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Spore the Most Pirated Game of 2008

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the clearly-securom-is-doing-its-job dept.

The Internet 404

TorrentFreak has posted some statistics on the most pirated games of the past year. Leading the list by a large margin is Spore, made infamous even before its release for the draconian DRM attached to the game. It was downloaded through BitTorrent roughly 1.7 million times, with The Sims 2 and Assassin's Creed following at just over a million each. (It's worth noting that Spore came out in September, so that figure is essentially for a mere three months.) GameSetWatch has posted a related piece discussing the countermeasures involved in dealing with piracy. It's the second article in a series about piracy; we discussed the first a couple days ago.

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Because of the DRM (5, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26011965)

Maybe that is because of the DRM, even if you buy the game, you still have to pirate it to be able to play a clean version (clean meaning without DRM restrictions of course).

Re:Because of the DRM (4, Informative)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012017)

Yep. I'm included in that statistic, despite buying the game. Downloaded the game when it first appeared, but waited until release day to actually install from my retail version, then use the crack from the pirated version.

Given what a letdown the game was, I should have installed the pirated version earlier and seen it wasn't worth the $50 and just deleted it.

Ah well.

Re:Because of the DRM (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012071)

Thanks for killing the games industry, you filthy thief.

Re:Because of the DRM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012141)

Can't you read? Fuck off yourself you damn idiot. Troll.

Re:Because of the DRM (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012185)

Good job pointing out a troll and feeding it immediately.

Re:Because of the DRM (2, Funny)

loonycyborg (1262242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012433)


Exactly !!! (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012491)

Thanks for killing the games industry, you filthy thief.

Yes, I second that !

We need more suckers... huh, no... "customers" to fall for the brainwash... hu, sorry... for the marketing overhyping our product, and who will blindingly throw their money at whatever product we manage to persuade them will be the best-game-ever-even-better-than-blowjob-and-beacon-sammich !

Our economy is dying because of all the filthy thieves who selfishly want to see what a game is worth before buying !


though, seriously, I actually found the game kind of cool.

Standard excuses (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012531)

Standard excuses for not paying for this or any other game (pick any that apply):

1) I will pirate it first and then pay only if I like it (a la when I go into a restaurant and only pay when I liked the food, or go to the theater to see a film and pay only if it didn't suck). If the game is not PERFECT, I don't pay.
2) My pirating is good for the software developer (more people playing, even without paying is good, it gives them lots of free publicity). Piracy increases sales! I am doing them a HUGE favor.
3) I am a cheap ass.
4) There is no such thing as copyright (or shouldn't be). Other people should create art, music, games, films, and entertainment for me as a favor and fund it out of their own pocket.
5) Piracy is a fact in the gaming world. Get used to it. It's the developer's own fault because they should have taken it into account in their business case (besides, they should have been working on this full time as an open source program for free anyway).
6) $50 for this game is too much. Come to think of it, $25 is too. And if it is only $10, then pirating it shouldn't be that much of a burden to the developer.
7) I do not want to try the demo because the only meaningful way to try out a game is to try out the ENTIRE game.
8) Who cares if there is 99.9% piracy, all the developers need is to make just enough money to fund developing another game. They don't need to get rich (after all, I'm not).
9) "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
10) Because I have never had to create, develop and market a game and I don't have a clue as to what it takes to run a business.
11) Because DRM is such a great excuse.

Re:Because of the DRM (1)

tchiseen (1315299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012533)

The game was rubbish though, so you can't put ALL the blame on GPants for killing the games industry, some of it has to go to EA.

Re:Because of the DRM (4, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012043)

Its because of the Marketing blitz.
Everywhere I look its Spore this, Spore that. You'd have mushrooms in your ears to miss hearing about it.
OF COURSE people are going to think: "Whats all the hype about - not like MARKETING has LIED to me before so I'll take a free no-obligation look-see for myself."
Some %, possibly significant, of those downloaders are going to perhaps like it and/or will want to play online, so they will sign up for valid copies. These people are new clients - they would not of bought the game otherwise.
Now the hardliners-stuck in the 80's software model will cry "these numbers will destroy the game industry". Bollocks. They are getting 1.X million potential clients who would never have bother buying the game to see if it was worth the hype in the first place.

News flash: Bittorent downloads will reflect real world marketing promotion.

Re:Because of the DRM (3, Interesting)

kentrel (526003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012053)

Your data to prove this hypothesis?

Re:Because of the DRM (5, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012081)

Can go one better: The weight of evidence is in the real world sales: [] []
The weight of real-world evidence is in favor of the hypothesis posted above. The only anti-hypothesis you've got is 1 Pirate == 1 lost sale. *cough* Your data prove your hypothesis?*cough**cough*

Re:Because of the DRM (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012099)

P.S. Fast forward one year. News Title: "Spore the Most Successful Game of 2009". If its worthy of the hype. Mark my words.

Re:Because of the DRM (1, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012151)

I got another one to prove otherwise.

Bruce Eckel for a while released his books for free. And initially things went very well. But then things went downhill because people would end up NOT buying his books. They would have read his books, but not bought them.

Now Bruce is not making the later editions for free anymore. Why? I can only surmise that it did not work out. I once asked him and he said, "oh yeah that it was an interesting experiment."

I know Bruce personally and he is not a money freak. He is a very nice guy. He is in fact somebody who likes Open Source, etc. But I know he also has to feed himself and I wonder if sales did end up going down...

It actually disappoints me because Bruce was very willing and wanted to help the community. But the community let him down...

Re:Because of the DRM (4, Insightful)

HadouKen24 (989446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012227)

The problem, perhaps, is in the kind of work he tried to make free. The evidence seems to point toward entertainment products being benefited by piracy. Not books on programming or other technical non-fiction. These are two very different kinds of products used in very different ways. One should not assume that trends in one should be a good indication of trends in the other.

Re:Because of the DRM (-1, Redundant)

Count Fenring (669457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012529)

Accidentally moderated redundant, posting to kill my mods in this post.

Why, why, why is redundant so close to insightful?

Although I'm not sure there's too much evidence either way for the programming book thing. It would be interesting to look at things like Practical Common Lisp et cetera, and see how they'd worked out.

Re:Because of the DRM (3, Interesting)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012173)

It'd be nice to see stats on sales versus stats on piracy for some recent top titles. Unfortunately, AFAIK, it's difficult to get stats from legal digital distributors.

I can see why people would be skeptical (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012207)

Particularly in the case of Spore. That game was sold as just damn amazing. Well often when that's claimed it turns out not to be the case. Fable would be a good example. Had it been what it was originally claimed to be, it would likely be the defining RPG of this generation. Instead it was a fairly average action RPG.

Such is the case with Spore as well. Now I don't know, maybe the game gets awesome in later stages but to me, it seemed very shallow the little I tooled around with it on a friend's copy. The first two stages were really boring. I also had a look at his game on the Civilization stage. Well guess what? I've already seen that done better in a game called... Civilization. I likes me a good Civ simulator, in fact I own Civ 4 and it's two expansions. So if you aren't doing it better than that, and it isn't, well then I am not that interested.

Had I bought it, I would have felt rather ripped off. However I know you have to be careful on those extremely hyped games. You can't go by reviews either. Reviewers have already talked them selves in to how good the game will be, reviews are far too positively biased for Big Hits(tm).

I also think in Spore's case a non-trivial amount of it may have been due to DRM protest. Now you can argue if that's the way to go about it or not, but there were lots of people pissed about it. I've decided EA can basically get fucked. I'm not buying their games with this activation bullshit unless they are absolutely superb. I bought Mass Effect, that game is just that good, but I'm giving most others a miss.

For example I'm not going to get Red Alert 3. I'm a fan of the C&C series and have bought most of them. I quite liked C&C3 and Kane's Revenge. However though I like them, they aren't good enough for me to put up with the activation shit. So I'll get something else instead, Demigod probably.

Now while I'm not going to go nab a copy off Bittorrent, that may be what some people do, people who are put off by the DRM.

I'm reasonable when it comes to DRM. I'll accept that publishers are paranoid and need the "feel good" of having some DRM on the games, even though it seems it really doesn't help (see Sins of a Solar Empire for proof). However when it gets to be bullshit like "You can only install the game 3 times and then never again," well fuck you. Good games, I want to play and replay. I still fire up Baldur's Gate 2 from time to time. You'd better believe I've done more than 3 reinstalls since then. Hell I've gone through more than 3 complete system upgrades since that came out.

EA really seems to have crossed the stupid threshold. In particular the activation limits imply that it isn't so much about preventing illegal copying as it is about preventing a used game market and forcing you to buy new versions. I think the rampant copying will help show that no, this shit DOESN'T stop it.

Re:Because of the DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012439)

You'd have mushrooms in your ears to miss hearing about it.

Oi! You insensitive clod!

Re:Because of the DRM (3, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012125)

Yes. Who would have thought that people would pirate the game if the version they can buy is broken by design!

It boggles the mind.

Re:Because of the DRM (5, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012421)

I had to pirate the game after buying it in Thailand (I live there) because EA support refused to give me the English language (1.3 meg of files)

Dear *******,

Sorry for the inconvenience, but Spore Thai retail version support only Thai language as indicate on the package. And there's no English text file include in the build.

The only way to get English build in Thailand is to buy the game at i27 []

Kindly let us know if you need more info.

Best Regards,
EA Thailand Support


Dear EA Thailand Support,

You are right, that's very inconvenient and can't believe you are telling me to go buy this game twice for just 3 files that total up to
1 Megabyte.

You have left me no choice but to download the game off the internet and get the three files in need to put into the "Locale" folder. I
find it frustrating that I have to pirate EA games I have bought to be able to play them.

I hope that in the future you will provide a better service to your customers that are buying your products instead of leaving it up to
internet pirates to provide support for your games.



Dear *******,

All AAA EA titles in Thailand are localized to Thai language. All are locked preventing user to change the language. We have this language switching protection to prevent our goods being export to other territories due to the cheaper price on Thai products. As for Spore, retail price in Thailand is only £8.5, while you have to pay for £35 in UK.

We also aware that people can get the locale file from the internet. But it is against our policy to provide you the locale files from our side.

We hope you understand and sorry again for the inconvenience.

Best Regards,
EA Thailand Support

and why the fuck should I care if it's more expensive in the UK if I don't live there? In fact why do they mention the UK at all?


Re:Because of the DRM (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012447)

Umm... because they're a company and don't give a rat's rear about you?

Let's calculate. One customer pissed off vs. thousands of cheap "imports" from countries where you couldn't charge 35 quid for a game because copying rates are already higher than the US national debt.

Now imagine you're a company and think accordingly.

Yes, it sucks for you. And don't get me wrong, I'm neither berating you nor taking EA's side here, but that's how it looks for them. You're one customer who already bought the game anyway, and it's not an MMO where they could squeeze any more money out of you.

The Solution. (5, Funny)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26011969)

The solution is obvious. Add more DRM!!!

Re:The Solution. (3, Interesting)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26011983)

Three will come a time when the only version of a game that is actually playable will be the one you can download off Bittorrent.

Re:The Solution. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012073)

And that time is, what, four years ago?

Re:The Solution. (4, Funny)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012113)

There will come a time when fighting around DRM and finding a decent torrent after becoming frustrated with the purchased copy IS the game.

Re:The Solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012521)


Re:The Solution. (4, Insightful)

karstux (681641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012101)

You jest, but this is precisely what the shareholders will demand of the publishers. They do not understand that piracy cannot be defeated by technical means, so they'll just keep on layering increasingly nasty DRM on the games.

At the same time, they will lobby politicians to implement even more draconian "IP-protection" laws.

So while the headline does induce a warm, fuzzy "serves you right" feeling, the implications are not so funny.

Re:The Solution. (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012123)

A company that makes Spore wants to earn a living. And to do that they put on DRM. Yet broadly said, "oh look the most pirated game" will only cause more DRM.

I am not one for draconian DRM, but the reality is that people pirate way too much. It seems that the current generation thinks that charging for software is a bad thing.

The thing is that you can have free software, and you can have for charge software. But when people start pirating software they are only making the case for people who break the GPL. After all free software and for charge software uses copyright laws...

I for one like both software types and respect the licenses of both software. Doing otherwise would be hypocritical...

Re:The Solution. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012221)

You forget tho. The more restrictive the DRM the more people turn to the pirated version to avoid it. Whats the point of not using a CDkey? It still stops people that are dumb or lazy. The current DRM schemes do the same thing but while treating the paying customer as a thief.

      Its not I that should be going "Oh wow I cant believe I was allowed to play Spore on my computer!! Im so Lucky!" It should be the game companies that are happy that we want to play their game and pay them money to do it.

Re:The Solution. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012327)

A company that makes Spore wants to earn a living.
And they're doing a damn good job of it, piracy or no. Nobody is going to bed hungry because 1.7 million people pirated Spore.

Re:The Solution. (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012333)

Copying games is about as old as the game industry. About 20 years ago, when I was young, it was often also the only way to actually get games before they were outdated. Not to mention that back then games were often not only cracked but also included a "trainer", i.e. a built in cheat, which actually made the copies more interesting than the originals.

A bit like today with DRM, but back in the good ol' days game crackers actually added value instead of just removing the value subtraction... anyway.

Copy protection is also about as old as the game industry. And no copy protection ever protected a game from being copied. If anything, it led to the rise of certain copier groups. Without copy protection, this kind of organisation would not have been necessary, and I doubt they would have risen to the levels they were until about a decade ago. And without them, the widespread copying would not have been possible.

Stings like Buccaneer and Fastlink certainly put some strain on "cracker groups", but whether or not they continue is no longer of pressing importance for the copying of games. You don't need the sort of organisation anymore that was necessary one or two decades ago. You don't need suppliers, couriers, BBS operators and all the other people involved with acquisition and distribution of software. You only need the person cracking the game. And, more importantly, you need globally one single person to do it, distribution of the crack is easily accomplished through P2P.

Now we see a focus on P2P in the fight against copying. There may be some sort of achivement similar to the stings mentioned above, maybe in 3, maybe in 5 years, but then we'll be on the next technology for getting, cracking and spreading software.

See the pattern? Whatever is done against widespread copying, it is usually too late to actually counter what has already been established.

You want people to heed copyrights. That is a fair demand. I'm actually sure people are very willing to heed them if their demand is met, too. But we're moving away from the demand with the supply. Companies supply software with more and more invasive DRM. People want software that allows them to use it without hassle and without jumping through hoops to be allowed to use what they pay for. Draconian DRM, lawsuits and stings will not help there in any way. It will, if anything, alienate your customer. People are usually quite willing to play fair if they feel they are treated fairly. You offer me a fair deal and I will play fair. You offer me a foul deal and I will play foul.

Re:The Solution. (2, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012497)

I am not one for draconian DRM, but the reality is that people pirate way too much.
The other fact is that draconian DRM doesn't stop people pirating single player PC games and may even encourage it.

If your game is good and has strong multiplayer then you can control piracy through the online multiplayer component (think starcraft, I know plenty of people whose first copy of starcraft was a burnt copy but later bought legit copies to play online) but if your game is shit or mostly singleplayer than you have little hope stopping pirates on the PC platform.

Re:The Solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012313)

It's sad because the DRM snake oil salesmen are the only ones profiting here. Consumers who use the DRM games not only suffer a less satisfying game experience, they also suffer system instability and system performance degradation. The customer response of using hacks and cracks to avoid that kind of crap creates one of the greatest malware vectors out there. What's baffling is that DRM has somehow become confused as a law and order and property rights issue in the mind of people who really should know better, including quite a few slashdot posters.

Re:The Solution. (3, Funny)

JohhnyTHM (799469) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012111)

The solution is obvious. Add more DRM!!!

We like the way you think and would like to offer you a position in our organization.

Yours, the EA management team.

Re:The Solution. (1)

fluch (126140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012449)

We like the way you think and would like to offer you a position in our organization.

Yours, the EA management team.


Re:The Solution. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012547)

It's sad that someone who decides what kind of DRM goes into EA games says "Shit, that stuff ain't workin'! 1.7 million downloads! Okay, Spore 2 is gonna have Starforce as well as Securom, 3 CD-Keys, and a decoder ring!"

no demos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26011985)

is it me or is there some connection with this and a game not having any way for any one to really try it to see IF they want to lay out there money on it.

and no I don't call the non-pay creature creater a real demo.

Re:no demos (5, Informative)

FugitiveMind (1423373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26011997)

The creature creator used SecuROM (invasive copy protection) and 'phoned home'. I imagine a demo would do the same.

I, and a lot of other people, would avoid it as a matter of principle.

Re:no demos (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012121)

Would a demo do the same? Why would you put copy protection on a demo anyway?

Re:no demos (2, Interesting)

MooUK (905450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012177)

To stop people comparing the demo and the game files to see where the protection was added.

At least, that's what I've seen claimed.

Re:no demos (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012393)

Various reasons. One, as has been mentioned, to avoid crackers to look at demo and final and compare (which is, IMO, bollocks since when you use some sensible algorithms to crypt it you can't see jack, just use a boilerplate version of the DRM software that doesn't phone home and you're set. If your DRM vendor doesn't provide that, switch the DRM vendor if you really insist in having one).

Another reason, and more important if you ask me, as a gauge how many copies you might be able to sell. When a million people use your demo, it's likely that more people will buy it than when you see only about 100k using it. Downloads don't really count since they, too, could be redistributed or downloaded from pages that host your demo without your knowledge.

And of course to give people the train of thought: "Well, I got that crap on my PC already anyway, so buying and installing that game won't make it worse".

Re:no demos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012561)

Me too .. I refuse to play games infected with bad DRM.

Re:no demos (2, Interesting)

Talrinys (888624) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012299)

You're exactly right, i hate the fact that demos are suddenly out of fashion, it used to be the best way to get a good preview of the game. These days i pirate every game that doesn't have a demo and check them out, and buy them if i want to keep playing after the first 20 minutes or so, did that with Storm of Zehir last week, CoD World at War the week before that - IMO it's the only way to do these things.

Re:no demos (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012487)

Well, when you saw Spore, I think you'll agree that any kind of demo would have hurt the sales, not helped them. What would you have demo'ed? The "eat and grow" treadmill in the beginning that I have seen done better in various flash games? Doubt that would have convinced anyone to actually buy the game.

But if it tells me something it is to stay away from games that don't dare to offer a free sample of their gameplay. When they're not confident that the 20ish minutes I can usually play such a demo before I hit the "buy the full version to play on" wall will make me want more, the game is usually good for less than those 20 minutes.

And, bluntly, 50 bucks for 20 minutes ... dunno, how much are hookers these days?

Trite news, but still news (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012001)

This should be from the I-told-you-so department. Does this really shock any of the /. crowd?

It sucks that something so popular with publishers and unpopular with consumers keeps making headline news (granted, /. headlines are a bit different), because we get to hear the same arguments again and again and again.

And I'd say these numbers are highly suspect to boot. Where does torrentfreak get the rough total number of downloads?

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012003)

OF COURSE I'm going to pirate them. Why? Because I don't want to waste money on something that is being heralded as the next messiah, but in reality is something I couldn't stomach to play through much.
Truly horrid games.

Re:yes (0)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012089)

Why do you want to pirate a game you don't want to play?
If i ever pirate a game, it is because i want to play it, but for some reason i couldn't. (icky copy protection, not available in my country, etc)

Re:yes (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012399)

You've never been a teenager, have you? It's bragging rights. Remember kids, the more you download, the longer your penis is.

In my days it was the kind of clothes you wear, later it was having the biggest trading card deck, today it's the amount of ripped software you store. It's not like anyone really needs 20 TB of software (or movies), it's our good ol' hunter and gatherer impulse.

Mod parent funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012565)

Seriously, I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

You've never been a teenager, have you? It's bragging rights. Remember kids, the more you download, the longer your penis is.

"Jimmy is so dreamy, he has eight hard drives worth of pirated video games!"

GGP seemed to imply that he was interested in playing the game, which upon pirating and playing it didn't meet his expectations.

Re:yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012425)

AC: Have you tried those cheese samples? Fucking nasty.

someone1234: If it's nasty, why did you eat it?

Re:yes (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012515)

Why do you want to pirate a game you don't want to play?

Because you can't know if it's something you want to play before you try it.

WRONG! (4, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012083)

There was not a single case of a shipping of that game being stolen on the high seas.

Oh, you mean people shared the files? Well, here's a handy guide for you [] .


Re:WRONG! (3, Insightful)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012159)

It's time to stop fighting this. Nobody I know associates "pirating a game" with hijacking a boat. Besides, it's gone colloquial and is making it into the dictionaries.

â"noun, plural -cies.

1. practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea.

2. the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.: The record industry is beset with piracy.

Re:WRONG! (2, Informative)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012323)

And the "copyright infringement" definition of piracy has been in usage since 1603. Wikipedia has a nice little history of the use of the term [] . And in any case, what does anyone hope to prove by saying "it's not piracy because it's not robbery at sea?" What do you gain by saying that? It's not like the RIAA are going to string you up on the nearest dockside according to ancient maritime convention.

We should know better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012329)

But we should know better!

It's like using the word hacker when you mean cracker. And it's just as bad as causualy using the word "theory".

I think by accepting the missuse of the word you are just fueling "them". Be it RIAA, MPAA, the creationist crackpots, etc.

Re:WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012357)

What you said doesn't make any sense. If an expression that has an objective meaning for centuries (piracy) is being once again hijacked and manipulated by corporations in order to fight a public relations battle then the logical thing to do is educate everyone about the true meaning of a word. The same thing applies to the blatant misuse of the word "terrorism".

Let's not embrace stupidity and ignorance just because you believe everyone should "stop fighting it".

Re:WRONG! (1, Troll)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012445)

What most people fail to realize that the legal definition of piracy is robbery at sea, not copyright infringement.

I do agree that the usage of "piracy" to mean "copyright infringement" is outright retarded. When I hear the word pirate, I automatically think of ships with guns attacking other ships for their wares and goods, and maybe even a few ruffians on the boat who might look a little unkempt from being out in sea for so long.

Re:WRONG! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012575)

Well done, finally a picture that depicts the true state of the industry.

Propaganda terms... (1, Redundant)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012097)

Can't we stop it with using the term pirate? Yes, it might be a humurous label amongst us geeks, but by going along with it, instead of actively resisting it, we help to fuel in the minds of those who only hear one side of the story, that people who violate copyright law are bad evil pirates. Let's try using more accurate terms like copyright infringers, or something that doesn't have so much obvious bias in it.

It is rather funny though that a game known perhaps more for it's crazy DRM (heck I don't know what the actual game is about...) than anything else, is the game that has had the most unauthorised downloads.

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012131)

Can't we stop it with using the term pirate? Yes, it might be a humurous label amongst us geeks, but by going along with it, instead of actively resisting it, we help to fuel in the minds of those who only hear one side of the story, that people who violate copyright law are bad evil pirates. Let's try using more accurate terms like copyright infringers, or something that doesn't have so much obvious bias in it.

You don't think that 'copyright infringers' sounds even more creepy and disturbing than pirates? I think we need a new term, frankly. I think Free Unauthorised Clone Copying is very appropriate - it's just unfortunate that the acronym is FUCC.

Gross commercial copyright infringers could be referred to as mother-FUCCers. Kids who copy each others games would be little FUCCers.

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012145)

The "making illegal copies" definition is already in dictionaries. In many parts of the world, probably most, there's a much larger odds people will associate "pirates" with pimple faced teenagers than unwashed men with parrots on their shoulders.

Not to mention, it's a damn hassle typing "copyright infringer".

Re:Propaganda terms... (4, Interesting)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012181)

From what I hear, modern pirates [] tend to have heavy artillery on their shoulder rather than a parrot:

Maritime piracy still goes on, and is still a major problem in some parts of the world. Just because someone's smear tactic to conflate illegal copying with theft and murder has been successful doesn't mean we should stop resisting it.

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012297)

I dunno about the news around your parts, but I've never seen "piracy" used in the context of murder except when combined with boats on the other side of the planet.

Would I agree a greater degree of separation would be warranted if I lived in, say, Somalia? Yes. But I don't. Around here piracy = copying software or peddling in items with faked brands, unless accompanied by a picture of a boat and the name of another country in the headline.

There really isn't any possibility of getting the two confused. So I don't see the problem. I do see a problem using "theft" or "stealing", since those words do mean something else here.

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012511)

That news article was from my parts - I'm in Australia, that was from the Sydney Morning Herald. And yeah, the piracy is around Somalia. But in this case, the piracy was directed against a cruise ship on which there happened to be Australian passengers. And with the price of petrol these days, the hijacking of a super-tanker of oil makes the news too. Just beacuse the events happen a long way off doesn't mean they don't affect things back here in "civilization".

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012167)

if you want to do away with "pirate", you're going to need a seriously catchy alternative. Forcing people to change the words they use is very difficult. Just look at the way the word "hacker" is used.

I think the folks at the Pirate Bay have the right idea - co-opt the word, make it a positive thing.

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012199)

I don't really think that outside the geek community they've really made the term a positive thing, hence why the RIAA still use the term.

You're right that a catchy term would really help though. Typing copyright infringers is a pain. I wonder if there is some word that could be used, related to say Robin Hood. In the stories, what he did was illegal, the law made that clear, but the morality was not as clear cut as the Sherrif/RIAA would have liked it to be.

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012321)

Pirates haven't been seen as "bad" for years. The movies define our perception of them. They're heroic characters like the Dread Pirate Roberts, or devilish rogues like Jack Sparrow. Even the bad guys come across pretty positively.

"Copyright infringers" immediately says "law breaker" to most people. I don't want to be one of them, but I do wanna be a pirate!

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012379)

I agree with your second point there. It is why I've thought that saying stuff like, illegal downloading, which while correct, carries with it a lot of emotion. I'm still not convinced though that the public think of 'pirates' in a positive way. When reading an article on the BBC about some new copyright law, or some Three Strikes policy, in order to stop pirates/piracy, the connection with pirates and 'bad' is made in their mind.

I thought that saying "I just lessig'd Jonathan Coulton's new album" would be funny and could catch on... Just not so sure it's right. It's not what Lessig promotes, and it's again loaded with bias. It could though promote knowledge about Lessig and creative commons... It's not a very catchy term though... Ahwell.

Re:Propaganda terms... (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012457)

I might buy that argument if we didn't have Sept 19, International Speak Like a Pirate Day. If there weren't 3 huge success movies that made pirates lovable characters. If there wasn't millions and millions being made off of of the merchandising of anything pirate related. If anything it should have the opposite effect of what you state. When REAL Somali pirates steal boats and murder crew and then they get on this software nonsense and call it a kid who shoplifted something a rapist and see who's side everyone takes.

This has Nothing to do with DRM (0, Redundant)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012135)

correlation != caustion, I'll concede that DRM probably had some affect on the download count but not to this magnitude. Spore was over-hyped and that was probably the main reason people downloaded this game. How many think that Batman will be one of the highest illegally downloaded movie ? DRM ? (don't get me wrong, most DRM implementation is idiotic)

Re:This has Nothing to do with DRM (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012541)

Be it how it may, what stays is that the DRM certainly caused some people to abstain from buying it. Me, for one. I wanted to actually go out and buy it. I tend to buy the games that I play. Having had a bad streak of heavily DRMified software, which I oppose on principle, I started looking whether Spore will contain DRM akin to StarForce or similar crippling mechanisms, only to learn that it's going to be a LOT worse.

So I went and signed that petition that was being passed around. I didn't really expect it to affect anything, but hey, you never know. And I was waiting whether EA decides to drop it. I wouldn't have minded keeping a DVD in the drive or entering some serial number, but that's about the level of copy protection I draw the line at. Mandatory registration and tying my copy of a game to the machine I install it on is past that line.

They decided to keep this version of DRM, so I decided to keep my money. Yes, I wanted that game. I wanted quite a few games in the past that I had to pass on due to DRM. Later I often got to buy them from the bargain bin when the vendor decided to remove the crippling protection with a patch, and this is when I get to play it. Ok. So I may not play it when it comes out, but eventually I might.

I can live with that. I wonder if the game makers can, though.

Maybe... (1)

epr (826666) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012157)

All that DRM actually means that EA _wants_ us to pirate games?

I know I'm interpreting it like that.

figures... (1)

Eternal Annoyance (815010) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012161)

They invest lots of energy in piracy, so they get piracy. Stop investing energy in piracy, and it'll drop by quite a lot. This includes things like DRM, registration keys, availability (some people just aren't prepared to get a game from an online vendor) and ofcourse... price (the more expansive a game is, the more difficult it'll be to get the consumer to buy it).

Re:figures... (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012473)

So to combat the illegal download of games you think EA should stop using online vendors because some people can't get games from online?

Despite DRM? Or rather because of it? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012171)

Now, let's ponder for a moment. Was this game P2Ped so often despite the insane DRM mechanisms? Or was it maybe because of it?

How many read about what EA wants to do with their PCs to be allowed to play this piece of ... erhm ... software? Deep manipulation of your driver makeup, authorisation requirement to be allowed to use what you pay for, the sword of damocles hanging over you in the guise of limiting the times you may activate it, not to mention the question whether or not you'll be allowed to play it when EA decides that you shouldn't any longer because you're supposed to buy the successor...

How many of those copies are actually people who bought the game and for some reason had to activate it once too often, and instead of calling the very helpful, friendly and lightning fast user support people of EA who speak flawless English they decided for the faster venue of downloading the game to play it? Or, how many actually HAD to download it to play it at all because for some funky reason that DRM barfed on them and all EA said was "sorry, problem at your end"?

I'm actually willing to grant the DRM advocates that this time those copies are actually lost sales. But not despite, rather because of DRM. People wanted to play that game and they would have had no worries about the 50ish bucks it costs, but they just didn't want you to mess up their PCs.

Before someone asks, no, I didn't copy it. The money allotted for the purchase of Spore was redirected to Sins of a Solar Empire when I heard about Spore's DRM mechanism. Sins was a purchase of protest, only to turn out to be a pretty well made game. I then saw Spore at a friend's and realized it ain't even worth the bandwidth necessary to P2P it. So, I guess, I'm not in this statistic this time.

Re:Despite DRM? Or rather because of it? (1, Troll)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012287)

Do you have any data to back that up? It's not for SecuRom but the data UbiSoft published about StarForce [] strongly suggests that the level of DRM related problems, even with very aggressive implementations, is low. As in sub-1% low. I'm really sceptical that even 1% of this 1 million+ figure is people downloading it "because they had to" after buying it. Occams Razor says the simplest explanation wins - those people are pirates.

Re:Despite DRM? Or rather because of it? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012417)

UbiSoft? You want me to trust a study regarding DRM troubles coming from a company that has to steal warez cracks to deal with their DRM troubles [] ?

Umm... any credible sources to back that up?

Re:Despite DRM? Or rather because of it? (2, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012481)

Even sub 1% of a few million people is a lot of people. A half percent of a million is 5,000 people. The game obviously sold more than that. Would you really want to take that risk? Let's just assume that it won't affect you, as the chances really are small. Are you comfortable installing an unremoveable root-kit on your machine? I know I'm not. Or let's assume you're ok with both. Are you ok with the low installation limit? For me, no game is worth that potential hassle.

You also have to keep in mind that the numbers are also going to be skewed by the fact that a large number of angry people will just automatically return a game if it doesn't work (which has become increasingly harder to do) and won't bother calling technical support. I can't say by how much those numbers are skewed, however. It's probably not significantly, but it's still something to consider.

Re:Despite DRM? Or rather because of it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012339)

Now, let's ponder for a moment. Was this game P2Ped so often despite the insane DRM mechanisms? Or was it maybe because of it?

Does it matter? Either way, it's proved DRM doesn't work.

Re:Despite DRM? Or rather because of it? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012435)

Yes, it does matter.

The argument of DRM advocates is that without DRM, their sales would plummet because of rampart copying. When the argument is just "DRM does not work", the counterargument is simply "then we need better DRM". I.e. more through, more hoops to jump through, more privacy invasion, more poking at your PCs inner working.

If the argument is "DRM alienates your customers", this counterargument does not work.

Don't taunt us! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012191)

The year is not over yet!

This is one of those rare cases (1)

mirshafie (1029876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012193)

when pirating really leads to less sales. You download the game to see if it's worth buying. This game in particular had a LOT of hype (and a lot of potential), but didn't deliver the kind of experience everyone was hoping for. You play it once and after that it's just not fun anymore. Therefore no sale after you've downloaded it.

I hope they fix Spore. Make it more complex, at least as complex as they promised. Now it's just a dumbed down 2D gone 3D gone strategy simulator with plush dolls.

Re:This is one of those rare cases (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012461)

Spore is, if anything, a lesson. I think it should be used as an example in game design classes.

Spore is also a lesson to MMO makers, it really has a lot of qualities found in MMOs and it also shows why so many MMOs fail despite good outlook and design.

The first few chapters in Spore is a lot like leveling your character in MMOs. You play and grind, you build your character, you "level" (as in, gain DNA and "evolve"), you make your decisions where to improve your character, what parts to focus on and what you can do without, aiming for the "endgame".

Then you reach that endgame and realize a few things:
Your decisions are pointless. No matter what you "evolved" and no matter what your race is like, the game is the same.
The endgame itself stinks. Too much micromanagement, too little freedom in your decisions.

The replay value, which could have been stunning considering the ways you could create your race, is near zero. Most of all, you do not want to replay, knowing that what is in for you in the end is the most tedious, boring part of the game.

(plus one 5Informative) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012203)

for the project. If you do not 800 w/512 Megs of A [previously Worse and worse. As OS don't fear the my bedpost up my

Re:(plus one 5Informative) (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012281)

I really don't want to feel like the next grammar nazi that finds this post.

1.7 million disappointed people (1)

Smuttley (126014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012211)

I wonder how many of those 1.7 million downloaded copies remained installed for longer than a few days.

Re:1.7 million disappointed people (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012471)

I say 1.7 million glad people.

As in "glad I downloaded this instead of actually dropping good money on it".

So, Spore was in more than one way some advertisment for P2P acquisition of software...

Re:1.7 million disappointed people (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012505)

I wonder how many of those 1.7 million downloads were installed at all. After all, it takes a bit to get the few gigs this game has, and by then you usually know what you're into because of reviews hitting the street (or, rather, web pages).

What I rather wonder is, how many of those 1.7 million downloads were actually completed?

So piracy debate aside... (1)

TOGSolid (1412915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012231)

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 at #10?

Man, talk about right outta left field.

Re:So piracy debate aside... (2, Informative)

HUKI365 (1113395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012261)

Not really. PES is REAL popular in East Europe/Russia. In fact it takes a significant part of the market share in non-US markets. But unfortunately for them it is usually popular in places where pirating is also popular.

Re:So piracy debate aside... (1)

TOGSolid (1412915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012389)

Hurh, neato. I kinda miss when I lived in Germany and would get to check out all the big European titles that never got any play in the US. They had some really fun games over there. Granted, they were in German, but hey, not a bad way to learn another language when you're 10 years old, eh? Rambling aside, I'd love to see statistics (even if they would be nigh impossible to get) on how many people bought one of these games, and then pirated it anyway to get a version that actually works.

Re:So piracy debate aside... (1)

HUKI365 (1113395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012405)

Yah, be good to see those stats. Though PES is still a fully English, legit title that is published in your local Gamestop or whatever. Just doesn't have any legs (I mean, to be fair neither does FIFA in the States, but whatever.)

No Correlation (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012267)

It seems far more common sense that for the average guy downloading something that DRM has zero effect on whether he pirates. This is because the smart people who crack the game have removed the DRM anyway- and it doesn't matter how good the DRM is, they'll still remove it and release it completely free. So personally I'd look at the fact that Spore was a really interesting game concept that actually turned out to be a bit crap. It completely explains why people would download to try and then not go out and by it. The only real pattern we've seen with pirating media is, if the media is popular, it gets bought AND downloaded, if it's not popular its not bought OR downloaded.
When I download a game, I expect the most I need to do is to run a keygen crack- now considering the variance in DRM protection, it doesn't seem like DRM is having that much effect.

Funny (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012275)

This is ironic. Spore is the only game besides WOW that I *didn't* pirate and actually *payed* for in the last two years or so. Playing Spore without the online component sounds like missing the point to me.

However, my DVD drive ended dying right when I got the game, so I downloaded the image via BitTorrent to install.

Statistics? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012401)

Nice how you will always see statistics used in articles but they never go into detail how they generated the statistics. The article is entirely based on their own generated statistics yet there is no information how they generated them. Might as well be pulling the news from your... you get the idea..

It's due to the DRM (2, Informative)

jridley (9305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012467)

People who know anything about that DRM wouldn't let SecureROM on their system, it has no business doing what it does to a system just to play a game.

It's 100% certain they'd have had my money the day the game hit the streets if they didn't have DRM in it. As it is, no. Not ever. Not unless I can run it in a VM where it can't pillage my system, and AFAIK it doesn't run in a VM.

And anyone who wants the game can easily get it in a clean pirated version.

Counting just BitTorrent is undercounting too; usenet is a safer place to get stuff (not as trackable).

Everyone must LOVE The Sims 2 (1)

tchiseen (1315299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012543)

Is it just me or is The Sims 2 HUGE? It's always in the weekly top 10 PC sales charts, and apparently it's also being pirated like mad, still. People REALLY must have no lives...

I only buy from Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012563)

All the games I buy, I buy from Steam. If I get a game as a present I take it back to Best Chump(buy) get my Federal Reserve Notes and then byuy it from Steam, if I want the stupid game. After all these years I only play Counterstrike anyways.

The truth about DRM... (1)

fox171171 (1425329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012581)

At this point, I have to think that companies see that they cannot stop piracy with DRM. The continued use of DRM under the guise of stopping piracy, must therefore be a ruse. They continue to claim use of DRM as an anti-piracy tool, because it's better than saying "we're doing it to usurp your right of first sale". The question is, will more revenue be gained by cutting off second hand sales than will be lost by people fed up with DRM not buying it in the first place?
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