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How do you want your games served?

devoirdevoir Registered User regular
edited March 2007 in Games and Technology
There are rumblings going on about the future of game distribution.

- I believe the 1up podcast a little while back made the assertion that brick and mortar store days were limited from the viewpoint of game distribution.

- Shivering Isles will be predominantly (completely?) distributed online for the Xbox 360, and until they can figure out how to set it up with the PSN, you won't be able to buy it until it is bundled onto the standard Oblivion PS3 disc.

- The rise of Steam has started off a nice little wave of digital distributors, such as Totalgaming.net (which incidentally carry little to no copy protection on most of the games I have bought from them, as they believe at the end of the day it harms their sales).

- Sony, I believe, has put forward the theory that the PS4 will be completely online based with no discs, all software coming through the PSN.

- Episodic gaming is coming into its infancy, although it's quite troubled at the moment apart from (AFAIK) the shining example of Sam and Max.

- I personally am at a stage in my gaming life where I try a lot of games, but end up not putting more than a couple of hours into many of them because they don't grab me.

At the end of the day, I wonder what these rumblings in the industry will converge into. This may be viewed as me being fickle, but if I don't enjoy something enough to finish it, I don't really want to pay for the whole thing. I also don't really like going out to buy my games, when most of the game stores carry only a really very small collection of games with very little coverage of anything older than three, four months old.

Would it be possible that the industry basically comes full circle to the shareware model, coupled with purely online distribution, or some permutation of?

One example to wrap this all up:

You turn on your 3rd generation Xbox (or PS4), automatically onto Live (or PSN). A list of the newest releases appears, you see the new Elder Scrolls 5. Pull down the demo, which lets you play for half an hour. Plonk down $5 for access for the next two hours. At that stage you have the choice to buy the game or just delete it. Another $45 dollars and you pull down the rest of the assets as you really get stuck into your journey.

Discuss?

Edit:

Further points to consider, after 4 pages of discussion, that keep coming up:

- Free demo
- $5 extended demo
- $39 full game total (so, including the extended demo cost)
- $9 posted out game box with manuals, CDs, etc

This hopefully clears up the whole nostalgia issue that many people seem to hold. Quite a valid one, as we can see by the prevalence of vinyl collections and trading even today.

devoir on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2007
    They said this generation, and i think even the "later part" of last generation was going to go to mostly online distribution.


    Until broadband actually and truly does replace dialup, which is hasn't, it would be stupid to only sell stuff this way.

    FyreWulff on
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    TehSpectreTehSpectre Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Videogames are a dish best served cold.

    What being said, I enjoy going out to buy my games. I like having the actual disc, with the case so I can proudly display it in all of my geekiness. I also love special edition games and the neat stuff that comes from those types of things.

    I see the future as a happy median where you can choose to download or buy. (Once you register the game, if the disk gets screwed up, you can d/l the game for free!) At least, that is how I hope it works.

    TehSpectre on
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    corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Of course everything will be electronic. As will movies, and probably music eventually (although people do like their albums, hence why vinyl is still fairly popular). Once bandwidth and copy protection is sorted out...

    Retailers will fight against it, so the inertia of the current system will take a while to break.

    My money is on subscription services. £15 a month and you can watch a dozen movies and all the music you want or something.

    corcorigan on
    Ad Astra Per Aspera
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    Recoil42Recoil42 Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Almost fifteen years after I first got it, I still have my floppy disks from Doom, ready to install on any computer, just sitting there on my shelf. I have no worries of them ever dissapearing, and being unable to install them anymore. I have a hard copy, that will always exist on my shelf.

    'nuff said.

    Recoil42 on
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    mntorankusumntorankusu I'm not sure how to use this thing.... Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Collecting games is a big part of my hobby. I want a box or case (or both), and a disc or cartridge. Digital distribution for new, full games is not appealing to me in any way.

    I do, however, like Xbox Live Arcade and the Virtual Console (and whatever the PS3's thing is called), where I can pay small prices for small or old games.

    mntorankusu on
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    Whiniest Man On EarthWhiniest Man On Earth Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Hard copy or no copy for me.

    Whiniest Man On Earth on
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    JazzJazz Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Recoil42 wrote: »
    Almost fifteen years after I first got it, I still have my floppy disks from Doom, ready to install on any computer, just sitting there on my shelf. I have no worries of them ever dissapearing, and being unable to install them anymore. I have a hard copy, that will always exist on my shelf.

    'nuff said.
    So do I.

    Except my current desktop and my laptop are both lacking floppy drives. Still, not a hard problem to fix since I still have a couple of old computers lying around...

    I agree. I'm actually very happy with the model for distribution we have now on all three consoles - retail games and smaller, cheaper downloadable ones. They complement each other well, and downloading a few megs is a lot different than downloading eight gigs - or more, in the case of some PS3 titles. I'm also something of a collector, not completely anally but I won't buy a used disc-based game without the case, cover and manual, because I like having the collection and the library to come back to.

    Also, I still buy CDs (and, yes, some vinyl) rather than buying downloads from iTunes and whatnot. Same reasoning.

    Jazz on
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    SporkAndrewSporkAndrew Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2007
    I'm all for digital content delivery.. I've bought countless games off Steam on whims and flights of fancy, but nothing beats having the retail box / DVD for those emergencies where you don't have any sort of internet access..

    The Sam + Max episodes is a good example of how to do it well.. If you've subscribed to the full season for the price of P&P you can get a disc that contains every episode.

    SporkAndrew on
    The one about the fucking space hairdresser and the cowboy. He's got a tinfoil pal and a pedal bin
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    EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2007
    I have to have a hard copy, it's the reason that I feel like even though Steam is an awesome service (for both developers who don't want to get raped by a publisher, and a consumer who just wants their game right now) it's not for me.

    I'm not spending $60 on a digital product that is tied to a machine, who's she;f life is only as long as the company who sold it to me continues to operate whatever service I bought it from.

    If I could spend $30 on Military Shooter IV: This time it's in Space and get a digital copy as opposed to spending $50 for that same hard copy with a box and a manual in the sotres, it might be a different story. But as it stands, no way.

    Or maybe if I could spend $50 on a game, download it, and know that a hard copy was being packaged and sent to my home for whatever it would cost to ship. But that would negate the entire bonus of developers not having to go through a publisher to release a game. Of course, as far as I know, games on Steam are selling for as much as their retail versions, which is ridiculous.

    I could see myself buying smaller software releases like stuff off of Live Arcade or Steam for a few bucks a pop, or re-releases or ports like DOOM and SotN, but when it comes to full-priced releases, it's physical only.

    And besides, if we're hitting between 4GB and 14GB for the 360 and PS3 aunch games, imagine how large these games will clock in at toward the end of their console's lifecycle, and how large games will be in the future.

    Paying full price to buy a non-existant copy of MGS 5 and then waiting days for it to download? No thanks.

    Also, Phantom Phantom LOL

    Einhander on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    They said this generation, and i think even the "later part" of last generation was going to go to mostly online distribution.


    Until broadband actually and truly does replace dialup, which is hasn't, it would be stupid to only sell stuff this way.

    The question I have is, what percentage of next (PS4/Xbox3/Wii2) generation console buyers will not have broadband when they acquire their next console?

    In regards more generally to PCs, broadband penetration for PC users must be pushed by something. If it is a faster, cheaper, better (just redownload it if you have to reformat, more choice, better ability to gauge whether you like something or not) way to acquire your games, people will pick up the broadband access for it. Just like with it being a faster, easier way to acquire movies, games, music via piracy is now. I can't imagine you'd find many people who would say that broadband penetration increases have had nothing at all to do with better, quicker, easier access to content you could very well go to the store for if you really wanted to.

    devoir on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Einhander wrote: »
    I have to have a hard copy, it's the reason that I feel like even though Steam is an awesome service (for both developers who don't want to get raped by a publisher, and a consumer who just wants their game right now) it's not for me.

    How do you feel about iTunes? Not being facetious, but it's a question I'd ask most people who have an urge to hold a physical copy.
    I'm not spending $60 on a digital product that is tied to a machine, who's she;f life is only as long as the company who sold it to me continues to operate whatever service I bought it from.

    I believe DRM will die a horrible death. It's already becoming apparent to some smart people in the digital music industry that they can exploit the slow pace of industry progress by opening their iTunes killers with no DRM. There is a very large Canadian music store which opened up a few months ago with buttloads of Canadian artists (Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne), if what I read was true. No DRM.

    And realistically, there is only so much storage you can shove into a console or a PC direct to the hard drive. What's to stop actual physical dumps to Blu-ray/HD-DVD? Reticience on the part of the 'publisher', that's all. Even with iTunes you can burn your own CDs.
    If I could spend $30 on Military Shooter IV: This time it's in Space and get a digital copy as opposed to spending $50 for that same hard copy with a box and a manual in the sotres, it might be a different story. But as it stands, no way.

    I'd argue the main reason that the cost of games on Steam is similar to what you would get from a boxed copy is that publishers would never touch your studio again if they saw you undercutting them through digital distribution. When you get game developers moving away from hard copy publishing and self-distributing, then I would see a decline in the base price for games due to the greater cash flow they receive per game.
    Or maybe if I could spend $50 on a game, download it, and know that a hard copy was being packaged and sent to my home for whatever it would cost to ship. But that would negate the entire bonus of developers not having to go through a publisher to release a game. Of course, as far as I know, games on Steam are selling for as much as their retail versions, which is ridiculous.

    I could see myself buying smaller software releases like stuff off of Live Arcade or Steam for a few bucks a pop, or re-releases or ports like DOOM and SotN, but when it comes to full-priced releases, it's physical only.

    And besides, if we're hitting between 4GB and 14GB for the 360 and PS3 aunch games, imagine how large these games will clock in at toward the end of their console's lifecycle, and how large games will be in the future.

    Paying full price to buy a non-existant copy of MGS 5 and then waiting days for it to download? No thanks.

    1) Hard drive space and data connectivity are ever increasing at rates that I'd argue are faster than good, well developed games are expanding to fit their media.

    2) Games have been dealing with being segmented for years. Discs, CDs, even DVDs. What's to stop them from chunking it so you can play it while it downloads in the background? Sure you can argue that at some stage a person with slow ass connection will hit the chunk point before the next chunk downloads, but at least they've had access to the game for a while and (going back to my original post) can take the time to decide whether they want to continue and buy access to the rest.

    A lot of people are focusing purely on the digital distribution part and essentially hitting the same points that music companies argued about digital music five years ago. Look at it as a wholistic product, shareware-style and all?

    devoir on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I'm all for digital content delivery.. I've bought countless games off Steam on whims and flights of fancy, but nothing beats having the retail box / DVD for those emergencies where you don't have any sort of internet access..

    The Sam + Max episodes is a good example of how to do it well.. If you've subscribed to the full season for the price of P&P you can get a disc that contains every episode.

    Right, so going back to my OP, you buy the whole thing, maybe you get sent a physical copy. Cool feature that I didn't think of. You obviously wouldn't get a physical copy (either through the post or by burning it yourself) if you only play the $5 version, etc.

    I know that Steam is currently king of digital distribution, but really look at how DRM is beginning to not look so attractive to online music stores. As I have said above, you are beginning to get legitimate MP3 stores who do not participate in DRM. There is no reason that games cannot move towards that, in the sense that you will be able to play without your internet connection.

    In regards to piracy, I would say that a lot of games price themselves out of hitting critical mass because the cost of entry into the game experience is high ($90AUD quite commonly in Australia). I know a lot of piracy that I see discussed around the web by folks like you and me is just pure stealing. However, a lot of it is a "suck it and see" thing. Sure there are games which get pirated and the end pirate doesn't end up buying, but is that because they pirated the game or because the game was crap?

    I'd have to say, as someone in Australia, piracy is generally an issue here when releases come two weeks or more after their counterparts in the US (for PC) and Europe (for consoles, because of the whole PAL/NTSC thing). Digital distribution; no such problem. The interest in piracy, from the point of view of those who just want to play the damn game, is suddenly gone.

    devoir on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    corcorigan wrote: »
    Of course everything will be electronic. As will movies, and probably music eventually (although people do like their albums, hence why vinyl is still fairly popular). Once bandwidth and copy protection is sorted out...

    Retailers will fight against it, so the inertia of the current system will take a while to break.

    My money is on subscription services. £15 a month and you can watch a dozen movies and all the music you want or something.

    That's an interesting observation that reminded me of GameTap, which charges what... $15USD for full access to their library of oldschool games.

    devoir on
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    JensenJensen Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I definitely see a leap in online distribution coming. I think with the way hard drive space is growing and as more people get on broadband, more companies will want to publish games online. I like getting stuff, cool collectors tins/boxes , manuals, etc... so this is kind of a bummer from my prospective but I guess you can't stop "progress".

    It also opens up some cool possibilities though, because if game companies don't need to have physical copies available at all then they might be able to cut the cost of the game for customers while maintaining a profit. That's just in my imagination though, I have no idea if that's feasible but I'm sure there would be some benefits on the user end too. Also if pure online distribution is adopted, new content would be easier to distribute and we'd get more of it. We're already seeing the beginnings of this now, I only see it getting more common in the future.

    Jensen on
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    EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2007
    devoir wrote: »
    Einhander wrote: »
    I have to have a hard copy, it's the reason that I feel like even though Steam is an awesome service (for both developers who don't want to get raped by a publisher, and a consumer who just wants their game right now) it's not for me.

    How do you feel about iTunes? Not being facetious, but it's a question I'd ask most people who have an urge to hold a physical copy.

    I hate iTunes, but it's as much out of my disdain for Apple and the iPod (and before everyone gets in a wad, I hated them before it was cool) then it is for paying money for digital product. I know that there are probably people who decry digital downloads, yet have hundreds of dollars of music on their iPods that they bought from iTunes, but that's not me.

    You make a good point about the publishers though. It would frustrate them if a company was selling it's own product digitally for a lower cost than the retail copy that the publisher put out. But if Valve says "Fuck you, we're selling HL2 for $30 on Steam even though you're selling it for $50 in store", retail copies will still sell. I think it'll take a while for publishers to "get with the times", so to speak, and notice that digital distribution is going to eventually put them out of business. Why would I want to make $4 or less on every copy of my game (the one that retails for $50) that sells in a physical store when I can make $50 minus the costs of electronic distribution (bandwith, employee wages, DRM technology)?

    When digital distribution starts to really crowd in on physical distribution in terms of sales, publishers are going to have to stay competitive, and what better time than now to put them in their place?

    On a side note, I really don't think that cable connections will ever be able to sustain modern day games in terms of loading chunks of data here and there. You'd need a beast of a machine to be able to handle playing the game and installing the incoming data simultaneously, and the sheer amount of data that is loaded at level juntions, or even in-game (like HL2) in the background would be enormous. Streaming older games is pretty easy (companies like GameTap has made a business of it), but until Fiber hits a much higher penetration rate (which will be difficult to do anytime soon, since cable is already so widespread, and the vast majority of consumers can be satisfied with their relatively cheap {compared} cable or even DSL ISPs) I really don't think that streaming a modern game will be possible.

    In terms of finding out if I like a game, the only digital distribution I will take advantage of is downloading a free demo, which has been the norm since Softdisk/Apogee/id Software ushered us into the glorious age of shareware.

    I can already see this as being a large issue in gaming, though. There were a lot of conversations regarding the uprising of 3D cards, and the switch to DVD, and then online authentication, basically at every large step in gaming (well, PC gaming anyway), but it'll be a little different with digital distribution since it doesn't really add anything to the quality of the game like moving to hardware accelerated graphics or a larger storage medium did.

    I know I'll be pretty unhappy if a major game is released exclusively digitally.

    Einhander on
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    GripperGripper Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I really hope that, for as long as possible, I can still walk into a game shop, browse around the used section, pick up a couple of used games, and maybe a new release if there's something I'm after, talk to the cashier about what's coming out, etc etc. To me, this will always, always be superior to just downloading what I want. It's the same with music. I like to have an actual product that I can hold in my hand, with well put together artwork, booklet and so on. Plus, i like the fact that, with hard copies, you can trade them in, which saves money in the long run. You can also lend them to your friends, borrow ones from them with a minimum of fuss.

    I do hope that downloadable content becomes more common (as long as its decent content, of course), and it's good for people that don't have easy access to a shop to be able to download whole games, but I'd never download a game that I could easily own a hard copy of. Like with iTunes, the only stuff I download is the stuff that's hard to find...

    I really like the idea of the Virtual Console though, because its such a good way of getting old games for cheap. Still, if I had a NES, I would prefer to have the carts :)

    Gripper on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Einhander wrote: »
    On a side note, I really don't think that cable connections will ever be able to sustain modern day games in terms of loading chunks of data here and there. You'd need a beast of a machine to be able to handle playing the game and installing the incoming data simultaneously, and the sheer amount of data that is loaded at level juntions, or even in-game (like HL2) in the background would be enormous. Streaming older games is pretty easy (companies like GameTap has made a business of it), but until Fiber hits a much higher penetration rate (which will be difficult to do anytime soon, since cable is already so widespread, and the vast majority of consumers can be satisfied with their relatively cheap {compared} cable or even DSL ISPs) I really don't think that streaming a modern game will be possible.

    What I meant about chunking wasn't so much streaming, but progressive loading of a game. Basically, maybe break stuff up into gigabyte sized chunks so that after the first couple of gigabytes you could start playing. Say your game is 5 gigabytes, think of each gigabyte as a disc. Need the first one to install, second to start playing, and as you progress the additional assets for each successive portion of the game will come down the pipe in the background.

    You currently have both the PS3 and Xbox 360 which will download content in the background as long as you aren't playing online games, so I don't think the load is really an issue.
    In terms of finding out if I like a game, the only digital distribution I will take advantage of is downloading a free demo, which has been the norm since Softdisk/Apogee/id Software ushered us into the glorious age of shareware.

    That was part of my point, though. A lot of games nowadays launch without a demo, and there's no way most times to go from a demo to the full game, while making use of the demo's downloaded assets. You play a demo, then you have to walk out and buy the game, losing your progress, etc.

    An odd outcome could be that game quality could become higher. Bright, fresh ideas are more likely to get a look in on a digital shopfront without the backing of a huge ass publisher who wants their pound of flesh, and you are less likely to see regurgitated crap do well.
    I can already see this as being a large issue in gaming, though. There were a lot of conversations regarding the uprising of 3D cards, and the switch to DVD, and then online authentication, basically at every large step in gaming (well, PC gaming anyway), but it'll be a little different with digital distribution since it doesn't really add anything to the quality of the game like moving to hardware accelerated graphics or a larger storage medium did.

    I know I'll be pretty unhappy if a major game is released exclusively digitally.

    Well, Shivering Isles is pretty major. Although it is an expansion there is basically no timeline for accessing it via hardcopy. That's a step towards this.

    I would hope that the outcome of all this would be a situation where:

    - You get a physical copy for fully buying a game
    - You see better quality games
    - You get exposure to more games

    in addition to the other points I raised in my OP.

    devoir on
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    LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    no copy protection whatsover, no serial numbers, no needing the disc in to play, no starforce.

    LewieP on
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    JazzJazz Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    LewieP wrote: »
    no copy protection whatsover, no serial numbers, no needing the disc in to play, no starforce.
    Pipedream. A nice one, but a pipedream nonetheless... still, much of this thread is pipedreams, I fear.

    I've made a point of only putting games that don't need the CD in to play on my laptop. Not that I need many games on it, but I don't want to have to wonder where I left thie disc or if I remembered it when I grab the laptop and go. Games that do require it are confined to the desktop PC.

    Jazz on
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    LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    sadly, you are probably right...

    LewieP on
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    corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    LewieP wrote: »
    no copy protection whatsover, no serial numbers, no needing the disc in to play, no starforce.

    No one will buy games then. Well, one person will, at which point he'll hand it to his mates, it'll end up on Torrent, etc.

    They need copy protection which isn't draconian but works (more or less) completely, else gaming will die. If there's no money in it, no one will do it. Equally using something as ridiculously crude as Starforce or making me try and work out where my disc has gone to play a game means I'm less likely to bother buying anything from that company in future. Steam all the way, the ultimate lazy man's way of playing games. I pay, and don't need to deal with rubbish.

    corcorigan on
    Ad Astra Per Aspera
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    VashinVashin Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    i recently bought Vanguard over digital distrabution, and i will never buy games online ever again.

    it took me 2 days to d/l the entire thing because the server hosting the game would always cut me off 2/3 of the through the d/l.

    i would of prefered to just go to a store and of bought the thing.

    Vashin on
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    KelorKelor Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I like hard copies of my games. Plastic case is fine, I don't need mountains of cardboard boxing like most get packaged with.

    I really miss disgusting thick manuals full of interesting things to read, like the original Warcraft one. Pirates and WoW did a good job of this too.

    Doesn't happen often, but not needing the disc in the drive is a nice bonus. I don't think totally online distribution will ever appeal to me, I like having all my discs on hand, even if they are a pain to store. I have damn near every game I've ever bought for PC still and I being able to install them when I want.

    Kelor on
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    LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    corcorigan wrote: »
    LewieP wrote: »
    no copy protection whatsover, no serial numbers, no needing the disc in to play, no starforce.

    No one will buy games then. Well, one person will, at which point he'll hand it to his mates, it'll end up on Torrent, etc.

    They need copy protection which isn't draconian but works (more or less) completely, else gaming will die. If there's no money in it, no one will do it. Equally using something as ridiculously crude as Starforce or making me try and work out where my disc has gone to play a game means I'm less likely to bother buying anything from that company in future. Steam all the way, the ultimate lazy man's way of playing games. I pay, and don't need to deal with rubbish.

    the complete fallacy here, is that despite the fact that lots of games are crammed full of any copy protection they can think of, they still end up on torrent sites, often before release, if not soon after. And the majority of copy protection can be gotten around by an above average ability PC user. Thus, removing copy protection makes it more conveinient for gamers, and tbh, opens the promotional tool of "hey, I;ll lend you this game, see if you like it (and be more inclined to buy it/a sequal if they like it)

    LewieP on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2007
    The most effective copy protection ever was the old-school "look in the manual on page 3, hold it upside down, and type in the sentence with the preposition removed" things.
    Except for a game we had called Vette! for the Amiga. I misplaced the manual one day, so I couldn't find the answer to the question. The way this game worked is that if you answered the question wrong, you would still start the game but a cop would be on your ass within the next 5 seconds. We eventually figured out/accomplished the feat of actually outrunning and outsmarting the copy-protection-cop, by starting the car as fast as we could and taking as many sidestreets as possible


    edit: apparently there is in fact a Wiki article on it

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vette!

    FyreWulff on
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    telcustelcus Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    The most effective copy protection ever was the old-school "look in the manual on page 3, hold it upside down, and type in the sentence with the preposition removed" things.

    On photocopy proof paper!

    Curse you TMNT! We ended up copying all the codes onto normal paper.

    telcus on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2007
    Kelor wrote: »
    I like hard copies of my games. Plastic case is fine, I don't need mountains of cardboard boxing like most get packaged with.

    I really miss disgusting thick manuals full of interesting things to read, like the original Warcraft one. Pirates and WoW did a good job of this too.

    Doesn't happen often, but not needing the disc in the drive is a nice bonus. I don't think totally online distribution will ever appeal to me, I like having all my discs on hand, even if they are a pain to store. I have damn near every game I've ever bought for PC still and I being able to install them when I want.

    Goddamn Blizzard had some awesome manuals. I remember the huge WarCraft, StarCraft, and Diablo manuals... so awesome. Pages upon pages filled with backstory, and tons of art. And was it Falcon 4.0 that shipped with a fucking telethone book-sized manual? Jesus, some of that stuff was so huge it would have made Tolstoy jealous.

    Now we get either a .pdf file on the disc, or an EA Games style black and white 6 page crapfest that doesn't even contain enough paper to wipe my ass with.

    Also, having an actual manual is another reason I like having a physical copy of my games. Even if it's something I'm reading while I'm in the bathroom, it's nice to have it around.

    edit: Wing Commander had the best copy-protection questions ever. Most of them would ask you for a spec off of the multiple blueprints of different ships that came in the box, separate from the manual. Hell, even the manual wasn't really a manual, it was a ship magazine with "articles" giving different info from backstory to flight tips.

    Einhander on
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    JazzJazz Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    The most effective copy protection ever was the old-school "look in the manual on page 3, hold it upside down, and type in the sentence with the preposition removed" things.
    Except for a game we had called Vette! for the Amiga. I misplaced the manual one day, so I couldn't find the answer to the question. The way this game worked is that if you answered the question wrong, you would still start the game but a cop would be on your ass within the next 5 seconds. We eventually figured out/accomplished the feat of actually outrunning and outsmarting the copy-protection-cop, by starting the car as fast as we could and taking as many sidestreets as possible


    edit: apparently there is in fact a Wiki article on it

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vette!

    I really wanted to play that game back in the day but had access to no machine it was available for (you sure it was on Amiga? I thought, and Wiki thinks, it was just PC/Mac). I loved my 'Vettes and I still do. :)

    Jazz on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    corcorigan wrote: »
    LewieP wrote: »
    no copy protection whatsover, no serial numbers, no needing the disc in to play, no starforce.

    No one will buy games then. Well, one person will, at which point he'll hand it to his mates, it'll end up on Torrent, etc.

    They need copy protection which isn't draconian but works (more or less) completely, else gaming will die. If there's no money in it, no one will do it.

    This is false, I'm glad to say. One shining example is Galactic Civilizations 2. This game does not have copy protection, either in its hard copy form or its online distribution form. In fact the online distribution form will happily install with your user account on basically unlimited numbers of computers. If they see your account on dozens of computers, they will query you, but there are no hard limits on this.

    This game exploded when it was released, in part due to the company's defiance of proclamations like yours; that they would not make any money and become a sad footnote in gaming history.

    It's like saying there is no market for DVDs with TV-Rips and DVD-Rips.

    devoir on
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    PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Nobody...really wants to copy Galactic Civilizations 2.

    Paladin on
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Paladin wrote: »
    Nobody...really wants to copy Galactic Civilizations 2.

    Come on, the game sold bloody well, as has the expansion, despite it being a fairly niche genre product.

    devoir on
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    MarlorMarlor Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I'm happy to get expansions, episodic games, and budget games by digital distribution.

    But for full games, I want them in a nice box with an instruction manual. Especially if it's a PC RPG or Strategy game.

    If they want to cut distribution costs, then the publishers should sell the games straight to the public and cut out the wholesalers and retailers from the equation. I'm sure they could drop the prices if they did this, and for the consumer, it would be no different from ordering from an online retailer.

    Marlor on
    Mario Kart Wii: 1332-8060-5236 (Aaron)
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    corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    This is false, I'm glad to say. One shining example is Galactic Civilizations 2.

    Actually it does have. Try installing it on many computers, it won't let you register it after a couple.

    Besides it targeted a very specific audience, who are all keen on supporting development.

    corcorigan on
    Ad Astra Per Aspera
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Marlor wrote: »
    But for full games, I want them in a nice box with an instruction manual. Especially if it's a PC RPG or Strategy game.

    If they want to cut distribution costs, then the publishers should sell the games straight to the public and cut out the wholesalers and retailers from the equation. I'm sure they could drop the prices if they did this, and for the consumer, it would be no different from ordering from an online retailer.

    Please see the point about receiving a hard copy when you buy the whole game from the developers directly.

    If you drop wholesalers and retailers, you essentially remove the entire purpose of a publisher aside from PR. A lot of developers are taking control of the PR process in any case, especially with the rise of the internet which means that direct contact with the people who have the information you want as a consumer is far easier.

    While online sales of boxed products are presumably a fairly good business, I can't imagine that it's a huge success. I can't think of a single major online games store, nor do I see major stores like EB moving into that space, which is vastly different to how I see music/movie stores moving.

    devoir on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    corcorigan wrote: »
    This is false, I'm glad to say. One shining example is Galactic Civilizations 2.

    Actually it does have. Try installing it on many computers, it won't let you register it after a couple.

    I'm sorry, they must have changed it after I last read up on their procedures. In any case, how is this a bad thing? If you're installing on more than a few PCs and want to register it multiple times for updates, etc, you're really pushing the good will envelope.
    Besides it targeted a very specific audience, who are all keen on supporting development.

    If games are easier to get, your prices drop because your publishing costs drop, most people will pay for games they want to play. I'd say that the true 'pirates' make up a small section of the buying public. I find the implication that just because you can pirate it the vast majority of people will, rather than pay for it, blatantly ridiculous.

    If what you are saying is true, I must live in a very strange slice of the gaming audience. The vast majority of the tech-capable people I know, who are able to download and pirate these games, generally do so as a way of sampling games or trying things out that they don't want to commit money to if they don't like it. You can argue about stealing, but at the end of the day the gaming industry is filled with crap products which wouldn't stand on their own for the most part if they actually had to deliver a solid 30-40 hours of entertainment for your dollars. Getting rid of that crap by making them more responsible for delivering entertainment can only be a good thing.

    devoir on
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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Although I feel better about getting a game on a disk, I've lost hundreds of dollars worth of software in this format for all sorts of reasons. Digital distribution makes it much easier to recover lost games, but feels a bit more insecure.

    Zombiemambo on
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    LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I had Disneys aladdin, the capcom one, on the PC years and years ago. I lost the manual, and everytime it booted it would ask for a word from the manual.

    there was about 40 different questions, it gave you one randomly, and I remembered one of the answers was "apples"

    I manually brute forced it, at like age 8, just opened it, typed apples, if that was wrong, closed it and booted it again. I felt like such a hacker

    LewieP on
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    devoirdevoir Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    LewieP wrote: »
    I had Disneys aladdin, the capcom one, on the PC years and years ago. I lost the manual, and everytime it booted it would ask for a word from the manual.

    there was about 40 different questions, it gave you one randomly, and I remembered one of the answers was "apples"

    I manually brute forced it, at like age 8, just opened it, typed apples, if that was wrong, closed it and booted it again. I felt like such a hacker

    Flashbacks to Leisure Suit Larry's age check... swapping answers with the kids at school...

    devoir on
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    LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Also - once a game has been out like 2/3 years, and the publisher is unlikely to make much more profit, they should release a patch that removes any copy protection, and allows people without a serial to play online.

    This is for games that are not still selling, so not like WoW or anything, but whenever a publisher has stopped making significant amounts of money from the game.

    Just because by this time, the number of people who have bought the game second hand/lost the case will outnumber those who would buy the game, except they don't have to because they can torrent it.

    LewieP on
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    EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2007
    On a side note, I don't really like the style of gameplay, but once I have a little bit of spending cash I'm half tempted to buy GalCiv 2 for $20 just out of spite of StarForce/support for StarDock.

    And if it turned out to be a decent game, all the better.

    Einhander on
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