I doubt that they are just busybodies that think that sweeping it under a rug makes the problem go away.
You're right, it won't make the problem go away; but you are wrong in thinking that they don't know that. Actually, they don't care, so whether they know it or not is irrelevant. As long as they don't have to look at it. As long as it doesn't inconvenience them. Zero Shits Given. Because then it's "Not My Problem"; their precious little consciences can stay nice and cozy, untroubled by any reminders that they are not doing enough to help others.
Wait, I guess I got that wrong. It does make the problem go away. Provided you realize the problem is "being reminded of this makes me uncomfortable".
Telling someone that the Taco Johns is two blocks north and to the right is like linking.
Telling someone that the Crack House is two blocks south and to the left is also like linking.
Why should the first example above be okay (presumably it is okay?), but the second example would be a crime?
That's a fairly apt analogy here, so here's an answer. The argument goes that you should know that what goes on at the crack house is illegal, and therefore giving someone directions to the crack house is just as illegal. This is exactly what they mean - "people who link to things online must make sure the thing linked to is not infringing".
The problem under this logic is of course that you had no idea that crack was being sold out of the Taco Johns, so both are in fact illegal! Congratulations! You too are guilty of possession with intent to distribute!
I think some of these concerns are out of bounds. Protecting legitimate users from griefers, for instance, is not in the problem space of preventing piracy. The problem with employing DRM is that it's the old "when all you have is a hammer" approach.
As for #1 (How do you assure your marketing partners ... that piracy won't affect the game sales?), we have many studies (and hear about them frequently here at TD) that piracy actually helps sales. That is, it helps sales if the game is actually worth a damn. So there's the rub in the eyes of the publisher. The publisher doesn't want to take the risk that the market will decide not to pay for a shit game, so I feel they employ DRM to ensure that people will pay for it before they find out it's shit. There are, after all, no refunds.
There's a lot of connected things involved in this that need to get disentangled. In the world of physical goods for example, there's often an exchange or refund policy. But the trade-off is obvious in the world of physical goods; the customer loses access to a physical item in order to reclaim currency. Such is obviously not possible with digital media. How to effectively work in this type of market is well beyond what I want to cover here (not that I am in any way an expert in this problem domain), but other options are emerging.
2 (How do you protect the user community during pre-launch in such a way to build excitement for the game?) I sorta touched on, but I'll expound a bit. Publishers should stop blindly charging a premium price for shit games. If the initial leak sours the public opinion on the game, maybe they should take the hint and drop the price to what the market will bear. Again I'll go back to the studies that assert that piracy actually helps sales of good games and that many who pirate simply would not have bought or played the game if piracy wasn't an option. And this is where it becomes hard to override the natural human reaction of "well if you won't pay me for it then you don't deserve to have it, I'll sell it to someone else". This reaction works in the realm of physical goods, but it is literally meaningless in a world where one or one million extra copies has no effect on the paid-for copies.
And this is where DRM actively harms the paying customers. If I pay a premium price for a game, I lose all the advantages of the digital nature of what I paid for. If I lose or damage the disk I have to pay another premium price to regain a copy. If it's an always-online style of DRM, once the company is no longer interested in maintaining servers, I can no longer play the game no matter how much I am willing to pay. Games that are built on a multi-player social experience don't escape criticism here - there should be no reason I cannot run my own private server if the company is no longer willing to run theirs. But this attitude of "well if you aren't willing to pay me for it then you don't deserve to have it" is so toxic to reason, the situation devolves into the fable of the dog guarding a stack of hay. That old game has ceased to be profitable for them so they shut it down, but heaven forbid someone else might make a buck breathing life into what they have discarded in the trash heap.
The simple reality is that the market has fundamentally changed. Reality has fundamentally changed. And it is not my job to solve the publisher's business problems that stem from them not willing to accept reality.
Agreed, those are all valid points. I am not seeking to make an argument based on this alone, just in adding to a data set. Because with enough comparisons, we should be able to draw out some meaningful interpretations.
Marketing, over/under-pricing, game quality, bugs, and everything else you mentioned can in some sense be quantified. The quantification might be a bit fuzzy, that's why I just want to add to the data set for now.
But even with an extremely limited data set, we can see if there are any correlations that seem to be connected, and do more research to see if there is a causal link. With other sets of data that already exist we might even be able to start taking into account those correlating factors to limit their impact on the study of the link between DRM and sales.
The Constitution doesn't grant rights to the citizens of the US. To an extent it recognizes rights all people are considered to have ..., but primarily it specifies and limits the powers of the federal government.
This really should be taught and emphasized more. Some might think it's a pointless distinction of philosophical navel-gazing, but it really is an important philosophical underpinning of the US Constitution and how the founding fathers envisioned the role of the government in the lives of the citizenry.
I just realized, reading your's and another's comments, that I have also fallen into the fallacy of thinking in terms of the US Constitution granting me rights. But it is really specifying the relationship the other way around. It is a statement recognizing that I as a human being have unalienable rights, and a limit on the government's authority in how far and under what circumstances it may infringe on those rights.
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Perhaps there's some value in the symbolic gesture
No, actually there's negative value in that. It would merely grant the outgoing administration the illusion of standing up for privacy without actually doing anything. You think the NSA could could just "stop collecting" for 100 days? They already claimed they couldn't shut it down in any time frame shorter than 6 months, and that was without the expectation of being able to turn it back on. But that wouldn't stop the administration from claiming to care.
It would be "privacy theater". And all this theater does have a cost.
> Perhaps this might (initially) be a good thing. It would make a constitutional challenge to the watchlist processes much easier.
No it wouldn't. You would try to buy a gun and get denied because "reasons". You would have to sue to find out why and get "sealed because national security". You would sue and argue you do not belong on a watch list and get "can neither confirm nor deny". You would sue again and get "lack standing". You would sue yet again and the response would come back "ok, I think you're off; try to purchase a gun again - if you are still denied then you must be on some other watchlist". Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Ad infinitum.
Nothing short of explicitly opening up the process to review and challenge will make constitutional challenges any easier; and it's arguable whether even that would be enough.