Stardock Producer Shares Four Tips For Building Loyal Fans

from the that's-how-its-done dept

If I had to choose one company as the antithesis to Ubisoft's boneheaded take on business, I would probably choose Stardock. Stardock is one of those companies that continues to do everything right while many other companies in the video game industry insist it is wrong. So, it really comes as no surprise that Stardock producer Jon Shafer wrote that respecting your fans should be one of the most important aspects of doing business. He makes four very good points in this essay that I think all entertainment companies can learn from.

First up, Jon speaks about the importance of demos to a project's success:
When you don't put out a demo, some people will start asking questions… is it because the game isn't any good and the developer is afraid people will find out? Did they run out of time and the lack of a demo is a sign that the game is sloppy and unfinished? You don't want players asking those questions -- you want them trying out your awesome game and telling everyone they know about it.
We have spoken numerous times about the importance of fans being able to sample entertainment before they buy. We have seen study after study that shows that those who have the ability to try things out before dropping money for it, are much more likely to not only buy, but buy more. Why would you deny your fans the ability to try out your game, music, book or movie? A nice demo can go a long way.

Next up, Jon shares some words about interacting with fans:
As developers working on the oft-mundane, daily tasks required in making a piece of software, we often lose sight of the fact that there are also many players who love our work. For them the opportunity to talk with someone that worked on their favorite game is incredibly exciting (something we are occasionally reminded of when we get to meet the creators of our favorite games!).
Ah. The old adage of connecting with fans. What this does is make sure that not only that the fans like your work, but that they also like you. We know that it is far easier for customers to buy something from a company or a person they actually like. The best way to gain that affection is to put yourself out there and communicate with your fans.

Then, Jon speaks about giving fans ownership:
Players like having ownership. It's one of the reasons why they're playing games (an active form of entertainment) rather than experiencing a self-contained work in another medium. The absolute best way to hand over the keys to your game is to make it moddable. Many of the most beloved and long-lasting games of all time are also highly moddable, and their communities live on long after the last official update. Why? Because the players took ownership and had a vested interest in the longevity and overall success of the game. This sort of relationship between player and game is only possible when the players have the power to reshape the game to their liking.
While modding itself is unique to gaming, the idea behind it is as old as recorded media. The idea behind modding is pretty close to that of remixing in other media. This desire to reshape and make our own the entertainment we consume is something that should be embraced by successful creators. Doing so not only gains you more fans, but also ensures that your work will live on in the hearts and minds of those who enjoy it.

Finally, Jon speaks on piracy:
Ah, the elephant in the room. I’ll just put it this way: if the CIA can get hacked, you’re not going to be able to prevent your game from being cracked. Sorry. You can't stop piracy. Focus on building up a fanbase and higher sales through goodwill instead of trying to bend the internet to your will. If you're spending a ton of effort trying to "win the war" on piracy, then you're wasting resources you could have been used to make better games. The reason why studios like Blizzard and Valve are so successful and beloved is because they focus on delivering the best games possible, time and money be damned. Don't make enemies of paying customers by making them jump through hoops. As history shows us, in most wars there are no winners -- only losers.
We are already well aware of Stardock's official position on piracy. It would rather maximize sales than waste resources fighting a losing battle. This is something that many people within the entertainment industry need to learn. Piracy is a symptom of far larger problems. By wasting time and money fighting it, you are shifting resources away from those areas that truly matter to the end consumer.

While these four points are nothing new to many of us here, they are things that too many still have not learned or refuse to recognize. It is time to stop the war on fans and begin to embrace them and their culture. Times are changing. People do not consume entertainment in the same ways they did ten years ago. Fans know what they like and know who provides it. Those who refuse to adapt are going to be left behind.


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  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 3:55am

    tl;dr: when it comes to making fans, Stardock > You.

     

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  2.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 3:56am

    Re:

    Dammit, I mean to say:

    "tl;dr Dear Entertainment Industry,

    when it comes to making fans, Stardock > You.

    Regards,
    The Public.

     

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  3.  
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    explicit coward (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:01am

    Well, Blizzard lately took a step into the wrong direction: The upcoming title Diablo III has an "always on" requirement. They justify this with their "real money auction house" (you will be able to sell items you find in-game for real money...). True, to make such a real money auction house safer you need to have some essential code on the server-side (to avoid users duplicating items on their pcs and selling them for real bucks).
    But with this move they risk loosing a part of their fanbase:

    - The ones who can not rely on a permanent and stable internet connection (although they would always play single-player and never use the auction house)

    - The ones who'd like to mod the game sometimes (no sense in doing that, if you're missing essential parts of the code).

    Fortunately, the conceiver of the Diablo-series, Max Schaefer, is working on a similar game called Torchlight II, which - like it's predecessor - will be moddable and requires no internet connection to be played.

     

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    Arthran, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:07am

    Loyalty

    See, Reading these articles has made me seek out Stardock's products. Something I wouldn't have done otherwise

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:50am

    Hero worship?

    For them the opportunity to talk with someone that worked on their favorite game is incredibly exciting (something we are occasionally reminded of when we get to meet the creators of our favorite games!).

    As a creator myself that's not a culture I would want to encourage.
    I don't see myself as any different to the people who buy my work. Why would they be 'incredibly excited' to meet me? It's a kin to a rock star complex.
    I thought the idea behind 'sharing' was that we are all equal, not that some people 'incredibly exciting' because they code a game.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:52am

    Re:

    Theres also Path of Exile for the people that want the online multiplayer but none of that RMAH nonsense.

     

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  7.  
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    The Spork (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:55am

    the MAFIAA bytes the dust

    The customer is always right. the MAFIAA is always WRONG. Three cheers for Stardock! Pile of crap for the MAFIAA!

     

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  8.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 5:04am

    Re: Hero worship?

    I thought the idea behind 'sharing' was that we are all equal

    No. The idea behind sharing is to cure the plague of obscurity.

    What is being talked about here is connecting with your fans and being human. You can do that and be exciting to your fans. Many people do that and still retain their ability to be "no different" from the fans. It is all about the persona you want to show.

    Personally as a game developer, I don't think I am better than anyone else. However, I do want people to like me. The reason for this is that I know that it is easier for people to buy my games or play my games if they like me.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 5:06am

    " Why would you deny your fans the ability to try out your game, music, book or movie?"

    Quite simply, a demo of a game (ie, not the full version, limited, controlled, limited levels, whatever) is different from giving someone the full movie, the full book, or the full album / CD / music release. One is a taste to get you hooked, the other is the full product with no real reason to pay.

    "The best way to gain that affection is to put yourself out there and communicate with your fans"

    The best way is to put out a product that is entirely superior to everything else around, and which sells itself through word of mouth. Social media can help, but the best product should be your real goal, not twitter updates on your crappy, "same as everyone else" first person shooter.

    "This desire to reshape and make our own the entertainment we consume is something that should be embraced by successful creators."

    There is a huge difference between having a gaming engine that permits extensions (think new levels, etc) compared to making the source code available for modification, or having your whole project lifted and re-used by someone else. There is a fine line here again.

    "Piracy is a symptom of far larger problems"

    Yes indeed. Piracy is a symptom of a generation who feels no need or desire to pay for anything, and thinks of payment only as an optional TIP, not a purchase.

    Great story!

     

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    The dude, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 5:15am

    Re:

    Translation:
    Damn kids, Of my lawn!

     

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    The dude, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re:

    The last part of comment 9 of course

     

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    explicit coward (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 5:38am

    Re:

    "Piracy is a symptom of a generation who feels no need or desire to pay for anything, and thinks of payment only as an optional TIP, not a purchase."

    This baseless assumption is indeed the main notional obstacle to start working on maximizing profits instead of doing Sisyphus' work by fighting piracy.

    It's an assumption that must be born on ones own mindset: I am greedy and would steal the kid's candy if I'd be sure I wouldn't get caught, therefore it's human nature and everybody would steal the kid's candy.

    If you can't recognize that the concept of fairness is innate in an empathic species like humans and that infinite greed is the exception, not the rule, then all hope is lost that you'll ever get over this first obstacle...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 5:55am

    Re:


    "The best way to gain that affection is to put yourself out there and communicate with your fans"

    The best way is to put out a product that is entirely superior to everything else around, and which sells itself through word of mouth. Social media can help, but the best product should be your real goal, not twitter updates on your crappy, "same as everyone else" first person shooter.


    He said communicating, not PR-through-social-media. Communication is a two-way street.

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:19am

    Re:

    Quite simply, a demo of a game (ie, not the full version, limited, controlled, limited levels, whatever) is different from giving someone the full movie, the full book, or the full album / CD / music release. One is a taste to get you hooked, the other is the full product with no real reason to pay.

    I think that is the point of the demo, to get the fans hooked. Without that hook, you will find trying to get people to buy is even more difficult than normal. The demo will also help give fans a reason to pay. In case you missed it, this blog has a very strong message about ways to convince fans to pay rather than pirate. A lot of it works too.

    The best way is to put out a product that is entirely superior to everything else around, and which sells itself through word of mouth. Social media can help, but the best product should be your real goal, not twitter updates on your crappy, "same as everyone else" first person shooter.

    You can make the absolute best game in existence, but if people don't know who you are and/or don't like you, you will be hard pressed to sell any meaningful number of games. Of course, I don't think anyone is arguing that you should conform to popular game conventions.

    There is a huge difference between having a gaming engine that permits extensions (think new levels, etc) compared to making the source code available for modification, or having your whole project lifted and re-used by someone else. There is a fine line here again.

    And no one is arguing that people should be able to lift and re-use the game engine through infringement. Why you made that connection is beyond me. I think you are just looking for any reason to complain, even if that reason is little more than a straw-man.

    Yes indeed. Piracy is a symptom of a generation who feels no need or desire to pay for anything, and thinks of payment only as an optional TIP, not a purchase.

    Again, you personal biases are showing. You completely ignore all the case studies we have shown in which companies and creators succeed despite piracy solely because they fill those needs that other have left.

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    There is a huge difference between having a gaming engine that permits extensions (think new levels, etc) compared to making the source code available for modification, or having your whole project lifted and re-used by someone else. There is a fine line here again.


    True enough, and the modders very much prefer the source code. In fact, many modders will bypass an API or even mod a game that doesn't carry an API. For example, there was an extensive modding community around Minecraft before the game was even completed (no API, source code not available, decompiled). This community was successful enough to influence the development of the base game.

    Having the whole project lifted and used by someone else almost always dampens the ability to suceed due to fans of the original directing people back to the source (people would rather support the person who's going to generate the next awesome thing). Sufficient modification can and does overcome this effect. Further more, many similar products can actually quite peacefully coexist, so long as each has sufficient depth.

     

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  16.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Re: Loyalty

    I went to wikipedia to look up more about them and their history. 1 line stopped me cold.

    "Stardock has agreed to publish some games containing certain less intrusive versions of SecuROM on Impulse."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stardock

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

    While the SecuROM article might not be the most neutral piece, the annoyance of SecuROM and the limitations and problems it causes are nothing new. Its DRM of the worst caliber.

    I am reminded of a recent game review, the name eludes me ATM... Anno 2070 bless the googles http://www.guru3d.com/article/anno-2070-vga-graphics-performance-review/2 , where they tested it with a series of ATI video cards then moved onto Nvidia cards to give "real world" reports of how it played. Changing the video card used up one of your activations of the game. They called the company who sent them the game for review and were granted more activations for their copy. They pointed out that gamers often swap out pieces of their machines, getting newer bigger better. The company was so tone deaf they said it was intended. Once someone not focused on crushing piracy underfoot looked at it, they saw how horrible that was to paying customers and they dropped the video card changes using up an activation.

    I'm honestly confused why they keep turning up the DRM and expect a different outcome. It is common now for some people to buy the game retail, and leave it sealed. They get the unburdened copy of the game from the "pirates" who offer it without the annoying limitations. You do that a few times and eventually even the most die hard fan will skip the step of buying it at retail. The company is blindly at war with the pirates and isn't noticing their own actions are growing the number of pirates. To blind to see their battle has a casualty ... the paying customer who is the only one the DRM manages to punish.

    As to his discussion of Blizzard maybe he is unaware of the issues they had demanding the Real Name program? Because if you have to use your real name you'll be nicer on the forums and there can be no downside. Unless you ask the Blizzard employee who was outed as living in mom's basement, as they took his real name and posted his entire life onto the forums to make the point.
    There needs to be more time spent getting the view point of "real" people who don't depend on the company paycheck or politics for their living. People who can stop them before they get to far down the rabbit hole of this can have no downside.

    Oh and Diablo III specifically says that a wifi connection does not need the speed requirement for the game in recent system specs I read. Because no one plays games on laptops anymore, and they can all just get a cable and plugin. So the constant connection is going to make things so much better.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re:

    "In case you missed it, this blog has a very strong message about ways to convince fans to pay rather than pirate. A lot of it works too."

    I see a lot of chatter, but not much else. The real message seems to be "ignore piracy" or "pander to pirates". That seems to be the siren song for those willing to work for 10 cents on the dollar (hi Red Hat!).

    "You can make the absolute best game in existence, but if people don't know who you are and/or don't like you, you will be hard pressed to sell any meaningful number of games"

    EA sports. They are possibly the most hated gaming company out there (if I use Techdirt as a barometer) and they sell like crazy.

    "And no one is arguing that people should be able to lift and re-use the game engine through infringement."

    Those people who set up their own game servers, or who bypass the "must be online with us" requirement of games are effectively lifting the game engine and leaving with it. At that point, the piracy crosses the line from "trying" to "taking over". It's a big deal.

    "Again, you personal biases are showing. You completely ignore all the case studies we have shown in which companies and creators succeed despite piracy solely because they fill those needs that other have left."

    No, I don't ignore them. What I look at more is the social morals, what is discussed out there. Sure, some people come back and pay, but many of them do not, they enjoy the product, play the game to death, and then walk away to the next freebie. As long as gaming companies keep feeding their people, they will keep showing up at the door for the free food. Cut them off, even for a second, and you will be branded the worst company ever.

    Yes, some can succeed despite piracy, mostly because they are selling things other than their product. It's no better than giving gallons of beer away for free at a party, and then charging people $20 to use the bathroom. Don't be surprised when they are all lining up to piss in your shoes instead.

     

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  18.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Loyalty

    On that line from Wikipedia, I think that is referring to 3rd party titles published on Impulse, I know that Stardock titles don't use DRM. That was one of their key philosophies.

    As for Anno 2070, that is an Ubisoft published title. Not Stardock. So I really don't see why that is relevant to this discussion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I only have one answer to you: Valve Corporation.

    It pretty much annihilates whatever point you were trying to make (they have mods, they give stuff away for free all the time, they don't care about piracy, they are swimming in cash).

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not really - I look at them, and I can only imagine how much more money they could make actually selling their products normally rather than giving them away and praying people pay.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let me add this: What are they making money on?

    Is it selling games? Or is it in being a gatekeeper and selling limited access to their community and shared game servers?

    You have to pay attention to what their business model is to understand what is going on, and why in many ways it isn't relevant.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    I love your comment. Why? Because it has almost nothing to do with the article beyond nitpicking at a handful of things said in it and instead just tries to shift the focus onto piracy. Way to go!

    "Quite simply, a demo of a game (ie, not the full version, limited, controlled, limited levels, whatever) is different from giving someone the full movie, the full book, or the full album / CD / music release. One is a taste to get you hooked, the other is the full product with no real reason to pay."

    And no one is asking that people be given the full product, where you got that from what was in the article I haven't the foggiest. What is being spoken about is a demo. In the case of a movie/show, book, or album the equivalents would be a 5-10 minute clip of the movie (NOT preview/trailer, because as is rather evident at this point in time, those tend to be rather deceitful), a chapter or two from a book (as an avid reader, I would say from the beginning of the book, which is what most publishers tend to include when they include them), and perhaps 2-3 songs from an album (NOT 20 second clips, which usually consist of the "best" or most innocuous parts of a song, and usually only from the lead single and follow up single(s)).

    And suffice it to say, there is plenty of reason to pay for even a full product received freely. What would that be? Well, to support the creator. To have more works produced. To show appreciation for the content produced and effort put into it. And so on and so forth. In fact, personally speaking, YOU or a creator/publisher have to genuinely or at least seemingly go out of your way to get me not to pay. DRM = me passing on your product. Buggy/shitty = me passing on your product. Douchebaggery (such as treating your customers like criminals, talking down to your customers, etc) = me passing on your product. ALSO, NOTE I DID NOT SAY I WILL PIRATE YOUR PRODUCT. I said I will pass on it, guess what that means, you don't get my money. Basically, "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on."

    "The best way is to put out a product that is entirely superior to everything else around, and which sells itself through word of mouth. Social media can help, but the best product should be your real goal, not twitter updates on your crappy, "same as everyone else" first person shooter."

    No, that is a great way to do something, by making it superior, but if no one knows about your great product, no one will want it. Let the people know about it. Also, no one specifically said "social media" or "twitter updates". You seem to have something against the internet in general though based on those comments. The internet itself is "social media". Obscurity is a greater threat to a product than anything else. By letting people know it's there though, you'll get some who'll want it and will buy it. By listening to your customers and keeping them in the loop as some do, you'll create fans and people who see you as a great person to do business with, as such they'll respect you and want to give you their hard earned dollars.

    "There is a huge difference between having a gaming engine that permits extensions (think new levels, etc) compared to making the source code available for modification, or having your whole project lifted and re-used by someone else. There is a fine line here again."

    There is indeed a difference, but again, where are you getting your talking points from based on what's in the article? No one said completely copy or re-use source code. They merely said allow for it to be modified, which will create a community around your product, games in this case, and allow it to flourish and thrive long after you stop selling/updating said game.

    "Yes indeed. Piracy is a symptom of a generation who feels no need or desire to pay for anything, and thinks of payment only as an optional TIP, not a purchase."

    No, piracy is a symptom of a failure to meet the market's demands/wants. They want your product. That much is clear. They want it how they want it, when they want it and at reasonable prices. Notice, I said reasonable, not free. If you overvalue your product and refuse to price adequately, people won't buy. End of story. You lose. If you refuse to put your product out there, again, you lose because people can't buy what isn't offered to them (and especially not what isn't offered to them wherever they may live, due to whatever bizarre restrictions you'll use as an excuse). If you refuse to let people make copies of your products (back-ups for their own personal use/storage), transfer your product (to use on their various devices), etc., they won't buy your product. You lose.

    Payment isn't an optional tip. But it's not a purchase at all from the consumer/customer standpoint. Why? Because of the restrictions you and your type put in place. You say we are buying your product, then you tell us what we are or aren't allowed to do with it, when we point out we bought your product and it is now ours you then tell us we merely "licensed" it. See the problem here? You're talking about a purchase while at the same time telling us we haven't purchased a thing, and the evidence is staggeringly against you, insofar as once purchased, you can do what you want with something. Not be limited. At that point, we aren't purchasing a thing and making claims about piracy is just your way of finding something else to bitch about while trying to tell the rest of us what to do.

    "Great story!"

    Great comment, smartass.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Loyalty

    Whole paragraph in his discussion about piracy...main way it is combated is via DRM. Was a stream of thought about DRM and why it sucks.

    BTW, they sold Impulse to GameStop and Ubisoft has published for Stardock in the past.

    But then thats prolly not relevant either.

    We don't use DRM on our products, but we'll sell other peoples stuff who do use it.

     

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    Forge, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:35am

    Stardock also gives negative examples:

    Here's how NOT to do it, also from Stardock;

    1. Sell game in stores (Sins of a Solar Empire).
    2. Lock game updates to online service (Impulse).
    3. Sell expansions only via online service.
    4. Sell online service to a whole other company (Gamestop).
    5. Re-release game on service fans always desired but were forbidden due to exclusive in-house online distribution (Steam).
    6. Charge full price for original game on desired service, tell fans that's just too bad.

    So now, about 100$ later, I have a game I can't play, on an online service I can't stand, which is rapidly circling the bowl. I've been told I'll have to throw out 30$+ to get back to where I started, but on an online distributor which doesn't blow goats.

    Thanks for nothing, Stardock. You slowly turned me from someone who bought your game and expansions to someone who skipped your new game, despite it looking quite interesting.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re:

    "perhaps 2-3 songs from an album"

    The problem of piracy is that it's an all or nothing sort of thing. People don't pirate a "sample", they take the whole damn thing - and in as good condition and as high quality as the original. Why would they buy it after that, except perhaps as some sort of tip jar morality play?

    " No one said completely copy or re-use source code. "

    There are those who rip games apart, change things, and so on (see the post above yours). Things don't stop at just pirating the game, some feel the need and desire to re-engineer it, or to use the technology to their own ends. None of which contributes to selling anything or moving the main company forward.

    "No, piracy is a symptom of a failure to meet the market's demands/wants."

    Sort of missing it, aren't you? If the market is demanding something that is not realistic, and the company chooses not to meet it, why does it justify piracy? Does your boss not paying you more the mimimum wage justify robbing people so you have enough money to party? Does it justify you forcing your way for free into a theater to see a movie? What you are doing is stating the common justification for piracy. If a company doesn't meet your desires or wants, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE - it's not a permission slip for piracy. Once you get over that mental block, the rest of your post makes so much less sense, really!

    "Payment isn't an optional tip. "

    This is key: if you have the full product already, full use, without restriction, then payment is but a tip. It's a way of saying thanks.

    "You're talking about a purchase while at the same time telling us we haven't purchased a thing,"

    Is that willful ignorance on your behalf, or are you just trying to be misleading? You purchase RIGHTS. Stop looking at the shiny disk or whatever, that is just a carrying medium. What you are buying is a license, you are purchasing a collection of rights. Yes, they are sometimes limited, mostly in the manner that doesn't allow you to bang out 50 copies for your best friends.

     

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    The dude, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Not really - I look at them, and I can only imagine how much more money they could make actually selling their products normally rather than giving them away and praying people pay."

    Well dude why don't you start your own online game service and show old Gabe how it's done?

    For someone with your intelligence a piece of cake.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Steam isn't relevant? You have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dude... please.

    They have a great business model - but it isn't a model of selling software, as much as a business model of selling ACCESS.

    When they do sell software, they sell it incredibly cheap. For developers, this can bring in a bunch of cash short term, but they have often then sort of sold themselves down the river, and established themselves as the "cheap" game makers.

    yes, you can make money selling $1 games. The question is more the relevance to fighting piracy. If you have to lower the price to the point where there is no money, or where you have to find so much larger of a market to make the same sort of money, the question would be "why bother"?

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Loyalty

    Puts them in a position to see real numbers and raise their eyebrows from time to time.

     

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  30.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem of piracy is that it's an all or nothing sort of thing. People don't pirate a "sample", they take the whole damn thing - and in as good condition and as high quality as the original. Why would they buy it after that, except perhaps as some sort of tip jar morality play?

    From a personal viewpoint that is exactly what I do. Try before I buy. I have been burned so many, many times by flashy graphics on a game box only to find out that it was all cut scenes and the actual game play sucks ass. I won't buy another title sight unseen off the shelf again - ever. If I like the game and I feel it's worth my money, I buy it to support the creator so they make more games.

    There are those who rip games apart, change things, and so on (see the post above yours). Things don't stop at just pirating the game, some feel the need and desire to re-engineer it, or to use the technology to their own ends. None of which contributes to selling anything or moving the main company forward.

    Oh cry me a flippin' river. There is a whole economic sector based on reverse engineering auto parts to create after market parts for cars. Ford, GM & Chrysler don't make dick from that either, but they still sell cars.

    Sort of missing it, aren't you? If the market is demanding something that is not realistic, and the company chooses not to meet it, why does it justify piracy? Does your boss not paying you more the mimimum wage justify robbing people so you have enough money to party? Does it justify you forcing your way for free into a theater to see a movie? What you are doing is stating the common justification for piracy. If a company doesn't meet your desires or wants, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE - it's not a permission slip for piracy. Once you get over that mental block, the rest of your post makes so much less sense, really!

    Most of that paragraph deals with morals and I don't argue morals. Too subjective. But, the idea is simple - if you are not serving your customers, they will go elsewhere, either to your competitor or through illegal means. It really doesn't matter how moral it is or not - it's a simple fact of reality.

    Is that willful ignorance on your behalf, or are you just trying to be misleading? You purchase RIGHTS. Stop looking at the shiny disk or whatever, that is just a carrying medium. What you are buying is a license, you are purchasing a collection of rights. Yes, they are sometimes limited, mostly in the manner that doesn't allow you to bang out 50 copies for your best friends.

    Yes, yes. I am well aware of the software industry's efforts to undermine the First Sale Doctrine (thanks AutoDesk) and the restrictions of copyright.

     

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  31.  
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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I see a lot of chatter, but not much else. The real message seems to be "ignore piracy" or "pander to pirates". That seems to be the siren song for those willing to work for 10 cents on the dollar (hi Red Hat!).


    Of course the message is to ignore pirates. You'll never recoup the money spent on DRM from pirates. It is not a economically sound practice.


    No, I don't ignore them. What I look at more is the social morals, what is discussed out there.


    Expounding on the virtues of a moral system doesn't solve anything, it merely causes intelligent people to succumb to emotional outbursts instead of engaging in rational discussion.


    Those people who set up their own game servers, or who bypass the "must be online with us" requirement of games are effectively lifting the game engine and leaving with it. At that point, the piracy crosses the line from "trying" to "taking over". It's a big deal.


    Typically, this behavior is actually carried out by and for people who already own the game and the money goes to maintaining the server. It is, essentially, merely the equivalent of modding for online games. Further, few players are actually siphoned off to these servers, feeling more comfortable with the service guarantees imposed on the moderators of the official servers.


    Yes, some can succeed despite piracy, mostly because they are selling things other than their product. It's no better than giving gallons of beer away for free at a party, and then charging people $20 to use the bathroom. Don't be surprised when they are all lining up to piss in your shoes instead.


    One can't make an infinite number of copies of a gallon of beer for free. Further, the charge isn't on the bathrooms, but the front door. People are there for the party, the free beer is just an enabler.

     

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    Jon Shafer (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Some More Thoughts

    Glad you enjoyed the article, and found it interesting enough to repost here Zachary! Here's a few more of my thoughts on the topic:

    I'm pragmatic by nature. While it might be tempting to try and "show the pirates who's boss," as soon as you get caught up in this thinking you'll lose sight of the end goal, which is to have a better game that sells more copies. The game business is and should be about creating something awesome, not fighting a war against the bad people. Any time or resources you spend there will probably come back to bite you.

    While it's not cut-and-dry, I absolutely feel that the best approach is to treat your players/consumers with respect, and to really try to make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy your game. Sure, there will be times when taking the 'nice' approach will burn you, but that's no different from life in general. We don't stop being nice and polite to everyone just because a few people are rude or misguided.

    Honestly, it all just comes down to staying focused on what's really important (which is another topic I've written about! http://jonshaferondesign.com/2012/04/10/the-secret-sauce-focus/).

    - Jon

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Again, love how you ignore, literally, almost everything I said and nitpick at a handful of things to continue on your tirade about piracy, which has almost nothing to do with the actual article.

    "The problem of piracy is that it's an all or nothing sort of thing. People don't pirate a "sample", they take the whole damn thing - and in as good condition and as high quality as the original. Why would they buy it after that, except perhaps as some sort of tip jar morality play?"

    NO ONE BUT YOU IS TALKING ABOUT PIRACY. The original point was about demos. You went off on full copies. I made a valid comparison for a game demo to the equivalent "demo" of a movie, book and album.

    "There are those who rip games apart, change things, and so on (see the post above yours). Things don't stop at just pirating the game, some feel the need and desire to re-engineer it, or to use the technology to their own ends. None of which contributes to selling anything or moving the main company forward."

    Modding contributes to selling a game and moving a company forward. They see what some want from their game, per the mods made available, and incorporate them to the next iteration of the game or add them to the current version themselves making them "official".

    Again, get over piracy. Not relevant to the article at all. Focus on the article.

    "Sort of missing it, aren't you? If the market is demanding something that is not realistic, and the company chooses not to meet it, why does it justify piracy? Does your boss not paying you more the mimimum wage justify robbing people so you have enough money to party? Does it justify you forcing your way for free into a theater to see a movie? What you are doing is stating the common justification for piracy. If a company doesn't meet your desires or wants, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE - it's not a permission slip for piracy. Once you get over that mental block, the rest of your post makes so much less sense, really!"

    No, the one missing the point, as it pertains to the article and proper discussion at hand, is YOU. As for the market, what is unrealistic about their demands? Reasonable prices? No DRM? No windowed releases? You consider all that "unrealistic"? If a company doesn't meet people's desires they will go somewhere else. Whether that somewhere else is legal or not is irrelevant. That you don't like it, also irrelevant. Someone will meet the demand, if you're not willing to then that's on you.

    And again, no one is justifying piracy or discussing piracy, it's all you.

    "This is key: if you have the full product already, full use, without restriction, then payment is but a tip. It's a way of saying thanks. "

    That's if you have the full product already. But in order to get it, you must pay first. The only people getting it that way are people pirating it, which again, is not what the article is about. Why you insist on essentially repeating yourself over and over is beyond me? Try and stick to the topic at hand. I know it's tough when you want to stand on your podium and bitch, but try and get off your cross, okay? You just might learn a thing or two.

    "Is that willful ignorance on your behalf, or are you just trying to be misleading? You purchase RIGHTS. Stop looking at the shiny disk or whatever, that is just a carrying medium. What you are buying is a license, you are purchasing a collection of rights. Yes, they are sometimes limited, mostly in the manner that doesn't allow you to bang out 50 copies for your best friends."

    No, that is not willful ignorance on my behalf. I know how things work and I know that I am purchasing certain rights and the limitations included. However, I am not the majority. And most customers aren't aware about purchasing "rights". They think if they pay for something they can do with it as they please. "Yes, they are sometimes limited". That is the key point I made, and it's not "sometimes", it's "always". And it's not just to prevent you from sending copies to 50 friends, it's to limit your usage and to force you to spend more money to get the same product again in a different format or be accessible on another device. Essentially, taking advantage of your position and feeling entitled to take more money for what should already be possible/allowable but for which you have had certainly laws to prevent.

    Now, again, who's the entitled bunch? Because from a consumer perspective, it's you and your type. If you want to be up front about the "rights" we purchase, by all means go for it. Put it on each and every dvd, cd, and book in standard and easily understandable terms, no legalese (which only confuses people and thus leads to problems). Then let's see if people still want to buy your stuff knowing full well what they can and can't do with it, what limitations it may or may not have, what features are (un)surprisingly missing or cost extra and so on and so forth.

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem of piracy is that it's an all or nothing sort of thing. People don't pirate a "sample", they take the whole damn thing - and in as good condition and as high quality as the original. Why would they buy it after that, except perhaps as some sort of tip jar morality play?


    Which is why a good demo is a good idea. It gives someone a chance to try the game without pirating it.

    There are those who rip games apart, change things, and so on (see the post above yours). Things don't stop at just pirating the game, some feel the need and desire to re-engineer it, or to use the technology to their own ends. None of which contributes to selling anything or moving the main company forward.


    The modding community overlaps only rarely and briefly with the pirate community (mostly when the source isn't available). Most modders and those playing the modded game have bought the base game. In addition, cool mods can often cause more people to buy the base game, which is required to play the mod.

    That mods increase the longevity of a game, not only for players but also in purchases, is a fairly well documented occurrence.

    Is that willful ignorance on your behalf, or are you just trying to be misleading? You purchase RIGHTS. Stop looking at the shiny disk or whatever, that is just a carrying medium. What you are buying is a license, you are purchasing a collection of rights. Yes, they are sometimes limited, mostly in the manner that doesn't allow you to bang out 50 copies for your best friends.


    Rights that we have more of by default in the case of all other industries. Severely limited rights are definitely not worth money.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    " if you are not serving your customers, they will go elsewhere, either to your competitor or through illegal means. It really doesn't matter how moral it is or not - it's a simple fact of reality."

    I think you miss the point - if a company is not meeting your needs, then go somewhere else. There shouldn't even be a tacit acceptance or approval of piracy as an option. The only reason we have the current piracy issue is because so many people don't feel the need to pay anymore. Look at PaulT, his justification for piracy is that he moved to a non-english country, and is pissed off because people won't sell him stuff in english - so he pirates. The reality? he pirates, the language thing is just a misdirection.

    Personal responsiblity, it's a wonderful thing - and something that the current society seems to lack.

    " I am well aware of the software industry's efforts to undermine the First Sale Doctrine"

    No first sale doctrine issue here - you are buying something, "rights". When you stop thinking you bought something else, your life is much easier to live.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes, yes. I am well aware of the software industry's efforts to undermine the First Sale Doctrine (thanks AutoDesk) and the restrictions of copyright."

    You know, this recently came up for me, pertaining to AutoDesk. Specifically AutoCAD software, as I took over IT responsibilities recently at an engineering company and when a compliance check was called for by AutoCAD because of "suspicious activity" (which was me uninstalling one of their products from one computer and trying to install it on another and using the license provided in the software documentation in the dvd case). I was then told that the license was invalid and that we could no longer use it without paying for a subscription, when I asked why I was told by the compliance representative that you are NOT allowed to use a license for any software that is now out of date. The version of AutoCAD I was trying to install was 2011, as they are now on 2013, our copy was out of date as of 12/31/2012. So essentially, the copy we purchased was no good. Our store bought, off the shelf, copy that I was holding in my hands COULD NOT be used, and to continue using it was to risk being non-compliant and having the matter turned over to the BSA (Business Software Alliance) and possibly risk being taken to court for copyright infringement.

    I was stunned to say the least and forced to tell my boss, "Well, looks like we have no choice but to get a subscription." Even my boss was in disbelief over this.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    Wasn't SC:II supposed to be that way too but they added a way to go around that because people complained? I know there is nothing I can't do with SC:II now if I am not online. I just have to play with myself...wait..bad wording..but you know what I mean.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The only relevant statement in the above article is this:

    "money be damned"

    Says it all right there.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you miss the point - if a company is not meeting your needs, then go somewhere else. There shouldn't even be a tacit acceptance or approval of piracy as an option. The only reason we have the current piracy issue is because so many people don't feel the need to pay anymore. Look at PaulT, his justification for piracy is that he moved to a non-english country, and is pissed off because people won't sell him stuff in english - so he pirates. The reality? he pirates, the language thing is just a misdirection.

    Personal responsiblity, it's a wonderful thing - and something that the current society seems to lack.


    Once again you are arguing morals and I will not engage you in that discussion. I'm just saying that it does exist, so suck it up, buttercup.

    No first sale doctrine issue here - you are buying something, "rights". When you stop thinking you bought something else, your life is much easier to live.

    Heh, try telling AutoDesk that you "bought" those rights and you now want to sell what you bought to another person.

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Some More Thoughts

    Thanks for stopping by Jon. Glad you liked it. I am a huge fan of the work Stardock is doing and glad to see that you have a level head on your shoulders. We certainly need more people like you in the games industry.

    I will certainly check out your other article.

    Thanks again.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I think you miss the point - if a company is not meeting your needs, then go somewhere else. There shouldn't even be a tacit acceptance or approval of piracy as an option. The only reason we have the current piracy issue is because so many people don't feel the need to pay anymore. Look at PaulT, his justification for piracy is that he moved to a non-english country, and is pissed off because people won't sell him stuff in english - so he pirates. The reality? he pirates, the language thing is just a misdirection."

    I think you miss the point, people are going somewhere else. Whether you want to admit it or not, piracy is another option. It is "somewhere else". You're problem is that it is illegal and you don't approve of it. Morals and justifications are irrelevant. If you aren't willing to sell them your product, then you have no right to complain that they get it elsewhere.

    That is relevant to PaulT. He cannot legally purchase said products, thus complaining about him pirating them is irrelevant. The fact that he lives in a mostly non-English speaking country is irrelevant. Their should still be some kind of a market there, as their should be for most of the world, for English speakers to legally purchase products. That there isn't, for whatever bizarre reason, is thus a problem to be laid at the feet of the industries. As such, they have no right to complain about PaulT. Nor do you. Blaming people for not living where your products are accessible is pretty pathetic. "Live in America or fuck off," is essentially what you're saying.

    As for "tacit acceptance or approval of piracy as an option", no one is saying any of that. We're being realists. Piracy exist whether you like it or not. The smart people accept this and move on to focus on more important issues, like I don't know... their paying customers and offering superior, non-DRMed products. The stupid keep stamping their feet and acting like children.

    "No first sale doctrine issue here - you are buying something, "rights". When you stop thinking you bought something else, your life is much easier to live."

    Again, be up front about this. Tell people and make it absolutely clear, but don't trick them into "buying" something and then tell them after the fact that they only "licensed" it or purchased specific "rights". And if you're going to do that, don't be a cheat by making your products non-refundable as well. No other industry does this but the entertainment one. In every single other industry and product available, you can return products or ask for refunds if they do not meet your satisfaction or are in some way defective. Which is yet again, an example of how you and your type are cheating the consumers. Be up front about it is all we ask, especially to the average customer who isn't aware of such things. Which you seem to be laying all the blame on, which is ridiculous since they don't even know about any of this.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Expounding on the virtues of a moral system doesn't solve anything, it merely causes intelligent people to succumb to emotional outbursts instead of engaging in rational discussion."

    Actually this is a pretty big part of society as a whole, something that appears to be eroding and causing so many of our issues today.

    Ever heard the expression "It's not illegal to speed, it's only a problem if you get caught"? That is a little inkling of the issue at hand. Rather than having laws and respecting them, even when there isn't someone of authority RIGHT THERE (cop car with radar, example), we now have a society of people trying to get away with as much as they can, no matter what.

    Yet, the moral things are what has kept us strong in the past. Teaching your kids not to steal, not to hurt others, and so many other basic tenets of life have been the building blocks of society. The basics, you know, the share your toys in the sand box thing that makes us better people - that's all disappearing.

    We have become a society of overbearing rules because, quite simply, someone is always trying to get one over. Someone is always trying to push the rules, sue because the coffee was too hot, the pizza 1 minute late, and so on. We drive to fast, park too long, cheat on our taxes, and casually dump our trash on the neighbors lawn... so there are laws about it.

    All of those things are moral issues. People feel entitled to ignore the law because they don't like it, and when they get caught, they get all upset, cussing and swearing because they got a parking ticket or got audited. Some of them "go postal" and public officials end up hurt or killed over stupid things.

    Look, piracy doesn't rise up to the level of murder, but it does fall in the same category: It's the disrespect for everyone else, for anyone else, for anyone else's rights, for the laws of society. It's an end result of a disrespect for everyone and anyone except themselves and those few people who they choose to respect.

    So don't downplay the moral issue, because it is clearly EXACTLY a moral issue. People don't appear to have any moral issue about piracy, they don't care about the rights of the artist, the creators, or the companies who are marketing the product and paying them. It's a total lack of respect for what the people do, and that's always going to be the key issue.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ", they don't care about piracy, they are swimming in cash)."

    That's odd. The other day, I got banned from the Steam forums and the only reason I was given was "Piracy". I had made a long topic discussing why I wasn't going to pay 9.99 for a newly released Visual Novel that didn't look all that good. I admit, I did say that I MIGHT (stress the might) download the game from Piratebay once a cracked version was available to have a look. I specifically said something like "There is only the legal version now, selling for 9.99, but this isn't the type of game I have to play RIGHT NOW. Therefore, I can be patient and wait for a cracked version from Piratebay. If I like it, I might pay for the Steam version (purely for the unlimited reinstalls)."
    Never mind that I was a loyal customer of Steam of several years, with over 50 games bought and paid for. Nope, the second I discuss how and why I buy games, I'm told to fuck off. So, no, AC, they DO care about piracy, it seems they're terrified of their customers even talking about it.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So...then this moral right of the artist has always existed then? Like the fact that murder is morally wrong and always has been, then piracy always has been? Or only since the introduction of the Statute of Anne?
    For thousands of years, every human being was entitled to copy the work of every other human being, and no-one gave a hoot about it. Then, about two or three hundred years ago, we're told to stop that.
    Please explain why.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Then tell me at the till I'm only getting a licence. Not once in my life have I ever picked up a game or movie and been told that I'm only getting a licence to do certain things with the content.
    Instead, what we have is the word "BUY BUY BUY" plastered everywhere. We're told from a video rental place in my area "Now available to rent or BUY" (emphasis mine). Nowhere do I see the word licence...except for AFTER I pay and I get the product home, and I see the EULA/TOS before I install the game.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Look, you're getting hung up on piracy and I think you completely Gwiz's point. Not that that surprises me. His point was MORALS ARE SUBJECTIVE. Your morals are different from his. What's right or wrong to you may not be right or wrong to Gwiz. Which may or may not be the same morals I have. Which may not be Mike's, which may not be PaulT's and so on and so forth. Thus, SUBJECTIVE.

    You want to rail about piracy, by all means go start a blog and do nothing but that. Piss and moan and preach morals and damn the rest of the world all you want. You want to be here, try and respond to the main points of the articles and the main points of what people are saying in the comments. They reply to you and point things out and you're fall back response seems to be, "but but but piracy" and "but but but it's wrong". In your eyes/world, there's no room for any kind of reasoning because that's all you wanna discuss. No one can point out to you how to do things because then you complain they're trying to tell you what to do (even if that's not the case). No one can do anything in your world because you don't care to hear it. If it's not 100% in line/agreement with your stance... well, we've read your comments.

    Move on already. There are other issues to discuss and things worth taking note of.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And that to me sums up the evil of Autodesk...at the absolute worst, what they should do is stop you from downloading updates. But to tell you you can't use the old version AT ALL? And also, to have a compliance check - that's basically a private police force. What are they going to do if your management denies them entry to company premises - somehow twist it around that the company doesn't own the land?

     

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    explicit coward (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    I haven't played SCII for a while now. But to my knowledge you should be able to play offline by now. The consequence of playing offline is that you don't get any achievements. But I think that's square and fair.

    Diablo III doesn't offer any such option. In twenty years I will be able to show my grandkids Diablo (I) and Diablo II - but I'm not sure about diablo III. If by then the servers have gone offline (and Blizzard has not released a patch to play the game offline), the game will be dead bits and bytes...

     

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    Silence8, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Hero worship?

    Two words, Tim Schafer.
    http://twitter.com/#!/timoflegend

    He does not put out the aura of a rock star, he's a normal guy who talks and listens to his fans. His new game will be written with the input and LARGE amount of money from these fans who will be taking an active part in it's creation, creating the "ownership" that was mentioned in TFA.

    This is why you want to talk to your fans, and the above are the reasons people are excited about him coding a game.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, the compliance check is to ensure no copyright infringement is going on. They send you an Audit Tool online to use on all the computers, which to add insult to injury I used as directed (PER THEIR OWN PROVIDED INSTRUCTIONS) and then the response I received was basically an email that accused me of turning off all the company computers (not stated as such flat out, it was put much more delicately but the implication was there). So I responded with "I did everything you asked, step by step, per YOUR OWN instructions and if you're going to accuse me of something you should know I won't stand for it and if you want I'll do this manually and send you ALL the data because I'd like to hurry this along and make your life easier". The lady basically realized I wasn't going to take her shit and then wrote back saying, "Oh no, perhaps it was an error on our part let me have our Tech Support contact you and tell you what to do."

    At that point, all went well, and everything was fine, minus the one non-compliance issue. That being a license being used in conjunction with software that was out of date. Per their SLA (her words not mine) it was in non-compliance and had to be rectified immediately or she would pass the issue to the BSA.

    But yes, if you're using any software from AutoDesk that is from 2011 or earlier, even if you purchased it legally and have the receipts and actual discs and cases for it and everything, you're violating their SLA (which is basically their Terms of Service) and are in non-compliance (if you're a company only I'm assuming, if anyone knows otherwise please say so) and risk being reported for copyright infringement.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    they do this for legal reasons NOT because of company policy, I have worked for a few big tech support sites and more then a few times we got legal notices from random companies over posts made by random members about piracy.

    they claimed we condoned it(we didnt) they claimed we contribute to it(We didnt) on and on, guess what, we got so we would just give people a vacation for even mentioning it in any specific way.

    your fault for not reading the forum rules, I guarantee they mention piracy and warez as reasons for banning.

    Mind you, this comes from a guy who downloads and demo's alot of games before he buys them.....(or del them and pat myself on the back for not wasting more money on shitty titles)

    best advice is that on most major forums you never talk about piracy in any specific way that way your less likely to get banned.

     

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  52.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Hero worship?

    To further make the point, I'll add another two words: John Romero.

    John Romero had rock star status when he founded Ion Storm. He could have done some good with it, but then he thought it would be fun to make everyone his bitch. He later regretted making that ad because it lost him that relationship with the gaming community.

    And he's not really done much of note since.

     

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  53.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I wonder how that charge of copyright infringement would hold up in court, if we take it as a given that your company would hire a competent lawyer. Just because you're using old software doesn't mean you're a criminal.
    Besides...can such a SLA/ToS be legal if it states that you must cease use of the product/service at a specific date and then purchase the new version? I suppose I should be thankful that Microsoft don't do that with Windows...imagine being told that you absolutely, positively MUST give up Windows XP and move on to Vista/7/8 (at a signifact cost to yourself of course)

     

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  54.  
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    AzureSky (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And they wonder why so many companies are moving off their software and why so many people just crack their software.....

     

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  55.  
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    AzureSky (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Stardock also gives negative examples:

    1. no clue what your on about here, I have seen sins in stores and online....

    2. WTF are you on about here, Sins and all other stardock games I have bought could be directly downloaded from stardock AND you could/can download the patches directly as well.

    3. huh, strange.....seems i can buy them http://www.amazon.com/Sins-Solar-Empire-Pc/dp/B000YFOGS8

    4. this was a good move, it got them out of the business of distributing DRM'd games for companies that cared more about insuring people who didnt buy the game cant play then about profits.

    5. they really couldnt do this till they sold impulse, they also allow direct downloads if you buy on steam, steam just makes updates and buying cheaper/easier.

    6. Impulse was a good idea but they made the mistake of allowing DRM titles on the service and it was causing them headaches trying ot support other companies buggered up DRM.

    my advice is to contact stardock directly if you cant use your keys to get direct downloads or add them to steam(in testing People I know have managed to either get the same game activated on steam with the same key OR use the key direct on stardocks site to download the game and expantions.

    its not stardocks fault your inept and dont know how to contact support.

     

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  56.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I admit that I didn't read the forum rules - They do explicitly say that any mention of piracy will result in an automatic ban.
    Fair enough, the forums are on Steam servers and Valve owns and runs Steam, they can set whatever rules they want.
    What I do find outrageous and disgusting is that there ARE no legal rules behind this. Gabe Newell has gone on record as saying that piracy is the result of companies failing to serve their customers. Okay then, if he believes that, then why not allow a legitamate discussion of the topic? It's not like I was spamming links, I was calmly laying out reasons why I wouldn't pay for a game.
    I would have expected automatic bans from Ubisoft or EA forums, given their practices and beliefs, but I never expected Steam to be so trigger happy.

     

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  57.  
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    Clayface, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    3d-Coat is a program I recently purchased. The only copy protection it has, besides being closed source, is that a serial number is required. There is no invasive DRM of any kind. The demo is completely unlimited. You can do everything the program can do, even save files, for 30 days. Then you can buy either the educational version for $100 or pro version for $350. The only limits in the EDU version is maximum texture size and number of layers. Otherwise it does everything the pro version can. It's not limited to students either. Cash strapped hobbyists are welcome to buy the EDU version too.

    The author of 3D Coat is very open to new ideas and is fairly quick to fix bugs. He often posts on the official forum and actually replies to people when they have questions and suggestions. Updates are frequent and anyone who owns a copy is allowed to use the latest beta version if they so wish.

    All of these add up to a radically different experience as a consumer and one that is tremendously pleasant. I feel fiercely loyal as a result and plan to eventually upgrade to the pro version when I can afford it, not because I actually need to, but because I want to. He deserves it, and this is all in spite of the fact that there is a pirated version freely available online.

    Earning the admiration and loyalty of your customers is something a lot of businesses don't seem to understand anymore, despite the fact it has always been essential for long term viability. How can one possibly expect repeat business, or even new customers though being highly recommended (aka word of mouth), when you treat your "fans" like crap, completely ignore them most of the time, and view them with nothing but utter contempt, even going so far as to treat them like criminals? Why is it so hard to see such an obvious connection between this and success?

    You say the secret is to simply put out a superior product, but I know from experience that this is way off the mark. There are better programs than 3D Coat for example, but none have what makes it so special. An author who understands people. An author who "gets it" so to speak. I'll take that over a superior product any day. Why? Because there is nothing to stop it from becoming the superior product some day, which is more likely to happen when there are steadfast supporters standing behind you, willing to help out (not just bug testing and suggestions, but acting as free tech support for instance).

    A business cannot possibly hope to stay afloat when it refuses to build a strong, loyal community. Going out of your way to make people hate you can only lead to your eventual downfall. After all it's exceedingly difficult to feel sorry for anyone whom merrily digs their own grave, exactly what the entertainment industry has been doing for a while now.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Honestly, I have no idea. I know the company years ago had previously dealt with a similar issue. So they keep track of EVERYTHING and I mean everything to avoid that. The fact that you can't use your own out of date software that you purchased (at the time for $7,000 a pop for software/license and that is still the price even now, unless you're on a subscription which is much easier on the wallet but still pretty pricey) is ridiculous.

    It gets even worse, in order to actually be "allowed" to use older versions of their software you HAVE to have it (the specific license associated with each individual copy) on a Subscription. At which point, knock yourself out. Use all the old copies you want. WITH ONE CATCH.

    Example: Let's say I have 10 guys on one subscription using AutoCAD 2012. The new AutoCAD 2013 comes out (which it has). One guy decides to upgrade, per what is allowed by our Subscription, to the 2013 version. Guess what? We're officially non-compliant on the 2012 version. EVERYONE HAS TO UPGRADE THEIR SOFTWARE. No, we don't have to pay more or get another subscription. But if one guy upgrades, everyone has to upgrade. Which is impossible in some situations, some people have to use specific versions. So in order to be compliant either everyone has to upgrade or everyone needs their own subscription or whatnot.

    As for the SLA/ToS, I have no idea. I honestly haven't looked at it, but rest assured I'm going to when I have a free moment. I'm sure, technically, it's legal though. But again, I'm no lawyer. I'm just the IT guy trying to deal with such random nonsense which makes absolutely no sense.

    We're actually trying to switch over from Autodesk to products by Bentley. Does all that and then some. But too many people you have to work with still use this or that and guess who's stuff they all use? Yeah.... we're screwed one way or another.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, and one more thing, guess what Autodesk provides with their software? A license transfer tool. Which requires, obviously, an always on internet connection to utilize. Guess what tool doesn't work (like at all even with an always on internet connection and following the steps included with said tool)? Which I found out and thus resorted to transferring the software the old fashioned way (manually) to get it installed/licensed. Yep, the provided (DRMed) "License Transfer Utility". They just find all kinds of ways to f*ck you.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    People don't pirate a "sample", they take the whole damn thing
    No, they don't take anything - they copy "the whole damn thing".

    I guess this is just maximalists ratcheting up your rhetoric? People aren't buying the whole "copying is the same as stealing", so you're moving to even stupider wording to try to get them to believe it?

    Sorry, it won't work - it just makes you look stupid.

     

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  61.  
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    DCX2, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:56pm

    Modding FTW

    Modding is perhaps what draws me most to some games. And it really, dramatically increases the longevity of a game.

    I've personally put over 800 hours into Left 4 Dead 2. I've written my own mods. My wife's put in almost 2000 hours. I guarantee there's no way we'd be able to put in that kind of time if we couldn't tweak the game to our liking, run our own server, etc. It makes me feel like I really do own the game.

    In fact, I recently started playing another game called Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines. It was released in 2004. It's been fan-modded and patched ever since; the latest unofficial patch was just released a few weeks ago. EIGHT YEARS and people are still playing and hacking at this game. Amazing.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Stardock also gives negative examples:

    If you look at the Stardock help forums, you can see that the technical admin staff say flat out that they will not support customers who purchased items via Impulse with keys for Steam.

    http://forums.galciv2.com/413937/page/1/#3033613

     

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  63.  
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    AzureSky (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Stardock also gives negative examples:

    "You bought it via Impulse, it's still on Impulse AND if you want to re-download from Stardock, you can download it from http://download.stardock.com with your user account."

    "I should also add that we do intend for new releases (like Fallen Enchantress and Sins Rebellion) to have their keys be interchangeable. "

    "yes, I make my decisions based on what's best for Stardock. Providing good customer service is one of those things which is why we're making sure people can download their stuff from Stardock directly in the event they don't choose to continue to use Impulse. And yes, when a customer demands something that is not good for Stardock, I consider that unreasonable. Businesses that do that too often don't remain in business. I believe in enlightened self interest. "

    so yeah, you can dl direct from stardock, no need for steam or impulse, they wont port keys(due to cost and likely hood of people selling the steam keys i bet)

    so if your so butt hurt about it,dont buy their products, i doubt they will notice your absence, much like EA dosnt notice that I wont buy bf3 and activision wont notice when I refuse to buy diablo3.

     

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  64.  
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    AzureSky (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Modding FTW

    and the funniest part to me is that to this day there are still massive numbers of hacked servers running the game for players who wont shell out the (cheap as hell) price for the game.

    and they even play the game via steam.....

    the thing is, valve never even bothered to try and block them from what i have seen, why bother, if they wont pay the steam sale price, they clearly never are going to buy the game anyway.....so they arent costing you any money....(i think the game was like 7 bucks when somebody gifted it to me.....lol)

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Please continue to imagine ....

     

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  66.  
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    AbbaDabba, Apr 19th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    My money

    Love their products, love the company, love the trial software... most always upgrade as the prices are reasonable. Yes, this is the way to treat your customers. And when I get their emails, I read them, unlike EA or UBISoft that just goes in the trash.

     

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


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