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DRM-Free Game Suffers 90% Piracy, Offers Amnesty

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the arrr-me-hearties dept.

Piracy 795

bonch writes "Independent game Machinarium, released without DRM by developer Amanita Design, has only been paid for by 5-10% of its users according to developer Jakub Dvorsky. To drive legitimate sales, they are now offering a 'Pirate Amnesty' sale until August 12, bundling both the cross-platform game and its soundtrack for $5. Ron Carmel, designer of DRM-free puzzle game World of Goo, stated that his game also had about an 80-90% piracy rate, claiming that the percentage of those pirating first and purchasing later was 'very small.' He said, 'We're getting good sales through WiiWare, Steam, and our website. Not going bankrupt just yet!'"

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795 comments

Next step to prevent PC piracy (4, Insightful)

odies (1869886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180732)

The 90% piracy rate is quite much the norm with PC games. The sad thing is that PC gamers will destroy their own gaming platform by doing so. Good example is Modern Warfare 2 which was heavily "consolised" and you have to admit, not having dedicated servers and everything else sucks.

This also shows that the usual argument that warez versions of games are good to get to know the game before you buy it or that you would rather support indie developers and "small guys" are mostly bullshit. These indie game developers also have a 80-90% piracy rate.

But you know what the next step to prevent piracy will be?

Fully online games. You can already see this with the Ubisoft's DRM, the recent Starcraft 2 and the movement to multiplayer, co-op (left4dead), and mmo games. Personally I actually enjoy playing with other people especially in a good co-op game, but there are those who prefer single player games. I prefer with games like Civilization too. But ultimately this piracy will lead to most serious developers just to publish fully online games like World of Warcraft. While you can play it freely with piracy servers, it's really far from the real experience. Game developers will also look more into console development, because for example you still can't pirate games for PS3.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180752)

While you can play it freely with piracy servers, it's really far from the real experience.

So, Just like diablo 2 you mean thats it's way better in non-official private server right ?

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (2, Insightful)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180780)

Hellgate:London (the next game from the developers of Diablo 2) didn't have a LAN play mode, which made a lot of gamers really pissed off (including me). The single player version of the game was treated like crap. It frequently lagged several patches behind the online server (which was essentially an MMORPG). The final patch, before the game was abandoned, didn't even get ported to single player.

I don't think that anyone is even going to bother with a single player version, if they can get away with it. There's still a market for games like Civilization, but they'll probably get DRM'd to hell, like Sacred 2.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180768)

All his problems can be explained economically. The low conversion rate is because it's a POINT AND CLICK ADVENTURE GAME. You know, the long dead genre? Only games making a profit in that are using pure nostalgia and low budgets.

It's a new IP, It's a point and click adventure game, and it's indie. That just screams "Will only sell at dirt-cheap prices"

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (5, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180774)

All I want to know is, how many copies of this game has the company sold? Now, how many copies would they have sold if there was 100% unbreakable DRM? Obviously that data is impossible to gather... But I'd bet that most people who pirate games weren't going to buy them anyways. I have a job and when I want something, I just go to the store and get it. I don't bother with Warez anymore as it really is just kind of a pain. But those with no financial resources to buy whatever they want? Piracy is sometimes their only choice. I'm not saying that's right, but if my fictional next door neighbor who lives paycheck to paycheck and has no disposable income pirates a game, I don't consider that a loss to anyone.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180958)

90% of the copies were pirated. NINETY PERCENT. If only 10% of people who pirated the game would have bought it instead, this small consumer-friendly company would have almost DOUBLED what they made from the game. ... and piracy is not their "only choice". Since when are people entitled to have whatever they want no matter their ability to pay - especially things that are merely entertainment?

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (5, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180990)

You enumerate only two of three concievable groups of customers; those that buy games because piracy is a hassle (you) or do it out of the kindness of their hearts. According to the article, only 10% of all those who aquired the game are like that.

The second group are those who pirate the games because they have no money. They are a large part of the games audience. The third group are those who have money, would have bought it but preferred to warez it instead. Those two groups together are 90% of the games market. If the game had strong DRM, so that you could not pirate it, people in the third group would be enticed to buy the game. Assuming as little as 10% are in the third group, using DRM would almost double the number of sales the game makes.

Ergo: it makes perfect sense for game publishers to use DRM.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (4, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181028)

Then you are forgetting another group, those of us who purchase games but will _not_ purchase games with stupid DRM schemes. I was excited for Spore and chose not to get it because I didn't want to support their DRM. Again, impossible to tell, but who comprises the bigger group? Those of us who won't purchase draconian DRM'd games or those that would purchase games (directly or indirectly) because it _has_ DRM? If those two groups are roughly the same size, what's the benefit to the DRM? Now calculating in the cost of implementing the DRM, what is the benefit? I don't have the answers, but I have and will continue to personally boycott games with overly intrusive DRM perceived, or real (hey, I'm human).

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181126)

And you think that group is bigger then the group who would buy a game if they couldn't get it for free from a warez site instead?

I call bullshit. Most pirates are just cheapskates, nothing more.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181142)

Your opinion is just as valid as mine. Until there is proof one way or the other it's all just mental masturbation. But don't assume that if everything had DRM that the warez scene would dry up. Games with DRM still flourish in the warez scene so that's almost a pointless argument entirely.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (5, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181166)

Good point, but I don't think your group is nearly as large as the other. Your anti-DRM group is comprised mostly of us nerds who have a problem with our computers not being completely under our control. Most gamers, I've found, are not nearly as savvy or idealistic. While DRM issues are becoming more and more publicized, it's still very unlikely that your average Joe is going to forgo the latest shoot-em-up or whatever just to try to make a point about DRM.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181092)

I don't think you understand that people have a relatively stable budget for spending on media and entertainment. Whether they spend it on movies or games, whether they pirate or not the same amount of money is going to go into the industry. Not to mention pirating allows them to indulge in the game industry without the constraints of a limited budget. If a person can only afford to play 1 game every few months due to budget and time constraints, how likely are they to maintain their interest in games in general?

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181180)

The second group are those who pirate the games because they have no money. They are a large part of the games audience. The third group are those who have money, would have bought it but preferred to warez it instead. Those two groups together are 90% of the games market. If the game had strong DRM, so that you could not pirate it, people in the third group would be enticed to buy the game. Assuming as little as 10% are in the third group, using DRM would almost double the number of sales the game makes.

First off, no, people in the third group would most likely be enticed to pirate something else instead. And secondly, you're neglecting the loss of sales from the first group when you apply DRM to them.

But then again, your overly simplistic analysis is likely what the Ubisoft CxOs are thinking and the reason we even have this kind of crap in the first place.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (5, Insightful)

rve (4436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181200)

The second group are those who pirate the games because they have no money. They are a large part of the games audience.

I call bull poopie on that. Someone who built a $2500 overclocked gaming monster has the money, and someone with a $300 PC from Walmart probably doesn't know where to get pirated games. The average gamer is over 18 and has a job. Even a school kid without a job could buy a few games a year by cutting down on candy.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181012)

So why do you pay? Convenience? Or guilt?

Long-term, money wins out over both - people would rather have beer than pay for stuff on the Internet. Long term, I'd say that the people growing up with the Internet and knowing that everything is there for the taking will just take and long after the "payers" are gone the Internet and warez will still be there.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181074)

I'm not sure where you went with the second paragraph, so I'll just reply to the first part. I pay because I want to support the developers and the game. But make no mistake about it, I did and probably would continue to play the same games even if I had no money to spend on them (read that as you will). I'm fortunate enough, and thus so are the developers, that I have a job that affords me the ability to purchase the games I want to play. Again, not saying it would be "right" for me to do so, but it would happen.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181046)

Do you really think that 90% of gamers don't have enough financial resources to buy a $10 game? Most of the people I know who pirate are as well-off as me. It's not like buying this game (or other games) would ruin their checkbook. It costs the same as a night out at the movies, or at the bar, or a meal out.

The only exception I can think of is maybe if some people just download tons of games but only buy a couple per year. I don't think I've seen people do that, but who knows.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181150)

THIS. As long as they're making money stop bitching about lost sales that aren't. And I'd like to know how they get these numbers? If there is no serial code or "phone home" activation how exactly can they possibly track the number of games that are pirated? I call bullshit.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180826)

Ignoring the whole 90-95% piracy 'claims'...

How many of those 90-95% would have bought it if they couldn't pirate it?

I tried the demo and closed the browser window within 2 minutes.
(Not even because you cant switch off the crappy music without turning off sound effects)
I might have pirated it to try it but would never pay to buy it.

You cant always tell what a game will be like from the demo or a youtube movie.
A lot of games dont have demos these days. Game reviews are almost always biased because
they rely on these game companies for advertising revenue.

I never would have bought BioShock 2 if I'd known you play as a Big Daddy.

Even if people don't buy your game it gets you exposure and might help you sell
your next game if its better.

At the end of the day games companies are in the same place as movie companies.
They artificially inflate the costs using bullshit accounting.
Rather than doing it properly and spend the money on making the story/gameplay better
they make it just barely good enough.
The bulk of the money goes on marketing and bling (voice actors and prettyness) then
have to rely on selling as many copies as possible before word of mouth spreads that
its only a mediocre game at best. They then blame the failure to live up to expectations
on piracy.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (0)

.Bruce Perens (150539) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180968)

I never would have bought BioShock 2 if I'd known you play as a Big Daddy.

How do you get a computer and electricity under that rock where you live?

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180834)

The sad thing is that PC publishers will destroy their own gaming platform by breaking their games, instead of catering to their paying customers. Good example is Modern Warfare 2 which was heavily "consolised" and you have to admit, not having dedicated servers and everything else sucks.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181004)

I just made the decision not to buy BF 2 bad company because:

- There are no dedicated servers so I wouldn't be able to get a good ping in my country
- I read the forums, saw the tons of problems people were having
- Read some devs post about how they can't even make a patch system that works

A combination of the three made me decide not to buy it. I still want to play a battlefield style modern warfare game though so if anyone has an idea for alternatives please reply.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181094)

Huh? One of the huge selling points of Bad Company 2 was that it had support for dedicated servers. They made a big deal of it to catch the attention of people who were disgruntled with MW2.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

besalope (1186101) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181178)

He means no personal dedicated servers. Instead of the prior Battlefield games were the server files were released to public as "Unranked" servers you could run locally at lan parties for friends or on a co-located/Rented hardware we're stuck going with EA approved game server rentals that cost more than co-locating a server in a datacenter. Couple with the fact that most of the rentals are only at a couple major internet hubs, if you live out in BFE you will have ~200+ ping.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181190)

Not to mention the last few patches have cleared up a lot of the crashes and instability. It runs pretty damn good now and is my current favorite. MW2 is a train wreck of cheaters and campers with no vehicle support and too much emphasis on twitch.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (2, Interesting)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181144)

With a 90% piracy rate on DRM free games, clearly catering to your paying customers is working out pretty well. What was the successful piracy rate on these very locked down games again?

These excuses don't hold up in the market anymore. The data is conclusive: people are cheap and will pirate it if there's an easy way to do so.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

steve buttgereit (644315) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180850)

I have to agree with the top level post's stand on what piracy means for game developers. It's funny that it mentions fully online games as a means to prevent piracy just now though. I was at a party last night where I met one of the QA guys for this company:

http://www.onlive.com/ [onlive.com]

They're trying to effectively stream games rather than have any local game installs at all. I have no idea how well this works, but it would seem to be very difficult to pirate a game where you never actually possess the code. ...of course that shifts the issue of piracy (a problem for the developer) to issues of identity theft and account security (more often a problem for the player), but I suspect that this shift of downside sits just fine with the developers....

civ 5 will have steam drm and open moding but onli (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180882)

civ 5 will have steam drm and open moding but online only still along way away with the usa poor high speed ISP and caps.

DSL low speeds and comcast's caps will kill onlive also. My only choices are ATT DSL or comcast cable. I also can get wow cable but there tv line up and hd line up sucks. NO MLB NETWORK, NO NFL NETWORK, NO CSN + HD and more.

Starcraft 2 lack of LAN was to control pro gameing (2, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180906)

Starcraft 2 lack of LAN was to control pro gameing. I think there was some kind of legal case in south korea over pro gameing and blizzard.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180922)

How many of those "pirates" live in places where $20 is a more than a whole day's wage? I know it is impossible to get a metric on it, but piracy by people in countries entirely too poor to ever pay retail for games is a wholly different animal than a much of middle class kids living in the burbs of the U.S., and there are plenty of computers in these countries. Also, what about those of us that download cracks or entire cracked games that we actually purchased but don't want to have to insert the damn CD in every time we play? I probably have a dozen games that I bought but cracked via download that they would count as "pirated", even though I have the box. This is the main reason why I try to use Steam for all my games now. I don't mind paying, but I don't want to have to keep up with all the disks and boxes, etc. just to play something I already paid for.

Part of the piracy problem IS the DRM. Pirates deliver a better product than the distributors of the game, as it takes less hassle to simply start the game.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (2, Interesting)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181008)

How many of those "pirates" live in places where $20 is a more than a whole day's wage?

Probably not many. Since they also probably won't have an internet connection or a PC in the first place. Think about it.

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181188)

Probably not many. Since they also probably won't have an internet connection or a PC in the first place. Think about it.

China has more internet users than the United States [wikipedia.org] . Whether these people are downloading pirated computer games or not, I don't know, but the developing world is developing pretty fast.

Language barrier (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181030)

How many of those "pirates" live in places where $20 is a more than a whole day's wage?

That depends. Into the native languages of how many such places have the games in question been localized?

Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180962)

The 90% piracy rate is quite much the norm with PC games. The sad thing is that PC gamers will destroy their own gaming platform by doing so. Good example is Modern Warfare 2 which was heavily "consolised" and you have to admit, not having dedicated servers and everything else sucks.

Don't worry, people heavily pirate xbox 360 games too.

DRM does work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180754)

Will these game designers grow bitter at the reality of pirate thievery, or will they grow old and poor wallowing in idealism?

Without DRM, everyone can pirate. With DRM, only a minority can pirate -- and only a minority complain.

Why ever release a game without copy protection?

Re:DRM does work (1)

Mitsoid (837831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180842)

Unless that DRM negatively impacts game play, (e.g. CD/DVD anti-burn technology that slows down game play--thankfully more in the past now)
Can limit your ability to play the game 'forever', (drm managing servers go poof with company)
or installs additional software on top of the game into your computer without permission. (Rootkits)

I wouldn't buy any game I felt was at risk of the above. Massive online games, while in a form/sense are DRM, I'm okay with if the company has a good track record -- and Indie game? No way I'd *hope* their servers don't die.

Re:DRM does work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180846)

Why ever release a game without copy protection?

Because it's a better product and it costs less to make and it is not even clear that it negatively affects sales. The complaint about piracy is probably reaching more people than their marketing ever did. I for one have never heard about them, until now.

Re:DRM does work (2, Interesting)

Count Fenring (669457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180902)

Your belief that only a minority can pirate is bizarre. Once one person with technical skill cracks a game, generally it's a low-to-zero effort for piracy.

That's cute (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180756)

And yet Paradox Interactive has managed to build a thriving company releasing buggy games with no DRM at all. Oh, they do get around to patching the bugs eventually, and their games end up pretty darned good if your into the strategy genre. But the only difference between a legitimate, registered owner and someone with a pirated copy is that the legitimate user can use a "metaserver" to hook up for multi-player. That's it. No copy protection.

For a company that's only 12 years old, they've produced or published over 50 titles.

Or wait, maybe the companies that whine about piracy hurting their sales refuse to admit that their games are crap, and that's what's hurting their sales.

Disclaimer: I don't work for Paradox. But I do enjoy their games.

Re:That's cute (0)

odies (1869886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180778)

But there are also other aspects to think about. For example Paradox Interactive mostly releases full detail strategy games. People that play those are usually intelligent adults with good jobs and pay for games. It works for them because it is a niche market that is extremely profitable when done correctly. However, it just doesn't work for other type of games because people and target markets are different.

Re:That's cute (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180822)

However, it just doesn't work for other type of games because people and target markets are different.

      Interesting hypothesis. Now how can we prove this?

      I would argue that there have been plenty of examples of "not so niche market" games released without DRM (examples: Return to Castle Wolfenstein and DOOM, both without copy protection, both of them "shooters") having made money for companies. Oblivion has no copy protection, and I don't see Bethesda suffering or complaining. I can go on...

Re:That's cute (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180864)

So.. the people who are willing to support the things they love economically will get games. The people who aren't, won't. What is the problem here? Sounds like the free market working.

Re:That's cute (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180946)

I knew nothing about this company until you mentioned it, and holy crap their stuff looks cool. Pushing 5 games out of a small dev in one year makes me leery of the quality of the end product, however ...

More research is in order.

Re:That's cute (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181148)

Well, they're not just developers but also publishers for a few other small devs like Graviteam (Achtung Panzer), Kerberos (Sword of the Stars) and Nitro Games (C:CotA) which is why you may see so many releases from them, the number of titles they actually develop in-house aren't as many.

The quality of their end-product however is just as the OP stated, brilliant strategy games but if you like your games relatively bug-free, you're better off waiting at least a couple months after its release.

Re:That's cute (1)

Pteraspidomorphi (1651293) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181170)

Your argument makes sense when referring to many companies and games, but Machinarium is very good. I pirated it and then bought it, which very few people do according to them, and yes, I do not pay for games that suck (but I pay afterwards for almost every indie game I play because they're usually really good).

Amanita Design is the company that threw in a free game to all buyers of the Humble Indie Bundle at absolutely no profit for themselves (other than good PR of course). They seem to be talented and decent people and I hope more of their players will compensate them for their games.

Not me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180770)

I'm at least in the clear. Bought the game twice, the second time on steam because I realized I won't play a game on a pc unless I own it there.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180776)

Wow, I didn't realize the numbers were that high. The best strategy seems to have the game phone home and login when starting. I don't know why they still make me dig around for the DVD to put in the drive even when it phones home. Kindof anoying.

Re:Wow (1)

Count Fenring (669457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180880)

The best strategy until your user's internet goes out, or until you go out of business or stop supporting the game.

It's certainly effective (until someone hacks the game to remove it) but it's really annoying.

Help avoid cannibalization (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181084)

The best strategy [...] until you go out of business or stop supporting the game.

One could look at this as a ploy to avoid cannibalization [wikipedia.org] . If you stop supporting a product and it stops working, then your newer products no longer have to compete in the market with your older ones. EA is known to do this with its annual sports games. If your company goes out of business and its products stop working, then products from your new company no longer need to compete with those from the old.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180898)

The sad part is that the pirated versions don't do either. Most pirated versions have been "cracked", meaning there's no server to phone home to, and no CD or DVD to keep track of.

This is why, when I went to LAN parties, I would routinely buy the game, then download the cracked version and install that. No need to take my $60-a-pop CDs or DVDs to a LAN party with dozens of people present, no delay starting up a game waiting to swap out CDs and DVDs, and most importantly no need to buy an older DVD drive and make hardware modifications when I wanted to game to accommodate things like Ubisoft's authentication, which refused to work if you had a write-capable DVD drive in your machine.

So, I'm a pirate, but I have purchased every game I've played. What category do I fall under in the percentages?

Laptops (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181110)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

The best strategy seems to have the game phone home and login when starting.

And then you shut out the market of laptop users. People who find that they would have spend 720 USD per year for mobile broadband service just to use your product will likely choose your competitor's instead.

It's 90% piracy for DRM'd stuff too (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180784)

It's 90% piracy for DRM'd stuff too. Wasn't there something a while back about iPhone apps having about 10x as many users as people who paid? That was DRM'd.

Same thing with Stereophonics too: large numbers of downloads, proportion of sales: less than 10%. But they still made a whopping big profit.

The question becomes "did I make my money back?". IF you did, then everything beyond that's just gravy. And enjoy it. Don't look at what you "could've won" because you'll only see that as how much you've lost. Look at what you HAVE.

Re:It's 90% piracy for DRM'd stuff too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180798)

The question becomes "did I make my money back?". IF you did, then everything beyond that's just gravy. And enjoy it. Don't look at what you "could've won" because you'll only see that as how much you've lost. Look at what you HAVE.

Mind if I come over your house and take whatever I want as long as you can still live? After all, you can still live... everything else is just gravy. Enjoy it.

Re:It's 90% piracy for DRM'd stuff too (2, Funny)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180888)

Mind if I come over your house and take whatever I want as long as you can still live?

No, but you are welcome to visit and copy my TV and stereo any time you want.

However... (0, Redundant)

bonaldo2000 (1218462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180792)

That 90 % of the people using a game are using a pirated version in no way means that these 90 % would have bought the game if it had not been possible to pirate it, though.

Queue the Arguing (0, Troll)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180806)

Queue all the Pirates claiming for proof that the numbers are correct, proof that any one Pirate would have bought the game legitimately, and sentiments of entitlement revolving around how since Machinarium wasn't that great a game, people are entitled to steal it.

I don't know how people can doublethink away the idea that Pirates stealing 5x the number of copies being sold legitimately for a top selling game [torrentfreak.com] somehow DOESN'T hurt the industry.

Re:Queue the Arguing (0, Troll)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180856)

I don't know how people can doublethink away the idea that Pirates stealing 5x the number of copies being sold legitimately for a top selling game somehow DOESN'T hurt the industry.

Where's the proof that it does?

Re:Queue the Arguing (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180890)

The numbers here really aren't in debate. The piracy rate is around 90%, so what? Deterring pirates is not the same thing as earning customers. DRM puts the former over the latter, when the latter is the only thing that matters.

Re:Queue the Arguing (0, Troll)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181056)

I don't know how people can doublethink away the idea that Pirates stealing 5x the number of copies being sold legitimately for a top selling game [torrentfreak.com] somehow DOESN'T hurt the industry.

Really ?

Consider this: Water falls out of the sky for free. Alternatively, you can buy it in a very convenient way from your water company at about a tenth of a cent per liter.

Yet, there are companies selling 0,5 liter bottles of water for several euro's. And this is of inferior quality to tap water that costs ~0,1 cent/liter.

They are selling an inferior product, for a much higher price, when the a better product that is orders-of-magnitude cheaper is available literally everywhere. And they are apparently making a healthy profit doing so as lots of people buy this stuff.

So why is the copyright maffia whining about piracy and games being available for free on the internet ? Water being available for free doesn't stop the bottled-water industry from making loads of money.

Re:Queue the Arguing (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181112)

I don't know how people can doublethink away the idea that Pirates stealing 5x the number of copies being sold legitimately for a top selling game [torrentfreak.com] somehow DOESN'T hurt the industry.

Show us the missing money.

Re:Queue the Arguing (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181114)

Um, these are digital downloads: it's not like they printed 1,000 copies and then someone stole 900 of them or something.

The only difference between a pirate and a subsistence farmer in Kenya - neither of which is your customer - is if the latter leeches off any resources like in the case of online gaming.

Re:Queue the Arguing (0, Flamebait)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181186)

I don't know how people can doublethink away the idea that Pirates stealing 5x the number of copies being sold legitimately for a top selling game [torrentfreak.com] somehow DOESN'T hurt the industry.

Doublethink is not required. Software is a nonrival good [wikipedia.org] , meaning that enjoyment by one consumer does not detract from its simultaneous enjoyment by other consumers. Simple, straightforward ‘piracy’[1] does not increase the costs incurred by the publisher, nor does it directly reduce the revenue generated. It may indirectly reduce revenue, by displacing sales that would otherwise have occurred. Whether that actually happens is an open question (and a difficult one to answer when every game is different).

To be clear, I'm not saying that this would necessarily justify ‘piracy’ even if the economic effect is zero or positive, but if you want to argue against it on economic rather than moral grounds then I would like to see some evidence.

[1] I'm assuming that you mean copyright infringement as opposed to robbery on the high seas. If the latter then I concede that would have an adverse effect on the publisher.

Missing the point (4, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180824)

Let's say you release a DRM-free game and it attracts 1,000,000 players, 100,000 of whom pay you. The question you should be asking isn't "how can I get money out of the 900k people who are playing but not paying" but "how many of my 100,000 paying customers would I have lost had I released it with DRM". DRM reduces the value of your product; getting rid of intrusive DRM adds value. I can't tell you how many games I've bought at full retail and then promptly downloaded a crack or no-cd patch because the DRM got in the way of me enjoying the game I just paid for.

DRM is a fantasy. Snake oil. It doesn't work. It's been proven time and time again for the last 25 years. EVERY copy protection system ever devised has been defeated quickly. You can't stop people from copying software by any means short of crippling the hardware, and (as the jailbreakers and console modders have shown) even THAT doesn't work in the long run.

Re:Missing the point (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180938)

DRM is a fantasy. Snake oil. It doesn't work. It's been proven time and time again for the last 25 years. EVERY copy protection system ever devised has been defeated quickly.

Tell that to Blizzard. Sure it can be "broken". But what will that give you? Not a fully functional product, that's for sure.

Re:Missing the point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181116)

The only thing lacking from the pirated game is multiplayer, which has traditionally never been part of pirated games anyway.

Re:Missing the point (5, Insightful)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180944)

I have to disagree here, I think the first question is correct. You know why? Because most people don't give a shit about DRM, even if they know it exists. If everything comes together just right, there might be a shitstorm of complaints and this might have an effect (like Spore, but being a bad game certainly had a greater effect), but mostly the games are sold just fine with DRM. Look at the consoles, and look at Steam - in many aspects it's actually worse than traditional CD copy protection, but people line up to get their games from Steam because it downloads updates automatically or some such shit.

Re:Missing the point (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181026)

Stop repeating that lie. The copy protection on the PS3 has not been broken. The internet is full of examples of DRM protected video that is not broken either.

Re:Missing the point (2, Insightful)

Medgur (172679) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181058)

DRM is working fairly well for Steam.
IIRC, when connecting to a game server with full Steam integration the Client first requests an authentication packet, based on a pub key from their client ID. The server then requests an authorization key from Valve, if that's provided, the user may begin connecting. On the client end, this dance is played directly with the Valve auth servers to even launch the game.
Yes, both avenues have been hacked, but in doing so you're left with either:
1. Playing only with other people who have hacked the client and server, without any match making support for finding such servers
2. Playing alone

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181064)

I concur. I recently had a friend bring me a pirated copy of Dragon Age to play because " it was an incredible game and I just had to play it." Well, he was right, it is an exceptional game and the first moment I could get away from it, I went online to buy copies for me, my wife, 2 brother in laws, my nephew and 2 nieces (that were old enough).

I found a fair price for the new game, added 7 copies of the game and expansion and then saw the link for the EULA:

B. Technical Protection Measures. Your version of the Software uses SecuROM content security technology provided by Sony DADC Austria AG. This SecuROM technology does not require a separate installation. For more information about SecuROM, visit www.securom.com and http:/faq.securom.com/. An Internet connection is required to authenticate the Software and verify your license (“Online Authentication”) using the serial code enclosed with the Software. If EA determines your license is not valid, you may not be able to use the Software. There have been reports of computers experiencing technical issues after installation of programs that contain SecuROM digital rights management technology. By installing this Software, you acknowledge and agree to bear the foregoing risks of use. EA does not recommend that you attempt to disable SecuROM. If you disable or otherwise tamper with the technical protection measures, the Software may not function properly and you will have materially breached this License.

(Emphasis mine) Needless to say I did not go through with the order as I wanted to gift a game, not a support nightmare. I'll still continue to enjoy the game, I'll just pick up a used copy instead (just for myself) and continue to enjoy the superior pirated copy.

DRM is more of a Future Problem for me (1)

Cycloid Torus (645618) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181216)

A little DRM goes a long way. Since publishers, developers, indies all seem to come and go, my problem is most likely going to be with their lack of reliability and permanence than my "piracy" (non-existent). I do play games from my library dating back almost 20 years - and if a game is any good I expect to do so over the next 20 years. Without this assurance (and most DRM fails to give any), I will not buy any game until it hits the bargain bin. However, no DRM at all might be too generous, too tempting. Steam as an independent repository makes it possible to buy otherwise DRMed games with some hope of a future. So does GOG. They also make some effort to have the most recent version. Works for me so I trade with them and not the publisher / developer. I think that the various players in this market will finally figure it out and move away from boxed, weirdly DRMed and from DRM free - and use a little DRM to keep things honest.

Stardock does fine (1)

Zequel (1696314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180866)

Stardock games are non-DRM and seem to have strong sales. Supposedly Sins of A Solar Empire has sold 100,000s of copies.

Re:Stardock does fine (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181122)

Stardock makers of impulse are working on a new DRM library. They also only offer refunds from third party developers if they authorise it. They're no better then anyone else in the industry.

I'm in. (1)

Flamekebab (873945) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180868)

I pirated the game and enjoyed it. At times it got a bit frustrating but in general it was very good. I like the idea of an amnesty like this, so much so that I've now stepped up and paid.

The price is right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180916)

I've been waiting for a while now for this game to be in my price range. I did not pirate the game and I'm not buying it now out of guilt. It's just that I think this flash game is worth $5. I decided that from playing the official demo.

It just finished downloading now. I'll go exercise those neurons.

Just tried it - stupid (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180918)

It's like an old Hypercard game, or Myth, you just wildly click on random things and then sometimes things happen. Who would pay for that?

Pointless stats (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180930)

The ratio of how many people pirate the game is irrelevant. This is not lost sales, this is people who wouldn't have bought the game anyway.

Re:Pointless stats (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180978)

Saying over and over does not make it true.

You act as if everyone given a choice between buying it and getting it for free would have bought it legit instead.

I counter your argument with the equally plausible hypothesis that SOME people who pirate the game would buy it, if they were not able to pirate the game easily.

Re:Pointless stats (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181048)

SOME people who pirate the game would buy it, if they were not able to pirate the game easily.

Except pirating is necessarily easy, and you can't do anything about it.

Re:Pointless stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181070)

And some people who pirate the game, would buy it because they were able to pirate it first. It's a question of how many buy the game, the number of people pirating is irrelevant.

Re:Pointless stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181106)

Or bought cheaper crappier game to fritter their time away. Ad supported flash games!

Bullshit Figures Are Bullshit (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33180940)

World of Goo's piracy rates were bullshit. Honestly, there's no good metric to determine this. I claim 100% piracy on my thoughts!!!!!!11111oneoneone

Suffers from 90% piracy rate (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180952)

But gets a front page story on Slashdot and Ars Technica. Not sure what the advertising value is of that but I have to believe it's pretty substantial. Hopefully it puts a dent in however many actual lost sales that 90% piracy rate translates to.

Made Up Numbers (2, Interesting)

ArcaneAmoeba (1873770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180966)

From what I understand, this game has absolutely no internet functionality and no DRM. How would they be able to get the percent piracy rate if they have absolutely no idea how many copies of the game are out there, only how many people bought the game? This story has appeared on every tech site I visit regularly. It's clear that they just pulled the 90% rate out of their @$$ so that they could generate interest and sympathy.

Before everyone jumps on the antipiracy band wagon (1)

Diac (1515711) | more than 3 years ago | (#33180970)

Let me tell you of a game called subspace, it was a 2d multi player shooting game with small spaceships, do a google search if you want to find more about it but i bet a lot of you remember it.

At the height of its popularity there was over 1 million player plus playing this small free game.

Then sony took an interest.

They bought the game and put it on there Sony station platform as a pay to play game and the 1 million plus players drop instantly to 100k players(im not sure about the exact number but i do know that the vast majority drooped playing the game)

Even though a lot of people did not continue to play it enough still did to make it a good business decision i guess but that is not what this post is about.

What it is about is when you offer something for free(i know it was not offered for free btw its just a comparison example) compared with with purchasing it there will always be around 10x the amount of people who would play it for free compared to the amount that would buy it.

The statistics shown in the article above just show that. It does not mean that the 90% of players who pirated it would have paid for it all it shows is that given the choice more people would play the game freely about 10x the amount that would buy it thats all.

Re:Before everyone jumps on the antipiracy band wa (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181140)

This reminds me of Infantry, also bought by SOE I loved that game. It went p2p, I loved it enough to pay for it but then got stopped because it lost its 'feel'.

Apparently it's free now.

Game compaines using piracy as an excuse (2, Insightful)

nnull (1148259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181014)

I see game companies continue to use piracy as an excuse for the lack of sales of their utterly crap games. I can't wait to see Sega claim no one wanted to buy Alpha Protocol because of piracy. UBI claims that pretty much 99% of the time now with the utter crap Silent Hunter 5 is (It couldn't be because of the bad reviews on forums and all. NO WAY! It was piracy!). So I call bullshit on this. Yet, somehow Valve doesn't seem to have this problem nor Paradox, or even the Russian publisher 1C. Perhaps if you game companies made your games more enjoyable like these publishers I've listed, I might buy your game.

WalterCool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181042)

I will never buy a flash game. DRM free game using a ugly and bad implemented API? No way

Where do they get the numbers? (4, Insightful)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181078)

Is there an online part to this game? Can they see 10-20 times as many players online as how many have paid?

Or did they just find it on some torrent site and multiplied the number of downloads by a 1000 (and assumed they all liked the game and are still playing it)?

Slashdot Hypocrisy (5, Insightful)

jamesbulman (103594) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181080)

Follow the logic...

Piracy = !Bad
Piracy = Copyright Infringement
GPL = Copyright
GPL Infringment = !Bad

Well, I'm off to infringe the GPL as it's not bad to do that apparently.

So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181158)

Man, I bought world of Goo.

I wish I'd pirated it first to check it out though.

The game sucks

98% of statistics pulled out of my ass (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33181206)

The other 75% are pure fabrication!

So the "90% piracy" quote is attributed to a person who pirated then bought World of Goo, contacted the publisher and told them that 90% of the users pirate their game. Well, if that isn't just the most reliable number out there, they add that they found 500 seeders and 300 leechers on Bittorrent. No word on what those seeders were seeding.

Supply and Demand (5, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33181218)

It's called a price versus demand curve. As the price tends towards zero the demand increases infinitely. Since there are practical limits, demand at free plateaus at about 10x demand at the original price. This isn't about people being able to afford the games. They just don't value these games at their original prices. There's nothing you can do about it. DRM'ing the game to high heaven won't make those people who don't value the game suddenly purchase it. You're not going to suddenly increase your sales by an order of magnitude. You likely won't even increase it, unless you lower your prices. That's why those ridiculous sales on Steam are so popular. Highly rated games for incredibly cheap prices on holidays or whatever other special day comes up attracts lots of customers.

I'm not saying game prices are too high. In fact based on the rate of inflation I'm worried that the gaming market will bottom out as publishers are unable to raise their game prices to even match inflation, let alone the increasing costs of game development. But that "90% piracy rate" is totally misleading. These are not people who would have bought your game had DRM been implemented.

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