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Triton Closes - Prey for a Solution

The 3D Realms Forums (thanks Voodoo Extreme) offer the news that the Triton digital distribution service is shutting down (or has already done so, as their site is 404 "not found" as of this writing). The service was responsible for the digital distribution and management of Prey, and without it running, download copies of the game cannot authorize and launch. Until things are cleared up further, even 3D Realms is unclear as to what this all means. Here's the post by web-guru Joe Siegler:

After checking into it, we have been informed that the Triton service is shutting down - we should have some information about this situation shortly.

I don't have any further information about how things will all play with with keys, reg codes, Triton, logging in, or anything else at this time.

I'm looking into it - I swear, as soon as I have some more info on all this, I will let you know.

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131. Re: Aha! Oct 10, 2006, 09:21  fb_joel 
 
It's a shame to see Triton go, really. I think there's still room for more digital distribution services...

I'll touch on a few points that crossed my mind when reading the thread:

Steam's new filesystem is pretty neat - if Steam went under, developers of the games could simply release new executables of the game, or in the best case users could just copy them from a retail version (if there's no copy protection). I can say that at least Shadowgrounds customers are safe this way.

On overall copy protection, it's probably a cat-mouse thing. It's usually the publishers who demand copy protection, but that's just because the publishers have so much power anyway. If it was totally up to the developers, I'm sure there would be a lot more non-protected games out there, but I think many developers would still use some form of copy protection, because pirating is a serious threat to games.

I'm personally a "collector" type of person (i.e. I want(ed) my games in physical packaging), but having seen the rewards of digital distribution, I think that's where the future is going. Online authentication is probably here to stay too, although I wouldn't mind seeing some alternatives. I believe some indie developers will be exploring these possibilities within the next years - i.e. see what really happens when you digitally distribute a non-copyprotected game on the Internet. (I can't remember how Stardock's system worked, but I guess that's quite close already.)

And it's also worth noting that 3rd party digital distribution systems (like Steam, Direct2Drive, TotalGaming.net, etc) are not the equivalent of a real world publisher. The only similar thing is that they take a big percentage of the revenue, but still not nearly as much as a publisher/retail would (for obvious reasons). Dealing with a digital distribution partner is much easier than with a big publisher, but of course it also means there's more things a developer has to do on its own (marketing and so on).

Fyi, Riley and all, I don't think Valve allows games to be distributed via Steam in such way that they would bypass the Steam servers/authentication. All games on the Steam service use the same "protection" system (it doesn't matter if the retail version has StarForce, something else or no protection).

Overall I'd say that digital distribution will be good for independent developers. It won't be a dramatic change because making a game succeed will still require marketing muscle, but at least the fighting ground will become more equal and all kinds of games get a chance.


Joel,
Frozenbyte team (Shadowgrounds dev.)

 
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