Video Game Execs Join BSA, RIAA, MPAA In The Bogus Piracy Stats Brigade

from the welcome-to-the-club dept

The BSA, RIAA and MPAA are all well known for their bogus stats about piracy that are easily disproved. In fact, when it comes to the BSA, the company they contracted to conduct the study has even complained that the BSA is misusing the stats. You would hope that a younger, more dynamic industry wouldn't fall into the same trap. Unfortunately, though, it looks like the video game industry is going down the same pointless path. Todd Hollenshead from id Software is getting a lot of attention today for trumpeting the ESA's latest bogus stat numbers that appears to assume all pirated copies are lost sales and not taking into account (at all) the fact that pirated copies can later lead to legit sales. Hollenshead goes on to talk about various annoying means of copy protection to keep anyone from pirating the game. This isn't a new argument for id. Last year, the company put out a similar statement about how piracy was killing the video game industry (which actually appears to be pretty vibrant). It also ignores id's own history. The early success of games like Castle Wolfenstein and Doom were, in large part, thanks to pirated copies being widely available and getting people hooked (often resulting in them buying legit copies, or later software products from id). It also ignores the success of other game publishers, such as Stardock, who decided that treating all its customers as if they're criminals is a bad idea -- and releasing their game with no copy protection at all... and having it turn into a best seller.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Bob Mime, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 4:20am

    Did anyone stop to think...

    Did anyone stop to think that it isn't piracy that is "harming" the game industry, but the lack of original content? Doom and Castle Wolfenstein were popular because it was something original and new to the majority of the players. Now look at Doom 3, yawn. The GTA series is starting to jump the stark as well....nothing new but the background. Face it, the gaming industry is turning into the movie industry: play it safe, don't try anything new, sequels!!!!

    Want to blame someone Todd? Look in the mirror...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 4:42am

    I want my, I want my, I want my Nintendo Wiiiiii

    I can only echo Bob's comment. How many driving games, footballs sims and first person shoot em ups can there be? It's so damn boring to see the same stuff over and over again.

    The Wii introduced some new ways to play the games, but even then it's a relatively small step forwards. Wii sports is still a sports sim! That small invention was enough to gain the Wii a lot of sales. If iD sales are suffering then they should do something new, Quake 4 won't hack it anymore no matter how pretty the texture mapping.

     

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  3.  
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    Michael Long, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:06am

    Doom

    So Doom's success was largely due to piracy, eh? Huh.

    Didn't the success of ID and Doom come mainly from the fact that they CHOOSE to give away copies and demos as a marketing ploy and in an attempt to bypass the traditional sales channels? And that they encouraged people to give away copies of the demo?

    Because if they made that choice, then piracy had little to do with it. My choosing to give my content away is one thing, taking it when I choose not to do so is something else entirely.

    IIRC, that was also early in the "online" era, and people paid to get disks after they'd been hooked with the three-level demo version, as the full version was much too big for most people to download via modem.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but when it comes to selectively cherry-picking "facts" to support your position, you seem to have quite a bit in common with the organizations you spend so much time deriding...

     

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  4.  
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    Insydedan, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:09am

    pirated copies can later lead to legit sales.

    I get pirated copies of games, if i like the game I'll buy it. If I don't it gets deleted.

     

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  5.  
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    Some what sleepy, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:11am

    Make something worth buying

    Tell you what, when I can open the game and play it say for a few days then realize the game SUCKS! Allow me to return it for a full refund. At almost all retail stores now when you buy a game, or music for that matter, it is yours for life. Any other product usually has a return window on it, if its bad you take it back for something better. As mentioned above, so much garbage comes out now days you need to test drive it before you dump your $$ into it. For me, the ones I would download I wouldn't buy anyway, ever, if it’s good, I go buy it. If its not it gets deleted.

     

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  6.  
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    Araemo, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:22am

    At first glance..

    At first glance, I thought the video game industry is one of the few industries that has a legitimate gripe against piracy.

    However, the points raised above are good ones. I have games I have purchased, that I have to 'pirate'(If you ask EA anyways) in order to play conveniently. It's 'against the EULA' to take a CD image of my Battlefield 2 disk and use that to play the game. I have installed the game onto my hard drive, and no files from the DVD are required for a technical reason. The game's copy protection requires that I put the physical DVD in my DVD drive every time I play, which can get very annoying if I am switching between games often, or trying to rip a dvd at the same time. I use an imagedrive to mount the DVD image in a virtual drive, and this fools their copy protection just fine. But if they catch me, I'm liable to lose my right to ever play the game again using that CD key.

    so while the stores you buy your games from take the opinion that it is 'yours for life' becasue you COULD have made a copy of the disk, it's the game publisher's opinion that you are only borrowing the right to play the game, and it can be revoked at any time.

    Unlike physical goods where you generally have a 30 day(Longer in some states) return window - no questions asked - you do not get a choice to return computer software if you have broken the shrinkwrap seal.

     

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  7.  
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    Bob Dole, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:34am

    Bob Dole didn't have the fancy soundcard when he played Castle Wolfenstein ...he had to play it with a PC speaker only so instead of hearing "mien liben" Bob Dole had to hear "whewaaawac", and played that way all the way through Spear of Destiny. Bob Dole didn't have the endless pocket book of you fancy gamers, but he paid for his copy of CW, Doom and Doom2.

    Bob Dole loved and paid for Ghost Recon, but Bob Dole hated Ghost Recon 2, less flexible, more like a bad movie, let's get some new ideas boys, put your money in development and stop inventing problems that don't exist.

     

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  8.  
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    billy, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:35am

    Re: pirated copies can later lead to legit sales.

    Amen.

    It is sad to see the great industry of video games fall into this trap.

    I do the same for movies too.
    Download, show to friends.
    If it is liked, it is bought.

    We should sue them for advertisement costs.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:36am

    Doom wasn't popularised by pirate copies, it was popularised by a shareware approach. The first third of the game could be freley copied around. If you liked it, then you could pay for the full version. Which differs from the piracy approach in two ways
    - the distribution was done with the full support of ID
    - only the first third of the game was freely available to everyone

     

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  10.  
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    Cixelsid, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:46am

    WTF?

    Dude stop talking out of your ass. Back in the day publishers couldn't afford to publish games in every fucking backward country. If it wasn't for piracy most of these famous games would never have gotten the exposure they did. Where I come from games were hard to come by before the popularity of the internet, the fact that I buy a new game almost every month is something the Video Game industry can thank Piracy for.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:58am

    How to sell Games

    Better graphics won't sell more games, better copyright protection won't sell more games ... originality and better GAMEPLAY will sell more games.

    Get back to work!

     

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  12.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 5:59am

    Lack of new content...

    that's all this is about. Just like the RIAA and MPAA the game industry for the most part is running low on ideas so they are churning out sequel after sequel (how much do you wanna be that Bungie will try a Halo 4 even though 3 is supposed to be the concluding chapter?).

    So instead of trying to go into new direction the execs of the game industry have decided that must do what they can to insure that their great-great-grandkids never have to work a day in their lives. And since the RIAA and the MPAA are dealing "significant blows" to piracy left and right then why not join them to deal even more "significant blows"?

    The fact is most people that pirate are the ones that will find the underground hack/crack sites. And if they're willing to go through all that trouble to pirate a game then its safe to assume that for the most part they will never buy a legit copy.

    Sadly I think the various industries have concluded that if they can weighproducts down with enough DRM and copy protection that the crackers/hackers will just give up and buy it legit. No. Those see all that "protection" as a challenge.

     

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  13.  
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    Matthew, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:05am

    GalCiv2 FTW

    My first copy of DOOM was borrowed, but then I was first in line for DOOM2 & 3 even tho the game made me nautious after a few rounds. It was good and it deserved my cash/time/equlibrium.

    It is dissappointing to hear this from id, but then I believe the company's name was always a reference to the psychology term. The selfish child in all of us. First they were the kids on the block showing up the establishment. Now they are the old behemoth that doesn't know how to keep riding the gravy train.

     

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  14.  
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    Bob, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:13am

    The reason you cant return games to the store you bought it from isnt because the store thinks you made a copy, it is because if they take it back they dont get any credit from the game companies. If you contact the company who made the software they will refund your money.

     

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  15.  
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    Hihi, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:14am

    Well let's see.

    Computer games are a hit and miss industry. Who remembers the early days when you would dish out on a game just to find out it wouldn't run or even crash if it was able to run at all?

    Things now aren't much different, if you buy a game in a shop chances are you'll be dissapointed with the performance. Downloading the entire game (not just a streamlined demo) to try it before buying is a great idea.

    When you test drive a car you don't test drive part of the car, you test drive the entire car. Then if you like it you buy it.

    Good games sell, bad games dont, this is the same with music, movies, whatever.

    I pay for games that are good and don't buy games that aren't.

    God bless cd and dvd burners and compression and their inventors.

     

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  16.  
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    TMBG, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:24am

    Re: Doom

    Not to put too fine a point on it

    Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet!

     

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  17.  
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    Overcast, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:41am

    Todd Hollenshead from id Software is getting a lot of attention today

    I think there were more copies of pirated doom out there than anything. Yet, I think it sold more copies than anything... Obviously - ID games wouldn't be a big corporation today if it wasn't for that.

    Perhaps the reason ID isn't making much money is that companies like Sony, Blizzard, Firaxis, EA Games are simply kickin' their asses...

    I literally have a large drawer full of purchased games - The Sims 2, all it's expansions, Warcraft 1-3, Civ 1-4, Starcraft, oh heck I could name them for hours. I've downloaded my share, but I don't like the hassles of patching and such if you don't have a legal copy. Plus, I don't want to have to go back and figure out how to crack a game and get it going if I uninstall and want to play later. If it's a good game, I'll buy it without doubt.

    Yet, other than doom - I don't think I've ever bought a game from ID.. err, maybe - if they made Quake 2, but past Quake 2, I hated the others.

     

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  18.  
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    Wizard Prang, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re: Doom

    Not to put too fine a point on it

    Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet!


    Make a little birdhouse in your soul...

    And that's all I have to say about that.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 7:15am

    Blind buying...

    The days of blindly buying content are over. People want to test a product first and the industry knows this which if why they will design their trailers/demo/samplers with the intent of getting you to buy the content. Problem is now we are at the point where companies (especially game companies) will make a demo/trailer for a game and said demo/trailer may be misleading.

    Remember how people wondered if the first trailers of Gears of War were actual gameplay or not? Mind you from what I've seen/heard Gears of War has more than enough going for it than pretty graphics to call it a great game but there are plenty of games out there that had pretty trailers/demos with over the top graphics but then the final product was horrible.

    So it could be possible that another reason (along with all those "lost sales") the industry wants to stop piracy is so that they can get you to blindly buy a mediocre game.

     

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  20.  
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    Adam, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 7:35am

    As the first poster said: the content is crap, it's just not worth paying for and there is no excitement in games and music any more. I paid for both Quake 4 and Doom 3 and bot games sucked, I wish I just downloaded a copy from BT. They were waste of money. Most CDs have 2-3 worthy songs on them (I buy used CDs from Amazon and subscribe to Emusic), most movies aren't worth watching more than once and none of them are worth paying $20 to own (Netflix to the rescue) and then there is the offensive advertising and shit on all DVDs these days. All these **AA cretins are missing one point: make better stuff and sell it for less.

     

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  21.  
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    Erv, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 8:14am

    PC games are shabby

    I play only XBOX now

     

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  22.  
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    John, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 8:28am

    ...

    Heh! One only has to look at legit stats to conclude that video games have helped kill the music industry...lots of people are spending an increasing amount of their leisure dollars on games instead of CDs!

     

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  23.  
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    Beefcake, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 9:57am

    Shrinkage

    Theft and piracy are part of overhead in any government or business. Certain steps to reduce it are warranted. Certain steps. Not "any steps". A store might have someone at the exit spot-checking receipts and another looking for suspicious activity, but they don't follow every customer around the store the entire time they're in there. If they did, no one would shop there.

    What it boils down to is if you have a product lots of people want and your pricing is on target, you'll make lots of money. If you don't, you won't. Blaming your shortcomings completely on piracy won't improve your bottom line.

    In IDs case, they've been re-hashing the same old thing since the original Doom came out. I suppose Quake was a step up, but adding the flight dimension was really just a variation on the first-person shooter theme, and Half-Life was much better executed. I did not pirate, play, or have anything else with Doom 3. Because I think having to put down my gun to see what I'm trying to shoot is stupid for a video game.

     

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  24.  
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    Carl, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 9:58am

    Hey Adam if the content is crap then why would you want to download it in the first place. You claim you wouldnt have bought Quake 4 and Doom 3 if you knew they were crap and you would have just used bittorrent. Why use Bittorrent if they are crap?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 10:15am

    Re: PC games are shabby

    My x-box only plays movies now.

    I play only MMOs now. and MMOs are shabby from consoles.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous of Course, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 10:24am

    Re: pirated copies can later lead to legit sales.

    Exactly! I consider it non-consensual shareware.
    So I'm not stuck with crap where they spent
    more time and effort on the packaging graphics
    than the game itself.

     

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  27.  
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    billy, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 11:00am

    Re: PC games are shabby

    Fanboy =P

     

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  28.  
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    Yo Momma, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 11:24am

    selfish little brats

    It just kills me to see the situational ethics at work in childish comments like this:

    "I get pirated copies of games, if i like the game I'll buy it. If I don't it gets deleted."

    and

    "…when I can open the game and play it say for a few days then realize the game SUCKS! Allow me to return it for a full refund…. so much garbage comes out now days you need to test drive it before you dump your $$ into it."

    Oh, I see. You have decided when and if it's OK to steal something. Do you also go down to local car lots, hot wire sports cars, and then drive them home for a few days before deciding whether of not you'll actually buy them? Also, would you mind if I slip into your house one day and borrow some of your consumer electronics so I can give them a "test drive" in my own house for a while? Hey, I promise I'll buy my own and return yours if I end up liking them. See, you have nothing to fear!

    PUH-lease. Don't give me that bullsh*t story about how you actually do go out and buy the games you like after you've given them a "test drive." If you want a test drive, go down to your local video store and play them on the consoles they have there. Or go over to a friend's house and check them out. But don't pretend that you're a little angel with the best interests of others in mind when you download or burn complete copies for yourself.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 11:40am

    Carl, they were not worth $50 that they cost. If they were $20 I wouldn't complain but for $50 it was a waste of money.

    Yo Momma, your response is idiotic: comparing downloading a computer game to stealing a car or breaking into somebody's house??? ROFLMAO, you must work for *AA.

    I often d/l games from BT too as a way to demo them since many games these days don't even come with demos, or the demos come (months) later or the demos are not representative of the actual game (like the demo runs fine then you buy a game only to find it's slower than the demo or crashes on your machine - FEAR, that I bough anyway after upgrading my video card), often demos have too many limitations, or... the demo is the best 10 minutes of the entire game. I buy my games even if I d/l them first from BT (if I don't like the game I usually know after few levels and delete it anyway) but often playing the demo is insufficient or, like I said, the demo just doesn't exist and I don't have friends who play games, and I don't want to try out games on consoles in a game shop. I've bought crap games before and I don't want to burn another $50 based on hype until I'm sure I want the game. There are very few stores that would accept game returns. If I had console I'd rent games, but I don't have that option with PC games. So it's not stealing, and please stop freaking comparing downloading games to stealing cars, robbing homes, etc., it's DUMB.

    The game industry has only themselves to blame for crappy, short games and misleading or non-existing demos.

    Adam

     

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  30.  
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    rishi, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 12:38pm

    Mike,

    The video game industry is heavily hit by piracy. Many users of games try to pirate them, if possible.

    While all pirated copies are not lost sales, some percentage surely are.

    The shareware concept developed in the video game industry as a method of sampling the final product, and serves the purpose quite well.

     

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  31.  
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    jeff, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    .

    This isn't a new argument for id. Last year, the company put out a similar statement about how piracy was killing the video game industry (which actually appears to be pretty vibrant).


    that's why i didn't buy doom 3. i downloaded it.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 8:25pm

    DNF

    After reading all of this, I just figured out why Duke Nukem Forever is taking so long. They aren't trying to develop the perfect game, they are trying to develop the perfect way to add DRM or some other copy protection to prevent piracy. It will be the same lame game, with a new lockout scheme that we have to spend months unlocking... It's not a game for the common man... it is the ultimate Rubik's challenge for software crackers.

    Man... and I have been waiting for the sweetest game in history... what a fool... LOL

     

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  33.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Mar 15th, 2007 @ 1:38pm

    Sounding like a broken record

    Yawn. I recall these associations saying the same thing over 20 years ago, and despite all this 'rampant' piracy, the movie, music, video game and software industries still manage to make money, and lots of it. Seems to me the only people making out like bandits from piracy are the lawyers and the so-called analysts and experts.

     

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  34.  
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    Internet Surfer, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 3:31pm

    Im beginning to think users are really missing out on the fun. Might have to buy the org. game to have some fun with it. cracking it, since that is where all the $$ seems to be going.

    look at WoW. its how old and still is past some +3 million sales. so bullsh*t that games are sufferes to piracy... not saying every game should require an internet connection to play. but g/d if you put in the effort that you do for copy-protection (eg: Securom7) into the acutal gameplay, you might have a decent product that people like. gaming companies need to realize, they arent a monopoly like M$ and think they can push people around to buy their products. Piracy is a "bad" benefit of the internet / society. but it happens, make a better game so users would be mroe likely to buy it.

    imo, they should make a game that would require a key to play online and users submit maps n such, where other users can play on them. then you have yourself a real game. multiple ideas + constantely updated + piracy eliminated. if you dont follow.. look at WoW...

     

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  35.  
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    no money, May 16th, 2007 @ 9:05am

    ...

    I think that the sequels are not the problem, cause the sims never stoped me, but the money is an issue, people have computers because they can afford it, they can afford it becuase they think it worths the price, cause you can do everything with it, but here's the thing with games: you can't pay 20 dollars for a game! I mean, I'm an argentinian, here 20 dollars are 60 pesos, way more expensive (acording to my uncle, who lives in california, it isn't that expensive 20) if you see how salaries are...so...that's way people(at least in Argentina) buy cracked games...i think ^^'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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