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Study Claims $41.5 Billion In Portable Game Piracy Losses Over Five Years 316

Gamasutra reports that Japan's Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association conducted a study to estimate the total amount of money lost to piracy on portable game consoles. The figure they arrived at? $41.5 billion from 2004 to 2009. Quoting: "CESA checked the download counts for the top 20 Japanese games at what it considers the top 114 piracy sites, recording those figures from 2004 to 2009. After calculating the total for handheld piracy in Japan with that method, the groups multiplied that number by four to reach the worldwide amount, presuming that Japan makes up 25 percent of the world's software market. CESA and Baba Lab did not take into account other popular distribution methods for pirated games like peer-to-peer sharing, so the groups admit that the actual figures for DS and PSP software piracy could be much higher than the ¥3.816 trillion amount the study found."

Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Over R4 Mod Chip Piracy 146

schliz writes "The Federal Court has ordered an Australian distributor to pay Nintendo over half a million dollars for selling the R4 mod chip, which allows users to circumvent technology protection measures in Nintendo's DS consoles. The distributor, RSJ IT Solutions, has been ordered to cease selling the chip through its site and any other sites it controls, as well as paying Nintendo $520,000 in damages."
Social Networks

Game Distribution Platforms Becoming Annoyingly Common 349

The Escapist's Shamus Young recently posted an article complaining about the proliferation of distribution platforms and social networks for video games. None of the companies who make these are "quite sure how games will be sold and played ten years from now," he writes, "but they all know they want to be the ones running the community or selling the titles." Young continues, "Remember how these systems usually work: The program sets itself up to run when Windows starts, and it must be running if you want to play the game. If you follow this scheme to its logical conclusion, you'll see that the system tray of every gaming PC would eventually end up clogged with loaders, patchers, helpers, and monitors. Every publisher would have a program for serving up content, connecting players, managing digital licenses, performing patches, and (most importantly) selling stuff. Some people don't mind having 'just one more' program running in the background. But what happens when you have programs from Valve, Stardock, Activision, 2k Games, Take-Two, Codemasters, Microsoft, Eidos, and Ubisoft? Sure, you could disable them. But then when you fire the thing up to play a game, it will want to spend fifteen minutes patching itself and the game before it will let you in. And imagine how fun it would be juggling accounts for all of them."

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Tops 10 Million Sales 164

According to a report from Japanese publication Nikkei Net, Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii has now sold 10 million copies worldwide. The game needed only 45 days to pass the already impressive sales numbers of Super Mario Galaxy. Quoting Gamasutra: "NSMB Wii has sold 3 million units in Japan, where it launched on December 3; 3 million copies in Europe, where it launched November 20, and 4.5 million units in North America, where it launched November 15. Super Mario Galaxy has sold 4.1 million units in North America since 2007. The game's design hearkens back to the two-dimensional, side-scrolling style of earlier Mario titles ... The numbers would seem to suggest that these traits successfully generated more mass appeal for NSMB Wii than for the three-dimensional and far less familiar Super Mario Galaxy, which sent the plumber navigating more innovative spherical space environments."

Comment Re:Look at it from the artists point of view (Score 1) 356

Empathy, my post is about empathy. Even if I disagree with DRM, I can understand how these artists feel. I can understand why some artists think DRM is a good idea.

See, this is where we disagree. I don't understand how anyone in their right mind may think that DRM is a good idea for the simple reason that DRM doesn't accomplish anything useful. When you ask people why they use DRM, you often get the answer: I need to protect my work. Since DRM is incapable of doing that, why would that be a valid reason to use it?

Also: copyright infringers are not your customers, and thus not your concern. Yes, they are using your work without paying for it, but if you somehow manage to stop them from doing that, they're still not buying your products, so in the end getting rid of copyright infringement does not bring any extra money in your pocket. In the mean time, fighting against copyright infringement costs a lot of money, and many of your real customers are pissed off in the process of your futile attempts to stop it. This is not a sound business strategy, no matter how you look at it.

Comment Re:Look at it from the artists point of view (Score 1) 356

Actually, I think we're more in opposition than you think. :) I may be a musician and software programmer next to my work as a chip designer, but my views on copyright seem to differ quite a bit from yours.

For starters: I don't believe in the phrase "deserve to get paid". Nobody deserves to get paid just because they put a lot of work into something. They deserve a fair chance to make a product that people want to buy, but if they make something nobody's interested in they deserve nothing, no matter how much time they put into it.

I also despise DRM, and not just because there's no such thing as an Open Source DRM implementation. DRM serves no purpose whatsoever. It cannot protect content, it costs a fortune to develop, and the only thing it does is piss off your customers. Why anyone would be foolish enough to invest in that is beyond me.

I do believe in copyright however, but not the travesty that it has become in the last 5 decades. Copyright was meant as an incentive to create, not as a protection for a certain business model. Copyright protects my work from being used by greedy corporations without my permission, but if I go out to sue my fans I'll soon be left without any. Sure that means that some will listen to/use my work without my permission, but they would not have been customers anyway, so I have lost nothing. As an artist, you should focus on those people who WILL be customers.

In a digital age, certain products cease to be scarce. This means you should either go for volume sales and/or focus on those things that ARE scarce. Several artists have already been amazed at how much fans are willing to pay for something that's really rare, like signed copies, limited edition dvds, life performances, etc.

The worst thing for an artist however is to be unknown. Here you have a medium (internet) that will allow you to get your work seen/heared by everybody, practically distributing for free, and yet you're fighting it rather than embracing it. As an artist you don't need to be internet savvy; you just need to find someone who is to do it for you. Besides: setting up a YouTube and MySpace page really isn't that difficult. You just need to invest some time to really get in touch with your fans.

Comment Re:Look at it from the artists point of view (Score 1) 356

Your idea has a major flaw: DRM does not work. It does not protect your work, will cost a lot of money to develop, and piss off your customers. DRM's not only not the best business strategy, it's the worst! Why on Earth would you want to use it? You would put your faith in Microsoft, a company that can't even protect its own software from being copied, and yet you believe they can keep yours safe?

As for there being no reasonable business strategy for the artist: You're being proven wrong on a daily basis by artists who have managed to make the internet work for them. Learn to sell what's scarce by using that which is not, and you may yet be surprised by mankind.

Comment Re:Look at it from the artists point of view (Score 1) 356

In other words: you're going to spend a lot of time (and thus money) developing some protection scheme that will be cracked within a week by a college kid with too much time on his hands, which will do nothing to protect your game from being copied illegally, but will at the same time annoy the customers you might get? Sounds like a business strategy to me...

Comment Re:Where are you located? (Score 5, Interesting) 301

I agree with the above post, though I personally prefer VHDL. That might however have something to do with me having designed ASIC/FPGAs for about 11 years now using VHDL though. :) Both are very powerful languages these days, and I see no problem in teaching a course using both languages, showing how to create the same hardware using different language constructs.

Comment Re:question to poster (Score 2, Insightful) 291

Why should the authors of songs be the ones who bail Google out of their bad decision to bay $1.65 billion for a loss-making idea?

I'm sorry, but that's not at issue here:
Authors: pay us X or we won't allow you to play our music.
Google: X is too much considering how much we're making from your music, but we'll be willing to pay you Y.
Authors: Y is not enough, we don't have a deal.
Google: Ok, then we'll just remove your music since we don't have permission to play your music.
Authors: That's not fair! Why don't you just pay us X like we're asking? We deserve to be paid for our work, and you have enough money anyway.


Comment Re:question to poster (Score 1) 291

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree here. I am not condoning copyright infringement, but this is a business deal between two parties. The songwriters wish to get paid for their work being up on YouTube, but don't like the amount Google is willing to pay. Without a deal, Google has to remove said music from YouTube upon request (conform European copyright law), but when they do so the songwriters protest even more. It is clear to me that they have a very different view of what their music is worth from what it is worth to Google, but they can either come to an agreement or have their music removed. They cannot force Google into an amount just because they think it is justified. Failure to understand this is what makes them clueless.

Comment Re:question to poster (Score 5, Insightful) 291

Question to poster: how does it follow from their statements that the music writers are clueless?

Very simple: they seem to focus on how much money Google is making, and how much money they think their music is worth. The question they SHOULD be asking is: how much money is my music WORTH to Google? How much revenue would Google lose if my music was pulled from YouTube tomorrow, and what % of that money might I fairly claim? They should also ask themselves the question: how much money will I lose/gain if my music was NOT on YouTube? If the payment is not enough for you, then don't complain when Google removes your music.

Comment Re:RIGHT battle! (Score 5, Insightful) 203

Please do not confuse DRM with standard encryption techniques. Normally, encryption is used between two or more parties to keep one or more other parties from reading the encrypted material. DRM, or TPM to be more precise, is used to keep the recipient of the material from copying it, while at the same time allow them to read it (otherwise they would never buy it). As such, any DRM that people want cracked will be cracked. I think your example says more about Sky TV than about their encryption technology. :)

DRM is a failure in that it provides the would be attacker with the message, the cypher, and the key. They just try to hide those last two, which is no true basis for protecting material.

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