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Signed On Feb 7, 2005, 14:02
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User ID 22821
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News Comments > Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive?
52. Re: Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive? Nov 27, 2009, 10:03 everyone
Yeah, and all they had to do was turn it into a completely different type of game. If that's the route they're taking with DX3, then count me out.

I see what you are saying, but DX is a FPS, which is arguably the most popular console genre. There isn't a need to turn it into a completely different type of game to find success on consoles
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News Comments > Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive?
49. Re: Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive? Nov 26, 2009, 21:37 everyone
I would normally agree, but we don't know what the budget is for this game, or what their sales targets are. Deus Ex also has zero name brand recognition outside of a subset of PC gamers.

It's not like it's Modern Warfare 3 or something. Console gamers don't give two shits about this game, so why should Eidos attempt to sell it to them? Console sales could amount to jack for a title like this. Eidos can't sell stuff on its name alone, like Bioware or some other companies can.

Remember that neither DX1 nor DX2 sold particularly well. Deus Ex in fact only became popular over the years as a kind of "Wow this is cool, why did no one buy it?" type thing.

I don't know, look at Fallout. They were able to resurrect Fallout which was originally a traditional PC RPG, and turn it into a big console hit.
I think DX3 has the potential to be huge, and I just can't see any publisher severely limiting its potential sales by cutting out consoles.
Anecdotally, most of my friends, even the ones who aren't hardcore PC gamers, have at least heard of Deus Ex.

This comment was edited on Nov 26, 2009, 21:39.
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News Comments > Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive?
42. Re: Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive? Nov 26, 2009, 10:32 everyone
It's silly to think they would leave all those potential console sales on the table. The best case scenario would be a situation along the lines of dragon age, where the game is designed from the ground up for the PC and then ported to consoles.
The more likely scenario is the game being built form the ground up to support all platforms.
Worst case scenario, which is becoming the norm, is the game designed specifically for consoles and then ported to the PC.
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News Comments > Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive?
4. Re: Deus Ex 3 a PC Exclusive? Nov 25, 2009, 17:44 everyone
I find this awfully hard to believe. Though I certainly hope it's true.  
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News Comments > Napoleon: Total War Imperial Edition Revealed
6. Re: Napoleon: Total War Imperial Edition Revealed Nov 25, 2009, 10:00 everyone
Were sales figures ever released for Empire: total war? It was the first total war game I passed on. The combination of requiring steam activation and trying to charge people $20.00 extra for a few "special" units made the decision quite easy.  
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
119. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 22:09 everyone
Yeah, but once you have to pay customs and shipping, it's unlikely that you can make enough of a profit while at the same time undercutting the US price. And again, if it's a few scattered people trying to import a game that's only sold in Japan, then I'll agree with you that I don't see a problem at all

Gogamer is obviously able to sell games cheaper by importing them. Their import copies are almost always marked less than the US version.
Regardless though, all the costs you mention are irrelevant from the game publishers point of view. All of those costs are incurred by the importer, in this case gogamer. The game publisher is still only making the wholesale amount of the game in the foreign market.
So, would you support a publisher claiming import copies sold by gogamer are illegitimate?

That's been my whole point all along - the party that is actually (and legally) in the wrong is the reseller, who very likely violated an agreement to not resell those keys in the US (whether explicitly, or as part of some giant EULA that of course probably hasn't been tested in court). Customers who bought them (while I do personally think they got what they deserved) should certainly demand either a refund or a new key that's actually legitimate in the US from that reseller, and if the reseller loses money on the whole deal, that's too bad for them.

I don't think there would be any debate if they would have gone after their resellers for violating a resale agreement. The problem is that they instead went after end-users.
Verno also made a good point, if this is such an issue, why didn't they region lock the CD keys to begin with? Why allow a US steam account to register an asian market copy?

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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
117. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 21:19 everyone
The problem is, consumers stopped supporting it before this nonsense.

I know that on the internet it's the popular and cool opinion to say that piracy is all just people trying out games before they go out and buy the ones they want, but we've all heard the story about how Tribes had more people playing multiplayer at once than had actually bought the game, and having been in college fairly recently, I tend to believe that's more the norm than the outlier.

That's from the company side; from the consumer side, PC gaming is more frustrating and more expensive, which doesn't seem worth it to a lot of people (especially now that people are buying themselves giant HDTVs for their living room)

Which brings it full circle - if you want to know why companies don't give a shit about PC gaming anymore, it's because if customers don't pirate the game outright, they go to extreme lengths (which I would consider buying foreign versions of the game) to pay as absolutely little as possible for it. Why would you want to devote yourself to a market like that?

The piracy debate at this point is nothing but a red herring. Pirating exist, it isn't going to stop. End of story. If publishers truly want to succeed in the PC gaming market, they are going to have to stop focusing on mythical lost sales. And start focusing on the people that do buy their product. Instead they seem insistent to drive away as many customers as possible at almost every turn.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
116. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 21:17 everyone
I think a lot of you just have antagonistic feelings toward the "evil corporate publishers" and don't see the big picture. I have been told I take an anti-consumer stance for calling things like I see them, which is pretty telling. No, the consumer is not always right, in this case they are cheap-asses with no care for the industry.

Not going to argue it anymore, believe what you will. As the whole PC gaming industry falls around us and morphs into Peggls and WoW and as the consoles gear more and more towards the everyman you guys support the cheap-ass non-contributers out there and that just baffles me.

While some people may feel that way. I think more people, including myself. Would like to see developers and publishers succeed, but not at the expense of consumers. If they can't make it with fair business practices, than I guess they may as well leave the PC gaming market. Some other company will be happy to take their place.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
115. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 21:03 everyone
First of all, your claim that people would be defending them if they banned a company selling US keys cheap is garbage, and it adds nothing to the conversation to make baseless bullshit insults at people.

Gogamer sells import copies of many titles. Which is why the comparison was made in the first place.

Further, how far does that extend? If it's a little stand in the mall selling knock-off SNES's with game roms, yeah, Nintendo is going to shut them down but not go after people that purchased them. But again, we're talking about a situation with no limit on sales and no shipping / transportation costs. If 10 people bought their keys this way, then Valve would probably not bother, but where's the cutoff? Is it 1,000 people doing it this way? 100,000? There's a point at which the money they lose on each sale by having people purchase the heavily discounted Asian version over the US version outweighs the desire to not blame consumers.

Strange how you failed to make the much more logical comparison of Nintendo trying to shut down a stand at the mall selling imported games.

It's quite an assumption to make when you claim they are losing money when someone buys an import copy. There is no reason to believe that those people who are apparently so cheap as to buy a "grey market" cd key, would ever pay for a full price copy. Personally, I'll often only buy certain games at a reduced price. I doubt I'm unique in this regard.
Therefore, it isn't that far of a stretch to imagine limiting import sales would cause a publisher to make less rather than more money.

The other issue that hasn't been addressed at all. How do you justify Activision being paid for these CD keys and then disabling them afterwards. Do you think it is fair for them to keep that money without delivering anything in return?

This comment was edited on Nov 24, 2009, 21:24.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
109. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 10:41 everyone
I'll just throw out that I think game publishers/developers consistent anti-consumer practices could eventually backfire. Whenever any new innovation comes about in the gaming industry, such as digital distribution or DLC, it has been used 90% of the time to provide the consumer less value for their money instead of more. Gee, please buy the Sims 3 for $50.00 and then buy $300.00 of virtual items that should have been included in the original game.

The music industry did the same thing for years, even going so far as to price fix CDs. In large part because of this behavior, they now have absolutely no customer loyalty. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that no customer loyalty + easily pirated material = falling revenue.

As evidenced by this thread, it hasn't gotten that far yet for the gaming industry. Their still seems to be plenty of people that find their practices acceptable. But eventually that may change the more these companies take their paying customers for granted.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
106. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 00:32 everyone
They could have simple region restrictions, they could have reselling restrictions, they could have selling only the key restrictions, they could have endless other things. I know for a fact they do not want this, they do not want regional pricing to be circumbvented, so it makes complete sense they would put that in their seller agreements.

More to the point it is in the Steam ToS that you cannot buy keys from resellers, so that covers the end-user part of it.

Again though, if they simply bought off the shelf copies there would be no kind of agreement. Unless in asia they make you sign something when you buy software, which seems improbable.

I'm sure it says in the steam TOS that they can disable your software or ban you for any reason they want. Another reason why I refuse to give them control over my software library.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
104. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 24, 2009, 00:03 everyone
It's pretty simple, but you refuse to see it. Banning gogamer? It's completely different, gogamer is not violating the license agreement and selling unauthorized software people! These stores do not have the right to sell these keys to these markets but they do it anyway, it is pretty clear cut. The people who use these shops know this, but they do it anyway to save a few bucks, so I feel no pity for them.

I doubt any license agreements were broken. If they were, Activision would be suing the original purchaser of these licenses and not going after the end-users.
Most likely, they have no cause against the original purchasers, so they are falling back on some clause in the steam TOS to disable the copies.

As I pointed out earlier, what kind of restrictions could be in place if these resellers simply bought 500 boxed copies in asia and resold them?
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
89. Re: MW2 Key Bans Nov 22, 2009, 19:39 everyone
I understand that fear completely and sometimes dwell on it myself, but Steam offers so many benefits to counter that drawback it is hard not to be ok with it most of the time, especially since PC gaming is turning into Steam gaming in a lot of ways.

My hope is that steam evolves to provide more power to consumers over their purchased products. Online music sellers have done this, going almost exclusively DRM-free at this point. So there is some hope.

More to the point I think account-based ownership is going to be standard on all platforms in the not too distant future, so there is no sense fighting it. Either accept it and play games or move on.

If that happens I'll vote with my dollar and spend less on gaming than I currently do. Though I admit, it is unlikely I would ever completely stop purchasing new games.

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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
88. Re: Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys Nov 22, 2009, 19:29 everyone
But if you think Valve should just let their stuff be pirated, don't cry when Valve starts focusing on consoles.

Oh please. You go on about how someone else is dumb, and then make idiotic comments yourself. Valve is committed to the PC gaming market more so than any other company. Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo aren't going to allow any competing digital distribution services on their respective consoles.
This is where these kinds of discussions always end up, "if you don't allow publishers/developers to do (insert anti-consumer behavior),
they will stop making PC games!!!"
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
84. Re: Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys Nov 22, 2009, 17:13 everyone
Yeah, but that's not true.
Many go after both, again, via legal repricussions.

Price controls are handled via contracts. Any legal repercussions would be lawsuits due to breach of contract. Rarely do companies ever go that far though, they just stop selling to businesses that don't tow the line.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a situation where a company has gone after end-users for issues in their price control efforts.
If you have an example, please do elaborate.

And most all refuse to service anything they can tell were bought in grey markets - this is pretty much done across every single industry. Since Steam, as a whole, is a service, you can look at Valve as doing it that way - refusing to service grey market purchases.

And that is the problem with games that require steam. What recourse do you have when the physical product you purchased artificially requires a third party "service" to work.
Steam enables publishers to control their product, even after you've paid your $50.00. Personally, I don't support their efforts.

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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
81. Re: Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys Nov 22, 2009, 15:56 everyone
This is actually about forcing a price for this region, being an extremely wealthy nation means that if they can force North American users to only buy from Steam or major retailers they can effectively control the price for this product. (forcing a high price point like $60)

It's not uncommon for companies to try and impose price controls.
What is different about this situation is them going after the end-user, instead of handling things through their distributors and retailers, which is how every other industry does it.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
78. Re: Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys Nov 22, 2009, 13:13 everyone
This isn't about unused licenses though, if you went to Walmart and bought the game, then sold it to someone else without ever using it, that code would work fine.

This is about licenses sold under specific conditions being used outside of that. Licenses sold for either business use like a cafe or for cheaper, lower income nations. Licenses with specific areas of use which then show up being uses by Joe Schmoe in the USA.

We don't actually know how they were bought and sold.
Perhaps these resellers simply bought 500 boxed copies in asia and are now reselling just the cdkeys. If that is the case than it is hard to argue some sort of specific restrictions on those licenses, unless it clearly states something about those restrictions on the box.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
76. Re: Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys Nov 22, 2009, 12:12 everyone
It's not just the technology that allows it, its the classification of the game as a license you purchase to play the game, not the game itself. That gives them a ton of legal leeway. Court cases to challenge this idea have come up and sometimes they side with the consumer and sometimes they don't... until the inevitable day when the idea is directly challenged no one can really say what their future legal boundries will be.

I'm not a lawyer, which is why I haven't claimed that anything they have done is illegal. Though it would be interesting to see if it held up in court.
My argument is based on the principle of consumer rights. Just because a company can legally do something, doesn't mean they should, and certainly doesn't mean that consumers should applaud them for doing so.

Right now though you buy a license to play the game, and if you buy the license from someone not authorized to sell it to you, well, you paid a lot for nothing.

In almost all cases, except apparently this one, the seller of the license is irrelevant. If I buy a copy of windows 7 and decide afterwards not to use it. I am perfectly able to resell my unused license to anyone I choose. The same is almost universally true for unused/unattached licenses.

This comment was edited on Nov 22, 2009, 12:13.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
72. Re: Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys Nov 22, 2009, 08:37 everyone
You can't email a statue, or a car, or a lounge chair. You're being ignorant here, either purposely or legitimately. You can email a game, it is just a keycode and a license in this case. His entire point, which I fully agree with, is that in the Internet age and with the game being just a license which the key unlocks, you have the option of local pricing in countries with lower cost of living and enforcing region restrictions or you can charge everyone the same price and then completely shaft the people in those lower income countries so they can't buy the game at all.

The internet makes us feel like we are one world, one people, the choirs singing, but we're not... there are fundemental economic differences which force regional pricing. People can't seem to grasp this idea, but it is very true. This regional pricing therefore results in the need to enforce that pricing.

Every industry is different, but the fundamentals are the same.
The gaming industry is not some special industry that should be given carte blanche to do as they please.
The reason behind them doing this has nothing to do with importing and exporting being different for video games. It's because unlike every other industry, the gaming industry has the means to try and dictate how a product is used even after purchase. Which is my problem. Consumers shouldn't be cheering that any industry has decided that it is okay to control, and in this case disable, legitimately purchased merchandise, simply because the technology exist to do so.
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News Comments > Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys
70. Re: Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys Nov 22, 2009, 02:00 everyone
This is the crux of the problem; if it's one person that travels over there, spending $500 on airfare to save $10 on a game, then it's not a big deal. In the internet age, though, one person there can quite easily buy 10,000 copies and re-sell them to individuals in the US, then it becomes a major problem. It's the problem of having a digital good - there's zero transportation cost involved in selling across borders

Look, there's really only two possibilities here - either
1) The game is sold at the exact same price globally, at a price point which maximizes the revenue for the company (which basically means the US/Euro price), which means the price is vastly out of proportion to income in developing areas (which then means that they'll sell basically zero non-pirated copies in those areas)
2) The game is sold at a cost somewhat relative to (a) the wealth of that country, such that it's actually reasonable to ask people in developing countries to legally purchase it, which requires some sort of control on the good to restrict it to that region, and (b) the nature of the organization purchasing it, such that a cyber cafe / whatever can be encouraged to legally purchase a number of licenses instead of pirating the game, which also requires controlling the ability of those licenses to be spread outside that industry

Global trade isn't some new problem that is only plaguing the gaming industry. People import and export things from all over the world. Video games aren't some special category of item.

Many industries try to limit sales outside an intended market for various reasons, but this is done through the distribution/retailer side of the business. They would never try to go after end-users, they would have no legal standing to do so, and it would be counter productive to alienate customers who want to purchase your product.

To go back to someone else's example - it's the exact same situation as Microsoft selling corporate windows licenses. It makes perfect sense to sell one giant corporate license to a company, both for cost and for ease of use (not having to keep tract of tens of thousands of windows licenses), but if companies start reselling them it would destroy the value of the individual licenses

This is nothing like the Microsoft example. if a corporate key is issued, it would be copyright infringement (aka pirating) to install or resell said licenses outside of the company that purchased the licenses.
No copyright infringement takes place when importing a video game.

Now, if you want to argue that Valve should pro-actively create different types of key #'s, such that it's obvious that they're region restricted / etc, I might not disagree with you... but again, it's probably the case that Valve really doesn't generally want to bother with this (as long as it doesn't become a major problem), and it's only when they start seeing a fairly large # of people taking advantage of the loophole that they need to take action

If they deem it a serious problem, than they should be proactively policing their international resellers.

I've purchased most of the AAA 360 titles over the past couple years, and I don't think I've paid less than 25% off the entire time. If you don't think a game has $60 worth of value to you, if you wait 3 months you can easily get it for $40 (and probably less), without resorting to buying from questionable sources or importing Chinese versions or whatever.

The problem is that most gamers want to have both - they want to not pay full price (generously), but they also NEED to have it the week that it comes out.

Value means something different than cost. A game can have lots of value at $60.00 or little value at $9.99. The point I was making, is that consumers demanding value for their dollar is a good thing for all consumers.There are plenty of examples of industries failing to give consumers the value they demanded, and failing because of it.
A good example in the video game industry would be the game crash of the 80's. Too much crap, not enough value. Many people stopped buying games, and because of that multiple companies went out of business. In their place new players such as Nintendo released products that once again captured consumers interest, and money.

I wonder if Valve and Activisions actions would hold up in court. Obviously no one is going to sue a multi-billion dollar company over a $40 game, but it would be interesting to see if they could get away with such heavy handed tactics legally.

This comment was edited on Nov 22, 2009, 02:18.
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