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Piracy Killing PC Gaming? 584

1up reports on comments from Kevin Cloud, co-owner of id, saying that piracy is killing the PC games business. He says that, in most markets, it's hard to sell official products because pirates can beat them to market. From the article: "'It's the primary reason retailers are moving to the console,' Cloud said, continuing on to say that ways to reduce piracy are in the forefront of every PC developer's mind, and citing World of Warcraft's subscription-based nature as an example of a possible solution to the problem."
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Piracy Killing PC Gaming?

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  • by preppypoof ( 943414 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:34AM (#15865877)
    I thought we already decided that WoW is killing the entire game industry...not saving it.
    • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:08AM (#15866185) Journal
      It would probably be marketing suicide to admit that a competing product is making your sales slump. Instead, blame something else and create a situation were you can embrace the competitors stratigy in hopes of retrieving/reviving some lost market share.

      I dunno, I have pirated some games in the past. I never would have bought them in the first place though. It isn't as if they would have recieved money from the sale on my acount so i cannot be contributing to the loss thier talkking about in the article. (maybe so on a different level though).
      Maybe most pirates are like me and the reasons they aren't selling games as they would like to is because of the ever increasing system requirment or maybe the win2000/XP only development approach. Maybe it is all the activation and anti pirating stuff they through on the CD making it dificult to even play in the first place. Maybe treating regular honest users like criminals gave them the idea that they could become one and get buy with it. Kind of like a "sticking it to the man" attitude.
      • by marshallbanana6 ( 992780 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:39AM (#15866547)
        Not trying to condemn or anything here, but something I never thought about for a long time, and most people don't think about when they pirate something is kinda also related to how WoW is hurting things: time.

        Why should someone who is playing WoW and loving it search for another game to play? They're already filling up their time playing WoW. On the same line of reasoning, when you pirate a game even if you "wouldn't have spent your money on it in the first place" you are spending your time on it. This possibly takes time away from the time you might use to play other games you might actually be willing to spend your money on, therefore maybe not hurting the developer of the game you pirated directly, but certainly hurting the industry they are part of. Now if you would never spend money on any game, then I guess this is a moot point, but somehow I think that if it weren't so easy to pirate games, there indeed would be more people who bought them.
        • by ObligatoryUserName ( 126027 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:21PM (#15867754) Journal
          You are dead on. Thievery illicitly drains supply, Piracy illicitly drains demand.

          Though different, they are of a kind in the damage they do.
          • by Castar ( 67188 )
            Can you "illicitly" drain demand, though? Not trolling, this is a serious question. I see what the GP is saying, and it makes sense. But then it becomes very hard to separate out the different drains on demand - sure, pirated games compete for time with legitimate games, but then so does TV, the outdoors, porn... In fact, pirated games also drain demand from all these other activities. Is that illicit, also? What makes playing pirated games different from the other activities?

            If it's the illegality of
        • Time (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mangu ( 126918 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:35PM (#15867882)
          when you pirate a game even if you "wouldn't have spent your money on it in the first place" you are spending your time on it. This possibly takes time away from the time you might use to play other games you might actually be willing to spend your money on

          The same can be said about gardening, reading, going to the church, playing golf, etc. All these activities make you spend time that you could be spending on games. You could say that if there didn't exist so many gardens, churches, libraries, and golf courses people would be more likely to spend money buying computer games.

        • by dougmc ( 70836 )

          On the same line of reasoning, when you pirate a game even if you "wouldn't have spent your money on it in the first place" you are spending your time on it. This possibly takes time away from the time you might use to play other games you might actually be willing to spend your money on, therefore maybe not hurting the developer of the game you pirated directly, but certainly hurting the industry they are part of. Now if you would never spend money on any game, then I guess this is a moot point, but someh

      • by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:44AM (#15866616)
        "the reasons they aren't selling games as they would like to is because of the ever increasing system requirment"

        That's a very good reason. I have much less time to play those days with work and family, so I'm buying less games, fair enough.
        The problem is for people with low buying rate like me( like 1 game a year ) you almost have to buy a new gaming machine exclusively to play one game if you would like to play the game as it is supposed to be played ( like with at least 50% of the effects enabled ) That drives the cost of gaming to about 500$ per year, minimum.

        Compare that to WoW and it doesn't look so expensive after all.

        Sure I could play old games on my machine, and they will be very cheap. But that's not working like that, I'm not a dedicated player. If I want to play a game, I ask my colleagues/friends what they play and how they find the game ( so we can share the experience and have a nice conversation at the coffie machine - which is a good added value to the game itself ) Then I check if I can play this game on my machine and if I cannot, well I use the money to go to the restaurant ( which is a topic always working for the coffie machine meeting :-) )and the sale is lost ... forever.
        • The problem is for people with low buying rate like me( like 1 game a year ) you almost have to buy a new gaming machine exclusively to play one game if you would like to play the game as it is supposed to be played ( like with at least 50% of the effects enabled ) That drives the cost of gaming to about 500$ per year, minimum.

          Amen to that. On top of that, I've actually had many games run like dogshit on hardware that far exceeds even the recommended specifications, so I have no faith that having enough

      • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:08PM (#15866903)
        Piracy is definitely part of the problem, but only a part. Hell, it may even be a small part of the problem. Here's why I don't buy many games, in decreasing order of importance:

        1) Games have stagnated, both on the PC and on the consoles. I have a Game Cube and a PS2. I haven't bought a single game for either of them in about a year and a half. If game companies moved from the PC to the console, this (the single most important reason for me not buying, or playing, new games) wouldn't change one bit.

        2) Game makers don't generally port to multiple operating systems. I know I'm in the vast minority of users, but I don't have (or want) Windows. I want and use Linux exclusively. PC games are a luxury item to me, and if they aren't on Linux then I don't play them. If PC game makers would ditch DirectX and move to cross platform development, they would extend their markets with almost no added expense.

        3) Games cost too much. I'm sure this is because game production costs have skyrocketed over the years. But that is almost entirely the fault of the game producers themselves. With stagnant gaming ideas (see item 1 above), game producers have focused almost exclusively on increasing the visual appeal of games at the expense of good fun. This is a self-perpetuating spiral that will shrink the gaming market all by itself.

        Maybe the gaming industry as we know it today deserves to die off.
      • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:58PM (#15867477) Homepage
        Don't forget the increasingly obvious general unfitness of the PC for long-term gaming.

        I have a CD case full of Windows games from 1998-2002 and a CD case full of Linux (Loki, mostly) games from years gone by as well. Probably these total 200 games. Despite the fact that I have a modern PC and the ability to multi-boot into Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Fedora Core, the total number that actually operate today is probably 15.

        Many have copy protection that (apparently) runs afoul of my Thinkpad's DVD and/or CD-RW drive. They either won't install or won't run, prompting me to insert the "original" disks. Firmware upgrades to the drives haven't solved the issue.

        Others aren't happy with my sound or graphics hardware, including some using big name game engines like the id (i.e. Quake) engines. They might run for two or three minutes and dump me back to the desktop, or textures come up unrecognizable (and unplayable), or sound doesn't work and is necessary to play.

        Still others have expiry dates (no kidding!) About five of my games pop up messages about the license having expired and asking me to get a new CD key by calling the manufacturer. Naturally, all of them are long gone and/or not supporting the game. Am I really expected to set my date back every time I want to play?

        Some were written for alternative graphics systems (i.e. glide) and while they had some DirectDraw/X compatibility back then, they don't seem to be happy with and/or find today's versions.

        Some also don't seem to like modern display hardware, even when I boot into Windows 98. They complain about incorrect numbers of colors (no matter whether I set to 8-bit, 16-bit, or 24-bit depth) or about incorrect desktop resolution (no matter whether I set to 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, or 1280x1024).

        The Loki games for Linux continue to hobble along by and large better than the Windows games, but installing them is more and more difficult (alternate library folders, editing launch scripts, game updates that no longer run without applying them by hand on the command line, or no longer run at all) and they tend to crash a lot. I can't dual boot to an older Linux OS because many of the drivers required for my current hardware haven't been backported to the 2.4 kernel and 2.6 won't compile with the gcc/glibc versions in question, and I'm not willing to try to hack together/roll my own obsolete distro just to get a few games to work really well.

        In short, I have buckets full of games that I spent good money on once upon a time, some of which I'd love to play now and then--but they simply don't work anymore. The only way to get them to work appears to be to maintain a separate system frozen in time--a period PC running a period operating system in addition to the PC I actually use to get things done.

        I'm not proposing a solution of any kind to this state of affairs, I'm just posing the following rhetorical question: if I *have* to maintain an entire separate gaming system to play the games I buy, why not just buy a console and completely avoid the compatibility headaches, additional power and space requirements, extra cost, and so on? This provides the added benefit of being more survivable, i.e. you can still pick up a working PSOne, Sega Genesis or NEC TurboGrafx on eBay for not that much money. Good luck having such an easy time assembling a working ca. 1992 PC for a game that will only work with EGA, Pro Audio Spectrum 16 sound, and a 1.2MB floppy drive, much less finding the drivers to make all of the obsolete hardware work again.
        • I have a CD case full of Windows games from 1998-2002 and a CD case full of Linux (Loki, mostly) games from years gone ... the total number that actually operate today is probably 15.

          Compatibility over time is is not a problem for the industry. It is your problem. It may even be a benefit for the industry, as you will go on to consume more products.

          An exception might be the online games with a monthly income model. But I haven't seen one of them fail yet because the OS or graphics technology left th

    • Personally I see WoW as the gaming world's napster. A good kick up the ass with the revelation that games are going to have to change. So yes, WoW may be destroying PC gaming (although I find that unlikely) or perhaps it might be tearing down the old ideas of PC gaming to replace it with something new, for which it is just the exploratory force.
  • Uh, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by keyne9 ( 567528 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:35AM (#15865888)
    Unless they plan on, you know, providing a service, additional content, and other such niceties that the MMO genre provides, they need to keep their goddamned hands out of my wallet. Games already cost too goddamned much, and there just honestly has not been a lot of reason to buy many new games (as they've mostly sucked ass lately).

    Make a good game, and people will buy it.
    • What I could see interesting would be for the initial game to cost $5 or something. Then when you first play it, you have to activate for a year of play time at $4.95/month or something. Then after the first year either make it free, or reduce the fee or something.
    • Re:Uh, no. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Minwee ( 522556 ) <> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:46AM (#15865990) Homepage

      "Make a good game, and people will buy it."

      I think you misspelled "people will download it for free". Which brings us back to the original problem that Kevin was talking about.

      • *shrug* Bought HL1 after downloading it, bought HL2 after downloading it. Bought Ep 1 blind. Most of Blizzard's catalog I've got legit CDs for, and I don't do the multiplayer versions that require it either.

        However, Doom 3? Pirated it, burned the ISOs (didn't have the HD space to emulate them)...and summarily used them as Airsoft targets 3 hours later (as well as uninstalling and deleting). I'm glad I didn't get that at $60 when it came out, and still glad I haven't gotten it yet at $20; id didn't earn
      • Re:Uh, no. (Score:2, Informative)

        by hackwrench ( 573697 )
        No, not entirely. It's the PC gaming business that they say is suffering, not PC gaming. There are plenty of games that are free from the onset that are fun. [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
        http:// []
      • Re:Uh, no. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by winnabago ( 949419 )
        >>Which brings us back to the original problem that Kevin was talking about.

        It's not just that the best games are showing up on torrentspy, that will always happen. What is more troubling is the entitlement that many gamers seem to have for new software, especially among the geek community. It comes from, I think, an association of development hours with quality. It is all too easy to raise your standards high enough to not pay for anything.

        You might say that the quality level of commercial

        • Re:Uh, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jedidiah ( 1196 )
          This "entitlement mentality" is nothing new. It isn't anything the industry already hadn't had to deal with for decades. Pointing to this as some reason to sound the alarms is STUPID.

          Broadband is IRRELEVANT. The biggest transfer medium of movies is still sneakernet via the USPS. Sneakernet was more than capable of matching the effectiveness of the net. I can probably copy a DVD now faster than I could copy a floppy back in the day. Media's cheaper too...
      • Re:Uh, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:28AM (#15866410)
        Unlike most people, I generally do buy the games I enjoy.

        I haven't bought any games lately.

        Why? Because, every time I try them out, whether downloading it 'yo ho ho and a bottle of rum'-style, or at a friend's, I end up hating it. I'll play it halfway through, put on god mode, type 'give all' or equivalent, play a few more levels, then type exit in console, uninstall, and delete.

        I guess you can honestly say piracy IS hurting the game industry, but not in the "I'll download it and never pay for it ever and play it every day" sort of way you seem to be implying. It's more along the lines of going to buy an Impreza WRX, test driving a friend's for a few days, deciding that you love the acceleration and handling, but the interior is just too basic and plain for you to want to drive it every single day, so you buy an Audi A4 Quatro instead. To the Subaru dealership, they just lost out on a lot of money. But from my perspective, I did my research and was lucky enough to stop myself from buying something I wouldn't actually want. So, Dude-From-ID; if this is the sort of piracy hurting the industry that you speak of, then you don't have a single bit of compassion from me.

        You want to get my money, developing studios and publishers? I have lots of it, and it's burning a hole in my wallet. I'll be thrilled to give it to you, actually. Only meet these simple guide lines.

        1: Figure out some engaging multiplayer gameplay. I want to be able to play your for years. Not hours. I don't give a shit about your story. Your Single Player game is a complete afterthought to me. Something I do when I'm bored and the internet is out and it's raining outside, so I can't go play street hockey.

        2: Make sure you have object collision, net code, and hit boxes down pat. Nothing is more irritating than getting killed by Tanks/Humvees that aren't even remotely close to your vicinity, but, through some fucked up net code, manage to kill you from 5 meters away.

        3: Don't dumb the game down so fucking much. Noobs will always be noobs. The less complex you make the game, the more apt I am to get bored with it in days, rather than weeks, months, or years. Or at least find a way to make the game complex, challenging, and engaging, even after having played it for many hours. Even Counter-Strike can be fun after playing it for years, whereas Doom 3 Death Match is about as fun as gouging your eyeballs out with a spoon. And don't just add capture the flag and think that's the most you have to do. CTF is mind numbingly boring after a while. At least add some quirks to it that add some depth.
    • Re:Uh, no. (Score:3, Informative)

      by weasello ( 881450 )
      Prime example; Galactic Civilizations II. Made headlines for selling so damn many copies. It's a very good game and it doesn't even have copy protection.

      They're expectations of sales was doubled within the first month.

      Good products rise.

      But I suppose the 'industry' isn't intereted in stories like this; the various retailers are more interested in Madden XCXCII or NHL 254,200 (with the latest player skins!).
    • Re:Uh, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:51AM (#15866029) Journal
      Well, I can't quite buy that. I hate to risk my karma after FINALLY restoring it to neutral, but I'm going to say it anyway. People don't pirate games for because the games suck. They pirate them because they're good. Whatever the reason for piracy, it isn't bad games. And frankly the whole, "make good games and I'll deign to pay you" strikes me as being a version of "I'm not stealing because it's their fault they made me want it and charge so much for it!" that you hear out of young shoplifters. Note: I did not just say that piracy is theft, spare me the lecture on semantics so we can get to more substantive issues.

      Does anyone know how game devs can recover their costs and make a profit (on good games) without copyright and serious enforcement of it? No, charity generally doesn't work. Subscription models are a great way of doing it, esp if they give the game away, so I don't see why it's so condemned here. I don't think you can deny that one reason devs are shifting to consoles is because it's harder to pirate there.
      • Re:Uh, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ThosLives ( 686517 )
        You're kind of on the right philosophical track here. Here's my take on the discussion (again):

        1) Things like software and music are not scarce resources. They can be reproduced almost indefinitely with almost no effort.
        2) People like artists and programmers are scarce resources. There is a finite supply.
        3) If enough people pay an artist or programmer for producing something so that the artist or programmer keeps producing, it does not matter how many people experience the work of art without paying the

        • Re:Uh, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:27AM (#15866406) Journal
          Well, yes, I hope I'm on the right philosophical track, which is why I don't see why you felt the need to remind me of the basics of intellectual works (positive value, high fixed cost, zero or negligible marginal cost). However, you then went on to make some errors:

          The idea that an artist (or, worse yet, a distributor) is entitled to payment for anything is a serious economic faux pas

          Where to begin.

          First, the concept of "entitlement" is a moral one, not economic, so it can't be an "economic faux pas".

          Second, you seem to be claiming the the distributor adds no value, which is false because someone has to inform people of the existence of the intellectual work and bring it within easy grasp, but is doubly false because until the artist, he *can* easily withhold the service of providing marginal units.

          Third, if you are referring to the question of who adds value as the basis of entitlement, the artist certainly does, to the extent that people reveal through action that they are willing to spend their own money for access to something that would not exist save for his creative act.

          Fourth, the economics on which you based that are in error:

          If enough people pay an artist or programmer for producing something so that the artist or programmer keeps producing, it does not matter how many people experience the work of art without paying the artist because the work is already produced and the use of the work does not deprive anyone of anything.

          This is totally false. It most certainly does matter how many people experience it without paying. The artist makes his decision what to produce based on what he expects to get for it (plus whatever non-monetary good he sees in doing so, but we'll stick with the case of for-profit production). If e.g. 2 of a million people will respect his copyright on option A and want him to produce A, while 3 of 3 people will respect his copyright on option B and want him to produce B, and he expects this, he will do B. The non-payment skewed his incentives to perform an activity not justified by the demands of the consuming public. It's true that after-the-fact non-payers *can* have no influence -- if they decide they like it long after production, when time discount had obliterated the value of whatever they could have given the artist, and thus could not have affected his incentives, then they would have no influence. But in the general case, they certainly can matter.

          it is impossible to steal a service,

          False. You promise to pay, you get the service, you don't pay. That is theft in all sigificant respects. (It's not what's happening here, but I'm showing your general statement to be false.)

          With the rest of your post, I don't see your point: you labor to make what appears to be a semantic distinction to show how accessing an intellectual work "isn't theft" despite how I said such a distinction bypasses more substantive issues.

          Yes, you were rambling.
      • Re:Uh, no. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by keyne9 ( 567528 )
        People don't pirate games for because the games suck. They pirate them because they're good.

        A game worth buying is a game worth not pirating, so to speak. For those games with online services, such as any FPS, RTS, MMO, eieio, buying the game is often the "only real option" due to key-checks and whatnot, and frankly, the average consumer isn't intelligent (or tenacious) enough to attempt to crack the various portions repeatedly until something works. Offline games of course are a different animal, but t
  • Old news. (Score:5, Funny)

    by mhazen ( 144368 ) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:37AM (#15865891) Homepage
    Man, I read this on BitTorrent like, two weeks ago.
  • Uhhhh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drachemorder ( 549870 ) <brandon.christiangaming@org> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:37AM (#15865893) Homepage
    If pirates can beat the official product to market, why can't the developers just speed up their release process to match them? If the game is ready there's no real reason not to go ahead and release it, except perhaps to try to create artificial anticipation for it. I consider that a below-the-belt marketing tactic anyway; if one of the side-effects of piracy is to undermine its usefulness, that would be a good thing.
    • Re:Uhhhh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:40AM (#15865928)
      Because there's a physical component to the release process. They can't press the CDs/DVDs fast enough to beat the copy stolen from the pressing plant onto the internet.

      The obvious alternative is something like Steam, where they provide a download of the game. It's quite a bit harder to beat that.

      Someone else mentioned after-sale services... Most games that I play, I don't WANT further services from the company other than bugfixes. I don't even plan to play them again and I certainly don't want to have to play more money if I do. I'd much rather put that same money towards a new, fresh game.
      • I know there's a significant physical component to the release process, but I'm thinking more along the lines of the artificial roadblocks the distributors set up. You can't eliminated the delay, but if the pirates cause the distributors to minimize it as much as possible, then the effect has been positive.

        For my part, too, I like having a physical copy of a game. I may want to pull it out and play it again ten years down the road. Or I may not. Either way, I enjoy having a physical item to show for m
    • Re:Uhhhh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:15AM (#15866258) Journal
      The problem isn't that pirates provide a faster product, it's that they provide a better one. I used to game a lot. Sometimes, I would get a pirated game and then buy the real thing after I had tried it (more often I would play the game on someone else's machine first). Over the years, I noticed that the pirated game was often better than the official one. Usually it would not require me to hunt for the CD, for example. When I moved to being laptop-only, the requirement to have the physical CD in the drive was a total show-stopper; it dropped the battery life by half, meaning I couldn't play games while mobile (I also didn't want to have to carry the CD around with me).

      For a while, I would buy a game and then download the no CD crack. Then I realised something. I didn't want to pay money to a company that was spending money making my life difficult. I didn't even want to support them indirectly by pirating the game and increasing its popularity. I just stopped playing them. I used to play Half Life a lot before the introduction of Steam; now I don't play it at all, and I haven't bought Half Life 2.

    • by jolyonr ( 560227 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:27AM (#15866393) Homepage
      ... surely an increase in piracy will help reverse global warming?

  • Galactic Civ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <[enderandrew] [at] []> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:37AM (#15865897) Homepage Journal
    That's odd. Galactic Civilizations was released as a downloadable game with no copy protection, and it sold extremely well.

    Perhaps the secret to selling a game is releasing a good game in the first place, listening to your customers, marketing it well, and offering real incentive to pay for it.

    I find the best way to combat piracy is offer exclusive content, or multiplayer modes that require validation. Hell, let people pirate the game for it's single player and sell them on it. Watch them turn around and then buy the game for the multiplayer, and other downloads.
    • It didn't sell all that well at all and it does have DRM as noted below.

      Quit astroturfing. And quit making these lame arguments that pirating is just a 'demo'. There are real demos out there.

  • OK, so at least we did not have to pay for Steam (unless you want to include your ISP cost). But hey, even better, lets charge a subscription fee and just sit back and do nothing and every now and then throw in a new bad guy to justify the costs.
  • Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mirkon ( 618432 ) <mirkon&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:40AM (#15865919) Homepage
    I must respectfully disagree. Consoles have always been more attractive to developers than the PC platform due to the "moving target" dynamic - when you make a game for a home console, there are no system requirements, you don't have to develop for a lowest common denominator (unless you're marketing a game on multiple consoles at once), and you don't have to keep a tech support log of what works and doesn't work with every possible make and model of video card.

    Years ago, this was a pipe dream to most developers because of the immense difficulties involved in developing for a home console (usually requiring a full knowledge of the hardware's machine code). But today, they're practically as easy to develop for as a PC. The royalties are a small price to pay for the numerous conveniences a console offers to developers.
    • Consoles have always been more attractive to developers than the PC platform [...] Years ago, this was a pipe dream to most developers

      And it is still a pipe-dream to smaller independent developers who currently self-publish shareware on the Internet because consoles do not yet take such a business model into account. Even Xbox 360, which has a pay download system, still keeps the terms of the development contract secret.

  • sigh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tont0r ( 868535 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:40AM (#15865921)
    Its always great when people see problem as piracy, and not the fact that almost every game just isnt good. Wow is a great example. It was a game that was done properly, and now it holds everyones interest. If a game is only going to hold me interest for 2 weeks and they want $50 or up to $65 for a game, I'm not going to buy it. More so, companies are more concerned with added some amazing physics into the game and forgetting about the story/gameplay. This is what plagues hollywood right now. Also, its not 'World of Warcrafts subscription based nature'. Thats every MMO's subscription based nature.
  • Nope. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 )
    Crappy games is killing sales.

    Let's see the latest blockbuster from ID...

    Quake4 - Boring.

    Half-Life 2 - DRM so restrictive that most people did not bother buying it.

    SIMS2 - selling poorly compared to the outdates Sims and the 65,000 expansions packs that sold at the same price.

    How about that games suck right now? the few DS games I like are very different from what I can get for the PC.

    Piracy is NOT hurting the Gaming industry. Their lack of ability to make a game that people want is.

    Granted, I am waiting
    • I don't see how it was restrictive. I just bought it with my credit card, and BAM, I was downloading it immediately. The day it came out, BAM, it was installed and I was playing within 30 minutes, not bad considering their servers were dying under heavy strain.

      The only limitation is that Steam has problems when it can't find an internet connection, but even then, I'm an internet addict anyways, so if I wanted to try to use Steam without the internet I'd probably have shriveled up and died long before I

      • I don't see how it was restrictive. I just bought it with my credit card, and BAM, I was downloading it immediately. The day it came out, BAM, it was installed and I was playing within 30 minutes, not bad considering their servers were dying under heavy strain.

        My problem is that I can't get Steam to connect to the server. I bought Red Orcherstra at the store but I could never get it to work on my room mate's PC short of formatting and since it wasn't my PC I coulnd't do that. (My main computers are PPC macs
    • Re:Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:09AM (#15866197) Homepage

      I don't know what the deal with this week is, but I've seen so many non-sensical comments on /. it's amazing.

      Quake4 - Boring - I haven't played it, so I can't comment (although I seem to remember reading reviews saying it was nothing special).

      Half-Life 2 - DRM so restrictive that most people did not bother buying it

      Yes. That's why Half-Life 2 is one of the best selling games of the past few years. Because people didn't buy it because of the DRM. That's also why they are not making two expansion packs. That's why they aren't releasing new mods for it (no one plays, after all). That's why it's not getting put on consoles (tentativly scheduled for this fall). Oh wait...

      SIMS2 - selling poorly compared to the outdates Sims and the 65,000 expansions packs that sold at the same price

      Really? It's not quite as innovative as the last (after all, there was no Sims before Sims) but it's still a very nice game. My little sister and all her friends rushed out to buy it. They are churning out money making expansion packs as fast as they can. Again, my little sister and all her friends rush out to buy them. So Sims 2 isn't as successfull as the first (according to you). Well since Sims is the best selling game of all time, that might be a little hard to live up to (considering how long the two have been on the market).

      How about that games suck right now? the few DS games I like are very different from what I can get for the PC.

      Newsflash, different platforms have diffent games! Film at 11! The DS has some of the most innovative games on the market, and many games currently made are terrible. But if you look at the PC, it has them too. The problem is the signal-to-noise ratio.

      Piracy is NOT hurting the Gaming industry. Their lack of ability to make a game that people want is.

      If they made games no-one wanted, why are they being pirated? If they made games no one wanted, why is the industry making so much money? Piracy hurts. If the games were better, people may be less inclined to pirate.

      But your entire post reeks of hyperboly and your points get lost in it.

      • Re:Nope. (Score:3, Insightful)

        I don't know, I'm a pretty serious game buyer, and I've been affliced with a serious case of "meh" when looking at the new release section. There is certainly nothing out there right now that I feel like throwing money at.

        The industry is always quick to yell "Piracy!" whenever something doesn't sell as well as their market research suggests it ought to be selling, but they haven't really gotten it with games yet. They think like the MPAA..."This game is like that game, and that game sold x million copies so
      • Re:Nope. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by monopole ( 44023 )
        If they made games no-one wanted, why are they being pirated?
        Cost/benefits ratio. People are willing to watch a marginal movie on cable or from bittorrent for "free" (already paid for the movie channel) but wouldn't bother to see the same movie in the cinema or buy the dvd because it isn't worth that much. In the same fashion, a game that costs $50 isn't worth the cost or effort of buying it, while a "free" version of the same game might be worth a look.
        Of course, a sufficently good product will shift the b
    • Exactly, if they make games I want to buy -- I will buy them! *gasp*

      Everytime I see these idiots from industries complain "boo hoo, pirates hurt us", I want to smack them and tell them "maybe the reason your sales suck is because of your product -- supply and demand!". It happens with the music industry all the time -- some trashy no-talent "artist" will complain that piracy is bad because they haven't had a platinum record... get a clue *smack*!

      My friend got FarCry when it came out and offered to bur
    • I'm not sure that it's the lack of good games (there is the odd good game out there, although I can't think of any off the top of my head!). Rather the fact that in order to maximise profits games companies completely saturate the market with 'sequels', add-ons and all the other crap that fills the space between the creative and orginal games.

  • back in the days before neon light case mods and such. Then I bought a console. It was simply easier to have a console and be able to buy any game for that system and have it work well.

    No more upgrading ram, or video cards or whatever to play the latest. One $200 console and games that generally cost the same amount. Console gaming is a far better experience for me, less hassles, less cost etc.

    Piracy doesnt help, particularly if it is widespread as pointed out in the article, but I think a lot of people
    • I can relate to that...I'm not a big PC gamer either. Pretty much the only PC games I play are the Blizzard ones (WOW has pretty much dominated the computer for the last 3 months since I got it). The Blizzard games pretty much don't work on consoles (I know they made Warcraft 2 and Diablo for Playstation/Saturn and Starcraft for N64, but the control schemes on the consoles are pretty much need a mouse and keyboard). I couldn't see playing something like WOW on a console. Aside from that
    • I've gone the same way: I've given up entirely on running a game PC, instead using an iMac for work and a GC&PS2 for games. It's simpler, the games are higher quality and I haven't had to worry about a game not running on my hardware. It's also meant I play a much larger range of game genres, rather than being so tied to FPS/RTS.
      • Definatly, I bought a GC a little while ago and have been buying games on eBay for at most 20 bucks for a new game (so no worse than Best Buy, but most of the times with shipping it is about 10 dollars, new and used)

        The graphics are quite good, the games are fun and I can just turn it on and use it, turn it off and no worries about drivers, or patches or whatever when I buy a new game. Plus I only run ubuntu on my computer, so I dont want to bother installing windows (or using cedega etc)

        Hit the power butt
    • I agree. Games are supposed to be fun, its kinda in the their job description. Take Half-Life, arguably the greatest game of its era. It truely was an immersive game that was ahead of the competition. But getting the bugger to work was a PITA. From what I can remember it took my 4x CD ROM drive 10 minutes to install it, which was quickly followed by the grim message that I need to download a new version of directX, which then told me I had to download the latest glide drivers for my Voodoo 2.

      After all that,
  • Does piracy cost the industry money? Yeah, sure. But it's not to the same extent as some people would like to believe. One has to remember that the oodles of games your local 14 year-old downloads off BitTorrent are non-sales as it is. For every 10 games the kid downloads, how many would he actually buy if piracy was not an available option? One at best, I would guess.

    There is a major problem in cases like Doom 3 where pirates beat the game to market, but those are rather rare cases. Yes, the product suff

  • Tons of people are getting into PC gaming that would never have done it before. My girlfriend is into it, a bunch of coworkers and their SO's are into it. Adults with kids and jobs are into it. PC gaming is incredibly popular right now. Except that they're only playing one game, and that game is WoW.
  • It's true that piracy can definitely take a bite out of PC game sales. But I think the fact that for the genres that are still popular on and perhaps done best on the PC, the hardware requirements and setup challenges are a bigger factor. I don't think PC gaming is ever going to disappear, but the business model will have to change. Perhaps, PC games will just be a stepping stone to later console versions. That is, the PC game just becomes a loss leader to the console game where you make your real money. I
  • Status Quo in Asia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ObligatoryUserName ( 126027 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:51AM (#15866030) Journal
    This is why the typical model in Asia is to give away the client software and charge for subscriptions. Piracy destroys the economic foundation of our high-production stand-alone mass media.

    It's hitting PC games first because PC gamers are by definition going to have better access to pirated software.

    DRM is actually the best hope if we want to keep having the same sort of entertainment that we can get now, unless the culture changes to shun pirates and piracy. I'd bet DRM is the reason that Square/Enix is looking into creating their own hardware [].

    I don't like DRM or subscription services, but when the government can't/won't enforce the laws and the people don't respect them it's inevitable.
  • I'm pretty sure it's the lack of games that people feel justified in spending money to play. I think the last games I purched before WoW was Warcraft III and Command and Conquer Generals. Before that? Baldurs Gate and Warcraft II.
  • What Next? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ggKimmieGal ( 982958 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:57AM (#15866089)
    First, it's MMORPGs.
    Now it's pirates.
    What next? Will the gaming world be blaming ninjas?

    Face it, most games for today's market suck. People are looking for either a quality game (such as Mario Tennis, which will keep you and your friends entertained for hours) or something different (MMORPGs still fit the different category, but probably not for long). Video games are also too expensive. $50 is a lot of money to spend all at once. Personally, I buy a new game about once a month, which equates to about $600. These games have to be a worthy investment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:58AM (#15866099)
    I have not bought a number of recently-released games that I would have otherwise found interesting enough to buy because:
    1) they cost too much
    2) they have onerous copy-protection schemes that require a network connection to phone home regularly, or
    3) they stop working if you don't keep paying a subscription fee.

    For example, Half-life 2 would have been interesting, but #2 means I haven't bothered. It isn't worth the hassle because I have a relatively slow network connection.

    Instead, most of my recent game purchases have been vintage games from the "bargain bin" that are cheaper and don't require a network connection or subscription fees. Most also have "no-cd" patches so I can install them and play without having to dig out the CD and wait for them to spin up and the copy protection to validate (which it sometimes doesn't on certain CD drives -- one game I have validates fine on an old, plain CD drive, but fails on a newer DVD/CD drive. Don't ask me why).

    So, is it piracy, or is it because the schemes to slow it down end up costing more and degrading the experience of the the legitimate consumers? Or have game manufacturers simply priced themselves out of the market?
  • You don't need the entire game to be subscription based, just the updates and add-ons. Tie each "key" to a single credit card number, chargh $5 a year "service fee" and never let more than a single key access at a time (ban them if you do).
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:05AM (#15866163) Journal
    I don't actually give a dman about piracy. People were copying games when they came on tape, and they're still doing it.
  • The problem with PC gaming is nothing good is coming out. I made the mistake of buying battlefield 2, and Quake 4 and liked neither of them. Then there was UT 2003, which had gameplay that wasn't as enjoyable as as the original Unreal Tournament.

    Seriously, I've just stopped buying new PC games, the only one I've bought really recently was World of Warcarft. I'm not buying another FPS unless a demo comes out ahead of time, and it's damn good.

    So what am I playing? Since I quit WoW, it's mostly Count
  • I've never pirated a game. The reason I buy at most 1 game a year is mostly cost. At $50 a game, it's hard to justify that. Replayability is another factor. A lot of games simply suck the second time through, many the first time through. Civ4 is great, but just variations on a theme - it needs more dynamics like flooding, weather, replanting/engineering the land, canals, etc.

    Joshua Gigantino
    Send a Note to the Cosmos!
    Printed on giant rings in space at
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:10AM (#15866203)
    It's just the same problem the MI is facing. It's not the copying. Copying is as old as the computer game industry. Granted, it's now easier than it was in the days when you had to travel around with your floppies (or have them sent across the country), and it's easier to get online access than it was in the days of BBSs. On the other hand, the market grew considerably since the old days of the C64. Gamers ain't no more just a few kids aged 12-18, more and more people discover computer games as a hobby, and the age bracket opened to something akin to 9-40 (i.e. the C64 kids didn't stop playing).

    The market grew. Copying grew, too, but the number of people willing to buy did certainly not shrink. If anything, it grew.

    The problem is the games offered. Yes, I would buy a game if it interested me. No, currently there isn't anything that screams "BUY ME!". Actually, currently there's little on the market that I would copy willingly either. Waste of bandwidth, if anything.

    Sure, the expectations grew since the days of the 64. On a C64, you had a 3 colored sprite that resembled vaguely something that could be considered a human shaped something if someone told you it was so and you didn't look too close. Today, this better was true color and smoothly animated! But what really makes or breaks a game, at least for me, is its gameplay and the fun I have when playing it.

    Most games today are more a chore than fun, though. MMORPGs aside, which are by their very definition a chore accompanied by the dangling carrot, games today become more and more a burden. Many games, even in the days of the 64, had something "in store" for you if you did well. If you practiced long enough in this platformer, you went on and saw the next level. If you knew the patterns of the enemies in that shoot-em-up and if you knew when and where the boss was vulnerable, you'd see the next powerup. But today, it doesn't feel like you "get" anything when you invest time. You get to see... a new character outfit in this beat-em-up game, or a new cutscene if you assembled enough thingamajigs in that RPG.

    The carrot is getting too small for me.

    This aside, many studios start releasing the same ol' game over and over and over again. New (better?) graphics, a few new toys, maybe one or two new kinks and presto, it's Unreal2006. Or Command&Conquer Generals. Stripping the fluff, it's the same game as the predecessor. And don't make me start ranting about the EA sports line. Did ANYTHING change between NHL2004 and 2005?

    So the games industry faces the same problem the MI is facing. Your offer became very, very bland, incredible uniform and indifferent, and generally not really interesting anymore. 10 companies competing by making essentially the same games, each with a little flavor and a bit of spice added, but it's FPS or RTS, RTS or FPS.
  • by aadvancedGIR ( 959466 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:10AM (#15866208)
    ID more or less created the FPS genre 15 years ago and it was good for their business. Now everyone, including ID, is doing crappy FPS because that is what is supposed to sell.
    Try to innovate from time to time, maybe you'll fail (for major studio, it should not be that a big deal) but it the long run, it's the only way out of slow decay.
  • Welcome to Gamesworld. Ten years ago it seemed as if the gaming world had come to a halt. Piracy had almost crippled the PC gaming industry and many companies were turning to consoles as a solution. Here at Gamesworld Inc. though we knew that the future came in a different form. Games life Everquest, WoW and Second Life showed us the way, we just built on what they began.

    Today Gamesworld has more than 50 million citizens. Each and everyone has dedicated housing space in our MMO world. Within Gamesworld you
  • I just don't get it why everyone has to blame piracy. They aren't really losing money as most people who pirate games just won't buy them anyways. I'm not going to go out and spend $60 on yet another Spiderman game. I will however, download it and try it out, if it's good I will buy it, if not, I'm not wasting money. I wouldn't have bought the game to begin with. When Starcraft came out, I had a pirated copy, played it for a bit then bought it. Someone else had a pirated copy, didn't like it, didn't b
  • It is the same story as everything else. People say they will buy if something is developed that meets their definition of quality and is cheap enough. Lower the price and piracy will disappear. Right. Sure.

    The problem is that a company needs to invest a significant amount of money to develop a game. Such a large amount today that they cannot afford too many missteps. And, if a game loses significant sales because of a perception that people are playing for free there will be serious repercussions. F
  • You know what, I remember 20 years ago where there would be pirate swap meets and BBS's just for the purpose of pirating Commodore 64 games. Shouldn't that have killed PC gaming? Ten years ago there were 0-day web sites that had new games often before your local software store had them. Shouldn't that have killed PC gaming?

    The big thing to do with piracy is to make sure that most of the potential buyers either can't or don't want to pirate your software while not impacting the ones that do purchase it by
  • by scronline ( 829910 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:52AM (#15866720) Homepage
    Keep in mind that I will never own an Xbox, and doubtful that I will buy a PS3. I don't mind consoles, but they don't give you the same type of gaming you get from a PC. Consoles are good for certain types of games, but without mouse and keyboard you're entirely too limited by my own personal opinion. However, my opinion on the PC gaming industry issue is this.

    Hardware: Yes. That's definitely an issue, but at the same time people are getting too picky about what it looks like while playing. I usually go on a 2-3 year upgrade cycle. I buy a new vid card every 2 years, and upgrade CPU every 3. Never really have too much of a problem but before I upgrade the video I'm down to 800x600 resolution.

    Titles: There are a huge amount of titles out there for a gamer to choose from and our economy still isn't the greatest. There's a finite amount of money to buy games. Which also causes part of the next one....

    Poor Games: Many games don't have the "attraction" they should. They don't seem creative or keep you drawn into it. Doom 3 anyone? I installed it, even used the duct tape mod. I just couldn't enjoy the game. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Id fan, but Doom 3 was pretty, but WAAAAAAAAAY too dark. It didn't scare me, just annoyed me. However, I really am waiting for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. That's going to be awesome!

    Poor Value: Many games are getting rather poor for game play. Very few games are played single player for longer than a week. It's hard to justify spending $60 for a game that will only give you a week's entertainment. This leaves multiplayer to cover the remainder of the cost.

    Horrid Protection: More and more games are causing system problems. I don't mean to get into the StarForce debate, but every single game I've bought with SF protection has given me serious stability problems on 3 different machines. I currently have 8 games that I paid $39.95 or more for sitting on my shelf that can't be played for several reasons. SF is the biggest cause of that, but there are 2 that "don't like being played in any kind of drive that can write CDs".

    Poor Quality: Aside from the above problems many games are seriously rushed to market. Tribes 2 is an excellent example. It took months before I was able to play that game without it locking up my system. By that time I completely lost interest. Of course it didn't help that every server could be configured differently and every player felt the need to use the in game voice crap constantly without any way to mute them. Similar problem with Diablo 2. $70 for it on the release day, I played it for 2 hours after spending 4 hours making it run on my system. It's never been installed again.

    Business Model: I won't bash Vivendi even though they need it, it's probably all been said already. But games like BF2, that's just rediculous. I wanted to run a server for it but unless I handed a huge amount of additional $ to them, I couldn't. So even though I kind of liked the demo and wanted to try out the full thing, I didn't buy it since I couldn't maintain my own server(s) for it.

    Over all, after more than 15 years of gaming, I get a bad vibe from the industry as a whole. I understand their need to protect their property so I do understand copy protection. But that doesn't mean it needs to damage a system and it needs to take into consideration that systems have burners in them...period. There are other reasons the industry is having a problem. Not because of piracy, if anything that helps the strong games because the gamer decides they like it and buys it. More often than not it is because of poor business decisions. Rushing to market, bad copy protection, stifling creativity.

    Oh, and Steam....SUCKS! Valve, you've really gotta learn how to manage your software better. Every patch breaks something else. Your software acts....odd at times. Oh, and while you're saving money by doing everything from the 'net instead of pressing CDs, I'd rather have the disk in my hand. Plus, I don't like having things preloaded on my system. Particularly when I own the CD already and "uninstalled" the preload twice before. If I wanted HL/CS installed on my system, I would put in the CD, I don't need Steam to do it for me.
  • by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:36PM (#15867226) Journal
    As always, there is that misconception that every download is a lost sale, or that by someone downloading something they've taken something from you. Downloading costs them nothing, the bandwidth is provided by those other people, the game is released by someone not on your payroll (possibly, unless there is a new marketting plan to create buzz about little known games by getting them out on the p2p networks). So whats being taken? A copy.

    Allegedly they're taking your business, but the p2p users certainly aren't making a buck on it. There is a difference between someone using P2P and someone burning copies and selling them for profit.

    There's never been any concrete evidence given to show that this is indeed harming the business. Why these articles are even given the time of day boggles my mind.

    Here is a hint:
    1) Make a game people want and they will enjoy.
    2) Make it available.

    I spent years trying to get Silent Storm. While the original was available in Canada, the expansion never was. So I downloaded it. Played it several times. Even years later, I went to ebgames multiple times to request it. Seems the company finally got an NA publisher (for the gold edition containing original and expansion), but ebgames never bothered to bring it to Canada. They sold it in the US only. I asked them several times to find out why, they never got back to me. Finally after almost a year, I had to buy it from some guy on ebay.

    If there are good games out there that people want to support, they'll go to great lengths to do it.

    Produce crap and they won't.

    You offer no rebate policy on the shit your shovel out the door, and don't support your customers when there are problems with it.

    Awesome business model. When it fails, blame the pirates.

  • Odd thing about WoW (Score:5, Interesting)

    by olddotter ( 638430 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:40PM (#15867268) Homepage
    The odd thing about WOW is they still charge for the software. I was discussing this with a friend. WOW software should be free with a free 2 week trial period. This really came about because I was trying to convince him to try WOW on a Mac, and he thought it was just too expensive to buy to try on his mac. Once you have a WOW subscription you should be able to get the software for free or near free for all supported platforms.
    • There is one simple reason they do this: Blizzard *needs* retail shelf presence to achieve Robot Jesus mindshare among gamers, because shockingly enough there are people who would balk at downloading a teensy itsy witsy 5GB demo. Retail wants 40% of a nice fat number to keep your product stocked on shelves next to other games which are giving them 40% of a nice fat number, and to pay for advertising which gets suburban housewives (who don't know Onyxia from Nelly but who still probably purchased about a mi
    • by Salden ( 571264 )
      At one point, you were able to download and play wow for free for 10 days before ever buying anything. I suppose since this is not available anymore that Blizzard feels it wasn't working. There also might be a sense of "If I bought the game for $45 then I'd better enjoy playing it for a few months." Whereby people actually wish to support the investment they made. If you do a 10 day trial and aren't hooked, they've lost you forever.
  • by joebooty ( 967881 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:46PM (#15867348)
    [Taken from todays gamespot PC game rankings]

    1 Warcraft III : The Frozen Throne
    2 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    3 The Sims 2
    4 World of Warcraft
    5 Dungeon Siege II: Broken World
    6 Age of Empires III
    7 Titan Quest (Shameless Diablo clone)
    8 Prey (Generic FPS Game #2412)
    9 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA3 part 3)
    10 Counter-Strike: Source

    World of Warcraft is the only 'new' game on there and that is still somewhat debateable.

    Id is more responsible than anyone for the situation that they are in. They are poster children for boring clones that whose feature set is 90% new features on video cards instead of gameplay.
  • by Cythrawl ( 941686 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:34PM (#15868433)
    The whole Piracy is killing the PC debate is dead as far as I am concerned. As well as the whole "we are going to move to consoles becuase they dont suffer from piracy" excuse too.

    Just a quick look (google) and I found ALL the latest Xbox 360 games available (Prey, Battle for Middle Earth II, Tomb Raider, Burnout,... need I go on) via ISO format. So going to THAT console isnt going to fix the Piracy issue.

    Oh look its the same for the PS2 (Ant Bully, Sensi Soccer, etc etc etc) again all available in ISO format. So THAT console is out...

    Hell theres pirate games available (all latest releases) for the PSP, PS1, Xbox, Dreamcast, Gameboy Advance. All available on all major P2P networks all around the world.
    So what point is he trying to make exactly??? No matter WHAT platform you develop on someone is going to pirate it, period.

    I remember discussing this very issue with Peter Moylenuex and Les Edgar when we was trying to get a game published by Bullfrog (They were actually trying to get into the publishing game until EA bought them out... little known fact). Peter said that the Amiga was being killed by Piracy and that the consoles would take over. The sad fact is that the Amiga didnt die from piracy, but from lack of innovation from commodores part and was trounced upon by the fast developing PC hardware.

    The same can be said for the PC games market.. its the lack of innovation thats going to kill it rather than piracy that exists on ALL formats ALL the time.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!