Finally, Someone Talks Common Sense About PC Piracy

Ubisoft has no idea on the topic of piracy and the PC market. None. It must be embarrassing for lower-downs at the company who do have an idea to have to listen to people like Stanislas Mettra open their mouths.

Thankfully, not everybody in the industry shares that stance. Trevor Longino, from Good Old Games, a retailer of all people, has a more realistic, pragmatic view on the subject.

"By focusing on piracy as the evil enemy of PC gaming", he told GamersMint, "the industry loses sight of two things: first of all, pirates are better at distributing games than many companies are. Why else would someone risk getting malware or a virus on their computer from a torrent, except that they've made it simpler to get a game through pirates than it is through traditional digital distribution? There are definitely things that we can learn from how simple it is to pirate a game compared to purchasing it, installing the client, patching the game, patching the client, activating it, activating the online component, and then-finally!–being able to play."

"Secondly", he adds, "people pirate."

"They do, and you can't stop that. What you can do-what survey after survey shows-is create enough value in the offer of your game that people buy it anyway. Some of the largest sources of traffic on GOG.com are from torrent trackers and abandonware sites. And you know what? The traffic from these websites converts to purchasers at a better percentage than straight search traffic from Google does. The first exposure these people had to GOG.com came through illegal free copies of the games we sell, and they found our offer so compelling that they sign up and buy from us."

My first computer, a Commodore 64, was accompanied by a box full of pirated games. There wasn't a day that went by on the schoolyard in the 90s when at least one of my friends wasn't swapping a bundle of 3.5-inch disks. It's been an age-old problem, and always will bes, to pretend it's suddenly only a problem now, and either introduce busted DRM or not release PC games at all, is defeatist at best and disingenuous at worst.

GoG Breaks Cover — Interview with Good Old Games [GamersMint]


Comments

    That last paragraph is full of truisms.

    Also, interesting - though not surprising as I've been saying it for ages - is the entire second-to-last paragraph regarding giving value and ease of use to end users first and foremost.

    Pretty much was tl;dr version of volition inc's

    'make a game WORTH stealing first, then worry about piracy'

    Agreed. That last paragraph sums up the cons of neglecting a certain platform due to piracy.

    Neil Gaiman on piracy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI

    That Anno 2070 ad is very weird...

    I think the publishers have gotten tired fighting piracy, so they're just moving to whinging. Sides, arent a lot of XBox games pirated (if not, pirated first)?

    Lol at this page being full of ads for a UBISOFT game...

    Must be chasing those page-hit dollars.

    It's not "talking sense about piracy". It's presenting one of a myriad of views about piracy, the extent of it being a "problem" and pros/cons.

    The cry of "Make a game good enough, and cheap enough, and people won't pirate it!" is a fallacy. "Good enough" is subjective - all you're doing is encouraging people who just want a free game to say "Well, it doesn't have 1080p graphics all through it. Really, developers, get your shit together, it's supposed to be the future! This game is so bad because of only having 720p, I'mma pirate it".

    The view expressed by GoG is extremely simplistic. Like any extremely simplistic argument, it avoids all the real-world considerations of an issue that is extremely complex and says what is popular.

    The other awesome argument people come up with is "I'd buy it, if I wasn't poor/had other things to spend it on/could be arsed/OMG I have to enter CC details on a webshop? TOO HARD!". That's also bullshit.

    No-one is entitled to receive marketable entertainment for free. Hell, you're not even entitled to watch movies on free-to-air TV for free - that's paid for by advertisers slotting their ads into the movie. On the ABC? That's costing you 8c per day.

    Skyrim seems to have been pretty easy to buy, download at a high speed, install, and patch through Steam. So if the argument by GoG is valid, then there should be no torrents, right? Wrong.

    Most arguments trying to justify piracy smack of entitlement and flawed logic.

    If you're going to pirate a game, pirate it. Don't try to falsely justify your actions, it's pure bullshit.

      The other load of absolute rubbish in the article is the assertion that GoG gets lots of sales of people who would otherwise or have otherwise pirated a game.

      Again, this ignored a lot of complexity.

      Looking at GoG's website, there's Icewind Dale for sale at $9.99. Baldurs Gate 1? $9.99

      So what does that mean? The right pricepoint for a game like BG is $10? Sure, that might be true ***almost 14 years after it was released***. How is that even comparable to current games?

      Is GoG seriously trying to suggest that a game like Skyrim should have been released for $10 and that would have reduced/eliminated piracy? Sure, it might have done that. It also would have completely destroyed the company financially.

      It's seriously like the reporter didn't even question the comparison between a 14 year old game and a game a week old, or simply didn't care.

      Your last paragraph, Zap, is profound. All this talk about how to stop piracy is giving the pirates an excuse to do the dirty.

      But there will always be people who steal. People who refuse to pay a dollar for anything if they can find any other way to get their hands on the product. These are the people that commercial industries need to ignore. Trying to prevent them for piracy only makes the legitimate buyer a criminal and errodes the customer-retailer relationship.

      This focus has spawned a new kind of pirate - people who can't get a game to work due to DRM, or who have previously had a poor experience with DRM, or who are just sick and tired of sitting through all the hoops just so they can play something they've paid good money for.

      A good DRM solution encompassing industry and government would be able to track pirated copies of the game without infringing on the experience of the legitimate customer. That information would then be able to be passed onto the law, who could then deal with the pirates.

      The current DRM systems are the equivalent of putting a "Trespassers will be shot" sign in your shopfront window.

      "Skyrim seems to have been pretty easy to buy, download at a high speed, install, and patch through Steam. So if the argument by GoG is valid, then there should be no torrents, right? Wrong."

      Steam itself is a big DRM. Games on GOG are DRM free. I didn't buy Skyrim just because of that and regret nothing.

        Eh, you hate DRM? Buy the game, then pirate a copy, so you don't have DRM.
        "But but bu-" shut up. If you aren't sure the company "deserves" their money, then wait and read reviews and find out from others. If you don't pay, you don't deserve anything.

        Also steam is a big loose DRM, I can play any of those games on any computer I want as long as my steam account can be logged into, and isn't being used in multiple places at once. This has never been a problem for me, and I've shared plenty of games that way.

    I was about to buy Settlers 7 on Steam when I read about the problems Australians were/are having with the DRM Online connection issue. Given I couldn't find any assurance this is fixed I have decided against buying it.

    So what is the difference between someone who doesn't buy the game and a pirate, in both cases it's no sale.

    There's no justification for piracy, period. They're criminals, plain and simple.

    One excuse I hate is that they wouldn't have bought the game/movie in the first place, so it's not a lost sale. That's rubbish!

    Im ashamed that I bought pirated games years ago when I was a teenager. I never thought about the consequences of what I was doing. But I can tell you now I would of absolutely bought them if I didn't have access to pirated ones.

    I also know someone who used to buy their movies, but a while ago started to pirate their own. Now they pirate all their movies, including their favourite ones.

    Don't defend pirates.

      I used to pirate ds games. I only bought a ds because I knew I could get an R4 cart and download all the games I want. Wouldn't have paid for them and wouldn't have bought the ds otherwise. So nintendo sold a console due to piracy - win or lose?

    I always remember my friend who had bought Tales of Monkey Island off of Steam. These had episodic releases and each episode it took Steam at least 3-4 days to get the game up. So he had to wait longer to play the game he paid for compared to those who pirated.

    Because you didn't pay for it! Just because you didn't have the intention of buying it, doesn't mean you can get it free.

    Does that mean I can go steal a car because I didn't have the intention of buying it anyway? No!

    Morally, it's wrong, economically, it makes zero difference.

    How does it make zero difference? I gave two examples that I personally know of that would of had an impact.

    Both the game and movie industries say it does. And I believe them.

      Piracy isn't theft, it's piracy! You can't compare stealing a car to making a digital copy of a game.

        Very true. By definition they are two very different things. In fact, by many standards "piracy" is the act of illegally selling a game, not downloading it for free--although common usage now makes that debatable. Historically, those wanting to portray such acts in the maximum negative light are quick to use the term "piracy".

    The bottom line is, DRM hurts the industry more than non-DRM. Crackers bypass the DRM and then people play it without all that hassle--which it is. I have SEVERAL bought games where I installed over my own executable with a cracked version to get past all the CRAP.
    Look at the eBook industry. DRM can be easily applied, but MOST published now do not, as we've found that by giving people an inkling of trust, they buy MORE books--it's absolutely true and proven. Of course, this only works where the consumer sees value for money, and does not spend "too much" on something that is not satisfying. The eBook industry has settled at $2.99 a pop, which can still make the writer a ton of money (as they bypass distributors, print costs etc). They are two very different areas...but perhaps the games industry has some lessons to learn. (My opinion is that a small purchase fee followed by miscrotransactions will prevail...but I could be wrong)

    Probably a good thing that Trevor got the job at GOG instead of me, my version of this story would have been more sweary and less professional.

    Ultimately some people are selfish arseholes and will steal everything they get the chance to, even if they don't ever use it (I know a guy like that, pirates everything new & maybe watches/plays a quarter of them), publishers have a hardon for excessively protecting their product which makes sense until you realise that inconveniencing potential customers will drive some of them down the path of least resistance to piracy. Others will simply say 'fuck it' and buy someone else's product leaving the last small group as the ones willing to put up with your shit to buy your product and those are your only revenue stream. Is it any wonder a lot of companies aren't doing as well as they could be?

    Yes you can compare it. You're taking something you didn't pay for. It does not matter whether it's a physical thing. That's a cop out.

    There's no difference between walking into a store and stealing a DVD/game, and stealing it buy illegally downloading it. Either way, you got something you should of paid for for free.

    Why do some try to defend it.

      The same reason publishers release a $60 broken ass game, robbery but corporate style

      Theres 2 sides to the piracy coin if you step back and think about it with no bias

      How many times have gamers been robbed by a broken piece of shit?.. oh but this is ok because its all part of being a gamer? no.. alot of the times the end user is just a beta tester for some of this trash that comes out.

      Look at Skyrim, undoubtedly worth your money, now look at X-men destiny? paying $60 for that is borderline ROBBERY...

      In one case though you are stealing something physical, with intrinsic value in it's material and manufacture. The maker is indebted until it is sold. In the other case you are creating a new version. So by defintion it's not the same.

      If pirating is creating and distributing ... essentially you are creating your own items and distributing them (to yourself). You are not just a recipient of pirated goods. You are the pirate. But not a thief.

    Its funny how ubishit moans about pc piracy but the 360 has a high level of piracy even at parity with the pc it seems.

    UBISOFT are full of it.

    I can understand what you're saying. But it still doesn't give anyone the right to pirate.

    As for X-Men. Don't pay $60 for it if you don't want to. Problem solved.

    Sorry to keep posting on this. I just hate piracy.

    You know I would respect the white-knights here a lot more if they didn't act so high and mighty with their authoritarian sentiments.

    Nobody was even justifying or defending piracy and still they come out beating their chests, "YOU LISTEN TO ME, I KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG! YOU WANT TO DISCUSS PIRACY? NO! YOU ARE SCUM!"

    The guy in the article made complete sense and he wasn't even praising or encouraging piracy. He was simply stating what so many of us have been saying all along: Make the game/service worth more than SOMEBODY'S money and you will get it. The best selling games are also the most pirated.

    Hell since I'm being such a good boy I can't even enjoy half of Kotaku and its Skyrim frenzy. I can't afford the game right now and I have not pirated it.

    Way to go, all the moral-high-grounders who completely and utterly either missed or ignored the very important point raised: People are going to pirate anyway.

    They addressed all your concerns, people. Whenever you say, "As if there would be no pirates if you made better/cheaper/easier-to-access games!"
    They're NOT saying there would be no pirates. They're saying there would be more converted sales.

    Learn to read, guys, and stop trying to drag sensible, mature pragmatism back to your hobby-horse so you can oversimplify and grandstand.

    Now that my friends and I have finished school and have jobs we have gone back on steam and bought truckloads of games that we played in school but couldnt afford.

    I have actually been really hanging out to play the new Anno game but I went to buy it in steam and it said it contained all this 3rd party DRM so they can bugger off, is steams DRM not good enough? I dont even think its about piracy the only extra thing their DRM has is that it limits the amount of machines I can activate it on.

    The sooner Ubi dies the better.

    I'm acting like a "White-knight" or "High and mighty" simply because I believe you should pay for the things you want? Wow, just wow.

    I know piracy will always be around, period. But some people seem to defend it. There is no excuse to pirate. If services and access to games needs to be improved, then ok. That's a legitimate Issue.

    But those issues don't make it ok to pirate.

    I really don't understand how me or people like me are acting like we have the moral high ground. You want something, you pay for it, regardless of whether you think the product is worth your money.

    I would assume most people would hold the same view.

      Your acting like a white knight because you derailed the topic and completely ignored what was said in the article.

      I agree with this position of GoG - piracy is shit, but so is drm.

    I know people who pirate, and they make the most ridiculous excuses to why they think they can. That's why I hate people defending it. (not saying people here are defending it though)

    Sorry but pirating a game is not simpler than buying the game legitimately, you have to splice so many files these days just to get a game working, then there is multiplayer where you have run all these 3rd party applications just to tunnel your way to a connection.

    It's just worth spending time cracking because it's free.

    I had heard of GoG but didn't go there until I really wanted to replay Baldur's Gate but couldn't get my copy (yeah the original DVD :O) to work. When I saw that they had every damn D&D game with all the artwork, soundtracks, manuals, extras and everything worked perfectly the first time for a mere pittance I was sold.

    I also agree with what Trevor said, treat them as competition and make it better. Of course that requires effort.

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