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Op Ed

GameFront - SOPA Isnít the Solution, But Can We At Least Agree Thereís A Problem?
Game publishers are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to battling piracy. If they do nothing, they are essentially ceding a good portion of their sales to pirates who have no intention of ever paying them a dime. If they institute a simple DRM scheme to try and protect their games, some gamers will get annoyed and others will get to work breaking the protection within days or even hours, making it worthless. If they institute a strong DRM scheme, such as Ubisoftís recent efforts to require a persistent Internet connection to constantly confirm the validity of a played game, it ends up negatively impacting a good many legitimate customers and also cause the esteemed, self-appointed ďInternet Representatives of GamingĒ to go into a collective hissy fit so large that it ends up costing more sales than it saves.

Raph Koster - Improving F2P. Thanks Ant via Boing Boing.
The thing to understand about the free-to-play market, and its best developers, is that F2P developers treat everything as science. Everything is subject to analysis, and everything is subject to proof, and the business process is about seeking what works. If what works happens to also be an original, innovative, interesting design that meets a checklist set of criteria for being art, well, all the better. But really, itís about what works.

We have to be honest with ourselves. There is an awful lot of stuff that we have cherished for a long time in the games business which turns out not to work. Sometimes it takes us years to shed the scales from our eyes about the fact that hoary conventions of yore are just that ó conventions, mutable and open to change.

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39. Re: SOPA Isnít the Solution, But Can We At Least Agree Thereís A Problem Jan 11, 2012, 19:49 Parallax Abstraction
Kajetan wrote on Jan 11, 2012, 09:50:
No. Because there is no actual problem. Only a percieved problem.

"If they do nothing, they are essentially ceding a good portion of their sales to pirates who have no intention of ever paying them a dime."

There is no proof that DRM increases sales, there is no proof that the lack of DRM decreases sales. For DECADES, since the early days of tapes and video cassettes the fear of loosing sales is based on assumptions, not actual, proven facts.

Cripes, lot of TechDirt readers here. While there is no proof that DRM increases sales, there is lots of proof of entitled douchebags who expect to be able to get whatever they want for free (so long as they don't have to look the person they're ripping off in the face of course) are stealing plenty of stuff they have no right to be playing. It is ridiculous to claim that no one who pirates a game wouldn't buy it if that was their only choice. This isn't stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family, this is a completely 100% optional entertainment product and if you're being asked to pay a price for it and don't want to then that's perfectly fine but it also means you don't get to play it. You don't get to have it both ways. Either pay the price being asked, wait for the price to get cheaper and if it doesn't, don't play. Much as many claim otherwise, the game makers owe you nothing when you give them nothing.

As I said in my comment on the story, the AAA industry is in free fall right now. Everyone who isn't Activision is bleeding to death, established studios can be taken out by one minor failed title and in the next generation, costs will only go up. Everyone who loses their job in the AAA industry is going into mobile and Facebook games because there's less risk and a lot less piracy so a lot lower barriers to success. All these AAA titles that we all enjoy so much, who do you think is going to keep making those if more and more people keep ripping them off? The Internet Entitlement Syndrome among the gaming community is unlike any other community anywhere. We all want new games and innovation but so many of us think they just fall out of the sky for free and that's simply how the world works. DRM is stupid, suing fans is stupid, the ways the industry is trying to fight this is largely stupid. But none of that means the pirates are right.
Parallax Abstraction
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