"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...
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.
Imagine all companies and manufacturers making dishes decided that it's against their wishes that you use them elsewhere than their intended locations. You'd have dishes for the kitchen, you'd have dishes for the living-room, you'd have dishes for your garden, for your balcony and for picnics. If you wanted to use your kitchen-dishes in the living-room you wouldn't be allowed to do so, because it would be against the manufacturers wishes.
Now imagine there was a law protecting these wishes. And a lobby protecting and expanding this law (for example stating that you couldn't use the same dishes you used for breakfast for lunch and for dinner).
Would you make your own dishes, yes? Or would you just ignore the law and the wishes of the manufacturers?
True. When I was young, if I didn't have the money to buy an album I asked around at school if somebody else had the album. If a person had the album I'd borrow it and record it on tape. Which means: I bought the albums I could (afford) and copied the ones I couldn't (afford).
When I was young, there were kids who had the money to buy a lot of albums and there were kids who had no money to spend on music. Others who had the money chose not to spend it on music. I don't think that the kids today are that much different then they were back then. The difference between then and today is the size of the schoolyard.
Entertainment always comes bundled - even if it doesn't show. That's the way the producers finance the stuff. Take movies:
Say a company produces 10 movies a year. One of these ten movies is a box-office-success, two barely break even and the rest is just crap nearly no one wants to see - these last seven movies still need financing. So, anytime you go to the movies you ain't just paying for the movie you're watching, you're also paying for seven movies you will never watch.
The same can be applied to music or games. The "problem" with entertainment is: You do not know for sure if what you produce is going to make money.
I mean, on one side I'm a little pissed at the fact that I'm partially paying for crap I don't want (AND I don't get) whenever I'm going to the movies or buying a DVD. On the other hand I can see why it's done this way...
Interesting times we live in indeed! And in it's core it is all about control.
To quote Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri on a possible future:
As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: And you only have yourself to blame
"First, let's ignore the fact that less than half of Kickstarter's projects are successfully funded."
No, don't let us ignore it. Let us speculate why that's the case. Could it be that although it's becoming more popular (as known) it still needs to establish itself in the business culture on how things can (not should) be done? Still, even if every internet citizen new about it, there would still be projects not reaching the minimum required. Would that be such a bad thing? Maybe it would be better if certain project didn't even start...
"Or that it's not really suitable for major software or motion picture projects."
And that is based on what kind of assumption? Say George Lucas wanted to finance his Star Wars TV series this way, with a budget of 5 to 10 millions an episode. Do you really think there wouldn't be enough Star Wars fans on this planet to kickstart it? One season, 20 episodes, 200 millions. You then need 200 million people paying 1 dollar, 20 mill paying 10, 10 mill paying 20, 4 mill paying 50. Say the ones paying 50 would get a lifetime access to the digital version of season 1, don't you think 4 millions of people would be found easily on a global level?
"All you're doing with Kickstarter is helping to fund the initial project and, as such, mitigate risk. And using Kickstarter to fund a project does nothing to solve your original rant..."
Look, there might have been some misunderstanding due to me expressing myself inadequately (english is not my native language, so please bear with me) and you jumped to the conclusion I might generally be against the concept of profit. Well, I'm not. But I'm definetely against exagerated profit as in "create once, profit forever". Yes, you shoud get paid for your work. Yes, you should make some profit on it and no in 50 years you should not still get money for it.
"Okay.... first, there's the minor fact that your team might spend a thousand man hours creating a game or app, leasing a game engine, doing marketing, and all that before it's done, before it's shipped, and before a single dime comes in the door.
What dollars paid hourly wages, when you had no sales and no dollars yet existed? Oh? You invested your own money? Cool."
Crowdfund in advance, kickstarter shows how to do it.
"Which leads us to the whole "risk/reward" thing. You might spend a thousand man hours making a game and sell a hundred copies. You might sell no copies. Or you might sell a million Angry Birds. The majority barely break even.
The potential upside is regarded as compensation for the potential downside, that your thousand hours will never be repaid at all."
See answer one. Additionally: Once you've built a (good) reputation (with the crowd) funding (from the crowd) becomes easier. The risk is still there, obviously, but it's spread thinner, more small funds, more small risks.
"Third, if you're the one working for an hourly wage, that was your decision. You're the one that traded the security of a steady paycheck against the possibility of a huge gain. Or a spectacular loss.
If you're on the assembly line at GM and your car does well, you "might" get a bonus. GM gets the profits, because they're the ones who designed it, and because they're the one's who risked the company's money putting the product on the market."
The security of a steady paycheck? Because in case of failure the ceo and his stuff will look first for me and then for themselves? Bailouts anyone? Yeah, the taxpayer might look after me in case of failure...
And about the risk, again, see answer one and answer two...
"Finally, any profit made after recouping the original costs will probably be rolled back into funding the next game or app, again placing their dollars at risk.
That's the nature of the market, be it making movies, writing books, or writing apps. It's a crap shoot, where everything can be gained, or lost, on a single roll of the dice.
Stick to your day job, "explicit", because it's definitely not a game for cowards."
Crowdfunding might get you less profit, true, but it would also diminish losses - at least for the company and in a monetary sense. Obviously, if you don't deliver what you were funded for, your reputation will go down the hill... A good incentive, if you ask me.
But maybe you belong to the sort of people who need the adrenaline kick of a good risking game. I suggest, you try poker or gambling at the stock market...
"So if you want to have control over the code running on your machine, you better find a way for everyone to pay the person who creates the code."
In the word everyone lies the error, dear Bob. It's the creation of the code that needs to be paid, not the code itself. The working hours, not the bits and bytes. And 99.99% of the working population of this planet gets paid once for a finite number of hours, not every time someone uses the result of their work.
Earlier in the thread someone mentioned "bad word of mouth". I'd say that this is the appropriate answer to such bait and switch schemes.
In the digital age word of mouth travels at light speed, reaching many consumer who belongs to some (digital) social network instantly and, what's more important, nearly automatically .
The demand for unified services who offer genuine user reviews on purchasable (especially digital, but not exclusively) products will increase and become key for future generations of customers. This services will decide about rise and fall of a product and/or a company.
I wouldn't be so sure about something people voted on nearly 20 years ago. Things have changed since then, and if the vote on Minarets was taken as an indication, I'd bet today the law wouldn't pass the people's vote, no matter what "der Bundesrat" said.
And because of this limitation on free speech, people were forced to express their opinion indirecty through a vote on a related but different matter. The opponents to the Minaret Initiative tried to label it as religious discrimination and therefore unfit for voting and only because they failed to do so the people were able to express their fears (thus leading to further discuss the relationship between Muslims living in Switzerland and the majority of swiss christians).
It's not that Switzerland has no laws against free speech. It's that someone (the party SVP) found a loophole enabling the people to express their opinion in a different way.
Racial/ethnic/religious discrimination brewing in the background is and will always be bad.