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Sony May Use Downloads To Fight Piracy 88

Gamaustra reports that Sony may be planning to use game downloads to deter piracy in Asia. From the article: "According to the article, Yasuda is quoted as saying that the 2006 plan of SCE Asia is to construct a PlayStation 3 infrastructure on which software makers can distribute software digitally ... selected developers will get prototype funding from KIPA, and additional post-prototype funding from SCEJ, as well as free technical support and PlayStation 3 development kit rentals. Further online reports have indicated that digital downloads of game material, as currently available for the Xbox 360, should be relatively simple with the PlayStation 3, though details of the PS3's online service are still closely veiled." Kotaku, meanwhile, reports that some Korean developers don't like this idea.
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Sony May Use Downloads To Fight Piracy

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  • Rental Market (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ikkyu ( 84373 )
    I wonder what the rental houses will say about Sony securing their customers safely away from them?
    • Re:Rental Market (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gabebear ( 251933 )
      Not to mention the brick and mortar game stores. Generally game stores make almost nothing on the sale of the console, a reasonable profit on new games, and a lot of profit on used games.

      I could easily see about half the games in 2008 being sold over the internet. If this happens then we are going to see a lot more consolidation of game stores.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Since the brick and mortar gamestore in my town only thinks that people play consoles nowadays (and thus, only sells console games) I couldn't care any less for them to go under.
      • Re:Rental Market (Score:2, Insightful)

        by heck ( 609097 )
        Generally game stores make almost nothing on the sale of the console, a reasonable profit on new games, and a lot of profit on used games.

        What about used games? If I read this right, the used games market would be gone.

        For someone such as myself who pretty much only buys used games (Sony must hate my family), this would be huge.

        • I talked to a manager at a Game Stop about that very issue. He said that the majority of the store profits comes from used game sales and that if Sony ever decided to distribute games like this that Game Stop would stop selling Sony PS3's all together.
          • "I talked to a manager at a Game Stop about that very issue. He said that the majority of the store profits comes from used game sales and that if Sony ever decided to distribute games like this that Game Stop would stop selling Sony PS3's all together."

            GameStop still sells XBox 360s and some of the best games available for the 360 are downloadable. Store managers generally have an overinflated sense of importance and are known to say all kinds of crap...

            Game stores can either try to cope with the dec
          • To quote an often used /. mantra, "Nothing requires that existing business models must be protected." In the case of Game Stop I'd start trying to figure out how to work within the new system, as opposed to the bury-my-head-in-the-sand, we'll-show-them approach.

            What happens when Sony and Nintindo and MS ALL start doing downloadable games? (An inevitable progression, from my perspective.)

            Going to stop selling all of them? Or is there that big a market in cheat books and plastic game figures?

            • Of course, resellers' business model isn't the point. The issue I'm concerned about is the other side: the Doctrine of First Sale. I want to be able to buy things and have the option of reselling or tranferring them to a third party later, and I should have the Right to do so. In other words, I'm not going to be "buying" things from any of these services any time soon (including Steam and the ITMS, by the way).
              • "...and I should have the Right to do so."

                I so love that self-indulgent capital R in that sentence. And "Right of First Sale" doesn't apply to every sale. People can't, for example, resell a movie, theater, or concert ticket after it's be used. While not strictly applicable, there is a correlation, in that you, personally, paid for that entertainment value. Once that value is "consumed", it cannot be resold.

                • People can't, for example, resell a movie, theater, or concert ticket after it's be used.

                  Sure you can! The movie, theater, or concert venue won't let the new owner in to see the show, but he still does in fact own the ticket.

                  And anyway, a game (or a book or a CD or a DVD) is not an "experience," it is an artifact. An item. Property. Whatever else you want to call it. It is a thing that I own, and that is going to continue to be the case as long as publishers continue to expouse the idea of "selling"

                  • ...a DVD) is not an "experience,"...

                    Funny you should mention DVD. Yes, a DVD is an item subject to resale. OTOH, a pay-per-view title of that same film is not. Same content, different distribution mechanisms and rules. The direction downloadable games go is, of course, yet to be seen.

                    • The direction downloadable games go is, of course, yet to be seen.

                      But that's my point -- places like Valve seem to think they can have their cake and eat it too, by pretending to "sell" games on Steam when it really isn't a sale at all. It's deceptive and unethical, and because of that I'm not going to buy any games from Steam. Ditto with Blizzard and World of Warcraft -- I can see $50 for a box and a disc or a monthly fee, but not both. If it's a sale, then it'd better be a sale, and if it isn't it sh

    • Re:Rental Market (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Keruo ( 771880 )
      They will be happy, because they just got a new friend.
      The sony rootkit just downloaded and installed bonzi buddy on their machine.
  • It's asymtotic. The value of "content" as it approaches zero... is still more than free, you retards.
  • In Soviet Russia, Copyright Controls You!

    Seriously, when will it ever end? I think SCO 'Likes Dogs' CEO will join the fray, and I imagine Sony and Him dancing in womens underwear with swords, decapitating teenagers who are listening to tupac downloads.

    Oh man, I am off home.
  • I am not a lawyer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:37PM (#14769071) Journal
    But if you read the conditions for the korean developers then it seems to translate pretty much as, we ownerz you. But with more leet speak.

    No wonder they are offended. Oh well, sony getting public relations wrong. Gee, that is a new one.

    What I find odd is that no mention is made of how the bloody hell you are going to download games on a machine with no HD. Oh yeah there will an add on but that makes it hardly a tool to deter pirating is it now. Have the game for free OR get a small discount on the game + buy an expensive addon. Now that is an easy choice. I got a great new idea to deter PC pirating. How about you have to upgrade to vista and an ALL new DRM PC and if you do that we knock 10% of the game price.

    There is a far simpler move to combat piracy. It involves 3 steps. First game length related to price. Full price == baldur gate type length. 8 hour play time == $4.95... canadian. Second, don't fuck with paying consumers, there is no point copy protection, only paying customers are affected. Finally, make it worth buy the fucking game. I am old but I remember the days when games game with full manuals with listed not just the keys but also had background info. Make it worth opening that box and getting that magic feeling of holding a new game. Who ever invented PDF manual on CD should be shot.

    It has been a long time since I was really excited about a new game. Perhaps I am getting to old to game or perhaps recent games just are to meh.

    • Re:I am not a lawyer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drewmca ( 611245 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:44PM (#14769154)
      I agree wholeheartedly. I remember the days of the old Origin games, where you got full color maps, supplements, a history to read, etc. It was just fun, and made you feel like you'd got your money's worth. Now, PC games just throw a reference card in (if you're lucky) and have a CD booklet with install instructions. Console games have 5 page manuals, 3 of which include seizure warnings, a blank "notes" page (what the hell for?), and a diagram showing the buttons on the controller that DOESN'T even show what the buttons are used for in that game (it just shows the controller so you know what "A" and "B" refer to). The 2 pages of actual game material are in 20pt font and mostly tell you how to put the disc in the drive.

      The glory days of buying a game and getting excited to take it home are long gone. I guess too much money is made licensing out to Brady and Prima for game guides. And even they're not that engaging.
      • While I think that you're right that costs of making the booklets is one of the causes of not getting such extended art with the game anymore, I also think better tutorials in-game make most of the booklets useless nowadays: and this might also contribute to them not supplying it anymore.
        • The goodies are there to give you the feel of opening a new game. Geez I can remember games with special made postcard even pins and god knows what else. Manuals that came with exteneded discussions about the history it is set in. Well done stuff too that was worth reading.

          It is the new car smell idea and it clearly seperates you from the pirate. Remove the goodies and what seperates the buyer from the pirate is that the pirate doesn't have to hunt for the CD or to worry about loosing the key to play the g

          • For me, the only real incentive (as opposed to plan generousness) to pay for a game is the "added value" stuff -- i.e., the physical parts (like the game disk, manual, etc.) that are the only difference between a legal version and an illegal downloaded copy. It's the same for movies and music -- I'm much more likely to buy a CD than to use iTunes (or even allofmp3) because I want the physical disk and the cover artwork and whatnot.

            In other words, information is [should be] free, because it's infinitely rep
      • (but it doesn't matter here)

        I actually have a small hardbound book that came with a game, with the game taking up where the book ended.

        I dont' recall the game as keeping my interest, though.

        hawk
      • I agree wholeheartedly. I remember the days of the old Origin games, where you got full color maps, supplements, a history to read, etc. It was just fun, and made you feel like you'd got your money's worth. Now, PC games just throw a reference card in (if you're lucky) and have a CD booklet with install instructions. Console games have 5 page manuals, 3 of which include seizure warnings, a blank "notes" page (what the hell for?), and a diagram showing the buttons on the controller that DOESN'T even show wha
      • by absurdist ( 758409 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @04:37PM (#14770730)
        Simple.

        Because people keep BUYING the games without them.

        Artwork, maps, and the like are an added expense. And as long as customers are willing to whine, moan, and complain... but keep buying the product... why would you expect publishers to do otherwise?

        Things like this are why I got out of gaming when I sold my C-64. Sure, the graphics have gotten better. But is there anyone here who can honestly say that the game play has improved so much that it's worth being treated like a thief on the one hand and an open wallet on the other?
    • Even if you do have a hard drive... A Blu-Ray disc will hold 30GB. How long is it going to take to download a game that uses a significant percentage of a Blu-Ray disc? And how big is your hard drive going to have to be to hold all of the games that you buy?
    • But if you read the conditions for the korean developers then it seems to translate pretty much as, we ownerz you

      In the gaming section, I prefer, "All your base are belong to us." :o)
    • "First game length related to price. Full price == baldur gate type length. 8 hour play time == $4.95... canadian."

      Oh Dear God No, Not Again.

      We've been down the route of that suggestion over and over again, and all it has really done to affect the industry is that games have more and more pointless tedium that serves to do little other than stretch the game out so you can't have too much fun in the length of time it takes to rent it.

      But then, you've reference Baldur's Gate, so I'm guessing that your tastes
    • Full price == baldur gate type length. 8 hour play time == $4.95... canadian. Second, don't fuck with paying consumers, there is no point copy protection, only paying customers are affected. Finally, make it worth buy the fucking game.

      That idea will win applause on Slashdot but it shows a lack of understanding of the Asian market. You're assuming that most people would rather pay $4.95 Canadian for the legitimate item, rather than the $.50 - $1 Canadian these games will cost on the street or in shops. Ma

      • "You seem to have this view of economics where people buy the legitimate item out of the goodness of their hearts, as a sort of donation to a company for doing a good job. It's terribly naive and frankly doesn't make much sense."

        I thought that was exactly how economics works... you vote with your dollar. If I like what a company is making, I buy a real copy because it "donates" to them. They need return on investment if they're ever to create more and better games. Same applies to books and music. Your
  • Not quite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Taulin ( 569009 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:37PM (#14769073) Homepage Journal
    It's not that Korea doesn't like the idea, they just didn't like having their IP belonging to Sony. But guess what, since Sony is footing the bill, of course they own it, much like working at a salary job; everything you make on the clock belongs to your master, unless state otherwise.
    • Re:Not quite (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Microlith ( 54737 )
      The problem stems in that the developer:

        - recieves funds to create the work
        - delivers the work

      and if Sony, who now owns the work entirely, decides not to publish the developers:

        - are in the hole for the entire development cost
        - do not get back their work
    • Oh, it's even worse than that, if the article is accurate. From the article: [kotaku.com]

      2). Even if the prototype of the game is finished, the quality or marketability could be deemed "low" (a subjective term not clarified by either Sony or KIPA), the entire development cost would need to be paid to KIPA.

      So it's more like you're a contractor who gets paid up front, and if the work doesn't meet some undefined standard then you have to pay the money back.

      The whole arrangement is kind of confusing, but if I'm rea

  • Now coming to a console near you!
    • Re:The Steam Fiasco: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
      This reminds me of when consoles started using CDs. Playstation came out and used CDS, and load times were slow, and it kind of brought down the system. Nintendo waited until the technology was ready and their first CD based system the game cube had great load times. Granted, Sony won on this front because it provided such an advantage is storage space, that the users loved it, even with the load times. The same way, I think Network game distribution is the future, but the technology isn't really ready
  • Shucks I was looking forward to getting my PS3 games on phonograph like I have for all my other game systems. This digital craze is over the top!
  • by VickiM ( 920888 )
    Maybe this is part of how Sony will keep itself from going under.
    Build a $800 console, sell it for $500, make up the difference by taking over the IP of developers.
    Also, make your console more desireable by promising online titles that you can't get on the X-Box, etc.
    All they have to do is hope for developers that are crazy or desperate enough to take them up on the offer.
    • if this really is their plan they are screwed, Nintendo already having a download service planned for the revolution could make a killing making a more reasonable offer to developers
  • The game developers have been trying to figure out how to dip into the used game market that the retailers have exclusively owned. This has a lot to do with that, even though the article doesn't mention it. They want people to think it is all about convenience, but a lot of it has to do with defending their ability to sell you the games and not getting taken out of the loop.
    • The game developers have been trying to figure out how to dip into the used game market that the retailers have exclusively owned. This has a lot to do with that, even though the article doesn't mention it. They want people to think it is all about convenience, but a lot of it has to do with defending their ability to sell you the games and not getting taken out of the loop.

      But that would take out the whole purpose of having friends in middle school and high school!

      My son and his friends probably spend more
      • I agree whole-heartedly. It is a lot easier to carry your game and maybe a memory card over to a friend's house than your whole console. I would hate to see used games and rentals go away. A lot of simple-minded games only need to be played for one or two evenings for full enjoyment, but sometimes that's all we're looking for. But even games that don't allow memory cards to be used have caused us to have to do that in order to continue on in someone's current game. they should at least allow you to move th
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:40PM (#14769688) Homepage
    ...the content will be captured using any of the already available technologies. Then after the capture, the file is stored on a computer running a server applet that will emulate the download service for the PS3. The PS3, oblivious to the fact that it's downloading files from the user's LAN rather than the live internet, installs the software. Later, that same file on the PC will be uploaded using bittorrent or some other means for others to share. In the end, doing almost nothing to thwart piracy.
    • Then after the capture, the file is stored on a computer running a server applet that will emulate the download service for the PS3. The PS3, oblivious to the fact that it's downloading files from the user's LAN rather than the live internet, installs the software. Later, that same file on the PC will be uploaded using bittorrent or some other means for others to share. In the end, doing almost nothing to thwart piracy.

      That's a man-in-the-middle attack. Sony could prevent that by having the server authenti

  • Download times (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Quite aside from the comments made already about the IP bullshit, DRM, and lack of an HDD. What about the logistics of actually downloading?

    Currently, games come on DVDs, either single or dual-layered. That's 4.7 or 9 GB. The PS3 is expected to utilize Blu-Ray technology and up the data capacity of data storage many times over.

    However, the current pathetic state of home "broadband" in North America is a pitiful 324 kB/s to 5 mB/s for the very lucky few. That's sufficient for surfing the web or fragging
    • Did you notice that the article says Asia? People with 100Mbps FTTH should have no trouble downloading games. I read an article the other day saying that in Japan "heavy users" are people who download more than 2.5GB per day, so downloading a new PS3 game every week or so should be no big deal.
    • Currently, games come on DVDs, either single or dual-layered. That's 4.7 or 9 GB.

      The PC FPS .kkrieger [theprodukkt.com] comes as a zipfile. That's 0.000096 GB. Not all games have to be huge, and procedural synthesis is one tool to compress games to a decent download time.

      • Do you really expect developers to completely retool their games in order to use procedurals just for the asian market? You can't synthesize realistic sound or graphics so you'd have to go for abstract sound and graphics.
        • Do you really expect developers to completely retool their games in order to use procedurals just for the asian market?

          Do you really expect Sony not to bring PS3 Live Arcade to the North American and European markets?

  • I predict such efforts will be quickly circumvented, using either very cheap materials or practical and easy to use methods.
  • Sony is pushing BluRay with the PS3. They seem to think they need 30 GB of storage for a single game. This presents several problems. AFAIK, the PS3 will not come with a hard drive. Where are these games going to be stored? Even if they add a hard drive, what happens if you want to own more than 2 or 3 games? Then, there is the bandwidth problem. How many servers and T1 lines are they going to need? What happens when a hit game comes out and everybody tries to download it at the same time?

    Sony i
    • Sony is trying to tell the world that they need BluRay. Now they are saying that you can download games. So why do I need BluRay again?

      Because there are two genres: games that need Blu-ray and games that don't. Say you have 1 Mbps DSL (common in the United States). An hour of "shipping" will result in 360 MB of game data; remember that a lot of PS2 games still came on CD. Of course, high-definition games will need bigger textures, but remember that the PS3's faster CPU speed and DSP architecture makes i

  • I'm sorry, I can't really articulate it into words, but Sony are in trouble this gen if the latest reports are true. Just a gut instinct. No news about the PS3 release date yet.. Going to scrape a US launch this year? I'm thnking it's starting to seem doubtful, especially with all the bleeding edge tech they are looking to put in. My money (all fanboyism aside - I own all the major consoles, and always will do) is on the Revolution this time round. I can just smell the market is ripe for the attitude Ninty
  • Is it just me or does the Sony vs Korea article sound errily like a recording contract ? Publisher finances project, publisher decides ultimate fate of product, publisher controls distribution, publisher takes all revenue until "expenses" are paid, then splits the "profits".

    Won't this lead to beautiful garbage in the market, as game houses have their jobs and investment secured by Sony and KIPA funding (at least in the short term) ?
  • by luiss ( 217284 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @04:44PM (#14770811)
    The description of the terms given to the Korean developers sound like the terms that music artists have to put up with. First Sony and KIPA will front part of the development costs, then once published the "profit" (i.e. money in sales minus anything sony wants to charge them for)goes to pay back Sony's part of thier investment. Of course, if the accounting is anything like it is in the movie/music business, no game will make a profit, and then KIPA will claim the game quality was "low" and demand it's money back from the developer too.
  • The idea of allowing only DRMed downloads for distribution in high-piracy areas was implemented earlier with Nintendo's iQue system.
    • The hilarious thing is that "iQue?", in Spanish, would be something like "So what?" At first I thought you were a Spanish speaker and poking fun at this thing, then I read your post :-)

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