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"Always On" - Telling people to move is not a solution.

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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    It's scary to me that we, gamers, have the gall to decide what games should be priced at. WHen we start saying things like "at price X we won't pirate, but at price Y we'll definitely pirate", we're kind of taking it upon ourselves that we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy. Scary thought...

    How is it any less scary when customers say "at price X we won't buy, but at price Y we'll definitely buy?"

    Who are we to say how much the supermarket charges for fresh apples? We're saying we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy.

    If they claim their apples cost $20 a pound due to the cost of transport and labeling and staffing and all, how in the world can we stand there indignant and refuse to purchase them? They know better than us.

    If you couldn't afford apples, or thought they were priced too high, would you resort to shoplifting?

    That's where this is different.

    At what point did the easy duplication of digital goods make it a-ok for people to steal those goods? At what point is it OK for people to not get paid for their hard work? People not buying the goods? That's fine. You can't force people to buy something at a price they don't accept. People instead stealing them? That's something that SHOULD be combated.

    If the company is fighting piracy for moral reasons then they should be prepared for a potential drop in revenue. They can do whatever they want, morality was not a factor in the discussion. If the company is primarily interested in maximizing their revenue, it is possible that not combating piracy head on and instead offering other incentives to purchase could be the best solution.

    I agree that they need to change their tactics on fighting piracy to one of adding value to customers instead of paranoia. However, trying to say that not purchasing something is somehow the same as pirating it... I don't know man, that's pretty out there. Companies want to bring in people who don't purchase their product. They have a much harder time wrapping their head around trying to bring in thieves.

    There's an emotional difference, to be sure. I'd even agree there's a moral difference. But there is no financial difference. Remember, we're not talking about physical widgets, where each stolen widget is one less widget to sell.

    There is a financial difference, but it's one we as consumers see, and only a few companies seem to make out.

    It shifts priorities away from adding value to the consumer to attract more customers.

    Of course someone who's having their product stolen is going to try to protect their product from being stolen. That is a completely understandable position to take. And in doing so, you may make things worse for actual customers.

    Piracy hurts the industry not because of lost sales due to piracy, but because companies are forced to combat piracy. The emotional and moral difference dictates that companies do this. As far as I can tell, it's only Valve that's realized this isn't in their best interest, that ignoring piracy and focusing on bringing in new consumers by adding value and lowering prices is the real way to combat piracy.

    What's interesting is that most major retailers follow the same theory as Valve when it comes to theft. Places such as Walmart won't go after you if you steal under a certain amount. They don't do this because they like theft, they do this because the costs to them of combating the theft usually is higher than what is actually stolen.

    And that's because the retail industry has realized the same thing that Valve does -- sometimes, it's just not worth killing the goose. Eventually the game industry at large will realize this and move on from these DRM schemes. Or they won't, and they'll drive away customers until they all go the way of THQ.

    Exactly. But this whole methodology of dealing with theft is completely counter intuitive. I can't blame companies for doing something that on the surface makes sense. I can blame them for not following a better model once one is put right in front of them.

    Piracy does hurt the industry. It makes it paranoid and controlling, which in turn loses the industry customers. I can't put the blame for this on the companies anymore than I can put the blame for a bank hiring several armed guards/metal detectors after getting robbed every day for 10 years.

    I wouldn't blame a small publisher for making the mistake of becoming paranoid and controlling, though I still wouldn't buy any of their games. I would blame a large publisher, because, in theory, any company that large would have somebody who's able to do a cost/benefit analysis. Ironically, it's the small publishers that seem to get it and the big publishers that don't.

    Really think about it, though... Piracy has been a problem since the beginning of the games industry. So, about 30-40 years at most. For only the past 9 years have we had a good method of combating it (Steam). And that only really took off within the last 4 or 5 years. It takes time for large corporations to change course on this sort of stuff, where smaller studios have much more incentive to change course and move towards a newer, seemingly backwards model that actually works. We're not seeing any smaller developers leaning towards always online. It's always the larger ones owned by larger publishers that want to head down that road.

    This wasn't a problem where the solution was apparent from the get go. It's taken the entire lifetime of the games industry for anyone to actually do it right.

    Death of Rats on
    No I don't.
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    What's your definition for "sound"? All are going to have degrees of inference and error depending on your model and your data.

    You seem to be confused about how this works. It doesn't matter why they pirate the game for an estimate of it's size, it's all piracy. We also know piracy is price/convenience dependant to some extent, but also cultural.

    At it's most basic, you get an estimates of the change in sales compared to price from sales data and piracy rates compared to price and total piracy from torrent sites and develop a simplistic model of what components of piracy are price dependant and what parts aren't. There, you now have a simple trapezoidal-shaped model of software piracy for your product(s).

    It is completely impossible to factor in the varying quality of each game, the amount of bugs, patches, word of mouth, the demographic for each game, the length, the depth, the impact of review scores, availability, growth from year to year, market contraction...factor all of those out and figure out precisely how much money you lost due to piracy on a game.

    It's not possible to estimate.

    Sure it is. You are trying to say you can't make an estimate because it's not exact. I'm wondering if you get the idea of an estimate. You don't need the exact amount you lost due to piracy, you just need a simple estimate of the market factors at work.

    You can easily do this per game or average out over all your games or for various categories of games and do some comparisons which can tell you alot about how much people pirate and how they react to price and so on. Companies have more then enough data at hand to do this kind of analysis.

    If you see that your game was downloaded 50,000 times on a piracy site, maybe none of them would've bought it because it wasn't a very good game. Maybe almost everyone would've bought it because it was kind of a big deal. Maybe there were a ton more pirates at another site you never saw because the copy at that main site was infected with a virus so people took their illicit business elsewhere. Maybe the site counts downloads in a weird way and what you were seeing was people who initiated the download but didn't necessarily finish it.

    Well sure, you could improve your model if you chose. I just presented an extremely simple linear model where we assume there are pirates who aren't price sensitive and ones who are. You estimate the price sensitivity of the second group and get a simple trapezoidal model that tells you what percentage of your pirates are not going to respond to price changes. And that can help you alot in examining how effective varying DRM policies are.

    Just because it's not exact doesn't mean you can't model it or that said model is not useful. Models are never exact.

    There is a huge difference between estimating the amount of money lost as a result of piracy and estimating how the changes you have made have affected the rate of piracy. It sure seemed like you were implying the first was estimable.

    There can be no baseline to determine how many sales you lost. You can't extrapolate your model to other games you make in the future. Because maybe you charged less for your next game but it sucked, or released at a bad time during other high profile releases, or maybe a major piracy site shut down, or maybe Comcast started offering a great deal on faster internet so a bunch of people suddenly had the bandwidth to try piracy.

    Even trying to estimate the number of people who pirated your game is a lost cause, as demonstrated earlier.

    It also seems a lot like you're hiding behind the word "estimate," because it means something isn't exact. The degree to which it "isn't exact" in this case is staggering to the point of uselessness.

    I mean, you want to give us a demonstration? Maybe with some numbers or something? How do they go about doing it. Pretend you're a game company and you've released a game and you've got these made up stats in front of you, and tell us how you would interpret those numbers and what specific things you would do differently on your next game...and how you would expect the numbers to change next time.

    UncleSporky on
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  • AchireAchire Isn't life disappointing? Yes, it is. Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    As a consumer, the existence of piracy seems pretty damn great to me. Without the pressure provided by piracy, we would have never got Steam, iTunes, Netflix or Spotify. There'd be no incentive to provide a superior service, if you could just jack up the prices and people had no other option. Why on earth would the content provides risk eating into their cozy existent physical product revenue stream in exchange for an unproven digital distribution model? The market disruption from piracy forced their hand, or otherwise they'd all end up like Kodak in the digital/phone camera age. The content providers had to find an online business model, or they'd be unable to compete both on price (impossible) and on quality/service.

    Coincidentally, I now have 600+ games on Steam I am never going to have the time to play.

    P.S. A team of 6 people worked on UFO: Enemy Unknown, the best game ever made. The main reason for the financial trouble of publishers is spiraling development costs due to better graphics (= cost of art assets). Blocking used games, piracy etc. is never going to help when the break-even point of a game went from 100-200k (PS2) to 2 million units sold.

    Achire on
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  • CuvisTheConquerorCuvisTheConqueror They always say "yee haw" but they never ask "haw yee?" Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    It's scary to me that we, gamers, have the gall to decide what games should be priced at. WHen we start saying things like "at price X we won't pirate, but at price Y we'll definitely pirate", we're kind of taking it upon ourselves that we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy. Scary thought...

    How is it any less scary when customers say "at price X we won't buy, but at price Y we'll definitely buy?"

    Who are we to say how much the supermarket charges for fresh apples? We're saying we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy.

    If they claim their apples cost $20 a pound due to the cost of transport and labeling and staffing and all, how in the world can we stand there indignant and refuse to purchase them? They know better than us.

    If you couldn't afford apples, or thought they were priced too high, would you resort to shoplifting?

    That's where this is different.

    At what point did the easy duplication of digital goods make it a-ok for people to steal those goods? At what point is it OK for people to not get paid for their hard work? People not buying the goods? That's fine. You can't force people to buy something at a price they don't accept. People instead stealing them? That's something that SHOULD be combated.

    If the company is fighting piracy for moral reasons then they should be prepared for a potential drop in revenue. They can do whatever they want, morality was not a factor in the discussion. If the company is primarily interested in maximizing their revenue, it is possible that not combating piracy head on and instead offering other incentives to purchase could be the best solution.

    I agree that they need to change their tactics on fighting piracy to one of adding value to customers instead of paranoia. However, trying to say that not purchasing something is somehow the same as pirating it... I don't know man, that's pretty out there. Companies want to bring in people who don't purchase their product. They have a much harder time wrapping their head around trying to bring in thieves.

    There's an emotional difference, to be sure. I'd even agree there's a moral difference. But there is no financial difference. Remember, we're not talking about physical widgets, where each stolen widget is one less widget to sell.

    There is a financial difference, but it's one we as consumers see, and only a few companies seem to make out.

    It shifts priorities away from adding value to the consumer to attract more customers.

    Of course someone who's having their product stolen is going to try to protect their product from being stolen. That is a completely understandable position to take. And in doing so, you may make things worse for actual customers.

    Piracy hurts the industry not because of lost sales due to piracy, but because companies are forced to combat piracy. The emotional and moral difference dictates that companies do this. As far as I can tell, it's only Valve that's realized this isn't in their best interest, that ignoring piracy and focusing on bringing in new consumers by adding value and lowering prices is the real way to combat piracy.

    What's interesting is that most major retailers follow the same theory as Valve when it comes to theft. Places such as Walmart won't go after you if you steal under a certain amount. They don't do this because they like theft, they do this because the costs to them of combating the theft usually is higher than what is actually stolen.

    And that's because the retail industry has realized the same thing that Valve does -- sometimes, it's just not worth killing the goose. Eventually the game industry at large will realize this and move on from these DRM schemes. Or they won't, and they'll drive away customers until they all go the way of THQ.

    Exactly. But this whole methodology of dealing with theft is completely counter intuitive. I can't blame companies for doing something that on the surface makes sense. I can blame them for not following a better model once one is put right in front of them.

    Piracy does hurt the industry. It makes it paranoid and controlling, which in turn loses the industry customers. I can't put the blame for this on the companies anymore than I can put the blame for a bank hiring several armed guards/metal detectors after getting robbed every day for 10 years.

    I wouldn't blame a small publisher for making the mistake of becoming paranoid and controlling, though I still wouldn't buy any of their games. I would blame a large publisher, because, in theory, any company that large would have somebody who's able to do a cost/benefit analysis. Ironically, it's the small publishers that seem to get it and the big publishers that don't.

    Really think about it, though... Piracy has been a problem since the beginning of the games industry. So, about 30-40 years at most. For only the past 9 years have we had a good method of combating it (Steam). And that only really took off within the last 4 or 5 years. It takes time for large corporations to change course on this sort of stuff, where smaller studios have much more incentive to change course and move towards a newer, seemingly backwards model that actually works. We're not seeing any smaller developers leaning towards always online. It's always the larger ones owned by larger publishers that want to head down that road.

    This wasn't a problem where the solution was apparent from the get go. It's taken the entire lifetime of the games industry for anyone to actually do it right.

    I suppose I understand what you're saying here. You're right; any large organization is going to be less agile and more resistant to change than a small one. That doesn't mean I'm going to indulge them when they get it wrong though; quite the opposite, I'll just avoid them until they figure it out.

    CuvisTheConqueror on
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  • RozRoz Boss of InternetRegistered User regular
    There is a large crime sector, for sure, but an normal person isn't going to say "That's BMW is way too expensive, let me go hotwire it". However, it boggles my mind how otherwise level-headed people decide "this game is worth too much...welp, I guess I'll just go ahead and steal it!"
    Truly the epitome of lack of ethics for me, cause you dont' want to support the company, yet, at the same time, in a move of utter selfishness, you still use their intellectual property. Mentality like that drives me to support them SOPA things.

    I would highly encourage you to research SOPA and it's assorted implications. I sincerely doubt you would come to such a conclusion.

    Cambiata
  • MordaRazgromMordaRazgrom Морда Разгром Ruling the Taffer KingdomRegistered User regular
    Roz wrote: »
    There is a large crime sector, for sure, but an normal person isn't going to say "That's BMW is way too expensive, let me go hotwire it". However, it boggles my mind how otherwise level-headed people decide "this game is worth too much...welp, I guess I'll just go ahead and steal it!"
    Truly the epitome of lack of ethics for me, cause you dont' want to support the company, yet, at the same time, in a move of utter selfishness, you still use their intellectual property. Mentality like that drives me to support them SOPA things.

    I would highly encourage you to research SOPA and it's assorted implications. I sincerely doubt you would come to such a conclusion.

    OH I know I know. Blacked out wiki, infringing on free speech, and all that stuff. I said drives me to support them, not that I actually do support them :)

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  • SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    I'm sure it's been said in this thread before, but we REALLY need to stop equating software piracy with stealing. I'm sure other people may feel very differently, but to me the key ethical transgression of theft is the deprivation- that you are taking something from someone, and now you have it and they don't. The thing itself, not some financial value that is attached to it.
    In no world is stealing a car EVER going to be equatable to pirating software until you can photocopy a car and drive the photocopy away. Lost potential revenue from piracy is assuredly a thing, but as has been discussed in this thread it is VERY difficult to calculate, and it is extremely wrongheaded to assume 1 instance of piracy = 1 game unit not sold. I've done more than my share of illegal downloadin' and all that, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I pirated something that was within my power to buy.
    I'm sure there's some kind of hard legal definition I'm unaware of that might contradict me, but in my mind theft is when you TAKE something. When you steal something, the person you stole it from doesn't have it anymore. Software piracy is not the same thing.

  • RozRoz Boss of InternetRegistered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Taranis wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Taranis wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Actually between Steam and sales data, it's likely possible to get a decent estimate of piracy losses.

    I'm not sure I see how. Steam doesn't release sales data, that belongs to the specific companies. Valve often releases sales data for their own games, but often it's not by platform.

    Right, the companies have sales data. They know the effects of digital distribution on sales numbers and their profit margins, as well as the effect of price on those numbers. Shit, the data from moving into the Russian market with Steam alone would provide great estimates on how piracy reacts to prices and other factors. You can also look at torrent data and the like for more data on how much piracy goes on.

    So the companies themselves are likely quite capable of throwing together estimates on losses from piracy.

    More sales at lower price points doesn't imply anything. It could only mean that people can't afford to purchase games for more. It could mean that people have a fear of numbers over ten. It could mean there are benevolent pirates out there. You can infer anything, because the data would imply nothing. The same goes for Russia.

    Torrent data only tracks the number of downloads and uploads. That's it. It doesn't tell you anyone's reasons for downloading something. It doesn't track how many downloads each individual person made. It doesn't tell you how many of them were legitimate owners of the game. The reasons provided above imply here as well. It doesn't tell you anything.

    When any inference can be made, none are sound.

    What's your definition for "sound"? All are going to have degrees of inference and error depending on your model and your data.

    You seem to be confused about how this works. It doesn't matter why they pirate the game for an estimate of it's size, it's all piracy. We also know piracy is price/convenience dependant to some extent, but also cultural.

    At it's most basic, you get an estimates of the change in sales compared to price from sales data and piracy rates compared to price and total piracy from torrent sites and develop a simplistic model of what components of piracy are price dependant and what parts aren't. There, you now have a simple trapezoidal-shaped model of software piracy for your product(s).


    Knowing why someone pirated a game is paramount. Without knowing that you cannot imply that they would've bought the game without piracy. If you cannot know whether they've would've bought the game, you cannot mark it down as a lost sale. If you can't do that, then you can't begin to estimate a loss in revenue.

    You're assuming that reasons for purchasing are binary.

    No, I'm saying they don't matter beyond whether those reasons are price-sensitive or not. Estimates of loss in revenue are only relevant i that they give you a good idea how much money you could be making with different business practices.


    So your definition for soundness is from logic and therefore not applicable to modeling. Good to know.

    Like, you realise basically every model fails part 2 there right? Models are almost always a matter of approximation, which means they are only mostly kinda true. This applies especially to economic modeling.

    Shryke is correct here. When we do macro modeling, we look at the long tail of the data and draw conclusions from reasonable assumptions. Now, it's possible our assumptions are wrong, which is why we tweak models. But at a macro level we can probably get a rough estimate to the amount of sales lost to piracy in the wild. One could attempt to refute the model by offering differing analysis with additional factors and assumptions, such as "word of mouth" marketing, and residual sales from pirates electing to purchase the game after the fact, etc.

    The main problem seems to be that we have neither model at the moment, so there really isn't any way in which to reconcile them. Therefore, I'm not really sure how useful this vein of discussion is.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    What's your definition for "sound"? All are going to have degrees of inference and error depending on your model and your data.

    You seem to be confused about how this works. It doesn't matter why they pirate the game for an estimate of it's size, it's all piracy. We also know piracy is price/convenience dependant to some extent, but also cultural.

    At it's most basic, you get an estimates of the change in sales compared to price from sales data and piracy rates compared to price and total piracy from torrent sites and develop a simplistic model of what components of piracy are price dependant and what parts aren't. There, you now have a simple trapezoidal-shaped model of software piracy for your product(s).

    It is completely impossible to factor in the varying quality of each game, the amount of bugs, patches, word of mouth, the demographic for each game, the length, the depth, the impact of review scores, availability, growth from year to year, market contraction...factor all of those out and figure out precisely how much money you lost due to piracy on a game.

    It's not possible to estimate.

    Sure it is. You are trying to say you can't make an estimate because it's not exact. I'm wondering if you get the idea of an estimate. You don't need the exact amount you lost due to piracy, you just need a simple estimate of the market factors at work.

    You can easily do this per game or average out over all your games or for various categories of games and do some comparisons which can tell you alot about how much people pirate and how they react to price and so on. Companies have more then enough data at hand to do this kind of analysis.

    If you see that your game was downloaded 50,000 times on a piracy site, maybe none of them would've bought it because it wasn't a very good game. Maybe almost everyone would've bought it because it was kind of a big deal. Maybe there were a ton more pirates at another site you never saw because the copy at that main site was infected with a virus so people took their illicit business elsewhere. Maybe the site counts downloads in a weird way and what you were seeing was people who initiated the download but didn't necessarily finish it.

    Well sure, you could improve your model if you chose. I just presented an extremely simple linear model where we assume there are pirates who aren't price sensitive and ones who are. You estimate the price sensitivity of the second group and get a simple trapezoidal model that tells you what percentage of your pirates are not going to respond to price changes. And that can help you alot in examining how effective varying DRM policies are.

    Just because it's not exact doesn't mean you can't model it or that said model is not useful. Models are never exact.

    There is a huge difference between estimating the amount of money lost as a result of piracy and estimating how the changes you have made have affected the rate of piracy. It sure seemed like you were implying the first was estimable.

    There can be no baseline to determine how many sales you lost. You can't be like, "ok, exactly 100 people pirated our game, and we somehow made sure that we surveyed all of them, and 20 said they would've bought it if it was cheaper and 20 said they would never have bought it," and then extrapolate that to other games you make in the future. Because maybe you charged less for your next game but it sucked, or released at a bad time during other high profile releases, or maybe a major piracy site shut down, or maybe Comcast started offering a great deal on faster internet so a bunch of people suddenly had the bandwidth to try piracy.

    Even trying to estimate the number of people who pirated your game is a lost cause, as demonstrated earlier.

    It also seems a lot like you're hiding behind the word "estimate," because it means something isn't exact. The degree to which it "isn't exact" in this case is staggering to the point of uselessness.

    Based on? You keep claiming this, but never giving any reason. All I'm seeing is alot of people claiming it can't be done, despite the fact that I can easily outline how you could do it given the information companies have available to them. So now you've switched to "Oh, you still can't do it though cause it won't be precise enough" and I'm asking "how the fuck would you know?". On what are you basing the idea that it's inexact?

    I'm not "hiding behind" it being an estimate. It's an estimate. That's what it is. Estimates aren't useless, they just aren't exact.

    Most of the issues you mention can likely be hashed out by isolating data sets. Bring in metacritic scores as your metric for game quality.

    Shit, if you are EA you've probably got some amazing marketing data out of Origin. Or buy it off Steam. Or pay a market research firm.

    I mean, you want to give us a demonstration? Maybe with some numbers or something? How do they go about doing it. Pretend you're a game company and you've released a game and you've got these made up stats in front of you, and tell us how you would interpret those numbers and what specific things you would do differently on your next game...and how you would expect the numbers to change next time.

    A demonstration based on numbers no one in this thread has? I guess I could make up numbers, but why? The methodology outlined is already perfectly clear. If you've got a problem with that, say so. Otherwise you are just asking for busy work. What will that prove to you? That I can manipulate numbers?

    A model like the kind I proposed tells you what segment of your users aren't price sensitive. Those are people you can only target with some sort of DRM measure. You make an estimate from data of how those DRM measures affect the user base and you can get an idea of the overall change in users from implementing a specific DRM measure. And that right there is the money you are leaving on the table by not implementing those measures. Or the money you would be losing if you did.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Roz wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Taranis wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Taranis wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Actually between Steam and sales data, it's likely possible to get a decent estimate of piracy losses.

    I'm not sure I see how. Steam doesn't release sales data, that belongs to the specific companies. Valve often releases sales data for their own games, but often it's not by platform.

    Right, the companies have sales data. They know the effects of digital distribution on sales numbers and their profit margins, as well as the effect of price on those numbers. Shit, the data from moving into the Russian market with Steam alone would provide great estimates on how piracy reacts to prices and other factors. You can also look at torrent data and the like for more data on how much piracy goes on.

    So the companies themselves are likely quite capable of throwing together estimates on losses from piracy.

    More sales at lower price points doesn't imply anything. It could only mean that people can't afford to purchase games for more. It could mean that people have a fear of numbers over ten. It could mean there are benevolent pirates out there. You can infer anything, because the data would imply nothing. The same goes for Russia.

    Torrent data only tracks the number of downloads and uploads. That's it. It doesn't tell you anyone's reasons for downloading something. It doesn't track how many downloads each individual person made. It doesn't tell you how many of them were legitimate owners of the game. The reasons provided above imply here as well. It doesn't tell you anything.

    When any inference can be made, none are sound.

    What's your definition for "sound"? All are going to have degrees of inference and error depending on your model and your data.

    You seem to be confused about how this works. It doesn't matter why they pirate the game for an estimate of it's size, it's all piracy. We also know piracy is price/convenience dependant to some extent, but also cultural.

    At it's most basic, you get an estimates of the change in sales compared to price from sales data and piracy rates compared to price and total piracy from torrent sites and develop a simplistic model of what components of piracy are price dependant and what parts aren't. There, you now have a simple trapezoidal-shaped model of software piracy for your product(s).


    Knowing why someone pirated a game is paramount. Without knowing that you cannot imply that they would've bought the game without piracy. If you cannot know whether they've would've bought the game, you cannot mark it down as a lost sale. If you can't do that, then you can't begin to estimate a loss in revenue.

    You're assuming that reasons for purchasing are binary.

    No, I'm saying they don't matter beyond whether those reasons are price-sensitive or not. Estimates of loss in revenue are only relevant i that they give you a good idea how much money you could be making with different business practices.


    So your definition for soundness is from logic and therefore not applicable to modeling. Good to know.

    Like, you realise basically every model fails part 2 there right? Models are almost always a matter of approximation, which means they are only mostly kinda true. This applies especially to economic modeling.

    Shryke is correct here. When we do macro modeling, we look at the long tail of the data and draw conclusions from reasonable assumptions. Now, it's possible our assumptions are wrong, which is why we tweak models. But at a macro level we can probably get a rough estimate to the amount of sales lost to piracy in the wild. One could attempt to refute the model by offering differing analysis with additional factors and assumptions, such as "word of mouth" marketing, and residual sales from pirates electing to purchase the game after the fact, etc.

    The main problem seems to be that we have neither model at the moment, so there really isn't any way in which to reconcile them. Therefore, I'm not really sure how useful this vein of discussion is.

    I'm just arguing it's totally modelable. It can be done. The losses from piracy are completely unknowable. We can totally estimate them.

    You and I just can't do it because companies don't release the kind of data necessary for you and I to perform it. But those companies certainly can.

  • MordaRazgromMordaRazgrom Морда Разгром Ruling the Taffer KingdomRegistered User regular
    Snork wrote: »
    I'm sure it's been said in this thread before, but we REALLY need to stop equating software piracy with stealing. I'm sure other people may feel very differently, but to me the key ethical transgression of theft is the deprivation- that you are taking something from someone, and now you have it and they don't. The thing itself, not some financial value that is attached to it.
    In no world is stealing a car EVER going to be equatable to pirating software until you can photocopy a car and drive the photocopy away. Lost potential revenue from piracy is assuredly a thing, but as has been discussed in this thread it is VERY difficult to calculate, and it is extremely wrongheaded to assume 1 instance of piracy = 1 game unit not sold. I've done more than my share of illegal downloadin' and all that, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I pirated something that was within my power to buy.
    I'm sure there's some kind of hard legal definition I'm unaware of that might contradict me, but in my mind theft is when you TAKE something. When you steal something, the person you stole it from doesn't have it anymore. Software piracy is not the same thing.

    Don't want to get side-tracked into an argument about what "is" is, but I do want to just point out one thing. To me "theft" isn't that you're taking something from somewhere, theft is when you take something without giving proper compensation to the originator of that product. The definition of "steal" is to wrongfully take another's property. Just because there's not physical matter that you're removing from someone doesn't mean it's free game to just take it however you please. it is stealing, by legal definition and by the dictionary definition.

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  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    This idea that "X can't be modeled or estimated!" Is cracking me up. It may be difficult to model well or estimate with much accuracy, sure. But just impossible? Please.

    He'll, the RIAA has a model for estimating financial losses and sales lost due to piracy. It's utter shit, but it exists.

    Elvenshae
  • RozRoz Boss of InternetRegistered User regular
    edited April 2013
    shryke wrote: »
    Roz wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Taranis wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Taranis wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Actually between Steam and sales data, it's likely possible to get a decent estimate of piracy losses.

    I'm not sure I see how. Steam doesn't release sales data, that belongs to the specific companies. Valve often releases sales data for their own games, but often it's not by platform.

    Right, the companies have sales data. They know the effects of digital distribution on sales numbers and their profit margins, as well as the effect of price on those numbers. Shit, the data from moving into the Russian market with Steam alone would provide great estimates on how piracy reacts to prices and other factors. You can also look at torrent data and the like for more data on how much piracy goes on.

    So the companies themselves are likely quite capable of throwing together estimates on losses from piracy.

    More sales at lower price points doesn't imply anything. It could only mean that people can't afford to purchase games for more. It could mean that people have a fear of numbers over ten. It could mean there are benevolent pirates out there. You can infer anything, because the data would imply nothing. The same goes for Russia.

    Torrent data only tracks the number of downloads and uploads. That's it. It doesn't tell you anyone's reasons for downloading something. It doesn't track how many downloads each individual person made. It doesn't tell you how many of them were legitimate owners of the game. The reasons provided above imply here as well. It doesn't tell you anything.

    When any inference can be made, none are sound.

    What's your definition for "sound"? All are going to have degrees of inference and error depending on your model and your data.

    You seem to be confused about how this works. It doesn't matter why they pirate the game for an estimate of it's size, it's all piracy. We also know piracy is price/convenience dependant to some extent, but also cultural.

    At it's most basic, you get an estimates of the change in sales compared to price from sales data and piracy rates compared to price and total piracy from torrent sites and develop a simplistic model of what components of piracy are price dependant and what parts aren't. There, you now have a simple trapezoidal-shaped model of software piracy for your product(s).


    Knowing why someone pirated a game is paramount. Without knowing that you cannot imply that they would've bought the game without piracy. If you cannot know whether they've would've bought the game, you cannot mark it down as a lost sale. If you can't do that, then you can't begin to estimate a loss in revenue.

    You're assuming that reasons for purchasing are binary.

    No, I'm saying they don't matter beyond whether those reasons are price-sensitive or not. Estimates of loss in revenue are only relevant i that they give you a good idea how much money you could be making with different business practices.


    So your definition for soundness is from logic and therefore not applicable to modeling. Good to know.

    Like, you realise basically every model fails part 2 there right? Models are almost always a matter of approximation, which means they are only mostly kinda true. This applies especially to economic modeling.

    Shryke is correct here. When we do macro modeling, we look at the long tail of the data and draw conclusions from reasonable assumptions. Now, it's possible our assumptions are wrong, which is why we tweak models. But at a macro level we can probably get a rough estimate to the amount of sales lost to piracy in the wild. One could attempt to refute the model by offering differing analysis with additional factors and assumptions, such as "word of mouth" marketing, and residual sales from pirates electing to purchase the game after the fact, etc.

    The main problem seems to be that we have neither model at the moment, so there really isn't any way in which to reconcile them. Therefore, I'm not really sure how useful this vein of discussion is.

    I'm just arguing it's totally modelable. It can be done. The losses from piracy are completely unknowable. We can totally estimate them.

    You and I just can't do it because companies don't release the kind of data necessary for you and I to perform it. But those companies certainly can.

    I agree with you, with enough data and the proper assumptions the data can be mined to effectively look at the effects of piracy on a macro level. I also agree that these companies likely consider such data to be closely guarded secrets and we'd likely have to pay a market research firm thousands to get a glimpse into it. My issue is, though, in relation to this thread, whether or not this is worth arguing about as it's not really something we can use for or against "always on".

    Roz on
    shryke
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    shryke wrote: »
    A demonstration based on numbers no one in this thread has? I guess I could make up numbers, but why? The methodology outlined is already perfectly clear. If you've got a problem with that, say so. Otherwise you are just asking for busy work. What will that prove to you? That I can manipulate numbers?

    A model like the kind I proposed tells you what segment of your users aren't price sensitive. Those are people you can only target with some sort of DRM measure. You make an estimate from data of how those DRM measures affect the user base and you can get an idea of the overall change in users from implementing a specific DRM measure. And that right there is the money you are leaving on the table by not implementing those measures. Or the money you would be losing if you did.

    I did say so.

    I wanted a demonstration in case I'm just missing something here and it's actually something that can result in useful data. It sure doesn't seem like it.

    Let's not forget this was your original statement:
    shryke wrote: »
    Actually between Steam and sales data, it's likely possible to get a decent estimate of piracy losses.

    You're saying that a game company can determine that they made $4,860,000, but lost $390,050 due to piracy, and that $120,800 of that is only preventable via implementing severe DRM, but they will lose $40,200 in customers scared away by new DRM, and the DRM will cost $50,540 to implement for the next game, so they would save money by doing so. They implement this system.

    The next game comes out and people still manage to pirate the game, and this time around they make $3,086,000 and lose $308,490 due to piracy.

    So now what? How can they draw any useful conclusions from that? How do they know their estimates were even worth doing in the first place? How can they even begin to guess how many customers were scared away by the DRM instead of the second game just plain being a bad game, or poorly marketed, or being released at the wrong time? Did they lose less because of piracy due to the slight difficulty in getting past the new DRM, or because less people wanted to pirate the game?

    I mean, your model has to be so granular as to include the difference between individual days before/after release that the game is able to be pirated, and how much piracy happens on those days. Like if the DRM can hold out for a good 3 days, 23% of the people who would have pirated it end up purchasing instead. That's just one factor. There are too many factors involved to be able to come up with anything useful.
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    This idea that "X can't be modeled or estimated!" Is cracking me up. It may be difficult to model well or estimate with much accuracy, sure. But just impossible? Please.

    He'll, the RIAA has a model for estimating financial losses and sales lost due to piracy. It's utter shit, but it exists.

    That was always what I meant. Of course you can estimate. It's just not going to be worth a damn.

    You can mentally add a "(with any kind of accuracy)" to the end of those statements.

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  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    It's scary to me that we, gamers, have the gall to decide what games should be priced at. WHen we start saying things like "at price X we won't pirate, but at price Y we'll definitely pirate", we're kind of taking it upon ourselves that we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy. Scary thought...
    Also this....ah, this is kind of the basic pillar of a capitalist economy - Z more people are willing to buy Product X at Price Y than at Price Y+1.

    I think the reason this comes up so much for media is that unlike say, a car, there's no real reason you can't sell the game at a profit to every single person who wants it at any price. there's probably a fuck load of demand for a $10,000 Ferrari, for example, but tough shit - it costs more than that to make, so why would they serve that demand?

    Contrast that with something like Halo. There's probably a shitload of demand for sales of Halo 5 at $10 and...MS can make profit on every last one of them. So when MS says effectively "$60 or GTFO", it's reasonable to ask them why they won't just shut up and take my damn money if I'm willing to pay $10 for it. Why would they prefer 'GTFO' to $10?

    I think this is why Steam is held up as a paragon. Using a single unified system, publishers can get day one and early launch $60 sales and make a profit on every other portion of the demand curve via sales and price cuts down the line. They should be looking to capture that additional market segment, and instead it appears that they're trying to kill it.

    JihadJesus on
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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    It's scary to me that we, gamers, have the gall to decide what games should be priced at. WHen we start saying things like "at price X we won't pirate, but at price Y we'll definitely pirate", we're kind of taking it upon ourselves that we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy. Scary thought...
    Also this....ah, this is kind of the basic pillar of a capitalist economy - Z more people are willing to buy Product X at Price Y than at Price Y+1.

    I think the reason this comes up so much for media is that unlike say, a car, there's no real reason you can't sell the game at a profit to every single person who wants it at any price. there's probably a fuck load of demand for a $10,000 Ferrari, for example, but tough shit - it costs more than that to make, so why would they serve that demand?

    Contrast that with something like Halo. There's probably a shitload of demand for sales of Halo 5 at $10 and...MS can make profit on every last one of them. So when MS says effectively "$60 or GTFO", it's reasonable to ask them why they won't just shut up and take my damn money if I'm willing to pay $10 for it. Why would they prefer 'GTFO' to $10?

    I think this is why Steam is held up as a paragon. Using a single unified system, publishers can get day one and early launch $60 sales and make a profit on every other portion of the cost curve cia sales and price cuts down the line. They should be looking to capture that
    additional market segment, and instead it appears that they're trying to kill it.

    No. Just like a Ferrari there's an upfront cost to creating the software that has to be met in the sales.

    The trick is that there's a potentially infinite long tale on continuing to sell the software, whereas the production cost always exists on the Ferrari.

    It's quite possible that Halo 5 would not be profitable to MS at $10 per copy, because not enough of them would be sold to make up for the costs they put into creation.

    And this is why there's a breakdown in what "theft" is. Most people agree that intangibles can be stolen, so that the concept of "time theft" is not an oxymoron.

    What is this I don't even.
  • SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    Snork wrote: »
    I'm sure it's been said in this thread before, but we REALLY need to stop equating software piracy with stealing. I'm sure other people may feel very differently, but to me the key ethical transgression of theft is the deprivation- that you are taking something from someone, and now you have it and they don't. The thing itself, not some financial value that is attached to it.
    In no world is stealing a car EVER going to be equatable to pirating software until you can photocopy a car and drive the photocopy away. Lost potential revenue from piracy is assuredly a thing, but as has been discussed in this thread it is VERY difficult to calculate, and it is extremely wrongheaded to assume 1 instance of piracy = 1 game unit not sold. I've done more than my share of illegal downloadin' and all that, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I pirated something that was within my power to buy.
    I'm sure there's some kind of hard legal definition I'm unaware of that might contradict me, but in my mind theft is when you TAKE something. When you steal something, the person you stole it from doesn't have it anymore. Software piracy is not the same thing.

    Don't want to get side-tracked into an argument about what "is" is, but I do want to just point out one thing. To me "theft" isn't that you're taking something from somewhere, theft is when you take something without giving proper compensation to the originator of that product. The definition of "steal" is to wrongfully take another's property. Just because there's not physical matter that you're removing from someone doesn't mean it's free game to just take it however you please. it is stealing, by legal definition and by the dictionary definition.

    Yeah, I'm not saying that it should be free game- it shouldn't, my point is that using the terminology of physical theft is provoking emotions and arguments and response patterns that are more logical in a physical realm than in a digital one.
    Words like 'thievery' and 'thief' and 'stealing' and the ideas they represent have been a part of language and culture about as long as civilization has (at least any civilization that has our sense of property and ownership) and the way that we understand the acts they describe to be abhorrent and wrong are directly informed by this history.
    The internet has only VERY recently become a part of the cultural consciousness, and I think in very many ways our society (as a whole, not just like America or Westerners or anything like that) does not really grasp exactly how different a world it is from our physical one. I don't want to go off on too big a tangent here, but it reminds me of a lot of arguments I've had about what kind of stuff is okay to say or be fired for on social media. The internet is in many ways a public forum, but in many ways it is the complete opposite. Anyone can see some racist bullshit that you put on facebook, but unlike pretty much every other communication platform, on the internet by and large you have to seek things out to be exposed to them. You have to go looking for some dumb shit your employee said to fire them over it, which is by orders of magnitude different from them saying something out loud in public (an analogy i often hear made). The rules for a digital world have to have a completely different philosophical pedigree than those for the physical world because they do not operate by ANY of the same rules.
    So I'm not saying that software piracy isn't wrong or that we should be able to get away with it, I'm saying that we are doing everyone a disservice by conflating it with old-fashioned theft. I think this is a big part of why we see so many publishers and developers utilizing stone-cold-stupid DRM schemes- they see their products being pirated and they're like 'people are STEALING FROM US!' And even if they are intellectually capable of separating that from a dude in a zorro mask busting into their warehouse and making off with their goods, i believe that somewhere inside that judgment is still being made emotionally and that informs the response they make.
    I agree with what you said about 'due compensation' being an important aspect of the definition, and due compensation is most certainly absent in software piracy. But I guess the real core of what I'm trying to express is that the real crime in theft is in the victim losing, not in the perpetrator gaining. In traditional, real-world theft, the two happen in equal measure. In software piracy it's very heavily skewed toward getting something for free, but there isn't very much real loss on the part of the victim. I'm not going to say 'illegal downloading is a victimless crime!' because that is overly reductive and kind of dumb, but the fact is that 'lost potential sales' or whatever it's termed does not sting NEARLY as much as 'five extremely expensive cars are missing from the lot'.

    So that ended up being longer than I wanted it to be. I kind of really want to have a long and dorky discussion about the semantic and linguistic stuff I mentioned here, do you guys think there's enough interest to make a thread about it?

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    It's scary to me that we, gamers, have the gall to decide what games should be priced at. WHen we start saying things like "at price X we won't pirate, but at price Y we'll definitely pirate", we're kind of taking it upon ourselves that we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy. Scary thought...
    Also this....ah, this is kind of the basic pillar of a capitalist economy - Z more people are willing to buy Product X at Price Y than at Price Y+1.

    I think the reason this comes up so much for media is that unlike say, a car, there's no real reason you can't sell the game at a profit to every single person who wants it at any price. there's probably a fuck load of demand for a $10,000 Ferrari, for example, but tough shit - it costs more than that to make, so why would they serve that demand?

    Contrast that with something like Halo. There's probably a shitload of demand for sales of Halo 5 at $10 and...MS can make profit on every last one of them. So when MS says effectively "$60 or GTFO", it's reasonable to ask them why they won't just shut up and take my damn money if I'm willing to pay $10 for it. Why would they prefer 'GTFO' to $10?

    I think this is why Steam is held up as a paragon. Using a single unified system, publishers can get day one and early launch $60 sales and make a profit on every other portion of the cost curve cia sales and price cuts down the line. They should be looking to capture that
    additional market segment, and instead it appears that they're trying to kill it.

    No. Just like a Ferrari there's an upfront cost to creating the software that has to be met in the sales.

    The trick is that there's a potentially infinite long tale on continuing to sell the software, whereas the production cost always exists on the Ferrari.

    It's quite possible that Halo 5 would not be profitable to MS at $10 per copy, because not enough of them would be sold to make up for the costs they put into creation.

    And this is why there's a breakdown in what "theft" is. Most people agree that intangibles can be stolen, so that the concept of "time theft" is not an oxymoron.

    Seriously, oh my god. You've perfectly encapsulated what seems so DUMB about your argument. You apparently believe that Halo 5 is some product that just exists from nothingness, and that the content producer has less right to monetize it than you have a right to get cheap/free/easy access to it.

    What is this I don't even.
  • MordaRazgromMordaRazgrom Морда Разгром Ruling the Taffer KingdomRegistered User regular
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    It's scary to me that we, gamers, have the gall to decide what games should be priced at. WHen we start saying things like "at price X we won't pirate, but at price Y we'll definitely pirate", we're kind of taking it upon ourselves that we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy. Scary thought...
    Also this....ah, this is kind of the basic pillar of a capitalist economy - Z more people are willing to buy Product X at Price Y than at Price Y-1.

    I think the reason this comes up so much for media is that unlike say, a car, there's no real reason you can't sell the game at a profit to every single person who wants it at any price. there's probably a fuck load of demand for a $10,000 Ferrari, for example, but tough shit - it costs more than that to make, so why would they serve that demand?

    Contrast that with something like Halo. There's probably a shitload of demand for sales of Halo 5 at $10 and...MS can make profit on every last one of them. So when MS says effectively "$60 or GTFO", it's reasonable to ask them why they won't just shut up and take my damn money if I'm willing to pay $10 for it. Why would they prefer 'GTFO' to $10?

    I think this is why Steam is held up as a paragon. Using a single unified system, publishers can get day one and early launch $60 sales and make a profit on every other portion of the cost curve cia sales and price cuts down the line. They should be looking to capture that
    additional market segment, and instead it appears that they're trying to kill it.

    Well, again, I wasn't saying that we're not driving prices up and down, that's capitalism in a nutshell. I'm talking about stealing something unless it is priced at what we consider to be reasonable. Big leap from choosing not to buy something, to taking something and not paying for it.
    WE can't really talk about profits and how much revenue a company needs to make in order to surpass their cost, because we do not have a look at their inner workings. We think that MS can drop the price of Halo, we can think that it would still be profitable for them at $10, but, in reality, we can't know, because we don't know how much they spent on it. My guess is that their profit margin is nowhere near as generous as you're suggesting. I hate the $60 price that is now the standard, yet I defer the judgment of what games should be priced at to the experts. I look at a game at face value, if it meets certain requirements (certain amount of game-time, quality of game mechanics, freedom), I'll pony up the $60, if it doesn't, I either won't buy it or I'll wait for the price to be reduced. Never does it enter into my mind that I won't pay $60, but I really really want it, so I'm going to go ahead and steal it because that company doesn't have a clue on how to properly price things anyway, and they're greedy and they're bad or whatever other rationalizations the pirates come up with. That's the part I have issue with, not the part that we drive prices with our collective wallet-voice.

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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    Snork wrote: »
    I'm sure it's been said in this thread before, but we REALLY need to stop equating software piracy with stealing. I'm sure other people may feel very differently, but to me the key ethical transgression of theft is the deprivation- that you are taking something from someone, and now you have it and they don't. The thing itself, not some financial value that is attached to it.
    In no world is stealing a car EVER going to be equatable to pirating software until you can photocopy a car and drive the photocopy away. Lost potential revenue from piracy is assuredly a thing, but as has been discussed in this thread it is VERY difficult to calculate, and it is extremely wrongheaded to assume 1 instance of piracy = 1 game unit not sold. I've done more than my share of illegal downloadin' and all that, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I pirated something that was within my power to buy.
    I'm sure there's some kind of hard legal definition I'm unaware of that might contradict me, but in my mind theft is when you TAKE something. When you steal something, the person you stole it from doesn't have it anymore. Software piracy is not the same thing.

    Here's what you're missing... you're stealing the work done to produce that product. You're depriving the people who made that product the money that they deserve to get from anyone who plays that product.

    Basically you're missing the whole theory and ideas behind copyright, and why they exist. Without copyrights, there would be a lot less new art and science, because why work to discover/make things if people can just freely take them without being called what they are, criminals and thieves? It's only once a certain amount of time passes that these new ideas go into the public domain where they can be freely copied. This is done to encourage new work and protect non-physical creations. I know that the system is broken at the moment (thanks Disney Obama), but that doesn't mean that pirating a game is any less being a thief and a criminal.

    No I don't.
  • A duck!A duck! Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Lets not have a discussion about the ethical nature of piracy.

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  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    Snork wrote: »
    I'm sure it's been said in this thread before, but we REALLY need to stop equating software piracy with stealing. I'm sure other people may feel very differently, but to me the key ethical transgression of theft is the deprivation- that you are taking something from someone, and now you have it and they don't. The thing itself, not some financial value that is attached to it.
    In no world is stealing a car EVER going to be equatable to pirating software until you can photocopy a car and drive the photocopy away. Lost potential revenue from piracy is assuredly a thing, but as has been discussed in this thread it is VERY difficult to calculate, and it is extremely wrongheaded to assume 1 instance of piracy = 1 game unit not sold. I've done more than my share of illegal downloadin' and all that, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I pirated something that was within my power to buy.
    I'm sure there's some kind of hard legal definition I'm unaware of that might contradict me, but in my mind theft is when you TAKE something. When you steal something, the person you stole it from doesn't have it anymore. Software piracy is not the same thing.

    Here's what you're missing... you're stealing the work done to produce that product. You're depriving the people who made that product the money that they deserve to get from anyone who plays that product.

    Basically you're missing the whole theory and ideas behind copyright, and why they exist. Without copyrights, there would be a lot less new art and science, because why work to discover/make things if people can just freely take them without being called what they are, criminals and thieves? It's only once a certain amount of time passes that these new ideas go into the public domain where they can be freely copied. This is done to encourage new work and protect non-physical creations. I know that the system is broken at the moment (thanks Disney Obama), but that doesn't mean that pirating a game is any less being a thief and a criminal.

    Which is why it's called Copyright Infringement. It's an important distinction to make, because Copyright, first and foremost, was never about "right", it was about convenience. It's the conflation of Copyright Infringement with Theft that is EXACTLY the reason that the "Disney" ruling you take note of came about. That Bono shouldn't have to live with these things being "stolen" from him, when it's really not about that.

    Snork
  • MordaRazgromMordaRazgrom Морда Разгром Ruling the Taffer KingdomRegistered User regular
    Snork wrote: »
    Snork wrote: »
    I'm sure it's been said in this thread before, but we REALLY need to stop equating software piracy with stealing. I'm sure other people may feel very differently, but to me the key ethical transgression of theft is the deprivation- that you are taking something from someone, and now you have it and they don't. The thing itself, not some financial value that is attached to it.
    In no world is stealing a car EVER going to be equatable to pirating software until you can photocopy a car and drive the photocopy away. Lost potential revenue from piracy is assuredly a thing, but as has been discussed in this thread it is VERY difficult to calculate, and it is extremely wrongheaded to assume 1 instance of piracy = 1 game unit not sold. I've done more than my share of illegal downloadin' and all that, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I pirated something that was within my power to buy.
    I'm sure there's some kind of hard legal definition I'm unaware of that might contradict me, but in my mind theft is when you TAKE something. When you steal something, the person you stole it from doesn't have it anymore. Software piracy is not the same thing.

    Don't want to get side-tracked into an argument about what "is" is, but I do want to just point out one thing. To me "theft" isn't that you're taking something from somewhere, theft is when you take something without giving proper compensation to the originator of that product. The definition of "steal" is to wrongfully take another's property. Just because there's not physical matter that you're removing from someone doesn't mean it's free game to just take it however you please. it is stealing, by legal definition and by the dictionary definition.

    Yeah, I'm not saying that it should be free game- it shouldn't, my point is that using the terminology of physical theft is provoking emotions and arguments and response patterns that are more logical in a physical realm than in a digital one.
    Words like 'thievery' and 'thief' and 'stealing' and the ideas they represent have been a part of language and culture about as long as civilization has (at least any civilization that has our sense of property and ownership) and the way that we understand the acts they describe to be abhorrent and wrong are directly informed by this history.
    The internet has only VERY recently become a part of the cultural consciousness, and I think in very many ways our society (as a whole, not just like America or Westerners or anything like that) does not really grasp exactly how different a world it is from our physical one. I don't want to go off on too big a tangent here, but it reminds me of a lot of arguments I've had about what kind of stuff is okay to say or be fired for on social media. The internet is in many ways a public forum, but in many ways it is the complete opposite. Anyone can see some racist bullshit that you put on facebook, but unlike pretty much every other communication platform, on the internet by and large you have to seek things out to be exposed to them. You have to go looking for some dumb shit your employee said to fire them over it, which is by orders of magnitude different from them saying something out loud in public (an analogy i often hear made). The rules for a digital world have to have a completely different philosophical pedigree than those for the physical world because they do not operate by ANY of the same rules.
    So I'm not saying that software piracy isn't wrong or that we should be able to get away with it, I'm saying that we are doing everyone a disservice by conflating it with old-fashioned theft. I think this is a big part of why we see so many publishers and developers utilizing stone-cold-stupid DRM schemes- they see their products being pirated and they're like 'people are STEALING FROM US!' And even if they are intellectually capable of separating that from a dude in a zorro mask busting into their warehouse and making off with their goods, i believe that somewhere inside that judgment is still being made emotionally and that informs the response they make.
    I agree with what you said about 'due compensation' being an important aspect of the definition, and due compensation is most certainly absent in software piracy. But I guess the real core of what I'm trying to express is that the real crime in theft is in the victim losing, not in the perpetrator gaining. In traditional, real-world theft, the two happen in equal measure. In software piracy it's very heavily skewed toward getting something for free, but there isn't very much real loss on the part of the victim. I'm not going to say 'illegal downloading is a victimless crime!' because that is overly reductive and kind of dumb, but the fact is that 'lost potential sales' or whatever it's termed does not sting NEARLY as much as 'five extremely expensive cars are missing from the lot'.

    So that ended up being longer than I wanted it to be. I kind of really want to have a long and dorky discussion about the semantic and linguistic stuff I mentioned here, do you guys think there's enough interest to make a thread about it?

    Honestly, despite disagreeing with you, I'm fascinated by your logic. As an ESL person, word connotations are extremely important to me, and "theft" and "stealing" does indeed imply a physical entity, but then we can go into other acts of stealing, say, stealing dollar bills from the Federal Reserve who can, literally, just print more money and not worry about it. Not talking forgery here, talking actual stealing...yeah maybe another thread would be good, cause I hear the train coming down to this part of the tracks that we're busily hammering to a different direction.

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  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    It's scary to me that we, gamers, have the gall to decide what games should be priced at. WHen we start saying things like "at price X we won't pirate, but at price Y we'll definitely pirate", we're kind of taking it upon ourselves that we know how to make the company's economic decisions, and we're the experts on business policy. Scary thought...
    Also this....ah, this is kind of the basic pillar of a capitalist economy - Z more people are willing to buy Product X at Price Y than at Price Y+1.

    I think the reason this comes up so much for media is that unlike say, a car, there's no real reason you can't sell the game at a profit to every single person who wants it at any price. there's probably a fuck load of demand for a $10,000 Ferrari, for example, but tough shit - it costs more than that to make, so why would they serve that demand?

    Contrast that with something like Halo. There's probably a shitload of demand for sales of Halo 5 at $10 and...MS can make profit on every last one of them. So when MS says effectively "$60 or GTFO", it's reasonable to ask them why they won't just shut up and take my damn money if I'm willing to pay $10 for it. Why would they prefer 'GTFO' to $10?

    I think this is why Steam is held up as a paragon. Using a single unified system, publishers can get day one and early launch $60 sales and make a profit on every other portion of the cost curve cia sales and price cuts down the line. They should be looking to capture that
    additional market segment, and instead it appears that they're trying to kill it.

    No. Just like a Ferrari there's an upfront cost to creating the software that has to be met in the sales.

    The trick is that there's a potentially infinite long tale on continuing to sell the software, whereas the production cost always exists on the Ferrari.

    It's quite possible that Halo 5 would not be profitable to MS at $10 per copy, because not enough of them would be sold to make up for the costs they put into creation.

    And this is why there's a breakdown in what "theft" is. Most people agree that intangibles can be stolen, so that the concept of "time theft" is not an oxymoron.

    Seriously, oh my god. You've perfectly encapsulated what seems so DUMB about your argument. You apparently believe that Halo 5 is some product that just exists from nothingness, and that the content producer has less right to monetize it than you have a right to get cheap/free/easy access to it.

    You realize that you're calling yourself dumb, right? o.0

    Anyway, the point stands that supply and demand exist as curves, and where they intersect is the optimum price point.

    As demand decreases, the price that can be demanded also goes down. This is why a game that has been out for a year is cheaper than one that just hit the shelves. Companies that are interested in making a profit very much SHOULD be responsive to this, and that is pretty much the backbone of the Steam system.

    In a digital environment there is no price to print the disc, and so almost any sale for a game that has slipped far down the demand scale is a net benefit to the company that created it.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    Always on!

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  • MaverikVMaverikV Registered User regular
    "In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it."

    So while pirating a game is wrong, it is not theft. You did not deprive the original owner of their property, and arguably there may not have even been a lost sale.

    I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class. Especially since I rule.
    SnorkDerrick
  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    subedii wrote: »
    Snork wrote: »
    I'm sure it's been said in this thread before, but we REALLY need to stop equating software piracy with stealing. I'm sure other people may feel very differently, but to me the key ethical transgression of theft is the deprivation- that you are taking something from someone, and now you have it and they don't. The thing itself, not some financial value that is attached to it.
    In no world is stealing a car EVER going to be equatable to pirating software until you can photocopy a car and drive the photocopy away. Lost potential revenue from piracy is assuredly a thing, but as has been discussed in this thread it is VERY difficult to calculate, and it is extremely wrongheaded to assume 1 instance of piracy = 1 game unit not sold. I've done more than my share of illegal downloadin' and all that, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I pirated something that was within my power to buy.
    I'm sure there's some kind of hard legal definition I'm unaware of that might contradict me, but in my mind theft is when you TAKE something. When you steal something, the person you stole it from doesn't have it anymore. Software piracy is not the same thing.

    Here's what you're missing... you're stealing the work done to produce that product. You're depriving the people who made that product the money that they deserve to get from anyone who plays that product.

    Basically you're missing the whole theory and ideas behind copyright, and why they exist. Without copyrights, there would be a lot less new art and science, because why work to discover/make things if people can just freely take them without being called what they are, criminals and thieves? It's only once a certain amount of time passes that these new ideas go into the public domain where they can be freely copied. This is done to encourage new work and protect non-physical creations. I know that the system is broken at the moment (thanks Disney Obama), but that doesn't mean that pirating a game is any less being a thief and a criminal.

    Which is why it's called Copyright Infringement. It's an important distinction to make, because Copyright, first and foremost, was never about "right", it was about convenience. It's the conflation of Copyright Infringement with Theft that is EXACTLY the reason that the "Disney" ruling you take note of came about. That Bono shouldn't have to live with these things being "stolen" from him, when it's really not about that.

    It's also called Copyright theft. You are quite literally stealing that copyrighted material for your own use. Copyrights are something you can steal. They're frankly a construct used to make ideas something that are protected from being stolen.

    Death of Rats on
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  • MordaRazgromMordaRazgrom Морда Разгром Ruling the Taffer KingdomRegistered User regular
    There are things that are facilitated by Always On that I would actually like to see. For example, pricing based on the rate of consumption. Crazy idea, folks, just hear me out.
    So, we buy Bioshock Infinite. You love it, you play it time and time and time again, taking in every little detail that they packed into that piece, enjoying every last bit of their intellectual property. I take it, play through it once, say "meh" and am done without ever really finishing it. Game companies could, possibly, work out a fair pricing scheme where you pay some kind of a "down payment" on the initial boot-up of the game, then pay additional as you consume more of it. Okay, now, because there are going to be crazy people out there that will put 1,000 hours into Bioshock, there is going to have to be a price ceiling, of course. The person that reaches 50+ hours in Bioshock will have their final bill be around $60, they're enjoying the game, they're gorging themselves on it. Someone like me, say pays the initial...$20 and then only plays it for about 6 hours, and coming out with a bill of only $30.

    Even remove the "always on" ugliness out of it, just have it as a way of tracking, like "sort of always on" where a little blip is sent to the developer every x minutes or whatever. Don't you think that would be an interesting way of pricing fairness? I'd pay, probably, hundreds of dollars for something like Dark Souls, not so much for something like Rage, even though those are both games I have zero regrets in buying. FOr me, the determinant is game-time, but the formula can be adjusted any which way you want, game time, achievement progress, unlockables obtained.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    That's certainly taking the "Pay to Win" DLC concept and reversing it solidly.

    Somehow I think making game progress incur a cost is fighting against some of the basic psychological incentives at the very heart of game design.

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    People who want to argue on the side of DRM, who definitively loathe people who download games/music/software from the internet, you really have to stop equating piracy with hotwiring BMWs or shoplifting from the grocery store. It only weakens your argument and makes you appear as something of a loon. Although even the word "piracy" is ridulously over the top, but I suppose we're stuck with it now, and people generally know you mean one kind of piracy and not the other kind that involves murder.

    The amount of people living today who haven't pirated something, whether by accident or on purpose, is most likely an extremely low number. Grandmothers are accidentally pirating tv shows right now because they don't understand the concept of piracy. You can't think of it like stuffing a CD in your shirt and walking out of the store, because there just isn't the same amount of people who have ever done that one. "But it is the same to me!" you want to say, and I feel you, but because of the lack of social stigma, and the fact that people do it accidentally pretty much all the time, using that kind of rhetoric just makes you come off as a little bit kooky.

    Believing that criminalizing the entire world is a good business strategy is extremely foolish. I'm going to quote subedii's comment about the Russian market again because a lot of people seemed like they just ignored it and damn is it a good point.
    subedii wrote: »
    The point Valve was making there was specifically the converse.

    http://www.gamepolitics.com/2009/01/16/valve-pirates-are-underserved-customers
    There's a big business feeling that there's piracy. [But the truth is] Pirates are underserved customers. .. When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it.'

    [At Valve] we take all of our games day-and-date to Russia. The reason people pirated things in Russia is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television -- they say 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond 'you can play that game in six months...maybe.'

    We found that our piracy rates dropped off significantly [by releasing in Russia]... [There are] tons of undiscovered customers...

    Everyone avoided doing Russian localisations because "Russia is a haven for piracy". That was the accepted logic. Valve instead treated Russian like an actual customer base, did localisations, did simultaneous shipping, and all the rest. They as a result, made profits were conventional industry wisdom was that you couldn't, "because of piracy".

    Valve's games off of Steam are just as easily pirated as anywhere else. What Valve did was ignore that and opt to cater to the audience that was being ignored, and make a profit that everyone had already accepted software piracy meant did not exist. As opposed to treating them like crap "because they're all pirates". There's a valuable lesson to be learned from the Russian market.

    Jephery
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    There are things that are facilitated by Always On that I would actually like to see. For example, pricing based on the rate of consumption. Crazy idea, folks, just hear me out.
    So, we buy Bioshock Infinite. You love it, you play it time and time and time again, taking in every little detail that they packed into that piece, enjoying every last bit of their intellectual property. I take it, play through it once, say "meh" and am done without ever really finishing it. Game companies could, possibly, work out a fair pricing scheme where you pay some kind of a "down payment" on the initial boot-up of the game, then pay additional as you consume more of it. Okay, now, because there are going to be crazy people out there that will put 1,000 hours into Bioshock, there is going to have to be a price ceiling, of course. The person that reaches 50+ hours in Bioshock will have their final bill be around $60, they're enjoying the game, they're gorging themselves on it. Someone like me, say pays the initial...$20 and then only plays it for about 6 hours, and coming out with a bill of only $30.

    Even remove the "always on" ugliness out of it, just have it as a way of tracking, like "sort of always on" where a little blip is sent to the developer every x minutes or whatever. Don't you think that would be an interesting way of pricing fairness? I'd pay, probably, hundreds of dollars for something like Dark Souls, not so much for something like Rage, even though those are both games I have zero regrets in buying. FOr me, the determinant is game-time, but the formula can be adjusted any which way you want, game time, achievement progress, unlockables obtained.

    You can easily do this without Always On, though.

    Just break the game into 6 chapters and charge $10 for the game with the first chapter unlocked, and $10 for each after that as DLC unlocks.

    Want to make it time-based? Consoles track the amount of time you play games. Pop up a warning that you're down to your last hour and the game will be suspended until you buy more by going to the online marketplace.

    Always On adds nothing here.

    In fact, smartphones don't require an Always On connection to play games, and they already use this method - free or cheap to play, and tons of DLC available.

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    Cambiata
  • SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Okay. I promise I'm not trying to argue that piracy is not bad. I'm not saying it isn't a crime, not at all. I am trying to make a career on being a recording artist, I know very well that copyrights serve a useful function and the concept of 'stealing the work', and that it hurts people.
    I'm trying to argue that we need to separate the language and systems of thought used for physical theft from software piracy, and maybe make up some new terms (or repurpose old ones), much like how libel and slander are separate crimes even though they are the same essential misdeed done in a different forum. I think that the way that we have thought about theft for the past several thousand years is too codified in the language that we use to describe it, and a symptom of that is the whole 'YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR, WHY WOULD YOU DOWNLOAD A MOVIE?' thing, an argument that I don't find particularly compelling or useful.
    The past page or two has posts about how Steam is so great because it is responding to piracy in a novel way, and that it is anathema to the big publishers and burdensome DRM. My point is that with Steam, Valve has realized they are operating in a new paradigm and has responded to it in a revolutionary (and highly profitable) way, whereas the lumbering hamfisted beast that is EA and Origin is more indicative of a company that is enraptured by the old paradigm, one that responds to piracy as if it were people breaking into their house and stealing their shit.
    I'm not saying pirating games is okay, I'm saying we need to start discussing it, thinking about it and responding to it in a different way, and that starts with language.
    Okay that's it! I'll split this into a new thread if enough people want to keep going with me here.

  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    Cambiata wrote: »
    People who want to argue on the side of DRM, who definitively loathe people who download games/music/software from the internet, you really have to stop equating piracy with hotwiring BMWs or shoplifting from the grocery store. It only weakens your argument and makes you appear as something of a loon. Although even the word "piracy" is ridulously over the top, but I suppose we're stuck with it now, and people generally know you mean one kind of piracy and not the other kind that involves murder.

    The amount of people living today who haven't pirated something, whether by accident or on purpose, is most likely an extremely low number. Grandmothers are accidentally pirating tv shows right now because they don't understand the concept of piracy. You can't think of it like stuffing a CD in your shirt and walking out of the store, because there just isn't the same amount of people who have ever done that one. "But it is the same to me!" you want to say, and I feel you, but because of the lack of social stigma, and the fact that people do it accidentally pretty much all the time, using that kind of rhetoric just makes you come off as a little bit kooky.

    Believing that criminalizing the entire world is a good business strategy is extremely foolish. I'm going to quote subedii's comment about the Russian market again because a lot of people seemed like they just ignored it and damn is it a good point.
    subedii wrote: »
    The point Valve was making there was specifically the converse.

    http://www.gamepolitics.com/2009/01/16/valve-pirates-are-underserved-customers
    There's a big business feeling that there's piracy. [But the truth is] Pirates are underserved customers. .. When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it.'

    [At Valve] we take all of our games day-and-date to Russia. The reason people pirated things in Russia is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television -- they say 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond 'you can play that game in six months...maybe.'

    We found that our piracy rates dropped off significantly [by releasing in Russia]... [There are] tons of undiscovered customers...

    Everyone avoided doing Russian localisations because "Russia is a haven for piracy". That was the accepted logic. Valve instead treated Russian like an actual customer base, did localisations, did simultaneous shipping, and all the rest. They as a result, made profits were conventional industry wisdom was that you couldn't, "because of piracy".

    Valve's games off of Steam are just as easily pirated as anywhere else. What Valve did was ignore that and opt to cater to the audience that was being ignored, and make a profit that everyone had already accepted software piracy meant did not exist. As opposed to treating them like crap "because they're all pirates". There's a valuable lesson to be learned from the Russian market.

    These two ideas aren't mutually exclusive. Pirates are thieves and should be prosecuted for the crimes they commit. However, game companies need to stop worrying about protecting their product, and instead focus on adding value to it. Instead of adding more DRM to their products, they should just go after the criminals who steal their product all the while making their products more attractive to potential consumers. Don't change the product or make it more restrictive. Make there be consequences for stealing the product, not the other way around.

    The issue is treating the average consumer like criminals, not the people who pirate not actually being criminals.

    Death of Rats on
    No I don't.
  • SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    man this shit is moving too fast for my laboriously overthought sentences

    Commodore75
  • MordaRazgromMordaRazgrom Морда Разгром Ruling the Taffer KingdomRegistered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    People who want to argue on the side of DRM, who definitively loathe people who download games/music/software from the internet, you really have to stop equating piracy with hotwiring BMWs or shoplifting from the grocery store. It only weakens your argument and makes you appear as something of a loon. Although even the word "piracy" is ridulously over the top, but I suppose we're stuck with it now, and people generally know you mean one kind of piracy and not the other kind that involves murder.

    The amount of people living today who haven't pirated something, whether by accident or on purpose, is most likely an extremely low number. Grandmothers are accidentally pirating tv shows right now because they don't understand the concept of piracy. You can't think of it like stuffing a CD in your shirt and walking out of the store, because there just isn't the same amount of people who have ever done that one. "But it is the same to me!" you want to say, and I feel you, but because of the lack of social stigma, and the fact that people do it accidentally pretty much all the time, using that kind of rhetoric just makes you come off as a little bit kooky.

    Believing that criminalizing the entire world is a good business strategy is extremely foolish. I'm going to quote subedii's comment about the Russian market again because a lot of people seemed like they just ignored it and damn is it a good point.
    subedii wrote: »
    The point Valve was making there was specifically the converse.

    http://www.gamepolitics.com/2009/01/16/valve-pirates-are-underserved-customers
    There's a big business feeling that there's piracy. [But the truth is] Pirates are underserved customers. .. When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it.'

    [At Valve] we take all of our games day-and-date to Russia. The reason people pirated things in Russia is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television -- they say 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond 'you can play that game in six months...maybe.'

    We found that our piracy rates dropped off significantly [by releasing in Russia]... [There are] tons of undiscovered customers...

    Everyone avoided doing Russian localisations because "Russia is a haven for piracy". That was the accepted logic. Valve instead treated Russian like an actual customer base, did localisations, did simultaneous shipping, and all the rest. They as a result, made profits were conventional industry wisdom was that you couldn't, "because of piracy".

    Valve's games off of Steam are just as easily pirated as anywhere else. What Valve did was ignore that and opt to cater to the audience that was being ignored, and make a profit that everyone had already accepted software piracy meant did not exist. As opposed to treating them like crap "because they're all pirates". There's a valuable lesson to be learned from the Russian market.

    I would never dream of downplaying my own lunacy :P

    I'm not one for going after the accidental thieves. Everyone accidentally goes over the speed limit when driving from time to time, but that doesn't mean that I consider everyone a reckless driver. I'm more focused on the ones who know that what they're doing is theft and yet keep on doing it because reasons, or refuse to even aknowledge that it's theft because "there's no victim!" or some other reason. No matter how one tries to move the goalposts, thievery is thievery. The pirate is taking something that doesn't belong to them, and not properly compensating the originator of that product. The direct impact to other consumers is irrelevant, the act itself is abhorrent, and rather than sugarcoating it as something less-horrible or even as something that's cool, I prefer to call the action what it is.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    EDIT: I keep forgetting that Duck said not to talk ethics of piracy, gah.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    These two ideas aren't mutually exclusive. Pirates are thieves and should be prosecuted for the crimes they commit. However, game companies need to stop worrying about protecting their product, and instead focus on adding value to it. Instead of adding more DRM to their products, they should just go after the criminals who steal their product all the while making their products more attractive to potential consumers. Don't change the product or make it more restrictive. Make there be consequences for stealing the product, not the other way around.

    The issue is treating the average consumer like criminals, not the people who pirate not actually being criminals.

    No, I'm really saying that you can't criminalize the entire world and then expect "criminal" to mean something bad anymore. You're not making people feel bad about the thing they are just going to do, you are instead watering down social concepts which should remain hard. People should feel bad for being a criminal or a thief. If you make "thief" mean "Everyone with a beating heart" then "thief" has the same potency as "flower" or "kitten." You want to keep throwing it into the conversation to make people realize how SERIOUS this SERIOUS situation is, yet you're ultimately getting the same effect as posting a bunch of cat pictures with the intent of making people angry.

    JepheryDrovek
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Full disclosure: Though I was pretty bad as a youth, I don't pirate anything now that I know of. Either I get it through regular channels or I don't get it at all. Thus I will probably never watch Game of Thrones. Net win for HBO?

  • MordaRazgromMordaRazgrom Морда Разгром Ruling the Taffer KingdomRegistered User regular
    There are things that are facilitated by Always On that I would actually like to see. For example, pricing based on the rate of consumption. Crazy idea, folks, just hear me out.
    So, we buy Bioshock Infinite. You love it, you play it time and time and time again, taking in every little detail that they packed into that piece, enjoying every last bit of their intellectual property. I take it, play through it once, say "meh" and am done without ever really finishing it. Game companies could, possibly, work out a fair pricing scheme where you pay some kind of a "down payment" on the initial boot-up of the game, then pay additional as you consume more of it. Okay, now, because there are going to be crazy people out there that will put 1,000 hours into Bioshock, there is going to have to be a price ceiling, of course. The person that reaches 50+ hours in Bioshock will have their final bill be around $60, they're enjoying the game, they're gorging themselves on it. Someone like me, say pays the initial...$20 and then only plays it for about 6 hours, and coming out with a bill of only $30.

    Even remove the "always on" ugliness out of it, just have it as a way of tracking, like "sort of always on" where a little blip is sent to the developer every x minutes or whatever. Don't you think that would be an interesting way of pricing fairness? I'd pay, probably, hundreds of dollars for something like Dark Souls, not so much for something like Rage, even though those are both games I have zero regrets in buying. FOr me, the determinant is game-time, but the formula can be adjusted any which way you want, game time, achievement progress, unlockables obtained.

    You can easily do this without Always On, though.

    Just break the game into 6 chapters and charge $10 for the game with the first chapter unlocked, and $10 for each after that as DLC unlocks.

    Want to make it time-based? Consoles track the amount of time you play games. Pop up a warning that you're down to your last hour and the game will be suspended until you buy more by going to the online marketplace.

    Always On adds nothing here.

    In fact, smartphones don't require an Always On connection to play games, and they already use this method - free or cheap to play, and tons of DLC available.

    Fully agreed, but wouldn't you think that you could do it a lot easier and faster with an Always On scheme? There are work around for everything that this technology brings, doesn't invalidate the technology as a whole.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    There are things that are facilitated by Always On that I would actually like to see. For example, pricing based on the rate of consumption. Crazy idea, folks, just hear me out.
    So, we buy Bioshock Infinite. You love it, you play it time and time and time again, taking in every little detail that they packed into that piece, enjoying every last bit of their intellectual property. I take it, play through it once, say "meh" and am done without ever really finishing it. Game companies could, possibly, work out a fair pricing scheme where you pay some kind of a "down payment" on the initial boot-up of the game, then pay additional as you consume more of it. Okay, now, because there are going to be crazy people out there that will put 1,000 hours into Bioshock, there is going to have to be a price ceiling, of course. The person that reaches 50+ hours in Bioshock will have their final bill be around $60, they're enjoying the game, they're gorging themselves on it. Someone like me, say pays the initial...$20 and then only plays it for about 6 hours, and coming out with a bill of only $30.

    Even remove the "always on" ugliness out of it, just have it as a way of tracking, like "sort of always on" where a little blip is sent to the developer every x minutes or whatever. Don't you think that would be an interesting way of pricing fairness? I'd pay, probably, hundreds of dollars for something like Dark Souls, not so much for something like Rage, even though those are both games I have zero regrets in buying. FOr me, the determinant is game-time, but the formula can be adjusted any which way you want, game time, achievement progress, unlockables obtained.

    You can easily do this without Always On, though.

    Just break the game into 6 chapters and charge $10 for the game with the first chapter unlocked, and $10 for each after that as DLC unlocks.

    Want to make it time-based? Consoles track the amount of time you play games. Pop up a warning that you're down to your last hour and the game will be suspended until you buy more by going to the online marketplace.

    Always On adds nothing here.

    In fact, smartphones don't require an Always On connection to play games, and they already use this method - free or cheap to play, and tons of DLC available.

    Fully agreed, but wouldn't you think that you could do it a lot easier and faster with an Always On scheme? There are work around for everything that this technology brings, doesn't invalidate the technology as a whole.

    I don't think you could. I honestly cannot think of any benefit of doing it that way.

    The company doesn't have to maintain a server and support staff just for me to enjoy my single player game, I don't have to worry about whether my internet is working or not at any given time. Either way you just pop up a prompt to buy the next chapter when you're done with the first.

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