession that you should have paid for, but you have it anyways. I think that’s criminal in the sense of theft. It’s not comparable to stealing a car perhaps, but objectively seen it’s still a crime.

  41. meeper says:

    TheDeadlyShoe

    You keep popping up man. The internet can’t be this small, can it?

  42. Kieron Gillen says:

    Stu: It’s by adding extra values to core actions you make it meaningless.

    It’s a philosophical concept, and to discuss it properly would take a real essay. And frankly, I’m shit at philosophy, but if anyone’s interested in seeing what I’m getting at, I’d recommend pretty much any beginners guide to Ethics or whatever.

    KG

  43. Quirk says:

    The “if everyone did it” ethics argument is nonsensical, because you can apply it to everything. We’re all entitled to call the police, but if we all did it at once society would collapse. The same applies to everyone having a walk in the park at once, or claiming benefits, or getting flu jabs, or going to Norwich. Civilisation only endures at all because people don’t all choose to go to Norwich.
    Nonsense. Most of these have costs of some description, or society is structured in a way to prevent them from occurring. Calling the police without having a valid reason is frowned on. I’m not sure how you construe everyone walking in the park at once as leading to the collapse of society, but there’s social pressure to get whatever other necessary tasks you have to do done first before you take time off. Benefits are relatively miserly to induce people to work – if you paid everyone on benefits a doctor’s salary with no repercussions, you’d see a collapse very shortly. The giving of flu jabs is an organised affair. Going to Norwich, for most of us, entails real inconvenience.

    Remove these costs from penalised behaviours and you can get serious consequences – go look up “Boston Police Strike” on Wikipedia.

  44. Tom says:

    Rev – sorry if you already posted your reasoning further up but this thread is huge, and I just can’t be arsed to dig through it.
    Please explain to me how it’s not a crime to download and use something for free that you should have paid for?
    I just don’t get it.

  45. Catastrophe says:

    WoW’s private servers show the WoW software has been pirated. Albeit not very well.

    Due to the very essence of Online Subscription based games in which you Login with a unique ID thats linked to your version of the game thats linked to your bank card details and house address it can’t really be successfully pirated.

    Have WAR or EVE or Everquest been successfully pirated?

  46. Paul Moloney says:

    “The “if everyone did it” ethics argument is nonsensical, because you can apply it to everything. We’re all entitled to call the police, but if we all did it at once society would collapse. The same applies to everyone having a walk in the park at once, or claiming benefits, or getting flu jabs, or going to Norwich. Civilisation only endures at all because people don’t all choose to go to Norwich.”

    A pretty silly argument. Most people would gain nothing from ringing the police except some mild amusement, and would lose a lot as it’s a punishable offence. Even then, 1 in 10 calls to 999 are a prank.

    A minority of people want to go to Norwich. (Sorry, Norwich people.)

    However, the vast majority of people would like a PC game for free. I mean, if Half-Life 2 had come out at release and Gabe had said “Hey, I have enough money for the rest of my life, guys”, I would have taken a copy.

    PC piracy is an example of the tragedy of the commons; people will download games for nothing even though it’s ultimately against their self-interest – that of keeping game developers in paid employment. People go against their long-term self-interest for short-term gain all the time; ever heard of climate change?

    P

  47. Tom says:

    KG: How about not discussing it properly and giving us the gist.
    By adding extra values to core actions you make in meaningless
    Sounds like what been going on in hear to be honest.
    Don’t mean to sound snide but that’s my honest interpretation.
    Care to enlighten, if even only slightly…

  48. Iain says:

    @Tom: This whole argument about piracy and DRM boils down to an issue of morality imo, at the end of the day.

    The problem with your argument is that there’s no such thing as an absolute moral position. Morality is subjective and relative, always has been and always will be (unless the fundamentalists succeed in putting mind control devices into schools, that is), which is why we have the legal system in the first place – to find the best compromise position that protects the most people.

    I don’t like piracy, but simply wittering on about piracy being theft and immoral doesn’t help anyone. Pirates aren’t going to stop pirating games, music or films just because someone tells them they’re being naughty – you’ve got to give them more tangible reasons – reasons that benefit them – to go out and buy a legitimate copy. Which is why the whole practice of DRM is utterly wrong-headed, because it makes paying customers jump through hoops that the pirates don’t have to, giving the guy (or gal) who actually paid for the product an inferior experience than the person who got it for free.

    It’s simplistic to say that the problem is entirely due to the pirate – if more games companies had a less protectionist attitude, they’d undoubtedly make more money. Just look at Stardock’s sales figures for Sins of a Solar Empire, for example. And it’s surely no coincidence that SOASE sold by the warehouseful when its recommended specs are so low. The PC has a huge market base, but if developers keep making titles that only run on the top 10-20% of PCs is it any wonder why so many titles bomb? WoW doesn’t have 11 million odd subscribers because their DRM is bomb-proof. It’s because 11 million people can play the game without having to put up with single figure frame rates.

    It’s easy to blame the pirate, but while they’re undoubtedly part of the problem, getting rid of piracy is not the miraculous solution that will cure all the ills affecting PC gaming in the retail market right now.

  49. Paul Moloney says:

    The PC has a huge market base, but if developers keep making titles that only run on the top 10-20% of PCs is it any wonder why so many titles bomb? WoW doesn’t have 11 million odd subscribers because their DRM is bomb-proof. It’s because 11 million people can play the game without having to put up with single figure frame rates.

    You’re absolutely right here. And “integrated graphics” is one of the worst things to happen to the PC hardware industry. Since the head of the PCGA is an Intel dude, I hope he has the balls to tell his own company this.

    P.

  50. SuperNashwan says:

    Sometimes I wish we could just have separate threads for people wanting to restate their beliefs in a loud and obnoxious way without paying any heed to the existing discussion, or indeed facts. :( the internet.

    @Tom
    Please explain to me how it’s not a crime to download and use something for free that you should have paid for?
    I just don’t get it.

    Because at least in the UK it’s not a crime. It doesn’t need explanation, it’s a fact.

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