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Funcom No Longer Making Offline Games

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the nice-to-have-the-monthly-fee-too dept.

Games 95

1up has commentary from Funcom, makers of games such as Anarchy Online, Dreamfall, and Longest Journey. The developer has taken the drastic step of deciding to cease creation of games without an online component. The company's CEO pins the blame squarely on game piracy. "Several stats he listed were startling if ... true, including that 200,000 illegal copies of Dreamfall had been downloaded before the game was even released and anywhere from three to ten copies of any PC game are pirated for each one sold. Adventure Gamers suggests that future offline games such as Dreamfall Chapters may require an active internet connection to prove authenticity when you play, similar to how Steam works."

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Not the pirates to blame for this (4, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369013)

200,000 illegal copies of Dreamfall had been downloaded before the game was even released

So, where did the original come from?

Not "morals" to blame for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18369225)

Proably the same place as Doom 3 [about.com] ?

Re:Not the pirates to blame for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18369515)

So, where did the original come from?

Yes, yes, you're totally OMG right. The company forced the pirates to distibute the game to make a point against piracy. It's all a conspiration against free speech and free expression.

Waily-waily.

GROW UP, YOU FUCKING HYPOCRITICAL FAGGOT!

Re:Not the pirates to blame for this (3, Insightful)

blackicye (760472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370439)

They're likely to hurt themselves more than tackling the problem of "piracy". More of the usual punishing of paying customers, its not like people will be more willing to pay for games if you put additional hassle into their experience. And its definately not like it won't be cracked eventually. So unless your game is approaching greatness I don't think this will help their sales much if at all.

I personally won't buy any game I know to be encumbered by additional DRM such as online verification. I don't even really mind the more intrusive on-disk protection schemes, Safedisk, Securom, Starforce as much. Though usually they lead to lower compatibility and more stability issues than games which are not as rigidly copy protected.

Starforce protected games used to be a total bitch, but its not as bad these days and IMO not near as bad as having to online verify/force update your games.

HL2 was a tremendous pain in the ass because of the pathetic bandwidth they have for the Steam service. (From outside the USA, it took me about five hours of downloading/updating/verification to get my retail copy validated and updated before I could play the game.

Steam updates still take a fair bit of time, the only upside is possibly that if you lose your media, you can redownload all the binaries if you've registered them under your steam account, not sure if there is still a DVD copy protection check though.

The biggest value add I'd imagine would be online play, and also the ability to run player mods, if it was compelling many more people would buy the game for the replayability.

DRM is no substitute for releasing a quality product.

Re:Not the pirates to blame for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370797)

For the record, Dreamfall uses StarForce for copy protection.

Even if I bought the game, I would have still downloaded a pirated (read: fixed) version of it.

Re:Not the pirates to blame for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371629)

185,000 of those people had video card issues [longestjourney.com] since it doesn't work with GeFroce 6200, 6800, or 7300 cards. So they assumed that their bad sales was due to piracy. (Seriously, they had this problem at launch over a year ago, and they still haven't released a patch)

Re:Not the pirates to blame for this (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18375795)

Implying that if it hadn't been leaked by a Funcom employee, it wouldn't have been pirated at all?

I think that logic deserves a "Huh!?"

The point is that a ton of people pirated the game. Whether they pirated before the official release or after, that doesn't change anything.

Re:Not the pirates to blame for this (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18386773)

Well, it IS possible that people who were chomping at the bit to play the game and eagarly awaiting the release date would have happily purchased it on the release date, since waiting for a fully cracked pirated copy to show up and download would take several more days. However, if they had a chance to download it a few weeks before the release date, vs waiting until the release date.... what do you think is more likely? It's a known fact that offline video games make the most of their money within a few months of the release, so controlling the distribution BEFORE release would likely have a sizeable impact on the bottom line. Of course, you're not going to stop the piracy, and you're not going to get the pirates who never buy a game to buy yours, no matter how impossible it is to crack.

So if someone is leaking copies prior to release, that is a serious problem, and one that is worth dealing with. That is the type of problem that is resulting in lost sales.

-Restil

FIST SPORT! (0, Troll)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369019)

Who needs creative writing and a compelling plot when you can fill a game with morons shouting "HOW I MINE FOR FISH???"

Lazy fuckers.

Steam (4, Insightful)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369081)

It will definitely stop piracy, because we all know HalfLife2 simply cannot be played without a valid Steam account....

Re:Steam (4, Interesting)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369261)

And sometimes, it simply can't be played even with a valid Steam account. They had an outage a while back that resulted in many people not being able to play their valid Steam games. Apparently, if the client recognizes that you have a working internet connection, but still can't get authorization from the Steam servers, you don't get to play. Caused all kinds of fuss on the Steam forums.

Re:Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18373973)

Yep, and then millions of us thought "Fuck Steam" and pirated Episode 1. I will pay for Episode 2 if Valve can keep their dicks out of the soup til then.

Re:Steam (1)

svvampy (576225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369265)

All game protection methods are, like DRM, exploitable by definition. The publishers want to make it hard enough for joe user to increase their initial sales, before the hype dies down. Before people can find sufficient information about a game to decide that it sucks without buying. Perhaps if publishers were able to provide some sort of incentive to the player to tie into an on-line activation/validation then people would have more incentive to support the publisher. Or they can continue to treat their paying customers as cretinous criminals. Hopefully the market will reward the former business model.

Re:Steam (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369493)

Perhaps if publishers were able to provide some sort of incentive to the player to tie into an on-line activation/validation then people would have more incentive to support the publisher.

Indeed, the most obvious incentive is to release the game in "chapters" where each chapter is only released once the previous chapter has achieved sufficient revenue.

Each chapter needs to be sufficiently independent to make it worth playing and paying for - and to make the players eager to play the next chapter.

That's the way normal game development and publishing works anyway, except instead of chapters - they are entire games. If a game earns enough revenue, the developer is then financially capable of producing the next game. The only difference here is to make the feedback loop between paying for a game and getting the next game in the series obvious to the paying (and non-paying) customers.

Re:Steam (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18376177)

The problem with that is that if you release 50% of your game (with the intention of releasing the other 50% in chapters), then people will play it and say "it's too short, this sucks" and you'll never make your remaining chapters.

Speaking of Steam and Funcom (1)

LiberalApplication (570878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369419)

I'll admit it. I had originally pirated "Dreamfall", for any of a number of contrived reasons. I loved it, and am still loving it. So when I opened up Steam one day to find it available for purchase, I immediately payed for it and eased my conscience. I get the feeling I'd do the same for a number of games. How is this different from just ordering the games from Amazon? To be honest, I really don't know. Maybe it's my resistance towards actually accumulating more physical junk.

Re:Speaking of Steam and Funcom (2, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369667)

ah.. but what if you loved it, but stopped loving it? (e.g. you found it fun to play, but can't be bothered to play it again.) Would you still have purchased it?
What if you didn't love it, but found it quite entertaining enough to play it through anyway? Would you still have purchased it?
What if you only loved it half way through, then found yourself bored with it or just otherwise couldn't bring yourself to play it through anyway? Would you still have purchased it?

The problem is that for every 1 person that actually buys a game they loved playing in pirated form, there's 1+ person who thinks "I already played it, I have no desire to play it again anytime soon, why would I purchase it?".

If everybody was like you, piracy wouldn't be a particular problem. If everybody in the above situations said "Yes", piracy wouldn't be a particular problem. Sadly, most people don't go around buying games/movies they loved, as they already enjoyed it and have no particularly compelling reason to shell out money for it after the fact.

Call of Juarez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18372249)

I actually downloaded and played through Call of Juarez [callofjuarez.com] and vowed to buy it because it was so teh awexome.
I would actually have preferred to buy it from the game directly from the developer or publisher (even at the same price), partially because buying it from Blockbuster just made me feel dirty (but in a thrifty way, they had the best offer on it at the time).
 
I'd actually wish that more games were available as downloads for several reasons; if not for any other reason than it being easier for me to pirate a copy than to get the original in some cases. Same goes for TV shows ("This Show Is Unavailable (also for purchase) Outside The United States And Canada. Also, You Have A Stupid Face For Asking And For Not Being An American")
*
Damnit, already modded in this discussion. Sorry for being anon.

Re:Steam (1)

Frenchy_2001 (659163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370269)

Steam protection has been cracked, but HL2 was the first game in a long time that NO ONE could play before its release.

Nowadays, as they said, pirates get the GOLD master of any given game and release it while it goes to duplication, so you find pirated images on p2p networks before the original in retail. No one can compete against that. At least, HL2 was available in store before it was on the p2p.

Re:Steam (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370925)

It CAN stop piracy if it is a MMOG like say Anarchy Online, or a game that people play exclusivly online like Counterstrike. Having it connect to the internet to play the local single player is lame, because it a decent cracker can simply bypass the part that needs to go online to play. But if using the company's servers is part of the critical functionality of the game (like an MMOG), then there is no way to pirate the game other than to hack the actual server (which is far more difficult).

dial-up (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369103)

will be more likely to use hacks / pirated downloads of there games now.

Re:dial-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370297)

and the attractive and componsury updates /shudders

Re:dial-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371109)

Well I for one welcome our dialup using pirates, that's got to be what? one CD every month? let alone DVDs.

Re:dial-up (1)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372007)

If you dedicate a phone line with a decent connection that's up as close to 24/7 as you can manage, a dial-up connection can pull about 8 GB / month. At least, that's what I was getting before the switch to broadband.

Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (1, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369137)

What was the last non-offline game that Funcom made which didn't suck? The last game I'm aware of was Anarchy Online which was literally not playable after even a month and was a total abortion of a release.

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18369263)

TLJ lover here. So the last game they made that didn't suck (much) was probably Dreamfall.

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369291)

Right. But that's an offline game. And from what I've read, it was a great game. So because their quality games are being "pirated", they're going to resort to only continuing to make their sucky (online) games?! That doesn't make much business sense.

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369865)

"That doesn't make much business sense."

Yeah, because it makes much greater business sense to create games that are going to ultimately cost the developer due to piracy. You're a real fucking genius, you know?

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369931)

No, YOU are the genius, sir! I mean, look at Microsoft and how piracy is completely ruining them. Why, I heard just the other day that they are going to stop making videogames and operating systems, because people pirate them both. Instead, I understand that the only thing Microsoft is only going to develop from now on are new versions of "Microsoft Bob" that can only be used when connected to the internet. Sure, nobody likes Microsoft Bob and it's a piece of crap. But at least it will be online and won't be pirated!

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (0, Flamebait)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370079)

Oh, yeah, let's compare a small game developer to one of the largest software developers in the world. Could you be more of a fucking idiot? I don't think so.

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371427)

only if his name was stubear

and Gp is right funcom is using a cop out. Other people manage with even smaller companies so they shoudl be able. It isn't about how many pirate your game but how many buy it. 'nuff said

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (1)

Kheng (1000729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369317)

non-offline = online Dreamfall wasn't online.

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (1)

omnilynx (961400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370085)

Just as an aside, if you haven't checked Anarchy Online out since then, you might want to drop in and see if it's any better now. I've played several other MMOs, including one that's still in beta, and yet I keep coming back to AO. They do a lot of stupid things with it, but they've managed to accrue some good stuff, too, over the years. And you can't beat the price (for the basic version, anyway).

Funcom putting the FU in fun (1)

typidemon (729497) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370711)

AO killed my inner child.

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372377)

To be fair, it did say "anarchy online" right there on the box, when has anarchy ever worked?

Re:Funcom should stop making ONLINE games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18372953)

>>To be fair, it did say "anarchy online" right there on the box, when has anarchy ever worked?

The Democratic Party is still going strong after hundreds of years.

Required internet connection (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369241)

I can see why they'd be interested in doing this. Look at World of Warcraft, it sells like mad cakes because not only is it a good game, you HAVE to buy it (I know there are private servers but that means playing online with like 10 other people and content that hasn't been updated in who knows how long). Steam games do well too because you can just buy your game right through Steam and the required online connection is just natural to those buyers. If this was five or more years ago, I'd say required an internet connection was going to cost you more sales than piracy ever would, but not any more. This won't stop piracy altogether, but it will help a smaller company that relies on a consistent fan base to move their games.

Re:Required internet connection (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369299)

It's going to depend on the game. I've bought both Longest Journey (PC) , and Dreamfall (XBox), and was fully prepared to get the third. Internet connection required? Nope, sorry, no go.

For me, direct internet connection for single player games is a total deal killer.

Re:Required internet connection (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369393)

Interesting. Is it for privacy reasons? Security? Or are you just refusing to play it on those terms? I don't blame you either way, just curious.

Re:Required internet connection (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369577)

Those games are commonly played on laptops, and are a great way to pass time on the train. Connectivity ain't *that* pervasive yet (or it's just expensive).

Re:Required internet connection (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370045)

I wn't buy it on principle. I do not like being treated as a criminaal. No person should ever have to prove that they are innocent, ever.

They got a problem, they can accuse my, present there evidence and then I will DEFEND my innocence.

They only exception to this is if I sign a contract stating otherwise in clear terms.

Re:Required internet connection (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372491)

So you never played Pirates! or any of the other games that asked you to demonstrate you had a manual or had painstakingly copied one?

Re:Required internet connection (1)

Chatterton (228704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372613)

The big advantage of this method is that you have a fucking manual with color, graphics in a lovely little box and not just a stupid PDF to print yourself (if one at all) with your downloaded version. Call me old, but I like the box around the game as much as the game. I bought some nearly only for the box because I have found it beautiful or very interesting.

For the painstakingly copied manual, it was the cost of pirating. It is true that you where sole if you lose your manual, but in this case you have yourself to blame and copy another from a friend. But now you will be sole the day that steam will be down because valve closed his doors, and you can't just blame yourself.

It is my point of view.

Re:Required internet connection (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372735)

UI see. so when you buy clothes in a shop, and they need to remove that tag when you pay at the till, and then you need to walk through the scanner at the door......... do you just not buy clothes anymore?

Every industry has to take measure s against people stealing their stuff. retail does it, and software companies will have to do it too, especially as its even easier to pirate a game than it is to shoplift.
The alternative is no more new games. Hope you like solitaire.

Re:Required internet connection (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18375881)

I'm pretty sure the first The Longest Journey had no copy protection. But this must vastly limit the games you buy... for instance, Dreamfall has copy protection on the disk, and almost every game made in ... well, ever has copy protection of some sort. (It used to be looking things up in a manual, then specially formatted disks that reported "bad blocks" when you tried to copy them, then CD copy protection drivers, now internet activation.) The only game I can think of that had no copy protection whatsoever was Tribes in 1996.

In short, it seems a little hypocritical to me to play Dreamfall with copy protection and refuse to play The Longest Journey 3 with a slightly different method of copy protection. But, hey, it's your money.

Re:Required internet connection (4, Insightful)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369423)

There really isn't any comparison between WOW and single player "offline" games that "require" an internet connection to play. Something like Half-Life 2 having to "authenticate" to play is ridiculous...whereas for WOW there would be no way NOT to do it. WOW is a lot more than just a game, it's a persistant online world...there would be no way to implement that type of game without a network connection. WOW doesn't sell like hotcakes because you have to buy it...it sells like hotcakes because it's a really well done game. The price is reasonable ($19 for the game w/first month free, $15/month) for an online game you can play with your friends with millions of players. $15 for a month of WOW is very cheap, entertainment/$ wise. Sure, Burning Crusade costs $40, but it's not required, and if you think of it as a one-time fee to add additional content without any increase in the monthly fee, it's not really that bad. A company that makes bad games trying to reduce "piracy" by adding authentication to single player games is just signing their death warrant.

Beats the alternative (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369283)

If the choice is a game that requires a phone home to play, or a game that comes loaded with some totally nasty DRM that tries to root kit its way onto my machine, I would gladly chose the phone home.

-Rick

Re:Beats the alternative (2, Insightful)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369443)

I'd just as soon just buy the box and download a pirated version, then. I'd hate to see games go the way of movies, where illegal downloads are the better value, since you can backup them, play them on Linux, don't get ads, don't get stupid annoying unskippable 'you filthy pirate' videos, etc.

That's the real irony (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372101)

Whenever I see that bit, I tell the people sitting there, "You know, the pirated version doesn't have that ad..."

Let's think about this. They want pirates to stop pirating, so they go and try to beat their message into... their own legitimate customers? To the point where they actually end up driving some of them to piracy, just so they don't have to be called a pirate?

My own compromise has generally been renting and ripping. I think the rental price is fair, especially considering I simply don't have the hard disk storage to keep the movie, and it's not worth the hassle to burn and keep track of a huge archive of DVDs (especially when most movies must either be re-encoded or cut (special features, etc) or split onto two disks).

But yes, that's generally my procedure with any game, whether I buy it or not: If it includes CD-based copy protection, I go download a crack and/or convince it to run from Daemon Tools on Windows or cdemu on Linux. (Haven't gotten the cdemu to work for one of these, yet, but I think I'm getting closer.)

Re:Beats the alternative (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369589)

Aye

Find a way for the phone home to work and get rid of the nasty DRM stuff. And don't require the damn CD. I play 2 games regularly, putting in and out of the case daily is too rough on em :/

Get that nasty stuff in there and i won't buy it anyway. Starforce taught me a lesson if nothing else. I never did get my DVD+R (really is only a plus) working right again :/ Wouldn't have been half as annoying if the game wasn't a complete ripoff even without starforce (Midway arcade pack...relive the arcade experience...race games with no wheel support,etc..umm, no)

Actually i may buy something if it is just irresistable, my second machine has no writer now. However if it is a multiplayer game i usually buy 2 copies so the computers can play each other, so no matter how awesome ya still lose a sale. Yes i actually do buy the extra copies, sometimes even a third if it is a race game for my simcar setup ;)

Re:Beats the alternative (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371165)

It's funny, but these days, Steam is practically the distirbution system. I wasn't around when HL2 was originally released, but some searching has revealed numerous issues, but the last time I saw a "Steam Sucks" post was dated 2004-ish.

It looks like Valve has learned a few things and made it easier. First, you only have to be connected once to authenticate the game. The games are stored locally, and can be played locally without "phone home" access (it tries, but then goes into offline mode if it can't connect), so laptop users are not tethered to an internet connection. Updates are optional to play. And there's a backup option that makes preformatted directories of games you can burn, or just store somewhere else. Or if you want, just redownload the games. I've done it at least 3 times already...

I'm guessing that's why Steam is popular now - Valve honestly listened to its users and fixed lots of issues...

Re:Beats the alternative (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372327)

I disagree. Often CD using games get official patches that disable the CD check, where that isn't the case you can just get a crack. I've yet to hear of any online-authenticating game getting an official no auth patch.

Amen. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372137)

I don't even want to have to use daemontools, much less some nasty crack. And I'm certainly not going to be a good little consumer and put the game disc in every time I play, scratching it more and more until it's unreadable.

I honestly could care less if the game works offline, though others will certainly want them to work on their laptops even without wireless. I don't even care if it's horribly inefficient -- say, a 5k/s trickle of data -- my gaming rig is always plugged into nice fast DSL, except when it goes out, which is usually when the power goes out anyway.

I'd much rather have a completely DRM-free game. I actually bought Darwinia and Uplink. Both are available in downloadable form, and the downloads, as far as I can tell, have absolutely no copy protection at all, other than the limit of only being able to download it 3 times (which is fine, considering the games are only some 50 megs, I can back that up forever). So, as far as I could tell, even the Windows version should have been easy to find on a filesharing network, but I didn't care, I went and bought them anyway.

But given the choice, fuck it, saturate my connection all you want, send them everything you can find on my computer -- not that you'll find much (my Wine is isolated enough, and my Windows has NOTHING of value on it) -- just don't lamely insist on a CD.

whuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18369697)

Huh, 200,000 copies downloaded before the launch of a game I've never heard of? Where have I been all this time?

Re:whuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370283)

Huh, 200,000 copies downloaded before the launch of a game I've never heard of? Where have I been all this time?
Never heard of Dreamfall? If you are an adventure gamer then you've been living under a rock. If you aren't then you probably have never heard of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Sam and Max, or the Longest Journey either. Dreamfall wouldn't be rated as high as those games, but it would be close. Lets just say that every member of the adventure gaming community had a simultaneous joygasm the moment that Dreamfall was released because not only is it a new adventure game in the current desert of adventure games, but it is an adventure game of such quality and wit that you could have thought the old LucasArts made it.

Good for them. (4, Insightful)

anduz (1027854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369737)

The gaming industry is a funny place really, we the gamers want good innovative games with breath taking storytelling but whenever such a game arrives for the PC it ends up with horrible sales because it gets heavily pirated. So naturally smaller companies, one example being trokia, dies down due to lack of willing investors while giant companies like Blizzard and EA triumphs on by selling the same mainstream games year in and year out.

No I'm not a big fan of hefty anti piracy, but then I guess you need it in a world where people don't pay you unless they have too - whether they love the game or not. - Going for consoles is another sollution, one that has carried companies like bioware far.

Re:Good for them. (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369993)

Or people don't really want that and lacking game sales are blamed on piracy.

Of course, if someone got a copy of th e game before release, and released it, then it sounds like they have company security issues.

And people download cracked versions of games they gave bought because the cracked version doesn't bog down the system with annoying tools designed to make you prove your not a criminal.

Re:Good for them. (2, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370793)

I've downloaded a number of cracked games. In every single case, it was because the goddamn copy protection on a game I purchased with real money refused to find the valid CD that was sitting in the drive. Usually I only did it after spending frustrated hours with "support" trying to get a fix.

Re:Good for them. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372357)

That sounds like you downloaded a full game, are there no simple cracks available that just remove the check?

Re:Good for them. (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374769)

Depends, especially with older games it is often hard to find a patch that works with your exact version of the game, so its often easier to just download the right version then to try to find the right patch, if it exists at all.

Re:Good for them. (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374963)

Depends on the game.

Re:Good for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371193)

And people download cracked versions of games they gave bought because the cracked version doesn't bog down the system with annoying tools designed to make you prove your not a criminal.

Maybe a few people do. But most do it because getting it free is better than having to pay.

Re:Good for them. (1)

hanako (935790) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370115)

... wait, are you saying that somehow innovative games are constantly pirated and therefore get crap sales, but nobody pirates mainstream games, and therefore we end up with more mainstream games? Because that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Is piracy a problem? Yes and no.

Is piracy the reason 'innovative' games stumble compared to mainstream? No.

Re:Good for them. (1)

anduz (1027854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370771)

wait, are you saying that somehow innovative games are constantly pirated and therefore get crap sales, but nobody pirates mainstream games, and therefore we end up with more mainstream games?
No, I think it's safe to asume that mainstream games get pirated by more people percentage wise. But they'll sell enough copies total to keep investors happy despite it - especially right off the boat. Which seems to be rather important in the industry, because even games that have gone down in history, like fallout, and sold millions of copies total got their crews shafted because of their failure to initiate high instant sales.
I don't know about you but the last thing I would personally want after having created an "unknown" great game would be to get fired over low sales because people, who will later become trusty customers, chose to see what the fuss was about in a pirated version of your game.

Three to ten pirated copies per purchse isn't bad (1)

Skrapion (955066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369965)

Considering that FunCom refuses to release a demo for Dreamfall, and the sell-through rate for demos is often in excess of one hundred to one, and FunCom doesn't even have to pay for any of that bandwidth. I don't support pirating games, but I also don't support forcing the player to buy before they try.

I want to buy Dreamfall. I really do. But I don't trust them enough to buy before I try. I've long held that I will buy this game under either of these conditions:

* They drop the price to $20 CAD, or
* They release a demo, and I'm satisfied that it has good puzzles OR good writing, and runs on my machine.

There is a demo (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370195)

The first link on the navigation bar on the official Dreamfall [dreamfall.com] webpage says "free trial". You can supposedly download the game as a bittorrent, and if you decide to purchase it, you just need to unlock it. (I haven't tried. I'd really like to, but I don't have a computer with a good enough graphics card.)

Re:Three to ten pirated copies per purchse isn't b (1)

Cheeziologist (596855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370215)

Having played the game (and also being a big fan of both TLJ and Dreamfall) I'll say that while the puzzles weren't Riven-style difficult (the really weren't even Myst III: Exile-style difficult either) the writing for that game is extraordinary. It's worth it just for the story alone.

Re:Three to ten pirated copies per purchse isn't b (1)

Ankle (633399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370853)

You can already get it for $20 CAD as I got it for that many months ago. (Provided you can find it - futureshop doesn't carry it anymore. Unpopular games seem to dispear entirely once they go to the bargin bin. Maybe this is a reason for the piracy? :P) If you enjoyed the orginal, The Longest Journey, I'd recommend picking it up but don't expect any of those hard adventure style puzzles. Instead we get dumbed down boring puzzles opening locks and hacking - that and an awful clunky combat system that should have been dropped from day one. The story is good but a horrible cliff hanger of an ending.

Re:Three to ten pirated copies per purchse isn't b (1)

DoctaWatson (38667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371799)

What are you smoking? The free Dreamfall demo [kotaku.com] came out more than two months ago.

Re:Three to ten pirated copies per purchse isn't b (1)

dsparil (844576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373043)

The problem is that the demo was released 9 months after the game.

Re:Three to ten pirated copies per purchse isn't b (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373941)

Very good point. I absolutely refuse to purchase a game without trying it out, be it a demo or a full version 'demo'. Sometimes it backfires for the company though. I pulled down Doom3 and deleted it within the first 20 minutes.

Re:Three to ten pirated copies per purchse isn't b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18374047)

They release a demo, and I'm satisfied that it has good puzzles OR good writing, and runs on my machine.

Just because the demo runs on your machine doesn't mean the actual game will. PC publishers like to tack on stupid "copy protection" schemes that hose your computer (if you have a legitimate copy but have a slightly different CD-ROM drive than both the ones they have tested) on final products even when the demo does not. Which is why people don't buy PC games (console games sell many times as many units, because they actually work).

And... (1)

krelian (525362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370299)

He is right.

steam (1)

snarfbot (1036906) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370385)

if its actually like steam then it sounds like a great idea, unless your still using dialup. for what its worth though steam is a good service, and it makes piracy less likely. however if funcom is building this from the ground up hopefully theyll make it harder for pirates to manufacture key codes, as i like many people have found that the code belonging to a game i purchased was being used in someones steam account. it was a minor pain in the ass, but it was resolved pretty quickly.

Re:steam (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372363)

Steam is so effective at preventing piracy you can (or could for a very long time) download a program that gets you warez right off the Steam servers.

conan (1)

genrader (563784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370513)

Isn't Funcom making Age of Conan? It's supposed to be pretty much the greatest MMORPG ever from what I can tell. Of course, most MMORPGs try to look like they'll be the greatest ever, and since SWG pulled the wool over all our eyes I guess we can believe anything.

Ah yes... (0)

DescentToCocytus (1004224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370607)

Funcom, putting the F U in fun since 1993!

/yay me

Re:Ah yes... (1)

AeternitasXIII (628171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370705)

I fondly remember crafting that line in response to the opening of Anarchy Online, the game that proves that Funcom is unfit to ever make an MMO again. I will not, under any circumstances ever touch Age of Conan or any other f0cktarded piece of drivel they throw out of their development studio.

Bah (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370665)

So FunCom are going to retrofit some lame online component to all their games now,
or are they simply becoming a boring old MMO company?

and they've proven?... (4, Interesting)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370745)

Assuming his number are correct, I'd say the only thing it really shows for sure is that for every person willing to buy and play a game at their asking price, there are a three to ten people willing to play the game at some price lower than that. True, that price may be zero for some or all of them.

But what if two of those ten would be willing to pay it at half the price? So instead of one player at original price, you get three at half price. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that would be an increase in sales, and most likely an increase in profits. This is especially true when you sell online and cut out a lot of the distribution costs.

Their problem with the alleged 200k copies being pirated before release has nothing to do with "normal" piracy. Those people did not choose to pirate a game rather than buy it, as the option to buy it wasn't available. That's a completely different ball of wax.

So really, all those number say to me is that there is a possible untapped potential. It does not say "we're losing the full price that three to ten copies would have made for every one we sell, because all of those people would have bought the game if they couldn't pirate it." That's RIAA math.

mod parent up (1)

celerityfm (181760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371145)

Seriously. I'm sick and tired of all this "300,000 copies of X have been pirated" = "300,000x$$$ lost" crap.

The parent of this post got it dead on, mod up, mod up.

Here's to the software authors who know better, may they also be the ones who earn my coin.

What? Funcom makes offline games? (1)

MrLeap (1014911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370791)

My inner child has been dead for a long time because of Anarchy Online. /212 soldier.

You think thats bad? (1)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374469)

205 Nanomage Fixer.

Worst. Combo. Ever.

Re:You think thats bad? (1)

Sqweegee (968985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18375375)

Know a 220 NM fixer who loved it...

220/23/59 Soldier and still going :D

Two games out of three (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371037)

Makes them an offline video game developer? I liked Dreamfall and the Longest Journey (I own both), but to be honest, I only remembered the company more for Anarchy Online and their wacky attempts to bring in new subscribers.

Meh. (2, Insightful)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371541)

Wish this didn't sound like a troll, but I bought this thing when it first came out. The Longest Journey was by far my favorite adventure game of all time and even at the $40 dollar price tag, Dreamfall was far worth it. (Ending was bleh, but it makes me want the last in the series)

Just that the times have changed. No one wants to pay real money for games now a days. It takes just a few clicks to get a pirated game, its just that easy now adays. Why spend $40 bucks on a single player adventure game when it can be had for "free"

I really wish for a final game in the Dreamfall series, but I saw the seaders/leachers when Dreamfall came out, and I just think 200k is a bit conservative.

Meh-Bleh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371949)

"Just that the times have changed. No one wants to pay real money for games now a days. It takes just a few clicks to get a pirated game, its just that easy now adays. Why spend $40 bucks on a single player adventure game when it can be had for "free" "

Turn that one-eighty and you can see that mentality reflected against the intellectual workforce. Why pay "$40" for someone when you can get them for a much lower price (outsourcing). Karma can be a bitch.

Clear up a few things (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372017)

The title of this item on /. is: Funcom no longer making offline games. But the article states Funcom said they decided to stop making "traditional" offline games. This could mean they will only make non-traditional offline games, like the ever more popular episodic games, or games you need to download and activate online to then be able to play offline. Nothing has been said about having to have an internet connection to be able to play the games. You cannot even conclude they will stop making boxed versions of games from TFA. The FA also mentions an AdventureGamers article they don't even bother to link to. You can find it here [adventuregamers.com] . There is also a discussion going on about this on the AdventureGamers forums [adventuregamers.com] .

piracy blah blah blah (1)

Thanatos69 (993924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372389)

Is it just me or is everyone getting sick of the piracy argument?

I remember back in the day before the internet was huge and you could find out whatever you wanted about a game, you paid a buck for a demo, if you liked it, you bought the full version.

so the execs are saying, "here is an idea!" Lets stop releasing demos but blame our plight on piracy, lets jump on the bandwagone of having everyone say our game is shit on the net but say that it is piracy that is fucking us over. Hell, it is working for movies, it is piracy that is releasing shit movies, not producers.

as a side note, anyone else looking out for spiderman 3? Looks awesome, something I will definitely pay for.... mostly because it's piracy that's fucking over the franchise....

What about those that block games at the firewall (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18373013)

Personally i block most games at my PC's firewall.

Simply put, i don't trust any games publisher to refrain from sending my personal information down from my PC to their servers.

An easy example: the vast majority of games nowadays tries to phone home even those with no online multiplayer component. Now, what exactly is a valid purpose for a single player game to "phone home" everytime i start the game?

I will allow a game to contact the internet (though i often block some addresses) only when it has an online playing component and i want to play it online.

This move by Funcom just tells me not buy their games anymore: my personal information (such as my gaming habits) has monetary value (as in it can be sold and resold for $$$) and i don't see why i should give them access to it free of charge and pay for their games.

The funny part is that for future Funcom games, any pirated copies out there will probably be beter than the official version since this "phone home to authenticate" crap will be disabled by a crack kindly provided with the pirate distribution.

Piracy is a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18373883)

Games like The Longest Journey and its succesor Dreamfall already are going to suffer from a limited audience. Adventures just ain't that popular. Yet for some reason the first game was localized to hell, for the tiny market of the netherlands (everyone in the netherlands understands english) it was nonetheless dubbed. Dubbing in holland is a special art, the art of the silly voice, you cannot do a dub with normal voices.

So I had to really search for an english copy, offcourse this was in the day when the internet was still new and downloading several CD's was a pain in the ass, so I kept looking.

Dreamfall on the other hand also suffered from a limited release, stores apparently not getting any copies or just one and it being sold out, but there was bittorrent, a mouseclick away. Oh what to do?

I own a legit copy of neverwinter nights BUT play with a no-cd key, when inevitably they are going to release addons that are not available to someone in europe without a credit card I will just have to pirate them.

On the other hand you can't pirate WoW, wow doesn't bother with forcing you to have the CD/DVD in the player, because it is online and all piracy problems are a thing of the past. Go ahead and check on a torrent site for both games. Eh and you get a long list for both Dreamfall and WoW. Oh well, but Dreamfall is the full game were a pirated version of WoW will see you playing on some pokey private server.

So obviously going online seems attractive for game companies, yet there is a catch.

Do you know how many MMORPG companies offer payment in europe without the use of credit cards and instead use local banking systems? One. SOE. NOT a single other online game company accepts non-credit card transactions.

STEAM? Sorry, they are not even considering using anything else.

It is not like it is hard, SOE doesn't handle all those varied payments systems themselves, they contracted it out to a specialized firm. I myself have worked with other firms that also offer these services, in online retail they are extremely common.

So go ahead, put your game behind a credit card payment system, I haven't bought a single Steam game because I don't trust them to not screw me over with credit card only addons like Oblivion and its addons.

Funcom may well find itself stopping people from pirating the game because they don't want to pay for them, to stopping people from pirating the game because they CAN't for them.

The first group, well they are already lost, but I am for now a paying customer, do they really want to turn me into a pirate?

Nothing is forever (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374141)

So, when Funcom goes under, are all the people who bought games that need an ok from a remote server going to be plumb out of luck? Sucks to be them? Same for Steam, actually.

My reflection (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18374185)

If it is indeed how they say, than I sympathize with them. I just hope they are not making stuff up as an excuse to put totally ridiculous copy protection ont heir games in order to increase sales. I realy doubt that copy protection will increase sales that much. People who pirate have been doing so for so logn they no longer would purchase a game at all. Well maybe they would buy one game instead of pirating 10. Regardless, I hate piracy. I have no problem paying for a game in order to support future development of whatever genre I am interested in. The fact that the games are expensive only makes me a more careful customer. I will not purchase bad games, and I try to do as much homework before a purchase as I can. Nothing beats a demo in my opinion. Whenever I come across someone who is using an illegal copy, I let them really have it. Even if they are my friends. In the end if they cause the end of the PC game market, I will be the one who is hurt the most. I am the one putting in lot of money by purchasing games in hopes of seeing sequals for years to come. They get the game for free and wouldn't give a damn if there is a sequal or not. And if one comes, they will just pirate that.

Re:My reflection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18425943)

Idiot. Most times games are pirated, they would not generate a sale. You've swallowed their sh*t like a gullible fool. That's a shame.

This Is The Start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18425833)

This is the start of gaming companies transitioning to online only games. We saw EA and iDSoftware waste premium GDC time whining about the topic. Now we see Funcom doing the same. This is no coincidence. The RIAA/MPAA type rhetoric is filtering into the gaming market, it seems.
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