DoJ Goes Pirate Hunting

Justice Department Announces International Internet Piracy Sweep (thanks Mike Martinez) has word that there's a massive global pirate hunt currently underway:
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced today the most far-reaching and aggressive enforcement action ever undertaken against organizations involved in illegal intellectual property piracy over the Internet. Beginning yesterday morning, law enforcement from 10 countries and the United States conducted over 120 searches worldwide to dismantle some of the most well-known and prolific online piracy organizations.

“Intellectual property theft is a global problem that hurts economies around the world. To be effective, we must respond globally,” Attorney General Ashcroft said. “In the past 24 hours, working closely with our foreign law enforcement counterparts, we have moved aggressively to strike at the very core of the international online piracy world.”

Operation Fastlink is the culmination of four separate undercover investigations simultaneously being conducted by the FBI, coordinated by the FBI Cyber Division, and the U.S. Department of Justice, coordinated by the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division. As a result of Fastlink, over 120 total searches have been executed in the past 24 hours in 27 states and in 10 foreign countries. Foreign searches were conducted in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden as well as Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Operation Fastlink is the largest multi-national law enforcement effort ever directed at online piracy. Nearly 100 individuals worldwide have been identified by the investigation to date, many of whom are the leaders or high-level members of various international piracy organizations. As the investigations continue, additional targets will be identified and pursued.
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more money = better games? i dunno
Apr 22, 2004, 15:44
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more money = better games? i dunno Apr 22, 2004, 15:44
Apr 22, 2004, 15:44
 
At first thought, this would seem like common sense. But it doesn't work for all sorts of intellectual property piracy, if you stop to think about it for a second. Question: When a porn movie is pirated, will more money make a better porn movie? Answer: Unless higher paid porn stars grow larger boobs because of better silicon implants....... not really.
Another example. Did Britney Spear's music make a massive jump of improved quality, when her album sales netted her $10 million, or $50 million? No, most people would see that there was no change whatsoever. Perhaps it sank considerably.
Example 3: The Matrix 1 made oodles of money, everyone loved it. They then took our money and wasted it on 2 sequels of steaming horse poo. Personally, I wish no one had went to see Matrix 1 in the theaters at all.... and instead have just pirated it like crazy on the Net. THAT way we would have never gotten these steaming piles of horse poo sequels. Cuz they'd have no money. But I digress.

My point is, not all games can really take massive amounts of money and do anything more interesting with it than with a small sum of money. Yes, you need to pay your programmers a good salary (65,000/yr). But if they get paid 200,000/yr... they are not going to suddenly grow ten more fingers to program faster with, a bigger brain, and become more imaginative to create better games with. Game design is an art form in all sorts of ways. And artistic ability, I think, is not going to improve after you reach a certain financial level of comfortable survival.

Here's another point that many in the PC gaming community may agree on. Electronic Arts. EA has a huge reputation for draining the creativity from its game designers, creating sequel and sequel.... all while being the most succesful game company in the world. Many gamers find EA's games to be steaming piles of horse poo. But why is this? It has more money than anyone else to pay game designers with. The Sims Online recieved far more investment money than the original Sims. And yet it flopped, stank, and just generallly turned into horse poo. Ultima Online, a game that is so out of date it's truly nothing more than an envolved piece of horse poo..... still charges people $10-15/hr to play the game. I guess all those people being ripped off should be glad they are giving more money to the company, since it means they will design Ultima X...the next online Ultima.. which, from the previews is going to be inferior to the FREE Guild Wars in every way, and just generally maintain the horse poo legacy. Did I mention Giuld Wars is being made by a tiny company of ex-Blizzard employees? Hardly the people with a massive capital base to build amazing games with.... but they're doing it.

Console games, to me, are the most unimaginative piles of cat poo out there. I recently read an article by some game industry study, that showed that something like 95% of all console game titles released in the past couple of years were SEQUELS. Only 5% of games were new original titles. Console games make faaaaaar more money than PC games, are pirated faaaaaar less. And yet the game quality is not rising in any significant ways, games aren't being revolutionised at all, in my view. And these guys are super rich.

Ironically, I would argue the best game experiences created in the past few years were all done by completely unpaid mod makers. Counter-strike didn't get picked up by Valve for at least 2 years, it became the god-of-FPS games without even any money to help those high school and college kids pay their tuition bills. Day of Defeat is my fav game of all time, and was entirely designed for free by a group of WW2 enthusiasts. Natural Selection is a pretty revolutionary game, and pulls off the concept of RTS/FPS hybrid better than anything else so far. I'd say it's TOO ignorant of market-demands... which leads to all these funky balance insanities and what not..... but it still remains, at its core, something the profit-hungry game companies completely avoid attempting to do: new stuff! Even the RTS/FPS hybrid Savage was designed by a small-time company. Half-Life itself came from a no-name designer, Valve, and still blew away every pile of cat poo that was coming out of the wealthy hands of John Romero (daikatana anyone? ahahahh) or the id software (Quake 3 Team Arena! Ohhhh so amazing. Uh huh.)

In the flight sim world, super poor nobody Russian Oleg Maddox comes along and creates the most respected flight sim of all time... IL-2 Sturmovik. Meanwhile, all the other established sim companies couldn't tear themselves away from the West ETO universe for the life of them, so under some dogmatic belief that NO ONE will play anything but an American-or-British centric flight sim. And what happened to all these companies? Dead, dead, dead.

The bottom line here is that game history has shown, time and time again, that underdogs often beat the hell out of the top cats. THESE companies deserve NOT to be pirated, their games deserve to succeed, and their creativity needs to be prolonged. Top cats, on the other hand. Pirate all the way, if you want, and it probably won't matter. I can live without another lifeless Star Wars-license game from Lucasarts, another lame ass sports or racing game from EA, or some street fighter turbo 25 xxl super fast awesome edition from Capcom.

I think gamers understand THIS market reality: people who are immensely wealthy and established in an industry tend to have little or no reason to CHANGE. They have created a namesake for being traditional and repetitive, and can maintain a long life doing so. New companies, underdogs.. they *have* to bring about fresh ideas and take risks, bring us new and great game concepts... because that's the only way anyone is going to notice them. So do not just say "more money, better games".

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