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Game Publisher Following Pirates To Find a Market

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the give-the-people-what-they-want dept.

China 30

RossR writes "A Chinese multiplayer online game company is taking note of the success of 'private servers' running pirated and altered versions. In moves that show some common sense, when a pirate server is taken down Shanda Games sees it as a sign of a underserved market. Properly licensed servers are occasionally installed for the geographic location previously covered by the unlicensed servers. Shanda is taking it a step further by developing a new platform that would allow for the flexible rule changes favored in the hacked versions. Also of interest is the article's reference to the escalation of cyber attacks between private server providers."

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At the same time... (4, Insightful)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026404)

Chinese company is going out of their way to give players what they want

And at the same time US companies are removing dedicated servers completely, applying heavy DRM instead of rethinking their business model, making it impossible to create mods and in general do everything they can to hinder players ability to enjoy games how they want.

It really looks like US is going downhill and fast while other countries do things correctly and will enjoy the results.

Re:At the same time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37026488)

Yeah, that would explain the vast amount of fun Chinese games... oh wait.

Re:At the same time... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026868)

Not only that, but they already taken a bunch of the (nominally) fun ones and turned them into tedious gold-farming sweatshops...

Re:At the same time... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37026958)

Alice: Madness Returns is extremely fun...

in China the rate of software pirates is alot high (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026490)

in China the rate of software pirates is alot higher then in the us and other places.

Re:in China the rate of software pirates is alot h (1)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026520)

Chinese games work differently. You don't pay for the game or access to it, but for game items. Sort of like TF2. It's a good business model, too, and is working really good for Valve in the US. While you can get the items from store, you can also get them from drops, trading, achievements or by crafting them and it doesn't affect the gameplay negatively.

Re:in China the rate of software pirates is alot h (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026622)

Uh, Perfect World has items that are solely from the cash shop.

Re:in China the rate of software pirates is alot h (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37026678)

This is what people have warned companies for a very long time, adapt to the market or die. They're adapting, and hey, look it's working.

Same story with the music/film industry. There are already alternatives to the old markets, much better from every point of view.

It's ironic, but despite DRM and **AA efforts, it's companies like this that will reduce piracy by offering people what they want, not lawsuits and loss of personal freedoms.

Re:in China the rate of software pirates is alot h (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37027002)

Just for the record that content distribution model began with Korean games.

Re:in China the rate of software pirates is alot h (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#37027298)

Problem is that free-to-play only works for certain kinds of games. It took a few years of work to convert TF2 from the traditional release to the current F2P form, and the game changed so much that they lost quite a few of their early players (myself included).

Basically, it ONLY works in multiplayer (many people either can't, or won't, play online), and it ONLY works in high-variety games. You couldn't make a F2P version of Portal, for instance - there's not enough variety of useful items to sell, and you can't go far at all selling cosmetic-only items.

You can't have the entire game industry based around F2P. At least, not one that was previously established using the "traditional" model. You'll lose a significant chunk of your market just by making a game that [em]could[/em] be F2P (from the Portal 2 stats, about 40% of players never even start online mode), and you'll lose another major chunk if you do make it F2P (many long-time gamers refuse to play "free" games as they've been conditioned to expect it to be low-quality, others will refuse because quite often bought items DO trash the game balance). Even in China, F2P is a trend, not a rule. There are many, many Chinese games made according to the traditional formula.

Re:in China the rate of software pirates is alot h (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#37030410)

While only a personal anecdote, i have not seen a micro-payment game that had its game balance wrecked by bought items.

Re:in China the rate of software pirates is alot h (1)

acid06 (917409) | more than 3 years ago | (#37037016)

This is silly. I played TF since the original Quake version. TF2 as a F2P works great and does nothing to alienate old, hardcore players.
You can just ignore other people's items, as I do. The game is still the same. Quit bitching already.

Re:At the same time... (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026984)

Right. That would explain why "Worlds of Warcraft" is by far the most popular MMORPG in China.

Re:At the same time... (1)

PwnzerDragoon (2014464) | more than 3 years ago | (#37028306)

Gold farmers?

Re:At the same time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37028882)

They get a separate Chinese edition of WOW. It's just for fun for 99.9% of people.

Re:At the same time... (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 3 years ago | (#37027570)

Not all US developers are bad. Runic Games [] for example.

Re:At the same time... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 3 years ago | (#37027748)

Haha, totally, Torchlight was a fun game, they released it for $20... it was repetitive but fun and short and easily expandable. Most games cost 10x to make though, those game designers aren't as friendly towards it.

This does open up potential for a scenario where everybody wins and thats online/offline based games that are free offline and pay to play online. If you like the game, play the story and go online if u want more. Everybody will pick 2-3 games and rotate to new ones and expansions of those games with time and availability. The problem is... the gamer actually wins here with choice, not acceptable for those similar to the RIAA. They want u to pay $50, not like it, not return it, and put it on the shelf as an overpriced dust catcher, and thus u have 20k seeds on torrents (easier on the pocket, try before you buy (but why bother now?), and the harddrive will take up just as much room physically).

Don't say M***** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37026462)

I really don't want to hear that word today.

Re:Don't say M***** (0)

LocalH (28506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026516)

Market. Market, market, market, market, market, market, market, market, market.

Did I market you off enough today? Market you!

Re:Don't say M***** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37026844)

We've all been marketed. Moo to you.

Server wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37026466)

You'd be surprised how often people will resort to a DDoS on your (popular) private server to drive traffic to their competing server.

Re:Server wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37027086)

You'd be surprised how often people will resort to a DDoS on your (popular) private server to drive traffic to their competing server.

You'd be surprised at how unsurprising that really is.

Escalation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37027186)

Also of interest is the article's reference to the escalation of cyber attacks between private server providers.

I see no evidence of escalation presented; periodic wars between rival private servers have been commonplace for at least the past eight or nine years.

Diablo III (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37027346)

Meanwhile, lost in the announcement of D3's ban on offline play was the fact that Blizzard is also banning modded servers. Apparently they don't understand that sometimes people like to adjust the rules to fit their own h tastes.

Hopefully they come to their senses and realize that modders have made some of this generation's best games. Counterstrike, TF2, DOTA, and so on... It's stunningly foolish to turn their backs on all that.

Re:Diablo III (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37028550)

ActiBlizz doesn't make money off of those servers just as they haven't with DOTA. Kotick rules the roost now.

Re:Diablo III (1)

subanark (937286) | more than 3 years ago | (#37030026)

Warcraft 3 is an RTS, while WoW and diablo II (more so with Diablo 3) are MMORPGs. Yet, Warcraft 3 and Starcraft 2 both have strong modding potential. Blizzard doesn't want people to hack persistent games, but is fine with mods for episodic games. World of Warcraft recently added in a feature called "War games" where you can set up your own pvp battles with other players on any pvp map. You are free to have uneven teams, and you can all agree on any set of special rules you want to follow. I could see them allowing customization of the map if it proves to be a popular feature (which it really isn't as everyone is reward driven, and when you use war games all rewards are disabled).

And so we come full circle (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37028570)

1) Developers release games with dedicated servers that can be run by anyone

2) Multiplayer games get popular, running servers is free and easy and anyone can do it. Years of value comes out of a single game thanks to mod tools and extensibility and the fact that anyone can run a server for their favourite mod.

3) Developers slowly cut back on dedicated servers as they want to control the game experience once they realise they can sell you less DLC when mods exist.

4) Multiplayer games get less fun and more irritating because they only last a few months before the sequel is announced or you have to buy DLC to extend it and keep playing with everyone else that bought the DLC.

5) Game developers notice that private servers are really popular for some weird reason and start thinking that maybe they'd be a good idea for their next game!

!Piracy (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 3 years ago | (#37031286)

Dear /.,

Piracy is ship to ship armed robbery, kidnapping and murder. Every time you call copyright infringement "piracy" you are making light of what's happeing off the horn of Africa and making copying a floppy sound like a capital crime. Stop playing their game.

Semi-literate excuses in 3... 2... 1....

Re:!Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37035218)

piracy (pr-s)
n. pl. piracies
a. Robbery committed at sea.
b. A similar act of robbery, as the hijacking of an airplane.
2. The unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted or patented material: software piracy.
3. The operation of an unlicensed, illegal radio or television station.

check out 2.
maybe go back to school?

Re:!Piracy (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37044252)

Just because Miriam-Webster and the other dictionary/English language bigwigs decide to add a new word or definition of an existing word on the basis that it has become commonly used, does not mean that the word is a real word or that the word means what they say it does. (Cue raving dissent from overzealous English majors.) The purpose of a language is to communicate and the purpose of a dictionary is facilitate that communication. If there is a word, or a definition of a word that is in common use, it is absolutely essential that the word or definition be added to the language officially, and added to dictionaries so that people who are ignorant to it may have the opportunity to learn.

Does this mean that a word or definition deserves to exist as it does? Not by a long shot. We as humans are flawed creatures, and as such tend to make very poor decisions on a quite regular basis. We as humans are also, in general, stupid sheep. All it takes is one person making up a word, or using it in a new way, that catches the attention and hearts of the majority, and guess what? Everyone will start using it. Sensationalizing copyright infringement by calling it piracy certainly garners attention, be it good or bad. Mass media has helped to perpetuate the situation by using it sensationally to gain more readership. Thus piracy as a term to refer to copyright infringement stuck. Being in common use, it is only right to add it to a dictionary so that the uninformed may become informed.

Perhaps dictionaries need to start bearing a bold red ledger warning the reader of its contents. A dictionary is a collection of abstract concepts paired with the meanings commonly associated with those concepts by speakers of the language of the dictionary. It is by no means the end all be all of the definition of what something is. If it were, every word would have exactly one and only one definition, and we would have the full expected quarter-million words in our language instead of the current hundred-seventy-thousand or so.

Our world exists of nothing but abstracts; words are how humans assign value and meaning to those abstracts in order to communicate those concepts to others. Nothing more, nothing less. Copyright infringement is only associated with piracy because humans decided to accept that association for the basis of communication. Learn to think for yourself and stop letting yourself be influenced by mass media and large corporations.

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