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Game Industry Vets On DRM

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the other-perspectives dept.

Games 372

An anonymous reader points out an article at SavyGamer in which several game industry veterans were polled for their opinions on DRM. Cliff Harris of Positech Games said he didn't think his decision to stop using DRM significantly affected piracy of his games, accepting it as an unavoidable fact. "Maybe a few of the more honest people now buy the game rather than pirate it, but this sort of thing is impossible to measure. You can see how many people are cracking and uploading your game, but tracking downloads is harder. It seems any game, even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway. People who crack and upload games don't give a damn what you've done to placate gamers, they crack it anyway." Nihal de Silva of Direct2Drive UK said his company hasn't noticed any sales patterns indicating customers are avoiding games with DRM. Richard Wilson of TIGA feels that customers should be adequately warned before buying a game that uses DRM, but makes no bones about the opinion that the resale of used games is not something publishers should worry about.

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Unavoidable (4, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007340)

I think piracy is unavoidable in a non-subscription based model like most standalone games. The target audience (teenagers) sees themselves as poor, or actually is poor, and is thus unwilling to pay for something they can get for free. Others undoubtedly resent the fact they are being asked to actually pay for a game, and so are willing to crack them.
I would like to see the demographics on who *does* pay for games and see if I am write, or if people of all ages are cheap bastards :P

Now the MMO world has it much better off, since you need a subscription to actually play the game at all. Of course that undoubtedly leads to a lot of problems with stolen CC numbers and the like, so perhaps you are no further ahead. By requiring a CC number to even register, they of course limit their potential sales massively as well.

Sadly I think this is going to lead to games which are free to play, but contain targeted in-game advertising down the road. I don't want to see how badly that warps the game designs we see as a result.

Re:Unavoidable (4, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007502)

Sadly I think this is going to lead to games which are free to play, but contain targeted in-game advertising down the road. I don't want to see how badly that warps the game designs we see as a result.

another option could be to follow the 'sudden attack' method of payment. sudden attack is a Korean FPS which is free to play. Weapons, costume sand power-ups are available through an in-game store. You can either earn points in-game, or pay cash, and exchange those for certain items.
This way, people with no money and lots of time can enjoy the game, they aren't completely locked out, but players who don't have hours and hours of free time to rack up points can just pay to get the goods.
I think this, combined with advertising is likely to be the future of gaming.

well, since companies are mostly made up of greedy ass holes, the future of gaming will probably be pay to buy the game, then pay to play the game online, then pay for the items to use in-game, AND have levels full of ads and product placements.

Re:Unavoidable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007730)

cough* battlefield *cough*

Re:Unavoidable (5, Insightful)

JackDW (904211) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007774)

I hate games that do this. "Free to play" has become a warning. It means: "Danger! This game doesn't have a monthly subscription or upfront cost, but the "real money transactions" will turn out to be more expensive than a monthly subscription".

In all games of this sort, the game designers can alter the game design to maximise the amount of money they take from you. They figure out what you want to do and charge you for it. And if what you want to do changes, they nerf the game once more, again maximising profit at your expense.

It makes them more money than a monthly subscription, clearly, otherwise they wouldn't do it! The "free" parts of the game are arbitrarily crippled, and you have to pay and pay and pay to undo this. See for example the Facebook game "Farmville" (can't select an area of farmland by clicking and dragging unless you rent this facility) or the MMO "Runes of Magic" (the default bag is tiny and you must rent a bigger one to progress through the game).

The "free to play" model is a rip-off's charter. It is not a good thing. Do not support it. Pay up front, pay a fixed subscription, or play games that are genuinely free.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008014)

I agree with this.
I'd much rather pay a subscription fee and be able to unlock all items through the game, than have to pay for each item individually all the time.

Re:Unavoidable (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008108)

Depends on the game. Kingdom of Loathing (which, admittedly, has incredibly low operating costs), is free to play and you can play it to the end (and though subsequent reincarnations) without paying anything. There are special premium items that cost $15. These give you some stat bonuses, but nothing particularly important. They're basically a way of rewarding players who donate to supporting the game. If you look at the people who have the most of these items, they are generally people who have been playing a long time and didn't need the stat bonuses that the items gave.

Re:Unavoidable (5, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008444)

Disagree on almost every level.

With f2p MMOs, I - not the developer - get to choose IF, WHEN, and HOW MUCH I'm willing to spend on the game. If the game is good, I'll gladly pay to get better gear, charms, etc. If the game sucks, I quit and I'm out of $0.

Compare that to Aion where you PAY $50 for the retail game, then PAY $15 a month just to SEE IF YOU'LL LIKE IT. That, my friend, IS a rip-off.

Obviously, the "race to the top" becomes a big spender's minigame, and you'll end up maxing out a few credit cards to get there, but that's only a minority of the player base.

F2P games were born in Asia, where most players are poor and play mostly from lan houses. So it doesn't make any sense to pay monthly fees.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008340)

since companies are mostly made up of greedy ass holes

So out of curiosity, what's the alternative to specialized labor performed by groups of trained people (aka companies) if you wish to create anything more complex than a plow? If profit isn't a motive how do you get widespread rampant cooperation so people will create complex items?

Companies (or more accurately the people running them) do sometimes act in a greedy and unethical way, just like individuals at all levels of society often act in a selfish and unethical way. It's not the fact that they're a company that makes them do this but the fact that they're a company makes them a bit like Godzilla...so big that seemingly small actions have big far reaching consequences and hence Tokyo....er....customers suffer.

My question would be if you're against companies as your comment above seems to suggest what is the alternative? If people shouldn't be allowed to form groups with recognized legal rights to pursue a common and complex goal how do you build things that are beyond the reach of a single man with generic skills? I think a better question would be how and to what extent should companies by viewed and regulated by law such that their negative actions dont have widely rippling unintended consequences but they are still a viable vehicle for progress?

Re:Unavoidable (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008458)

well, since companies are mostly made up of greedy ass holes, the future of gaming will probably be pay to buy the game, then pay to play the game online, then pay for the items to use in-game, AND have levels full of ads and product placements.

You work at NCSoft, don't you?

Re:Unavoidable (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007578)

Or they could just, you know, be like me and this guy [metacafe.com] (warning: language NSFW but can you blame him?) and downloading cracked versions of games we already bought because the shitty DRM doesn't work!

Being in PC repair I can attest that the latest DRM can be worse than most viruses. If you get Starforce or SecuROM mixed together, or either of those with any other like SafeDisc, well lets just say I hope you look back on the days of unstable Win9x fondly, because you will be getting a taste of those times. I can't even count the number of DVD drives of customers I had to throw away because Starforce or SecuROM decided they were "dirty evil filthy pirates" for actually having a burner and threw it into PIO mode and burned their drive smooth up.

And be sure to place close attention to the background in that video. Notice the huge mounds of game boxes? Here he is a major customer and what does he get for doing the right thing and buying? Well he gets spit upon, that's what? Does the DRM do jack shit to stop piracy? Hell no! In fact the nastier DRM like Spore gets cracked even quicker than the others! It has gotten so bad with shitty DRM that I refuse to buy at release day anymore, simply because I don't have the cracked version yet. Once I have a working crack then and ONLY then will I buy, because I am frankly tired of shelling out $50+ for a paperweight I can even return when it is defective by design!

Meanwhile the pirates are laughing their asses off, because their version just works straight out of the box, no hassles and no bullshit, meanwhile the ones that DO work expect me to hop up and change discs every. single. time. I want to play a game. WTF? Why did I spend all this money on fat hard drives when you ass clowns are gonna treat me like I'm using an x360?

You want to cut down on piracy, game publishers? Instead of ass raping us with ever higher prices, "multiplatform" games that are nothing but really shitty x360 games, less and less game thanks to the lack of dedicated servers and the scourge that is DLC, how about giving us real value for our money, hmmm? How about that? EA got me to shell out for MOH:10th anniversary even though I heard Airborne wasn't great by offering me MORE value for my money! For $25 I got Airborne, Allied Assault with the two expansions, Pacific Assault the Director's Cut, and a making of, a WW2 Pacific War interactive timeline, and a music of MOH CD. All of the big game houses have older games, why not throw us a couple of older titles in? Why not a music CD or making of?

But there isn't any surprise as to why there is so much piracy now. I have been gaming since the days of Win3.x, and never before have we gamers been treated so badly, charged so much for substandard fare, and generally spit upon for daring to pay good money. Is it any wonder so many say fuck it and get the actually working pirate version? And sorry about the length, but I am so damned sick of how shitty we gamers are being treated by these gaming corps. If we buy they spit in our faces and screw us over every chance they get, if we boycott they just scream "piracy!" and bribe our politicians to get nastier laws and put even worse DRM in. either way we are royally screwed.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007962)

Once I have a working crack then and ONLY then will I buy, because I am frankly tired of shelling out $50+ for a paperweight I can even return when it is defective by design!

I regret buying Universe at War: Earth Assault for $5.

UAWEA Launcher Error
Abnormal game exit detected.

Support wasn't very helpful...

Re:Unavoidable (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008016)

Pigs arse. People like you are exactly who one of the publishers are talking about when it comes to not paying for games. Because lets face it, no game in the world is going to be good enough for you to part with a buck. There is going to be some trivial fault or functionality in the game that makes it non perfect. If it is non-perfect, why should "hairyfeet" have to pay for it. Even if it was perfect, you'd come up with an excuse not to pay for it. Perhaps it isn't open source. Or if it was open source the license wasn't the right license.... Parasite.

Re:Unavoidable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008050)

"It has gotten so bad with shitty DRM that I refuse to buy at release day anymore, simply because I don't have the cracked version yet."

So basically you're saying that DRM is doing what publishers want it to, which is to prevent zero day piracy. Not only that, but you're still buying the game, which means that the publishers lose nothing by putting the DRM in.

you have to wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008328)

Hell I beat mass effect 2 before it hit the store shelves. Sad that we've gone from worrying about virii in the pirated 0 day releases to worrying about the legal copys DRM screwing things up.

Re:Unavoidable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007634)

I hope English wasn't your first language.

Now the MMO world has it much better off, since you need a subscription to actually play the game at all.

Why do they charge for the game itself AND the subscriptions? It feels like double dipping.

Sadly I think this is going to lead to games which are free to play, but contain targeted in-game advertising down the road.

Have you seen what advertising has done to print media? And that's for the stuff you PAY FOR. You can be sure than they won't be placated by product placement. They'll charge too, just as the newspapers and magazines do.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007648)

That's an overly simplistic analysis of why someone might pirate a game. I have several reasons that I pirate games: 1. Extended demo - some games don't release a demo or they release a demo where it's impossible to tell if the game's worth buying or not. Rather than risk my money, I'll pirate it and buy it if it's worth playing. If it's not worth buying than I stop playing it. I have yet to play a pirated game all the way through without buying it first. I've bought A LOT of games because of this and this is the single biggest reason that I buy more games on the computer than the console.

2. I own the game, but I can't find the cd/dvd/whatever or it doesn't work for some reason. This tends to be only for older games.

3. LAN parties.

It's probably not strictly right to pirate the games for any reason, but I feel that those three reasons strike a balance between my need and the needs of the publishers. I'm not going to pay $100 to be able to LAN starcraft for a few hours and I believe it's unreasonable for the publisher to expect this of me.

Re:Unavoidable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007948)

wonder what they will do to counter "ad-block software for their in-game advertising"..

or will 'hackers' (lol) remove/replace the in-game advertisements then we will be right back here with people saying that is wrong and the other side saying well "i paid for the damn game why cant i remove stuff in my own game"... ah its possible. Bots that hi-jack the games way of updating their ads and replace them with new ads....

The first time I used something to defeat copy protection it was not for piracy, it was so I didnt have to turn to page 21 and type in the 4th word on the bla bla every time I started the game (think 286 floppy era games).. I saw what the cracks could do (for the very first time) and never looked back much. A couple times I went to go buy something to find out it was either pirate it or wait X days/weeks/months till I could buy it... I pirated it. I will next time too... Im not saying im in the right im just saying how it is..

I bought countless terrible games (pre internet) to find out I wasted my money.. I see I can pirate it typically a week or two earlier than I can buy it. I don't have to get off my ass to go buy it. I tried to make a point to pay for the smaller company programs I used.. I now have at least 2 programs that I have installed too many times so I can either call them or use a keygen/crack..

I think the problem is I see almost no benefit in paying for virtually any software, music, movie, etc. The pirated product is superior... If the publishers want to post how much they actually loose and have a paypal for me to reimburse them I might do that.. whats funny is I would.. lol..

Re:Unavoidable (2, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008060)

"The target audience (teenagers) sees themselves as poor, or actually is poor, and is thus unwilling to pay for something they can get for free"

Since the article mentions cliffski, the problem is cliff's games are competing against all AAA games of yesteryear, why should an indie developer expect large sales when the competition is so fierce?

Why would I want to play space battles instead of darksiders which I can rent for $5 or less and finish then send back? Game developers forget that when we were kids we rented games and bought our favorites, if you want gamers to buy your games they have to be GOOD. I still have an old collection of SNES cartridges and all the games I bought were games worth buying, and we as kids would rent the rest... are most of todays games worth buying? Many kids who grew up to be game developers did the same thing, it would be wise if they would pay attention how they themselves acted when young (pirating/renting the crap and buying the best games)

The great irony is many developers have the least sense of the business they are in and forget their own childhood.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008106)

The target audience (teenagers) sees themselves as poor, or actually is poor, and is thus unwilling to pay for something they can get for free.

The pirate can't be poor.

Unless you assume he is pirating his game hardware and internet service as well.

That sense of entitlement is really more typical of someone who has less at risk. Someone whose high tech toys aren't going to attract the attention of social services.

I rather doubt he is he is a teenager as well.

     

Re:Unavoidable (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008110)

I have yet to come across one single game I had any trouble playing an unbought copy of because of DRM (granted, figuring out how to get around it maybe have taken *someone* a lot of work, but not me). Anyway, to reiterate: not once have I been stopped by DRM from pirating a game. On the other hand, if I do purchase a game, you can bet I'm one of those people who won't get one that makes me jump through hoops just to play a game I actually paid for.

Re:Unavoidable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008394)

Free WOW servers = $0

Crack when there is no DRM? (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007360)

even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway.

Huh? What's to crack if there is no DRM?

Pirate the whole game, I can see that happening, but that's cracker-lackin!

Re:Crack when there is no DRM? (2, Informative)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007630)

CD checks may still need to be cracked, although depending on the CD check method and the image provided, even that might not be necessary.

Re:Crack when there is no DRM? (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007726)

CD checks are DRM.

Re:Crack when there is no DRM? (2, Insightful)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008022)

A very very light, and mostly acceptable one imo.

Re:Crack when there is no DRM? (1)

mirkob (660121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008306)

mostly acceptable??? NO!

its the first type to eradicate nowadays!

after a year of playing only games from gog.com some time ago i ransacket a discounted old game bin, and i really regretted it!

i even rebuyed some game on gog to avoid the hassle of switching cd/dvd every time i want to play a game!

its even more annoying on a laptop where you whant to play a game everywhere, and you have 250GB of hard disk so you have tens of games installed, but i really don't whant the hassle of having to carry 10/20 cdrom if i ever want to game!

Re:Crack when there is no DRM? (1, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008086)

No, they're not. Besides their existence pre-dating the term, checking for a physical 'key' is not the same as altering your machine to limit how many times you use/copy it. There is no 'rights management' going on here.

Re:Crack when there is no DRM? (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007982)

Might have a serial number or something similar you need to enter, with a checksum to verify it's valid. Lots of shareware titles do this. The demo is actually the full game, with just a simple check to see whether or not you're allowed to access all content, or play for longer than 30 minutes at a time, or level up your character past level 10, etc. Not every form of copy-protection is DRM, but if you don't have a legitimate copy you'd still need to bypass it in order to play the full game.

Even bypassing something as simple as a dialog that prompts you to "Type the magic word" to continue, with "the magic word" being what you have to type would qualify as a "crack".

right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (2, Insightful)

Tjebbe (36955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007408)

Then just see it as a 'service' for the people that do buy your game to not use digital restrictions. Those are your customers, not the ones downloading it. They probably wouldn't have bought it even if it was impossible to download anyway.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (5, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007464)

DRM is fundimentally flawed in that it only affects your paying customers. 2 days after your game has come out a stripped version will pop up on the torrent sites, meaning that anyone who wants to play the game for free can. Psi-ops was a classic point - I bought the game, only to find that the DRM system objected to me having a dvd burner in my system. So it got returned, and I downloaded a copy.
Net result of DRM in this case - 1 lost sale.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (2, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007740)

Wait a minute. You're not even supporting the game creators by just keeping your store bought copy. Instead you return it and then download a copy so you can play for free? Where's the "-1, ungrateful leech" option?

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (2, Insightful)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007842)

Ungrateful leech? Why should he care about someone treating him like shit?

If I bought a game it would be because I wanted to play the game, not because I feel a need to support a company. If the company makes it a PITA (or even refusing me) to even reach the point where I can start playing, I too would say "fuck this shit!", return the game and get a much better gaming experience by pirating it.

BTW, I have a proud collection of 50+ legally bought original games in my bookcase.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (2, Insightful)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007986)

Oh, so if anyone treats you like shit they forfeit their rights to their stuff?

Methinks the law isn't on your side. And neither are ethics.

BTW, I have a collection of 150+ legally bought original games in my k'nex game holding tower.

Also, five paperweights from EA and Sega. Mostly EA.

And unfortunately, I have to use pirate copies of about a dozen games.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008074)

Oh, so if anyone treats you like shit they forfeit their rights to their stuff? Methinks the law isn't on your side. And neither are ethics.

No, but I really, truly don't care.

I could just refrain from playing the game or I could pirate it. Whichever of those two choices I as an individual make it doesn't make even a tiny difference for them.

As long as I don't cause anyone any damage I don't have any regrets.

Legal? Hardly. Moral? Depends. But I care about them about as much as they care about me.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008084)

You're absolutely right. He should have returned the game and then sued them for false advertising and violation of the implied warranty of merchantability instead of downloading it. That way, not only would they have lost the sale, but they would have lost at a minimum a few thousand dollars in legal fees in the process, pretty much regardless of how the case turns out.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008104)

Um, they got their "stuff" back if he returned the game, or are you really accusing him of stealing some bytes? Letting them keep the money for a product that he couldn't even use would just endorse their practice of using DRM. Personally I just wouldn't have played the game, but I can understand his view if he wanted to legitimately play the game and the company was basically telling him he couldn't, and worse, treating him like a criminal after he paid for their product! In this case if the company lost out it was due to its own blinkered greed and stupidity.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007922)

I would call it the "You screwed me, I screw you" option.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007830)

Everyone here is going to agree that, put simply, "bad DRM is bad." As in, game-breaking/OS-breaking DRM is bad.

This discussion is more about "Is well-executed DRM bad (and for whom)"?

As far as I can tell, publishers can't really prove or disprove that well-executed DRM either increases or decreases their sales. After all this discussion and heartbreak, it really does seem that the theoretical increased sales from preventing some piracy pretty much washes out with the lost sales from the zealots/pragmatists (you decide) who refuse to buy DRM-laden products on principle. In my experience, if you spend all this time thinking about a problem and can't prove a measurable result, it's probably time to move on to something else and quit wasting managerial time worrying about it. Medical professionals like to distinguish between "statistically significant" and "clinically significant." It's pretty obvious that this whole DRM effort on non-networked games does not lead to a "clinically significant" increase in sales and should probably be scrapped.

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008128)

Exactly, the telling quote was that the inclusion of DRM didn't put customers off. We can extrapolate that to the non-inclusion of DRM not really losing customers to piracy (i.e. they would have similar sales figures and always lose similar customer numbers to piracy regardless of DRM). That being the case, the inclusion of any DRM seems incredibly pointless. Why neuter the customer's experience while simultaneously increasing your costs to produce (by developing around and testing the DRM), support (by having increased numbers of customers unable to play their legitimate copy contacting you to complain) and sell (when those self-same customers return their non-working copy) the game?

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008332)

Well executed DRM is DRM your customers never see, hear or even become conscious of.
All DRM is removed by pirates pretty sharply.

Given DRM costs money, why bother?

I'm not a pirate, I buy games. DRM pisses me off and makes me less likely to buy games. I'm sure that I'm in a tiny demographic, but saving money on not having DRM and gaining a few more sales would seem to be a good thing, no?

Re:right, so it doesn't matter in terms of sales (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007902)

You were allowed to return a PC game for a refund?

Ah, it was released 6 years ago.

Legitimate Customers (5, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007444)

What they should discuss is the negative impact on legitimate customers rather than on piracy...

For one example, I legally own *two* copies of Red Alert 2 yet I have them both no-CD cracked. Why? Because I don't want to have to go find the CD each time I want to play and worse still the game even supports playing back Audio CD while you play but yet that requires you to juggle the RA2 and Audio CD constantly just to get the damn thing to work!

The best thing to happen to DRM has been Steam. They have a fairly healthy level of DRM or at least the Valve games do... I hear Bioshock 2 has Steam + "Games for Windows" + SecureRom? What the heck? And an activation limit on Steam?! ... Well Steam *used* to be good for consumers before they started letting publishers do whatever the hell they want.

Re:Legitimate Customers (5, Insightful)

c1t1z3nk41n3 (1112059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007530)

Yeah I've followed a weird arc. When I was younger I downloaded any game I could find just to try them out. I didn't have any money for games so I certainly wasn't a lost sale. Then after I got more settled and hit my mid 20s I started buying all my games. I had the money to spend at that point and I figured it only made sense to support developers who made the kind of stuff I like so there would be more to come. But now I'm swinging back the other way. I bought a retail copy of Bioshock even though I'd heard about the DRM problems with it. Bioshock 2 I was going to buy on Steam as that's how I purchase most games these days but after seeing the install limits and securom stuff I've just decided to pirate it. If I'm going to be treated like a criminal I may as well act like one.

Re:Legitimate Customers (2, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007532)

There is only one "healthy level of DRM". Hint: Steam exceeds it.

Re:Legitimate Customers (4, Interesting)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007636)

Steam was never good for customers. It was just less bad than various other solutions. Steam just makes up for some of it's customer limitations. But in the end you are still renting games that come with a remote kill switch.

Re:Legitimate Customers (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007916)

... along with a widely publicised promise to unlock all content should Steam be discontinued / Valve go under.

The best way to convert me from a paying customer back into a pirate is to cripple the stuff I bought in good faith. I hope all game publishers realise that.

Re:Legitimate Customers (5, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008170)

... along with a widely publicised promise to unlock all content should Steam be discontinued / Valve go under.

When companies go under, there is a priority order to who gets what, and guess what... customers are at the end of a very long list. That being the case, do you really believe that they'll be allowed to continue developing for long enough to do right by the customers when that is going to directly translate into further losses for the creditors? That's just not the way these things work, it's not even like the management there would be in charge if they were in liquidation, even if their promise is genuine. Maybe if the solution is already written and they literally just have to flick a switch to deploy it it'll happen, otherwise it's just a marketing tool to assure us everything will be okay (disclaimer: I really like Valve's games and have a few on Steam, I don't object to the service but I'm under no illusion of what will likely happen if they fail - people who still want to play games they bought will have to go find a cracked version somewhere).

Re:Legitimate Customers (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008282)

Cracked version is fine, if required. I bought the game legally (along with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of others), so if Steam fails the cracks will come.

And everyone who bought into the new distribution model will all of a sudden stop buying. Lose-lose.

Re:Legitimate Customers (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008028)

But in the end you are still renting games that come with a remote kill switch.

That's nonsense. If the servers go down, I can still play whatever is currently installed that is non-multiplayer. Reinstalling stuff will be a tad difficult, but that's the nature of any medium. DVD damaged -> no reinstall. Steam servers down -> no reinstall. There's a higher likelyhood that your DVDs will get damaged than the Steam servers going down - probably by 50x or more. But if they do go down, it hits ALL your games, so it is a gamble.

I use steam because it's the only store where I can get awesome prices on games. Most game developers seemed to want to milk online distribution for money in the past, but Steam seems to be a fan of 75-90% off sales. Psychonauts for $2, Titan Quest + expansion for $4.99... this week has been good to me. :P

I also like GOG. GOG is the best - though usually steam has even cheaper sale prices. DRM that results in lower prices - am I imagining that?

I like Steam.

Re:Legitimate Customers (2, Insightful)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008152)

Steam has also gotten "less bad" over time, and as a result the nostalgia effect has kicked in. It's a shame I remember how terrible it was when it came out, and few other people do. I still boycott it, simply because of the horrible way it was established in the first place.

I buy (and play) so few modern games these days. Mandatory online activation of any sort is the day I stop gaming. The old ones I have are numerous and plenty good enough.

Re:Legitimate Customers (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008314)

"Steam was never good for customers"

I'd have to disagree, steam has been driving the price of games steadily downward. They have frequent sales, many digitial distribution sites and gaming news sites have had special deals on games. I got demigod for $8 and bought SF4 for roughly the same amount on sale off of steam.

The free market at work.

Ubisoft (4, Interesting)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007466)

I've bought a number of Ubisoft games over the years. That won't be true if their new releases start "featuring" a constant tether to the internet. Frankly, I'll stick with the CD checks (or Steam). Steam isn't my favorite, but at least it doesn't force a constant connection to the publisher's servers to play a game!

Re:Ubisoft (3, Insightful)

powerspike (729889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007756)

well my internet was down yesturday, tryed to launch one of my games on steam (the game didn't even have multiplayer), guess what, it didn't let me load steam because i wasn't connected to the internet, net result, couldn't play any of my games off steam...

Re:Ubisoft (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007796)

Generally it works if you keep the same account logged in, and jump through various other hoops. I'm not saying that it always works, or that I'd rather get something via Steam rather than a box-purchase, just that it's one of the less onerous DRM schemes that I've seen.

Re:Ubisoft (5, Insightful)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008058)

It didn't offer to start in offline mode?

What game was it? If I have it I'll test that particular one.

Re:Ubisoft (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008122)

that's the thing, it did say can't connect to internet, then it asked to start in offline mode, clicked on yes/ok, and it'd complain about no internet access again, and quit. very annoying indeed. i prefer to buy most of my stuff off steam now as well. it's usally 20-40$ cheaper then the shops, and the specials are even better (infact i only buy the specials now - sick of paying something, then finding it 50-75% off several weeks later)

Re:Ubisoft (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007928)

Give it a week, and some enterprising fellow more intelligent than me will have a local emulator for the authentication server and an entry to add to your HOSTS file.

Or, just strip the offending code out of the executable.

Re:Ubisoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008304)

"Steam isn't my favorite, but at least it doesn't force a constant connection to the publisher's servers to play a game!"

That's true. But I've still had it crap out with errors, fail to connect to servers, and otherwise unjustifiably complain when I'm trying to play a game. The inconvenience is fairly uncommon (it usually works properly), but it does slow down the game load every time and it is more annoying when problems occur. I don't like it. The only reason I finally took the plunge was when I could buy Orange Box used for $20, years after the original release. I'll certainly never play full price for that kind of inconvenience.

Oh, and another thing. I bought a second copy of Orange Box so that I could have two installs on my local home network. No go. Apparently I can't have two different steam accounts tied to the same e-mail address [steampowered.com] . Why the heck not? I've paid for two copies. I only have one e-mail address. You're telling me I have to get another e-mail address just to register a fricking game? Either that or there's something I'm not understanding from the on-line documentation, but even if that is the case, this is all a hassle I shouldn't have to go through.

I buy all my games, but the first thing I do is look for no-cd or other patches to get around the stupid DRM.

Games should come with a DRM warning on the box (5, Insightful)

initialE (758110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007468)

"The security measures used to restrict the unauthorized use of this software may cause your computer to experience partial or total loss of functionality, and may conflict with other software or hardware you may have installed on this machine"

It's true enough, and worse is that they are not going to be responsible for restoring your system if it does in fact get hosed.

Re:Games should come with a DRM warning on the box (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007940)

That's fine. The security measures used to restrict the unauthorised abuse of my machine may cause me to not give game publishers my money. This may conflict with their shareholders expectations of "return on investment" and their dividends / bonuses.

Re:Games should come with a DRM warning on the box (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008468)

"The security measures used to restrict the unauthorized use of this software may cause your computer to experience partial or total loss of functionality, and may conflict with other software or hardware you may have installed on this machine"

In many countries, such a disclaimer would not absolve them of responsibility if they did hose your box. With the added bonus that the disclaimer would basically amount to written confirmation that this could happen.

It's about used games (5, Insightful)

LogicalError (1002490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007482)

DRM, nowadays at least, isn't so much about piracy but more about killing the used games market. Of course they'll tell you it's about piracy, but it really isn't

Re:It's about used games (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007706)

What's your rationale for that assertion? I don't exactly or agree disagree, but you don't exactly make a compelling argument.

Re:It's about used games (2, Informative)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008184)

It's a brave person who buys a game that requires some online authentication second-hand and relies on the good nature of whoever sold the game not to have kept a copy installed (with a no-cd crack) and what should now be their authentication key. It's the reason most PC games are non-returnable these days, once you have the key they have zero resale value.

Re:It's about used games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007910)

This may be the case on the consoles but I don't think the used PC game market is very large. This is mainly because the lower initial price and faster price reductions available on PC games would makes it uneconomical.

Re:It's about used games (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008066)

You're right. Activation limits and all that crap do work against used games.

In soviet Russia... (1, Funny)

Agent__Smith (168715) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007548)

The games pirate you...

Sorry. Had to be done.

Piracy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007566)

I generally download my games, and if they are good I buy them. So I never have problems with DRM, and I do still support the companies. Net result: a huge pile of unopened dvds (even in the original wrap), and no problems with any game.

whoever plays games (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007598)

is a stupid tard and deserves every form of DRM the 'industry' is throwing at him and his shit-eating monkey friends.

stop playing stupid games - become productive and do some coding!

Re:whoever plays games (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008102)

become productive and do some coding!

Said the guy trolling on Slashdot....

Not the brightest answers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007616)

"...and is DRM-free ... will be cracked and distributed on day one ..."
Why? If it isn't DRM'd, there's nothing to crack.

For my games, the ones I bought, I always download the no-cd cracks since I hate having to find the bloody disks whenever I want to play.
(Especially if I'm using my laptop, I really don't want to drag around a load of extra junk.)

Also, I've had some DRM schemes make the games slow and laggy or even mess up my cd/dvd burners ability to make disks.
(For the trolls that want to go off on that, I back up and archive to disks, really.)
As to the average user, they have no idea that DRM is even there, much less possibly the root of their problem. They tend to assume it's a virus or something.

Why hasn't Blu-Ray been cracked? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007644)

That, and SACD. Still locked down.

Errr... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007760)

It seems any game, even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway.

A DRM-free game doesn't need a crack.

Just pointing that out...

Most of the industry is missing a trend (5, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007764)

The trend is that the average age of gamers is now in the 30s.

What this has to do with DRM is the fact that, at our age (yes, I am in my 30s) what we have the least is time - at the point in your life where you do have a decent income, money is much less of an issue than when you're a teen - if all I have is 1 or 2 hours a day for gaming I don't want to have to jump through extra hoops to play a game and I sure don't want to see my gaming time wasted because my Internet connection is down or the gaming servers are down and the games requires remote authentication (something that adds no value for me).

The second point is that, when you actually work for a living you can relate the true value of money to the time it takes you to earn it. The cost of a game is then more than a mathematical figure, it's measure in how long do you have to work to pay for it.

The third point is the increased awareness of the value of things that comes with age. To put it simply, a game fulfils one's need for entertainment and escapism and bad games cost twice as much as good movies and 3 times as much as good books and yet have less entertainment value.

That said I still pirate games, and in the end it boils down to 1 reason:
- There is no more try-before-you-buy for most games anymore - the age of Game Demos is gone. I don't want to waste my hard earned money (and I do know how hard it was to earn that money) in a game just to take it home and discover that it sucks, it has too many bugs or it refuses to run in my system due to DRM. I've had plenty of situations where I would buy a game and it would either not work properly, turn out to be little fun or exceptionally short even though gaming sites had been hyping it to no end. At this point (after 20! years of gaming) the gaming industry and the gaming press have shown me again and again that they are not to be trusted ...

So what I do nowadays is I download the game, try it and if it works ok and I like it, I buy it. Just recently I got X3:TC and bought it as soon as I found out that the game maker had removed DRM in the latest patch (in fact I even got the Gold edition since I trully believe they deserve the money).

Re:Most of the industry is missing a trend (1, Insightful)

mqduck (232646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008154)

The trend is that the average age of gamers is now in the 30s.

I get the sneaking suspicion that you pulled that out of your ass (or whoever you're getting that from is full of shit). Gaming has been growing more and more mainstream, even ubiquitous, over successive generations. It may have reached its peak (can't get more popular than "everybody plays video games") by now, but it didn't with kids growing up in the 80s. I know it wasn't completely true in the 90s, when I was growing up.

Re:Most of the industry is missing a trend (2, Informative)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008246)

If you want to look it up, the LSPA (UK) puts the average age between 25-34. The ESA (US) puts it at 33. These numbers have been reasonably consistent since the mid 90's so no surprises there.

Re:Most of the industry is missing a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008412)

lots of surveys claim that, just google 'average gamer age'

Re:Most of the industry is missing a trend (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008238)

That said I still pirate games, and in the end it boils down to 1 reason: - There is no more try-before-you-buy for most games anymore - the age of Game Demos is gone.

So true. I remember getting the demo for Quake (I got it from a Magazine cover CD as my dial-up would have taken a month to download it) and they gave away something like 25% of the entire game, I just kept playing and expecting it to end after every level and it just kept going, I was first in the queue to buy the full product when it came out. That was great customer service and a great example of the way try-before-you-buy should always be done. I even remember naively thinking that everyone would want to follow this model in the future

I guess the problem is, if you know your game stinks, you don't really want to let people try it, and if you're a big publisher with two dozen stinkers and two or three top quality games on the horizon, you don't want to demo just the good stuff because it'll make it obvious the rest are stinkers. The net result for me personally is probably that I buy less games than I otherwise would, because I have to rely on the very rare demos or on doing lots of personal research to know if a game is worth my time and money, but I guess there must still be enough impulse buyers out there to make releasing crud worthwhile.

Their sales model is all wrong (2)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007786)

Game publishers are simply greedy. Rental Model or Sales model pick one.

You want DRM, the right to restrict your customers from reselling their games, then pick a rental model where your customer pays X amount per time unit Y.

You want to make +$60 per game sale off your customers then get rid of the DRM and don't try to prevent your customers from reselling their games.

Don't mix the two because it isn't working and legit customers being driven away. If game publishers came up with a fair model then more customers would go through the official channels. Instead they're trying to rip customers off by selling them something for a lot of money which they don't own.

I personally prefer the rental model and here's why:
- Game Publishers aren't going to change and will continue this BS anyway.
- You're not putting down $60 just to find the game sucks.
- The more you play the game the more money they make
- They have more incentive to make games fun rather then BS you into buying something that sucks.

authentication (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007826)

this is all well and good till they turn the god damn server off- I loved ravenshield but can't now play the iron wrath expansion over lan because the server has been turned off. Ubisoft thereofre will never receive another dime off me as i cannot trust them to keep my access to games on, if i pay i want to be able to play when and how i want not some snotty jumped up non game playing executive who is probably sleeping with his PA.

Re:authentication (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008486)

IANAL but that sounds like a really strong case for a Class Action against Ubisoft.

There's absolutely no reason why these games companies can't just release the server software out into the wild so gamers can fire up their own local servers - even better, Open Source the server and there's not even a need to support it any more, those that can code will happily do it.

I wonder how well the "fit for purpose" rule applies here - in that, you bought the game on the understanding you could play it networked without any time limits and that, as of the point where the servers were turned off, it is NOT "fit for purpose" any more.

Great argument for DRM (4, Insightful)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007934)

From summary:

Cliff Harris of Positech Games said he didn't think his decision to stop using DRM significantly affected piracy of his games, accepting it as an unavoidable fact.

That was an argument FOR using DRM?

"I have a rock that keeps away shoplifters, it only cost me $ton_of_money annually, and I use it to knock customers on their head every time they buy something. Now, the rate of shoplifting is the same both with and without the rock, so I see no reason to stop using it."

If more DRM = More Sales, lock the game down hard (3, Informative)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007938)

Don't allow users to even see the screen without making receiving a certified letter from the publisher with a secret code. Don't let the user even play the full game. Force them to download large chunks of it from your server after releasing only half of it on disc.

Store integral parts of every level on a master server that can only be accessed by pausing the game and entering the secret code.

It will sell trillions of copies!

Living here in Korea (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007968)

Living in Korea, I see the sort of extreme example of piracy run rampant. Korean companies scarcely consider the idea of a game that isn't online because it would be universally pirated that very day. They'd never see a dime from it.

I teach in a private academy where I see lots of kids with Nintendo DS's; I never see real games in them. They universally use this R4 chip that has all the games loaded on it. Because of this, Nintendo barely considers them a market. Meanwhile OS bootlegging is so prevalent, that people no longer even expect a legitimate OS with a new system. Microsoft even jacked the price up on Vista when they released it here to try to bleed some of the losses out of the few remaining customers.

I don't support DRM or prosecuting old ladies, but I also think measures to prevent piracy must be taken in some capacity lest it irreparably warp the industry like it has here in Korea.

Re:Living here in Korea (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008286)

I do the same the with the R4+NDS (well, Acekard 2i, but whatever). Most of the games, though, I have purchased. The thing about the DS flashcards is that they are INCREDIBLY convenient. I used to carry around two large cases full of DS games, swapping them out all the time. Now, that's all in the closet and I only have to carry around the DS itself. The convenience factor here is important here, because it's a portable system, and needs to fit in a pocket.

Re:Living here in Korea (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008292)

Microsoft even jacked the price up on Vista when they released it here to try to bleed some of the losses out of the few remaining customers.

If this is true then it's very telling - even in a society where piracy is the de facto norm and DRM is no use whatsoever, it's the legitimate customers who still get screwed, instead of trying to encourage people to do the right thing by offering benefit to those customers. If companies want DRM to protect their products that's their choice, but if it impedes my enjoyment of said product in any way, or increases the amount of hassle I have to go through to use that product, or significantly increases the cost, or means I can't use the product in the event of the company going under, then I'll keep my money.

No evidence of drm affecting sales? (2, Insightful)

agentc0re (1406685) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007988)

Well no shit. Last time i check the population is growing, not at a standstill or decline. So us older folks who grew up in a non DRM gaming environment to what we have now are the ones that avoid that shit with a plague unlike our younger counter parts who most of which probably have no clue what DRM is. If they do, they don't give a shit, they're having fun playing their game one way or another. It wasn't their money if they bought it and they become a "rebel" once they hack it and have bragging rights to their friends to sound uber cool!

However, this doesn't justify DRM's methods of preventing piracy. I think this guy has it right: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-mt4BpnfAN-o/how_anti_piracy_screws_over_people_who_buy_pc_games/ [metacafe.com]
Enjoy! :D

Direct purchase Vs MicroTransactions (1)

foolserrend1975 (1692990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008124)

Personally I do not like MicroTransactions. I feel like I am being Nickle and Dimed the entire way. However I do recognise that this is a way of getting people to "buy" the game rather than pirate. I would suggest that both "buying the game" and MicroTransactions can co-exist. ie I would LOVE a gamemodel where you could do the following 1 - Free Download - MicroTransations automatically turned on 2 - At any point in time the user can chose to "Buy the game" at the normal sticker price and will get access to all "MicroTransaction" content. Of course, when significant additional content (ie expansions) are added, this is not a microtransaction, this is another standalone product that has its own cost and microtransactions. This would NOT eliminate piracy, but it would take a significant step towards more user friendly business model and should enouch more people to play and buy (and no more f'ing DRM)

Re:Direct purchase Vs MicroTransactions (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008456)

The problem I have with micro-transactions is that before micro-transactions ever existed, the stuff you'd pay for now would have been given away freely or lumped together in an eventual expansion disk.

Unfortunately, games companies have realised that they can call an expansion disk a sequel and charge twice the price for it...

If it has no effect (2, Interesting)

xant (99438) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008188)

Then stop doing it. DRM has a development and/or licensing cost associated with it. If using is the same as not using it, then don't use it, and you'll save that money. It's very simple to do a value proposition when the value is zero.

That is why I went console only. (1)

gullevek (174152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008230)

That is why I do not own a gaming PC anymore, just a normal console. For the view times a month when I have time to play.

A dongle-like solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008262)

Could a dongle-like thing which handles an integral part of the game (e.g. rules or AI characters etc) be used as a way of allowing full functionality only for physical owners? Of course this will cut people out who don't have a serial/parallel/USB port but on the other hand doesn't come with the problems associated with resale.

Of course, the dongle will be cracked as soon as the game comes out. But make it sufficiently complex (perhaps it could handle some processing?) and cracking could be put off, maybe for long enough for publishers to take notice.

(Nitpickers: I know that the dongle could have an accumulator, dongles are not in fashion, not all ports are equal, such a solution could be prohibitively expensive in cost or labour and so on. Consider the principle...)

DRM, three Evils in One (1)

CharonX (522492) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008276)

DRM, that is Digital Right Management, is actually three evils in one.
First of all, many publishers view DRM as a way to manage (read increase) their rights while reducing the rights of the consumers, i.e. restrict the resale, activation limits, remote killswitches etc.
Secondly, many legitimate consumers find DRM annoying - they purchased a product but cannot use it as they see fit - be it that cannot transfer their music CD to their MP3 player, or play that game without contacting the publisher's master server.
And thirdly DRM is an excellent excuse NOT purchase something, but rather obtain it illegally. After all, stealing from a "nice company" does feel wrong. Screwing some corporate morloch that does its best to screw you feels much less wrong.

Re:DRM, three Evils in One (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008438)

I think anyone who believes DRM is just about restricting piracy is a fool to themselves - all piracy does is gives the games publishers the excuse they need to foist DRM on everyone.

Whilst online gaming and MMORPGs hold no interest for me (a bit of Quake 3 or UT2004 over the Internet is enough), the success of World of Warcraft and other games of that ilk has demonstrated clearly to games companies that players are prepared to pay monthly subscriptions for games.

And since no media/entertainment company actually wants us to "buy once, use it forever" any more, to them DRM is a great way of enforcing a rental model and having us set up monthly bank debits into their coffers - result = PROFIT!!!

better then DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008308)

A better model then DRM could be to show the user how much the developer has lost due to piracy.
This number could disappear if the user owns a legitimate copy.
Pirates could be prompted how much they believe the game is worth.
That's it, no wierdness or making it difficult to copy the game whatsoever. However, there is that text which informs the user how much longer it's going to take to get the funds to develop the next game, or how long the studio is going to last until the funds run dry.
All this shouldn't be intrusive, so it won't give any motivation to "crack" the game.

Someone got it right (at least for old games) (4, Informative)

holiggan (522846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008352)

Well, since we are talking about DRM, I should mention Good Old Games [gog.com] .

Basically, they sell "old games", without any DRM whatsoever, and that are 7/Vista/XP compatible.

And although they have some fairly "recent" titles (Painkiller, for example), I don't recall seeing any of their games on the P2P networks. Or any cracks. Oh, right, they don't have anything to crack to begin with :)

Oh and the games are dirty cheap as well. And legal.

I think that the person that mention that this should be about beneficts for the legitimate client is right.

In the GOG case, I can install the game wherever I want, when I want, no activation or "phone-home" or whatsoever. And they really provide a "value added" service: some games aren't available anywere else (even P2P networks), and they have gone the extra step of making them playable on the modern versions of Windows.

So the publisher cashes in their older titles, instead of clinging on them and not doing anything with them (like actually selling the games) and/or chasing whoever dares to mess with it, i.e. fan-made remakes, reverse engineering and things like that, GOG cashes in with the nostalgia of the clients, and the quality of the majority of the offerings, and the clients cash in as well, being able to play quality games for low-low prices, and not having to worry about if SecureRom will break their Windows.

Just a quick mention of Steam. I like the concept, and they are doing some things right. But I hope they don't let the publishers run wild with the platform (the Bioshock 2 "protection" seems insane! DRM on top of Steam and validations?!).

Re:Someone got it right (at least for old games) (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008414)

I second credit going to Good Old Games - a great idea well executed.

As for Steam, it's not full-blown in-your-face DRM control but I still think it's too restrictive. Sometimes I want to be able to LAN play with a few friends and offline mode on Steam seems flaky at best.

Lack Of Information About LAN Play (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008370)

I actually stopped buying many games because of the very poor quality information on the back of game boxes - specifically to do with what's required for local LAN gaming.

If you go back to the days of Red Alert 2, for example, it was possible to buy one copy of a game but install it on multiple PCs on a local LAN so that you could invite a friend over and enjoy a LAN gaming session. However, whereas whether you could do this or not used to be on the back of the game box, these days there is no mention of it - I suspect because now no games really support it, the games company preferred option being to connect to their games servers (e.g. Steam).

I don't necessarily want to be able to buy one copy of a game and install it for simultaneous play on multiple machines, but I also think that it's a bit extreme to be expected to buy a copy of the full game for each machine in order to do it - the classic recent example of this I came across was "World In Conflict Complete Edition" which, no matter how much I tried, wouldn't let me do local LAN play with it.

Many years ago I used to download cracked games from Usenet and hand them freely out to friends. But for the sake of paying out a few pounds (by the time the games get to the budget labels) compared to the problems with spreading viruses and having to explain to a lot of those friends how to install the games and get them working, I just stopped doing it.

As Cliff Harris says in the article, people will always copy stuff that costs any amount of money, sometimes only because of the "prestige" of being the first one to do it. So it's about time games companies realise this and stop with the alienating the honest customers - i.e. give us the play features we want (like LAN play facility) and stop with the restrictive DRM mechanisms.

It's truly ridiculous, in these days of optical drive-less netbooks, that a game that can be fully installed onto a hard disk still requires you to carry around the game disk with you, especially as if that disk gets damaged in transit, you have to pay for a replacement copy.

Nowadays, I still game a lot but I either play Open Source/free games or buy them on Good Old Games [htp] where optical disks and DRM are not a problem.

Re:Lack Of Information About LAN Play (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008388)

Apologies for messing up on the embedded link, that's what comes from having a bit of keyboard delay whilst an application is compiling in the background of my Gentoo Linux PC...

The link is Good Old Games [gog.com] , though I suspect many on here already know the site.

Case in point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008376)

"People who crack and upload games don't give a damn what you've done to placate gamers, they crack it anyway."

He's right. A while ago somebody joked here that no one would ever crack the bad games. However, there are many games where you wonder why someone would bother [google.com] , but the pirated versions are still there.

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