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id CEO: Piracy PC's "Hidden Benefit"

Hollenshead & Carmack - Part One on GameIndusty is part of a conversation with id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead and technical director John Carmack that was conducted at this year's QuakeCon. The main topics are engine licensing, digital distribution, and piracy, and one bit they highlight in a separate story that seems sure to spark some discussion is Todd's contention that piracy of PC content is perceived as a "hidden benefit" to PC ownership, a "dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers." Here are the two pertinent questions and answers:

Q: It's the barrier-for-entry thing isn't it? It's really easy to pirate PC games whereas console games are much harder to pirate so the returns are better. What can PC hardware manufacturers do to make it harder for pirates?

Todd Hollenshead:
There's lots of things that they could do but typically just they just line up on the wrong side of the argument in my opinion. They have lots of reasons as to why they do that, but I think that there's been this dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers, which is that the perception of free content - even if you're supposed to pay for it on PCs - is some sort hidden benefit that you get when you buy a PC, like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games.

Q: You think they're secretly happy about it?

Todd Hollenshead:
Yeah I think they are. I think that if you went in and could see what's going on in their minds, though they may never say that stuff and I'm not saying there's some conspiracy or something like that - but I think the thing is they (realize) that trading content, copyrighted or not, is an expected benefit of owning a computer.

And I think that just based on their actions...what they say is one thing, but what they do is another. When it comes into debates about whether peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that by-and-large have the vast majority, I'm talking 99 per cent of the content is (illicitly) trading copyrighted property, they'll come out on the side of the 1 per cent of the user doing it for legitimate benefit. You can make philosophical arguments that are difficult to debate, but at the same time you're just sort of ignoring the enormity of the problem.

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60. Re: No subject Aug 24, 2008, 01:18 Jerykk
 
For at least several months now, the pirated iso's for console games far far outnumber what is there for pirated PC games.

This is true. The actual act of pirating a 360 game is much, much easier than pirating a PC game because you don't really have to crack anything. PC games have copy-protection embedded within them whereas consoles have the protection in the console itself. Once you crack the console, you're set.

Of course, I'm pretty sure everyone knows that piracy isn't the reason why so many developers are jumping to the console bandwagon.

 
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59. Re: You know... Aug 23, 2008, 19:39 CreamyBlood
 
Like I've always said, make it easy for me to use a prepaid/recharchable card at any gas station.

Then let me download the shit for cheap.

Steam is getting there, but do it for movies, songs, albums, games, whatever.

When you make it instantly accessable and inexpensive, then you have a fucking business plan.

Or sue people.

This comment was edited on Aug 23, 20:22.
 
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58. No subject Aug 23, 2008, 14:46 dryden555
 
For at least several months now, the pirated iso's for console games far far outnumber what is there for pirated PC games. Console game developers are trying to pretend otherwise when they do press interviews, but they know.

 
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57. No subject Aug 23, 2008, 10:12 dryden555
 
yikes -- some here are suggesting Hollingshead made an insightful point.

 
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56. Re: Yeah ok Todd. Aug 23, 2008, 03:05 swaaye
 
I find it amusing that so many folks don't see it as Todd says it here. I know people who live exactly like he says. Buy the latest PC hardware, pirate some games, buy a few too. They all have lame ass excuses for it, of course.

I do think most people who do pirate stop pirating en masse once they start rolling in the dough a bit (get decent jobs). But there are shitheads out there who pirate by principle. It's kinda hard to pirate hardware, but they absolutely would if they could. The rest of their lives are usually packed with other examples of their cheapass, self-serving laziness-derived BS as well.


This comment was edited on Aug 23, 03:07.
 
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55. Re: Yeah ok Todd. Aug 22, 2008, 21:48 m0deth
 
those two numbnuts have been playing cornhole leapfrog since Unreal came out. =]

 
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54. clueless and arrogant Aug 22, 2008, 21:40 m0deth
 
ToddH bein' a 'tard once again, now with 50% more conviction!

Sit back and watch as he asshats Id into oblivion instead of making games people actually want to KEEP playing, not just play once...or in some pirated cases, when you're tired of shelling out good money on less than good games, with no recourse at the retailer when a product is an obvious FAIL.

God forbid game devs ever having to back that noise up with returns on games(insert obvious pirate comment). Some people actually think the game sucks, and want to take it back.

I'm glad other developers have listened in earnest at least to consumer complaints, and reasons, be they good or bad. They listened, and did not dismiss their own involvement in possible reasons. They hold the key to better PC gaming.

And last time I checked....heh...there were about as many hacked 360 games and ps3 games ready for download as were others, including PC ones, the argument holds little to no water, yet the push is on.

 
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53. Re: You know... Aug 22, 2008, 19:09 Jerykk
 
I see little to no discussion on the inherent developer/industry faults.

Faults? Nonsense. Everybody knows that the blame rests solely on those thieving, no good, dirty, Godless pirates!

 
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52. You know... Aug 22, 2008, 10:39 Ray Marden
 
...for somebody that does not pirate at all, this is all incredibly insulting and pointless.

I do think piracy is bad and it should be stopped, but I do not think everybody in the world pirates - I am the proof they do not - and, for all the issues blamed on piracy, I see little to no discussion on the inherent developer/industry faults.

I originally intended to go off in this post, but it is not worth it, Hollenshead is not worth it. Hollenshead is mentally inept and just seems to spew crap from his mouth; it is unfortunate he even has access to this industry.
He is delusional, too. He needs psychological help.
Just shaking my head,
Ray

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51. No subject Aug 22, 2008, 07:46 Mysdrial
 
...and here I was hoping Todd was pointing out the success/popularity of "Doom" and "Quake" were in large part due to piracy. Oh well, make one (or six) shitty games, start bitching about someone else, instead of taking responsibility for your actions.

 
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50. Re: No subject Aug 22, 2008, 06:29 manic half
 
If half the people on the internet could type or complete simple mathematics as well as they can play video games, this might be a better world.

woah, i made a spelling mistake. i was wondering why the world was ending.

 
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49. No subject Aug 22, 2008, 05:18 zirik
 
how did todd read my mind? i never told anyone that i secretly buy hardware in order to pirate games.

 
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48. Re: No subject Aug 22, 2008, 00:42 CreamyBlood
 
agreed. thats how i like my deathmath's too be too.

You know, DeathMath might make a good gory edutainment title, sort of like Typing of the Dead.

As you round a corner you see a mathematical problem in large fonts followed by three creepy demons with multiple choice solutions on each of their chests.

Shooting the correct one advances you to a more difficult problem and explodes the monster into a gory shower of gibs while shooting the wrong answer makes you start the level over again.

If half the people on the internet could type or complete simple mathematics as well as they can play video games, this might be a better world.

 
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47. ... Aug 22, 2008, 00:06 theyarecomingforyou
 
They don't care, but they sure are able to benefit off of it. Hard drive manufacturers sell bigger hard drives than someone who doesn't.
They may benefit from people needing more space from pirated content but that's different to being "happy about it". There is nothing that attributes 1TB hard-drives to piracy. I have 150GB in game installs, 400GB in application installs (and YES... all legitimate), 60GB of audio recordings (I currently record at 16bit/44.1kHz for most projects - recording at 24bit/96kHz would dwarf that), 20GB of video from my DV camcorder (only a handful of 20-30 minute videos) and over 2GB of photos just from my mobile phone - that's almost 650GB already, plus I'd love more storage so I could comfortably copy all my music to my computer in a lossless codec (quality is very important to me, being a musician). I can easily see plenty of family with a camcorder wanting to back it all up onto computer, which rockets through disc space. With HD content coming online it's not hard to see storage requirements rocketing.

If I have $300 to spare, I might choose to spend it on a new video card rather than 6 games.
Yeah, and I might choose to spend it on crack... it's a choice. I spent over $350 on a graphics card last month but that doesn't stop me buying games - it actually provides an incentive to do just the opposite and I don't have a huge amount of money.

Morons here are implying that he's whining about piracy, saying everyone else is a pirate, that it's all a conspiracy, and other sorts of stupid crap. Methinks people need to re-read what was really said.
He said that trading copyrighted content is an "expected benefit of owning a computer". How the fuck is that not accusing everyone of being a pirate?

No-one is denying that there is a lot of piracy going on but even if his statement was true - which I dispute - it's a stupid thing to say in public. All it's going to achieve is to piss off a lot of people, resulting in less sales for their products.

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46. No subject Aug 22, 2008, 00:03 space captain
 
seems that the most vocal anti-piracy people are often those with a very healthy income and lots of disposable cash  
Go forth, and kill!
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45. Re: Unreal Aug 21, 2008, 22:56 sponge
 
It isn't up to hardware developers to "care" about software piracy any more than it's up to game developers to "care" about who sells the most hardware.

They don't care, but they sure are able to benefit off of it. Hard drive manufacturers sell bigger hard drives than someone who doesn't. If I have $300 to spare, I might choose to spend it on a new video card rather than 6 games. DVD burners may have something to gain.

I don't see what's so controversial about this statement. Morons here are implying that he's whining about piracy, saying everyone else is a pirate, that it's all a conspiracy, and other sorts of stupid crap. Methinks people need to re-read what was really said.
If you replaced id with Stardock this thread would be SO INSIGHTFUL THANK YOU FOR SAVING PC GAMING

 
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44. Re: Yeah ok Todd. Aug 21, 2008, 21:27 ldonyo
 
Maybe he and Mark Rein at Epic are roommates?  
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43. ... Aug 21, 2008, 21:07 theyarecomingforyou
 
Hollenshead is a wanker. End of discussion.

Nah, but seriously... does he actually think about the consequences of what he says? I now think of id as a bunch of whining pussies. Congrats.

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42. Re: Yeah ok Todd. Aug 21, 2008, 20:45 Nameless Again
 
Pass that pipe would ya?

Yeah, no kidding. I'm thinking the paranoia is starting to affect his judgment.

 
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41. Yeah ok Todd. Aug 21, 2008, 20:13 Creston
 
Pass that pipe would ya?

Creston


 
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