In regards to your Piracy 'joke' - Followup requested


#1

I read your piracy blog post and found it interesting.

I have not yet played your game, however, thanks to your brilliant ‘marketing’ technique, I am intrigued, and will most likely start with the demo.

However, my post here is to discuss piracy in more depth. Your post obviously is against piracy because you say it hurts indie teams chances of growing.

You posted the cracked % and purchased % of players in a neat little graph, but I would be interested in seeing what it looks like now.

I had discussed this topic with a friend and we came to different conclusions. I argued, that for an indie game company, pirating has both positive and negative effects, the positive possibly outweighing the negative.

For instance, the positive effects, assuming you have produced a good game, is recognition. I personally struggle with purchasing a 1 dollar game for my phone. Not because of the cost, simply because the idea of wasting any amount of money on poor game experience irks me.

You provided a demo, which is great. However, often, a demo leaves the player with the expectation that the gaming experience will continue to grow after purchasing the full game, but instead, it remains stagnant. I mentioned, assuming you have produced a good game, this isn’t the case…but with so many duds, how is one to know?

Well, by playing through the whole game of course!

Whether they buy your game or not, you gain a bit of recognition that large companies pay millions of advertising dollars for. This recognition is multiplied (as per you graph), through piracy.

It’s well documented that people will more gladly pay money to trusted companies, even if they don’t have to. This is especially true for gamers.

Piracy does not ruin game companies, the bad games they produce do. Again, I’d be interested in seeing how you benefited from the piracy blog post, and if possible, from piracy itself. I do not think its as bleak as you believe.


#2

If I understand correctly, would this be an appropriate application of your argument structure:

Slavery in the world is good, because media can highlight the awfulness of slavery, and thus bring it justice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that piracy is all bad. In fact, if someone pirates a good game they otherwise would not have purchased, it can result in a net-positive effect if they tell people how much they liked the game, and those people buy the game.

People who pirate the game usually do so because buying it isn’t easy enough, or they don’t have the means to. Give that person a middle class salary, and I betcha people would buy things. I liked Game Dev Story, so I felt comfortable spending $8 (what’s $8, I mean really?) to not only support an indie Dev, but to take a chance on getting more of that which I like.


#3

I dont think it relates well to your analogy. The idea behind my post was targeting moreso, the effects of piracy, not the attention that their blog post brought to it, adding on top of it, the request to see updated figures to prove that piracy can sometimes have a positive effect.

Its difficult in this situation because the blog post most likely did a lot more attracting that people playing the pirated game. It would have been interesting also to record ip addresses and compare how many people who pirated the game ended up buying it. But alas, this did not happen.

This is a very interesting case because its been largely argued that piracy is bad. (slavery IS bad because someone is being hurt). Its been argued that piracy is hurting companies, I am arguing that poor game development and design is hurting companies, and they are blaming piracy.

There is also an evolution in all things. The gaming , music, and movie industries are in a phase of evolution. Netflix, and offering a load of content for a cheap price is the future, because they are offering convenience to the user. Of course, they can go download or stream those movies, but it is more convenient to do it in a single website with no ads (the service charge eliminates need for ads).

In gaming, the industry is moving towards free games with DLC. League of Legends being the most successful ‘real game’, followed by zynga games.

EA’s business model is DRM through always on internet server connection. This is obviously the least liked.

What I’m trying to say is, with continuous advancements in technologies, you simply CAN NOT use the same business model that worked even 10 years ago.

At what point do music companies have to give up and say, “OK, we made some money, now we only make money off ticket sales at concert, and the rest of the music is free?”

^ Well, this will happen when obtaining music for free becomes incredibly convenient. Right now, people are in the stupid stage of life and spend 1 dollar. Tomorrow, they figure out grooveshark exists, and that android has an app, and sprint has unlimited data, and the music biz dies.


sorry for the incoherent rant, i am going here and there. Lack of sleep and to little coffee.


#4

Music is a performance art, and so is cinema. The costs and quite a few years’ salaries are usually earned through box office or ticket sales at concerts. Video games however, are different. Our computers are not the secondary mediums or the secondary step of transactions. They are made to be played on our consoles and so it is perfectly sensible that they should cost us. It is a luxury after all.

As for movies for example, even if I don’t go to the cinema, the movies still cover their costs and mostly multiply. (Some don’t, but hey, bad business is bad business in every business type. If the product sucks, you can’t cry about it) Also, when you watch at home, the experience is severely hampered since most people don’t have giant home cinema rooms and quality surround sound systems. Finally, if I go to the cinema and see the movie, then I shouldn’t pay more to see it again. I already paid for it. That’s like paying 60$ to play Bioshock once, and if you want to play it again, you have to pay another 60$. (Note: It is worse, as DVD/Blu-Ray prices are higher than cinema ticket prices, for a much worse experience)

And yes, games can be bad. But can you go to a restaurant, order something, eat it and then say “hey I didn’t like the taste of this much, I won’t pay” ? I don’t think you can do that.

I also disagree about poor game development. Yes, of course that hurts companies, but if the percentage of piracy goes higher, many more studios will go bankrupt. You are apparently a sensible person, but many people aren’t. I’ve seen literally thousands of people saying “oh why would someone pay for a game, it’s stupid. Go download it”. They don’t have respect for the effort anyway. They pirate the best games out there and move on.

I have 27 games on my Steam wishlist and I don’t even think of pirating them. I spend carefully, save some money and buy the games I want to play, that I can afford. I don’t HAVE to play EVERY game or just the moment they are released. I can wait for sales, which are pretty common nowadays thanks to Steam and other digital distributors that followed, and buy the games cheaper. I still get to play the same game.

To be honest, I can’t see a valid reason to pirate a game. If you’re poor, that’s sad, but you still shouldn’t pirate. I can’t buy all games I want, but I don’t pirate. I want a Ferrari, but I don’t steal it. And the argument “piracy isn’t theft, you don’t remove the original product” is just plain ignorant as different industries have different payment methods. If somebody gets a service from you, but doesn’t pay, that would hurt. And that is just the same thing as piracy.

Thank you if you have read this far, cheers! :slight_smile:


#5

You say that you can’t see a reason to pirate a game. The reason is: Because you can.

The logical person would say, “I can, with little to no repercussion, so I will.”

This is why I tried to bring up the discussion of evolution in terms of business models. Digital products have been historically viewed as ‘products.’ This is no longer 100% true. It all boils down to service, and service provid’ing’.

In the digital world, people pay for convenience. This is a fact, brought about by the ease of duplication. If you look back to copying VHS’s or recording television shows, it was the same problem, only the VHS companies were still making profits.

If you wanted the movie, you could go out and spend 15 dollars, have a well edited version with the best quality of the time, or alternatively, you could a) wait for it to come on TV, b) press stop everytime a commercial came on, c) store it in an ugly VHS case and label it with a black permanent marker. EW.

Nowadays, the second option is much less severe. Many people find the process of logging onto a torrent site difficult to understand, or simply aren’t aware. TV streaming sites are riddled with ads and broken links.

However, the ease and user experience of these ‘free’ sites is ever increasing in efficiency and convenience. To the point that companies must fight back by CHANGING their business models.

Teams like Greenheartgames can still produce games like Game Dev Tycoon in the future, but must do so with the idea that they are doing it for the sake of doing it. Profits would be bonus, and not expected. This is because that type of genre simply isn’t the way to make money in the industry anymore.

Its unfortunate, but its less due to piracy, and more due to the fact that sharing digital content is inevitable and unavoidable. <- And this is the key here. You can’t fight it. Its here. Its the internet. Its everywhere and things are only going to get MORE free.

We are in a limbo now where law can sort of keep up with the amount of sites out there because it still takes a rather large purse to host and distribute some of these items.

And torrents are still rather confusing for some people to use. However, this is going to change over time. And whoever isn’t prepared is going to get destroyed.


#6

Well … ok … my post will probably be long and jumping between topics a lot so sorry in advance.

  1. Tracking how many pirate that game now: Not as easy or represantative as right at the beginning. Why? Because Greenheartgames distributed a “fake” version on piratebay on launchday which send a specific id home. So they could see how many people pirated. The situation now is that nearly everyone knows and the original version probably already is on pb (didn’t check). So no tracking through the game.
  2. Checking ips is not really feasable since most of the people don’t have static ips.
  3. Pirating: I doubt that it’ll ever go away. Even if you make it as easy as lifting your arm to buy software/music/whatever there will be people who will pirate it. I think its kinda futile to try and argue how many or how much effect pirating has on the advertisement of games.
  4. DLC … ok … lets just look at the two types of dlc:
    DLC as the old-school addon: You bought the complete game and after half a year you get additional story/weapons/whatever via a DLC (be it free or for a charge) -> good idea do it!
    DLC nowadays: Strip 10% of the complete game and unlock it on the same day/x days after release with a DLC you charge for -> moneygrabbing scum you should die in a fire!!!
    You could say DLC is “an advancement”… at least in milking your customers it probably is.
    Could write a lot more but since I’m getting bored I’ll do something else.

#7

DLC is still in its infancy.

League of Legends, as I was saying, is one of the best example of how to release a free game and make tons of money off it.

Diablo III tried as well. Had they not released such a crummy game, they would have been MUCH more successful with the real money Auction House.

The DLC you speak of is a trial run for development companies. As soon as people stop putting up with it, their business model will change. I agree though, that it is a horrible way to rip the customer off…but people are buying it!! So you can’t blame them.

Just don’t forget that there are other successful game companies that make money in this age of piracy. And one of the ways to do it is to have a fanbase that likes you and will support you. This is done by gaining recognition (which happens through piracy), and by releasing fun games.


#8

That is why the industry will lead to a “streaming only” business model. And by “I can’t see a reason” I was speaking about ethical reasons. Of course we “can” pirate games. And yes, it is a service, and you should pay for a service. Simple as that. If people keep pirating, there are two inevitable paths. One is the end of gaming, the other is streaming. And the latter is much more profitable for gaming companies obviously


#9

You say a lot of stuff without any actual facts to back it up. The one that caught my eye the most was this one below. What proof do you have that games like this are not in high demand? The fact is these type of games are in higher demand now more than every. Take a moment to go into the android play store and look at the top 100 in each top free, top paid, and top grossing and you will find tycoon/simulation games throughout it. People do want these types of games, but unfortunately they are being suckered in by pay 2 play. Developers have gone the p2p route because people don’t want to pay for anything.


#10

where did I ever say that they weren’t in high demand?

In fact, you are saying exactly what I am saying, just without understanding it. “People don’t want to pay” because they feel no connection to the company and don’t care to support it or they don’t know if it’ll be worth it and don’t want to feel like a ‘sucker’ by getting swindled. There are probably other reasons as well, but I listed 2 that came to me.

Again, that’s why I mention that piracy isn’t a bad thing. Its an inevitable thing that people have to work around. The enterprise is slow, and changing business models is radical and time consuming. Failing companies will spend time energy and money, until they bankrupt, FIGHTING piracy. Smart companies will adapt, with the understanding that we are moving into a new industry type.

I think greenheart is half way inbetween. Their handling of piracy via their blog and the neat stunt they pulled did wonders for their recognition. This was adaptive, and shows that they partly understand the changing marketplace. However, the article itself acknowledges that they aren’t prepared to adapt in terms of design and business model.


#11

The premises offer no support for the conclusion.


#12

“People don’t want to pay”

The whole concept of Crowdfunding proves you wrong.
People don’t mind paying. They just don’t want to be fooled.


#13

You took that line out of context, and repeated the same thing the rest of the context implied.

sigh.


#14

Not exactly.
Crowdfunders have absolutely no connection to the company, and they are well aware, that they might not get their moneys worth. They support out of curiosity, not because they are so impressed with the outcome.

Piracy is not a good thing, even though Johnny Depp makes it look like fun.
And there are no shiny new business models or industries necessary. The distribution is fine, the market is thriving and the customers dig the content.
What needs to change is the package.
When the pirate becomes more trustworthy than the manufacturer something’s going horribly, horribly wrong.

And yes, I know you already said parts of that, but in ANOTHER context.
Get it? :wink:


#15

And i could steal my neighboors car, that dosn’t mean that i should and it’s illegal for a reason


#16

Well, sure, you COULD, but you’d very quickly be found out, arrested and sent to jail. This doesn’t happen in the online world of piracy…which has been discussed already in this thread.


#17

Let’s say Game Dev Tycoon was a physical copy in a game shop, and you wanted it. So would you go and steal it of the shelf because you just can? I don’t think, because that’s what you are saying, you wouldn’t go and steal a game from a game shop so why do it on the internet? If I wanted to I could go to my nearest game shop and take all the game because I can. Unfortunately there’s no punishment for stealing a game digital unlike a physical one.

I love Indie games like greenheart games. Why? Because they always bring an interesting, unique and FUN game at a cheap price, if they don’t make ANY money we will be stuck with AWFUL Pay to Play games and AAA games that are fun but they always bring the same thing along nothing unique. If you opened your own shop and people started robbing it, CAUSE THEY CAN. Would you feel happy. You spent a year setting up the shop and haven’t made any money because people are robbing you. I don’t think so, it’s the same for Greenheart Games.

Now in the last Blog Post they mentioned that one of the Developers left his job to focus on Game Dev Tycoon, this suggest that the company is making ENOUGH money to on the game for one of them to bail out of there jobs. So I guess the Piracy post did help and turn some heads and now there making a profit.

Good for them!


#18

The problem with that argument is the fallacy that copying a game digitally equals theft of a limited quantity item that took money to produce, ship, and display. That kind of theft directly hurts sales and profit as it’s a physical item that already had money put into it so it would sell.

The only digital analog to that is a game key-code that was activated and cannot be activated again, as it was a limited quantity item. If someone buys a game and their new key-code was invalid due to someone already registering it, then you can say that piracy lost 1 sale as you would have to produce another key code for your legitmate customer. And it’s still not the same as actual physical theft, but only because production cost of a new key is miniscule compared to physical production and you can always try to lock out the cracked keycode which means the loss for 1 pirated Key-code is 1% or less than a physical copy. (Although if someone made a keygen/is distributing keys illegitmatel, then that’s a different story because of the limited nature of the keys)

Copying a digital product and not paying for it isn’t a direct loss of money like stealing is, nor is it a lost sale. It’s immoral for sure, but there is no direct corrilation between piracy and profit loss as you cannot lose what you did not get.

The morality of digital piracy isn’t one of the law of theft (which prevents others from 1 unique instance of the product, thus directly harms and subject to law), but one of the philosophy of right and wrong.

That and copyright vioation upon the distributor of the illegal copy. Can’t link it to lost sales, but you can still sue the pants off major illegal distributors (can’t charge people for downloading, only uploading/providing keys)

Because your neighbor payed money for the car and you’re depriving them of their property that they obtained.

A better anology is “With a 3D printer I could download and build a car” or even “I scanned my neighbor’s car and duplicated it” (Ignore the fact that once quality 3D printers come around every physical object’s cost of production will go down immensely, providing more reason to buy rather than to print and assemble)

Who was hurt in that situation?
Your neighbor wasn’t hurt, your dealership wasn’t hurt.
The only people potentially hurt was the car manufacturer as they put time and money into making the car’s design.

And quite frankly, how is that hurting them more than competition? Heck, if someone made free open-source equivalent of their car to print out, how is that different than printing out their parts instead?

The answer is in service. The digital world is essentialy entirely service driven, the physical world is product driven. (Service is a product, but products are not services)


#19

GHG (Greenheart Games) has made Game Dev Tycoon and they the people who made the software WANT people to buy the game not crack it. it is illegal as long as someone still holds publishing rights to it. Some older games are no longer protected by copyright, but The Sims for example is one still protected. As for the consequences? The most likely would be suing for loss of profits and I believe they do have Copyright.
So if greenheart game caught you downloading a illegal version of their game they could go and sue. Downloading pirated games is stealing, stealing is against the law, Piracy it’s a crime.


#20

Good analogy with the 3d printer. Good points all around.