Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

DRM vs. Unfinished Games

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the it's-not-a-bug-it's-a-really-irritating-feature dept.

Piracy 462

Rod Cousens is the CEO of Codemasters, and he recently spoke with CVG about how he thinks DRM is the wrong way to fight piracy. Instead, he suggests that the games industry increase its reliance on downloadable content and microtransactions. Quoting: "The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers to actually sell unfinished games — and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience. That would create an offering that is affordable at retail — but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games. If these games are pirated, those who get their hands on them won't be able to complete the experience. There will be technology, coding aspects, that will come to bear that will unlock some aspects. Some people will want them and some won't. When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue — rather than respond the other way round and risk damaging that experience for the user."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

CmdrTaco is a cheap hooker... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32915792)

CmdrTaco is a cheap hooker. He sucked my dick, and swallowed, last night and I only had to pay him a nickel! Getting to fuck his ass was only a quarter more!

Re:CmdrTaco is a cheap hooker... (-1, Offtopic)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915956)

Cheap! Does that qualify as a "microtransaction"?

Re:CmdrTaco is a cheap hooker... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916106)

CmdrTaco is a cheap hooker. He sucked my dick, and swallowed, last night and I only had to pay him a nickel! Getting to fuck his ass was only a quarter more!

So.. what's the point of this post. Taco's fallen on hard times and you're gay?

hmm (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915812)

That was how the shareware market did it, back in the day. I know Doom was fairly successful that way, though I don't think a lot of other games really succeeded that way.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915840)

And still does it, to some extent. Shareware games still exist, but they usually have some sort of "DRM" thing ... like registration codes...

Re:hmm (-1)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915880)

Registration codes != DRM

Re:hmm (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915918)

Hence the "somrt sort of" and "thing" and quotes around "DRM."

The idea is the same; somehow make it so that you can't play the full version without paying for it...

In this case, it's easily cracked typically and isn't really all that annoying and you can move it around, etc. I don't mind the registration code thing at all actually.

Re:hmm (2, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916196)

The idea is the same; somehow make it so that you can't play the full version without paying for it...

Except it's not. DRM is about preventing you from copying or using content in ways or on devices that the copyright owner doesn't want you to. It has no relation to having to pay for something as you can stick DRM on content you give away for free and never charge for.

Re:hmm (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916456)

It does, somewhat, try to prevent you from copying/using the content in ways or on devices that the copyright owner doesn't want you to, though. I am not supposed to give you my registration code.

Now, it doesn't very strictly enforce this, obviously... it's quite weak and keygens are quite readily available... but I would argue that the idea IS the same. I would cede the point that someone else made, that it's doesn't limit it in the same way like encrypted exe's or encrypted cds/dvds.

I guess it depends on what you mean when you say "DRM." Digital Rights Management. It's a generic term... according to wikipedia though, it does not generally refer to serial numbers/key files, so I guess you are right. That's considered "copy protection" still, though.

My terminology was apparently significantly looser than how it is generally used, but it appears that many people think "DRM" == "Copy Protection" ... including you, since you seemed to refer to DRM as being something that prevented you from copying it.

Re:hmm (1, Insightful)

eiMichael (1526385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916080)

To keep this whole discussion honest, yes it is. A registration code is a form of digital rights management. While more recent forms have been much more controversial, type in the wrong code and see if you get to play the game.

Re:hmm (-1)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916270)

To keep this whole discussion honest, yes it is. A registration code is a form of digital rights management. While more recent forms have been much more controversial, type in the wrong code and see if you get to play the game.

No, you can freely copy the game as long as you have the code. It doesn't limit the amount of copies nor does it encrypt the executable or CD/DVD like DRM does.

Re:hmm (4, Insightful)

orasio (188021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916290)

To keep this whole discussion honest, yes it is. A registration code is a form of digital rights management. While more recent forms have been much more controversial, type in the wrong code and see if you get to play the game.

Not really.
You buy a code, and that code unlocks your game, forever and ever, the transaction is finished. It's true you couldn't use the full game before the code, but you hadn't paid for it yet.
The problem with DRM is publishers retaining control on stuff you already paid for, after the fact.

Re:hmm (-1, Redundant)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915896)

Except you didn't have to buy the shareware. They were more like what demos were today (and in some cases, like today's "donate-if-you-enjoy" freeware).

NO (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916034)

with the insane costs of internet
with the caps
with the throttling

YOU want me to be online for a game to be played.....
NO
NO
NO
and i suggest you do it anyway so you can go right out of business and we can be done with twits like this.

Re:hmm (1)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916330)

I've noticed lately that previews of games are heavily restrictive. I like to try out a game before I buy it, but lately, if previews are offered at all, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops from signing up for mail lists to finding a friend who has buddy codes to actually paying money. And that's just to try it out! Due to this, I rarely buy games anymore.

This solution is alright, but I preferred the previous paradigm of being able to download and play the first level/world/week free to check things out before buying it.

Re:hmm (1)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916334)

My answer is for us as publishers to actually sell unfinished games

Isn't that what they are already doing? Definitely most MMOs ship in that state.

Ok Rod.... (0, Redundant)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915814)

Yeah... you let me know how that works out for you. I mean I'm already not buying your games because they are overall pretty shitty, but let's just throw one more reason onto the pile.

Re:Ok Rod.... (2, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916088)

Oh, I'd say it's working out quit well for at least one [technewsworld.com] company [wikipedia.org] .

Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (5, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915854)

Maybe I'm naieve or not understanding, but what will stop the pirates from unlocking/breaking/pirating the downloadable content? Aren't you just moving DRM from the front end to the back end?

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915898)

Maybe I'm naieve or not understanding, but what will stop the pirates from unlocking/breaking/pirating the downloadable content? Aren't you just moving DRM from the front end to the back end?

It will make the life harder for pirates. Every little push helps. Personally I enjoy the easiness that Steam offers.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32915968)

This is akin to sending an unencrypted, sensitive file over the internet in little pieces... Security by obscurity doesn't increase security at all. It, generally, just makes things more obscure and difficult to follow. This is something that a true hacker would have no problem spending the time to figure out, and would probably, ENJOY doing.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916162)

This is akin to sending an unencrypted, sensitive file over the internet in little pieces... Security by obscurity doesn't increase security at all. It, generally, just makes things more obscure and difficult to follow. This is something that a true hacker would have no problem spending the time to figure out, and would probably, ENJOY doing.

And in turn here in the real adult life people have better things to do than mess around with all kinds of tricks, spend time on it and then think if it really works. Note, I have been on both sides, but then I grew up. Now I enjoy just buying the product with a click of a button, see theres extra value in the product when you actually own it, and I also understand that people making these games wouldn't be making them if everyone were stealing from them like you.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916052)

It will make the life harder for pirates. Every little push helps. Personally I enjoy the easiness that Steam offers.

Not really. The pirates get off on the challenge of cracking this stuff, and prestige in the community is directly linked to difficulty of the crack and time taken to crack it. This kind of stuff will just get them off even more.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (3, Insightful)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916200)

It will make the life harder for pirates. Every little push helps. Personally I enjoy the easiness that Steam offers.

Not really. The pirates get off on the challenge of cracking this stuff, and prestige in the community is directly linked to difficulty of the crack and time taken to crack it. This kind of stuff will just get them off even more.

What pirates are you talking about? Crackers, sure. But most people, the usual pirates, just want free stuff. When it's enough hard and complicated, they just buy the product. The casual users anyway, and that is what matters most to the game developers.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916474)

The battle isn't in the crack teams' favor these days:

The PS3 has been shown to be 100% secure after the years it has been out.
HD satellite is still unbroken.
FairPlay for movies still has not been cracked, and no, using the analog hole or a program like SoundTaxi to "record" the played movie is not a crack. That is a transcoding.
HDCP has been out for a while, still unbroken.
Recent iPhones are still not jailbroken.
Windows 7 activation has yet to have a reliable bypass that doesn't turn the desktop black.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916226)

If by "harder" you mean "more fun for people who enjoy breaking drm" then you're right. Otherwise, you're clueless.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915908)

Yes, it's the "DRM of a thousand cuts".

It not only ensures that DRM is fully active, but that the user must pretty much be online to play or at least access content, and that the licenses pretty much cannot be resold.

Oh, and that the "warez" versions will be ever more valuable to the end user than the legitimate versions, of course.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916008)

It seems to be working for Ubisoft. There still aren't a good cracked version of the newest Silent Hunter. The one you see on torrent sites only contain the tutorial. This is almost half an year later now.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916448)

yea, but that's only because the game is targeted at a niche audience and not that good. Assassin's Creed 2 uses the same basic DRM system and has been cracked. It's not a 'universal' break to that type of DRM though, a lot of work has to go into it, and nobody willing to do that work really care's enough about Silent Hunter.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916480)

Judging from the reviews I've seen based on a quick glance, there isn't a good UN-cracked version as well. Maybe people saw what it was like and decided that even free was too expensive.

Before you go all flamey about the fact that I don't even know what the game is... It's a joke, son.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32915946)

Nothing at all, the pirates will release a convenient all-in-one pack with the base game and all the DLCs, for easy download and installation.

This guy is either incredibly naive, or it's really an attempt to make further milking of their paying customers more palatable by obscuring it as "fighting piracy"

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

bytecrafter (917340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916094)

Yes, it seems like this guy is committing an act of double-speak. "DRM is not the answer to the piracy issue". Except then he then details a system that could only be described as DRM. This guy is either lying or uninformed.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916242)

Except then he then details a system that could only be described as DRM.

Except that DRM doesn't mean what you apparently think it does. DRM is about preventing someone from making unauthorized copies or restricting using content on devices the copyright holder doesn't want you to. Having to pay something in order to get access to it is not a DRM scheme.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916158)

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. This guy is an idiot. It's like he hasn't considering that um...duh...people can still pirate that DLC. Is he really that retarded? Or is he implying that maybe some people will be more willing to pay for things that are cheaper or something? I really just don't get it.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (5, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916244)

I'm okay with Little Pieces of DRM if the game is like Firefox where you buy a stripped product, and then pay micropayments to get various addons. The product would still be "complete" and usable but minus the optional features/sidequests.

What I would Not be okay with is if I was playing Final Fantasy 12 or Zelda Twilight Princess and suddenly a popup says, "If you want to enter the final dungeon, please type in your credit card number. It will be charged $10." That would piss me off.

Re:Isn't this just DRM in little pieces? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916364)

the basic idea is when your installation connects to their servers to download the content, it sends your registration key. They run the same sort of keyservers as do online activation. If the key is burned, it just won't let you download the update.

The "fix" for that of course is to intercept the download off a legitimate installation, and package it such that you can download the update via torrent etc and run it locally to get the new content. But that's a lot more involved than simply shutting off a SN check with a tweak of a line or two of code.

Please insert coin (5, Funny)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915856)

I have several funny and interesting posts in this matter

Please insert coin to see the first of them.

Re:Please insert coin (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916020)

I have several funny and interesting posts in this matter

Please insert coin to see the first of them.


I put a quarter into the slot on the side of my iMac a few minutes ago, but nothing's happened yet. Did you get my money, or should I call the help desk?

Re:Please insert coin (3, Funny)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916216)

Try it with a Windows machine. At least if it doesn't work you can double its value!

<ducks>

No. (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915866)

No no no no no no no. Microtransactions are NOT the way to go.

There really isn't any solid, fool-proof way to fight piracy. Most DRM schemes make things bad for paying customers, while pirates just play cracked copies that have less problems than the legit versions.

That being said, a $10 drop across the board for new console games would go a long way. $60 is WAY too much for a console game. Sadly, the Humble Indie Bundle proved that on the PC, there isn't much you can do to fight it...offering non-DRM games for a single cent don't even necessarily work.

Standard "only my opinion, no guarantees to work, etc." apply.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916002)

"There really isn't any solid, fool-proof way to fight piracy"

Sure there is: make software so crappy that nobody wants to pirate it.

Re:No. (0, Redundant)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916354)

Sure there is: make software so crappy that nobody wants to pirate it.

Microsoft tried this. It didn't work. :)

Re:No. (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916286)

No no no no no no no. Microtransactions are NOT the way to go.

Why not? I get that you don't like it, but I don't understand your reasoning, you just make a flat statement that "microtransactions, they r teh devilz!" I'm genuinely curious, there's no "HA! IN YOUR FACE!" waiting, just curious how you're coming to the conclusion that it won't work.

I'm not certain it'd be effective, but I do see that it might raise the bar for people trying to pirate the games, which might be "enough" of a solution that it discourages casual piracy. As you noted, you'll never fully defeat piracy - so maybe the goal is to simply make it hard enough that only really dedicated pirates will bother?

Re:No. (0, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916292)

offering non-DRM games for a single cent don't even necessarily work.

Which proves in many ways that the people who claim they don't buy games cause of DRM or that they're too expensive or just BS excuses. World of Goo never used DRM and yet you could see it being shared all over the place on torrent sites. It boils down to people just not wanting to pay people for their work.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916434)

Sadly, the Humble Indie Bundle proved that on the PC, there isn't much you can do to fight it...offering non-DRM games for a single cent don't even necessarily work.

At the same time, the Humble Indie Bundle also showed that there are a lot of people who are willing to pay for something that they could easily pirate. You had DRM-free games being offered in such a way that people could simply pass a link around and everyone could get free downloads, yet they still made over $1 million in sales.

And those people would wouldn't even pay a cent for those games-- do you really think they'd all rush out and buy the game if it were DRMed?

You're going to charge me $30 upfront, right? (4, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915868)

Right? Not $60 for an unfinished game, then two or three extra $10 for addons?

Re:You're going to charge me $30 upfront, right? (3, Insightful)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916230)

Don't you usually pay $60 for an unfinished game anyways? What's the last game you purchased that didn't require at least 1 or 2 updates to fix things that were broken from the start?

Re:You're going to charge me $30 upfront, right? (2, Insightful)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916312)

My thoughts were exactly this when i read the headline. 60 Bucks for an incomplete game is absolutely asinine. And what about those poor souls who don't have the Web? how are they supposed to get the "rest of the game"

Re:You're going to charge me $30 upfront, right? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916422)

Why would they go and do a silly thing like that?

For years, games have worked through the sale of the initial game and then the sale of "expansion packs" later on to keep the game fresh. This will be sold to you as an improvement because the expansion packs will be available for you to buy more often.

Look at WoW. How much does the game cost? I didn't buy it, so I don't know. But at the moment, the "Battle Chest" version is around $40 on Amazon. Plus there are a few $30 expansion packs that seem to have come out since the "Battle Chest" version (which is itself the original WoW plus an expansion pack). How much gaming do you get for your $40? From the packaging, 15 days' worth. Then your guest pass runs out and you need to pay $15 a month thereafter. Plus at least a couple more $30 expansion packs, then a couple more new ones each year to stay current.

I don't begrudge them their money - it's a game, fercrissake, and people can decide whether they want to spend the money on it or not. No one's holding a magical Sword of Incantation to your head. You want what they got, you pay what they want. Otherwise, find better uses for your entertainment dollars.

It's not like it's a necessity like a Big Mac or Cable on a big flatscreen TV or a $10 Starbucks Triple Soy Latte Mocaccino with toasted Madagascar Cinnamon or something.

But this is hardly a new business model.

One condition (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915892)

This is acceptable IF the base game is free. If the Koreans can do it so can Codemasters.

Not too different from shareware / demos (4, Funny)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915904)

And okay, so long as the company is up-front about it and prices the add-on content fairly in relation to the additional amount of playtime which it adds and works it in in a way which doesn't disturb the gameplay experience:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/11/6/ [penny-arcade.com]

William

FU - Things are already worse (for consumers)! (3, Insightful)

PurplePhase (240281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915914)

Companies are considering officially releasing *worse* and *less finished* products?? They call them MMOGs, bub.

I've always hated that, whether through DLC or episodes or... well I put up with DOW and Civ4 releasing expansions but...

Please, god, will someone release a finished game? When's the last time that happened?

8-PP

Re:FU - Things are already worse (for consumers)! (1)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916056)

Valve has released DLC's and patched TF2 for the last 3-4 years, since it's release. They have added content and maps and tweaked the gameplay. Blizzard has done the same with WoW, as have almost every other game company on the planet in the form of patches. Do you also bitch at them for releasing an "unfinished" game just because they add content later on?

Re:FU - Things are already worse (for consumers)! (0, Offtopic)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916400)

A lot of games simply don't lend themselves well to multiple replays - I find FPS titles *especially* difficult for this - Halo, etc. Once you've gone through "Campaign" mode, it's pretty goddamned boring playing through it again more than once or twice. At that point, with no DLC or online multiplayer component... how are they at all interesting? That $50-60 game disc might as well be a beer coaster at that point if the game studio says, "And that's it... no more stuff at all ever."

And even many networked games would get boring as hell if you were playing the SAME game on the SAME maps that you've always played on.

DRM on DLC (1)

Supurcell (834022) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915928)

But the DLC will still have DRM, and what's to stop the pirates from just cracking it just like they'd crack any other?

As of today, I can't think of a single DLC for any game that is actually worth it. They are almost all just quick cash ins.

Re:DRM on DLC (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916030)

Shivering Isles for Oblivion.

Yep, that totally works in practice (4, Insightful)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915932)

Yep, totally worked for Dragon Age, for example. You can't get the DLC if you have a pirated copy of the game, so you definitely can't download giant bundles of all the DLC that can be decrypted and plugged into the game. Said DLC isn't up on torrent sites 2 days after the release.

If you're going to release DLC with micro-payments, don't "punish" pirates by forcing them to also not pay for your DLC.

Only way to really combat piracy is to have an online element that only works with a valid CD key. That won't stop piracy, though; it'll just make it less useful.

Re:Yep, that totally works in practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916284)

You can use pirated DLC with a full copy of the game.

Re:Yep, that totally works in practice (1)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916342)

Correct, but you can't use the normal DLC with a pirated copy of the game, but you can use pirated DLC with a pirated copy. So you're "forcing" pirates to also pirate the DLC. The old "Cut off your nose to spite your face" strategy still doesn't work very well for downloaded content.

Heading the wrong direction? (4, Insightful)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915950)

Why is it that none of these solutions involve making a product that people are happy/willing to pay for to begin with?

It's always about crippling something then fixing it later.

Re:Heading the wrong direction? (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916116)

Well said. I like certain products, and I will obtain them in their most convenient pleasant form.

Re:Heading the wrong direction? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916362)

Why is it that none of these solutions involve making a product that people are happy/willing to pay for to begin with?

Because people show that they are still unwilling to buy something even if it's DRM-free and you can purchase it at any price you want (even as little as a penny)? Just look at how widely shared World of Goo is on torrent sites and it has never had DRM and it has had a number of "pay what you want" sales.

Re:Heading the wrong direction? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916414)

Because even if YOU are willing to pay for it, there are a lot of freeloaders out there. See Humble Indie Bundle.

Re:Heading the wrong direction? (1)

TheoCryst (975577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916472)

Because that doesn't work. Cheapskates are cheapskates, and nothing will change that.

Example: The good folks responsible for World of Goo [worldofgoo.com] ran a special "Pay What You Want" promotion for a little while. And you know what? The largest single datapoint was one penny [2dboy.com] , with the vast majority of people paying less than two dollars for a fantastic game. And of course, since the game was distributed DRM-free, an untold number of copies were downloaded via TPB and never went through this channel.

No matter how good a game is, if you offer people a choice to get it for free (or nearly for free), they'll take it.

Dear game industry (5, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915970)

Folks have been telling you this for years, but many of you still don't seem to get it, so I'm going to repeat it yet again. People who don't want to pay to play your games are never going to pay to play your games. Either they'll find a way to play it for free, or they'll go find something else to spend their time on.

The average age of the gamer has been continuously increasing, and a bunch of us who grew up playing games are adults now and still playing. We're out of school, we work for a living, we have some disposable income, and we're willing to spend a portion of it on games. There are more people able, willing, and interested in spending money on video games than ever before. Worry about us more than you worry about the people who aren't interested in paying for your product. You'll never make any money off of them.

Now if the industry has grown itself too fast, or you've let development costs get too high, or whatever you've done to make your businesses unprofitable...well that's your problem, not mine. Blaming it on people who don't want to pay for your product will not get you any sympathy or extra profits. Sorry.

Re:Dear game industry (1)

Maarx (1794262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916176)

I love you. No homo. Mod parent up.

Re:Dear game industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916408)

we work for a living, we have some disposable income, and we're willing to spend a portion of it

Not in the Obama Economy.

When I buy a game, I /buy the game/ (4, Insightful)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32915982)

When I buy a game, I buy the game. I don't buy a license to play the game. I don't buy a piece of the game. I buy the game. This is why I avoid all games that involve microtransactions, limited activations, etc. There is a reason I chose to save my money to purchase my first game console 20 years ago, rather than drop quarters into machines at the arcade down the street. It's also why arcades are dead, despite the video game industry ballooning into what it is today.

Re:When I buy a game, I /buy the game/ (1, Offtopic)

ddegirmenci (1644853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916212)

Damn, I really wish I had some modpoints...

Re:When I buy a game, I /buy the game/ (2, Insightful)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916494)

Agreed. If the game that comes in the box isn't up to snuff, I'm not going to buy it. Put as many fancy bells and whistles on DLC as you want, I'm not going to see it. Particularly not at first.

You only have one chance to make a first impression.

Re:When I buy a game, I /buy the game/ (2, Insightful)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916498)

I see your point, and that's why I went from PC to console for the vast majority of my gaming also. If I don't have the hassle that's required of PC gaming, I'm perfectly fine with "dropping some quarters" into someone else's machine with the understanding that I won't get anything permanent in return. That's why Dave and Buster's makes so much money, at least from me.

While I really enjoyed playing WoW, it cost insane amounts of money in the long run. I assume other MMORPGs are the same way.

I guess there is some kind of line there -- with an online game, they have to host the servers, which they can't do indefinitely with a one-time payment. But not all games require this, and for those I would resist having to pay a monthly fee when there is nothing obtained in return. Don't hook into online DRM crap for a game that's not played online.

Most of my games are now on the Wii, and while they're not cheap there are no ongoing costs once purchased except for all the AA batteries.

Crystal ball time... (4, Insightful)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916028)

Gamer: This game is crappy.
Game maker: Just give us five more bucks, and it won't be so crappy.
Gamer: That's a little better, but it's still pretty crappy.
Game maker: Oh! We fixed that. Five more dollars, please?
Gamer: WTF?!?!? There's DRM on this download.
Game maker: Oh yeah. Pirates figured out how to pirate our DLC. Sorry about that. Five more buck and all the female NPCs will be topless.
Gamer: Sweet! Keep the change!

Call a spade a spade (3, Insightful)

Necreia (954727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916032)

This is simply "Demo that costs money, and still has other DRM". When you buy a game, you're buying a demo in which you have to buy the real game after. And in order to tie the download content to the demo you just bought, you need an authentication system. Likely online activation.

The only thing Rod is saying is that game companies should double-dip to ease the DRM impression.

Not "feature complete" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916050)

I believe that, in the United States, a company cannot consider the income from sales of a product that is not "feature complete". They might as well give the product away.

I don't know. (4, Insightful)

sheehaje (240093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916068)

How about I buy a game. I install to my home computer, and to my laptop. I have an experience I can complete, and don't have to connect to some server to verify so if I bring my laptop somewhere, lets say to New York City for an extended business trip where the Hotel internet is intermittent at best and my air card won't work because I sandwiched between two high rise buildings, I can still play a game that I bought.

Ok, maybe my circumstances are a bit extraordinary, but I want what I pay for.

It was refreshing to actually buy a game recently (Dragon Age: Origins) and have a complete game to play without having to worry about authenticating to outside servers. I also appreciate that there are expansions that are optional, but there is no wall I will hit leaving me unsatisfied with the original game.

I do play EVE-Online also, and I don't mind the subscription, but I don't just play MMORPG's. There are just certain games that I want that I feel I can put back on the shelf someday with the satisfaction of completing it, and also the option to play the game no matter what my circumstances are. Am I asking too much for my $50?

I guess as an 80's generation gamer, I have different expectations. I still like going to the store (gasp!) to buy games. Hell, if there were still arcades around me, I might even go and drop a few dollars there.

at least civ 5 will be mod open and steam drm that (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916074)

at least civ 5 will be mod open and steam drm that way better then most of the other drm carp.

There is another model out there that fits this (2, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916082)

The BOOK publishing industry has had a model similar to this in place for a while, and I would love to see video games follow this. Most of the books I read are parts of a series, so I buy the first book ( the starter ), and then the next books ( DLCs ).

Just like with book publishing, you could do DLC packs with price reductions after they've been out a while.

As long as they deliver value proportional to the cost, I'm good with this.

Re:There is another model out there that fits this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916258)

We can call it episodic content! It'll make BILLIONS!!

unfinished games (1)

Sinn3d (1594333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916102)

""My answer is for us as publishers to actually sell unfinished games...""

So all he is really saying is ... Business as usual? Every game published is gonna end up like a beta (or mmorpg) .... a bunch of patches with a sidedish of content.

Sounds like a plan, till the "bad guys" start cracking/releasing patches/DLC. Oh wait they are already doing that...

Oh goodie (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916130)

Just what gamers are waiting for. Unfinished games. Forget paid beta-testing, now they are going to ship alpha products. Nice engine, where is the content, oh just 10 bucks for another hour worth...

NO THANKS.

And as for it stopping piracy. one word "The Sims 3". Oh okay that is two words and a number.

That game has a horribly overpriced item shop, where you can download inferior custom content that you could just as easily get for free 100% legit, but all the payed content can be found on any filesharing network along with all the official expansions.

Same by the way with all DLC for any game.

If game companies want to combat piracy they got to give PAYING customers MORE. Not less and most certainly not charge more for less.

I used to buy every game from Bethseda. Then they attempted to nicke and dime me with the horse armour debacle and voila. I pirated every game of them since. Bioware? Same deal. I only get burned once. These companies have no hope of every restoring confidence with me again. Ever.

Codemasters? Those run Lord of the Rings Online in europe. Where they awarded NEW players with a free low level horse, while people who had beenwith them for a long time, paying for the game when nobody knew if it was going to be any good at all with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

I still play the game since I got life, but will not buy anything else from codemasters EVER AGAIN.

LEARN about BASIC customer satisfaction. It ain't hard, thousand, no millions of businesses do it all the time. Why is the software industry in general and the game sector especially so in capable of building and maintaining customer loyalty.

I think Steam already figured it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916150)

Steam does it in the "if you pirate then all the games your purchased can be forfeit" approach along with the benefits of having no disks, no activation, and generally no problems along that front. The key is to give decent features for the DRM tradeoff to sell it as being a valuable thing to participate. True, you loose some (ability to sell games for instance) and you gain some (never have to worry about disks or loosing the games) but it is better than the DRM other folks offer (you are inconvenienced and the pirates aren't really bothered).

Besides, the microtransaction route, if used, would lead to, for example, Doom 1 Episode 1 being sold for $50 and episodes 2 and 3 being $30 a piece. In short, it wouldn't help much and you would likely get annoying DRM for episodes 2 and 3 anyways.

Great idea! (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916156)

That's a great idea. Sell games like the ones we find on the shelves today (ie uncompleted games) for $15-20, and charge an extra $5 or whatever if the user wants to play a single player game for more than 2-3 hours, or another $10-20 for functional multiplayer.

Wait, what? They plan to sell a fraction of the existing games for less, and the 'additional content' may add up to the existing games (which are, more often than not, incomplete/complete crap)? :-|

Depends (1)

uvsc_wolverine (692513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916170)

I'm actually okay with this depending on how it gets implemented. If I've got to pay money to go to the next level (for example) I want the game to cost less to begin with. Maybe I buy a new PS3 game for $20, but to actually finish the game I'll have to pony up an additional $30-$40 by the time I'm done. This could also have some real interesting repercussions for the used market. Considering that you would be buying the basic game, but a someone buying a used copy may still need to buy all of the DLC in order to actually complete the game.

cut the game price and add on price! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916184)

cut the game price and add on price! $40-$50 + $30 is to much.

Option Multiplayer (2, Interesting)

thewb005 (1849962) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916190)

Of the games I play, I like the single player aspect of it. I would like to pay less for the original game and have it exclude multiplayer. Only if I felt the itch to play multiplayer I could pay for it at a future date.

say it all you want (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916224)

When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue — rather than respond the other way round and risk damaging that experience for the user."

but the vast majority of publishers still won't get it. But that's one of the most insightful comments I've ever read on the subject.

so this model (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916246)

works for content providers because customers are either locked in or there are no other viable choices. this does not work for game developers because if your game is annoying enough, hard enough, or crashes enough i can always find another game.

Like STALKER (1)

vbrtrmn (62760) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916250)

Or you could just release unfinished games like STALKER and STALKER 2 and just never fix them.

Don't get enough buyers or have some financial trouble? No problem, just screw all the customers who purchased the special edition pre-Alpha version and who you've tricked into doing free QA for you.

Here are some better ideas.. Release good completed games and continue doing so. Stop trying to nickel and dime your customers.

Ha! (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916262)

That's right. Instead of having at least the semblance of a positive retail end-user experience, you sell a game that you know won't provide a good enough experience, then require they go online to get a chance of eventually getting a good game.

Sounds like an invitation to folks to not buy the game while they wait to find out if it is good enough to buy. The folks who torrent it will delete it without finding out if the game would be good, leaving no chance for converted sales. If there's no way to know which games are good or bad, until by chance a "make the game good patch" comes out, then there's no reason to buy any of them until the good patch is released. Of course, by that time, your opportunity for a really good marketing push is mostly over - and the name of your game is diminished greatly, meaning competitors who just released an actual good game have a huge advantage over your patched-good game.

What is it about industry insiders and basic logic that just doesn't seem to mix? Is it just raw anger that they could be making marginally more money? They're selling a product to a customer who has a choice between products - making your own product worse and more annoying does not help you convince your customers to buy your product. DRM or other intentional bugs only loses you money in this regard, along with any advertisement those happy users of your product would provide.

Ryan Fenton

Uh, too late (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916268)

"My answer is for us as publishers to actually sell unfinished games...."

Funny, it seems that the industry has been doing this for at least 10 years already.

we're already there (1)

themib (315187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916272)

This type of software schema has been in effect in MMO's for years... Although the microtransactions that you are referring to are usually called "expansions" (sarc) ala EQ, EQ2, WOW, GW, etc.

As a dude who wastes copious amounts of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916294)

playing video games, The idea of cheaper base games with lots of DLC is fine, so long as the DLC your paying for isn't already coded into the game ..cough..capcom..SSFIV..
Its actually a good idea when you think about it. Paying less and having the choice not to buy content you weren't interested in the first place.
The idea that it will combat piracy is vague. There's no guarantee that DLC isn't hackable.

It will have the opposite effect (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916302)

I've pirated several games that I would have otherwise, and quite wanted to pay for, because they wouldn't let me just *buy* the damn thing.

I play video games to escape the constant buy buy buy money money money of the real world. Even with MMOs, you pay your monthly fee and it's done. So if I'm going to play a game, I'm first going to make whatever arrangements necessary so that I can do so without being interrupted by requests for my credit card.

With games that have DLC, my only option is piracy. I have to track down a torrent for both the game and DLC, and cracks for both, but once that's done it's done. Give me the option to pay for that, and I will (so long as you're reasonable about it; $60 is still the price cap). If you want to hold the DLC back and release it all as a reasonably sized expansion pack, that's great too.

But stop bugging me and let me play the fucking game.

double-dip (4, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916340)

This is not about getting rid or DRM, this is about the games industry figuring out how they can get more money by double-dipping. We all know that the price of games won't drop even though you now also need to pay residuals to get the full functionality.

Blizzard already trail-blazed that model with WOW and demonstrated that many people are stupid enough to pay full price up-front for a game that also requires monthly subscriptions.

Assuming the game is not fundamentally tied to playing on-line, such as an MMORPG, whats to stop pirates just extracting and distributing the extra downloadable content too (after they've got it once)?.

Not a hacking solution (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916356)

But it's a good marketing ploy. I'm not paying for a demo -- say less than an hour of playtime. But I'll pay for a good game and expansion packs. I'll also pay very little for a known few hours of playtime (I would have bought the Doom demo -- it was long enough -- if I'd had my own computer back then...I would have paid $5 or $10 for it). None of this will stop hacking, but it may get me to buy more games.

Sell $10 versions of the games on Steam -- readily downloadable, you can play them as soon as you can download. It's like eBooks -- everytime I browse Amazon and see there's an eBook version of a book I *might* want to read, I'm more tempted to just get it. But all I've got is an iPhone right now and I won't read a novel on that.

Won't bode well with the gaming community... (4, Interesting)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916358)

As a member of the gaming community, I have come across a large number of discussions concerning DLC, and the vast majority of gamers I've seen online have been very vocal against this idea. The community as a whole doesn't care what the price of the game is--in this case, a game that would normally retail for $60 could be sold for $30 with DLC making up the other $30--they simply will not support a game that feels unfinished.

Ultimately, the gaming community feels (unrealistically) that video game publishers are trying to milk them for all the money they are worth and that DLC that feels like it should have been included on the disc (or that was included on the disc and then unlocked via purchase) is one of the greatest sins conceivable.

Personally, I think that the gaming community is largely built of alarmists and that these changes wouldn't seriously hamper gaming at all (especially if the retail price was lowered), but the community as a whole simply will not stand for this, and any attempts to roll this out in the near future will fail.

what about later? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916398)

assuming this works, what would it mean when you want to play the game 5 or 10 years down the line, and can't find or access the content anymore?

Better strategy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32916402)

If your company is losing money, try these 3 easy steps:

1. Stop spending money on anti-piracy strategies that will never work
2. Try lowering the price to what the consumer will actually pay for it. Cuz it ain't $60 for an 8 hour game...
3. If your company is STILL losing money, then you're clearly in the wrong business. (maybe try writing DRM software lol)

already doing this... badly (2, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32916452)

They're already doing this, in the wrong way that they can only be expected to implement it: selling half-finished buggy crap at full price then charging for patches + content that they took out from the original game and calling it "DLC". I'm not against DLC in principle, it has excellent potential IMHO, but rather how it is often being implemented in practice.

Also, I'm not going to buy half a singleplayer game unless I can get the second half as soon as I've completed the first. Just like I don't watch half a movie or read half a book. I get "into" a game and play it a lot, then drop it and maybe have a run around a year or two later. The games that I'll pick up for long sessions with long breaks are few and far between (only one I can think of is Civ).

Multiplayer games however, this could work. I find:

- MP games often come out with too much content for people to get properly into, resulting in a long lead time of people being inexperienced with the levels.

- related to above, many people tend to pick a few favourites and just ignore other maps, even if they're still quite good. These maps may offer more value if introduced when they are adding freshness as the old favourites are getting a bit tired.

- the high initial price puts people off because MP games are "high risk" - good balance is hard to achieve.

- related to above, enjoyment of a MP game isn't only related to the quality of the game itself, but the quantity (and quality) of other players.

Most of the MP games I've got really into have stagnated from lack of fresh content as the game gets "old". Often these games go on for years longer thanks to some good modding, though fan made maps rarely fare so well.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?