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Angry Birds Boss Credits Piracy For Popularity Boost

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the easier-to-do-that-when-you're-successful dept.

Piracy 321

An anonymous reader writes "Mikael Hed is the CEO of Rovio Mobile, the company behind popular mobile puzzle game Angry Birds. At the Midem conference Monday, Hed had some interesting things to say about how piracy has affected the gaming industry, and Rovio's games in particular: '"We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy." Hed explained that Rovio sees it as "futile" to pursue pirates through the courts, except in cases where it feels the products they are selling are harmful to the Angry Birds brand, or ripping off its fans. When that's not the case, Rovio sees it as a way to attract more fans, even if it is not making money from the products. "Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day." ... "We took something from the music industry, which was to stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have," he said. "If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow."'"

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Tomorrow's Headline (5, Funny)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888149)

Rovio Mobile indicted for taking part in the Mega Upload conspiracy.

If Beethoven is alive today ... (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888391)

... he would be filthy rich - and his offspring will be forever filthy rich as well, thanks to our "perpetual copyright laws"

Unfortunately, he ain't

That is why Beethoven died dirt poor

But on the other hand, the world is far more richer because no one could monopolize the wonderful music of Beethoven

Re:If Beethoven is alive today ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888643)

I thought copyright expired 75 after the death of the author?

Re:If Beethoven is alive today ... (5, Insightful)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888963)

in the US, it only depends on how good your lawyer is

Re:If Beethoven is alive today ... (5, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888887)

A good story, but not what happened. He described himself as penniless for a while due to the costs of caring for his sick brother (there's something many in the U.S. can relate to) and his lack of output during that time, but he wasn't exactly out on the streets (in fact, he was still able to appear as a nobleman). Several bouts of personal illness and a protracted legal battle didn't help either. However, he left an estate when he died.

Re:Tomorrow's Headline (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888761)

Once his company goes public, and the stock price takes a tiny little dip, suddenly at the next investors meeting it becomes "Piracy is the devil's works!"

Re:Tomorrow's Headline (3, Informative)

rylin (688457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888909)

Except they already declined a buyout for billions.
They're not hurting.

Re:Tomorrow's Headline (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888971)

you only go public when your desperate for cash anyway

That's unpossible! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888151)

Look! It's a businessman that understands "Don't shit where you eat."

Exactly. (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888475)

That's why I always use the bathroom in the restaurant next door.

Re:That's unpossible! (3, Funny)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888503)

And of course, with our luck it happens to be the one who produces shit as a product.

Re:That's unpossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888657)

Zing

Re:That's unpossible! (0)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888983)

can I get angry birds for linux?

wy wife bought my the windows version of angry birds, but my computer runs linux. wtf!?

i guess that's why women are from venus and men are from mars, though there are some people that come from uranus

Re:That's unpossible! (3, Informative)

rb12345 (1170423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889255)

can I get angry birds for linux?

http://chrome.angrybirds.com/ [angrybirds.com] seems to work fine.

Piracy: Free Advertising (5, Interesting)

kainosnous (1753770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888197)

Piracy is one of the greatest forms of advertising. In some businesses, it's called "word of mouth". Growing up, many of the products I was introduced to, and subsequently became loyal customers of, was thanks to "piracy" of one sort or another. Back then, nobody saw it as a bad thing. The rule of thumb was copy all that you want as long as you don't try to make a profit from it or pass it off as your own.

When I was younger and still listened to mainstream music, my favorite band was Metallica. I heard them on the radio a few times, but I didn't know who they were. That is, until one of my friends loaned me a cassette tape. Then, a series of them. I was hooked. I bought every CD I could find (even though I already had the tapes), and I tuned into every radio station that played them. From what I understand, they owe a lot of their success to piracy. It's a shame that they attacked Napster. By the way, has anybody heard anything from them lately? I wonder how their anti-piracy campaign is working?

It wasn't just music. Everything from software and video games to free food came along my way, and I often rewarded the company with my business. I was always more loyal to companies that treated me like I was a prize to be one, and not a resource to be manipulated. I hope that the media companies realize this before we lose too many of our rights. As for me, I've already given up on them.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1, Flamebait)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888269)

Piracy is one of the greatest forms of advertising. In some businesses, it's called "word of mouth". Growing up, many of the products I was introduced to, and subsequently became loyal customers of, was thanks to "piracy" of one sort or another. Back then, nobody saw it as a bad thing. The rule of thumb was copy all that you want as long as you don't try to make a profit from it or pass it off as your own.

Indeed. Way, way back when, I had a pirated copy of Aldus Photostyler. I liked it a lot, and when Adobe bought Aldus and folded (some of) the features of Photostyler into Photoshop, I pirated that instead.

Today, I still pirate Photoshop.

This, clearly, is good for Adobe. (Unless, more likely, it's not...)

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (5, Insightful)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888313)

It is.

Once you enter the professional world (e.g. get a job in that business) you become part of the decision process on which software the company should purchase. Since you will have already gathered experience in photoshop, the company might be more inclined to go with that instead of GIMP.

Simalarly, it is easier to find people with the relevant skills. E.g. if it becomes hard to find people with photoshop skills, the business which change their applications, so that it is easier to find people with the correct skillset.

So you see, it does benefit them in one way or another.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (5, Interesting)

benengel (448238) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888573)

I have been a web and graphic designer for over 10 years and have pirated countless copies of photoshop, dreamweaver, flash etc over the years for personal use beginning in the days when i was at uni. Since I started working in the industry every position I have ever worked has always had fully licenced software and I have been involved in several purchasing decisions where I strongly advocated buying new licences for the business for new staff etc. If I had never pirated photoshop in my earlier poor uni days I would never have had the skills to get a job as a web designer. Since then both I and Adobe have benefited from that initial piracy monetarily and continue to benefit.

If effective restrictive DRM has been in place or criminal penalties highly draconian when I was considering whether to pirate photoshop I would instead have trained myself on Corel (an inferior but similar product) and would be working at places where they had corel licences not photoshop. I would be trained in a crappier product and Adobe would have much less money as a result.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (4, Insightful)

engun (1234934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889039)

It is.

Once you enter the professional world (e.g. get a job in that business) you become part of the decision process on which software the company should purchase. Since you will have already gathered experience in photoshop, the company might be more inclined to go with that instead of GIMP.

This argument might apply to software used in the industry like photoshop, but how will it apply to something like games, intended for personal use?

That's why I think the "piracy is good" argument makes no sense. Piracy is the act of using something without giving money for it. Let's not try to kid ourselves into thinking it's a virtue.

Personally, I think that the way to stop piracy is for industries to stop being greedy. It's just not reasonable to expect the massive prices that are demanded for every song, movie, game etc. etc. on the market. People consume a lot of media. The daily bombardments of advertising is to ensure that this happens. For people to be "in" on the scene, they need to consume this stuff. But who has the money to pay $80 per game? or $20 per "3D" movie ticket? Companies need to sell items cheap and make money on volume. And they can!

High prices or high volume, pick 1. If you charge a high price, expect to cater to a niche market and for the masses to pirate. If you want high volume, charge a low price.

Instead, these guys want to charge a high price and have volume to boot. Greedy bastards.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888365)

Home users are not Adobe's clientele: who would ever pay $2600 for a software suite? Well, if you work with graphics, you probably will. Mainly because their stuff is pretty good, but also because you're used to it. That piracy was ultimately good for them.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888451)

True, but imagine if you were trying to get into the graphics industry in the first place. Your only options would be to cough up $2600 for the software or spend practically every day sitting in a college computer lab because you can't practice at home (and thats assuming its available AND you manage to get a hold of student log-in credentials), let alone convince employers to hire you with zero Adobe experience.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888587)

Who said I was a home user?

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888675)

-I- have paid said 2600$ for a software suite you jackass. I have never had a pirated copy of Photoshop. Pretty much everyone needs a LEGAL copy of photoshop to do work in photoshop, otherwise you risk outing yourself as a pirate. If you make money from using photoshop, buy the damned thing.

Unless your family is in the art business, you probably can not justify Photoshop when the free software that comes with the digital camera (which happens to be a much inferior program, god Paint shop Pro used to be a nice cheap "photoshop lite" if all you had to do was red-eye reduction and maybe some color correction)

Hell, the schools where I grew up only used copies in their computers because they didn't want students damaging the original floppies. I remember one day "helping" reinstall a computer lab. It consisted of doing this
1. Insert original disk 1 into the first machine, run install, enter bogus licence information, wait for prompt for disk 2
2. Insert disk 2 into the first machine, hit ok, then slide over to the second machine and repeat step 1
3. Insert disk 3 into the first machine when prompted to, disk 2 into the second machine, and disk 1 into the third machine,
etc
One computer lab winds up taking only twice as long instead of 30 times as long. Plus it was fun (humor me.)
When things arrived on CD, this was no longer possible, you now had to make CD-R copies of the discs. Fortunately the school district wised up and realized that a 20$ investment in each machine (network card) makes it easier to just run the entire application from the same place and just clone the operating system install instead of reinstalling the same product over and over.

But my point is that piracy has often been a means to an ends, not just an excuse to get stuff for free. The library for example, can't (for legal reasons) make copies of the CD's and lend them out. So we just crossed our fingers and hope that nobody does something stupid (like sticking the the disc in the 5.25" drive D: , another thing I fixed for a teacher so she wouldn't be embarrassed calling the actual technicians. Not surpisingly, that wasn't the only time that happened. Somewhere in my snarky -joke- CV is "trained teaching staff on the difference between a round CD and a square floppy disk")

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888941)

Home users are not Adobe's clientele: who would ever pay $2600 for a software suite? Well, if you work with graphics, you probably will. Mainly because their stuff is pretty good, but also because you're used to it. That piracy was ultimately good for them.

It has always puzzled me as to why Adobe never offered a home use license for Photoshop/illustrator etc.

I learned Photoshop/illustrator at Uni and have used it at my current and previous employer. It was me who suggested the current employer buy CS suite.

If I want to do personal stuff, for fun, friends or just to try something new at my leisure the only way is to pirate a copy or use things like the GIMP (it's ok but it isn't Photoshop or illustrator). I would much rather pay adobe a small sum for a home use license than pirate it, but that isn't an option as the commercial license is out of my reach financially. Nor can I justify the cost for something that I might only use a handful of times a year...

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888957)

There are also licences for students. Photoshop CS5 for Students and Teachers costs about $230.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (4, Insightful)

dejanc (1528235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888597)

Today, I still pirate Photoshop.

This, clearly, is good for Adobe. (Unless, more likely, it's not...)

I live in freelance web development world where many people across the globe are included in making a website. The designer designs the site using Photoshop. This is later sent to HTML/CSS cutter who provides bare templates, which are worked into a CMS by programmers.

Often enough, the designer has a licensed copy of Photoshop. HTML/CSS cutter and most other people in the assembly line don't and they use pirated software if they need it.

If it were not possible to pirate Photoshop, project managers would demand all designs in a format which can be opened (without any issues) using free software. This way though, we are all locked into PSD's because we are used to it, so it easily maintains it's industry standard position.

For what's it worth, I've seen excellent designs using Inkscape and GIMP. As much as I would love to be able to move everybody in the process to open source software, it's not going to happen as long as Photoshop is "freely available".

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888645)

What a load of BS.

If Gimp was a viable alternative to Photoshop for professional users they would be using it. I use Gimp for my small modificationos of private pictures, but I sure as hell miss the more advanced plugins from Photoshop.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

dejanc (1528235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888775)

What a load of BS.

If Gimp was a viable alternative to Photoshop for professional users they would be using it. I use Gimp for my small modificationos of private pictures, but I sure as hell miss the more advanced plugins from Photoshop.

I think you misread my comment... Did I say GIMP is a viable alternative to Photoshop for professional users? No, I said having at least one user who really depends on Photoshop will lock everybody into using PSDs. Some people along the line pirate their copies, but some will buy them.

I'm not a designer, so I don't know how good GIMP or Inkscape are. But if 3 people suddenly had to buy their Adobe licenses to accommodate one person, we would probably start looking for alternatives.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888779)

Of course the more advanced plugins for Photoshop are made for Photoshop because everyone uses Photoshop. If everyone used Gimp, then every plugin maker would make plugins for Gimp instead.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889011)

i would be interested to know what photoshop can do that gimp can't

can you offer any examples?

you are obviously versed in both or you would be full of shit

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

klmth (451037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889073)

No adjustment layers (as of last year). No soft proofing for print - two very big dealbreakers right there.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889149)

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/forums/thread1259.htm [cambridgeincolour.com]
http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/gimptutorials/tp/fake-adjustment-layers.htm [about.com]

etc...

while probably not the be all and end all, there is a lot of stuff in a simple google search for "gimp adjustment layers"

what you're likely to find (when comparing any software) is that terminology may be different, and in FOSS sometimes ease-of-use for newbies isn't a criteria for developers (though an expert with gimp is likely more efficient than an expert with photoshop)

there is usually ways to achieve what you want with gimp though, you just have to be a bit smarter than most photoshop users

there are also a lot of gimp plugins that can help

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38889085)

CMYK. You know, the color format that is absolutely required for print (no, not your home laser printer, think advertising business here).

Print, as in dead trees, as in very important for people who haven't yet heard of the web.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (2)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888297)

Did you know that Napster was a for-profit company at that time? How does that work with your rule of thumb?

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888383)

Microsoft (the company and...) Office grew because of piracy, and they definitely know it and tacitly acknowledged it at the time, as their goal was to get their software on computers, legit or not, and figure out how to legitimize people over time. Waaay back when (Windows 3.1 days...), it was physically (because "Office" at that time was simply a box that had the individual Word, Excel and PowerPoint SKUs in it, and each was installed separately) as well as licensely (as compared to legally. The license said it was ok to...) possible to install one Office component on one machine, another component on another, etc., and you just had to make sure the total number product/component installs matched your licenses. 10 Office licenses + 5 extra Excel licenses, for example, could potentially cover 35 separate product installs on 35 separate machines (I did this for my job). And the license allowed places like universities, etc. to install Office on their employees' home computers, which was a separate deal from the Academic licensed units for sale at the book store or IT shop.

There was no place on the "registration" card, unless they had some secret invisible ink ID number on the registration card, to enter the license number from the box or license card! So, how exactly was one supposed to "register" their purchased products?

Once their distribution of new versions started to flatten out did more restrictive license terms come about: can only install Office as a unit per PC, etc. (at least at that time, CD-ROMs were far more prevalent. Yeah, it was fun swapping 90 or so floppy disks to install Office 4.x. On each PC. Compared to Macs... load CD on one mac, and just install off that computer on all the other macs...). And then, later, the on-line validation of Microsoft software we now just quietly accept came along. I suppose in this case it was all about revenue protection for Microsoft, but they sure relied on piracy to grow to where they more or less are now.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888429)

Piracy? Of the game? It's a free download from the market.

Metallica: afaik they're still alive and well, but artistically well over their prime. Mostly playing old works for old fans. That doesn't mean their music is bad or anything, they're still very good musicians, just that they don't have much new original material coming out. That's why you don't hear from them much. And they'll take the tours easier as well. Upcoming summer they're touring in Europe for example.

Back to the birds: interestingly the article did not mention their co-operation with a movie company, promoting some movie with Angry Birds Rio. Playing it a lot myself but actually don't know what movie it is, so promotion works great :-) Oh well. And of course merchandising is available left right and centre. Everywhere you see shops or hawkers selling Angry Birds themed products, including real-life games (where you can catapult a plastic bird against a castle made of plastic blocks, something like that). No way to tell for sure but I guess most of those goods are in fact pirated too.

I really wonder how long this fad will last.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888505)

"Piracy? Of the game? It's a free download from the market."

Yes, they decided to bypass piracy altogether, do it themselves and provide the game free of charge altogether. It worked well on a monumental level.

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (4, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888441)

They didn't just attack Napster, they called everybody who listened to music, thieves. That was the drummer Ulrich who said that.

At which point I made a public event of incinerating hundreds of Pounds worth of Metallica merchandise just to make a statement:

YOU DO NOT SHIT WHERE YOU EAT.

Grep this (3, Insightful)

wreakyhavoc (1045750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889055)

The music industry cries foul about file sharing, but you can find almost any music track on Youtube.

Music execs are finally getting wise to the benefits of try-before-you-buy. Artists certainly have been for a while.

What exactly is the difference between listening to a new album - or even watching full videos - on Youtube, and downloading them from peers to listen to before buying? They know it increases sales, yet insist on draconian measures to the contrary. I smell a rat.

I listen to a lot of stuff. When I find something that really excites me I want to buy it. I want to support the artist(s). It makes me feel good to give them direct feedback that what they've created is worthwhile and they should do more. It's as much a gift to me as to them. You know, like charity or volunteering, giving is the greatest gift, own reward, etc. Music that makes my heart sing is *really* worth something.

It doesn't matter if they're some kids from the ghetto, or dinosaur rockers who got it together to put out something that cooks like they used to, before they sold out to the cookie cutter pop machine. Even though I can listen to it already.

I'm sure the music industry gets this. It seems to me that these sopa/pipa/acta type laws are more about censorship and consolidation of power than lost sales.

--------

"Do what I say when I tell you to do it."

Re:Piracy: Free Advertising (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38889229)

Regarding Metallica:

They actually did learn from their experience. Death Magnetic was leaked on youtube days before the album came out. Metallica was so blown away by the positive reaction that they didnt DMCA any of the songs(the studio lawyers did for the first few uploads, but Metallica put a stop to it and let the leak continue). Death Magnetic went on to sell very well, and Metallica acknowledged the leak was a good thing and that they look at things differently now.

Uh oh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888215)

We took something from the music industry

Incoming lawsuit?

Re:Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888641)

LOL! Perfect.

Really? (4, Insightful)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888227)

Really? A company that sells their product for a dollar finds it's uneconomical to drag pirates into court? Besides, it's easy for people to buy Angry Birds since it's easily searchable in the AppStore, and most people would find it way more trouble than it's worth to try to pirate it and save themselves a few bucks. They have a huge convenience advantage over pirates.

the sw is just small part of the piracy (3, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888371)

..one of the "pirated" products was a fucking theme park.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888403)

This is exactly the situation the music industry was in. If they only had created an easy way to buy and instantly download songs for a dollar a piece, piracy and sites like napster would not have become so popular. Alas, they chose to rely on lawsuits instead, probably costing them billions in lost revenue, untlil Apple more or less forced them to join the iTunes store.

Re:Really? (2)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888661)

I wonder what (insert big music biz name here) would have said to the junior executive that dared bring up the thought of $10 digital album downloads or $1 single track downloads ten years ago.

You know there's gotta be a few ITYSs out there, although their most likely working elsewhere by now.

Bitching at the bar about getting fired for coming up with iTunes.

Cheers!

Re:Really? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888433)

It's free (ad-supported - or no ads if you don't have an Internet connection) from the Android Market.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

DZign (200479) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888731)

True.
And their business model isn't a perfect analogy with the music industry, so their comparison doesn't hold true.
Btw I know I'm playing devils advocate here.

But the music industry are in fact middlemen between consumers and the artists themselves, and their product (revenue) comes from the music itself (songs, on cd, downloaded, ..) but not tshirts, posters, concerts, .. as usually the artist benefits most of that.

Rovio can be compared to the artists (who also sell themselves). Their main product are downloads of their games. Anything else that is copied (tshirts, posters, toy dolls, ..) can indeed be seen as free publicity, which will help make their brand stronger, which in the end results in more sales of their core product: downloads of their games.
And those producers that pay for a license to make related products, are seen as additional income streams, but licensing the Angry Birds brand is not their core business.
If enough illegal dowloads of their full games become available, or other people will make clones of their games (think angry owls/bad birds/..) and this causes a significant drop in sales of their own games, they'll also have to react (by legal means) to survive as a company, as their main income stream is treatened.

If you want to compare to the music industry, then compare them to artists. Most (small) bands don't earn a lot from cd sales, getting known is better for them, even if it's by illegal downloads, as this will mean they'll become more popular, do more and bigger concerts, sells related things (posters, tshirts, ..) and so on, and these are things that increase their income.

Re:Really? (2)

DZign (200479) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888753)

Continued - but still Rovios point is correct, it's better to treat (potential) customers as fans and try to win them for you so they'll eventually buy your product, than act like the music industry and be arrogant and sue everyone, as this will only cause your customers to abandon you even more..

Re:Really? (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888917)

Of course the real money is in merchandizing anyway. There are 3 $.99 games they make a little money from.

But how much do they make from products? Their cut of Tshirts, lunch boxes, posters, stuffed animals is probably bigger per unit than the actual game. In their case the "game" is the marketing hook to get fans to buy 2-3 licensed items. Licensed items are much harder to lose money at because the bug stores want to buy from legal sources...

He is right (4, Informative)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888233)

Photoshop anyone?

Re:He is right (4, Insightful)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888389)

Photoshop anyone?

This 5x

Most people would easily get their problems solved with Gimp, and if there was a huge user base of simple users they might even make an easier "Lite" version out of it. Adobe knows, so they don't put meaningful copy protection in their applications. They know their target customers are corporations since normal people won't have 500-1000€ to throw into such an application, so they just try to ensure that people are accustomed to their products already before working anywhere. This way once they get a job they'll be asking for photoshop instead of permission to download Gimp.

I even see this at work. Somebody who's only need for editing graphics is resizing a logo from 250*120 pixels to 125*60 pixels will be running photoshop to do it...

Re:He is right (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888553)

Somebody who's only need for editing graphics is resizing a logo from 250*120 pixels to 125*60 pixels will be running photoshop to do it...

Coincidentally, rescaling is one of the few areas Photoshop isn't very good at, compared to what is possible with some free applications.

Re:He is right (2)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888571)

Somebody who's only need for editing graphics is resizing a logo from 250*120 pixels to 125*60 pixels will be running photoshop to do it...

Coincidentally, rescaling is one of the few areas Photoshop isn't very good at, compared to what is possible with some free applications.

But it's the corporate standard... :)

Ripping Off (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888249)

...Angry Birds brand, or ripping off its fans.

Because Rovio brought us the first of this wonderful concept of projectile-tower crushing. No ripping off there. Never been done. Glad people pay for it. **puts on old and bitter smug-cap, goes back to Crush the Castle 3**

Re:Ripping Off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888979)

...Angry Birds brand, or ripping off its fans.

Because Rovio brought us the first of this wonderful concept of projectile-tower crushing. No ripping off there. Never been done. Glad people pay for it. **puts on old and bitter smug-cap, goes back to Crush the Castle 3**

Wait a second, Angry Birds is published in December 2009. I remember some similar flash games with the same concept long before. In Artilery Duel [wikipedia.org] you could "projectile-tower crush" in 1983.

Re:Ripping Off (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889001)

Except that people DON'T pay for it. It's a free download. They pay for Angry Birds pillows, shirts, plush toys, etc etc, but not the games.

Like rock groups, they make nothing on what they're primarily known for, it's all the extras that make them money.

In before... (-1, Flamebait)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888251)

In before someone justifies their piracy by saying they help with advertising.

Oh wait, only six posts as I type this and already too late.

Re:In before... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888285)

But I only steal some property! And stealing is perfectly acceptable if you help advertise the product!

Re:In before... (-1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888487)

Oh, and a flamebait mod to boot. Wow, the freeloaders in society are touchy tonight.

Re:In before... (4, Insightful)

unkiereamus (1061340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888589)

In before someone justifies their piracy by saying they help with advertising.

Oh wait, only six posts as I type this and already too late.

I'm going to go ahead and abandon modding on this article, because I can't believe no one has called you on this crap.

Specifically, TFS and TFA both defend piracy by saying they help with advertising, specifically quoting people who are (massively successful) content creators, you know, the folks who are financially impacted by piracy...

Look, I can see both sides of the argument (well, in detail it's more than 2) about piracy, I can see how they both have valid points, and am unwilling to come down firmly on either side.

What I can't support is someone who is so much a zealot that they resort to this sort of attack by ignoring basic facts.

Re:In before... (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889033)

Ignoring what facts? That people would use the article to justify piracy?

Well, well. (5, Interesting)

mykos (1627575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888255)

Paulo Coelho would tend to agree with them, even taking it a step further [mediabistro.com] . He's joined up with Pirate Bay as part of an arts promotion program.

Re:Well, well. (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889029)

I don't think it counts when you just copy your own material.

*rimshot!*

Gotta Test Drive A Car Too! (5, Interesting)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888267)

My friend downloaded a cracked and pirated copy of angry birds, and he liked it so much (as did his wife) that they both purchased the full copy of the game. He sent it to me, and I purchased it also (having tried the free version and went Meh...) but probably would not have, had I not gotten a chance to see all of the levels, and really appreciate the game!

Probably 75 percent of the games that I have ever purchased, I have played a pirated version first not the demo. Especially when you can get all of the levels or vehicles unlocked and use all of the different weapons and just give it a good run through to be sure it's really worth having.

If it's not worth buying, it's not worth keeping the pirated version around either!

Cheers:)

Re:Gotta Test Drive A Car Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888621)

Same here.. i heard the game was good, but didn't have the motivation to buy it (didn't believe the reviews)... i pirated it on IOS a while back and now me and my wife own 4 legal copies on IOS, Droid and PC (since the game proved to be good)

Re:Gotta Test Drive A Car Too! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889057)

same for me with StarCraft... played a pirated copy for years and then bought it one day because I had the dosh and I wanted the books and to be able to play online if I felt like it (never have yet)

Then Blizzard became the ass of a company they are today.

Microsoft has been doing it for years (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888271)

Even though they would probably never admit it, IMHO this is how Windows and MS Office got so popular.
I do not believe MS would not be able to come with a better way of protecting against illegal copying. It is just that allowing people to copy windows without much effort created a very nice near-monopoly on OS for them.

Re:Microsoft has been doing it for years (4, Interesting)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888307)

Even though they would probably never admit it

They did it involuntarily.

Re:Microsoft has been doing it for years (4, Informative)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889207)

They did it involuntarily.

Not quite. They did it voluntarily, and in a very explicit way. Bill Gates himself has said the following [latimes.com] :

"Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though," Gates told an audience at the University of Washington. "And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

Even the founder of Microsoft stated that the unauthorized (and free) distribution of Microsoft products is benefitial for a company such as his own. The totalitarian copyright enforcement crap only comes in as useful if a product already attained a reasonable market share, and therefore there is a copyright to enforce. Until there isn't a copyright to enforce, they simply turn a blind eye for convenience and due to business sense.

Re:Microsoft has been doing it for years (1)

prehistoricman5 (1539099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888855)

Well I've heard a MS rep come very close to saying that. When he was talking about Dreamspark, he pretty much outright stated that its purpose is to get students hooked on their development software so that their future employers will buy a copy later.

Re:Microsoft has been doing it for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38889177)

I recall either Bill or Steve (that's Chairs, not Jobs) saying something like:

"As long as they are pirating software, we want them to pirate OUR software".

Though that was about countries like China, where piracy and free software are the only affordable options. Still, I'd count that as admitting it.

*thud* (1)

elecwolf (569076) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888279)

I can't believe this... If this really is true and not some 'honeypot' scheme, then I think I have a company I feel I can believe in.

What do they care? (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888321)

They stole the idea from a bunch of flash games without innovating and are now raking in unbelievable profits on games, toys, advertising, etc. What do they care if someone pirates something they put barely any effort into?

Re:What do they care? (2)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888351)

By the way, I don't mean that as any sort of troll. It just makes me mad when companies step all over indie game developers (although I guess Rovio could just be considered a larger breed of indie developer) and never credit or acknowledge them, as is clearly the case here.

Re:What do they care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888385)

What indie developer they should acknowledge then? There are about thousand similar games out there. It's not like Rovio actively tries to prevent them becoming popular.

Re:What do they care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888401)

rovio is not indie in roots, it's a contract developer in roots funded with eu+nokia cash and did work for years before doing angry birds(they just didn't have a real hit before angry birds).

I stole a car the other day ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888409)

I stole a car from a dealership the other day and it's already helping to boost the economy. For one thing, all of my friends saw it and now they want one too. So they're going to steal some too. And of course their friends will see it, and steal their own. And their friends ... well, you get the point. It's excellent free advertising. They call it word of mouth.

Really, why should I care if the AIAA is bitching about it. If they don't like it, they should find more innovative business models. Like maybe they should start selling gasoline for all of the cars we steal. And maybe they can sell guns and ammo, cuz me and my gang are always having run-ins with the cops. Come to think of it, there is so much auto theft in this area that we're going to need more guns to force out the neighboring gangs. Anyway, you get the point. Just be innovative and you'll figure out how to make money from our crimes.

Re:I stole a car the other day ... (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888631)

Could you please explain how you stole a car without the owner losing it?
You know, like the digital copies this article is about.

Re:I stole a car the other day ... (2)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888783)

And the best part is - everyone is stealing the same car! Everyone brings a replicator to just outside the dealership, scans the car inside and the replicator produces a new car In other news, the oil industry is suing everybody and is trying to make replicators illegal because they can create gasoline for free so nobody is buying real gasoline, just using the replicated one.

Microsoft already knew this... (2, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888419)

...which is why they supplied keys for their OSes separately to the media. Why they went for hooky VLKs and those distributing them instead of the end users using them. Establish the user base and lock them in, when you get the planned obsolescence running properly, as they have now, then you've got a captive audience and every fucking penny they will ever earn for the rest of their lives.

Rovio != music majors (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888437)

From TFA

We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy

This is not a surprise, the two companies don't see piracy from the same angle.
The Music industry and their executives come from this ancient business model where people have to purchase physical and palpable objects, like potatoes or condoms ; they had then to - slowly and awkwardly - adapt to the new digital technologies.
Rovio on the other hand is a young enterprise having every staff member fully immersed in the digital world from day one. Definitely not the same mentality.

Depends (2)

djchristensen (472087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888439)

I think the validity of this viewpoint depends on just how many people will end up purchasing after pirating. If too many people decide they'll be the pirates and let someone else be the purchaser, then the model breaks done. Making purchasing easy and of reasonable perceived value will help, much like Apple did for digital music sales (which the music publishers still seem to be unhappy about, the ungrateful bastards).

Re:Depends (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888743)

This leaves out the fact that the pirate may not buy it.. but might mention the game to a friend... who then buys it. So, the "word of mouth" thing still stands. Not sure how much, but it makes sense.

Re:Depends (1)

Xeno man (1614779) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888769)

Actually you really don't need to over analyze the model as it's self regulating. The bottom line is you need a good product. If it's crap, no one will buy it, it's it's good, many people will buy it. As the ratio of pirate to purchase goes up, the less profitable software will be. As businesses close and migrate away from software the demand for good software goes up as there is less supply. With less supply, more people will be willing to pay for good software reversing the pirate to purchase ratio.

Business make software to make money and always will as there is a core group of people that demand software that will pay for it. Worrying about how you could have made a little more money or being upset that someone got something for nothing or throwing money at a group of people that are not willing to pay you, takes away from the group that wants to pay you.

Look at the music industry, if they focused on the people that bought their music and made it easier for them to buy it and share it, they would have more friends and money but instead they decided to focus on the people that don't want to pay by suing people for ridiculous amounts of money, creating DRM software that takes away from the people that are supporting them and trying to pass new laws that would let them do more of the same.

Re:Depends (2)

olau (314197) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888821)

That's simplifying it. Lawrence Lessig in Free Culture [wikipedia.org] has a deeper analysis. Remember as long as those people not paying would never have paid anyway, you are not loosing any customers, just gaining fans.

'Cept for Meme and my monkey (1)

wreakyhavoc (1045750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889153)

And the Pirates have won.

Seriously, pirate? When you smell a bottle of shampoo in the store have you pirated the scent?

Of course if you're lathering yourself daily in the cosmetics aisle then there might be a bit of Bluebeard in ya.

Microsoft Windows a success story of Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888459)

Have you ever questioned about why Microsoft doesn't block (almost totally disable) your computer when Windows detects your copy as illegal?, something like disabling the login to the system until the user enters a valid key, it only displays a message: "your copy of windows is illegal ...", it is not convenient for them to disable the operating system tools

Re:Microsoft Windows a success story of Piracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888699)

That has nothing to do with piracy. They actually used to lock your system down alot more when it was flagged as pirated. The thing is, there were false positives and people who legitimately owned their copy got locked down. Then there was the huge pain of helping people who don't have internet access unlock their PC over the phone...

Anyways, a Win7 crack cannot be detected. Isn't that special? Wonder why they got to work on Win8 so fast?

Probably (3, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888483)

That's why MS DOS, Windows, etc did so well back in the 90's. All you needed to clone a DOS system was a floppy disk. I don't know if I ever saw legitimate MS install media. Of course, once they got well-established, they started cracking down...

counselling london (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38889061)

http://www.talkingtherapies.info

I really wanted to watch Van Helsing the other day (5, Interesting)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888613)

I really wanted to watch Van Helsing the other day. I just wanted to watch it, not own it. I've recently had a cleanse and sold all my DVDs to a second hand store, only keeping my wild life documentary Blu-Rays as I got a bit fed up with having hundreds of DVDs cluttering up the flat.

After scouting around, on Amazon it is about £8 for the Van Helsing Blu-Ray, on iTunes it is about £8 to buy/download forever Van Helsing.

I'm not a fan of buying movies to keep like that, I just wanted to watch it once, not keep it on a HDD for the rest of my life, i figured to me it's worth £1 to download/stream and view once.

Lovefilms do PPV at £3.49 for most films, Van Helsing wasn't available and that's more than I wanted to pay anyway. They also do unlimited streaming for £5pm.

Netflix do unlimited streaming for £6pm but their site didn't seem to show Van Helsing and there wasn't a one off option.

iTunes only lets you buy, not one off stream and that's the same price as the Blu-Ray.

BitTorrent on the other hand had it readily available for free, but I don't pirate so watched my copy of Planet Earth instead.

Am I unreasonable in wanting to watch once an 8 year old film that had a budget of $160 million and broke $300 million in the box office for £1?

Is it unreasonable to not want to pay monthly subscriptions to a service that doesn't have the film I want to watch anyway which forces me to watch more films than I want in order to get value for my money?

Is it me that's broken, or their business model?

Re:I really wanted to watch Van Helsing the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888655)

I think it's you that is broken if you can bare to watch movie like Van Helsing even once.

Re:I really wanted to watch Van Helsing the other (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888953)

Is it me that's broken, or their business model

They have to set a price, and there will always be people who will consider it reasonable, and those who don't. That doesn't mean their business model is broken, and doesn't mean the person who isn't willing to pay is broken either.

Checking the Android App store, I see it's available for $2.99USD, or about £1.90. But since you're using that funny-money, that probably means you're in one of those OTHER countries, where studios get horribly poor royalty rates, and so charge considerably more in general. I hardly care, but there's probably some regulation issue that would need to be addressed to get the UK price lower, and in-line with the US pricing.

But, I certainly don't understand the mindset of "I'm not a fan of buying movies to keep", so maybe you are broken.

Re:I really wanted to watch Van Helsing the other (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889087)

i think that's why we have movie rentals, although they aren't cheap either i must admit (better than cluttering my living room with movies i'll never watch again though)

RIAAs response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38888955)

"We took something from the music industry, .."

See you in court!
- RIAA

Appstore economics. (3, Interesting)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38888961)

Rovio's attitude stinks, because it just runs on the same lines as all appstore economics.

Rovio have made millions, but they're the exception -- most mobile apps get few or no sales. The profits in mobile apps, spread across all writers, would amount to a pretty pitiful wage. Losses to lower-order app developers mean loss of (already rubbish) income. Losses to Rovio mean little or nothing, considering the scale they're on.

Advertising? Well, three things:

1) It's well established that piracy tends to favour known and popular materials over unknown and unpopular, in all media. It therefore serves to further entrench the established players -- so it's great for Rovio, not much use for John A B Smith Software.

2) The entrenched players in mobile apps are supported by their appstore ratings, compiled from legal downloads. Even 100,000,000 downloads of a pirated game wouldn't get it above Angry Birds in the appstore charts, so it wouldn't get commercial discovery and success.

3) Angry Birds is a brand, and the toys and cartoons make lots of money. Most apps aren't merchandisable. PocketPlayPool -- are you going to market branded balls? GTCarsXXVII -- the manufacturers retain all likeness rights to their own models, so there's nothing to market. Same goes for EAProSportofchoice20xx and sports personalities/teams.

So what Rovio is supporting is market conditions that favour their particular product, which is very different from market conditions that ensure a robust and healthy competitive environment, or that ensure innovation and development.

Re:Appstore economics. (5, Insightful)

ghostdoc (1235612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889123)

If your customers aren't buying your products, please stop whining about customer behaviour and change your products to suit the market.

If your business model doesn't make money in the market you've chosen, please stop whining about the market and change your business model.

So what Rovio is supporting is market conditions that favour their particular product, which is very different from market conditions that ensure a robust and healthy competitive environment, or that ensure innovation and development.

The market is fixed. Your business model and product is flexible (or should be). So change your product so it suits the market conditions.

Rovio understood that the market they chose to operate in has a large amount of piracy. Instead of trying to change the market to suit their products, they chose the eminently more profitable option of working out how they could make piracy work for them. As you've pointed out, one of the ways they did this was by launching merch to go with their game that allowed them to take advantage of the fanbase generated by pirate players. As another poster pointed out, the game they created is not unique and the Castle version doesn't have the merch potential, which is possibly why Angry Birds made a lot more money from the same game.

Pirating software is going to happen regardless of any action you take. It's a fact of life in the market. So you can choose to view pirated copies as lost sales and let your business plan get broken by it, or you can choose to view it as free marketing and incorporate it into your business plan.

Re:Appstore economics. (5, Insightful)

nomaddamon (1783058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38889227)

I'm a hobby developer for WP7 with 2 of my friends. The first thing we do on every release is upload our app to various torrent sites and seed the hell out of it.

If someone has jailbroken their phone and is capable of and interested in finding, downloading and installing a pirated app on their phone, they are lost revenue for us anyway.
Our only hope of revenue from these users is to provide them with good enough app so that they keep using it and might buy it (and advertise the app within their circle of friends, who might not be competent enough to pirate the app)

If it is easier to buy the app on appstore than to pirate it, then pirates are good for you

I can't say for sure that we wouldn't have made it without piracy, but currently we have 5 simple apps out and with total cost of 2000$ for launch advertising (and "free" work for 2-3 weeks at nights, after our daily jobs) per app, we gross around 6500$ every month

Since we seed our apps ourselves, we see that approximately 20% of installations are pirated (~2000 torrent downloads vs ~10000 sales via store every month) but we are sure that without the 20% "lost" sales, we wouldn't make the top charts of legal downloads... ever....
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