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Comment Re:Science is Awesome (Score 1) 135

Or the stories of Homo erectus , who was the velociraptor of our human ancestors. She was a total badass, which is why I love this statue of her at the Smithsonian Hall of Human Origins carrying a rotting caribou carcass across the Serengeti.

Just to be nit-picky, that looks more like an ibex than a caribou. The description of location (Serengeti, vs. tundra) is further confirmation.

Comment Re:Very disappointing (Score 1) 109

Profit also depends on income. Mirror's Edge dropped in price quickly after release and you could pick up a copy for about £5 now. Additionally it has been on sale on Steam and at other online retailers several times. Copies sold at a discount obviously provide less income.

While each copy sold at a discount provides less income, software has a very low cost of goods sold (especially with digital delivery) so it's possible (even likely) to make it up with volume.

From (emphasis mine):

It’s possible that $5 might have been a better price point to begin with. While $10 is less than most people pay for a movie ticket, or lunch, it’s still seen as a very high price for a game on the App Store and turns many people off. As you can see from the daily revenue chart below, World of Goo generates significantly more revenue at a $5 price point than it did at $10 (price was halved on January 14).

Comment Re:Would you prefer a completely clueless jury the (Score 1) 558

Having never actually served on a jury, how exactly would a juror go about learning what a phrase means if everyone was acting like it's supposed to be common knowledge? Do they just, like, raise their hand and ask?

David Morgan-Marr (creative force behind Irregular Webcomic and Darths & Droids) has an account of service on a jury in which the jury asks for clarification on a point. It's quite an interesting read in total, but the sections regarding jury confusion are found on page 12 (at the end of witness 26 and end of witness 29), page 19 (most of witness 50), page 20 (not much happened with the jury that day) and concluding at the top of page 22.

While this jury trial occurred in Austrailia, the basic tenets are the same.

Comment Re:Information wants to be free. (Score 1) 633

Consider these cases:

1. I post 1.4gb of credit card numbers online in the ideal that it will destroy the financial system and create world anarcho-socialism.

My bank sends me a new card with a new number and new expiration date. I am inconvenienced during the time I can't use that card.

2. You write a novel; it takes you two years. I post it online in Kindle, Nook and Sony reader formats.

Hard and soft cover sales are unlikely effected. The fans of the author shun the pirated copy.

3. You take out $20m in loans to make a movie or a video game, and you spend five years of your life on the project, hoping that you can leverage this into a career. I post your game or movie online before it is released.

This happens quite often. Hollywood and the gaming studios are posting record profits. As for how you manage to leverage a $20 million dollar loan on your debut, I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

We'll never know how sales are affected because we will never know if the people downloading would have bought it anyway,

How many people use the pirated version as an extended demo?

Assuming someone tries a game and then goes out and buys it, they are basically indistinguishable from the previous group who buys it and then "pirates" it. They're just doing it in a different order. In any case, these two groups combined simply can't account for more than one in nine downloads.

However, if you're willing to entertain an anecdote (which is the only thing we have to work with in a situation like this where nobody will show their cards to anyone else) then the story of iPhone game Tap-Fu is fairly instructive. The creators tracked both pirates and customers as they submitted high scores. They even kept track of how many people (as identified by their device) played as a pirate and then later as a legit customer. The result:

Not one. Ever.

Remember that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data". One case doesn't describe the industry in general. Also remember: None!

We may never know for sure, but there are indications.

...but what's really lost is the newness of the material. If your neighbor reads the newspaper, figures out which are the good stories, and then tells you about them while you're fishing, what incentive do you have to buy the newspaper?

The experience of not receiving the stories as remembered by my neighbor. His ideals on which are the "good stories" probably differ from mine.

We -- the hackers of today -- need to think long and hard about this. By destroying the ability of others to profit from their work,

Wait. What? Also from the Escapist article linked above:

How rampant is piracy?

In 2008, Reflexive looked at the people who submitted high scores for Ricochet Infinity and found that 92% of all players were using pirated copies of the game. Also that year 2DBoy reported 90% piracy on World of Goo. Last year developer Beautiful Game Studios' claimed that Championship Manager was the victim of a 90% piracy rate. During the week the Demigod was released, publisher Stardock found that 85% of all players looking for a game were pirates. All of these are PC titles.

It's very interesting how close all of these numbers are, despite the diversity of the games themselves. Casual and hardcore. Esoteric and mainstream. Indie and big-budget. DRM and DRM-free. Newly-launched titles and and games which have been been out for a year. All of them are from different companies. Yet the piracy numbers are within a few percentage points of each other. I think that, unless we're going to imagine that all of these disparate parties are somehow forming this conspiracy to over-hype the effects of piracy, we can be very confident that the 90% figure is a pretty reliable number.

90% piracy rate two years ago. I can't imagine it's gone down significantly. Yet there are still people profiting from their work.

we may be sabotaging the very people we sought to empower all those years ago.

Just $0.02, or probably worth a lot less in this recession.

I know I don't have all the answers. Most of the time, I'm not sure I am asking the right questions. But I am quite certain that the whole-scale piracy fest in the video game/music/movie industry is not having a significant effect on their profitability.

Comment Re:Bingo. (Score 1) 633


Likewise games. In the last 2 years I played Batman:Arkham Asylum which was horribly disappointing...

Out of curiosity, was Batman disappointing because you couldn't glide?

Even if I did pay for them, I would probably throw the game out, as the pirated versions are so much more convenient and bug free.

Perhaps not in this case.

Comment Re:What's the deal with the rush of TSA stories re (Score 1) 1135

You're right. The whole thing is security theatre at its finest. That's been true for years. Does anybody really think that an old ladies sewing needles are a threat to the airplane?

No. Not even the TSA (as of this posting) thinks knitting needles are a threat. From

Knitting needles, carried by grandma, Mrs. Claus or Jeremy down the street are permitted. Plastic, metal, clay, titanium... Whatever... Permitted.

Kids, on the other hand, (and their subversive teddy bears) are a definate threat.

Comment Re:Incidentally (Score 1) 795

Why is math education important in public schools?

The vast majority of students will not be mathematicians or accountants, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.


Why is english education important in public schools?

The vast majority of students will not be writers, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.


Why is history education important in public schools?

The vast majority of students will not be historians, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.


Why is physical education important in public schools?

The vast majority of students will not be althletes, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.

You can apply this argument to pretty much every school subject - so your question is really "why do we send children to school"?

And the simple answer is "to keep them out of the job market".

Comment Re:Grain of Salt (Score 1) 82

So you're saying this whole thing might be A Ridiculous Liberal Myth?

Oh yea. The Liberals go to all the trouble of painting a moon up in the sky every night just to fuck with my head. They even moving it during the night and changing the shape nightly. /sarcasm

What I am saying is that Chinese universities have a tendency of fostering academic misconduct in an attempt ...

Grandparent's post was a oblique reference to a long running troll/joke.


Submission + - Game DLC pricing: Letting customers decide pricing (

An anonymous reader writes: How much should game developers be charging for DLC? It seems that one indie dev has decided to carry out a unique experiment. The latest expansion pack for Gratuitous Space Battles is priced at $5.99, or is it? It turns out there is both a standard ($.5.99) version and a discount version ($2.99). And the difference betwen them is.... nothing. The buyer has been left to make their own decision on whether or not they should pay full price, and send more money to the developer, or treat themselves to a deserved discount. The buy page even lists comparisons of national incomes, average salaries and even the price of sausages to help buyers make up their mind. Will this catch on? Will microsoft start asking us whether or not we should get a discount and trust us to answer honestly?

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