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. The Apologist says:

    @ Meatcircus – it seems simplistic to me to say that creativity and profit motive must be or are separate in this way. That is not the history of art or cultural production for many many years in any sector.

    Show me an example where your utopia exists or works?

  2. Rev. S Campbell says:

    We are guys who make games to entertain people, yet for all the abuse that gets hurled at us, we might as well be war criminals.

    Nobody’s hurled ANY abuse at you for making games. If anyone’s been mildly rude to you anywhere that I’ve seen, it’s been for your aggressive behaviour. An indie-game developer who’s been following this thread just posted this on my forum:

    To be honest, I’m more pissed off with Cliff claiming to speak on behalf of all indie developers all the time with his tedious anti-piracy guff.

    Honest to goodness, it’s one thing banging on about it all the time but claiming that it’s a shared view across all developers does my fucking nut in. I’ve got my own gob and my own opinions, ta. I don’t need someone to claim they’re speaking on my behalf. I’m perfectly capable of expressing myself as are all the other Indie developers wherever their opinions lie on the matter.

  3. The Apologist says:

    @ Rev – not seeking to hairsplit, but rather I just don’t know what the historical analysis you apply really means in the absence of a lot of data and some detailed work. If we ask is piracy a more relevant factor now that it was in the past, there is a lot to take into account.

    What is the proportion of piracy vs overall sale vs cost of production. What are the implications of an ageing demographic, different hardware, MMOs, digital distribution. It is a complex picture, and I just don’t know what to make of the point that there was always piracy so it shouldn’t be a big deal.

  4. Rev. S Campbell says:

    I don’t, to be honest, see what any of that has to do with anything.

    We’re discussing whether piracy is harmful now.

    The assertion has been made that it might lead to fewer game releases, yet every piece of relevant evidence tells us that it doesn’t – see my GBA/DS comparison for an example. It is far easier and cheaper to pirate games on DS than it ever was on GBA, yet it has reached the GBA’s lifetime number of releases four years earlier, on an almost identical hardware base. The only logical conclusion we can draw from that evidence is that at worst piracy doesn’t reduce releases, and at best widespread piracy actually promotes increased numbers of releases. (By numerous possible causal routes.)

    Historical evidence is abundantly clear on this. The formats easiest to pirate on have, almost without exception, been the most successful, seen the highest number of game releases, the highest numbers of game sales, and the longest shelflives.

    The formats which were the hardest of their respective generation to pirate on? The N64, Gamecube and PS3. Coincidence or magic? You tell me.

  5. DeliriumWartner says:

    “You do know that Intellectual Property doesn’t exist, don’t you?”

    Nor does money. In fact, money is a ’state-mandated monopoly”.
    I imagine you’d cry like a baby if I suddenly reduced your bank balance to zero. But why?
    Money is an artificial concept that only has value due to state mandated artificial scarcity. if you try and copy money, you go to prison for a very very long time.

    Awesome point cliffski.

    Meat, you declare things like “You do know that Intellectual Property doesn’t exist, don’t you?”, but you fail to add any sort of logical reasoning for it. People who haven’t read the things you have, or looked into the philosophical ideas behind it, will simply dismiss your arguement unless you can back it up, help them to understand your point of view. You’ll also be harming your arguement, as people will dismiss it as they dismiss you for making wild statements without setting up the basic ideas first.

    Unless the idea isn’t to reason out or inform, but rather to be incendiary, in which case you’re doing a fine job and don’t need my help.

  6. Paul Moloney says:

    “You’re very clever. Calling me a child because you have no rational argument to put forward. Where we come from we call that ‘a debating tactic’. And a very transparent one at that.”

    But you are a child. You’re trying to rationalise why you should get for free what someone offers for money. This is childish behaviour. Just because you use big words and hide behind a pseudonym in your effort to persuade people like Cliffski (what is _your_ job, by the way?) doesn’t make it any more adult.

    P.

  7. Pags says:

    @Rev S. Campbell: your point about the GBA/DS doesn’t take into account a number of other factors, such as the way the DS was marketed as a learning tool as well as a gaming console.

  8. Dominic White says:

    You know what depresses me most about this story? On every forum, there’s a strong and loud group who are angry at 2D Boy for even mentioning piracy, and calling this a shallow ‘stunt’ to drum up sales.

    Yes, how dare a small two-man company who are relying entirely on sales of this single product point out massive problems with the industry as a whole? Those charlatans! Clearly they’re after…. something?

  9. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Yes, the devils actually want to live off creative work. Let’s go down to their home and egg it!

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    Do not get personal with these comments. That kind is not tolerated here. Attack arguments, not people.

  11. Rev. S Campbell says:

    your point about the GBA/DS doesn’t take into account a number of other factors, such as the way the DS was marketed as a learning tool as well as a gaming console

    Oh for Heaven’s sake. If I were to list everything that’s ridiculous about that sentence it’d take me 1000 words, and I’ve wasted enough time on this already.

  12. Dan Lawrence says:

    @ Rev & Meat

    Before you head off chaps, I just want to clarify what I think is your shared position. Is it that the people who pay for games (described as ‘pious internet nerds’ above) are effectively idiots? Stupid people who hand over money for something they should be taking for free?

  13. Heliocentric says:

    No, Dan.. You should be rolling coding your own. All the cool kids do it.

  14. karthik says:

    @Cliffski
    Referring to a comment about twenty five before this, where you said:
    So people are seriously (with a straight face no less). are now suggesting that when you buy something, you should only be charged the MARGINAL cost of production?
    No one suggested this.
    I’m assuming you were referring to my comment that said
    By arguing that the marginal cost to the developer is all you need to consider when procuring a game, do you mean to say that the retail price of a video game should be proportional to its marginal cost?
    Perhaps you read me wrong.
    1. I was arguing that it doesn’t make much sense.
    2. I said “proportional to the marginal cost”, not “equal to the marginal cost”. This means that there’s always a little (or more than a little) extra on the price tag to cover up the fixed cost and whatever profit margin it is the developer is aiming at.
    3. Isn’t this how budget bin pricing works? The marginal value of a copy by the time it gets to the budget bin is fairly diminished, and the publisher has already reaped a bulk of the profits and recovered its costs. The low marginal value is what allows the publisher to send out budget bin copies.
    My point, in short, was that a developer cannot make money if everyone copies a game with the moral assurance that it’s OK to do so because the marginal value of their copy is nil anyway. It’s not- the marginal value is close to nil only when a sufficiently large number of copies have been sold, with or without marginal pricing.
    In short, I was on your side. But the spitfire since then is scaring me away from what I was hoping would be a genuine discussion towards understanding and tackling piracy.

  15. Toastmodernist says:

    I absolutely adore cliffski’s games but i’d still like to add my voice to the people who think certain forms of piracy can be beneficial.

    Generally, i think demo’s aren’t a good enough indication of quality, certainly not longevity, and so i’ll download the game. If i like it i’ll do my utmost to purchase it immediately, if i don’t have the money at the time (which is generally very often) then it will be the next game i buy. If i don’t like then i won’t play it anyway and uninstall it.

    I know this still makes me evil and whatnot but i really don’t think i’m harming developers, there are lost sales due to me downloading games which i don’t like but might have bought but this is balanced out by games i probably wouldn’t have bought but after playing it and being surprised by the quality i bought it right away.

    Also I think the sharing with friends thing can be beneficial too, this is a pretty useless example because bethesda made fallout 3 but i gave him a copy of fallout 1 & 2, while he never actually bothered to buy the games himself he did pre-order the limited edition of fallout 3 as soon as it was available. Obv. this is more along the lines of Rev. S’ piracy creating future demand lines.

  16. Pags says:

    @Rev: I don’t see what’s ridiculous about it. Your argument seems to be “piracy meant people made more games for the DS” when the fact that there was an intentional move to sell games to a wider market would probably factor in at least a little. There’s also the matter of the DS having sold 3 million more units than the GBA in half the amount of time – something I’m sure developers would take into account.

    Refusing to argue a valid point doesn’t do much to help your case. Especially when you’ve spent so much time arguing already.

  17. Rev. S Campbell says:

    Before you head off chaps, I just want to clarify what I think is your shared position. Is it that the people who pay for games (described as ‘pious internet nerds’ above) are effectively idiots? Stupid people who hand over money for something they should be taking for free?

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but no, of course that’s not my position. I pay for games on a very regular basis. Those are not the people I described as “pious internet nerds”, and it does your argument no favours to misrepresent me in such a way.

    People who can afford games should pay for them, in order that their creators are rewarded. If people can’t pay for games, it doesn’t make any difference to anyone if they play them or not, because they wouldn’t have bought them either way. People who can afford them but choose to copy instead, well, I think they should pay on principle BUT I don’t agree that their not doing so is of any practical detriment to the industry, and certainly not to society in general, because one way or another disposable income gets disposed of.

  18. Sam says:

    Of course, bringing things like “money” into this allows people to note that *originally* money was a promise to pay the bearer a certain quantity of valuable material (usually gold) owned by the issuing bank. Thus, it didn’t need all the nonsense that now exists in the international currency market, most of which has ballooned into people selling other people the right to own some promises that some other people might give other people some fictitious credit units, at some unspecified later date.

    And that’s been going well recently, hasn’t it?

    cliffski – to go back to an earlier question you asked, about marginal costs and value of items. If your pharmaceutical company spend amount A of total R&D costs to be able to make the drug in the first place, and the cost to make a pill now that R&D is done is B, then I (and Meat Circus) were saying that the total value of a pill is B+ (A / number of pills). This clearly includes the R&D costs, surely?
    The problem with digital media is that B is zero,and number of pills is infinity… so you need to rely on people giving you money above the value of each copy, which, luckily, people do.
    On this basis, the value of the R&D for World of Goo is 15,000 copies * 10 pounds = 150,000 pounds, currently.
    (Didn’t we go over this already?)

  19. karthik says:

    If I understand correctly, Mr. Walker’s position on the matter is that irrespective of whether the developer thrives off its sales, it’s just plain unfair that some people have to pay for entertainment while others get it for free (through outlawed means).
    If so, I have in mind a weaker case of price discrimination in mind that is perfectly legal.
    Consider, for instance, that you bought Episode 1 (HL2) for it’s asking price of $20 (was it?) when it was released, and I purchased it for the tidy sum of $10 an year later. For the exact “same amount” of fun, you’ve paid twice as much as I did. Isn’t that unfair too?
    Of course, there’s the time factor. (Which I’ll address if it comes up in the discussion.)
    My argument is similar to that of Meat Circus: That the marginal cost of creating a copy is what matters, and therefore Valve can afford to price it lower when they have (nearly) recovered their costs and are making a profit.
    Also consider that the exact same game costs twice as much in the UK as it does in the US, and about four times as much here in India. This is the case at release for a few games on Steam (mentioned in previous RPS posts).
    Isn’t this but a milder case of the net effect of piracy, which is classified as a societal affliction? Why is this OK when Piracy is illegal?
    I hope I’m not opening a can of worms here.

  20. Martin Ganteföhr says:

    @Rev

    So, your position is that all games are donationware, be it the declared will of their creators or not.

  21. Dan Lawrence says:

    @ Rev

    Fair enough, I think it was more Meat C expounding the more extreme position, you just seemed to be singing from the same song sheet above.

    I think your last comment largely makes ense, in that you agree that creators should in principle be rewarded by those that can afford it BUT…

    I think that it (piracy & the fear of piracy) is likely causing some damage to the type of indie game that this yammerfest was kicked of by (though since World of Goo is also on other formats it to, is not the perfect example). Of course, its not causing harm to society in general and it very likely isn’t hurting the whole games industry much either the games buisness as a whole is very profitable but piracy directly & yes, the fear of piracy does, seem to me, to hit developers of PC indie games.

    I don’t have any excellent strategem for stopping it and agree that DRM at least as we have seen it up to today is an utter waste of time and harms only the few people who do buy your game.

    I don’t agree that piracy is any more effective means of spreading awareness of an indie game than a pirated copy, whcih was another vibe I was picking up off a few commenters (probably Meat Circus).

  22. Dan Lawrence says:

    Apologies, I meant demo rather than piracy twice in the last paragraph.

    “I don’t agree that piracy is more effective at spreading awareness than a good demo”

    Plus some other typos you can probably decode on your own, ho hum.

  23. Monkfish says:

    @Rev. Stu

    Of course, the games industry has grown massively largely thanks to the popularity of all those lovely consoles. Since Sony’s coolification of gaming back in late ’94, it now reaches a far wider demographic than it did 25 years ago. It’s reasonably safe to assume that the vast majority of the millions and millions of consoles out there haven’t been modified to run copied games, so: wider demographic + closed system = growth.

    Of course, I recognise that the Nintendo handheld market is a bit of an anomoly – rampant piracy and all – and there is some evidence to suggest that it actually benefits Nintendo to some extent. When a particular hardware manufacturer stands to gain, it is true that piracy can increase hardware sales, widening the demographic further, thus leading to more sales when potential pirates convert to potential customers. It could be said that the Speccy, C64, Amiga and Atari ST were “beneficiaries” of piracy in this manner.

    In the PC gaming market, though, who are the beneficiaries? ATI and Nvidia? Intel and AMD? Seagate and Western Digital? All of the above? The potential “benefits” of piracy are too thinly spread.

    It’s also become far too convenient for people to obtain copies of games en masse. Bittorrent and Usenet are now the modern day equivalents to the playgrounds of 25 years ago – and I must say they represent one fuck of a big playground.

    PC gaming is very much riding on the coat-tails of console gaming, now. It may not necessarily be down to piracy alone, but there is a widely held perception that piracy is the major contributary factor – especially when looking at the ratios involved. This may be right or it may be wrong (in pure economical terms, at least), but it is this perception that is causing the damage – developers and publishers are now actively using piracy as their reasoning to postpone or not bother with PC versions of their games (oh hai, Epic!).

    Publishers that are owned by shareholders will never subscribe to the idea that some folks should be left alone to fill their boots with free entertainment even if those people wouldn’t have bought it anyway. While it’s entirely true that not every copy made equals a lost sale, there is the belief that some are – it’s just impossible to quantify. With the onus on the publisher to protect their shareholders’ investment, DRM becomes the inevitable answer. Of course, it doesn’t work – we know that and they know that (no, really, they do!) – but they have to be seen to try.

  24. footle says:

    to go back to an earlier question you asked, about marginal costs and value of items. If your pharmaceutical company spend amount A of total R&D costs to be able to make the drug in the first place, and the cost to make a pill now that R&D is done is B, then I (and Meat Circus) were saying that the total value of a pill is B+ (A / number of pills). This clearly includes the R&D costs, surely?

    You forget the other costs here in your attempt to make a point : R&D is a small portion of a pill company’s expenditure (dwarfed, for example, by marketing), and you have to recover money to fund ongoing operations (eg. your next exciting pill-based product, those 5 failed pill products that you didn’t manage to get through the trial stage) etc.

    The problem with digital media is that B is zero,and number of pills is infinity… so you need to rely on people giving you money above the value of each copy, which, luckily, people do.

    This isn’t the problem with digital media – indeed, it’s the advantage of it for the creators. The problem with digital media is that the creators and the audience place a different value on the work… and some parts of the audience somehow “rationalise” the value of the work to zero by purposefully ignoring anything other than their opinion of what development costs might be.

    That the marginal cost of creating a copy is what matters, and therefore Valve can afford to price it lower when they have (nearly) recovered their costs and are making a profit.

    Well you could see it like that, or you could argue that they’re simply trying to stimulate demand with the price drop after a year. Regardless, it’s an awful example to use for your case because it’s one in which the creators of the work are choosing what the market value of their product is at any point in time: not the pirates.

  25. karthik says:

    @footle
    Regardless, it’s an awful example to use for your case because it’s one in which the creators of the work are choosing what the market value of their product is at any point in time: not the pirates.
    We already know that pirates attach a value of zero to (their copy of) the product. My point is merely that publishers themselves engage in a lesser form of discrimination between customers consuming the same product.
    Lesser, that is, than when you compare a paying consumer with a pirate. EA giving away the original Red Alert, for instance, only goes to show that the marginal value of creating new copies is indeed zero or close to it when a sufficient number of copies have been consumed.

  26. karthik says:

    ^Oops. I meant the marginal cost of creating new copies.

  27. footle says:

    I meant the marginal cost of creating new copies.

    Or you could say that the marginal cost of creating new copies without providing any support, updates etc. whatsoever is very low – or could be considered as part of a marketing campaign for Red Alert 3.

  28. Wulf says:

    “providing any support, updates etc.”

    Or you could say that this is a service, and deserves funds based on the services provided. When talking of the copy, the price to produce and provide the copy is indeed negligible, whereas the services tied to the product are not.

    This is actually similar to StarDock’s position: We don’t put DRM on our game, and you don’t have to buy to play our game, but if you want to see valid and ongoing support for our game, we’d very much like to see some money for those services.

    I think, perhaps, the problem that some pirates may have today is that there are no services tied to a product, and that there is very little ongoing support for a product. Even things that should have been in patches these days are DLC, and many games rarely ever even do get patched.

    A prime example of this is Oblivion, shouldn’t the price of the product have covered the ongoing services of Bethesda? In Bethesda’s case, you’re paying for a negligible copy (if you buy online) and then you’re also paying for additional services.

    I’m not advocating or demonising here, I’m just vocalising a few thoughts that come to mind. I hope that I won’t get attacked for this, as there is a difference between advocation and demonstration, and an audience such as this should be able to determine between the two.

  29. Wulf says:

    Or you’re paying for a negligible-cost copy, rather.

  30. The_B says:

    I think this comment thread is missing something:

    Hugs. And lots of them.

  31. Crispy says:

    I think the essential phenomenon here is that if you give people the option of pirating, they will pirate.

    Or, to be more precise, if you tell someone they can either pay or have it for free, they will have it for free and they will give it to their friends for free, and so on.

    But I genuinely don’t think most people want to pirate, I simply think this game had no protection whatsoever. The sort of audience this has reached (more casual, less tech-savvy) may have been hesitant about playing the game if they’d known it was pirated.

    There are two issues here about the way WoG was sold for me. First, I wouldn’t be surprised if the game was received rather ignorantly. I wouldn’t be surprised if WoG’s look and simplistic gameplay makes a lot of people -especially more casual or initiate players- believe it’s ‘one of those free online web games’.

    We have anti-piracy messages on DVDs that invite/remind us to check the legality of the product – appealing to consumers to be honest and respectful is something that could be done on game splash screens.

    A message coming up in the splash screens asking…

    “Is your copy of the game a pirated version? If you think it might be and you wish to do the right thing, buy an authentic version and give something back to the creators.

    Buy or donate at http://worldofgoo.com/

    …might have been enough for the parents and generally upstanding citizens to whip out their credit card and show us young folk the meaning of respect.

    Secondly (and I think this is the bigger reason for why it was pirated), the game released with no bloody protection at all! It could have had some simple protection to prevent what I’d term ‘baser-level piracy’.

    We talk about DRM and the general thought is that it’s a nasty process that runs programs behind your back, invades your piracy and forces you into corners where you’re told what you can and cannot play, and when. The fact is DRM is a general umbrella term: Digital Rights Management. DRM is not synonymous with rootkits, install limits or any of those dark arts. All of those are simply types of DRM, they are methods of protecting the rights to digital copy.

    There are other, much simpler methods that prevented the average PC gamer from pirating games for the best part of a decade. CD Keys and product security codes are a very simple form of DRM that will work to stop the new wave of casual gamers from copy-pasting the game onto a new PC via a micro-storage device or external hard drive. It’s not secure beyond a basic level of computing and piracy, but it would stop a less tech-savvy user from burning copies to disc or using mobile storage to install it at multiple locations.

    So to pirate they would have to actively seek out distributors of the pirated game, which to the average person is less appealing than spending $20 because it involves time, uncertainty and making an active effort to break the law. My point being, maybe WoG showed that games that can be re-distributed illegally via the simplest of methods will be pirated, but a more interesting test would have been to use a softer form of DRM that would force a casual user out of their comfort zone before they could lay their hands on a pirated copy.

    I don’t believe the average person will pirate if it isn’t the easiest option. The harder it is to locate a pirated copy, the less of an impact it will have. That’s what publishers aren’t really getting into their heads. It’s no more difficult to download a cracked copy of a game than to search for a keygen program to unlock a passworded installation program.

    They also don’t seem to understand that you will never stop a determined pirate unless you actively hunt them down, which is impractical in this instance. You may as well put your efforts into changing your product to deter casual piracy, instead of fighting a losing battle against the first generation pirates (ones who actually crack the code and re-package the game to run without protection).

  32. Jon R. says:

    “I don’t agree that piracy is any more effective means of spreading awareness of an indie game than a pirated copy, whcih was another vibe I was picking up off a few commenters (probably Meat Circus).”

    It’s a simple enough train of logic: more people trying it via whatever method increases the likelihood of that person spreading a positive word-of-mouth opinion to others. This in turn increases the chances of someone going “Hey, that sounds nice, let’s buy it”. The only argument against it, so far at least, invovles an extremely juvenile “people suck, i’m going to listen to The Cure” sense of cynicism.

    And thanks to Cliff for adding more evidence to the theory that people in the industry create a conclusion then work to fulfil it. What i love about the sort of thinking people like Cliff shit out is that it’s so willfully bent to be as self-servingly dense as possible, just like they claim pirates do. Half-assed console-to-PC ports are a result of developer disinterest? Sure. Not like such a lack of care could possibly alienate anyone into moving away from PC games. By all means, conveniently ignore that deliberately releasing a lame port is nothing short of a grift on what you percieve to be the suckers stupid enough to buy it on the assumption that it’ll be a quality product. I guess the entire concept of dishonesty somehow just doesn’t apply to DEVELOPERS.

    “There is a world of difference between a kid in mexico downlaoding a pirated copy of a game he cannot afford, and some swine who runs a warez site and makes a fortune in selling ad space while distributing other peoples hard work.”

    Yes, Cliff. People will go to the ends of the Earth to pirate something, but those same people will whitelist all the ads on torrent sites. Of all the sites with ads on the internet, only the ones involved with warez are magically immune to AdBlock Plus and Filterset.G. But thank you for finally putting for the notion that the only reason anyone could bring themselves to click on an ad is as a mercyfuck click for the page its on, and not because the ad itself looked worthwhile.

    “I want to be paid in exchange for the effort I put into making games BY PEOPLE WHO PLAY THE FULL VERSION.”

    As opposed to being paid by people who ENJOYED the full version.

    “You are the reason people give up and work on console games, or abandon making games altogether.”

    Right. Not the crunch periods or the pre-requisite dipshit/abusive management, the meddling publisher, or the fact that most game development positions have nothing to do with the individual creatively expressing himself. Number 1 cause of developer burnout? Naturally, it must be the way gamers react to the games that tend to come out of that setup. LOGIC TRAIN FULL STEAM AHEAD!

  33. Adam Hepton says:

    I pay for things I use, because I get paid for doing things that other people use. It just seems right to me, and if it doesn’t seem right to you, you’re not the kind of person I want to know.

  34. Ran says:

    I think the argument of wanting to get paid by people who play the full version and not just people who ENJOY the full version is very fair.

    If you play further than what was included in the already free demo, you obviously like it enough or were intrigued enough to play further. If you don’t ENJOY the game, you won’t play the full version. You’ll quit in the demo phase.

  35. Rev. S Campbell says:

    I pay for things I use, because I get paid for doing things that other people use. It just seems right to me, and if it doesn’t seem right to you, you’re not the kind of person I want to know.

    It’s a deal!

  36. Jon R. says:

    “I think the argument of wanting to get paid by people who play the full version and not just people who ENJOY the full version is very fair.

    If you play further than what was included in the already free demo, you obviously like it enough or were intrigued enough to play further. If you don’t ENJOY the game, you won’t play the full version. You’ll quit in the demo phase.”

    Unless the demo either just doesn’t exist because the developers are busy generating an excuse for not making one, or the one they did crap out is functionally useless for the purposes of actually making a decision on a purchase.

    WoG had a decent demo. The guys behind Sam & Max have had a demo for every episode; i love them. CoD 4 had a 1.4 gig demo containing 1 level of a 5 hour game. Crysis had a 1.7 gig demo also with one map, and it was one of those half-assed “beta” deals, same with UT3.

    Bioshock had a 1.84 gig demo that was proclaimed to be of the first 30 minutes or so — out of how long for the full game? 30 minutes is small amount of time in a narrative game like that, and not necessarily one descriptive of how the game holds up for the other, what, 19.5 hours? The demo is 2 gigs for 30 minutes while the ISO version gives you all the time you need for 6 gigs. The rip does the exact same in 3.

    Basically, your statement would make sense if demos were actually constructed for the purposes of helping one make a decision. The reality is, they’re largely not.

  37. Tom says:

    un-freakin’-believable…
    This is some seriously madness. Distill it and a drop would kill an elephant.

  38. Hobbes says:

    Wow, 387 comments and look… the world hasn’t changed.

    Anyway, just curious, but Meat Circus what do you do for a living? And do you expect to get paid for it? It seems fair enough to ask what you do, since we know what Cliffski does for a living and the information seems germaine to the arguments going on here.

  39. Klaus says:

    Woo!! I wake and Thunderbird kindly lets me know that I have 111 messages from RPS. And I read them all.

    The world is changing slightly. Perhaps some people have learned something or adjusted their viewpoints. I checked on the validity of over 2000 DS releases and in checking I see some new Suikoden game is coming out. I am happy and somewhat optimistic for the time being.

  40. Jon R. says:

    No it doesn’t.

  41. Ran says:

    Well, I’m thinking only of Goo since that was the topic at hand.

    Their demo was EXTREMELY generous. First 12 levels free (out of 48 total levels). Definitely long enough to make your decision whether to buy (and keep playing).

    How many of the piraters played onto level 13 (first level of Chapter 2) and beyond?

  42. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    I was waiting for someone to make a “pirated money exists, it’s called counterfeit” analogy, and now that Cliffski did I can rest at ease.

    I’d wondered for months whether there was a way to leverage that comparison into a video game piracy discussion somehow, sadly enough.

    Am thoroughly neutral on the subject, as though Rev. Campbell’s got a point (I remember lurking the archives of his arguments with the one guy, you know the guy), I find it hard to disagree with a dev who stripped all of his games of DRM. Heck, I bought Kudos 2 ’cause of that. Also ’cause Jamie McKelvie’s work is snazzy.

    (As an aside, why is his nickname “Kitten,” and is it a warning to his enemies that he must be feared?)

  43. Oddbob says:

    “How many of the piraters played onto level 13 (first level of Chapter 2) and beyond?”

    I truly have no idea. All of them? Two of them? Eleventy? The demo was and is incredibly generous, but that’s information we’re never likely to find out so it’s all a bit moot really. I’ve bought games and never played past level one. Makes as good as no odds.

    “It seems fair enough to ask what you do, since we know what Cliffski does for a living and the information seems germaine to the arguments going on here”

    How so?

  44. Jon R. says:

    “Well, I’m thinking only of Goo since that was the topic at hand.

    Their demo was EXTREMELY generous. First 12 levels free (out of 48 total levels). Definitely long enough to make your decision whether to buy (and keep playing).”

    Their demo was indeed nice, and showed off both fantastic stuff like the level that rotates and annoying crap like the frog bridge. But the point is that the situation with demos has gotten so pathetic that there really isn’t much reason to give them the benefit of the doubt. And if you’re one of the apparently mythical people who buy things they appreciate instead of wantonly murdering hobos and squatters, then the difference really doesn’t matter anyway.

  45. Y3k-Bug says:

    A question to those who say that railing against piracy is foolish:

    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?

  46. footle says:

    Bioshock had a 1.84 gig demo that was proclaimed to be of the first 30 minutes or so — out of how long for the full game? 30 minutes is small amount of time in a narrative game like that, and not necessarily one descriptive of how the game holds up for the other, what, 19.5 hours? The demo is 2 gigs for 30 minutes while the ISO version gives you all the time you need for 6 gigs. The rip does the exact same in 3.

    Out of interest, Jon R., and ignoring whether you feel the demo misrepresented the game… how long do you feel the Bioshock demo should have been?

    How much of the game should they have included – one plasmid? two plasmids? three plasmids? a big daddy hunt?

    Should a demo effectively contain *all* of the key selling points of the game, so there’s no surprises left?

  47. Jon R. says:

    I’d say that Steam is also quite effective at stamping out zero-day playing of legitimate purchases. I’d also say that it’d be really, really hard to find anything negative about taking a huge chunk out of the sale of games you really didn’t have anything to do with.

    Furthermore, i’d wonder if the people most worried about zero-day piracy aren’t the ones most dependent on blind sales. And then i’d say that Doom 3 got the living shit pirated out of it before release and still managed to be the company’s best selling titles, evidently splitting 3 million sales evenly between the PC and Xbox.

  48. Jon R. says:

    “Out of interest, Jon R., and ignoring whether you feel the demo misrepresented the game… how long do you feel the Bioshock demo should have been?

    How much of the game should they have included – one plasmid? two plasmids? three plasmids? a big daddy hunt?”

    Up to and including Steinman. The medical pavilion is where the game really started to dig its claws in and the game had plenty to offer after it.

  49. Rev. S Campbell says:

    Valve has stated that Steam has had a direct, positive effect on sales for them.

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

    Hang on. Did they actually say the second of those, or have you just extrapolated it?

  50. Jochen Scheisse says:

    400 GET!

    Sorry, carry on.

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