Ridiculous: 'Cyberpunk 2077' Will Ship With A Mode Just To Help Streamers Avoid DMCA Notices

from the thanks-twitch dept

You will likely have been following along with us as we have steadily commented on the ongoing controversy at Twitch. But if you’re not read up on the topic, Twitch suddenly nuked zillions of hours of recorded content made by Twitch streamers in response to RIAA and game publisher DMCA notices, all without warning and all without a way to counternotice or get any of that content back. As the community went into revolt, Twitch continued taking down content, at times for sound effects within the games streamers were streaming. All the while, Twitch has issued a steady stream of apologies, while the streamer community has basically just shouted “Well then do something!” in response.

But Twitch hasn’t done anything. Not a damned thing. Which means it’s been left to the forward-thinking game publishers that actually realize how beneficial these streamers are to their own success to do something instead. To that end, it’s both great that CD Projekt Red has announced the forthcoming blockbuster Cyberpunk 2077 will have a game mode dedicated to using stream-safe music for streamers… and completely ridiculous that the publisher even has to do something like this.

During the latest installment of long-form Cyberpunk commercial series “Night City Wire,” UK head of communications Hollie Bennett explained that the game will have a mode that will not only remove licensed music from the in-game rotation but replace it with music that won’t get creators’ channels zapped out of existence. Handy!

“If you’re planning on livestreaming Cyberpunk, or if you just want to make videos, we want to introduce you to a new mode that will allow you to disable certain copyrighted tracks,” Bennett said. “We know that for content creators, licensed music can sometimes be problematic. So with this new mode, you’ll be able to disable a small number of selected tracks which could cause some issues, replacing them with a different song—helping to avoid any problems.”

So because Amazon-owned Twitch couldn’t be bothered to simply license the music in games in some sort of blanket manner, and because the music industry is so cartoonishly impermissive with its content, a game publisher has to step in to help. This comes as part of CD Projekt Red’s long history of being fan and public friendly, but it really shouldn’t have had to take such measures. Somebody somewhere along the way should have been on the side of the streamers who make these game products more popular, leading to more sales.

It’s still far from an ideal solution—nothing short of Amazon and Twitch striking a licensing deal with the music industry would be—but for now, it will have to do.

For now it will indeed have to do. But it sure would be nice if streaming platforms generally, and Twitch in particular, could get their collective heads out of their asses long enough to get their shit together and support their communities.

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Companies: amazon, cd projekt red, riaa, twitch

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Comments on “Ridiculous: 'Cyberpunk 2077' Will Ship With A Mode Just To Help Streamers Avoid DMCA Notices”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Seems to me the proper solution isn’t a "streaming-friendly" mode, but for game manufacturers to stop licensing audio from producers who don’t allow for a streaming friendly license.

Otherwise, these guys are still getting paid for the content even when the streamers never use it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Also game publishers/developers should avoid region-only licensing from composers. Dragon Quest XI have this issue since the composer only licensed his music in Japan (it’s intentional by the composer). So for worldwide, it only have a few licensed music for international which made it repetitive because it have a smaller pool of music to work with.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

composer only licensed his music in Japan

Happened with Tales of Zestiria too. Funny part was the developers accidentally shipping the japanese intro video with the music in the initial English version for Steam, and having to quickly issue an "update" to remove it. Along with several more updates to try and prevent people who backed up the original file from forcing the game to play it.

A lot of people hate this type of thing, but publishers / developers have a tendency to ignore people.

I would say a better option is to just include a blanket video streaming right in the EULA. You bought the game, the developer should license the use by default.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Let me see if I have this straight: The creators/owners/authors of a (possibly composite, meaning built off others) work, who necessarily have the right to re-license it, are offering a mode to people (who’ve already got a license from them) to make it so that it’s less likely to be a license violation?

Paul B says:

Re: Re:

Just because I license a song in my location, for my game, in a fully legal and contractual way, does not mean that some other country (in this case the US) does not have some automated mechanical right to 3 seconds of my music due to the fact that we both used a riff from a classical (out of copyright) bit of music and added the same 1 note flourish at the end.

Music is complicated because some asshat can own 4 notes in a specific order for 80 years or so even when we try to tell judges that there are only so many possible combinations, and even fewer that sound good.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Music is even way more complicated than that — there are different licenses needed for using recordings, "performing", lyrics and score. On top of that, there is copyright for the actual tune, plus for music that has the same "feel" without using the same sequence of notes. And then ON TOP of all that, these platform-specific fingerprinting systems have nothing to do with copyright itself, but just flag anything with a movement that loosely matches that found in a registered piece of music.

What we really need is a way to counter-sue when someone claims under the DMCA that a musical movement in the public domain is under someone’s copyright. There should be a "take down and stay down" for this, where if they file repeated claims after the initial one is disputed with proof, THEY have to pay the damages to each victim that they threatened in the first place — whether that’s monetary, advertising loss, or taking their copyrighted piece down from some service.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

THEY have to pay the damages to each victim that they threatened in the first place — whether that’s monetary, advertising loss, or taking their copyrighted piece down from some service.

Said every RIAA lobbyist to the people that wrote the DMCA and exported it around the world in "free trade" agreements.

What really needs to happen is that the Notice system needs to be repealed, and burden of proof be pushed back onto the plaintiffs. That would fix this mess, along with all of the stupid collateral damage the Notice system does.

Anonymous Coward says:

Instead of 'infringing'

Okay, I know, it’s never just an matter of optics, but I just can’t help myself this time… mostly, I’m not really serious… I just wanna point out how childish all of this is.

So, we have ‘fair use’ for acceptable uses of others materials.
Instead of calling it ‘infringing’, let’s call it ‘unfair use’ … it is after all, use that’s considered ‘unfair’ to the copyright holder…

Framing it this way, it could help people to get to the mindset of copyright as a right and not as physical property… (and don’t call it ‘theft’, that’s just being intellectually dishonest, so I’ll call you a liar!)

Now… what’s ‘unfair’ about letting a user stream the music originally intended for the play through… … no one in their right mind is going to say, hey, I want to listen to ‘blah blah’ so I’ll go watch a game stream!

Sounds like a bunch of kids whining about other kids being more popular with their toys… too bad I can’t just tell em to play nice or I’ll take the toys away :p

Anonymous Coward says:

i don,t know if its possible for a new video game to come out with original music or old rock ,pop music and for the music to be licensed so that twitch streamers can play the game without getting a dmca notice from a music company.
twitch has not made a deal with the larger music companys to license music like facebook or tik tok.
Theres a few small companys that provide music for streamers to play in the background at no risk of a dmca strike.
streaming games is in limbo, legally speaking, apart from nintendo most game devs want their games streamed on twitch,
more streams =free advertising and more game sales .
it seems most new games will need an option , mute all music so that
the game can be played on twitch without getting a dmca strike

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: CDPR is not nice guys you think they are

CDPR is still engaging in unnecessary crunch and intra-office politics that are toxic to developers. And I hear rumors there are microtransactions in Cyberpunk 2070 which are toxic to players.

Oh and they’re trying to make it politics free for fear of offending China and Trumps

Because they crunched for over a year, I won’t be buying the game until it’s way on the cheap.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 2077 Crunch and Microtransactions

The _surprise! we’ve been crunching all this time news blazed across the networks about a month ago.

According to this article Cyberpunk 2020 microtransactions will be multiplayer only. That’s news to me but it implies GOG is breaking its no DRM ever creed since Microtransactions require DRM.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 2077 Crunch and Microtransactions

According to this article Cyberpunk 2020 microtransactions will be multiplayer only. That’s news to me but it implies GOG is breaking its no DRM ever creed since Microtransactions require DRM.

A cursory google search on "microtransactions + DRM-free" led me to this Reddit page. Seems like you’re at least four years too late. If there is indeed a difference, what is the difference?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Microtransactions + drm

DRM becomes necessary in order to prevent people from accessing content they didn’t pay for.

If you and I are in a multiplayer game and I buy a fancy red dress (for real $$$) then the assets need to be on your system so you can see my fancy red dress. You don’t get to wear it, but you get to see it when I do.

Without that DRM you’d be able to edit the configs, and assure you too have the fancy red dress. And all the other dresses.

When microtransaction assets are available through normal play (which is considered the ethical alternative) then the companies start getting weird about whether or not people are playing the game right. When someone uses powers and gear in a clever way to easy-mode boss fights and get a ton of sweet drops, is he exploiting the game? Or is he engaging the synergy of its rules the way they were intended? That depends on how stingy the moderating developer feels that day.

The answer to that question can also be influenced by:

~ Who the player is
~ If the player is a woman or LGBT+
~ How dark-skinned the player is.
~ How young the player is. (Minors are less allowed to be clever.)
~ What country the player is playing in (if he’s a she)
~ How the player feels about China.
~ How the player feels about the Taiwan Independence Movement.

In short, it’s a mess.

Also the presence of microtransactions kill the post-market modding community until the game is old enough that the publisher doesn’t care to set its lawyers on modders.

Many games feature DLC, typically in the form of a post-production block package of new levels, new gear, new skills and so on, typically informed by the feedback players during the first year on the market. Day One DLC and small-package DLC (e.g. Horse Armor) tends to just take advantage of chumps.

And when a business treats its customers as marks rather than clients, it means the company is predatory and hostile to the community. Usually we have laws against that sort of thing the way we have laws against big pharma pushing highly addictive opioids.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Microtransactions + drm

If you and I are in a multiplayer game and I buy a fancy red dress (for real $$$) then the assets need to be on your system so you can see my fancy red dress. You don’t get to wear it, but you get to see it when I do.

Without that DRM you’d be able to edit the configs, and assure you too have the fancy red dress. And all the other dresses.

Actual result depends entirely on how the server is implemented. There’s nothing to prevent your system from showing a red dress on your character, but any sane server design wouldn’t accept the skinning information from the client, let alone propagate it to other players. Especially when paid DLC skins are involved.

Hell if anything, the fact your system reports the use of a DLC that your account on the server has disabled, proves you’ve altered the game client. In which case you should expect the banhammer to visit your account over.

When microtransaction assets are available through normal play (which is considered the ethical alternative) then the companies start getting weird about whether or not people are playing the game right. When someone uses powers and gear in a clever way to easy-mode boss fights and get a ton of sweet drops, is he exploiting the game? Or is he engaging the synergy of its rules the way they were intended? That depends on how stingy the moderating developer feels that day.

How stingy a developer / publisher is, in and of itself is not a form DRM. It is stingy but that’s what happens when gamers allow the publishers to create a bunch of worthless "premium" content and then demand that it be accessible without paying for it. (And therefore give the worthless value.) If gamers wanted something better, they should have rejected such "premium" content outright.

The answer to that question can also be influenced by: List of political crap.

Considering that people have died over the things you listed, I’d say that "DRM" and "what worthless skin someone has access to in their game" is the least of their worries.

Also the presence of microtransactions kill the post-market modding community until the game is old enough that the publisher doesn’t care to set its lawyers on modders.

Yes they do. That does not require DRM however.

Many games feature DLC, typically in the form of a post-production block package of new levels, new gear, new skills and so on, typically informed by the feedback players during the first year on the market. Day One DLC and small-package DLC (e.g. Horse Armor) tends to just take advantage of chumps.

Again, does not require DRM if implemented properly. On-Disc DLC does require it, as does DLC embedded in updates that requires a server OK to activate, but DLC that is stored on the server until purchase does not. Nor does DLC where it’s purpose is solely within online services.

Your red dress example is only profitable if the server itself forbids appearance of the dress on the systems of others without payment. Otherwise, anyone could just set the appropriate bits on their client and server would happily send them to the other players. Bypassing the purchase requirement. A.K.A. what Nintendo’s network developers just can’t seem to figure out.

And when a business treats its customers as marks rather than clients, it means the company is predatory and hostile to the community. Usually we have laws against that sort of thing the way we have laws against big pharma pushing highly addictive opioids.

OK, considering this has devolved into a rant against companies over perceived injustices instead of DRM and how it impacts microtransactions we’ll stop here.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Microtransactions + drm

considering this has devolved into a rant…

You’re right. What was obvious to me is not obvious to you (or the other Anonymous Coward below). I wasn’t understanding the misstep and went on a tirade.

A mandated online connection to a company server is DRM.

Granted, it’s a DRM that is necessary in MMOs that maintain a world with long-term deontological inertia, since it keeps track of the all the player-made changes to the world that other player can encounter.

But most games don’t even provide a server. In single player, they just monitor the player. In multiplayer co-op they track who is where, but someone locally provides a listen server.

In MMO-lite which is small-group co-op with some tricks to make it look MMO, they often choose a player to be the host.

In all these cases but the first, the company server is not doing a thing except acting as DRM. And everyone’s assets (including premium ones) are tracked locally in black boxes.

That’s DRM as well. But the main DRM is the covert nature of the mandated connection to the company server.

Games that don’t have microtransactions can operate entirely from listen servers, and they do, or operate from a computer in offline mode when single player.

Games that do really badly want that mandated connection to the company server, just to make sure no one is stealing.

And that’s DRM.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Microtransactions + drm

"A mandated online connection to a company server is DRM.

Granted, it’s a DRM that is necessary in MMOs "

Erm, no, I’ll stop you there. Online connectivity in an MMO is not DRM, it’s what you’re actually paying for. You don’t pay Blizzard $15/month or whatever it is to download the patches, you pay it to access their servers. An online connection in an online multiplayer server is not DRM, it’s the thing you’re using.

DRM is crap, especially if it involves online connectivity in a single player game, but don’t confuse the service that you’re paying with DRM.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Microtransactions + drm

A mandated online connection to a company server is DRM.

Most games are not MMOs, but many games are made to look like an MMO when they’re not.

I don’t play MMOs. But I’ve tried MMO lites, and they don’t require the company server for anything but DRM. In that case it’s DRM.

In the case of MMOs a mandated connection serves the same function as DRM, and it is justified. That doesn’t change that companies seek to market their games as MMOs even when they are not and don’t need the mandated online connection.

It’s much like how DVD encryption suddenly became copy protection at the convenience of the publishers as soon as the anti-circumvention clause was in effect.

I don’t play games that require persistent online connections to a company server. But sometimes I have to do a buttload of research to find out that a given game has that mandate.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Microtransactions + drm

"A mandated online connection to a company server is DRM"

No if the actual functionality of a game is online, it’s not.

"Most games are not MMOs, but many games are made to look like an MMO when they’re not"

…and many games don’t do either. Which games are you thinking of specifically? You probably need to come up with a different term to refer to games that don’t need to be online, given that the last letter of MMO literally means online.

"It’s much like how DVD encryption suddenly became copy protection at the convenience of the publishers as soon as the anti-circumvention clause was in effect."

No, that is a completely different kind of issue.

"But sometimes I have to do a buttload of research to find out that a given game has that mandate."

Really? Most reviews note that up front, and if you’re on PC it’s fairly obvious from the launcher they choose.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

A mandated online connection to a company server is DRM

No if the actual functionality of a game is online, it’s not.

You’re conflating games that need to be online with games that need to be connected to a company server. (That is, a specific server). Plenty of games work with a listen-server (so the first player’s machine serves as the hosting server) or can connect to private servers, and dedicated-server software is made available by the providing company. Then, the need to be online is not DRM.

But if the game has to connect to the server of a specific company, it totally is DRM, whether or not this is a necessary function of the game.

If a company has the power to turn off the server and brick the game, then yes, that is totally DRM.

(Granted, there are a number of unofficial MMO servers, either of dead games or of prior builds, so they’re still possible to play. That aligns with the way games with DRM can sometimes be cracked.)

If Cyberpunk 2070 multiplayer requires connection to a company server, then CDRK (or whoever hosts the server) will be able to brick 2070 mp whenever the company decides it’s no longer worth it to them to continue hosting. That is DRM whether or not they justify it.

Note that I’m not sure this is how CDRK is going to do it. I also don’t know if 2070 mp will be MMO or have a low maximum per server ( PUBG can manage 128 players per server).

They can solve this by providing dedicated-server software, but then they have to work out how to lock out microtransactional elements of the game. They might choose to use DRM, or simply obscure / encrypt them in the game the way shareware programs control feature locks.

Part of GOG’s original creed was to not feature games that required plugging into a server that someone could turn off. There are no rental MMOs on GOG (though there might be some that run on private servers like Neverwinter Nights) If Cyberpunk 2077 multiplayer mandates online connection to a company server instead of a private server, that’s DRM, and it leaves the player vulnerable to CDRK shutting off the server and bricking the multiplayer portion of the game.

I’m sorry if you don’t see that as a problem, PaulT but the bricking of MMOs by companies when they cease to find benefit leaving the server up is the sort of news that’s come up on TechDirt before. If a company can brick their own software, by failing to provide the online part of it, that qualifies as DRM.

It’s much like how DVD encryption suddenly became copy protection at the convenience of the publishers as soon as the anti-circumvention clause was in effect.

No, that is a completely different kind of issue.

You’ll have to explain how you imagine it to be so. Otherwise, I don’t see it and I don’t trust your take.

But sometimes I have to do a buttload of research to find out that a given game has that mandate.

Really? Most reviews note that up front, and if you’re on PC it’s fairly obvious from the launcher they choose.

No, they don’t. No they aren’t, and at this point I suspect you’re being contradictory in bad faith.

Having read plenty of game reviews, they often don’t include the limits placed on play by DRM. Whether or not you were able to work out what games had what DRM and what install and play restrictions, I’ve had many incidents in which I had to hunt down an answer and could only find it by complaints in games forums. Maybe you were closer to the industry. Maybe you just didn’t care. Maybe you and I play different games. But the experience you’ve had does not compare closely with the experience I’ve had.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

"You’re conflating games that need to be online with games that need to be connected to a company server."

No, I’m not. You specifically referred to MMOs, which by nature require online connectivity. if you’re trying to conflate those with games that have no need to be online other than as a DRM function, I advice you to choose a different term.

"If Cyberpunk 2070 multiplayer requires connection to a company server"

Oh, so you’re confusing things here. Are you trying to say that if a game uses the company’s own servers and doesn’t allow 3rd party servers to be used then it’s DRM? That’s a hell of a stretch.

Unless I’m mistaken the multiplayer has been delayed for at least a year anyway.

"Note that I’m not sure this is how CDRK is going to do it."

Then wait until you find out before complaining about it, perhaps?

"You’ll have to explain how you imagine it to be so."

DVD CSS is trivial to bypass and there’s no functionality required external to your DVD player. This isn’t hard.

"No, they don’t. No they aren’t, and at this point I suspect you’re being contradictory in bad faith."

No, I’m tired about pointless, evidence free whining. I’ve never had a problem finding out if a game requires online to play, what is your problem with it?

"Having read plenty of game reviews, they often don’t include the limits placed on play by DRM."

Possibly because it seem you’re using a different definition of the term to everyone else.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Pointless evidence-free whining

You didn’t read what I wrote. At least you didn’t understand what I wrote. Or maybe you did, but you’re being — for no reason I can identify — outright malicious.

70 million voters recently demonstrated they regard anyone not their own as enemy, as chumps to exploit. As suckers to defraud.

Why not you as well?

Have a good night.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 2077 Crunch and Microtransactions

Microtransactions require DRM.

No, they require a transaction to set an enable bit on their servers for the account on their server that the player uses.

You haven’t paid for the bits, and it’s not your system. There’s no DRM involved here. Unless you want to consider server side account restrictions as "DRM." In which case, please explain how not paying for something entitles you to control over another person’s system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is actually why I’m fine with Twitch behaving like they are — it leaves room for competition.

It’s also the positive side I see for what CDPR has done; it provides people with a way to do game recordings that can be broadcast over any service without having a morass of licensing issues to sort out.

But I’d much prefer game devs stick to using licenses that include performance rights from the get-go, so we end up with entertainment that won’t entrap us (and enrich a third party) with hidden license restrictions. Should be cheaper for the dev studios in the long run too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

One without funds to license large music collections like supposedly Amazon could do?

Seriously, you think it would be a good idea to buy off a bunch of companies for basically nothing? I’m sure Amazon is not taking any moral position here, given that other Amazon services have DRM, license media from copyright maximalists, take back books people have already purchased, etc. But that doesn’t make it good to continue in this direction.

Basically nobody is watching videogame streams as a way to get free access to music. The music companies shouldn’t be getting money "just because". I think the Cyberpunk solution is actually a good one, kind of. Better would be for game developers to just refuse to use any music owned by RIAA member companies. It’s not like we can act surprised about this, given their actions of the last 20+ years.

Wyrm (profile) says:

"stream-safe"?

Cyberpunk 2077 will have a game mode dedicated to using stream-safe music for streamers…

Copyright holders have sued over the most ridiculous thing.

  • Music they provided themselves for public use (though that was actually an action taken by their publishing company)
  • Public domain works
  • Works published by their authors
  • Public domain works published by their authors
  • Animal cries
  • Monkey selfies!
  • Background/white noise
  • Not sure about this last one, but I think I remember a DMCA notice over the audio of a silent stream (I’ll need a bit of time to confirm it if you want a source for this one)

So no, there is definitely no such thing as "stream-safe" music.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: "stream-safe"?

"Not sure about this last one, but I think I remember a DMCA notice over the audio of a silent stream (I’ll need a bit of time to confirm it if you want a source for this one)"

There have been multiple cases of people issuing takedown notices over John Cage’s famously silent piece 4’33, so that’s likely what you’re thinking of.

CK says:

Re: Re: We've seen this before

Yeah, it’s nothing new, games were doing it for several years. Cities Skylines and Surviving Mars have this, as well as many racing games which include classical music just so you can stream it.

Though the whole problem is not with in-game music, that pops up only once in a long while. The streaming problem is with people who turn off the game music and play spotify in the background, or play music from spotify during a ‘the stream is starting in XX minues’ intro. Those are legit takedown notices IMO, cause they are playing music which is not licensed to them for public broadcast. People simply have to stop playing DJs, and play games instead.

ECA (profile) says:

How many copyrights in a game?

What a wonderful trick.
Why games cost so much.
MORE Copyrights in a game then you can shake a stick at, because the GAME corp DIDNT BUY THE MUSIC, didnt have ti created for the game, didnt do anything except pay for the royalties.
How deep can this go?
Ask the movie industry, they have done it for years, and learned all the tricks. The movie, the music, the this and that, every part has its OWN Copyrights.
Then look at the drug companies, and 1 drug becomes 2 new ones because they added TIME RELEASE to the pill,m or added a Sleep formula, or added this or that to modify what it does, all with generic/common already available, other drugs/meds.

And they say the Copyright system needs to be fixed, NEVER, they like it the way it is.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How many copyrights in a game?

Why games cost so much

You’re kidding, right? Games cost next to nothing compared to their cost to build. Retail prices have not kept up even with inflation. Back in 1995 a AAA game title typically cost $40. A similar game today should cost $70 but most are still $40. A few have charged $60 but rumors of games soon costing $70 have gamers up in arms everywhere. It’s dumb.

Games cost much, much more to make now than they did 25+ years ago. Players expect better graphics, higher detail, more realism, and an endless stream of other things. 25 years ago most of that wasn’t even possible but because it is now, albeit at a much higher development cost, players expect it. And for some reason they expect to still pay $40 or $50. These games should cost upwards of $100.

Then there are mobile games and the P2W/microtransaction hell that spawned. People are unwilling to pay $70 for a AAA game but they’ll play it for "free" and spend hundreds on in-game purchases. Though that trend did start with PC and console games mobile cranked it up to a whole new level and that bled right back into PC and console gaming. These days, if you don’t offer microtransactions you won’t be able to afford to create a sequel or an entirely new game.

/sad

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Won't someone think of the multi-millionares?

I’d be more willing to buy the ‘games are under-priced’ argument and have some sympathy for developers if I didn’t see game companies raking in absolutely obscene profits on a yearly basis despite ‘undervaluing’ their games so much, not to mention the many multi-edition games out there where the $60 gets you the most basic version of the game and if you want to get more you may very well end up paying over that $100 price you listed.

These days, if you don’t offer microtransactions you won’t be able to afford to create a sequel or an entirely new game.

Spider-Man and God of War would love to have a word with you, seems they both missed that memo.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The cost of games.

Um…no.

All the AAA companies make billions and pay their developers a pittance (all the while crunching them to madness or death.)

And for big mainstream titles like COD or FIFA they’re charging $60-$70 and including full-on lootbox-based microtransactions, with zero child locks on the games. We still get news articles about kids who emptied their parents’ credit cards trying to get their favorite footballer in a game rated E for everyone. Here in the US the ESRB will still not increase the rating thanks to microtransactions. Parents just have to do what I do, and remove my credit card data from the market client — if it lets you.

This is why come nations have already decided that lootboxes are gambling, and are looking menacingly at non-lootbox microtransactions. The market on Fortnite? Totally predatory.

It’s especially peculiar that on the Google Play market, I can’t filter for games without microtransactions. Even the premium market ($6 paid in advance for no ads) does not assure I get the whole game. Instead I have to look on the page for each game, three layers in to see what the microtransaction cost range is (For most games its $1-to-$99).

There’s a reason I have to research extensively before buying a game.

Non-AAA PC games, incidentally, only generally have microtransactions if it’s a free-to-play model. And curiously, non-AAA games are willing to actually use game play to explore new ideas rather than simply being bad movies with mass-murder bits between the cutscenes.

Capitalism at it’s finest.

CK says:

Re: Re: Re: Child locks

Your console has child locks, so a game doesn’t need to. Make a new account for the kid, block new account creation on the console and make use of parental controls. You can enforce PEGI ratings, time limits, and yes, block money payments, plus other options.

It’s all there since at least the last generation, people are just too dumb to make use of this.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Child locks

Yeah, the fact that you have to have child locks for a child-rated game is not a good look. Nor that you have to lock them out of the child-rated game entirely when the child locks don’t block microtransactions.

It’s also really funny when FIFA games feature gambling elements (wheels of fortune, pachinko machines, et al. as part of the features that the ESA and EA argues is not actually gambling.

Should I just assume you’re making your argument in the same bad faith it was when EA made their surprise mechanics argument?

As I said, the UK is one of several nations considering outlawing microtransactions entirely. Since the whole industry is not willing to quit whale hunting without making doing so a crime, you can expect those laws to start coming into effect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: How many copyrights in a game?

Games cost much, much more to make now than they did 25+ years ago.

Your post weighs total development cost against per-unit revenue. Without knowing how the unit count has changed over time—not to mention the per-unit expenses—we can’t draw any useful conclusions.

People are unwilling to pay $70 for a AAA game but they’ll play it for "free" and spend hundreds on in-game purchases.

People might be using that as a "try before you buy" option, since $70 is a lot to spend on something they’ve only seen videos of. We used to play in arcades or department stores for that—later, via shareware demos and rented cartridges—but these options were getting limited even before the pandemic. At least with in-game purchases, they’re only dumping money into games they actively play.

CK says:

Re: Re: Price the same but the market expanded

True, the games have not risen in price, but the whole gaming market exploded in size over the past 2 decades. In the 90s games were lucky to sell a couple of thousands of copies, today they sell in millions of copies. On top of that the cost of making a copy dropped to nearly nothing thanks to digital sales.

Overall the companies mae a very pretty penny despite the multi million dev budgets, just look at their profit reports. They could easily afford to sell the games a t a lower price and still make a very solid living.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: How many copyrights in a game?

You miss a few things here…

"Back in 1995 a AAA game title typically cost $40"

Bull. Not on consoles they didn’t, at least.

"A similar game today should cost $70 but most are still $40"

Not sure where you’re shopping, but this is also not true, at least not with the MSRP. If retailers are arranging discounts, that shouldn’t affect the publishers’ cut.

"Players expect better graphics, higher detail, more realism, and an endless stream of other things"

Some do, some don’t. Throwback pixel art games are pretty popular, and there’s a huge world of games out there that aren’t "AAA". In fact, I know more than a few players who can’t stand the AAA production line.

"These games should cost upwards of $100"

Nope. The other thing you miss it that videogames are much, much bigger market than they used to be, thus things like economy of scale kick in. You don’t pay the same for a decent flat screen TV as you would have done 15 years ago, because they’re cheaper to mass produce and the tech has matured. Same with games.

A quick look on Wikipedia suggests that the entire worldwide game industry was worth "$20.8 billion in 1994[34] (equivalent to $32 billion in 2011)", while a similar Google search suggests that the industry is currently worth $60 billion in the US alone.

In most industries, this leads to consumers benefitting from the economies of scale, not them being fleeced by transactions after they bought the product…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_industry#1990s
http://www.statista.com/statistics/246892/value-of-the-video-game-market-in-the-us

" People are unwilling to pay $70 for a AAA game but they’ll play it for "free" and spend hundreds on in-game purchases"

No, the main objection recently is where EA et al tried charging $70 for a game then adding microtransactions and ads in the game they bought.

"These days, if you don’t offer microtransactions you won’t be able to afford to create a sequel or an entirely new game."

I can’t be arsed to make the full list of games that prove you wrong, but they’re easy to find if you’re honest about things.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: How many copyrights in a game?

AC.
think about what you said.

1, what is the biggest market in the USA to sell to?

Kids and Lower paid workers. Until you raise the wages abit YOU aint getting my money.

2 Which is easier. Pay $70-100, then pay a monthly fees, or Pay in small transactions AS you get abit of money?

3 This is changing BUT, still Important. the OLD game developers found that creating games SUCKED, and that buying them from the creators fro CHEAP, because developing on a shoe string sucks, Then Mass marketing it, Works. Ask Atari.

But still Look at EA, Steam and a few others around, They all take in the pennies we give them and Make good fortunes. But most are Front ends, they take percentages NOW, and let the creator KEEP creating/updating/recreating. NOW they can get revenue.

This is 1 of the most restrictive Markets in the USA. ITs based on HOW much your player base can afford. its not the grocery that is LAST in line to raise prices. Where all the other corps have Cut personell, and can keep cutting corners, except for the CONTRACT workers at the top.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re:

DUH.

And I do recommend that the gov/corps create a business that Lists, who and what has Copy rights, and WHO owns them.
1 GIANT cross referance.
But part of that problem, and a solution, is that SOME corps keep them on file, and never submit them, they changed the rules, the Gov. dont need a copy.

We need a repository, and Proof of ownership.

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