- Almost every single-player game is cracked and put online within weeks of it's release, sometimes within a few days.
- DRM does nothing but erect barriers against legitimate customers. The pirated version is often superior, having no limited activations, or forced subscriptions. Ironically this encourages more people to become pirates.
- Spore spearheaded the use of intrusive DRM and became one of the most pirated games ever.
- Modern DRM diminishes basic consumer rights by preventing users from reselling. This is a legal grey area which the courts will hopefully close in the next few years.
The morality of pirates is explored further in Hill's book, where he actually manages to (quite succesfully) to identify the causes of piracy, and goes into some behavioural psychology in order to look at why people who steal games, do not steal in supermarkets.
Regarding Mozart's research grants: Our current society society rewards research...ok, you can survive in EU, and you can be rich in North America. Sponsorships, research grants,etc all guarantee this, that you will not starve doing beneficial research for the society. But you seem to say, producing a video game, and spending years to do so, should be equated to research. I disagree. Strongly. There are aspects of video-games that warrant research, AI, technological aspects of it e.g. graphics etc. But video game is not a research product, in the same way as a book of fiction is not one. Sure, many might not prove succesful, but this is no exact science, in fact, it is not a science at all. Which is why copyright, in the light of 90% piracy rates, is warranted.
Last edited by vinraith; 24-07-2012 at 05:46 PM.
I actually find it funny when people mention how the pirated version is easier and has fewer hassles. I used to think of this, then I actually thought about it:
Buying a game at retail: I have to get in my car, drive to a store, buy it, drive back, tear through the unholy plastic, install, patch, play.
Buying from Amazon: Place the order whenever, get the box off the front porch, go through the unholy plastic, install, patch, play
Piracy: I start up a torrent, go watch some TV, install it, find a crack (so look at some fun porn ads), apply a crack, (possibly patch), play
Digital Distribution (like Steam): I buy it, hit download, go watch some TV, come back, play.
So, the default case is definitely favoring legal usage of Steam or something similar. So then it just becomes: How often do people actually HAVE the problems of the DRM?
Ubi's always-on was problematic for people with poor connections, but anyone with a solid broadband had no reason to complain (aside from principle, which is why I still whinge about it)
Limited Activations had some issues early on, but these days all have uninstallers that refund, or activations that time out (like Riddick's version of TAGES). So unless you are reinstalling/modding your computer every five seconds, you should be okay.
Disc Checks and Serial Numbers: I hate these with a passion. I used to not mind, then I got given Neverwinter Nights Diamond as a gift... The horror...
So really, as long as you have a relatively stable internet connection (which is a fair assumption these days), the "The pirated version is less hassle" really isn't true.
Last edited by gundato; 24-07-2012 at 05:45 PM.
Thanks for the comments!
This ties in with the intrusiveness of DRM. What is missing in this argument, are the benefits DRM gives to the consumer (indirect they maybe). Thus, the objective is to find a non-intrusive DRM that punishes the pirates, only found amongst always-online DRM.- DRM does nothing but erect barriers against legitimate customers. The pirated version is often superior, having no limited activations, or forced subscriptions. Ironically this encourages more people to become pirates.
This is in fact false. There are even DRM free indie games that have surpassed it in piracy, but regarding Spore specifically, you might be interested in the TweakGuides article:- Spore spearheaded the use of intrusive DRM and became one of the most pirated games ever.
A recent highly-publicized PC-specific example of the 'DRM causes piracy' argument is the game Spore, and in some ways this is a unique case that bears closer examination. Much-maligned for its use of SecuROM DRM, some people even went to the trouble of giving Spore a one-star rating on Amazon.com to protest the use of DRM. Similarly, looking at Spore's Metacritic Scores, it got 84% from professional reviewers, but a lowly 45% from users, primarily due to the DRM issue. Despite this customer backlash, the game still sold over 2 million copies in its first three weeks alone, making it one of the best selling PC games of the year. To counter this success, one piracy site released the sensationalist claim that Spore is the most downloaded game ever at 500,000 copies during the same period. I have no doubt that some of those pirated copies were the result of people being scared off by SecuROM, however the entire Spore controversy is more important because it demonstrates the somewhat sinister side of the DRM debate. As I'm about to show you, the anger against SecuROM - and StarForce before it - is in large part propagandistic misinformation-laden scaremongering deliberately fuelled by various vested interests. For the moment, to counter the Spore example, bear in mind that the piracy figures we examined earlier show that the key determinant in how much a game gets pirated is how popular the game is, not whether it has DRM.
DRM is Malware
The fact of the matter is that whether successful in preventing a net loss in sales or not, nobody likes copy protection and DRM - not legitimate purchasers who may experience problems with it, not the pirates who have to work to crack it, and not the developers and publishers who have to pay substantial sums to the companies that own the technology, not to mention having to face the constant negative publicity and tech support requests. EA boss John Riccitiello recently said this about the Spore controversy:
I personally don't like DRM. It interrupts the user experience. We would like to get around that. But there is this problem called piracy out there. We're still working out the kinks. We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice. But for the other .2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it.
Note that he got the '0.2%' figure from the data provided here which shows that from a large sample of Spore customers, less than 1% of customers ever faced the DRM-enforced installation limit. Regardless of whether it was only 1% or not, ideally no legitimate customer should have to face potentially troublesome installation limits, forced to make phone calls to EA Support to explain activation issues, and generally spend their time dealing with potential problems rather than playing their game. However there's a world of difference between not liking something that's an inconvenience but a practical necessity, and hysterically hating it based on hearsay and misinformation. Many users have problems with their graphics drivers for example, spending hours reinstalling, configuring and troubleshooting them in an effort to play their games with stability and decent performance - but that doesn't mean everyone should start a hate campaign filled with unsubstantiated falsehoods against ATI or Nvidia.The users do not own the game, applicable even to indie games, legally. I think it's been that way for a very long time. Regarding second-hand sales, I admit, publishers seem to hate it, probably something to do with rampant PC piracy rates of 90% plus.- Modern DRM diminishes basic consumer rights by preventing users from reselling. This is a legal grey area which the courts will hopefully close in the next few years.
It's not ideal but it's sufficient as a plan b for me.
Gundato that is why people like steam... because it is the only dd drm that is more convenient than pirating... and why people get double pissed if gfwl etc are added on top of steamworks.
Origin and uplay are significantly more annoying than pirating.
Want to buy anno 1404? BZZZT, that game is no longer available in your region because fuck you.
Want to play anno2070? Download, install like you would from a dvd, copy crack files to folder, type firewall in start menu and block the exe: DONE. The whole process outside of waiting for the install to finish takes like 30seconds. Any and all dlc is right there for you in all uplay/origin/whatever games.
Want to buy anno (edit : ubi drm games) and you face a combination of :
1: Buy (for me personally here is where the bullshit starts, uplay site doesnt even recognise my language and sets it to french without any option in the website to change it).
No Ideal or direct banking support (unlike on steam) and on mainland europe many people don't use credit cards mostly because we don't have a culture where you spend your paycheck before you earn it! We have regular bank cards, not supported by uplay shop.
2: Install the shitty uplay client, have it update , create account if you don't have one (this part identical to steam)
3: have it dl and install the game
4: enter account details (nothing to get you fired up for gaming like logging in to some service to play an sp game), get some shitty DLC related ads on your screen and notice part of the content is locked out until you 'earn' uplay points by finishing the game or buy them (like in driver SF)
Weekly isp maintenance or other downtime? TOUGH SHIT until recently they finally realised there are limits.
5: Launch game, watch extra loading screen for the log in/sync (anyone who played rockstar drm addled game la noire knows how frustrating the synch can be) get reminded how you don't have the dlc and you should totally really buy it for reals cos you are missing out man , so silly of you to only spend 50 euros on your game when you could have the complete game for only 30 euros more.
6: In case of gfwl: pray the game doesn't delete your savegame when you are done.
Want to remove anno 2070 and play it some other time?
Uninstall the pirated copy
Call up ubisoft cs to undo or reset your activations and give them your blood type, child's first words, social security number, penis girth and dirtiest fetish to identify yourself.
Going through this once is enough to sour you on any(especially activation) drm forever
Point is: (and has been this whole thread), that instead of making buying a game more attractive, they are trying to make it harder to pirate (and failing miserably btw, holy shit).
Maybe if they didn't nickle and dime, had demos to try the games before release, spent a litte bit of that PR money on QA and released a working product that is finished and not bug ridden then the value proposition would go up and people would be more interested in buying their games at all.
DRM is going at it the wrong way when you want to convince people to support your game.
Consumer satisfaction no longer matters and bullying people with annoying drm that adds all kinds of needless barriers and conditions to playing the stuff you bought is not ok.
Now that I think about it, the most effective DRM i've ever seen is the one nintendo uses for their DS carts (I know right, r4 cart LOL but hear me out).
Closed platform (reason why it works at all) guarantees that it won't backfire for owners of legit carts and they can play it as much as they want for as long as they want and give it to anyone they want.
But if you pirate it (even with the r4 cart existing) would mean your copy degredes and you 'll never know when or how or if your copy was any good until it happens.
Super frustrating for people pirating (not that it stopped them haha, don't understimate the scene) but it does plant the seed of doubt and hesitation when playing a pirated copy while the normal buyer will never see any difference.
Last edited by Finicky; 24-07-2012 at 07:09 PM.
Steam isn't the only one with those benefits. Origin is pretty good about it too (admittedly, their store kind of sucks).
As for anno: Honestly, that mostly sounds like a problem with the ubi store (the french thing) and you not liking DLC. Europeans still regularly get boned on Steam (its okay, Americans get sodomized by Origin. Somehow...), and a lot of games try to shove DLC down your throat. The DLC problem being with the game, not the DRM-model (the annoying jerk at camp is still there in DA:O, regardless of if you bought the game retail, origin, or Steam).
And anyway you put it: It is piracy if you use a crack to give you DLCs. If you think that is stealing or not is up to you, but that is still software piracy.
Although, how did you use up all your activations on one playthrough? I'll admit, I got confused by your rambling and ranting (its cool, people get confused by mine), but it sounds like you had to reset all activations after playing once?
Yeah I forgot to add where I was going with it, noticed as I proofread, added now.
And about the activations: depending on the DRM there is either a process to undo one activation each time (think calling MS for windows activations and some games which I really can't remember but am positive you can find on google), or you only get a single activation in some cases or you often only get 3.
Idk about you but most people have a laptop as second machine or multiple computers, I've gone through like 15-20 'activations' (if it had them) with cs since I've had it and having gone through the process of having to call customer support to reset my activations once, It's a despicable practice that needs to piss off and die.
Last edited by Finicky; 24-07-2012 at 06:46 PM.
Even though I'm risking going partially off-topic, the matter of lease vs. purchase is an interesting case. When we're talking about software, the marginal cost of producing another similar good (ie. copying!) is pretty much zero. Now consider that the means of producing more copies are readily available for pretty much everyone. The question is, in this setting is it actually reasonable for the original producer to sell anything? Sell one good to someone. Now that someone can produce as many copies of the same good as he/she wishes, with zero cost. The market is flooded: the original good loses all value. No, you as the original producer need to build as good system for preventing copying as you can, or then some sort of lease system in which the customer actually never gets hold of the original good in a way that would facilitate copying...
And aside from the first few games, most games with activation models have activations refunded when you uninstall (or they time out). And they generally give at least 4 or 5 (usually the number appears to be 9). If you are installing a game on more than 2 or 3 computers, I have to question if you really have"pure" intentions as it were :p
The most common excuse I usually see is someone with detached tumors (children) installing the game for them, which definitely falls into the grey area because there are multiple users with a single license.
Conveniently not mentioned is the fact that the pirated version does not include a lot of functionality. Persistent upgrades, OP Ark upgrades, community based events and powers, and ofc multiplayer are things pirates will never get. I've personally seen these to be enough to be able to convince to people to buy the game already.
In terms of hassles for the legit user over the (gimped) pirated user?
Regarding activation limits: You will never run out.
There is no deactivation/deauthorisation tool. There are 3 machine limits, which are not consumed with things like GFX changes/RAM changes/OS reinstalls, on top of which every 30 days your activation are replenished, making the act of running out of activations a monumental task to begin with. After all that, you can (and people have) get more with a free phone call.
Always-online: There is an offline option that you can use even if you rip out your LAN cable thus negating any points about not being able to play. Ever. Again.
If anything, Anno 2070's DRM model is the most succesful yet, especially since it took almost two months to crack it (for the gimped pirated version) in the first place, and is so unintrusive.
And I still haven't mentioned how they managed to enhance the single-player game with multiplayer functionality in their blatant attempt to implement more DRM.
PS. Slightly concerned about the blatant lies and inaccuracies in your post.
And there is the word license again.
If we are just renting a license the price needs to be set accordingly.
If I buy a dvd noone is going to call it a gray area when the kids pop it into their dvd player in their room, what a crazy world we live in if that were ever to come up.
And come on man, having a game on multiple pcs is pretty damn normal.
I grew up playing ut, quake 2 and ra2 on lan with friends at their houses, I'd install my game on their second pc , one copy goes on the laptop at home, one on the desktop at home, when it's time for a hardware upgrade you have to install it again.
You go over to friends as a kid? you bring your games to play during the day and you take them back home (wether it be your sega genesis games or theme hospital on pc).
I guess that was in a time where gaming wasn't mainstream mickey mouse bullshit yet, gamers actually went to lans (and games had lan support) or held their own lans and when playing games was a social activity to bring together friends. My bad there...
Again, if I can no longer do those things with a game or can't play it anymore after a few years (@ deano,do you game on pc man? go take a look at Gog or steam library, or most older pc gamers' gaming shelves they are full of 10 year old games) and am just renting a gimp version that only works on that one machine (and makes me jump through hoops if I get any fancy ideas like the above) then it's worth much, much less than a proper fully functional game that I properly own with no strings attached.
The latter might be worth 40-50 euros to me, the rental is worth 10 at best.
@ rojimbo: I own the pirated version of anno2070 (note the word own, not have a license) , my rant on activations is based on previous experience with securom. (fool me once.. you get the idea). I probably could have picked a better game to compare with the activation limits but anno happens to be the one I remember the pirated install procedure for and boy was it easy. Game works like a charm. The uplay experience comes from driver SF from the steam deal.
A quick google search shows I was very much right about the activation limit on anno as well : http://anno.uk.ubi.com/pc/faq-tages.php INCLUDING having to call CS to reset activations.
You call my entire post lies while all of it is objectively true and only one part applies to driver SF (another ubi game, have no idea if it applies to anno as well)
I'll edit that bit to clarify if you want.
I hope you realise that 'online functionality' from anno has nothing to do with drm ,right?
You don't need drm to synch a game to a server, hell even crysis 2 retail can (could) connect to the matchmaking, statistics, rank, achievement, unlock etc servers with a pirated copy.
(google it if you want to call me a liar again, I played the game online myself with a cracked copy before quickly getting bored of it)
A game connecting to a central server like if it were a website to share some shitty feeds or upload some data and activate some predetermined triggers is nothing new and has absolutely nothing to do with DRM or copy protection.
To be clear: I've put easily over ten thousand euros into games (software not hardware) in the past 20 years and spent over 300 already this year but I'll be damned if I support ubisoft again. I spend out of love, not out of misplaced guilt.
Last edited by Finicky; 24-07-2012 at 07:21 PM.
Well, it is definitely a (very dark) grey area to install on your friend's computers.
Face it, a lot of the stuff we did as children kind of WAS piracy. And that's why there is the concept of the license and other issues: Software is different. I can give Jim-Bob a copy of SC Chaos Theory and there is no detriment to either of us. At least with a book, we can only have the one book without paying for a second.
As for multiple copies: Mostly, I think the problem is with concurrent copies (because of deauthorization tools/uninstallers). I always am surprised by people who need so many concurrent copies. With deauthorization tools, upgrading to a new system isn't too big of a deal (especially with the better DRMs that time out activations). And if you are updating that many times that it becomes a problem, well, send me your old parts :p
Not saying it isn't possible, but you end up downloading patches from third party sites and mods and hacks from wherever to get the thing to run. Which are no more secure than cracks.
And I have plenty of boxed PC games over ten years old, but honestly if I want to play one these days, and it's not on GoG, my first port of call will be a torrent site to see if someone has packaged up a nice collection of game+patch+fixes for newer systems+instructions for making it all work. They're not that rare.