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Lobotomist
25-01-2012, 10:16 AM
Recently there is a trend of game publishers/developers complaining about great loss due to piracy and backing it up with calculated figures.

I wonder, instead of all this whining, complaining ... launching drastic measures like SOPA/PIPA

Why could they not just count it as calculated loss ?

There are many businesses that take calculated loss in their revenue estimate.

Example in hardware or optic manufacturing. There is always percent of products that will get damaged in transport or during production.

They have this risk calculated - in long term revenue. And there is no surprise or need to complain.


I think this would work very well for game industry.

Skalpadda
25-01-2012, 10:30 AM
I'd assume that they do take piracy into the calculation already but as businesses they will take whatever actions available to them to protect and increase their revenue. If fighting piracy with any means they can is seen as worthwhile they will, whether it actually is nor not.

Taking your optics manufacturer example, if they could come up with financially viable methods of reducing what they have to discard in the manufacturing process they would implement them.

DigitalSignalX
25-01-2012, 10:31 AM
My guess is, in normal revenue streams calculated loss is based on actual statistical data sets. Metrics that can be actually measured like inventory mis-management, damage during shipping, physical theft, flaws in manufacturing.. through every step of your supply chain.

Loss due to piracy is made of completely arbitrary values, subject to a very wide degree of interpretation, and lacks any concrete foundation. My guess is Ubisoft would have invented some way to bottom line piracy with insurance underwriting long ago if they could get away with it.

Heliocentric
25-01-2012, 10:48 AM
Sales should be calculated as revenue. Calculate sales instead.

Notice how wrong you always are, this goes for piracy, except all of your data about piracy is without merit. Player buys game, disc is scratched, he downloads the file failing in the install from the torrent using an app with selective download, the file is roughly 15% of the full pirated game.

How does this user effect your statistics? is he +1 pirate, +15% of a pirate? When he is actually 0 pirates, and an actual paying customer with a scratched disk (Valve and EA and select other titles can look smug at letting you download from the keycode).

soldant
25-01-2012, 10:52 AM
The problem is that it assumes that every pirated copy equates to a lost sale. In your optics manufacturing scenario, you've put in money into producing that product, thus if it's defective at the end of the manufacturing process, you've lost what you put in to produce it.

The problem with piracy is that someone has duplicated a copy of the product and distributed it. It didn't physically cost the company anything for someone to make that copy, since it's just data. If I then go and get a copy from someone else without paying for it, I haven't actually "cost" the company anything. They didn't pay for that duplication. The developer/publisher/whoever did pay to produce the game but the game is the same and is never actually "lost" from them. If I make a copy of it they still have their game, I have the game, and if I copy it for someone else, they now have the game too. If I copy the game I don't deprive a legitimate copy from being offered for sale.

The assumption with "loss" figures is that if I couldn't pirate that copy I would have purchased the game from them, and therefore that any piracy is a "lost sale". The argument against that is that this might not always be the case. You can be certain that a sizeable portion of regular pirates would have paid for something if they couldn't easily pirate it, but there'd also be a large section of people who wouldn't pay for the game after pirating it. If your customer never intended to purchase it in the first place, it's not really a "lost sale". It's a gigantic assumption to make and it easily seems to drum up support when you talk about that kind of money, particularly if you want to discuss "damages" incurred from those extra copies. Where "damages" apparently means "Some arbitrary pricetag that we think would justify our expensive lawyers."

And that's why I stopped being a nurse and went back to uni to study law. And we all lived happily ever after. The end.

deano2099
25-01-2012, 12:04 PM
They already do to some degree. They calculate expected sales. Given that every game ever has been pirated, any other sales expectations you base your predictions on are going to be taking piracy into account. You can't predict based on zero piracy because no game with zero piracy has ever been made.

The whole lost sales thing is a lie. If it weren't, UbiSoft would be bankrupt by now because if they truly believed AC2 had unbreakable DRM, and that every pirated copy of AC1 was a lost sale, then they'd have predicted sales of PC AC2 at around 5-10x what they actually were and fell vastly short.

arienette
25-01-2012, 12:23 PM
Piracy should be treated with ronseal!

squirrel
25-01-2012, 12:50 PM
Now first thing first, thievery is thievery. How they account for losses due to piracy is purely an accounting issue.

The problem is that now someone is trying to persuade us that all cases of piracy can be translated into sales number, i.e. if one cannot get a pirated copy, and provided that he can afford the price, he definitely will buy a legitimate copy. The argument, which takes advantage of political correctness, is the problem.

Edit: Oops, I see that some mates have said the point above already, and I am glad that I am not alone~

Heister
25-01-2012, 12:58 PM
Isn't piracy the reason pdlc exists? So piracy is counted as a calculated loss even before the game(s) gets released.

trjp
25-01-2012, 01:14 PM
Do car companies view every stolen car as a lost sale?

No??

There's your answer then.

soldant
25-01-2012, 01:32 PM
Do car companies view every stolen car as a lost sale?

No??

There's your answer then.
Yeah but if someone steals a car that someone has purchased, then it's the owner's loss, not the one who made the car. Plus it's physically possible to steal a car, it's not possible to "steal" a game if you're copying it, because you duplicate it and don't deprive the person with the original of that game.

Trying to equate physical property with data doesn't work.

FuriKuri!
25-01-2012, 02:32 PM
This is a fantastic insight on where the world is headed with all this - http://bitcoinmedia.com/physibles-on-the-pirate-bay/

Within 20 years this will have fully penetrated the public's consciousness and it will likely be possible to print off practically any small plastic-based object you'd like for next to nothing. In terms of manufacturing skill and equipment we will be in a post-scarcity world where the only thing that matters are the raw materials and the designs themselves. God knows where that tech will end up over a long time frame but it's easy to see the end point as being able to print off anything.

Of course what we're already seeing is claims of copyright infringement being filed against this activity. Personally I find it's getting a bit difficult to stomach this as anything other than control for the sake of control. The controllers get richer and society gets poorer with bought politicians extending copyrights so much that they will soon outlive us, our children and their children.

Where does this fit with the idea of 'loss' for the producers?

It's the same story. Scarcity being enforced where in reality there is none. I am consistently conflicted between my desire to monetarily support the designers vs the fact I consider things like the pirate bay to be some of the greatest creations by man. It offers a net benefit to society that most libraries pale against in comparison yet people don't seem to see that. We all like to argue films, music, games, etc. are art. By that measure alone, surely, these places are by definition veritable treasure trove of culture, experience and education. Plundered though it may well be, the fact they are constructed so that anyone can access these materials is worthy of praise and admiration.

If piracy became impossible a lot of poor people would miss out. I doubt it would affect me much any more but that's because I now pull down a decent salary. I buy stuff where I see fit because I can. That, in part, because I shamelessly pirated tools which taught me to do what I now do professionally. I think the industry would be weaker if people could not follow the same path. Thinking back now I probably wouldn't have spent so much on games if I couldn't get so much for free.

It can be a bitter pill to swallow if you're subject to the whims of a sociopathic corporation with focus only on the next quarter's profits. Of course piracy is evil from that perspective. However it is such a narrow and selfish view of the world; domain only to the few rather than the many.

hamster
25-01-2012, 02:52 PM
Cool...but are they only plans? Surely you'd need the proper machinery to make, say, a Warhammer 40k Dreadnought.

FuriKuri!
25-01-2012, 03:14 PM
Well yes but this is what 3D printing is all about - although at this stage they're not easy to assemble or use it's nonetheless a cheap, home made printer that can print real objects. Some printers can print themselves (e.g. self-replicate) which makes it kinda viral. I won't pretend it's ready for public consumption but like I said, give it 20 years or so. Model companies like Games Workshop will have the rug pulled out from under them like the music industry did with napster.

hamster
25-01-2012, 03:49 PM
What do you mean when you say they can "print real objects"? Is this limited to things like paper mache (so far) or is it just about the sharing the blueprints?

Heliocentric
25-01-2012, 04:16 PM
Well yes but this is what 3D printing is all about - although at this stage they're not easy to assemble or use it's nonetheless a cheap, home made printer that can print real objects. Some printers can print themselves (e.g. self-replicate) which makes it kinda viral. I won't pretend it's ready for public consumption but like I said, give it 20 years or so. Model companies like Games Workshop will have the rug pulled out from under them like the music industry did with napster.

I always assumed von neumann machines would be developed by scientists or programmers, I never thought the machine plague would be caused by art students.

PeopleLikeFrank
25-01-2012, 04:20 PM
What do you mean when you say they can "print real objects"? Is this limited to things like paper mache (so far) or is it just about the sharing the blueprints?

They can print any 3-dimensional object, limited by material (plastic only at the moment) and scale (and topology to a degree). It uses something like an inkjet to build up a 3D object out of thin layers of plastic, so if you imagine taking a Games Workshop miniature and slicing it up like a loaf of bread, the printer can recreate it by layering up those slices with sprayed plastic. You've just created a real physical object out of a virtual model.

You could create anything you've got data for: plastic cutlery, machine parts, figurines, whatever. It most definitely will cause a freakout on par or larger than the current media thing once it popularizes.

trjp
25-01-2012, 05:02 PM
Yeah but if someone steals a car that someone has purchased, then it's the owner's loss, not the one who made the car. Plus it's physically possible to steal a car, it's not possible to "steal" a game if you're copying it, because you duplicate it and don't deprive the person with the original of that game.

Trying to equate physical property with data doesn't work.

Who it's being 'stolen' from is irrelevant - Toyota could, for example, decide that 20,000 stolen Toyotas in a year = 20,000 people who might have bought a Toyota if they couldn't steal one (it makes about as much sense as assuming every pirated copy is a lost sale).

Whilst I'm the first to support the 'piracy isn't theft' argument - there's an interesting parallel with car "theft".

Piracy is not theft because theft is taking someone's property "with the intent of permanently depriving them of it" - piracy doesn't do that and so it's not theft.

Most people who steal cars aren't charged with 'theft' either - because most of them have no intention of keeping the car, they are just stealing it to joyride/for use in a crime or whatever. This is why you most are charged with TWOCing (taking without the owners consent).

Caleb367
25-01-2012, 05:08 PM
Ok, my contribution to the shitstorm brewing.

I've been thinking about this DRM and piracy stuff and let's tear it down to the basics:


1) DRM is ineffective.

There's not a single game that wasn't cracked successfully in less than a month from release.

2) DRM means added cost for the publisher

'cause you have to actually pay people like Tages or Starforce to develop their thingies.

So, why should I, Mr Almighty Publisher, pay more money for something ineffectual? It's like I have to pay a fee for bug extermination services, only to keep having bugs everywhere. DRM makes me sell more stuff? Hell no. At best, it has a minor negative effect on sales (cue Ubisoft and the people - me for example - refusing to buy their products precisely due to their DRM policy; in this case, DRM has actually harmed their interests).

So: WHY should I keep with slamming DRM?
I can't find any more answers that ones of a purely human nature, and that means as a scapegoat. Blaming loss of sales on piracy - a non verifiable claim - leaves everyone in the clean, no one to blame for it.
So if Mr. McManager adds numbers from piracy to sold items, boom! Massive sales success.
You may already have noted where this is going.
Real numbers sold: 10 + completely imaginary piracy number: 10000 = 10010.
So Mr. McManager pushes for DRM. Which has no effect at all on sales, since they keep selling those ten pieces. So, why the predicted 10 thousand number is nowhere to be seen? Must be pirates again! More DRM!
And more DRM means more contracts for an entire industry working on this self-created and self-sustaining market.
We could even find out that several McManagers have stocks in DRM firms. Stocks whose value is rising, due to the increased demand for DRM.
I think we should give a look into the stockholders list for the major DRM firms, I suspect we will find many familiar names.

FuriKuri!
25-01-2012, 07:04 PM
You have some misconceptions. I completely dislike DRM but your attacks are on the wrong vector and have little real meaning in this argument.

1) DRM is effective.

Some games aren't cracked successfully until about a month from release. This may not seem like much to you but this is when AAA titles shift a lot of copies and at close to full RRP. The increasing conveyor belt approach to games with identikit sequels and copycat competitor titles released mere months apart has ensured the first month of retail is by far the most critical. I have no doubt that DRM has, and will continue, to persuade at least *some* people into buying where otherwise they would not.

2) The added cost of DRM is negligible. Honestly when your game costs 20-30mil do you really think an extra 10K is anything more than a drop in the bucket? Just renting some kit from sony costs thousands each month. If you're selling a million copies out the gate how much of that would you need as a %age to break even to 10K?

The problem with your argument is that it's totally ineffectual. Nobody has good numbers to throw around on this, least of all Random People On The Internet (tm). You can't correlate this shit easily and I bet they have tried a lot harder at it than you.

Perhaps they would be better off skipping DRM and pumping that cash into marketing or QA instead. Perhaps not. The fact is as it stands: publishers feel there is enough economic incentive to do it. This is only going to stop when that incentive goes away, e.g. there is a strong and loudly voiced push from the public to stop buying stuff with DRM. Trying to convince them that their numbers aren't right as they stand now is going to get you nowhere.

Caleb367
25-01-2012, 08:12 PM
Good points, but we're working without verifiable numbers, and I mean me and you both.
It's true that, as you say, some games aren't cracked until after the "honeymoon" right after release, but it's also true that some games get released on the pirate circuit even before release. Vast majority of titles get cracked in days if not hours upon release. Potential customers of the "I want it right now this instant" usually buy on release or preorder, so they're already out of the scene.
As for being effective, I'm not at all convinced: even if only because if it were effective, it would be 100% widespread. And not just in gaming, on DVD rentals, streaming sites, and so on.
Besides, a cost is a minus on the sheet, and we know the average manager is hellbent to reduce or eliminate those minuses, sometimes disregarding potential ill effects. You think an average manager looks at an avoidable 20k on a multi-million dollar project and thinks, ah, what the hell, or smashes it to proudly announce he saved the company 20k of unnecessary spending?
I appreciate your reasoning, but I'm not convinced; I don't think any of us could come up with a solid argument without checking the figures, and that's not at all an easy thing to do. However, I may be mistaken, but I still keep asking: why Ubisoft, to say one of the many, keeps a self-damaging abusive DRM policy? Money it is not, since I'm not the only one against buying anything from them. Unless there is an economic incentive, but focused entirely on the DRM industry itself.
Lemme tell you a tale: years ago, the Italian Guarda Forestale (sort of park rangers, mainly care about forest fires) were entirely a state op. Recently, they opened doors to season contractors, hired to put out fires on call. Sounds nice, ain't it? Better manpower should mean reduced fires. Guess what, forest fires increased tenfold since then, and it's common knowledge contractors themselves set them to profit on increased calls. So by now, you have to hire contractors to put out fires the same contractors started, and if you don't, you don't have the manpower to fight them fires. Self-sustaining market.
Probably it's cheaper to invest on DRM than QA. Probably someone on publishing get a cut on DRM stocks. May be that DRM makes people buy more copies, may be they buy less. Without numbers, we're simply guessing.

Tei
25-01-2012, 09:07 PM
Of course no.

People that pirate, pirate all the games, movies, etc.. Some of then would not be able to pay for everything, others would only download a few, and stop there. Some people just download everything, building "collections", but never actually watch what download.

deano2099
25-01-2012, 10:19 PM
You have some misconceptions. I completely dislike DRM but your attacks are on the wrong vector and have little real meaning in this argument.

1) DRM is effective.

Some games aren't cracked successfully until about a month from release.

But that's the one verifiable figure we can get. It's about one game per year where the DRM actually works, and while 10k might be the cost for some off-the-shelf DRM, that's also the DRM that doesn't work. The stuff that does are the custom-designed things like Ubi-DRM, and even then, the second time they're used things get cracked ever more quickly.

I don't have any evidence, but I'd bet my life savings that no 10k DRM has ever stopped piracy for a month.

But however much it costs, it's a 500-to-1 shot getting something that has any effect at all. It's done because it pleases shareholders, because then they can tell them they're trying. It's not done because it's cost-effective. Especially give that the effect it has on sales would seem to be negligible (you think UbiSoft wouldn't have announced how well AC2 sold on PC if keeping it pirate-free for three weeks really had an impact?).

Edit - that's actually the most damning evidence we have. The DRM on AC2 was one of those amazing ones that, as you say, actually worked. For the next game in the series, UbiSoft dropped it. The biggest DRM success story in the past five years and it wasn't worth doing on the next project.

Nalano
25-01-2012, 10:41 PM
The DRM on AC2 was one of those amazing ones that, as you say, actually worked.

I had a cracked version of AC2 working two weeks after release, using a crack that was done the week of release.

The "it took a whole month" bullshit is because a lot of illiterates out there can't read readme files, and had to wait for the 'pirating for dummies' batch release.

soldant
25-01-2012, 11:46 PM
Who it's being 'stolen' from is irrelevant - Toyota could, for example, decide that 20,000 stolen Toyotas in a year = 20,000 people who might have bought a Toyota if they couldn't steal one (it makes about as much sense as assuming every pirated copy is a lost sale).
There is no parallel because the car is a physical product, data is not. Toyota won't assume that 20,000 stolen Toyotas equates to a lost sale unless those cars were stolen from Toyota direct... and while they might not automatically be a lost sale, they do become a loss for Toyota since they no longer have that car which they could sell or otherwise use. With digital data someone copies it and doesn't deprive the person of the original, such that they can still sell the original or a license to use it.

You cannot compare data to physical objects. Any attempt to do so breaks down just like the "theft" argument because we're not talking of depriving or converting to deprive the owner of the thing, whatever it is. Don't attempt to equate physical property with data, it can't be done on the simple basis that data is copied.

Nalano
25-01-2012, 11:56 PM
There is no parallel because the car is a physical product, data is not. Toyota won't assume that 20,000 stolen Toyotas equates to a lost sale unless those cars were stolen from Toyota direct... and while they might not automatically be a lost sale, they do become a loss for Toyota since they no longer have that car which they could sell or otherwise use. With digital data someone copies it and doesn't deprive the person of the original, such that they can still sell the original or a license to use it.

You cannot compare data to physical objects. Any attempt to do so breaks down just like the "theft" argument because we're not talking of depriving or converting to deprive the owner of the thing, whatever it is. Don't attempt to equate physical property with data, it can't be done on the simple basis that data is copied.

This. Intellectual Property is not Physical Property.

To demand that the creator be compensated for every copy out there by necessity assumes that there is an objective value for each virtual copy that the creator is then owed - and who, then, determines the value of each copy?

The creator? The consumer? A third party?

It doesn't matter, because either way you're printing money for free and assigning price controls on it. What possible economic system could work that way?

trjp
26-01-2012, 12:23 AM
There is no parallel because the car is a physical product, data is not. Toyota won't assume that 20,000 stolen Toyotas equates to a lost sale unless those cars were stolen from Toyota direct... and while they might not automatically be a lost sale, they do become a loss for Toyota since they no longer have that car which they could sell or otherwise use. With digital data someone copies it and doesn't deprive the person of the original, such that they can still sell the original or a license to use it.

You cannot compare data to physical objects. Any attempt to do so breaks down just like the "theft" argument because we're not talking of depriving or converting to deprive the owner of the thing, whatever it is. Don't attempt to equate physical property with data, it can't be done on the simple basis that data is copied.

I don't really disagree with that - we really do have no concept of the value of something which can be copied for no cost an infinite amount of times...

My point is that assuming every 'stolen' copy of the game is a loss makes as much sense as Toyota assuming a stolen Toyota could have been the sale of a Toyota. Just as the pikey wouldn't have bought a car, could he not have stolen one - our pirate buddies wouldn't have rushed to the shop to buy every game they ever copied.

Indeed I used to work with someone who had an obsession with pirating PC games (this is back in the days between Doom and Quake) - he visited a computer club weekly and came home burdened with discs of games he'd NEVER EVER play. In fact I never saw him play a game at all - he simply spent his time copying discs so he could say he 'had' a huge list of games.

People are strange...

vecordae
26-01-2012, 12:57 AM
I don't think that piracy equals lost sales as such. It certainly seems to represent a shrinkage of the available customer base and forces a company to, essentially, compete with free versions of its own product. How much of an impact that nebulous shrinkage and shadowy competition actually impacts a company varies from game to game and is very, very difficult to measure.

The comparison to a company dealing with loss via theft is a poor comparison. Instead, I'll offer the situation an artisan often faces. I have known several craftspeople who have had their designs copied and mass-produced by factories in China, India, or Pakistan. They have a hard time selling their products when the already limited market is flooded with cheaply-made knockoffs. I think that this is the closest thing the material world has to software piracy at the moment. It looks a bit like this:

Let us say that I have forged and assembled a Cool Thing (tm). Let us arbitrarily decide that the cost of materials and and the time involved means I need to sell this thing for ninety monies in order for it to have been profitable for me. I hand-crafted it, afterall, and don't have access to fancy machines to drive my costs down. One day, on my way to the store, I find that someone has managed to create exact duplicates of my work. An infinite number of them, actually. My product was copied and now I have to somehow convince folks that my genuine Cool Thing (tm) is worth ninety monies when they can go and pick one up on any street corner for seventy five pence. Now, imagine this happens every single time I produce anything.

Those are the same exact challenges that software companies are facing. The reality isn't that pirates are "stealing" the games in the same sense that one would steal candy from a convenience store. The problem is that the ability easily to get something for free drives down its perceived value. If people don't find much value in your games, then it means it takes longer and longer for your work to turn a profit, if it ever turns a profit at all. It's really easy to take those trends and envision a future where it's financially unadvisable to create games. That fear drives a great deal of this DRM nonsense.

Nalano
26-01-2012, 01:11 AM
It certainly seems to represent a shrinkage of the available customer base

I'd argue the opposite: It provides, by far, the greatest extent of publicity the product can possibly receive. After all, despite a high start-up cost, and in the age of broadband filesharing, the number of PC gamers has only grown.

vecordae
26-01-2012, 04:14 AM
I'd argue the opposite: It provides, by far, the greatest extent of publicity the product can possibly receive. After all, despite a high start-up cost, and in the age of broadband filesharing, the number of PC gamers has only grown.

My own experiences have lead me to believe otherwise, but I'm sure different folks would have interpreted them differently where they in my shoes. When your initial exposure to a title is, in essence, the entire game for free, there is no guarantee that said exposure will lead to increased sales. There is no guarantee the opposite is the case either, but that's not what's important. The numbers are nebulous if they exist at all and there are people with varying amounts of intelligence with reasonable sounding arguments on either side of the issue. In the absence of fact, developers will have to rely on their own perceptions to make sense of things. As I hinted at in my prior example, it's really easy to feel victimized by it all.

As a developer, it's really easy to take a look at all all the people with copies of your game that they didn't purchase and feel like they're denying you the remuneration you feel that your efforts have entitled you to. As an investor it's easy to perceive that all those people running around with free copies of the game you helped finance and feel that the developers weren't being careful enough with your money. As legitimate customer, it is easy to feel resentful of folks who get to enjoy the same experience, but did so without following the rules. Since the people who are the most vocal about how little piracy actually effects any of those groups are the ones doing the pirating, it sort of undermines the entire argument whether it is valid or not.

I'm not letting devs and publishers off the hook on this, either, mind. There is a LOT the gaming industry could be doing to eliminate the most common impetuses for piracy in the first place, such as providing demos that are representative of the final product, making it easy to get hold of your copy of a game should you lose the CD, and alternate distribution channels that provide the same kind of cheap and easy access to games that television and radio provide to non-interactive media. Things that sell convenience and ongoing support as part of the game package rather than convoluted software protection schemes that detract from the enjoyment of the game. Seriously. Some mutual respect would go a long way to making Piracy a non issue. Nothing will ever stop it, but it would certainly help all the folks involved in making and buying and enjoying games perceive things a little more positively.

Nalano
26-01-2012, 06:41 AM
there is no guarantee that said exposure will lead to increased sales

No promotion is a guarantee of increased sales. You can predict, but you cannot demand.


As I hinted at in my prior example, it's really easy to feel victimized by it all.

It's a good thing we usually don't base laws on how badly one feels. Should Lucas be able to sue every customer who called the prequel trilogy a heap of steaming shit, because it gave him so much emotional distress?


As legitimate customer, it is easy to feel resentful of folks who get to enjoy the same experience, but did so without following the rules.

The only way I'd see a legitimate customer feeling resentful towards a pirate is because 1) the pirate, having a DRM-free version, has the better product, or 2) the legitimate customer doesn't feel the product was worth the money he paid for it. Otherwise, I'd see the customer generally feeling superior to the pirate - "I supported the creators of something I like," - or failing to waste time thinking about the pirate at all.


Since the people who are the most vocal about how little piracy actually effects any of those groups are the ones doing the pirating, it sort of undermines the entire argument whether it is valid or not.

The people most vocal about how piracy is destroying the industry are the publishers who stand to lose the most money in an economic shift, and why should I care about them?


I'm not letting devs and publishers off the hook on this, either, mind. There is a LOT the gaming industry could be doing to eliminate the most common impetuses for piracy in the first place, such as providing demos that are representative of the final product, making it easy to get hold of your copy of a game should you lose the CD, and alternate distribution channels that provide the same kind of cheap and easy access to games that television and radio provide to non-interactive media. Things that sell convenience and ongoing support as part of the game package rather than convoluted software protection schemes that detract from the enjoyment of the game. Seriously. Some mutual respect would go a long way to making Piracy a non issue. Nothing will ever stop it, but it would certainly help all the folks involved in making and buying and enjoying games perceive things a little more positively.

Like Valve.

Lobotomist
26-01-2012, 12:47 PM
I don't think that piracy equals lost sales as such. It certainly seems to represent a shrinkage of the available customer base and forces a company to, essentially, compete with free versions of its own product.

Excellently said!

I think this gives cue how to combat piracy, in effective manner. And why some companies , like Valve are more sucessful at it than others.

IDtenT
26-01-2012, 12:58 PM
Digital media cannot be seen as products, as there is no manufacturing cycle. The supply is infinite and the demand is so-so - so it's not infinity over infinity either, like fiat currency might be. The only way the developers can make money is if they offer a better service than the pirates. Charging for digital media without rendering a service is morally reprehensible, it'd be like charging someone for rainwater.

vecordae
26-01-2012, 05:06 PM
No promotion is a guarantee of increased sales. You can predict, but you cannot demand.

Absolutely. That isn't in debate at all. The problem is simply that we currently have no way of reliably measuring the effects that "publicity" via piracy has. In absence of fact, people tend to default to fear and the fear is that piracy = lost sales.




It's a good thing we usually don't base laws on how badly one feels. Should Lucas be able to sue every customer who called the prequel trilogy a heap of steaming shit, because it gave him so much emotional distress?

No, we certainly don't. We base laws on the perceived needs of our society (or just the corporate bits if one is feeling especially cynical). If a society perceives or is convinced that piracy is a huge problem, then they will put more and more laws into effect in an effort to regulate it out of existence. This doesn't work, but fear isn't a rational thing. I vaguely recall something called SAOP or something that was voted down recently. Had folks not been paying attention, it could very easily have passed.




The only way I'd see a legitimate customer feeling resentful towards a pirate is because 1) the pirate, having a DRM-free version, has the better product, or 2) the legitimate customer doesn't feel the product was worth the money he paid for it. Otherwise, I'd see the customer generally feeling superior to the pirate - "I supported the creators of something I like," - or failing to waste time thinking about the pirate at all.

If that is how you see it, that is how you see it. However I know that I can feel resentful about it at times and I am a customer. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does so, but won't speak for anyone else on this.


The people most vocal about how piracy is destroying the industry are the publishers who stand to lose the most money in an economic shift, and why should I care about them?

What I said was that the people most vocal about how piracy doesn't hurt anyone are the pirates. The people most vocal about how piracy has a huge impact on sales are, of course, going to be the folks on the industry side, especially the investors and publishers. I can't think of any particular reason why you, individually, should care about them. Personally, I'm more interested in having a business model and encourages more people to produce more interesting games than the interchangeable corporate entities that participate in it.

soldant
27-01-2012, 12:57 AM
it'd be like charging someone for rainwater.
Off topic, but my state government intended to tax people on water collected from rainwater tanks. Fortunately they couldn't figure out a way to do it without just assuming every tank was full, so they didn't go ahead with it.