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Op Ed

Gaming Blend - Companies Supported Piracy When It Was Shareware.
Is it possible that bringing back shareware could potentially help curb the amount of piracy happening in both the PC and console arena? Possibly. For the most part shareware represented an age where consumers were in control. Publishers aimed to please. Marketing was about positive word of mouth, not how many trailers, posters and celebrity actors you could get to help promote your game. As a publisher, shareware could make or break you based on the quality of the product. As a gamer, shareware gave you a lot for a little (or nothing at all). As an industry, shareware helped shape the golden age of gaming.

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5. Re: Op Ed Feb 6, 2012, 13:13 Orogogus
 
I thought this was an astonishingly terrible article. The only difference I can tell between a demo and a shareware from the article's point of view is how much of the game is made available, but it seems to go to lengths to make a big deal out of something pretty minor. And the difference between encouraging people to share your demo/shareware release and actual piracy seems obvious to me. "Nowadays, when you buy a product and file-share it with friends, companies call it piracy." That was also called piracy back then.

The 3 Sierra demos he described were a tiny fraction of their main games. Almost no game you could find in Babbages or Electronics Boutique had shareware releases. Basically the only shareware publishers of the time (meaning, ever) were Apogee and Epic. Even Epic's One Must Fall 2097 gave you just 3 robots and a limited campaign. And first person shooters aside, a lot of the games they spit out are basically free Flash games nowadays, not necessarily representing significantly more work then than they do now, and with the bare minimum of storyline and plotting.

I mean, we do have shareware in the same vein like Minecraft and Mount & Blade. I just don't see that this model necessarily applies to games that are expensive to develop, like the Witcher or Skyrim, or that the argument carries over to anyone supporting piracy, ever.
 
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