Super Meat Boy Developer To EA: DRM Hurts Your Bottom Line More Than Piracy Does

from the EA-is-so-hardcore-it-only-plays-PR-in-'Nightmare-Mode' dept

The wheels have now come completely off EA's DRMobile, thanks to its botched SimCity launch that was marred by server issues, long lines at the refund counter and some amazingly bad coding, all held together by Maxis GM Lucy Bradshaw's irrepressible bullshit-spinning. The backlash has been enormous and EA is likely wishing it was back in the good old days when Spore (remember that backlash?) was nothing more than harmless vaporware.

It's safe to say that EA has almost single-handedly run the good highly-tarnished name of DRM and internet-only requirements into the ground, finishing the job Diablo 3 began last year. Many gamers have pointed out the futility of these anti-piracy (and anti-cheating/hacking) efforts as well as unleashed their fury at being handed a worthless, broken-on-purpose product in exchange for their money.

And it's not just angry customers making noise. Super Meat Boy developer Tommy Refenes has weighed in with his thoughts on EA's open hostility towards its paying customers. (It's a truly excellent post, and I would encourage you to click through and read the entire article.)

The first problem he sees with EA's actions is its insistence on using intangible losses from piracy to shape its software development.

I think I can safely say that Super Meat Boy has been pirated at least 200,000 times. We are closing in on 2 million sales and assuming a 10% piracy to sales ratio does not seem unreasonable. As a forward thinking developer who exists in the present, I realize and accept that a pirated copy of a digital game does not equate to money being taken out of my pocket. Team Meat shows no loss in our year end totals due to piracy and neither should any other developer.
This last sentence goes against the ingrained thinking of many in the content industries. These industries tend to conjure up huge loss numbers year after year to justify DRM, always-online requirements and a general push for more anti-piracy efforts (including legislation.) To them, every illegal download is a lost sale. It has to be, otherwise the entire premise behind their actions falls apart. (Contrast this all-too-common reaction with Edmund McMillen's [Tommy Refenes' partner at Team Meat] disappointment that Super Meat Boy wasn't charting higher on the Pirate Bay's download charts.)

Creative accounting is the norm in these industries and nothing is more creative than showing a loss you can't possibly quantify, as Refenes points out.
Loss due to piracy is an implied loss because it is not a calculable loss. You cannot, with any accuracy, state that because your game was pirated 300 times you lost 300 sales. You cannot prove even one lost sale because there is no evidence to state that any one person who pirated your game would have bought your game if piracy did not exist. From an accounting perspective it’s speculative and a company cannot accurately determine loss or gain based on speculative accounting.
Accuracy isn't really the aim when it comes to justifying the punishment of your paying customers. In order to get them to accept broken software wrapped in restrictive licenses, they first must be made to believe that millions and millions of dollars are lost each year to piracy. They must be at least somewhat convinced that EA (and Ubisoft, among others) were "forced" to insert crippling coding in order to keep the company afloat in a sea of pirating pirates.

But what have these companies actually lost when something is pirated? Is that "cost" greater than the very real cost of returning a customer's money to them? EA doesn't seem to understand there's more than one way to lose a sale.
After the frustrations with SimCity I asked Origin for a refund and received one. This was money they had and then lost a few days later. Applying our earlier conversation about calculable loss, there is a loss that is quantifiable, that will show up in accounting spreadsheets and does take away from profit. That loss is the return, and it is much more dangerous than someone stealing your game...

In the retail world, you could potentially put a return back on the shelf, you could find another customer that wants it, sell it to them and there would be virtually no loss. In the digital world, because there is no set amount of goods, you gain nothing back (one plus infinity is still infinity). It’s only a negative experience. A negative frustrating experience for a customer should be considered more damaging than a torrent of your game.
For some reason, many content companies cannot see the truth in this statement. Even though they can't prove that a pirated copy equals a lost sale, they continue to act as though piracy is a greater threat to their business than an angry customer base. For companies like EA, the customer base is large enough that it can usually be shrugged off. For smaller companies, this sort of thinking can do much more damage. In either case, negative experiences do no favors for content creators, especially in an era where people have thousands of entertainment options at their fingertips, 24 hours a day.

Refenes brings the fight to developers (like Maxis) who use "lost sale" figures pulled from the ether to justify the addition of DRM.
I challenge a developer to show evidence that accurately shows implementation of DRM is a return on investment and that losses due to piracy can be calculated. I do not believe this is possible.
Any honest developer simply can't do this. Pointing to something like a download total from The Pirate Bay doesn't definitively show anything more than the number of times that title was downloaded. Anything else is merely a theory, and a pretty weak one at that. But Refenes has a suggestion, one all content creators should take to heart.
I do believe people are less likely to pirate your software if the software is easy to buy, easy to run, and does what is advertised.
Why this instead of fighting piracy? Because taking away the free option just isn't enough.
People have to WANT to buy your software, people have to WANT to support you. People need to care about your employees and your company’s well being. There is no better way to achieve that than making sure what you put out there is the best you can do and you treat your customers with respect.
EA clearly has little respect for its customers. The frontmouth of Maxis, whether using her own words or having them supplied from higher up, proved this with a week of complete denialism. There was no respect from launch day forward. Every new hole in EA's story was greeted with re-confirmation of the same story, occasionally mixed with a bit of hedging.

The developers at Team Meat obviously respect their customers and have been rewarded for their efforts. Even with evidence of massive piracy staring them in the face, they never opted to cripple their game with a "piracy speedbump" that would have adversely affected those who chose to give them their hard-earned money.



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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    It's refreshing to see there are developers like him. He gets it right.

    I don't think that leaving your game completely open is a good idea. I'd still add an unique key to install the game. If the person did not have a key (pirate copy) they'd still have all functionalities (except online play and other perks like that) and would get a message like "if you like the game consider buying it, we appreciate the support. Enjoy!". You know, having a key or something gives the person the feeling it's unique, that it belongs to them!

    Still, let us hope EA learns from their mistakes eh? Sit down while we wait ok?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    "People have to WANT to buy your software, people have to WANT to support you. People need to care about your employees and your companyís well being. There is no better way to achieve that than making sure what you put out there is the best you can do and you treat your customers with respect."

    This, this and THIS.

    I actually felt this way for Bioware a few years back. Then the morals of EA seeped into their games and the games themselves lost passion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 5:53am

    EA's response: We'd rather keep banging our head against the wall and expect a different result then change course now! It would go against our anti-consumer policy to not include DRM hated by everyone!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    DRM does not apply to pirated software when it has been stripped away. The only person DRM hurts is legit players..
    Do they really think they're so much smarter than the people cracking the software? They're fools if they do because the odds are the person doing it is more talented than they'll ever be. I'm not saying it's right but a certain amount of respect should be given for the skill involved.

    Like D3 has shown us with private servers all over the place. I actually enjoy the modded servers more than battle net.

    They should be dumping their money into product development rather than DRM anti-piracy tactics that will never work. Piracy will always exist which is a good thing especially for broke people.

    At one point I was a broke pirate and the piracy of software and games has led to me buying the products when I could afford to.

    Torchlight 2 I was playing it on a private server and while chatting with a other player I said the follow.

    Man I fucking love this game I cannot wait to buy it to which he replied why? you already have it.
    My answer was because I enjoy it to the point it's actually worth my money. I support it in the hope of more great games from them in the future.

     

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  5.  
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    madasahatter (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 5:59am

    PIracy Losses

    The problem with most calculate losses is that they ignore the fact that are at least three groups who "pirate"; the testers, buyers, and never buys. The first two groups are groups where many will buy the product eventually because they like it. The difference between the two is the initial mindset - the testers are testing to see if they like it and the buyers are planning to buy. The never buys exist but the problem is how many are truly never buys. In the first two groups there are buyers some of whom would have never bought if they could not test the software.

    Team Meat understands that there people who want to try before buying and happy customers are repeat customers. In any business you live or die by repeat customers continuing to buy your product. Also, happy customers are free advertising for your product.

    EA's problem is that they alienated many current and potential customers. Why would one buy a game from them if it will be a nightmare to play? There are other sources of entertainment for my money. These lost sales are more damaging because they are harder to get back.

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:01am

    Lawmakers

    " Team Meat shows no loss in our year end totals due to piracy and neither should any other developer."

    Since lawmakers have swallowed the "loss" argument from the content industry and want to pass more enforcement, then they should walk the walk.

    They should begin allowing companies to write off their piracy losses on their taxes every year. One year of that and we would see if governments actually believed in those "losses".

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    "You know, having a key or something gives the person the feeling it's unique, that it belongs to them!"

    If you're talking about activation keys (the 16 random character kind that you must enter by hand), then no, that is not how people feel. Those keys are annoying to type in when you install your game.

    On top of that, those keys are just a long, random string of letters and numbers - they certainly don't make anyone feel special.

    But most of all, those keys can be cracked by pirates. Look up "Keygen" if you never heard of it. Those keys are generated by an algorithm and pirates routinely find what those algorithms are, allowing them to create key generators for specific games.

    Now, if you're a pirate and you try to access online features with a cracked key, chances are it won't work because the paying customer who got that key already registered it. But if a pirate uses a key before a paying customer does, then the paying customer is the one who gets the "this key is already used by another account" message and who can't access online features. The customer then has to jump through hoops to prove to the game company that he is the lawful owner of that key.

    Publishers really need to find another way to "stop" piracy. Or better yet, just make people happy to buy their product.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Pirates are now doing accounting!

    "I think I can safely say that Super Meat Boy has been pirated at least 200,000 times. We are closing in on 2 million sales and assuming a 10% piracy to sales ratio does not seem unreasonable."

    I agree with all of the slant: if you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

    But as the societal stigma comes off pirating that 10% piracy ratio will rise to 20%, then 50%, and at SOME point practical concerns will matter.

    This guy is assuming that societal sanctions will remain the same, and already pirates here at Techdirt believe that "sharing" everything for free is practicable for an industry.

    And let's also say that a "pirate" finds a way to hack his own game or make it better and of course at zero cost -- how much longer will he go on developing them when others get all the rewards?

     

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    DannyB (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    It is important to stop piracy at ANY cost

    It may be a Pyrrhic victory, but piracy must be stopped at any cost. Even if it means destroying the business, destroying jobs and destroying shareholder value.

    Copying of bits must be stopped. It's the right thing to do. It's a matter of principle. It must be done even if we must circumvent judicial process, corrupt the legislative system, subvert international counterfeiting treaties, destroy freedom of speech, monitor all communications, impose outrageously draconian punishments for very small crimes and destroy all respect for law and copyrights. In the end it will be worth it.

    As in war, the best way to destroy the enemy is to use a five hundred megaton bomb. Best of all, you don't need to worry about a delivery system. Just set it off within your own territory and you can be assured that the enemy far away will be destroyed. Mission accomplished. Congratulations!

    I urge you to help stop piracy at any cost.

     

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    ken (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:39am

    One pirated copy of a movie or video game does not equal a lost sale but customers demanding a refund and getting it or customers that would have bought your product but won't due to problems with your DRM does equal lost sales and a lot more than piracy ever will.

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    Re: Why not?

    "This guy is assuming that societal sanctions will remain the same, and already pirates here at Techdirt believe that "sharing" everything for free is practicable for an industry."

    For centuries before copyright, culture was shared, for free, without expectation of profit by bards, artists and others.

    How did they live? People GAVE them money if they felt that the story, piece of art, song or whatever, was worth their money after hearing it.

    Heck, even the ones who did ask for money only asked for a small amount (equivalent of maybe 5 dollars today) from the people who listened.

    And they certainly didn't stop telling the story just because others heard it for free.

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re: Modding...

    "And let's also say that a "pirate" finds a way to hack his own game or make it better and of course at zero cost -- how much longer will he go on developing them when others get all the rewards?"

    Pre-billionaire Bill Gates pointed out that for some reason, everybody knew not to steal a computer, but considered software free for the taking (he complained that they earned less than $2 an hour for their work on the software, because so few people paid for it). If this continues, Gates argued, why will anybody write software?

    Pirates were undeterred. It didn't take long for hackers to work out ways to trade warez electronically: Early transactions were made through bulletin board systems. These worked similar to the way the modern Internet works... if you had to directly call up each website with your modem and politely request every byte with a cordial handwritten note.

    So, decades later, in an industry where piracy is still rampant and yet a fair amount of software still seems to get written, what became of the major anti-piracy advocates? Well, let's refer back to that earliest and most vocal detractor: Bill Gates.

    He now admits that piracy of its biggest product has actually expanded its market in countries like China, going so far as to say: "As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours."

    Man, just imagine if there was no piracy, Bill Gates might still have a steady job instead of being ultra rich.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:49am

    Re: PIracy Losses

    DRM = Dirty Rotten Media !
    I Rest My Case.

     

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    dennis deems (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    Some who pirate software

    are actually paying customers. They have already bought a legal copy of your game, but you shipped a broken product.

     

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    drewdad (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    EA's response is very human....

    Decisions have been made, and they must be justified. Being wrong is not an option.

     

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    jameshogg (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    The plain fact that an unlawful download does not necessarily equate to a lost sale just goes to show that the true philosophy behind the market of creativity is intellectual servicing, not intellectual property.

    People end up paying after they pirate because they are paying for the creativity, not the creation.

    And as far as I am concerned, this moral imperative can exist without Copyright. I don't need Copyright law to tell me that there is a moral imperative to fund the creativity that I experience. To tell me otherwise is insulting. It's basically saying "without Copyright, you wouldn't know right from wrong". Well, as Christopher Hitchens used to say: "Please do not talk to me in that tone of voice."

    The intellectual servicing philosophy needs to, and will, triumph over its inferior opposite.

     

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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    As much as I'd like to agree, I still don't believe the DRM was about limiting piracy, but a first step into removing a consumer's right to resale.

    EA really, really hates Gamestop, falsely believing every sale the wonderful second-hand store gets should be going to them. After all, they made it, so entitlement seems to be expected.

    This is another problem EA fails to understand. If it wasn't for those cheap games, I wouldn't be buying the full price sequels today.

    One thing for sure is this: EA does make some great games, and I'll defend them here. But I will never pay full price for their games until they fix this problem.

    Gamestop gets my money, because they still treat me like a gamer.

     

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    Robert Doyle (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Re: Lawmakers

    I think this is an awesome idea.

     

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  19.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    Re: EA's response is very human....

    Owning up to and learning from their mistakes is an option and will earn them so much respect.

    Sadly, that will not happen and the mistakes that EA made will be repeated in future releases.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Re: Pirates are now doing accounting!

    You the huge assumption that piracy will increase.

    I say without annoyances to the potential paying customers it may decrease.

     

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  21.  
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    Stephen (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Another issue may be that EA is publicly traded. It isn't just their management that needs to be convinced that DRM is bad, but their shareholders need to be educated too.

     

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  22.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Re: Pirates are now doing accounting!

    "But as the societal stigma comes off pirating that 10% piracy ratio will rise to 20%, then 50%, and at SOME point practical concerns will matter."

    What stigma? I don't pirate stuff but it isn't because I am afraid it will make me look bad - I don't pirate because I actually want to reward people for their work in the hopes that they continue to provide me with enjoyment. I have friends who take what they can... and I don't treat them any different. Heck, because they are willing to do the leg work and try all this crap out there for me, I only get their good recommendations. It saves me time and it saves me money.

    "This guy is assuming that societal sanctions will remain the same, and already pirates here at Techdirt believe that "sharing" everything for free is practicable for an industry."

    I agree that some people seem to present that point but I don't think it is something that is applicable to everyone here.

    "And let's also say that a "pirate" finds a way to hack his own game or make it better and of course at zero cost -- how much longer will he go on developing them when others get all the rewards?"

    S/He will continue doing it as long as s/he receives pleasure from it. For some, pleasure is monetary, for others it is accomplishment. Not every action everyone does is for money.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Quote:
    "This guy is assuming that societal sanctions will remain the same, and already pirates here at Techdirt believe that "sharing" everything for free is practicable for an industry."


    Well, it is, open source have no problems with people "stealing" everything, in fact it is encouraged through their licenses which states:

    Quote:

    Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
    Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
    Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
    Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software

    Then there is the others "free", open source government, open source hardware, open source healthcare.

    Millions are embracing that philosophy.
    Why?
    Because it is actually useful.
    The new generation of thinkers and doers is being reborn with a new philosophy.

    Linux is 20 years old already and it has thousands of people writing code for it for free or otherwise, how can one reconcile that with the above statements that free can't possibly be an option when it is being done in the real world, by real people and for decades now successfully?.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:22am

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warzone_2100

    EIDOS game that was proprietary and was released under the GPL, now developed by fans, continues to live on, and it is actually fun to play.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:24am

    Solution: vary your pirating according to source!

    This is direct answer to two responses to my prior post (some knucklehead always trots out unquestioned freely distributed products as "proof"):

    Pirate all you want from those that don't care about pirating, but respect the wishes of those who explicitly forbid it with DRM and/or other measures. -- It's same as expecting "do not track" or forbidding with robots.txt to be honored: everyone just follow expressed wishes.

    To help you pirates out with this principle, take this link and make your choice of torrent:
    http://thepiratebay.se/search/Super+Meat+Boy/0/99/0

    Don't hesitate with 20th century, pre-internet principles! He doesn't care about theoretical lost sales!

     

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  26.  
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    Coogan (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:27am

    I'll give EA a calculable, quantifiable loss right now:

    I love the SimCity franchise. I wanted to buy SC2013. Then you revealed an unnecessary always-online requirement. Afterwards, I did not want to buy SC2013, so I did not and will not.

    There's a verifiable lost sale you can stick in your spreadsheet.

     

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  27.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re:

    I can't wait until the automotive or housing markets go this route... damn resale market...

     

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  28.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re:

    I'm not annoyed by having to insert a key, I'm annoyed for having to use the physical media or having to be online to activate/play. That's not even close to what I was thinking.

    I know they can be cracked. And while the uniqueness is not true for physical copy (the copy itself is unique) if you have your own key (and maybe tie it to your account) then it'd make it more personal.

    Now, if you're a pirate and you try to access online features with a cracked key, chances are it won't work because the paying customer who got that key already registered it. But if a pirate uses a key before a paying customer does, then the paying customer is the one who gets the "this key is already used by another account" message and who can't access online features. The customer then has to jump through hoops to prove to the game company that he is the lawful owner of that key.

    You have a point here. Maybe just offer the opportunity to tie the game to an account could be another way without the key (and I forgot to mention it'd limit online play at my own servers) but never ever make this tie mandatory.

    I'll repeat: the idea of a key isn't intended as means to stop piracy but rather to make it feel unique.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Re: Solution: vary your pirating according to source!

    Are you actively trying to push us to pirate sites?

    According to some (you, for example), that is, you know, a crime.

     

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  30.  
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    S. T. Stone, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:35am

    Re: Pirates are now doing accounting!

    You didnít read the full article, did you?

    Go read it, then come back when you have a better understanding of what Mr. Refenes said and the intent behind his words.

     

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  31.  
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    Jeremy, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Re:

    The Old Republic revealed how low Bioware had fallen quite well. It was a game without depth compared to it's single-player predecessors.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Solution: vary your pirating according to source!

    We already knew this. out_of_the_lube is a fucking freetard, and he admits it.

    Irritating as some people might find it, I believe Digitari now has a new hyperlink to add to his signature. When even the loudest proponents and enforcers of copyright law are pirating you know they're full to the brim with shit.

     

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  33.  
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    drewdad (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    Re: Some who software

    I actually just did this with Sims 2. Legally purchased the game years ago, but I lost the media during a move and needed to reinstall.

    Not every download is for pirating.

     

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    Robert Doyle (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Required Reading

    I read the full source article and it is one of the best written examples of the "true" cost of piracy - the one you can quantify and the one shareholders should know about.

    Well written and I highly recommend everyone head over to original article after reading the commentary.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re: Pirates are now doing accounting!

    This guy is assuming that societal sanctions will remain the same, and already pirates here at Techdirt believe that "sharing" everything for free is practicable for an industry.

    Much like people have changed behavior to share freely both people and creators will find ways to exchange experiences and reward each other, money included. Sharing will become the norm and laws will adapt to fit this norm as creators will be forced too. It means that creators will need to work harder to be worthy to get the money. At the same time the pie will get bigger but the ones competing for it will also multiply possibly making the slices smaller and the profit not enough to sustain yachts and hookers and you'll see much more middle class developers than uber successful and profitable huge companies. That by itself is not an issue in my point of view, I'd gladly jump in that boat even if I had to work hard instead of milk one creation ad nauseam.

    And let's also say that a "pirate" finds a way to hack his own game or make it better and of course at zero cost -- how much longer will he go on developing them when others get all the rewards?

    Well, he made a better product so why shouldn't he make money on it. I"m assuming that by better you mean he modifies the content and make some sort of derivative, not cracks. And the cost is never zero. You have to give your TIME to do whatever, even crack DRM. Also, why do you have so many open source software for free with many developers working on it?

    Take your head out of your arse ootb, you are gonna asphyxiate.

     

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  36.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re:

    I'm wondering how you'd add "DRM" in those. And laughing.

     

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  37.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    Re: Solution: vary your pirating according to source!

    You do realize that in certain parts of the world, you've just committed a crime, right? By linking to "infringing material".

    And I'll actually reverse what you're calling out for in your ill-advised response.

    I'll gladly pay those who don't mind if people share their work online, but I won't buy/download/touch with a 11 foot pole any stuff released by companies that don't give a rat's arse about my first sale rights.

     

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  38.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Re: Solution: vary your pirating according to source!

    Amusing ootb, you like acting like TD's clown don't you?

    I did not do it to this specific game but let me break you with a little personal experience:

    A while back I downloaded a game for the PS2 called Rogue Galaxy. I loved the game and decided it was worth buying but I never found it anywhere. Then I went to the US and found it in a GameStop. Now I own the original AND the copy. Unfortunately I play the copy because the original doesn't read the saves from the copy (must be some version issue or something). Please, I await your comments on this little personal story =)

     

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  39.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Re: It is important to stop piracy at ANY cost

    YES! Capital punishment for pirates! Spare no one, no children, elder, printer. ALL SHALL DIE.

    On a side note it'd be very sad to be executed for downloading Justin Bieber songs (most of teen girls nowadays). Oh well.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    Wasn't even planning on playing this game. Now I feel obligated to pirate it once it comes out, just so I can rub EA the wrong way.

     

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  41.  
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    Kingster (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    To be brutally honest, I "pirated" both Super Meat Boy and Bastion. I later bought them as part of the Humble Indie Bundle - I paid $25 for the bundle, and gave half to the devs.

    The bundles have been a great way to expand "purchases" at lower prices, and I've bought into most of them, including those on Android. The cool thing is that I get to name my price. There are games in all of the bundles that I don't play at all, but they still get something from me, even if I don't play.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    CK20XX, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Ah yes, I remember the Spore debacle well. Nowadays we have Minecraft, which is the kind of Sim Everything game Spore wanted to be. You know how in the iPhone community, they say, "There's an app for that"? Well, in the Minecraft community, they say, "There's a mod for that."

     

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  43.  
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    Nick Burns (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    I was going to buy the game, but after hearing about all the shit that went down, I didn't. Now there's a lost sale.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Prisoner 201, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: It is important to stop piracy at ANY cost

    I never liked the printer anyway, so I support this.

     

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  45.  
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    strykerakamack (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Just canceled my Army of Two preorder on Amazon .
    One lost sale .
    Now gotta tell my buddy To cancel his also
    two lost sales.
    least my other 4 pre orders are safe so far not being
    EA products .
    Now time to go to xbox and tell all my other gamers not to pick up AoT cause its just not worth it .
    ?? lost sales

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Ruben, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:03am

    Re: Pirates are now doing accounting!

    Techdirt AC's playbook:

    1. Make ridiculous assertions.
    2. Use ridiculous hyperbole.
    3. Highlight irrelevant idiosyncrasies.
    4. Run the other way.

     

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  47.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: It is important to stop piracy at ANY cost

    At least capital punishment is more humane than Justin Bieber songs.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    pirated copies turn into actual sales

    One thing that Tommy Refenes did not include in his argument is that not only do the DReaMers count a pirated copy as a lost sale but also do not count how many of those pirated copies turn into real sales. Study after study has shown that some of the pirated copies are 'test drives'. How many people plunk down the cash before test driving a car (I have and boy did I get a clunker and I sure learnt my lesson after doing that 3 or 4 times). That's the MAFIAA/RIAA DReaM world: buy first then find out if you got crap or value and Oh yeah they will also tell you how many times you can listen/play and when and soon they will tell you how many friends you can have over in the same room (don't want a public performance now).

     

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  49.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Already happening with cars. States have to make laws keeping manufacturers from using the DMCA to keep independent repair shops from working on their equipment for less than the dealer's repair shop will do it for.

     

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  50.  
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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    DRM for housing is called the HOA.

    Don't pay the HOA and you lose your house.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    Re: pirated copies turn into actual sales

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re: Solution: vary your pirating according to source!

    Wow. I didn't know that ootb supports pirating. I wasn't interested in his game but I always support the companies that make great games. I stopped supporting EA due to their horrible DRM starting at Spore. They may make great games but I won't even touch them till their DRM policies are relaxed. You can add that to the lost sales due to DRM.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: pirated copies turn into actual sales

    oobt will declare it as heresy and be forever censored as it does not fit into his ideals.

     

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  54.  
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    Zangetsu (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Would an EA free day have an impact?

    Tim said that with regard to an angry customer base "For companies like EA, the customer base is large enough that it can usually be shrugged off". But can it? An angry customer based can be ignored if it is quiet, but what about when it is vocal?

    The SOPA protests last year became very vocal and very visible. They made an impact on society because they were so vocal in their disagreement. Is the problem with EA not the fact that they ignore their customer base, but the fact that their customer base expects this of EA and, as a result, does not do anything about it? What if a "Don't Buy EA" movement were started that was vocal, visible and large? I think that at that point EA would have to deal with their customer base. With the recent unexpected departure of their CEO changes are on the horizon and it may be the most opportune time to speak out.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 11:02am

    Without piracy I probably would never have bought Minecraft.
    I downloaded it for free, liked it, bought it, then paid for a legit copy.

     

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  56.  
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    akp (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Re:

    So basically, back to the days of shareware. Man, I miss those days.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    well said!! these words need to be heeded by all the arse hats in the entertainment industries and the politicians that blindly follow them, hanging on every word as being the utmost in truth!

     

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  58.  
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    Varsil (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: "Unique"

    Let me tell you about how unique and "this belongs to me" CD keys have made me feel in the past:

    I bought a copy of a game (Myth: The Fallen Lords), which came with a CD key. I get the game home, I open it up, and immediately I go "Oh, shit", because it becomes clear that I'm not the first person to open this particular box. Sure enough, when I enter the CD key, it works, but I can't get online. Key is in use.

    So, I take the thing back to the store, and they won't accept the return. See, it's been opened, so they won't take it back. Thankfully, the good folks at Bungie turned out to be stand-up guys and sent me a new CD key, but most companies wouldn't. So you get the experience that the thing you just bought belongs to the guy who snuck into the package at the store, or used a keygen to predict your key.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    James, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    Lost sales

    EA 5 games and counting £150
    Ubisoft 3 games and counting £90
    Rock Star Games 1 game £20

    That I have not bought because of their attitude to customers and DRM.

    I will not buy any game from these companies until they stop treating paying customers like criminals

    I bought Whitcher 2 and X3 Teran Conflict because of their attitude to DRM.

    DRM = real lost sales
    No DRM = sales gained that they would not otherwise have had

    It was no real surprise that companies that reject DRM because of the poor customer experience also happen to make good games.

     

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  60.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    Please don't. Don't give EA the chance of increasing their statistics of their OMG PIRACY! - The Sky Is Falling spreadsheets.
    Just let the torrents of SimCity get bitrot, and leave the physical discs in the bargain bins.

     

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  61.  
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    ECA (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    i WONDER

    I wonder how much DRM really costs..
    You have to install it into a program, in such a way as its NOT EASY to remove..
    You have to have computers ONLINE 24/7/365 FOREVER. Or turn them off and piss off TONS of people..
    REGIONAL coverage...so you need computers around the world.
    Servers arnt cheap, and require POWER..
    THEN you have a single player game...That NEEDS ACCESS to the net? thats 1.5 players, not SINGLE.. Being required to have NET access, is not single player.
    THEN the requirement of CONTINUOUS, NET access for a single player game..
    So, I have a SINGLE player game, and would like to take a trip with my kids. Playing this game WOULD be fun for the kids...BUT you would need NET access..WOW, I hope you got GOOD cellphone coverage.
    So the kids are going to play Solitaire, or ANOTHER corps games..

    Whats the COST??

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm sorry but I still don't see how those keys might make game copies feel special or unique or anything...

    A key is just a random string of characters you enter when you install the game, and doing so is annoying to many people. I've never cared about those keys any longer than the 5 minutes they take to type (and re-type until you get them right), and you're the first person I hear from who feels differently.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 6:40pm

    Other costs not factored in are advertising costs. Lets say it costs X in advertising for every game sold... Now with a bad reputation less willing buyers it now costs Y to get every copy of a game sold.

    That number can be compounded when you've shrunk the pool of willing buyers for sequels.

     

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  64.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Lost sales

    Rock Star, really? I've had good luck with them in the past. When did they jump on the annoying DRM and/or anti used game bandwagon?

     

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  65.  
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    JMT (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Pirates are now doing accounting!

    "...pirates here at Techdirt believe that "sharing" everything for free is practicable for an industry."

    Nobody here thinks that. Stop lying.

     

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

  66.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Mar 21st, 2013 @ 3:04am

    Re:

    It's not just a question of smarts though. Just pulling numbers from my hat but EA might have 10-20 persons working on drm. How many fanatic crackers in the world would love to be the first one to break a DRM from EA?

    Fanatics and numbers wins over paid salary man almost every time.

     

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  67.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Mar 21st, 2013 @ 3:21am

    Re: Some who pirate software

    I know of cases where it has been easier and more hasselfree to download software from TPB than to go to the offical companies site. Even though the copy was paid for.

     

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

  68.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Mar 21st, 2013 @ 3:25am

    Re: Re: EA's response is very human....

    Admitting that you are wrong opens you up to lawsuits. Being a dick is risk free from a legal standpoint. Lawyers and MBA:s only know the law and money. They don't know anything about PR so it seems.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Englebert the Immensely Well Endowed In Trouser Sn, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 5:49am

    Re: Piracy Losses

    This is absolutely true.

    In EA's case, they've created a group called "might buy, but won't due to DRM", effectively increasing the likelihood of piracy of their product.

    I'm sure they'll then claim that they've lost sales due to piracy. That statement will be true - but it won't be quantifiable and will miss the point that a larger than usual percentage of that piracy was directly caused by their own actions.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 5:56am

    One day

    I'm going to produce the best game ever. That game will only be available on DVD to buy in the shops.

    That I will insist that each DVD case will be full of particularly human faeces will in no way have any effect on the massively low sales. The dreadful figures will purely be down to criminal pirates who refuse to buy product for no reason whatsover. Indeed, I will get great feedback every day from fans who want more boxes of excrement.

     

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

  71.  
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    Niall (profile), Mar 21st, 2013 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: It is important to stop piracy at ANY cost

    Depends if they sentence you to death via Bieber songs - imagine having to be frontstage at all of his concerts! You'd beg to crushed by stampeding fantoddlers...

     

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

  72.  
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    Niall (profile), Mar 21st, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Re: One day

    And the sad thing is that EA has such obsessive fanbois they make crApple jealous, and would buy exactly that product...

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    james, Mar 27th, 2013 @ 4:59am

    Re: Re: Lost sales

    GTA 4 was going to buy it on steam, but it has not 1 not 2 but 3 DRM systems. (steam has it's own drm, plus securom (I think) plus you need to log into windows live)

     

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


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