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Nintendo Still Loves DRM; The Internet Not So Much

from the like-an-anti-theft-device-combined-with-a-helicopter-parent dept

Of all the walled gardens out there, Nintendo's is one of the most bizarre. On the strength of its software legacy and its skill in capturing the handheld market, Nintendo has been able to erect a bizarre closed system that relies heavily on DRM and an almost self-contained "internet." It vigorously defends itself against infringement and views its target audience as innocents incapable of dealing with an open connection to the rest of the swearing, violent, bullying world.

Long after the other consoles had moved on to CDs and DVDs, Nintendo held onto its proprietary formats in order to protect itself from piracy. Now that the others consoles on the market have shifted emphasis towards online services, Nintendo has reluctantly joined the pack. Of course, this being Nintendo, the online experience is hampered by its continued belief that its average customer is about eight years old. And the gaming experience itself is crippled by pervasive DRM.

At Ars Technica, Kyle Orland points out that Nintendo's online service is almost great, if it wasn't for all the roadblocks set up in a futile attempt to stop infringement. While Nintendo has made some vague promises about moving to a cloud-based save feature and allows each WiiU to have up to 12 separate accounts, the underlying DRM keeps the experience from ever being much more than a frustrating mess for paying customers.
As Nintendo's Wii U FAQ makes clear, "a Nintendo Network Account can only be used on the console where it was created." Thus, any games tied to that unique online ID will only work on the first system they're purchased and downloaded to. This is in essence the same setup that Nintendo used to protect downloaded Virtual Console and WiiWare games on the first Wii, a setup that not only utterly failed to stop piracy on the system but also caused headaches for many early Wii owners with faulty systems.

Tying downloaded games to a single system means there's no way for a user to access those games at a friend's house short of lugging the entire system along (yes, the Wii is a lot smaller and lighter than other contemporary systems, but still...). It also means a game downloaded to the Wii U in the living room won't be playable on a second system in the kids' room, even if the same password-protected Nintendo Network ID was used on both systems.

It also means that if your system breaks down, you can't just go buy a new one (or borrow one from a friend) and immediately recover your content using your account. Instead, you have to go through Nintendo's official repair process, waiting up to two weeks for the system to be returned just to maintain the system-locked license data—a caveat I learned about first hand recently. And in the extreme case your Wii U is stolen, it seems there's no way to recover your purchased games (Nintendo has refused numerous requests for comment on its DRM scheme). Sure, you can back up purchases to a USB hard drive, but thanks to this licensing scheme, those backups are no more portable than the actual bits stored on the Wii U's internal storage.
Orland's first hand experience wasn't pleasant. He had over $400 of downloaded games he was hoping to move to his WiiU. During the multistep process -- which requires both systems be on and online -- his Wii crashed. Big bold letters everywhere during the process warned against turning off either system during transfer. The data being moved isn't the important part. What's absolutely essential during this move is that the licenses transfer intact. Orland couldn't simply re-download his games since the licenses were tied to his original Wii. Nintendo's tech support informed him that there was no other way to transfer license and account data to the WiiU short of sending the Wii off for repairs at his expense and hoping it returned in working order with all data (especially those licenses) intact. The final cost? $85 for the repair and a couple of weeks with $400 worth of games in limbo.

Even when everything goes exactly right, the license transfer process is still a pain. Chris Kohler at Game|Life runs it down thusly:
If you have tons of content — game save data, Mii characters, and downloaded software — on your old Wii, you’ll want to transfer them over to Wii U. The process is about as convoluted as can possibly be. You’ll actually need to alternate between your Wii and your Wii U, which means either hooking them both up to the TV or swapping cables. First you have to get an SD card. Then you have to put it in your Wii U to “prepare” it for transfer. (You’ll need an internet connection to do this so Nintendo can transfer the digital rights to the software.)
Fun stuff, that. Plus, it requires an internet connection just to move your own files from one purchased system to another. Kohler points out that it takes about a half hour to pull them off the Wii and another half hour to load them onto the WiiU. But it's not just the time it takes. It's the ridiculous hoops the user is forced to jump through just to satisfy Nintendo's demands for a clean, closed, DRM-laden system.
[B]esides being time-consuming, there’s also a big missing feature. If you had games already stored on an SD card and not on the Wii’s system memory, you have to move them back to the Wii or else you can’t transfer them. But if you have games stored on the SD card in the first place, that’s probably because you ran out of memory on your Wii (not hard, since it only has 512 megabytes in there). So you are screwed. The transfer process will move over all of the digital licenses, but to get those games onto your Wii U, you’ll have to individually download every single one again from the digital store, which will take forever.
This is what you're in for when you deal with a company clearly more interested in pirates than customers. As pointed out earlier by Orland, all the ridiculous DRM crammed into every spare corner of the Wii did very little to stop piracy. Apparently, Nintendo's decided that the original Wii just didn't have enough DRM and has taken it to the extreme with its latest console. The worst aspect of its convoluted "license transfer" system is that the more you've purchased, the longer it takes. Nintendo's concern that someone, somewhere might make off with a free game has turned it into a company that punishes its biggest customers the hardest.

Then there's Nintendo's half-hearted "embrace" of the connected experience, which it approaches with the enthusiasm of someone guilted into hugging a highly contagious acquaintance. True, some of this standoffishness isn't solely Nintendo's fault. It has worked to capture a younger audience than the other consoles and as such, it is stuck following the privacy restrictions handed down by various governments in order to protect children from a variety of online menaces and nuisances. Staying in compliance with these regulations, along with its half-hearted (and deeply suspicious) approach to all things "internet", means the actual "connected" experience approaches surreality. Back to Chris Kohler:
I signed up for Nintendo Network, Nintendo’s first (!) ever attempt to create an account-based online service for its players. I clicked through the Terms of Service, skimming them. As you do. OK, I’m not going to post anything offensive, no problem. I enter my details into my profile and throw Game|Life’s URL and my Twitter handle in there so people know it’s me. Big mistake. Minutes after I posted my profile, I got a message saying that I had posted prohibited content and that Nintendo had blocked my profile pending a change. The hell? Turns out that you are strictly prohibited from posting anything on Miiverse that might allow someone to personally identify you. It didn’t specifically call out Twitter URLs, but I guess those must also be banned. Nintendo clearly doesn’t want any stories in the press about harassment (or worse) stemming from people meeting on Miiverse. So it is doing everything it can to make sure its members do not know who each other actually is.
In essence, the Miiverse is a great place to meet complete strangers but a terrible place to hang out with friends. How on earth an entire Miiverse full of strangers is supposed to prevent harassment or any other internet-related abuse is beyond me. It would seem that kids would be safer hanging out with people they know, rather than a bunch of avatars who could be anybody.

It gets even stranger. Over in Europe, where the privacy protections for minors are even more severe (and confusing), full-grown adults are finding themselves treated like kids playing hooky.
European Wii U owners are reporting being unable to buy or watch trailers for mature-rated games in Nintendo's Wii U eShop. Eurogamer reports that they are unable to access the pages for ZombiU or Assassin's Creed 3 during daytime hours, even with no parental controls set. Instead, they're greeted with the message "You cannot view this content. The times during which this content can be viewed have been restricted."
Customer service offered this response:
Dear customer, we would like to let you know that Nintendo has always aimed to offer gameplay experiences suited to all age groups, observing carefully all the relevant regulations regarding content access that are present in the various European countries. We have thus decided to restrict the access to content which is unsuitable to minors (PEGI) to the 11 P.M. - 3 A.M. time window.
Well, Nintendo's outlook is definitely brimming with optimism. Either it feels a very small minority of WiiU owners are above the age of 18, or it thinks 4 hours a day is plenty for selling mature content. Nintendo's not going anywhere anytime soon, but the focus of its business seems to have shifted to attempting to prevent bad things with much less emphasis being placed on providing good things. Fear may be a powerful motivator, but it rarely produces good work.


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    fogbugzd (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Earlier this fall I was thinking about getting my kids and grandkids a WiiU. Our family has had some of the types of DRM headaches with their original Wii that you are talking about in this article. It didn't take much research to find out the the U was going to have the same types of problems, or maybe even worse. If Nintendo is keeping track, they can count up three lost sales to me, mainly on DRM issues.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:14am

    Re:

    As someone who's had several problems stemming from the wii's bs drm I decided to not ever buy nintendo products ever again.

    Also part of why I moved to open source products only.

    Lost sales in both hardware and software in an attempt to prevent lost sales of software = epic fail

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:18am

    They've succeeded completely at preventing bad things...namely me wasting my money on them. Thanks Nintendo!

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Like all else, DRM works when done right. -- How many times has Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick said that good ideas often don't succeed until given a few tweaks?

    You can't argue with success. ... But you'll try to say it can't possibly be working! More cognitive dissonance.

     

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    Cory of PC (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:25am

    Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    How are we supposed to take you seriously?

     

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    Cory of PC (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    Well I am fixing on getting a Wii U, but I am hoping to get it next year once I'm settled into a new home and working. That way I'll give it a year and see what's new and what's good. I was also wondering about how to transfer some of my stuff on there, but if this is how it's going to play out... then maybe it is a good thing I'm waiting a year for it.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:30am

    Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    "Like all else, DRM works when done right."

    Citation needed, oh blue one. Let's see your example of a DRM that's actually reduced piracy, while not putting intelligent customers off touching the product with a barge pole or destroying the value for paying customers.

    "How many times has Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick said that good ideas often don't succeed until given a few tweaks?"

    DRM is not a good idea, unless you're a game company that needs a scapegoat to excuse falling sales, of course. otherwise, it damages sales and affect legally paying customers without affecting pirates. That's not good.

    "You can't argue with success."

    Cite said success then we'll agree - but you have to be willing to discuss your evidence first. Try me.

    For what it's worth, I own a Wii, which I bought during the console's initial release, but there's no way in hell I'm touching a WiiU until things like this are rectified. That is, at least one sale has been lost as a direct result of this crap, I'm sure there's others.

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    Last week I bought myself a Christmas gift I'd promised myself: a new motherboard, CPU and memory to upgrade my main system, which I'd previously and now once again use for gaming. (1. I'd been using my laptop for the prior year, which had slightly better performance. 2. I know it's early, wanted to avoid the rush, had the money. 3. I hesitate to dignify an anemic 11-year-old Pentium 4-based computer with the term "gaming rig".)

    I installed the OS, drivers, and Steam. I logged into Steam, typed in the code from the e-mail that's intended to prevent account hijacking ("We've never seen you log in from this machine before"), and told it to install my games.

    Then I watched some TV. After it was finished I copied my configuration files and started playing.

    Assuming everything up to installing Steam was a sunk cost, the hardest part was waiting for the downloads. That and digging around for the configuration files, I guess.

    I have my issues with Steam, but this isn't one of them. Once I've bought them I can play my games anywhere. A co-worker and I once traded some in-game TF2 items on our lunch break; he logged into my laptop, did the e-mail thing, I logged into my desktop. Biggest problem he had was remembering his user ID and password.

    Totally portable and nearly hassle-free.

    If I'd ever thought about buying a Wii, this article just killed the last remnants of any such desire.

     

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    Greg (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    Yeah, I was thinking of getting a WiiU to replace my kids Wii, but I think I'll pass now. Doesn't seem like much of an upgrade, anyways. They're pretty casual gamers, so doesn't seem worth the money, especially if there's hassle involved.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    It'd be funny if Tim got a kickback from Microsoft or Sony for bashing Nintendo.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Actually, Steam is probably one of the best forms of DRM on its own. Login, install, play. They even have these funny things called Achievements, too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    "You can't argue with success"

    Then why do you argue with the success of anyone who makes a go of alternate business models?

    Hypocrisy thy name is..........

     

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    Machin Shin (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    It is really sad to see Nintendo trying so hard to cling to their DRM that they might well kill themselves with it. The thing is though, if you look through their history that is something they have kept a death grip on from the start.

    Ever notice that almost all NES games are in the same grey cartrages? There are a few special ones like Zelda that were gold. This is because they had DRM preventing someone from making unapproved games. Nintendo had strict control over the game market and only allowed a certain number out in a year. Of course even back then someone cracked it and there were several games made without Nintendo giving the OK.

    So really there is nothing new here. It is just the frantic flailing of a company realizing it has lost one of its most loved possessions, total control over their system. Maybe they will realize that they never really had that and embrace a new world. I sadly doubt it though, more likely they will just die a slow death.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Oops replied to the wrong comment. DUH!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Yes! Successfully losing potential customers. They have successfully helped me decide that I won't be buying a WiiU.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:10am

    DRM = FAIL..............
    There never will be a DRM here in my home.And I mean ever.
    I will ripoff something rather than get something that has DRM.
    Anyways I am quite happy with the physical things I own.

     

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    Lesath (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    This is why Nintendo is a distant third in the console wars. Oh, they'll sell a ton of WiiU's but just like the original Wii no one will be playing it in a year. As much as some people have a problem with MS, their Xbox Live service is exceptional. Everything is tied to your account not your system. Hard drive fails? Get another and redownload everything. Hard part is waiting.

     

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    crade (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:25am

    Re:

    That would be awesome, especially if he also got kickbacks from Nintendo for the articles that bash the other two.. There are way more articles bashing Sony and Microsoft :)

     

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    James, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Hang on Hang on

    Nintendo has always been the easiest to get around all software protection.
    Wii - was a chip from the GameCube, then the on screen hack allowed you to play directly from an USB HDD.
    DS just takes a card that has a micro SD in it to load all the games you could ever want.
    I've not tired there latest things, but I can bet it will be just as easy to get a pirated version of everything. Most likely in a lot more convenient way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    what Nintendo should be doing is listening to and catering for the wants and needs of their customers, like the rest of the gaming industry (i dont think!!)

     

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    Zos (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    i picked up a wii for the kids to play with. Discovered all of the drm issues, plus a whole bunch of other issues limiting all the basic things i could do with it....realized that my 6 year old and younger couldn't even figure out the controllers for half the games.
    No hdmi, weird, propretary connections which insured maximum heading when integrating it into the rest of the system. Wiimotes, Motion plus, nunchucks...asssorted asshattery and nonsense....
    Realized that even rooting it to play some homebrew games was difficult and could brick it.
    Couldn't even use it to stream music from the rest of my network.
    Decided there and then that i'd never bother with another nintendo product. we're getting an ouya in the spring, and they'll be playing mario brothers on pc emulators.

     

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    Zos (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    heading= headache*

     

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    Gamer, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:54am

    Re: Hang on Hang on

    For what it's worth, with Nintendo having no achievement system or real online gaming presence it wasn't ever really a concern to those that would hack. Hacking a PS3 and/or PSP was easy (still is if you have an older system that wasn't upgraded). The 360 has methods too. But the fear of having an account banned and losing the precious achievements/trophies makes a lot of people reconsider. What would you lose if your Nintendo account got banned? Not much at all.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    funny how those 'theoretical' (yet real) losses of sales (like yours) due solely to THEIR stupidity, copy protection, and people outright hating on them, aren't tallied up by the industry; but they can nail down their 'losses' due to piracy to the nearest trillion...
    funny, that...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    The DRM itself is not the reason for Steam's success. It is all the features that come with agreeing to use DRM. The Achievements, the play on any device with the same account. The cloud saving and storage., The massive friends lists. The gifting features. The sales. Many many more positive features. With all that, the DRM seems pretty much unnecessary.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    It is also super easy to transfer from computer to computer without a problem. The worst thing is just a verification code sent by email to make sure it is you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Depends on what metrics you measure "success" by. I would say that Nintendo is quite succesful at pissing off their customers.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    I own every single Nintendo console sold in the US, they still work, they're still plugged into the TV. I probably have several hundred games on said systems. I can see a shelf full of just Wii games from where I sit now.

    I will not be getting a WiiU because of the bullshit that Nintendo's doing with it. IF I ever get a WiiU it will be several years from now from a used game shop (or flee market or whatever) for a few bucks to be added to the collection but not played.

    I guess we know why the WiiU didn't completely sell out like the Wii did on it's first two release dates.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    I guess that depends on what metrics you use. If you measure success by how much the DRM itself prevents piracy, it failed. Steam's DRM can be hacked around no problem (hell, I did it by accident).

    If you measure success by how many people have been convinced to buy, then it's a success. Yes, it wasn't the DRM that convinced people to buy, it was the rest of the system. But Steam is the closest thing to successful DRM that exists.

     

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    JWW (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    I won't transfer from our Wii

    Due to the one way, permanent, no turning back nature of migrating games to the Wii U, we have made the decision in our household to NOT move the games. We'll run two consoles, thank you very much.

    Nintendo cared so much about not allowing game saves and downloaded games to move to the Wii U that they made it worthless to move games to the Wii U.

    I was gobsmacked that the process was one way only and one time only.

    Wii compatibility on the Wii U is worthless to me, they just as well could have left the feature out.

     

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    out_of_the_blue's Apprentice, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    It gets even stranger. Over in Europe, where the privacy protections for minors are even more severe (and confusing), full-grown adults are finding themselves treated like kids playing hooky.

    Sigh... and you know what this reminds me of? South Korea and Australia's draconian rules combined that just refuses to treat adult gamers like adults.

    Anyway EU gamers can fight back against this nonsense?

     

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    Ben, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    If you buy into a private, proprietary system, you are signing up for arbitrary rules and enforcement.

    Stop doing it to yourself, and it will stop happening to you.

     

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    DCX2, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Just wait for homebrew.

    I waited until the Wii was hacked before I bought one. I've never had a problem with DRM, I just used homebrew to get around it.

    I'll probably do the same with the WiiU. Hopefully it won't be as long, considering that Smash Stack still works and that the Homebrew Channel has already been ported to the WiiU's sandboxed Wii mode.

    Should I have to do this? No. It *is* a headache. But it's a headache I can live with to play games that I like to play, games which you cannot find on other consoles or the PC. Aside from PC gaming, the only console I've touched in years has been the Wii. My wife still plays GameCube and N64 games - she was just playing MK Double Dash the other night.

     

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    AC, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Why give them money?

    Stop doing business with them. Unless you're a masochist, why would you even consider inflicting these people on yourself?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Yes and no. Steam is great at protecting a person's purchases from being shared among Steam users against their terms, in return for some benefits that the customer may not otherwise get with similar services. Its negative attributes are about as hidden as they can be to most users, but some users still run into problems that stop them from using their legally purchased software. It's not something that affects the majority, but it happens.

    However, I doubt that it directly achieves what DRM's supposed primary function is (stopping piracy). The benefits passed on to consumers due to Valve's relative lack of paranoia over copying almost certainly reduces piracy, but I don't personally believe that the reduction is directly down to the DRM.

    Ultimately, if game publishers stopped being so scared about their users ripping them off that they make their software unusable for many, the problem of piracy would be greatly reduced. Steam is a great step forward, but it doesn't stop piracy.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Yep, that's exactly my take. Steam is great at providing an ecosystem that provides decent features, support and often great pricing. The DRM doesn't do a damn thing to stop piracy, but it does alleviate paranoia about piracy among developers that might allow Valve to offer these features for their products.

    But that was my point (and one that ootb for which predictably avoiding direct questions) - no consumer has ever bought a product because of DRM. However, I can testify to the fact that many publishers have lost sales as a direct result of DRM. Since its entire stated function is to prevent piracy and thus remove lost sales as a result, all DRM is a failure if more people avoid it than would have without the DRM.

    Alas, this is an impossible metric to accurately measure, so some publishers are doomed to the cycle of idiocy ("we're losing sales? more DRM!", never realising that the DRM itself was to blame for lost sales).

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    Wii U FAQ

    In reverse order: FAQ U Wii!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 3:07pm

    I disagree a little, and personally, i don't blame Nintendo.

    Nintendo seems to have moved away from the mature, "hard core" gamers a long time ago, and is searching consumers among the non gaming people, and that includes lots of kids - and a large amount of those people are not tech savy. So, its in their best interest that their enviroment be the most "clean" possible. Yes, tech savy people can hack the systems to enable a lot of features present in the other plataforms, and its a rough road - probably by design.

    Also, nowadays people take for granted that a gaming console should have a lot of features that are present in their rivals, but sometimes you don't have the option of implementing it because you don't have the patents for such implementations, and licensing them would increase the price of the plataform beyond your target price.

    So yes, Nintendo may be pissing a lot of people with their decisions, but they seem to have resigned themselves to taking the hits, and moving ahead. Hope it works for them. Jim Sterling at the Escapist Magazine had a great episode about the Nintendo gamble sometime ago, and how the console gaming plataforms had to begin preparing to compete against the smarTvs. Also, it was throught his show that i ended coming to Techdirt.

     

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  39.  
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    Rekrul, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

    This article should be a perfect example of how some people are willing to pay for an inferior version of something that they could get for free at absolutely no risk, just so that they can stay legal.

    According to Wikipedia, the Virtual Console offers a grand total of 403 games for ten older systems in North America. Games on the VC only allow saving if the original game allowed it and you're limited to using Wii compatible controllers. Not to mention that the emulation isn't always accurate. Last Ninja III for the C64 was withdrawn because bugs in the emulation made it impossible to complete.

    By contrast you can download emulators for dozens of systems, download thousands of games, save at any time you want and in most cases, enjoy well tested and bug free emulation. You can use most any controller you want and in many cases, there are even ways to hook up the original controllers to a USB port.

    Once again, the unauthorized version is superior to the authorized one, but yet people continue to pay...

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Re:

    AHAHAHAHA, burn

     

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  41.  
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    Jon B. (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    A brief history of my personal piracy experience with Nintendo products:
    - In the mid-to-late 90s, I discovered NES emulators. They ran very well on my even-then modest computer. I also tried a SNES emulator. It ran, but it was still the current-gen system at the time, and my computer wasn't powerful enough to run it well.
    - In college, I got a computer and a controller. I was able to pirate NES and SNES with ease. I prided myself on being able to store every NES game ever released in the US with ease on a single CD. SNES, too. I experimented with GB emulators. They worked, but I wasn't too interested. I attemped N64 emulators, but they were still slow.
    - During the Nintendo DS era, I got a SuperCard. I was pirating current-gen DS games, as well as GBA games. I played Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission for the first time and liked them.
    - I currently have a modded Wii. It has a SNES emulator, an NES emulator. I have USB Loader GX. The N64 emulator works well too. I got to play Rush 2049 and bring back some memories with a college buddy one day. Oddly enough, I've never bothered with pirating GCN games. Not for any particular reason, though.
    - I even pirated VirtualBoy games one day. I got an emulator that would do side-by-side stereoscopy. So, there I was... playing that Mario & Luigo VirtualBoy game cross-eyed on my laptop.

    So, there you go. Nintendo systems are more hackable or piratable than any other system, yet they're the ones who try the hardest to prevent it.

    I'll add that I love Nintendo and have given them more money than any other competitor over the years and I will probably continue to do so.

     

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  42.  
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    EmoryM, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 8:35pm

    You forgot about region locks...

    Where they 'protect' Americans from playing games released in Japan which may never be localized.

    They're quite effectively punishing people for knowing multiple languages by forcing the purchase of foreign systems.

    With the new focus on downloadable games, this makes even less sense. Bypassing region locks is the main reason I'm eagerly awaiting Nintendo's latest systems (3DS and Wii U) getting hacked wide open!

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    You do know there are pirated copies of steam games floating around right?

     

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  44.  
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    techflaws (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Like all else, DRM works when done right

    Which means never. What else is new?

     

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  45.  
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    techflaws (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:49pm

    Re: Re:

    LOL, 0wned!

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:49pm

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I only play PC video games.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 10:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    I doubt any media exec with half a brain believes DRM will stop piracy. Their insistence on using it is to slow casual piracy.

    Make it a big enough pita that a non tech savvy person can no longer do it with ease, their thinking is that person will be more likely to buy it if they want it bad enough.

    Not everyone is going to take the time, or have the means or inclination to download, so if making a copy isn't easy they will either buy or pass. The people who refuse to buy due to DRM are a lost cause in their eyes and were never factored into their sales forecast anyway.

    Considering the company with some of the worst DRM in the industry's history sold 7 million copies of Assassins Creed 3, I doubt they are that concerned with the people who refuse to buy DRMed media.

     

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  48.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 1:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    I know what you're saying, but I disagree somewhat. Yes, the tech savvy folk might not be able to pirate, but they're also the people who won't be able to work out why their legally purchased game isn't working. That's got to cause headaches for Ubisoft's support staff, as well as retailers and manufacturers (discs being returned as faulty when it's the DRM at fault). Most non-tech savvy people will have tech savvy friends they can call on, and many of those will simply understand the problem and pirate a copy for them rather than try to explain again that they shouldn't be buying a game like that. Most people don't mind waiting a few days or making a little effort for a pirated copy when it's been proven to them that their $60+ purchase is useless.

    In other words, it's a very complicated situation but it goes further than "people who buy despite DRM" vs. "people who refuse to buy due to DRM". Costs and problems are caused directly due to DRM that they might not be aware of, and whatever the figures that are measurable DRM definitely causes problems other than the one it's designed to address.

    "Considering the company with some of the worst DRM in the industry's history sold 7 million copies of Assassins Creed 3, I doubt they are that concerned with the people who refuse to buy DRMed media."

    I think you're conflating several issues here. First of all, most 360 and PS3 players don't come across DRM problems, especially when buying in disc format. I suspect that the number of console players far outweighed the PC games - how were the PC sales compared to previous titles? IIRC, the DRM for AC3 wsn't anywhere near as odious as that on AC2, which caused so many problems that Ubisoft had to backtrack somewhat. If removing some of the DRM problems led to people actually buying more, then so be it. But remember it's mainly the PC market that most of these people whine about piracy on, and that's the market that's been dropping as a whole. IMHO, DRM has as much to do with that as anything else.

    I disagree heavily with Ubisoft's DRM stance, but that doesn't mean I refuse to buy their games if they're any good (and I do like the Assassin's Creed games). The DRM has lost them sales of certain titles from me, and I have zero interest in buying either digital or PC-based content from them as a result of their DRM. But if I saw a cheap console copy of AC3 somewhere, or receive it for Christmas, I wouldn't be unhappy. There's just no way I'm installing it on my computer or paying full price for it. Remember, it's the full price PC market that they're whining about being the one dropping...

     

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    relghuar, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:53am

    Bugs vs. Features

    I really have to stop being fascinated by human stupidity.
    If you buy a product and later discover it has a hidden problem, you're usually pissed off and want a replacement or your money back.
    Here we have the problems built in intentionally, publicly advertised, perfectly documented with examples when they already happened and how often, and people are still gonna break their legs on the way to shops to buy this crappy pieces of shit from the same marketing weasels....
    As Dogbert would surely say, "I'm gonna make a company selling crappy shit to gullible morons, and then I'll convince them it's their own fault the shit doesn't do what they expected it to do!" (and he'd make millions of dollars on it a few comic strips later).

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    I'm so glad I don't know anyone with Wii upgrading to Wii U. I'd cry if I had to provide friend and family tech support(tm) for the damn thing.

     

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  51.  
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    Chris Forsyth, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Change to "Nintendo's is one of the most" SUCCESSFUL!

    Steam also has a good habit of hitting one of the other causes of piracy, which is 'I don't want to pay at all', but 'I'd pay if they weren't charging all four limbs and my first-born child', by having plentiful sales. Plus, some of the indie publishers have said outright that lowering their prices via sales has resulted in not just more copies being sold, but more *profit* than what they were seeing at the higher prices.

     

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  52.  
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    Chris Forsyth, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 7:59pm

    Re:

    Indeed--look up the old...Tengen, I think it was, battles back in the NES days.

     

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  53.  
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    Zelf wii ombouwen, Apr 17th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    @Anonymous Coward: I totally agree with you. Luckily I dont have the same problem here.

     

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


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