Posts I've Made
03.05.2013 @ 16:23
Demut said:Not enough to boycott it, apparently /> Why do you think publishers would drop it if their customers still buy their games regardless? Sales are what matters to them. ›››
For me it's a sliding scale -- how much do I want the game versus how much does the DRM piss me off? If it's a great game without really restrictive DRM then I'll probably get it on release (or pay more for it in general).
On the other hand, if it's a game I want but the DRM makes me wary then I'll wait for it to be $5. For that price, I can grit my teeth and try to ignore the DRM (as long as it doesn't damage my PC).
02.05.2013 @ 03:03
Guy N said:The industry is suffering more from vulture capitalism and lack of vision. EA's the poster child for vulture capitalism induced blindness, but they're only the biggest example. This ends, as it always does, in a search for scapegoats.
The problem with wheeling and dealing the way EA did under Riccitello is that you end up driving up your costs and exposing yourself to stones thrown by big private investors when you can't meet their demands. (This is also what is happening to Apple right now, and the outcome will be a sad one.) Managers don't want to blame their strategies; that might suggest they are not worth their salaries and bonuses. So they blame pirates, which are an easy target since they have no moral standing, or they blame the artists and engineers, a time-honored formula:
[Scott Adams, "Dilbert", April 28, 2013] ›››
I completely agree with this Piracy is bad and I'm not in any way defending it, but I resent how a lot of companies use piracy as an excuse to limit what I'm allowed to do as a legal consumer. A business should be concerned with making money, and the way to make money is if they start making smarter decisions which increase sales instead of trying to introduce stricter and stricter DRM.
I don't think any publisher has ever provided numbers to show that DRM increases sales (and in fact some companies like Ubisoft reported significantly lower sales for their newer DRM-heavy games compared to the previous games without such restrictive DRM). These big publishers need to take a step back and reevaluate their strategies in order to increase the overall number of sales.
Whatever results in the most sales is what they should do, whether or not it lowers the piracy figures. If option A has heavy DRM and option B has light DRM, and the games were otherwise identical, I suspect that B would have higher sales figures so shouldn't the company go with B even if the piracy number is higher too? I mean, they make more money with B whether or not it gets pirated more, so why don't they care about the overall profit instead of focusing on the piracy rate? (That was kind of rhetorical since you already explained it in your post, so I guess I'm just expressing my confusion and aggravation that some of the publishers are so illogical and seem to sabotage themselves for no good reason)
Luc0s said:How so? I mean I get your cat-in-the-bag analogy, but I don't see how that applies to the majority of (triple-A) games. Most games these days are technically fine. It's often the length, depth and story of the games that seem to be rather lacking these days. But a demo doesn't show you how long or deep your game is, it merely shows you what the gameplay is like. And I think the gameplay is fine in most modern games. ›››
First of all it would give a good warning for the games which aren't technically fine, or which might not run well on a certain PC configuration. And secondly, it gives a much better impression of what the gameplay is like compared to watching a trailer or even a gameplay video because it's hard to tell from a video how much input the player has.
Did the player choose to do a cool move or was it automated? Is the player intentionally rushing down the main path to show as much off as possible in the video or is the game really that linear? Do the controls feel good? Etc.
For example, if I had been able to play a demo of Bioshock: Infinite I never would have bought the game. I was expecting the gameplay to be like Bioshock 1-2 but it was decidedly more linear and less appealing to me, so I would have either skipped the game or waited for a really good sale.
And then there other games that I would have tried if there was a demo, but due to lack of demo I skipped them only to discover years later that I really enjoyed them and should have bought them sooner.
I mean, I know it does cost money to actually produce a demo, setting it up to run on its own and such. But especially for a AAA game I feel like a demo would be the best use of the advertising budget, so I don't believe the claims that a demo is too expensive to produce. If they can afford to put cardboard cutouts in game stores, run ads on TV, banner ads all over websites, etc. then surely they should be able to afford a demo?
19.04.2013 @ 21:18
Calrabjohns said:Sorry about cutting out, Ward. I was tired. Hearing from you that The Missing Link works offline for PC is confusing to me. ›››
I actually don't know if the PC version works offline or not. I have DSL so my PC is usually online all the time. I didn't think to try running Missing Link in offline mode and I uninstalled it once I finished it so I don't know if offline mode works for it or has been disabled. It just surprised me for a single-player DLC to require internet connection on 360 since I assume that consoles are less likely to have stable internet connections compared to PC's.
Blothulfur said:They're not in it for long term sustainability, like bankers they're in it for short term profit, that's why AAA development has become so expensive, they're taking massive risks in the hopes of landing a Skyrim or Diablo payday, instead of trying to please their customer base or maintain an output of quality realistically budgeted releases. ›››
Yeah, that's pretty much it.
19.04.2013 @ 21:10
SystemShock7 said:I thought my response made it clear. If I buy software that is supposed to work on my device and it doesn't, I'd ask for my money back or an exchange. But then again, that rarely happens to me because I do read things like fine prints and manuals before I buy. ›››
How do you expect to get a refund or exchange when stores refuse to do that? No store that I know of will agree to refund or exchange opened PC games in case someone copied it or already activated it.
SystemShock7 said:Yes, there are consumer rights, but you are wrong about guaranteeing return of defective merchandise, as they are valid instances in which you cannot do so. It depends on the sale agreement between buyer and seller.
Depending on the individual state, the consumer protection laws do explicitly guarantee the right to return defective merchandise. It's just that most stores ignore the law unless someone sues them over it.
SystemShock7 said:There are quite a lot of things we used to legally do and no longer are able to do. ›››
Exactly! That's an erosion of consumers' rights.
19.04.2013 @ 10:26I've taken a step back and I think that the PS3 jailbreak thing is kind of a red herring since it affects relatively few people and isn't directly related to the "piracy equals lost sales" claim especially since that argument is mainly aimed at PC gaming. I still think that logically it should be okay to treat PS3 hardware like a PC and install a new operating system on it, but that's for the courts to decide
Back to the PC gaming market, piracy is definitely bad but I don't believe it is as bad as the big publishers claim it is. I would really need to see their data and see it broken down in order to convince me otherwise.
First of all, what is the total number of pirated copies for a game? Then break that down and subtract the number of pirated copies from countries where the game isn't officially released and from countries which are relatively poor and the average person can't afford to buy games. I think those pirated copies are not lost sales because the person never would have bought the game anyway either due to lack of availability or lack of money.
So focusing on the pirated copies in relatively rich countries where the average person can afford games and the game has been officially released, what do those numbers look like? What patterns are there? What do the most pirated games have in common?
If the game happens to be an anomaly like Spore or Assassin's Creed 2 where people "protested" the DRM by downloading the game over and over again just to drive up the piracy figures and prove that the DRM didn't work, then that shouldn't be considered lost sales since there's no way those people would have each bought so many copies of the game (although it's still illegal even if they downloaded the game to make a point instead of to actually play it, I'm not arguing that, I just don't think those downloads are lost sales).
I even saw news articles about how people who had legally purchased AC2 couldn't play it due to Ubisoft's server constantly crashing and ended up pirating it instead just to get a working copy. Obviously that's not a lost sale either since they already bought the game.
I'm sure that the above examples aren't the case for most game piracy, but EA and Ubisoft are among the loudest companies to claim that piracy equals lost sales, and they're probably using their own game statistics to make that claim, so I think these anomalies like Spore and Assassin's Creed 2 might have a disproportionately large influence.
If the publishers go to Congress and are like, "Hey, our game was downloaded 20 million times so look at all of those lost sales!" then it would be very shocking and might pressure the Congress people to pass stricter laws without looking more closely at the details of the case. That's pretty much what almost happened with SOPA, although that was more the doing of the music and movie companies.
So that's why I don't take these claims of "piracy equals lost sales" seriously, especially coming from big companies like Ubisoft or EA, and I think it's important to challenge them to back their claims up if they're going to try to change the law based on these claims.
For clarification, I do think piracy is responsible for some lost sales, but I don't think it's that much overall, especially compared to lost sales for other reasons such as people avoiding DRM and/or buggy releases. I think publishers put too much emphasis on piracy as the reason for low sales instead of taking responsibility for bad business decisions or trying to figure out what they can do better to increase sales. What's the point of eliminating piracy if the methods cause the overall sales to drop? From a business point of view, surely the goal should be to increase sales overall, not specifically to fight piracy?